The Conners uncovered a That 70s Show plot hole when Ben told Darlene not to her teen hang out unsupervised, which Kitty and Red inexplicably allowed.
Although The Conners may not have intended to do so, the sitcom pointed out a pretty huge plot hole in the premise of That 70s Show. The Conners is not usually the most meta of sitcoms. Where shows like Community and Arrested Development use the audience’s familiarity with the sitcom format to set up the show’s humor, The Conners kept Roseanne’s secret weapon by sticking to relatable comedic stories about a working-class family.
However, despite this, one episode of The Conners season 4 managed to accidentally uncover a pretty huge That 70s Show plot hole. When Ben and Darlene argued about Darlene’s ambitious plans for her new home, their conversation about furnished basements and their uses (and misuses) pointed out a problem that That 70s Show never addressed. Whether or not this was intentional is anyone’s guess, but The Conners nonetheless made the conceit of That 70s Show seem more far-fetched and inconsistent than ever before.
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When Darlene planned to include a furnished basement in the plans for her new house, her logic was that her meek, mild-mannered son Mark deserved a place to hang around with his friends as he got older. Former Conners couple Ben and Darlene began arguing over this, as Ben immediately vetoed the idea, saying that most of his teen years in his parent’s basement were spent with “with my pants off.” The conversation prompts the viewer to wonder just how Kitty and Red of That 70s Show fame — who were otherwise much stricter, more traditionally disciplinarian parents than the comparatively lax, progressive Darlene — allowed their kids to have the run of a fully furnished basement, particularly when the sitcom made it clear what they were doing down there.
A viewer could reasonably argue that Kitty most likely didn’t know the kids were smoking marijuana, although it is harder to believe that Red would be so clueless. However, Ben wasn’t implying that The Conners star Mark would use the basement to smoke with his friends. He was saying that giving Darlene’s son the freedom to use the basement as he pleases would likely result in a lot of teenage hook-ups — which is also exactly what went down in the basement of That 70s Show.
Given how strict Red and Kitty were as characters – and, broadly speaking, how much That 70s Show tended to depict parents of the era as more conservative, authoritarian figures than the likes of Darlene – this seems like a pretty significant oversight. There’s a chance that a close rewatch of That 70s Show could reveal an instance of Red and Kitty somehow justifying the long stretches of unsupervised time that they allow their teenage kids to spend in the basement, despite how unlikely this seems. However, on first glance at least, Ben’s dismay over Darlene’s flawed plan for Mark’s already plot hole filled future in The Conners allowed the show to unearth what seems like a glaring That 70s Show oversight.
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Cathal Gunning has been writing about movies and TV online since 2020. His obsessions include The Simpsons, Stephen King, the Scream series, and the horror genre in general. He has spent more time thinking about Stranger Things than the writers of Stranger Things, and he has never seen a Star War.
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