- January 24, 2023
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“That ’90s Show” is taking audiences back to the ’90s … and to their favorite Wisconsin basement. The spinoff of “That ’70s Show” hit Netflix on Jan. 19, bringing back a few familiar faces, too.
The show is set 15 years after the original, and airs about 17 years after the finale. Once playing teens, original cast members Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, Tohper Grace and Laura Prepon, have grown up and gone on to have busy careers, thanks in part to “That 70s Show” launching them to stardom.
Now, they’re returning for brief cameos, making way for a new set of teens to hang out in Red and Kitty Forman’s basement (Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp, playing the Formans, also returned for the sequel).
Here’s what the original “That ’70s Show” cast is up to now.
Ashton KutcherAshton Kutcher, 44, played Michel Kelso and appears in the first episode of “That ’90s Show.” In real life, Kutcher is now married to Kunis, who played his “That ’70s Show” love interest, Jackie.
Kelso and Jackie’s on-screen love story was kind of a primer for Kutcher, who later built a career on starring in romantic comedies, such as “Guess Who,” “Just Married,” “What Happens In Vegas,” in addition to building a career as a tech investor.
Kutcher told Variety in July that he chatted with Kunis before deciding to appear in the spinoff. “Mila and I were contemplating it,” Kutcher said. “We thought, ‘Listen, we’re only in the position that we’re in because of that show, so let’s just go back and do this.’ We just went back and had fun for a week. It was so random and fun.”
He said that being back on set was initially jarring.
“It was really nostalgic to be back on the set,” he told the outlet. “It’s all the same folks that made ‘That ’70s Show,’ so it was pretty bizarre.”
Kutcher’s latest project is Netflix film “Your Place Or Mine” and co-stars Reese Witherspoon.
Laura Prepon, 42, played Donna Pinciotti in “That ’70s Show” and went on to star in the blockbuster Netflix show “Orange Is The New Black.” Not only is she reprising her role the spinoff, but she’s also directing some episodes.
She posted about her excitement on Instagram last month.
“So excited for #That90sShow team,” she wrote. “You’ll love this next generation…. Thrilled to not only step into Donna’s shoes again (I’ve missed her!) but also to direct episodes as well.”
Don Stark, 68, played Bob Pinciotti, Donna’s dad, and the annoying neighbor who always meant well. Yes, he still dons his curly hair in “That ’90s Show.”
Stark told Entertainment Weekly last month that there was initially a debate over whether his character would have a place in the spinoff.
“It was a long time before I was approached on whether or not I would be coming back, so when they let me know, I was really excited about that and to see everybody again,” he told the outlet.
“Bob exists in me,” he said. “As soon as the clothes came on, and the wig came on, and the sideburns, and the jewelry, everything just kind of snapped. It was great. It was seamless. There was nothing to do. My Bob accent was right there at the ready, and it was fantastic. Bob is still that same guy: He means well, and he’s got a big heart, but doesn’t always think things through completely or at all.”
Since the original show ended in 2006, Stark has starred in shows and movies such as “iCarly” and “Green Book.” Most recently, he starred in “Dollface” on Hulu until it was cancelled last year.
Kurtwood Smith, 79, is back with his snappy comebacks and resigned attitude as Red Forman, Eric’s dad and Don’s neighbor. “That ’90s Show” is set in his basement, just like the old days.
Smith told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that his character has changed in the years that have passed.
“He’s … older now, he’s retired,” Smith, who is also one of the executive producers, said. “He just comes to appreciate (his granddaughter and her friends) being around. Kitty says, ‘You’ve got that spark in your eye again.’ Ultimately that’s true, and certainly I think he ultimately comes to feel that way … He comes to appreciate that excitement that used to be in his life from a house full of kids.”
Similar to Smith, Debra Jo Rupp , 71, is an executive producer and a recurring character, once again playing Kitty Forman. She told TODAY last month that Kutcher, Kunis and the other young stars agreed to appear in the spinoff for her and Smith.
“I cried,” she said. ” I just cried for like a week. They’re kind of grown up but they did this for us too. They’re very generous people and I really felt like everyone fell back into their place. We’re the mom and dad. You’re the kids.”
Rupp made appearances in other sitcoms, like “Friends” and “Seinfield.”
Tommy Chong, 84, returns as Leo, an aging hippy. Similar to Stark, Chong wasn’t sure if producers would include his character in the spinoff but he’s glad they did, the actor told Variety.
“I heard they were going to reboot it, but I never got a call,” he said. “I was like, ‘What’s going on here?’ But then the call came, and we were shooting right away … The minute Kitty knocked on the door and I opened the door and it was her, it could have been yesterday.”
Chong is best known for his major role in the buddy comedy “Cheech & Chong.”
Mila Kunis, 39, played Jackie Burkhart in “That ’70s Show,” a role that began her prominent career. She’s been in movies like “Bad Moms,” “Friends With Benefits” and “Luckiest Girl Alive” and has voiced Meg Griffin in “Family Guy” since 1999.
In the first episode of “That ’90s Show,” Jackie and Michael are getting remarried.
Kunis told TODAY in September that she was surprised Jackie ended up with her husband’s character Michael instead of Jackie’s other love interest, Fez (played by Wilmer Valderrama).
“When it was presented to us, I was like, ‘So clearly I’m going to be with Fez’ because I remember ending the show with Wilmer’s character. And they’re like ‘Well, that’s too weird for audiences, so now you and Ashton are together,’ and I was like, ‘That’s even weirder,’” she said.
Wilmer Valderrama, 42, returns as Fez, who owns a chain of hair salons and is Kitty’s hair stylist in the spinoff.
Valderrama said on Instagram last month that filming together again felt like a reunion.
“About 25 years ago, my life changed when I met all of you and I can without a doubt say that reliving these moments brought back the unforgettable joy you were to life,” he wrote.
Valderrama has been keeping busy as Nicholas Torres in the “NCIS” franchise for the past seven years.
Topher Grace, 44, played Red and Kitty’s son Eric, who ended up with Donna. Grace currently stars as the lead character in the ABC show “Home Economics.”
He told SiriusXM last year that it’s “hard” for him to watch “That ’70s Show.”
“They are an amazing group of people and just thinking about that stuff — it’s hard for me to watch that show and reruns. It makes you so nostalgic. I’d be like if they were rerunning your high school year book all the time.”
Randi Richardson is a reporter for TODAY Digital based in New York.
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