That ’70s Show
Original Run: August 23rd, 1998 – May 18th, 2006
CAST: Topher Grace, Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, Danny Masterson, Laura Prepon, Wilmer Valderrama, Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith, Don Stark, Tanya Roberts, Lisa Robin Kelly, Josh Meyers and Tommy Chong.
The show centers around Eric Forman (Topher Grace, Spider-Man 3, Traffic) and his friends Jackie (Mila Kunis), Kelso (Ashton Kutcher), Hyde (Danny Masterson), Donna (Laura Prepon) and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) who live in the ‘1970s and explore their lives going through high school, relationships and just hanging out in Eric’s basement. The show also focused on the lives of Eric’s parents Reginald “Red” Forman (Kurtwood Smith) and Katherine “Kitty” Forman (Debra Jo Rupp). Also, Donna’s parents Bob (Don Stark) and Midge (Tanya Roberts) had a rocky marriage and eventually Midge ran off to pursue a career on broadway, leaving Bob single and lonely. By Season 2, Hyde befriended a stupid hippie named Leo (Veteran actor & comedian Tommy Chong) who worked with Hyde at two jobs: Leo once owned a photo store called “Foto Hut” and Hyde became the manager of his father’s store, a record store called “Grooves”. As the series progressed, Eric and Donna had relationship issues but later worked them out. Jackie dated both Kelso and Hyde. By Season 7, the show’s star Topher Grace was ready to leave the series to pursue other projects and he was also about to film Spider-Man 3 (in which he played the villian, Eddie Brock a.k.a. Venom). Ashton Kutcher had got the lead role in the film The Guardian and he also left the series. Season 7 was originally going to be the final season, but FOX decided to continue the series without both actors. Which was a horrible decision. Eric and Kelso were replaced by a new character named Randy Pearson (Former MADtv star Josh Meyers) . Randy was sort of a combination of both Eric and Kelso. He had Kelso’s charm and good looks, and Eric’s intelligence and wit. Randy became Donna’s new boyfriend for a short time. However, Randy was a failure amongst critics and fans and shortly after his debut ratings began dropping and FOX decided to end the series at Season 8. The final episode titled “That ’70s Finale” featured the return of Ashton Kutcher as Kelso. The finale focused on the gang preparing for New Year’s Eve which will end the ‘1970s and begin a new era: The ’80s. Everyone is disappointed when Eric doesn’t come home from his teaching job in Afria. Luckily, shortly before the show ends, Topher Grace makes an appearance as Eric during the final few minutes of the show. In the very last scene, Eric joins Hyde, Fez and Kelso in one last circle before the 1980s begin.
Why Do I Like That ’70s Show?: I love how the show gives you a look back at life during the ‘1970s. The style and content represents what the ’70s was about. It also shows teenagers exploring their lives and relationships.
What I Don’t Like About That ’70s Show: I don’t like how it constantly talks about sex and drug related content: For example, from Seasons 1-2, it focused on Eric and Donna’s relationship and how they were always trying to find the right time to have sex. Also throughout the series, there was this thing called “The Circle” where the boys: Eric, Hyde, Fez, Kelso and Randy sat in a circle in the Forman’s basement smoking pot. Even though it was never shown onscreen, there are big clouds of smoke, characters saying and doing abnormal things and hallucinations. I find it inapproiate because young viewers watch this and may not understand what this content is really about.
Where Can I Watch That ’70s Show?: ABC Family, WCIU (The U), and FX
cast: Martin Lawrence, Thomas Mikal Ford, Carl Anthony Payne II, Tichina Arnold and Tisha Campbell
Original Run: August 27, 1992 – May 1, 1997
Martin Payne (Martin Lawrence, Big Momma’s House, Wild Hogs) is a loud-mouthed, joke-cracking radio host turned TV personality. He spends most of his time with his girlfriend/wife Gina (Tisha Campbell) and his two best friends Tommy (Thomas Mikal Ford) and Cole (Carl Anthony Payne II). He has a bitter rivalry with Gina’s friend Pam (Tichina Arnold) and he always finds something to insult her about from body odor to her physical looks. The plot also focuses on Martin and Gina’s relationship periodically. By the fifth season, Martin Lawrence was feuding with his co-star Tisha Campbell and she decided to leave the series to avoid being around Lawrence who had began abusing drugs. Campbell’s absence and Lawrence’s drug use had a bad effect on the show. The show ended at Season 5, with Martin and Gina (Campbell in a guest role) moving to California. However, Campbell and Lawrence had no scenes together in the final episode.
What I Like About Martin?: I like how it depicts strong black friendships and relationships which isn’t seen on TV much anymore. It also tells how a black man can be successful no matter what situation he is thrown into.
What I Don’t Like About Martin: I find it annoying how the show had Lawrence portraying multiple silly characters and I think it took away from the series.
Where Can I Watch Martin?: WCIU (The U) and TV One
Tyler Perry’s House of Payne
Cast: LaVan Davis, Allen Payne, Cassi Davis, Lance Gross, Demetria McKinney, Larramie Shaw, China Anne McClain, Denise Burse and Keshia Knight-Pulliam
Curtis Payne (LaVan Davis) only wants peace & quiet in his house but he can’t get any since his nephew CJ (Allen Payne), his wife Janine (Demetria McKinney) and their two kids: Malik and Jasmine (Larramie Shaw and China Anne McClain) moved into his house. At first, Janine was addicted to drugs and burned down her and CJ’s home so they had to move in with his uncle Curtis and Aunt Ella (Cassi Davis). Curtis and Ella’s son Calvin (Lance Gross) is failing college and he should’ve graduated years ago. He is a freeloader who comes by to get free meals or his laundry done. Calvin has recently married his longtime Miranda (Former The Cosby Show star Keshia Knight Pulliam) and they are already having marriage problems. As of season 5, Jasmine is no longer on the series because the character is supposed to be in a school for gifted children in North Carolina. However, in Season 4, it is revealed that she failed a test to get into the school so how is she possibly at that school?. The show currently airs on TBS. It is possible that Season 5 will also be the final season for the characters, CJ, Janine and their newborn twins because CJ gets a job in Chicago and he is taking his family with him but if Malik leaves he’ll have to repeat the same grade so Curtis and Ella lets Malik stay in Atlanta with them while CJ and Janine go off to Chicago.
Where Can I Watch Tyler Perry’s House of Payne?: TBS and WCIU (The U).
What I Like About House of Payne: I like how the show depicts a strong, close-knit African American family. Sitcoms like H.O.P. are rare and this is a priceless gem to behold.
What I Don’t Like About House of Payne: The drama going on with Calvin and Miranda’s marriage. It is taking up alot of the show’s plot and causing fans to lose interest. Also, Tyler Perry has removed alot of the show’s cast such as: China Anne McClain, Denise Burse, Allen Payne and Demetria McKinney and alot of fans are going to quit watching after a while.