Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

The Eric Theory That Changes Everything On That '70s Show

Fans of "That '70s Show" probably noticed the show's plot start to unravel in the second half of the series. For example, some may have noticed the years on the license plates become inconsistent around season four. The first three seasons display a new year starting in 1977. After the fourth season, the years all stayed the same, suggesting four seasons in one year, compared to the previous four seasons in four years. Perhaps the writers made the mistake of starting a sitcom based in the '70s a little too late in the decade and were forced to remain in a year for continuity reasons. However, super fans may remember there being a Christmas episode every season, yet the same year is displayed every time.

Once fans started to think about some of the plot holes in the later seasons, they may have wondered if everything they saw on the show was true or if something else was going on that fans weren't aware of. Some fans have taken this to the next level and have proposed a theory that might make a little too much sense.

Check out the Eric theory that changes everything on "That '70s Show."

Eric tried to be the hero and never came back

In Season 4, Episode 15, "Tornado Prom" (via IMDb), Eric Foreman (Topher Grace) goes to prom with his group of '70s stoners when he forgets to bring his girlfriend, Donna (Laura Prepon) who is stuck at the radio station where she works. This is a classic Foreman blunder that we expect from Eric. Being the lovable character he is and always has to fix his mistakes, he decides to get her. While doing so, a tornado is seen behind Eric's car, but he doesn't notice it. The episode goes on per usual, where the two are reunited, make it to prom and everything is great.

Well, some fans, especially at Entertainment Weekly, took a deeper look at that episode and came up with a fan theory that would change everything about the show. If you remember, while the prom is going on, the parents of Eric and Donna are watching the news regarding the tornado when they hear "a local teen is in critical condition."

The theory goes Eric Foreman never actually made it to Donna. Instead, the tornado caught up to Eric, who is the local teen in critical condition. As a result, Eric falls into a coma. This would explain many of the inconsistencies throughout the second half of the show.

Why this makes sense

Let's say this was true; how would this have affected the rest of the show? The theory is that since Eric is in a coma and not dead, the show continues based on his memory and how he believes certain situations would unfold. For example, a few seasons later, Eric decides to move to Africa to become a teacher. This is a little out of character for Eric, but it also could mean Eric was falling deeper into his coma. This could be something Eric always wanted to do but couldn't because he's always been stuck in Wisconsin. Of course, true fans will know this happened because Topher Grace left the show. Still, fans can't help but wonder how this spontaneous decision could arise in what used to be a consistent show.

Following that, Eric is replaced by Randy, which can be seen as Eric's perception of himself after years of not knowing how he aged. It could also mean he is falling even deeper into his coma and losing perspective of what is plausible. This idea is bolstered even further when Fez marries Jackie and Laurie on two separate occasions. Another example is when Eric's mom, Kitty (Debra Jo Rupp), begins to record everything that Eric is missing, a way for him to stay connected with what's going on at home (and while he is in the coma). None of this makes sense in the plot, but Eric doesn't know that because he is drifting further and further away from reality.

What the series finale means

In the series finale, everyone is waiting for Eric to return from Africa on New Year's Eve. He does in the last few minutes of the show, and a warm-hearted reunion/ ending concludes the series. Of course, fans weren't satisfied with this and had to take it to the next level along with this theory.

Let's assume Eric was supposed to make a recovery on December 31, 1979, when the show was supposed to end. The theory suggests that Eric doesn't make it back home, he is still in a coma, and this is his last goodbye to everyone. His memory allows for one last time to remember all of his friends and family back home. Then, when the series ends, that is when Eric allegedly dies.

It's a dark theory, but when you think about it, it could make sense in the end. It's undeniable that there are several plot holes in the later seasons, and this could only be explained by something as wacky as the main character being struck by a tornado and falling into a coma for a year.