This stern approach has led some viewers to think that Red was a bad parent. However, users on Reddit have taken to the site to mention moments that show Red’s good side. Though they were few and far between, Red showed that he had a soft side with his kids.
The Roadside Kit
One of the most important duties of a parent is to prepare their child for the challenges of the real world. User cakedestroyer pointed out a moment when Red provided practical advice when writing “Red had put an emergency kit for Eric in his car…It was an empty can, a candle, some chewing gum, and kitty litter”.
In the episode “Ski Trip”, Eric is given a bunch of strange supplies from Red when he goes on a trip to the mountains. Though he thinks its silly at first, Eric slowly learns the lesson that his father was attempting to impart, and it helps them in a bad situation. Though Red is bad at communication, he would never allow his kids to be unprepared for the challenges of life.
Eric The Role Model
Though Red is often seen as choosing favorites when it comes to his two kids, he has on occasion switched his allegiance and overall proved he was balanced. User MillenniumGreed brought up a specific moment when writing “Laurie comes back in season 5. We see that Red is disappointed in her…even going so far as to say ‘you should try and be more like your brother’.
The specific instance mentioned comes in the episode “Thank You” in which Laurie returns home and accidentally reveals that her wild ways have continued while living in Chicago. Red is extremely disappointed in his daughter and points to his son as a good example. It’s clear that Red takes pride in his children, but overall he holds Eric to a much higher standard than Laurie even if that wouldn’t fly by today’s standards.
Wrestling With Red
Red Forman was often too busy with work to spend much time with his children, but when he did, he showed he could let loose occasionally. Though Red is often thought of as scary, he had a fun side that fans loved to see. User MichaelScottsMug mentioned a favorite moment when writing “I wish that Red’s and Eric’s relationship reflected more of what was shown in the wrestling episode in season 1. It was cool to see them bond over something.”
In the episode “That Wrestling Show,” Red is dragged along to a professional wrestling show and actually loves it. After the show, Red stands up for his son when one of the wrestlers is mean to Eric after requesting an autograph. Like a strong father, Red stands up to a burly wrestler just to defend the honor of his child.
Red’s True Colors Shine Through
Red is very much a product of his time, and because of that he is often tight lipped about his more sensitive emotions. Despite these reservations, Red showed is softer side on occasion, even if it was induced by chemicals. User MillenniumGreed had a positive Red moment in mind when writing “When Red was doped up, he said ‘I Love You’…Red explains the meaning of those three words, and that a man should only say it when he’s dying or when he’s drunk. Aside from that, ‘It’s just a given'”.
Though Red had his fair share of funny quotes, his simplicity could also cut straight to the heart of the matter like in the episode “Kelso’s Career”. As he explains his philosophy about saying “I love you,” Red also reveals that he is full of love for his family, but cannot properly say it with words. He subtly lets Eric know that, even if he isn’t saying it, he does truly love his son.
The Hunting Trip
Red Forman is a man who often speaks his mind and isn’t afraid to tell others what he thinks of them. Therefore it was an interesting change of pace when he asked his own son what he thought of him in an interesting reversal of roles. User MillenniumGreed used the moment as prove of Red’s parental skills when writing “Eric’s conversation with Red in the season 2 episode…Red asks Eric for his opinion of him…I think that sums up their relationship. Red loves Eric, but in his own way”.
In “Hunting,” Red allows his son to open up about his feelings toward him and it reveals a lot about both characters. By allowing his son to speak his mind freely, it shows that he trusts what Eric thinks, and is willing to hear him out on occasion. Eric’s answer cuts Red to the bone, but it is honest and needed for that moment in their relationship. Though many of Red’s choices are inexcusable, Eric understands why he acts the way he does.
Eric The Plumber
Though the show featured story arcs that weren’t very popular with fans, some came to define the entire series. Eric’s potential departure from home following his 18th birthday hung over the sixth season and left Red in emotional limbo. User MillenniumGreed brought up a Red moment from season six, writing “Eric in season 6 tries to fix a faucet…to show that he is capable of ‘being manly’. Red reveals that he’s proud of Eric for staying behind home to take care of the family”.
Though Red’s expectations on Eric could be unfair, it usually resulted in the best possible outcome for Eric in the long run. Red’s hard-nosed approach paid off in the episode “Young Man Blues” where Eric makes the right decision to stay home and help out where he is needed. Eric’s full-speed-ahead attitude towards life is commendable, but it is also incredibly foolhardy in Red’s more experienced eyes. Not being totally unfair to his son, Red bestows his pride on Eric for making the right decision.
No Place To Hyde
The Forman family had their two biological children, but in a lot of ways they were also parents to all of Eric’s close circle of friends. No friend benefited from the Forman’s generosity quite like Hyde, who was informally adopted by Red and Kitty. User garrisontweed mentioned a great Red moment when writing “The final season had that scene when it’s revealed that Red has saved all the rent Hyde had paid over the years. Red gives it to Hyde so he’ll have money to fall back on.”
Even though Hyde was not their actual son, Red’s generosity towards him is proof of his parenting abilities. “That 70’s Finale” saw the end of the decade as well as the show, and allowed the writers to cram in a lot of sentimental moments that fans adored. Charging Hyde rent may have seemed harsh in the first place, but when it was revealed to essentially be a savings account for the young man, Red’s long term plan was revealed.
It’s Hard To Say I Love You
Distance makes the heart grow fonder, and that was especially true for Eric and Red’s relationship after Eric travelled to Africa. User MillenniumGreed pointed to one episode as proof that Red is a good dad and wrote “We know that Red loves Eric – he just shows it through his actions. Which is what makes the father-son moment in the season finale of season 7 so potent: Red says he loves Eric without a hint of facetiousness.”
“Till the Next Goodbye” was a sad moment to see Eric depart, but it also offered Red a chance to show his true feelings. Knowing his son would be leaving for a long time, Red’s reservations leave him and he isn’t afraid to express himself in an uncharacteristic way. By saying he loved Eric, Red finally let his guard down and showed himself to be a loving parent.