That '70s Show

That ‘70s Show Secretly Set Up Hyde’s That ‘90s Show Absence

Hyde's absence from That '90s Show was caused by Danny Masterson's criminal charges, but this twist was what fit That'70s Show's character best.

While actor Danny Masterson’s criminal charges ensured that he wasn’t featured in That ‘90s ShowThat ‘70s Show secretly set up Hyde’s absence from the spinoff over a decade earlier. Like many shows whose heroes attend high school, That ‘70s Show ran into a problem when the series reached its fifth season. By this stage, most of the cast was too old to play high school kids (even within the heightened reality of sitcom stories), and the lives of their characters had stagnated since the creators of That ‘70s Show needed to keep them in the same small town to produce more episodes.

This was why Eric’s perfect That ‘70s Show exit, which could have taken place at the end of season 6, was delayed until the end of season 7. It was also why numerous replacements for Topher Grace were tried out throughout That ‘70s Show seasons 7 and 8 and was a large factor in the declining critical performance of the series after season 4. However, for some of the characters of That ‘70s Show, this fate did not feel so jarring and out-of-character. Without a consistent father figure, the troubled Hyde struggled to imagine a future for himself throughout That ‘70s Show, and this meant his spinoff absence made sense.

Jackie and Hyde’s Relationship Foreshadowed Hyde’s Exit

That 70s Show Jackie and Hyde 2

While actor Danny Masterson’s real-life criminal charges are the reason that Hyde doesn’t appear in That ‘90s Show, his character would likely have drifted apart from the group due to his abrasive attitude. Much like That ‘90s Show killed off Kitty’s mother due to Betty White’s real-life passing, this was an instance where real life shaped the story but the plot still fit the tone of the show. When Jackie and Hyde broke up, it was because Jackie said she wanted commitment while Hyde wanted to live in the moment, and it is this disconnect that makes Hyde’s absence from That ‘90s Show fitting.

20 years after that breakup, Jackie and Kelso are married with kids while Eric and Donna are in the same position. Even Fez, the wacky exchange student who was always the wild card of the group, is still living in Point Place and has a successful business. Hyde’s departure from this group makes sense since the rest of the gang stuck to their original ambitions while Hyde never had a clear plan for his future. While Charlie’s dark That ‘70s Show story proves that the series could get bleak at times, the sitcom generally avoided dealing with the implications of Hyde’s lack of direction until the spinoff.

Hyde’s Influence Shaped His That ‘90s Show Fate

That 70s show hyde that 90s show red

There is no denying that, on occasion, Hyde could be secretly sweet. This was proven when he remembered Kitty’s birthday while everyone else forgot. However, he was also the most rebellious and erratic member of the crew and constantly pushed his friend to take bigger, more dangerous risks, so it makes sense that they would have grown apart over the decades. While there were only a few major battles between the friends, Hyde’s tumultuous That ‘70s Show relationship with Eric and his family would only have grown more strained as Eric and Hyde pursued radically different paths in life.

Hyde may have inherited a record store, but the character didn’t display an obvious interest in settling down and pursuing domestic bliss. In contrast, Eric’s ambitions always involved getting married and having children, to the extent that this plan provided the basis for his first major fight with Donna. Even the more chaotic Kelso opted to become a cop when he finally decided on a career path, proving that character had a significantly more traditional worldview than Hyde. The reality was that Hyde never really fit in with the group, and it is not shocking for That ‘90s Show season 1 to reflect this dynamic with his absence.

Hyde’s That ‘90s Show Absence Is Better Than Any Cameo

Hyde That '70s Show

It is bittersweet to imagine That ‘70s Show’s central group growing out of their friendship with Hyde. However, this is also believable and, in a reboot that often leans into nostalgia and sentimentality, it is good to get an injection of comparative realism. That ‘90s Show doesn’t depict Jackie and Kelso struggling with the constant fights that imperiled their relationship throughout That ‘70s Show since their cameos are so brief. Similarly, the show’s focus on Eric and Donna’s daughter means that viewers don’t get to see much conflict between this couple, either. As such, Hyde’s That’ 90s Show absence is one of the only necessary dark moments in That ‘70s Show’s spinoff.

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