‘That ’70s Show’ Used ‘The Circle’ To Avoid Actual Pot Smoking

That 70s Show gave folks a chance to travel back to the 1970s when it hit the airwaves in 1998. The TV show featured a group of high school students and their day-to-day lives while honing in on some of the more stereotypical aspects of the decade. From bell bottoms to platform shoes, the That 70s Show entertained audiences for 8 seasons. However, there was one thing in particular showrunners had to get creative about.

The cast from 'That 70s Show' posing with the rock band Kiss
The cast of ‘That 70s Show’ with KISS | Photo by Annamaria DiSanto/WireImage

‘That 70s Show’ couldn’t show the characters smoking pot

Like peanut butter and jelly, smoking pot and the ’70s go hand-in-hand for many people. 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 their time in Forman’s basement. The show wanted audiences to experience a somewhat accurate account of a lot of high schoolers’ time in the 70s. This including smoking marijuana.

Due to Fox’s censorship rules, the characters could never be seen on camera smoking a joint. Creators Bonnie and Terry Turner developed another way to give audiences an idea of what was actually going on.

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Creators used ‘The Circle’ to avoid actual pot smoking

“The Circle” was a technique That 70s Show creators used in every single episode. This was a way for the show to beat the censorship rules from Fox while still getting the idea across of what the characters were doing. According to That 70s Wiki, “‘The Circle’ is a way for the creators to showcase a vital component of the ’70s – smoking weed. According to the show creators, the blunt or joint is passed around ahead of the person speaking on camera, thus never shown.”

Despite not showing anyone actually taking a hit from a joint, it was still pretty obvious what was happening. Most of the time, the characters would be saying hilariously out-there things while sitting in a cloud of smoke. 

Smoking pot wasn’t the only thing That 70s Show used “The Circle” for, however. It was often used when Eric would have dinner with his parents Red and Kitty. Plus, it was occasionally used when the characters would consume alcohol, which included adults.

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Everyone in the main cast sat in ‘The Circle’ at least once on ‘That 70s Show’

For most of That 70s Show Season 1, “The Circle” only included Eric, Hyde, Kelso, and Fez, but that changed throughout 8 seasons. Donna joined by the end of season1, and Jackie joined in season 2. At most, “The Circle” had seven people in it during the episode “Substitute.” A new kid played by Seth Green managed to finagle his way into the group of friends, allowing him to be a part of “The Circle.” However, it all falls apart when he tries to put the moves on Donna.

That 70s Show went off the air in 2006. However, fans of the sitcom should be happy to know that a new spinoff is coming to Netflix. The streaming service has ordered 10 episodes of That 90s Show and will focus on Eric and Donna’s daughter. No word on when the show will premiere.