Every That ’70s Show Reference in That ’90s Show

As That ’90s Show made its debut on Netflix, many of its viewers were met with a different kind of nostalgia: a mix of both nostalgia for the 90s and for the original show that debuted in the 90s, That ’70s Show. Back then, the out-of-date references, relatable characters, and groovy tunes were a source of laughter that made our neighbors wonder what we were smoking, and now the updated spin-off makes us feel like we’re coming home to Point Place as well.

More than the location and the main characters returning, there are countless references to specific episodes and subplots of That ’70s Show, many of which you’d need to be a die-hard fan to catch. Check out our list below and see if you caught them all.


RELATED: ‘That ’90s Show’ Season 1 Ending Explained: What Happened With Leia and [SPOILER]?

The Opening

The pilot of That ’90s Show opens in the exact same fashion as the That ’70s Show pilot, with the same guitar riff, delayed drum beat, and screen showing the date, time, and location in the classic typewriter font. In both shows this lets audiences know where we are picking up: May 17th, 1976 in the original series and July 3rd, 1995 in the spin-off.

The Intro Song

As the intro song comes in, you may recognize the riff and lyrics lamenting that there’s not a thing to do but talk to you, before belting out a resounding “Hello Wisconsin!” The new intro song is sped up with stompy chords and punky vocals, and rather than dancing around the Vista Cruiser, the characters can be seen dancing around the Forman basement with a number of cliché 90s artifacts. As the polka-dotted paint splatter title card comes across the screen the intro feels like the perfect mix of That ’70s Show and something that aired sometime between Boy Meets World and Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

The Dancing Cutscenes

Another That ’70s Show staple that received a 90s update is the dancing and trampoline jumping cutscenes. With updated moves, and a very 70s Batusi thrown in, Leia, her friends, and her grandparents dance around, or in Red’s case, glare, in front of a brightly colored background, just like her parents and their friends before.

Star Wars & Leia’s Name

Eric’s obsession with Star Wars was a big part of his character in That ’70s Show, leading to him becoming an adjunct professor of The Religion of Star Wars at a university as revealed in That ’90s Show. Throughout the original series, he often referred to his future children as Luke and Leia. When it was revealed what the star of That ’90s Show was named, we knew exactly who made the decision.

Red had many catchphrases in That ’70s Show, one of which came back in the That ’90s Show pilot. After Eric remarks on how he will always support and stand behind his daughter, Red chimes in with the wisdom that when you stand behind your kid, it’s easier to put your foot in their ass. When Leia decides she’s staying in Point Place for the summer, Eric tells her that if she doesn’t get in the car in the morning his foot is going to get in her ass, creating a full circle moment for Red to relish in. Red’s other favorite combination of words comes up later, imploring Kitty not to invite the teens over because “all the dumbasses were finally gone.” In the final episode, Leia is struggling with leaving and refers to her friends as dumbasses. Kitty quickly rebukes, stating she’s starting to sound like her grandfather. I mean what did she drink that morning, Carnation Instant Bitch?

Donna’s Old Room

Leia meets her first friend in Point Place by following the sounds of her belting out some classic Alanis Morissette. As she creeps around the window, Leia learns that Gwen lives in Donna’s old room. The walls are now adorned with posters of mostly female punk bands, but they still hold the memories of Fez hiding in the closet and the time Leo joined Jackie and Donna for a rather smokey girls’ night of gossip and skin care.

The Keg and the Tap

In Episode 2, the gang is sitting in Nate’s van when they are mistakenly given a full keg of beer. This is a feat that took the original gang six episodes to accomplish. Rather than finding it in the middle of the road while skipping class, this keg makes its way right into their trunk before they drive off and devise a way to procure a tap. This is a similar predicament Leia’s father and his friends found themselves in years prior. They had taken the keg to the bottom of an empty pool to throw a party. Kelso first buys a tap, pretending to be older. After having their new tap snapped in half by a couple of meatheads, Eric bravely steals his father’s tap and gallantly slides down the garden hose into the pool only to find the partygoers replaced by his father and two police officers.

The Water Tower

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Image via Netflix

Now, I’m not sure how they got it all the way up there, but the teens decide the place to tap the keg and watch the fireworks is the water tower. The monument was still adorned with the pot leaf that looked like it was giving Bob the finger, and the proclamation that Kelso loves Jackie. Kelso was known for falling off the water tower. Luckily, his son Jay doesn’t seem to have the same clumsiness.

The Circle

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The first reference made to The Circle is when Donna, Eric, Red, and Kitty are seen sitting in the kitchen with smoke around them, leading audiences to think that the four of them had smoked together. As it turns out, it is just the popcorn burning — but once the teens find Eric’s old stash, the popcorn isn’t the only thing burning in the Forman household.

The Car Shot

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As Eric and Donna discuss whether their daughter should be allowed to spend the summer in Point Place, the two are seen sitting on the roof of the car in the Foreman’s driveway. This is where Eric and Donna shared so many things, including their first kiss.

The Basement

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The teens are given the full range of the Forman basement, and not much has changed in two decades. The Forman’s old living room furniture, including Red’s special chair, has replaced the torn-up orange floral couch and chair that was once glued to Hyde’s butt. In the background, you can see posters from the 70s, though, for the first few episodes, there is one poster that is different.

A Led Zeppelin poster hangs behind the couch, seemingly as a nod to the character Hyde, who always wore a Led Zeppelin shirt. The poster is later replaced with the mushroom peace sign poster from the original series. To the left, a Green Bay Packers football helmet, also known as the « stupid helmet, » can be seen. The stupid helmet was famously worn by Eric when he told the guys about his plan to propose to Donna, and by Kelso when he attempted to invent the sport of “land-kayaking. » Additionally, in the shower on the right, an acoustic guitar can be seen. In That ’70s Show, Kelso attempted to work through his feelings by writing a song about Jackie on Eric’s acoustic guitar. Unable to stand Kelso’s horrible songwriting, Eric smashes the guitar. While it may not be the same guitar in the shower, it brings back the memories of Kelso belting out, “Put the short leash back on me!”


King of pranks and of calling out burns, Kelso’s signature catchphrase returns when his son Jay meets Red for the first time. The classic “Burn!” is bellowed out by Kelso as he enters the Forman kitchen. Jay later utilizes his father’s favorite saying, yelling it when Gwen jokes about Nate being dropped down the stairs as a baby.

No Dancing, Guys

Red lets Leia and her friends know the rules of using the basement, including that there’s no dancing. Leia takes this as a joke and puts her hand on her grandfather’s arm, then quickly realizes he is being serious and turns to repeat the rule to her friends. Though the content of this quote isn’t a reference, the way in which Leia says it is identical to how her father would speak to his friends when enforcing one of Red’s rules to save his own skin.

Smoke Candyland, I mean…

Before leaving the kids in the basement Kitty brings out a box of old records and games for them. Inside the box is Candyland, and inside Candyland is a bag. This bag of green paprika is in reference to the time that Kitty and Red caught Fez and Hyde with three bags in the basement. This is also the episode where Kitty decides to see what all the hubbub is about, smokes the weed, eats an entire box of uncooked spaghetti, and experiences « the big head thing. »

Stoned Brain

Speaking of the “big head thing, » after smoking with her friends for the first time Leia heads up from the basement in search of Raisin Bran. While speaking with Red and Kitty she experiences an updated stoned-brain visual. Rather than big heads or floating heads, Leia sees her grandparents as video game gorillas.

Pastor Dave

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Pastor Dave was a rather large part of the gang’s lives in the 70s, hiring them to put on a Christmas pageant, coming over to watch football with Red, and stopping by to teach the kids about Jesus when they stopped going to church. 20 years later Kitty spots Pastor Dave doing something rather unholy as she greets him in the adult film section of a VHS rental store.


Image via Netflix

“He’s an older man who used to hang out with your father and his friends when they were teenagers,” Kitty explained to Leia as they waited outside his home. Leo makes a later appearance in the series, hiking through the woods and arguing with a squirrel where Jay and Leia bump into him while lost. Leo played a huge role in the earlier gang’s lives. More than just providing things to smoke, he hired Hyde and Fez at the PhotoHut, fell in love with Kitty, and asked Hyde to be his dad. All in all he’s a good dude man, he’s a good dude man.

I Say Good Day!

Fez makes multiple appearances in That ’90s Show, as he is dating the Formans’ next-door neighbor. Fez is introduced through his salon commercial in which two references are made, including the Tootsie Rolls which alludes to Fez’s obsession with candy, and his catchphrase, “I say good day!”

The Rave and the Concert in Milwaukee

When the young gang sneaks out to go to a rave in Milwaukee, they are following in the footsteps of Leia’s parents and their friends who snuck out some twenty years prior for a Todd Rundgren concert in the very same city.

Relationship Advice

In Episode 4, Leia is getting relationship advice from Gwen and Ozzie, meanwhile, Jay is getting antithetical advice from Nikki and Nate. The scenes are shown cutting back and forth before being shown side by side in the very same fashion Eric used to get advice from Kelso and Hyde while Donna got advice from Jackie. The advice always being the opposite continues with the new generation.

Like Mother, Like Daughter

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In Episode 4, when running into a very oiled-up Jay in her grandparents’ driveway, Leia is seen wearing a blue flannel button-up and a blue bandana, almost identical to an outfit her mother commonly wore years prior.

The Hub

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In 20 years, not much has changed about The Hub. The pinball machine has been replaced with an arcade game titled Alien Blasters, but the fries are still served in red baskets and the payphone where Fez pretended to be Kelso still hangs on the wall. We can still hear Frank (beloved comedian Mitch Hedberg) telling Kelso, “I have a big wedding coming in” from behind the counter.

Fantasy Sequences and Shared Daydreams

Strange fantasy sequences and shared daydreams were a common occurrence in That ’70s Show, with Kelso often imagining himself on a game show, Kitty imagining she’s in the Partridge Christmas special, and Fez having such intense musical imaginings that Leo exclaims, “whatever he’s on, I’ll take two.” The fantasies continue as Leia imagines herself on the set of Beverly Hills 90210, and Ozzie becomes a talk show host.


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As Ozzie interviews Nate in the basement you may notice that his imaginary microphone is in fact a popsicle. The popsicles kept in the Forman’s basement freezer were a staple of the old gang’s diet, even in the Wisconsin snow. I can’t control the weather, Jackie!

« I’ll Be Over Here »

When Leia becomes embarrassed by Grandpa Bob deciding to sing to her at her birthday she ducks her head and shyly states “I’ll be over here” in the exact same way Donna spoke when she was embarrassed back in the day, often by Bob as well.

The Vista Cruiser

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You can literally cruise the vistas! Just as Red had given Eric the car nearing his birthday, the old Vista Cruiser was gifted to Leia for hers. As Red reveals the car Foghat’s Slow Ride plays, giving the majestic vehicle the 70s rock ‘n roll entrance it deserves. Oh, the things that car has been through, including a rough night at the drive-in, a nacho cheese attack by Kelso, and a steamy encounter between Donna’s own parents.

« Michael Kelso Glued Himself to our Refrigerator »

This quote was spoken by Red when explaining why he doesn’t want Leia to date a Kelso. This is in reference to an episode of That ’70s Show in which Red awakes to find Kelso glued to his refrigerator, unable to go home. When Red asks if someone glued him to the fridge Kelso replies « no. » Red then asks if Kelso glued himself to the refrigerator, which turns out to be the truth. Classic Kelso.

We Don’t Have a Dog Anymore

It was once a joke in That ’70s Show that the family dog Schatzi seemed to disappear from the series entirely for a portion of time. Red later admits he chased the dog under the porch with a hose. Later, Kitty’s statue of Buddha, or her « buddy statue, » falls and lands on Schatzi. This doesn’t kill the pup, so it’s still unknown how he died. Perhaps he got caught peeing in Red’s new chair again.

Doin’ It & Mount Hump

When Jay invites Leia on a picnic he tells her “there’s this rock up there that looks like two people doin’ it.” While the first season of That ’90s Show focuses more on getting a first kiss than the pursuit of doin’ it that the old gang obsessed over, this reference shows that Kelso keeps it in his vocabulary, or that the vocabulary hasn’t really changed over two decades. While Jay calls it the « Bone Stone, » the rock to which he was referring is a reference to Mount Hump where Leia’s parents originally planned to get married.

Casey Kelso

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When talking to her daughter about breakups, Donna reveals to Leia that she once dated Jay’s uncle Casey. As mind-blowing to her daughter that Donna dated a Kelso, she also totally understands because, well… It’s the hair!


Fez’s equally catty arch-enemy makes a reappearance as the landlord of Gwen’s home. The rivalry began years before when Fenton purchased a pair of pants that Fez had his eye on at a sale. The two bicker bitterly, but have a significant amount in common, from the way that they dress to their opinions and insults. They eventually make amends when Fez decides to let go of the grudge and gives Fenton the hair of his dreams in exchange for his girlfriend’s home being repaired.

Caught in the Middle

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As Leia leaves Point Place and heads back to Chicago she is in quite the predicament, but one her own mother was in years before: stuck between two best friends. Back in the ’70s both Eric and Hyde were vying for Donna’s love, and now her daughter is caught in a love triangle between best bros Jay and Nate. Audiences will have to wait for Season 2 to air and see if she deals with it better than Kelso dealt with the Jackie and Laurie situation. After all, these kids switch partners more than square dancers.

Season 1 of That ’90s Show is now available on Netflix.

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