When Television Collides With Real Life

When “That 70’s Show” was on television originally, friends told me it was really good and I sometimes thought, “I should watch that!” but it ended up staying in my peripheral vision and then landed in my rear view mirror when it went off the air after eight seasons, seven years ago.

Thanks the miracle of Netflix and our ability to stream television classics, J and I have been watching the show together (in episode order) for the last couple of months. We LOVE it. I really wish I had watched it the first time around because it would have been a really good “water cooler show”, but alas, I am grateful for the “better late than never” we have going on. Plus, it’s fun to share this show with my son.

Yesterday we watched the Season 7 finale, in which Eric prepares to move to Africa. As he said goodbye to his mother (Kitty), my stomach dropped just a little bit, as J is leaving for college this fall and I’m starting to have moments like that.

So THAT happens, and J, who is laying on the other end of our couch from where I’m sitting, screams, “UGH! MY EYES!! THE TEARS!! IT’S SO SAD!” He is indeed a little watery, as was I. I wondered to myself if he was also thinking of what will be happening in just a few months, and then I dismissed that thought. “Of course he isn’t,” I told myself. “It’s just that he loves this show and it really is a sad thing, saying goodbye to the main character.”

A couple of hours later at the dinner table, I said, “Hey, did you tell Dad that we watched a really sad ‘That 70’s Show’ episode?”

J said, “Oh yeah! Dad, it was SO SAD. And I am going to be a MESS this fall when I leave, just sayin.”

Aaaand there went my stomach again.

We reassured him that he was going to be fine–we all will be–and that of course he can come home whenever he wants but college is going to be great.

And then I realized that the essay I’ll be reading at Chicago’s “Listen To Your Mother” show is going to be harder to get through than I anticipated. I’d better amp up my practicing.


  • tracey

    Well, the video didn’t load for me, but I don’t want to see it anyway. No mood for more crying over babies growing up and leaving today. NO THANK YOU.

    And we’ll all be a mess on May 5. A FREAKING MESS

  • Shannan

    Darn you for making me teary in Starbucks, where I did hang up another LTYM flier. Really, though, you must stop, tears are not good coffee shop PR. Although, maybe I’ll tell them I’ll stop crying if they come. That’s the ticket!

  • Marianne

    Oh, Melisa. You are such a good mom. Me? I can’t wait to go golfing and have money again. Probably why I’ll never see my granchildren. And I LOVE “That 70s Show.” I had a thing for Kelso. He’s tall.

  • Cy

    I managed to (sort of) keep it together, then cried for a half hour in the car on the way home from dropping my son off. I don’t know if he cried or not. I think I will wait a few more years until I ask him. (He’s a junior but it’s still fresh.) Dropped my baby brother off with a huge lump in my throat many years ago, so I knew what was coming. I have a friend who tells a hilariously sad story about her son SOBBING as they left him at school. He was all, “Just go! I’ll be fine!” as he cried his eyes out.

    You eventually get used to it though.

  • Shannon

    Yes! I’m getting all of this a little bit more everyday.
    And, your son sounds like a really awesome person. I’m sure you’re at least partially to blame for that.

  • Amanda

    Love this. I’m no where near the college stomach drop, but I still cry at school drop off. As I get older I am embracing the tears that are my near constant companion, either in laughter or bittersweet weeping.

    Thank you for this.

  • Tara R.

    I actually thought I’d get used to the ‘good-byes’ but I get a little more teary each time my college kid leaves again after her visits. Good luck, and invest in some tissue.

  • Ally Bean

    I’ve never really seen this show. Obviously it has made an impact on you. I am always amazed by how a TV show can be so relevant to someone’s life. I may be child free, but I will watch it. Who knows what I might learn. Very interesting, as usual.