This is your captain speaking: on today’s flight, your complimentary reviewing will be the Pilot episode of That 80s show. It’s a 2002 sitcom about a group of 20-somethings in 1984 San Diego, CA that emulates the style of its contemporary That 70s Show, but with the intent of reminding viewers in every shot that no, this isn’t the 70s, nor is it the 50s, 60s, or 90s—it is, in fact, the 80s. The writers wouldn’t have had to make so many references if the show’s title had been more transparent.
While the pilot episode is uninspired, poor in writing quality, and rushes through any and all plot development, it does, however, make for a great drinking game: take a shot every time you laugh. If you’re trying to go sober, this game is perfect for you.
One highlight of the show comes within the first minute when you recognize the main character Corey Howard (Glenn Howerton) and pointedly say “Hey, it’s Dennis! From It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia!” but then the excitement wears when you realize you’re watching this show instead.
Although That 80s Show only lasted for one season—a total of 13 episodes—it is in my opinion that you should leave the 80s in the 1980s, and leave That 80s Show in the early 2000s. After viewing the pilot episode, I would not keep watching this show—not even to play the sobriety drinking game. In fact, if I were you, I’d go ahead and ask for another cocktail, take out a magazine, and sit tight until something better comes on.
Rory Crane Arnold spends too much time with Pabst Blue Ribbon, Italo Calvino, and his hound mutt Seamus. He’s a 2019 graduate of Millikin University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Creative Writing. His work has appeared in Every Day Fiction and The Daily Drunk Mag. Find Rory on twitter: @rorycranearnold