“The Circle” scenes from That 70’s show created some of the most iconic moments in the original series. Fans of the Fox comedy, which ran from 1998 to 2006, will enjoy knowing that The Circle returns in the Netflix reboot That ’90s show. But this time it’s a little different for a variety of reasons. Find out why.
Smoking marijuana was as common in the 1970s as it is today — just a lot less legal. Eric Forman (Topher Grace), Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), Steven Hyde (Danny Masterson), Jackie Burkhart (Mila Kunis), Micahel Kelso (Ashton Kutcher) and Fez (Wilmer Valderrama) spent a lot of time in Forman’s basement smoking the greens. However, the series never actually showed any of the characters smoking. That’s because Fox has strict censorship rules.
As a result, creators Bonnie and Terry Turner had to get creative in how to show their characters getting high. Instead of showing them physically smoking a joint, the showrunners used “The Circle”. After The Wiki of the 70s“…the blunt or joint is passed around in front of the person speaking on camera, so never shown.”
Smoking weed wasn’t the only time That 70’s show uses “The Circle”. The shot was often used when Eric was having dinner with his parents, or occasionally when the characters were consuming alcohol. Now it is being used on a new generation of children That ’90s show (plus the original cast).
In the pilot episode of That ’90s show, Eric and Donna bring their daughter Leia (Callie Haverda) to Kitty and Red’s (Debra Jo Rupp, Kurtwood Smith) home in Point Place, Wisconsin for the summer. While Leia is off making new friends, Eric, Donna, Kitty and Red sit at the kitchen table drinking beers.
“It feels weird,” Donna points out in the updated Circle scene. “Why is it so smoky?” asks Red, prompting Kitty to get some lit popcorn. Red adds: “Have a good time kids? Guys, you are up now.”
In addition to paying homage to the original series, That ’90s show relies on “The Circle” to minimize the number of smoke scenes in the series. That’s because Netflix has committed to reducing such content. In July 2019, the streaming giant announced that it would avoid showing smoke in programs aimed at young viewers.
In a statement, Netflix told Variety that future shows with ratings of TV-14 or below would no longer feature smoking or e-cigarette use. The streaming platform did the same for films rated PG-13 or below, except for “reasons of historical or factual accuracy.” Netflix also said it would also limit the depiction of smoking in projects with higher ratings “unless it’s essential to the artist’s creative vision or because it’s character defining (historically or culturally important)”.
Watch the first season of That ’90s show on Netflix.