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Laura Prepon Thinks That '70s Show's 360 Shots Were 'Edgy' Back In The Day

The period sitcom "That '70s Show," created by Bonnie Turner, Terry Turner, and Mark Brazill, centers on a group of teens living in the small town of Point Place, Wisconsin, in, well, the 1970s. In the series, the teens spend the bulk of their time at Eric Forman's (Topher Grace) house — with Eric's parents Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp) and Red (Kurtwood Smith) nearby — and, more specifically, in the basement of the house. While in the basement, the teens often pass the time by smoking marijuana — even though the drug is basically never named throughout the show's entire eight-season run.

Notably, their marijuana-smoking sessions are captured through 360 shots: the camera focuses on one character, usually surrounded by smoke, before panning over to the next character and so on and so forth until a complete circle has been made. The 360 shots are undeniably one of the most defining parts of the sitcom, and according to Laura Prepon, who played Eric's love interest and next-door neighbor Donna Pinciotti, the 360 shots were edgy for their time.

Prepon thinks the 360 moments were risqué for the time

In April 2020, Laura Prepon sat down with PeopleTV for an interview, during which she reflected on her time on "That '70s Show" (via Entertainment Weekly). During the conversation, Prepon began talking about the 360 shots, which have defined the popular sitcom in many ways. Looking back, Prepon thinks they were ahead of their time with those moments.

"These 360 scenes are so 'That '70s Show' and so perfect for what we were doing at the time," Prepon said. "This was pretty risqué because we were insinuating that we were passing a joint, and they always pumped the smoke in there and everything. Back in 1998, for a network television show to have that, that was edgy."

While watching those scenes, Prepon couldn't help but reflect on how young she was while on the sitcom. She said, "We were like, I don't know, 20 when we did this scene, and we look like little babies. It's so funny how when you are 20, you feel like you know everything."

Debra Jo Rupp says there was pressure in filming the 360 scenes

While the 360 scenes mainly consisted of the teens, Kitty and Red also got their own moment in the circle. In Season 2's "Garage Sale," Kitty and Red — along with Donna's parents Midge (Tanya Roberts) and Bob (Don Stark) — eat Hyde's (Danny Masterson) "special" brownies without realizing what's so special about them.

Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith reflected on filming their 360 scenes in an early 2023 interview with Entertainment Weekly while promoting the revival series, "That '90s Show" (which they both star in). Rupp revealed that it made for a somewhat stressful filming situation, as they had to do those scenes in one take, so if someone messed up, they had to start over.

Rupp said, "At the time that this was filmed, you couldn't miss a line because they couldn't edit it. So if anybody missed their line, you had to start all over again ... The pressure was actually a little intense. You didn't want to be the one to mess up."

As for who messed up the most? Rupp thinks it was Roberts, who often got nervous when it got to her line. Rupp lightheartedly remarked, "I can't tell you how many times we started over in this scene — like a bazillion times."