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What Always Surprises Kurtwood Smith When Watching That '70s Show Reruns

"That '70s Show" wouldn't be the same without Eric Forman's lovably cranky old man, Red Forman, played by veteran character actor Kurtwood Smith. His extensive filmography includes his famous role in "RoboCop," as well as "Dead Poets' Society," "Rambo III," and several appearances in the "Star Trek" franchise, including one as the Federation President in "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." Smith has done a lot since "That '70s Show" ended in 2006. Despite his many impressive film and television credits, the actor said, in an interview with The A.V. Club, that he can barely go outside without being recognized as the father who constantly threatened to put his foot where nobody wanted it.

In an interview with Kristian Harloff for Collider, Smith explained that, at least in his cartoon voice-over work, he's been somewhat typecast after his eight years working on "That '70s Show." "I do mostly cartoon versions of what I do anyway," Smith explained. "I do mostly angry fathers." And Smith is happy to do it. As he also explained in an interview with Looper, he's really looking forward to returning to his most iconic role for the upcoming reboot, "That '90s Show." "For me, I guess the number one thing [I'm happy about] would be getting to play Red Forman again," said Smith.

Still, despite not being able to escape the reputation of Red Forman, Smith says one thing still surprises him when he watches reruns of "That '70s Show."

He often forgets the jokes

In a 2015 interview with TV Guide Magazine, Kurtwood Smith explained that he doesn't always remember the jokes when he watches reruns of "That '70s Show." "It's amazing how many scenes I watch and go 'I don't remember that,'" the actor explained. He said that the reason he doesn't remember much of it is that, in many circumstances, he only delivered the joke once. "Because we would change them in front of the audience," Smith went on to explain. "The writers would say 'Say this instead.' You're watching something eight years later, and you only said it once, it's easy to forget." So it seems that there were a lot of last-minute changes to the dialogue, with writers throwing in new jokes on the fly during the taping.

It seems that Smith, with all of his extensive acting experience, is one that writers and directors trust to collaborate with on the roles he plays, not just in the role of Red Forman, but in some of his other roles as well.

He's very active in the characters he plays

Kurtwood Smith is very used to flying by the seat of his pants. In the previously mentioned interview with Collider, Smith addressed the myth that he improvised a lot of dialogue in his famous role as the villainous Clarence Boddicker in "RoboCop." Smith explained that it wasn't exactly improv, but it was thought up shortly before shooting the scenes. "Once we started shooting ... I would make suggestions to [director] Paul [Verhoeven] about what I might do in the scene," Smith explained. "And he was responsive to it. And then [screenwriter] Ed [Neumeier] picked up on that and we started talking about the dialogue. And so he encouraged me to come up with stuff." So, Smith didn't see this as truly being improv because he didn't come up with the lines while shooting, but he did have discussions with the screenwriter and director before scenes about what the character should say.

It seems a lot of people value Smith's creative input. While speaking to The A.V. Club, the veteran actor explained that he based the character of Red Forman on his own stepfather, who passed away before he could shoot the show's pilot. "I did not write any of those jokes, but when I first auditioned for the role and from then on, I always had my stepdad in mind," he explained. With that in mind, it would seem that Smith puts a lot of himself into his roles, including the one he's most well known for.