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The funniest Red Forman quotes from That '70s Show

We've all seen plenty of grumpy sitcom dads, like Archie Bunker and Phillip Banks, but Red Forman from That '70s Show takes the cake as the loudest and most assertive. Portrayed by Kurtwood Smith of RoboCop fame, Red is a force to be reckoned with. The grouchy father is often remembered not for his fatherly advice or warmth, but his constant threats to give his son a beating. 

Red is a veteran of the Korean War and a proud patriot living in Point Place Wisconsin with his wife Kitty, college dropout daughter Laurie, and awkward son Eric.  Though he's rather abrasive, Red's hostile remarks are often the show's strongest point. Red has practically mastered the art of mixing the insult "dumbass" with the threat of a thumping in new and exciting ways. 

Over eight seasons of That '70s Show, all filled with Red's tirades and barbs, there's no shortage of great quotes from Point Place's most acerbic father. Here's a list of the funniest remarks that Red Forman has to offer.

Red Forman calls out Eric's stupidity

In episode nine of That '70s Show's third season, Eric goes to a party with his gang of friends and decides to sneak a few drinks in typical teenage fashion. Stumbling home with his friend Kelso, Eric begins to mock his father, declaring that Red would hate parties on account of his grumpy attitude. As luck would have it, Red appears just in time to see Eric making an impression of his curmudgeonly father. Once Eric realizes his audience has grown beyond a similarly drunk Kelso, he proceeds to vomit on Red's shoes, instantly dispelling any doubts about his sobriety. 

The show then cuts to Eric on the couch complaining about his head hurting. Having run out of sympathy for his son years ago, Red states, "That's your brain trying to comprehend its own stupidity."

Though Red Forman is known for his concise criticisms, this reply to Eric is still more eloquent than "dumbass," Red's typical go-to insult.

Red Forman: A true American patriot

Throughout That '70s Show, Hyde loudly declares his distrust of the American government, often spewing wild conspiracy theories about the government reading people's minds and tracking people's thoughts. This mentality is in direct conflict with Red's, and in the first episode of season five, Red lashes out at Hyde after he curses the government for their alleged schemes.

"'Damn U.S. government?'" Red asks incredulously. "Without our government, you'd be stuck in Siberia now sucking the juice from a rotten commie potato! Let me tell you something. If the U.S. government decides to stick a tracking device up your ass, you say, 'Thank you, and God bless America!'"

The reaction Steven and Fez have after Red storms out definitely adds some further humor to the situation and highlights just what makes Red so hysterical to watch. Steven jokes that it's way too easy to make the old man upset, showing that while Red Forman can be a scary father figure, sometimes he's so over the top that it's hard for other characters not to find him hilarious.

What Red Forman won't say around women

Sitting around the dinner table, Red asks Laurie how her friend Janice is doing, to which she bluntly replies, "Pregnant." Disappointed, Kitty then asks, "Oh, she was such a nice girl. How does that happen?" Always the smart mouth, Eric decides to take the conversation in a more literal direction, saying, "Well, first the egg travels down the fallopian tube to the uterus where it attaches to the wall…" 

Being sufficiently fed up with the direction that the conversation has taken, Red interrupts Eric and chides his son, replying, "Eric, for God's sakes, that's no language for a woman to hear!"

The irony of his reaction isn't lost on his daughter, who assures Red that she and her mother are well aware of how the female reproductive system works. Red's reaction also highlights the generational differences between the parents and their children. Unfortunately for Eric, in this case his zinger is overshadowed by his old man's discomfort.

Red Forman flies to new heights

In the 11th episode of That '70s Show's fifth season, Fez brags to the group about his girlfriend Nina. The problem is, no one seems to believe that Fez's girlfriend is actually real. To prove them wrong, he invites her to a dinner party hosted by Mrs. Forman. 

After dinner, Kitty pulls out conversation cards. She begins with the simple question, "If you were a bird, where would you fly?" Despite the relative ease of the question, everyone gives progressively absurd and off-topic answers. Red, who is obviously unamused with the game, sarcastically answers with the line, "If I was a bird, I'd fly into the ceiling."

After his remark, the dynamic of the party quickly changes. Everyone becomes awkwardly quiet and caught off guard when they realize Red would rather be dead than in the room. With how odd everyone's answers were, Red's coldness towards the dinner party is delightfully in character and makes for a great comedic foil. In the end, it's safe to say Red Forman isn't exactly the dinner party type. 

Red Forman sizes up Eric's beauty pageant politics

It isn't very often that Red asks for Eric's opinion on anything, let alone a topic like politics. To Eric's dismay, this changes in episode three of That '70s Show's first season, when Red goes against the grain and asks Eric for his political opinion.

In this episode, President Gerald Ford visits the high school as a part of his whistle-stop tour. Subsequently, Red is angry because he believes Ford's policies have negatively affected his job and the Forman family's finances as a result. After a bit of banter between the family, Red asks Eric how he feels about outsourcing jobs. Eric, obviously scared to give Red a straight answer, attempts to avoid any conflict with a neutral approach. He carefully answers, "Uh, well, I believe that everyone's political opinion is valid and worth hearing."

Despite Eric's attempt at diplomacy, Red isn't satisfied. He calls out Eric's cop-out answer, retorting, "Well, that's, that's perfect, Eric. Use that line when you're up for Miss America."

Knowing Red's temper, Eric was definitely put in a no-win situation here, but at least being called Miss America is a step up from dumbass. 

Red Forman's final request

Red Forman is the most intimidating character on That '70s Show, so much so that not many people want to hang around him. With his snarky, blunt sense of humor, it's no wonder that making friends isn't Red's strong suit.

After a near-death experience in the 11th episode of the third season, Red has a vision of his own funeral. The event certainly seemed sad, but not for the reason you'd think. The only person attending the hypothetical ceremony is Kitty. When Red comes to, he realizes that dying alone and miserable doesn't seem all that appealing, and he starts making an effort to change his cold demeanor by insisting that they throw a house party.

However, as we've seen time and time again, Red just isn't the social type. He quickly realizes that instead of putting on a false facade of friendliness, he'd rather just spend time with the people he actually likes to be around, which is really only Kitty. As the party wraps up, Red makes an unconventional toast, "I just wanna say… when my time comes, I want to be buried face down, so that anyone who doesn't like me can kiss my ass."

After an episode of Red being uncharacteristically upbeat, seeing him snap back into his old ways is almost comforting. 

Red Forman tells Bob his true feelings

While Bob Pinciotti sees the Formans as close friends, to Red, the feeling isn't mutual. Throughout the series, he refers to the Pinciottis as weird and stupid. Because Red's opinion of Bob isn't very high, some of his best burns are at Bob's expense. 

In the 23rd episode of That '70s Show's sixth season, preparation for Eric and Donna's wedding has begun. Instead of going out for Donna's bachelorette party, Kitty arranges for a girls' night in of wedding planning. Once the boredom hits full force, Kitty pawns the task off on Red and Bob, who begrudgingly accept the job.

Red quickly becomes fed up with the assignment and boldly tells Bob that he would rather have Kitty mad at him than have to help with the wedding arrangements. After Bob teases Red for backing down against Kitty, Red recalls the last time Kitty was angry with him and gave him the silent treatment. He sadly explains, "I had to buy a bottle of Mrs. Butterworth's just so someone would smile at me."

Bob, trying to be a decent friend, replies, "You can always call me, Red." Without any hesitation, Red brushes off Bob by saying, "Eh, I'd rather talk to syrup." 

The three rings of That '70s Show

As the show progress, the kids of That '70s Show grow up. One significant aspect of their development is how their relationships change over time: At the start of season 8, it's revealed that Hyde married a stripper named Samantha while he was staying in Las Vegas, a fact that he can't remember until Samantha finds the Forman house and interrupts an argument between Jackie and Hyde. 

In the season's 10th episode, Red Forman decides to take Steven to the Viking Lodge as a rite of passage for married men. Once there, Steven finds that the lodge is just a place where older men gather so they can complain about their wives. As Red's friends rant about their spouses, Red gives Hyde a little advice about what to expect from being married. "That's the thing about marriage," he tells the newlywed. "No one tells you about the three rings. There's the engagement ring, the wedding ring, and the suffering." 

While the line is funny in its use of wordplay, the most entertaining part about Red's use of the line is that his wife is the one who came up with it. They say marriage is like having a ball and chain around your ankles, but apparently, the sentiment may be true in Kitty's mind as well. 

Yelling: Red Forman's favorite part of fathering

One of the recurring gags throughout That '70s Show is watching Eric and Donna's parents react to their relationship as it continues to get more serious. One key moment arrives when Eric and Donna decide to get engaged in the show's fifth season. While the pair are happy to make that commitment to each other, they don't look forward to telling their parents. In the season's 16th episode, Eric finally builds up the courage to tell Red, but his father doesn't take the news so well.

As he paces around the kitchen yelling, Eric and his friends watch helplessly from the driveway. In his rage, Red tells Kitty and Bob that he's going to take care of the situation himself. Sensing danger, Kitty warns, "Red, if you go out there and yell you're just gonna drive him away."

Determined to give his idiot son a piece of his mind, Red replies, "I'm sorry, Kitty, but yelling is the only part of being a father that I enjoy."

This line is primarily funny because of how it rings true. For as much as Red Forman makes viewers smile, he only seems to smile himself after a good yelling session, usually directed at Eric. This statement is truly the best summarization of Red's relationship with his son. If Red isn't yelling at Eric, it's safe to say he probably isn't having fun. 

Red Forman: The worst mall Santa ever

If there's anyone on That '70s Show who'd make a really good mall Santa, Red Forman would likely be at the bottom of most people's lists. But in the seventh episode of the sixth season, management at the Point Place mall decides that Bob isn't the right man for the fat suit anymore and Red gets tapped for the job.

As he sits down in his chair to receive a line of excited children, Kitty reminds Red of how Santa should act, saying, "Just remember, Santa is a cheerful, jolly fellow… who never calls a child 'dumbass.'" 

The first child sits on Red's lap, and sounding like he wants to get things over with, Santa asks, "So what do you want for Christmas?" When the kid tells him that he wants a Slinky, Red decides to give some good old-fashioned life advice. "A Slinky? Ah, you'll get sick of a Slinky in a day! I'm putting you down for flashcards! Math… that's what you're getting for Christmas!"

While this attitude might be a surprise from Santa, it just goes to show that even a red suit and a fake beard aren't enough to break Red of his typical attitude. 

Red Forman gives simple parenting advice

In the ninth episode of That '70s Show's first season, Laurie brings home a friend for Thanksgiving. The Formans' houseguest immediately takes a liking to Eric, and this inevitably leads him to a crisis of conscience: Should he remain faithful to Donna or give in to his urges and fool around with an attractive older woman? In the end, Eric succumbs and eventually breaks the news to Donna, who is understandably upset. As she storms out of the Forman household, the rest of their friend group let Red in on the drama between Eric and Donna.

As Eric chases after Donna, Red stops him for a small chat. Lamenting about his sticky situation, Eric says, "It seems like bad things are always happening to me — like I have bad luck or something."

In response, Red retorts, "Son, you don't have bad luck. The reason that bad things happen to you… is because you're a dumbass. Now fix it."

Sometimes the best parenting advice is blunt and straightforward, even if it hurts. 

Red Forman and the romantic getaway

By the time the 16th episode of That '70s Show's third season rolls around, Eric and Donna's relationship is starting to heat up, so much so that the two decide to sneak away for a weekend of romance. 

When Eric and Donna steal away to a hotel, Eric fails to account for Donna getting drunk off of the minibar in their room. Her drinking leads to her pounding on the walls to make their neighbors angry. As another hotel resident knocks at their door to complain to them about the noise, Eric opens the door to find Red standing there.

After being caught by his father, Eric is desperate to deflect attention away from him staying with a visibly drunk Donna. Still surprised to see his father in the same hotel, Eric takes a gamble by trying to redirect blame from himself onto his father. Knowing that his father isn't the type to go on a romantic getaway with his wife, Eric asks, "Oh my God, who are you with?" 

If there was any confusion as to where Red's loyalties lie, he clears things up for Eric immediately: "Your mother, you dumbass!"

Red Forman's solution for unwanted kids

Red Forman has always resented that the neighborhood kids all hang out in his house. They usually stick to the basement where he doesn't have to interact with them, so he can at least pretend the teenagers don't exist. However, when Jackie's dad is arrested while her mother is partying in Mexico in episode nine of That '70s Show's fifth season, she becomes an emotional wreck. To add to Jackie's plight, her boyfriend Hyde fails to comfort her, leaving her to feel utterly alone. After unsuccessfully pleading for Jackie's mom to come home early, Kitty walks over to Red who's busy reading the newspaper at the kitchen table. 

Wanting him to do something for Jackie, she says, "Red, Jackie's been moping in our kitchen for an hour."

Red doesn't even look up from his paper as he shoots back his own suggestion: "So call the cops." Even though Red loses the ensuing argument, this comeback is one of his best and most pointed ever. 

Red Forman avoids a close call

At the end of That '70s Show's fifth season, Red has a heart attack after hearing that Laurie married Fez so he could stay in the country. By the time season six starts up, the whole family is still reeling from Red's medical scare. In the season's second episode, Red's doctor orders him not to work, drive, or do chores for three months while he recovers from his ordeal. With his father unable to work, Eric makes the selfless decision to stay home and work instead of going to college. 

When he tells Kitty that he signed his paycheck over to her to help make up for Red being unable to work, she is immediately grateful. She then looks to her husband and says, "Red, it wouldn't hurt you to thank him." 

"It might," Red quips. "I just had a heart attack." This was probably the right call on Red's part. The shock that could result from thanking Eric of all people may have proven too much for Red's delicate heart to handle. 

Red Forman won't eat his vegetables

In the sixth episode of That '70s Show's third season, Red receives an unsurprising diagnosis when a doctor tells him that he has very high blood pressure. To make sure nothing happens to her husband, Kitty decides to put Red on a new healthy diet. Red protests the absence of red meat, cheese, and alcohol on the revised menu, but Kitty doesn't give in, serving him healthy meals of boiled chicken, rice, and vegetables. 

Red gets around this by sneaking burgers and fried chicken when Kitty's not looking. Red counts on Laurie and Hyde to help him keep his secret, but when Hyde spills the beans during dinner, Red tries to make a case for getting off his new diet. He gestures to his plate of vegetables and rice, saying, "This isn't food; this is what food eats!"

Though he doesn't get to sink his teeth into a steak, in the end, he does manage to get Hyde and Laurie's fried chicken taken away, so they're also forced into Red's eating regimen. In the dog eat dog world of the Forman house, Red Forman is always top dog.