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That '70s Show's Original Title Led To Some Cast Members Not Realizing They Were In A Period Piece

"That '70s Show" remains a television staple for many reasons. Whether you watch it for its relatable brand of humor, its memorable soundtrack, or its colorful cast of eccentric characters, "That '70s Show" is one of those magical shows that can entertain just about everyone. And yet, one of its most distinctive aspects can only truly connect with a certain generation.

As its name implies, "That '70s Show" sees its collection of adult and teen characters go about their lives in the late '70s, specifically between the years 1976 and 1979. The show, which aired between 1998 and 2006, wears its love for the decade on its sleeves, from its detailed production design to many episodes even being named after famous songs from the era. Regardless of whether you were born in the decade of "Star Wars" and Led Zeppelin, it's hard not to feel some level of attachment to the time period thanks to the show's nostalgic viewpoint. But while it might be obvious now, some of the show's original cast members weren't aware of when the show took place when they first signed on for the now-iconic sitcom.

A different name caused confusion amongst the cast

For many of the cast members from "That '70s Show," including Topher Grace, Ashton Kutcher and Wilmer Valderrama, the series was one of the first parts they ever auditioned for. Despite this, they were determined to be a part of the quirky series — but not before a simple name change helped further inform the actors on what they were really a part of. 

On the show's 100th episode special, several cast members were interviewed about their time on the series. But before being called "That '70s Show," Kelso actor Ashton Kutcher revealed the show's initial name, which caused some confusion. "The show was called 'Teenage Wasteland' at the time," Kutcher said. "And so I didn't know when I auditioned ... that it was in the '70s." Kutcher wasn't the only one left in the dark on this seemingly crucial aspect for some time. 

Debra Jo Rupp, who portrays Kitty Forman in the show, was similarly bewildered, saying, "When I auditioned for this show, I had no idea that this took place in the '70s. I was doing an entirely different show from everybody else."

While "Teenage Wasteland" never became the show's name, it somewhat lived on in its sixth season. Each episode from this season is named after a song by the band The Who, which also recorded the hit 1979 song "Teenage Wasteland."