Review of That 80’s Show

From January 23rd to May 29th of 2002 That 80’s Show was on air. The American sitcom was created by Mark Brazill, Terry Turner, and Linda Wallem. Executive producers include Mark Brazill, Marcy Carsey, Caryn Mandabach, Jeff McCracken, Terry Turner, Linda Wallem, Tom Werner, and Christine Zander. Patrick Kienlen is the producer of the series and Tom Ryder and Vince Humphrey are editors. Cinematography was done by Ronald W. Browne and That 80’s Show has a single-camera setup like other sitcoms. Running time is 22-24 minutes. Carsey-werner Mandabach Productions is the production company and the distributor is Warner Bros. Television Distribution. The series aired on Fox in the United States and CTV in Canada.

That 80’s Show has a lot in common with the more popular and successful That 70’s Show. The two have similar names and show structures, they even have many of the same production staff and writers, however, That 80’s Show is not a spinoff of That 70’s Show. Neither the storylines nor characters from the shows ever intersect at any point or in any way—with the exception of one similarity. Corey Howard, the main character, is Eric Forman’s cousin. The show was inspired because of how popular That 70’s Show had become at that time, and That 80’s Show was designed as a separate decade-based sitcom.

That 70’s Show aired on Fox from August 23rd, 1993, to May 18th of 2006, but the storyline was set from May 17th, 1976-December 31st, 1979. The sitcom follows a young group of teenagers who are living together in Point Place, Wisconsin, a fictional location. The primary cast consisted of Topher Grace, Laura Prepon, Mila Kunis, Danny Masterson, Wilmer Valderrama, Ashton Kutcher, Don Stark, Debra Jo Rupp, Tanya Roberts, and Kurtwood Smith. Many social issues which were prevalent during the 1970s are explored in That 70’s Show, such as the 1970s recession, sexism, sexual attitudes, teenage drug use, and mistrust in the government by blue-collar workers. As the series progressed it began to focus on more comedic aspects rather than dramatic ones. The show was quite popular and is very well known.
That 80’s Show takes place in San Diego, California, and like That 70’s Show it focuses on a group of young friends, but in That 80’s Show most of the main characters are young adults as opposed to teenagers. The main character of the short series was Corey Howard. That 80’s Show looks at his friends, family, and associates. Another focal point is Corey’s friendship and later relationship with June Tuesday. Different elements of the 1980s are revealed and displayed throughout each episode. Another commonality between That 70’s Show and That 80’s Show is the celebrity guest appearances. The theme song for the series was “Eighties” by Killing Joke.

Glenn Howerton plays the role of Corey Howard. Corey lives with his father and sister and works at Permanent Record while also struggling to be a musician. June Tuesday is played by Chyler Leigh. She is a punk-rocker who sometimes wears liberty spikes and also works at Permanent Records. Throughout most of the season she is known only as “Tuesday” and her first name “June” is mentioned just once. Eddie Shin plays the role of Roger Park, Correy’s best friend. Roger rents a room above the garage in Corey’s house and strives to be a yuppie and a used-car dealer. Katie Howard, Corey’s sister, is played by Tinsley Grimes. She is an environmentalist valley girl who had dropped out of college, but she later returns to major in Environmental Science. Sophia is played by Brittany Daniel, she is Corey’s recent, bisexual ex-girlfriend. Sophia has a crush on Corey’s sister, Katie, that is not reciprocated.

Shas an identical twin sister and later becomes director of Marketing at Videx and moves into the Howard family home. R.T. Howard, Corey’s father, is played by Geoff Pierson. R.T. has been divorced and owns Videx which is a small company that sells fitness equipment. He tends to overspend on things he does not need, signifying the “excess” element which existed in the 80s. Margaret is played by Margaret Smith. She is the owner of Permanent Records and also happens to be a former hippie and rock groupie. If customers are looking for music that she doesn’t like she often insults them or even tells them to leave.

Episodes unraveled at various locations through each day. Scenes took place at Corey’s family home, Permanent Record where Corey and June worked, the dance club called Club Berlin, and Videx, which was an office owned by R.T.. Some scenes even transpired in the car. There were 13 episodes and all of them were filmed at CBS Studio Center. That 80’s Show’s regular time slot was at 7:00/8:00 Central, Wednesday nights, on the Fox Network. Some of the shows, were, however, aired on different nights. The major competitors for That 80’s Show were NBC’s Ed, ABC’s My Wife and Kids, and CBS’s 60 Minutes.

For the most part That 80’s Show was not liked, and it certainly did not do as well as That 70’s Show. One review states that That 80’s Show recycled many elements from That 70’s Show, particularly in regards to R.T.–making him look as similar to the Forman father as possible. The plot is called thin and it has been said that the storyline is barely there and the jokes are very bad and overdone.

IMDb gives That 80’s Show 4.6/10 stars which is not very promising at all, and gives is a barely higher rating of 4.9/10 stars. Many viewers of the show said that it just tried too hard, as opposed to That 70’s Show, where the time, culture, and trends seemed to flow naturally. In essence, the show became a franchise and many state that there was no character or plot development because those behind the season spent so much time and effort trying to fit everything in the 80s into each episode. There are still people who loved That 80’s Show, found the jokes hilarious, and loved the characters. You can watch reruns of the show online if you have a fast Internet service provider.  Some said the season just needed time to prove itself.