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‘That 90s Show’ Review – Timepass Kinda Throwback

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

By Sneha Jaiswal (Twitter | Instagram)

People! The colloquial term ‘Timepass’ has made it to some dictionaries now (even though it’s underlined in red right now, indicating a spelling error) and Macmillan Dictionary defines it as “the act or fact of spending time, especially doing nothing important or useful”. Example – “That 90s Show on Netflix is good timepass”. Although when used in a sentence like that, it means – something that’s not great or useful, but you don’t mind spending your time on it because you have nothing better to do.

Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith reprise their roles as Kitty and Red Forman, now grandparents to 15-year-old Leia Forman (Callie Haverda) who floods their basement with her gang of silly teen friends when she decides to spend the summer with the retirees. On paper, the idea sounds like an absolute hoot, in reality ‘That 90s Show’ feels a lot like a Nickelodian/Disney kids show that’s not kid-friendly, and the adult cast clearly outshines the teen line-up.

It takes a few episodes to warm up to the primary teen gang, they younger bunch seemed a little wooden and awkward at first but get a lot more endearing and entertaining as the show progresses. However, Debra Jo Rupp as granny Kitty is the show-stealer in this spin-off, she is more energetic and spirited than the six teens combined. A lot of the original cast make tiny cameos throughout the show to loud cheering from the audience (some parts of the show was recorded in front of a live audience), so the series will hold some nostalgic value for older fans. However, ‘That 90s Show’ is a comedy that stands on its own and one needn’t have seen the older show to make sense of things.

Let’s talk new cast – Callie Haverda as shy nerdy Leia Forman is sweet, and Ashley Aufderheide plays her neighbour and new friend Gwen who introduces Leia to the rest of the gang. Mace Coronel instantly reminded me of Ashton Kutcher even before he is revealed to be Michael Kelso’s son Jay Kelso, brownie points to the casting team on that. Sam Morelos and Maxwell Acee Donovan play Nikki and Nate, symbolizing the quintessential ‘opposites attract’ couple (apart from Red & Kitty) – Nikki is the smart domineering one, while Nate is the dumb jock. Reyn Doi plays Ozzie, the only one in the teen cast who has the most definitive personality, he is exuberant, smart, sarcastic, and gay. He is out to his friends in the show and is working towards telling more people around him. The LGBT+ representation might seem ‘woke’ to some, but Ozzie fits perfectly well within the group.

From the Formans having to deal with teens in their basement again, to Leia experiencing a lot of her ‘firsts’ at her grandparent’s place, ‘That 90s Show’ isn’t rip-roaring hilarious but does have plenty of laughs and it feels like the younger cast could really get their bearings in a season two. Good timepass.

It’s a 7/10 from me.

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