On This Gay Day: ‘That 70’s Show’ featured a historic same-sex kiss

In 1998 ‘That 70’s Show’ featured a historic same-sex kiss 

The comedy show That 70’s Show made it’s television debut in 1998, and while the show would be on our screens for eight season, and spawn the spin-off series That 90’s Show,  and it had an important historic moment during it’s first season.

In the episode Eric’s Buddy which first aired on this day 25 years ago, Eric Forman finds a new friendship with lab partner Buddy Morgan. Eric is played by Topher Grace, while Joseph Gordon-Levitt was the guest star playing Buddy.

Buddy was popular, had a cool car and rich parents, but Eric came to realise that Buddy was more than just his social status. Buddy was someone Eric could talk to about his complicated relationship with neighbour Donna, and he was an attentive listener.

What Eric didn’t anticipate is that Buddy was gay, and he thought Eric might be too. Viewers discovered Buddy had developed a major crush on the show’s central character. It all came to a climax when Buddy kissed Eric. A historic moment because it’s recognised as the first time there was a same-sex male kiss on Primetime network in the USA.

The scene drew a wide range of reactions, some viewers wrote into the network outraged at the inclusion of a same-sex kiss, while others were offended by Eric’s over-the-top reaction. There was also discussion about whether the scene was accurate about attitudes in the 1970s.

The character of Buddy Morgan was never seen on the show again.

The spin-off series That 90’s Show was praised for including a queer character in it’s core cast. Reyn Doi played the camp and openly gay character of Ozzie. A second series of That 90s Show has been greenlit, but production has been delayed due to the recent writer’s and actor’s strike.

A few months after That 70s Show featured their same-sex kiss, a scene in drama Dawson’s Creek also included kiss between two male characters. The first same-sex kiss between two female characters on primetime US TV occurred in 1991 on the show L.A. Law. 

OIP Staff

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