- That '80s Show
That '80s Show
Genre Sitcom Created by Mark Brazill
Starring Glenn Howerton
Opening theme "Eighties" by Killing Joke Composer(s) Ben Vaughn Country of origin United States Language(s) English No. of seasons 1 No. of episodes 13 (List of episodes) Production Executive producer(s) Mark Brazill
Producer(s) Patrick Kienlen Editor(s) Vince Humphrey
Cinematography Ronald W. Browne Camera setup Multi-camera Running time 22–24 minutes Production company(s) Carsey-Werner Company
Broadcast Original channel Fox Picture format 480i (SDTV) Audio format Stereo Original run January 23, 2002– May 29, 2002
That '80s Show is an American sitcom that aired in half-hour long episodes from January through May 2002. Despite having a similar name, show structure, and many of the same writers and production staff, it is not considered a direct spin-off of the more successful That '70s Show, since the characters and storylines from both shows never crossed paths. It was a separate decade-based show created because of That '70s Show's popularity at the time.
The show was set in 1984 and revolved around the lives of a group of friends living in San Diego, California. It debuted January 23, 2002, and the final episode aired May 29, 2002. Its regular timeslot was on Wednesday nights at 8:00/7:00 Central on the Fox Network, although a few shows were aired on different nights. Its main timeslot competitors were ABC's My Wife and Kids, CBS's 60 Minutes II, and NBC's Ed. All 13 episodes, which were filmed in at CBS Studio Center, aired at least once.
The show follows the lives of struggling musician Corey Howard and his associates, friends, and family. His working (and eventual romantic) relationship with June Tuesday is also a focal point, and becomes the main anchor of the show after a few episodes. Later episodes focused on the culture clash between Corey and June's lifestyles. Various tidbits of '80s culture and music are sprinkled in throughout each episode. As with That '70s Show, many celebrities from the decade guest starred in several episodes.
Episodes took place at different locations throughout the day. Scenes would take place at Club Berlin, a dance club; Permanent Record, the record store where Corey and June worked; Videx, an office owned by R.T.; and the family home, along with the occasional car trip.
Theme and opening credits
The theme song was a 15 second snippet of the song "Eighties" by Killing Joke:
“ Eighties/I'm living in the eighties/Eighties/I have to push, I have to struggle/Ohhhh! ”
The opening credit sequence (and screens used to transition from scene to scene) consisted of a hand flipping through a row of vinyl records, each with artwork of a cast member's face and name.
Role Actor Description Corey Howard Glenn Howerton A struggling musician who lives at home with his sister Katie and his father. Corey works at Permanent Record, a record store. Is constantly trying to rebel against the ever growing mainstream culture around him, unlike his best friend, Roger. He also dated Sophia before the start of the series, as they are recently broken up in the pilot. Tries working for his father, but fails miserably and goes back to the record store (and Tuesday). June Tuesday Chyler Leigh A punk-rocker who also works at Permanent Record. She wears her hair in liberty spikes (she is seen with it down exactly four times). She eventually becomes Corey's girlfriend halfway through the series, after much tension and love/hate arguing between the two. She grew up in Las Vegas, as the daughter of a minister, but the show ended before any additional information about her family could be revealed. She goes simply by "Tuesday" for most of the series, which is her last name. Her first name, "June" was brought up only once, as a plot device in the episode "My Dead Friend". Roger Park Eddie Shin Corey's best friend, a struggling used-car dealer and wannabe yuppie. He rents a room above the Howard family garage, admires Ronald Reagan and is dance-a-holic (who installed a dance square in the middle of his living room carpet). He is constantly perfecting his appearance, and listens to motivational self-help cassette tapes. Meets Patty through Tuesday near the end of the series, and the two begin a relationship. Katie Howard Tinsley Grimes Corey's sister. A Valley Girl and college drop-out turned environmentalist. She later returned to college to major in Environmental Science. She tries to get the family to adopt environment-friendly methods, such as buying toilet paper made from old dictionaries. Dates Owen, who is in the Navy. Sophia Brittany Daniel Corey's bisexual ex-girlfriend who has an unreturned crush on Corey's sister Katie. She later will become the power-hungry director of marketing at Videx, the company owned by R.T., and will move into the family home near the end of the series. Has a twin sister named Bianca. Sophia's character is allegedly based on a San Francisco socialite of the same name. R.T. Howard Geoff Pierson Corey and Katie's divorced father. Owner of "Videx", a small company that produces and sells personal fitness equipment such as the Butt Luge and the Gut Wacker. He heavily relies on Katie to keep things running around the house, and lavishes himself with expensive items, such as a hot tub and a video camera, symbolizing the "excess" aspect of the 1980s. Margaret Margaret Smith Ex-Hippie/Rock Groupie. Owner of Permanent Record, the record store where Corey and Tuesday work. She usually has a "long story short" tale regarding her past with various musicians and rock bands in each episode. She frequently insults customers looking for/buying music she feels is inadequate.
# Title Directed by Written by Original air date Prod. code 1 "Eighties"
"That ’80s Pilot"
David Trainer Linda Wallem, Terry Turner & Mark Brazill January 23, 2002 101 Corey meets Tuesday and doesn’t get along with her, quitting the record store to work for his father, but not before getting the best of her in an insult war. Sophia reveals her crush on Katie. Corey returns to Permanent Record by episode’s end, taking Tuesday (who takes her hair down after Corey’s insult) out for coffee. 4 "Corey’s Remix" Terry Hughes Terry Turner February 13, 2002 102 Corey records a song about his breakup from Sophia, and Katie mixes it into a dance song and plays it at the club, much to Corey’s chagrin. Roger gets fired from his job at the car dealership. Corey flirts with Tuesday, inviting her to Club Berlin. She blows him off, but feels bad, and shows up at the club anyway at the end of the episode. 3 "Tuesday Comes Over" Terry Hughes Elaine Aronson February 6, 2002 103 Tuesday takes a shower at Corey’s (without his knowledge) after Katie discovers she is sleeping in her car. In the process, she discovers that Corey lied to her about living on his own. Roger struggles with work at the car dealership. R.T. buys a hot tub. Katie tries to make everyone more environmentally friendly. 2 "Valentine's Day" Terry Hughes Cindy Caponera January 30, 2002 104 A box of chocolates shows up at Permanent Record, and Margaret tricks both Corey and Tuesday into believing the other bought them as a gift, freaking both of them out in their “non-relationship.” Owen comes home from the Navy to visit Katie. R.T. is depressed that he is alone, and the gang takes him to Club Berlin to find him a date. 5 "My Dead Friend" Terry Hughes Christine Zander February 20, 2002 105 A regular at the club drops dead, and his father mistakenly thinks Corey was his friend, and asks him to give a eulogy at his funeral. Corey finds out that “Tuesday” is actually Tuesday’s last name, and her first initial is ‘J’. Roger is obsessed with finding the dead guy’s cousin, who owns a lucrative car dealership in Chula Vista, California. Corey doesn’t know what to say, so Tuesday helps him, finally telling him her first name in the process (June) in an effort to get him to trust her. Sophia continues to pursue her crush on Katie, and tries to set up a threesome with the two of them and Owen. A drunk who frequently sells records to Permanent Record unknowingly gives Margaret a copy of the “butcher cover” version of The Beatles’ Yesterday and Today album. She doesn’t know whether to keep it or do the right thing and give it back. 6 "Spring Break ’84" Terry Hughes Steve Joe & Greg Schaffer March 6, 2002 106 Katie gets into credit card debt, so she plans a fake trip to “Mexico” for Spring Break, which turns out to just be Roger’s apartment. R.T. falls apart without Katie’s daily guidance. A former high school classmate of Corey’s (played by Chyler Leigh’s real life husband Nathan West) is now a big pop star, and asks Tuesday to come to his show (and backstage). Corey is depressed at the thought of Tuesday seeing someone else, but in the end Tuesday can’t stand the guy’s music. Roger buys a new pair of parachute pants that make it impossible for him to sit down. 7 "Katie’s Birthday" Terry Hughes Jenna Jolovitz March 27, 2002 107 Sophia plans a birthday party for Katie, where Owen proposes, much to Katie’s embarrassment. R.T. buys a new video camera, but doesn’t know how to operate it. Roger hurts his ankle dancing. Corey and Tuesday finally kiss, after much tension (and arguing), yet still argue at the end of the episode (but almost kiss again). R.T. hires Sophia to be director of sales for Videx. 8 "After The Kiss" Terry Hughes Tony Barbieri April 10, 2002 108 Things heat up between Corey and Tuesday, but she runs away at the thought of a labelled “relationship.” Katie invites Roger to her aerobics class, and he shows her up with his dancing. Sophia starts at R.T.’s company, and becomes a power hungry control freak. Tuesday finally comes around, and agrees to date Corey after talking with Margaret. 9 "Double Date" Terry Hughes Lesley Wake & Sarah McLaughlin April 17, 2002 109 Corey and Tuesday go on a date, Roger wants it to be a double date, so Tuesday picks up a random girl that works at the local bank (played by Tammy Lynn Michaels, real life girlfriend of Melissa Etheridge) for him. R.T. decides to become the spokesperson for his own company, but keeps getting distracted by the women in his commercial. Katie decides to drop out of college, but is afraid to tell her father (she changes her major instead, after running into an old professor). Tuesday becomes frustrated with Corey’s uniform lifestyle, but accepts it in the end. 10 "Punk Club" Terry Hughes Tiffany Zehnal April 24, 2002 110 A new punk club opens up in town, and Tuesday secretly goes without informing Corey. Roger burns part of his hair off in the car with a portable crimping iron. Sophia convinces Katie to stop cleaning up the house, which causes R.T. to be unable to take care of himself. Margaret becomes obsessed with Footloose. Corey believes that Tuesday is embarrassed to be seen with him, so Tuesday takes Corey back to the club, defending his “normal” image to everyone. ’80s teen star “Tiffany” guest stars as a punk club employee. 11 "Road Trip"
Terry Hughes Neil Edwards May 6, 2002 111 After the two of them perform at a wedding, Katie signs herself and Corey up to be on Star Search. Corey has second thoughts about appearing on a “mainstream” talent show, especially after being through make-up. R.T. takes Sophia to the wedding to show off to his ex-wife, and she moves in, temporarily. Roger meets (and dances for) Ed McMahon, who guest stars. Margaret is scared of seeing Pat Benatar (who guest stars with Neil Giraldo), due to a pyro accident she was responsible for years earlier. 12 "Beach Party" Terry Hughes Linda Wallem May 7, 2002 112 Katie invites the gang to a beach barbecue, but it’s just a trick to clean up the beach. Corey’s decision to move in with Tuesday freaks her out, and angers Roger. Debbie Gibson guest stars as a record store customer who drives Margaret nuts. R.T. is thinking of selling his company to a competitor, played by guest star Morgan Fairchild. She and Sophia have a Dynasty-like slapping session. Tuesday, in her own way, tells Corey that she loves him, and the series ends with the two of them kissing on the beach. 13 "Sophia’s Depressed" Terry Hughes Elaine Aronson May 29, 2002 113 Sophia is depressed because her twin sister, Bianca (Cynthia Daniel), is getting married. R.T. thinks he once slept with Patty, Roger’s girlfriend. The record store is damaged due to an electrical fire, and Margaret’s friend Zeke (played by Duran Duran’s John Taylor) remodels. Owen incorrectly tells everyone on his ship that he and Katie got married, and also is despondent over M*A*S*H ending. Corey, fed up with Tuesday’s “pit” of an apartment, asks her to stay at his house, but she is afraid of his family’s “happy” lifestyle.
The episodes are listed in production order, although Fox made changes to the sequence in which they were aired.
- “Valentine’s Day” aired as the 2nd episode, rather than “Corey’s Remix”, on January 30. ”Corey’s Remix” aired as the 4th episode, on February 13.
- “Road Trip" was aired after That ’70s Show on Tuesday, May 6th, as Fox aired a special “2 Decades of Laughs in One Night” format. It was rumoured at the time that Fox was testing both shows back to back to see if it would work the following season. Ratings for this episode were higher (either due to That ’70s Show's lead in or due to a different timeslot) than a usual Wednesday night episode, but the format was never tried again, and That ’80s Show was cancelled 9 days later.
- “Beach Party” was aired the night after “Road Trip” in the usual Wednesday timeslot (with “Sophia’s Depressed” still not aired), despite being the last episode produced. This is noticeable when Corey and Tuesday notice the listening station at Permanent Record, something that was created in wake of a fire in “Sophia’s Depressed”, which wouldn’t air until three weeks later.
- “Sophia’s Depressed” aired as scheduled on May 29, nearly two weeks after the show was officially cancelled. However, the last scene that aired during the closing credits (where Sophia introduces the gang to her twin sister Bianca) was edited out on Fox in favour of promos for summer Fox shows, though it was seen during the Canadian airing on CTV.
Each episode used several vintage 1980s hit songs, either playing in the background of a scene or sung by one or more of the cast members:
- "Eighties" (Pilot): "Let Me Go" by Heaven 17; "Once in a Lifetime" by Talking Heads; "What Difference Does It Make?" by The Smiths; "Love is a Battlefield" by Pat Benatar, "Slip It In" by Black Flag; "Add It Up" by Violent Femmes; "Close to You", by The Carpenters (although this was an early 1970's hit).
- "Corey's Remix": "Heartbeat" by The Psychedelic Furs; "Come on Eileen" by Dexys Midnight Runners, "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash; "Strip" by Adam Ant
- "Tuesday Comes Over": "Who's Behind the Door?" by Zebra; "No Rest for the Wicked" by Helix; "Dress You Up" by Madonna
- "Valentine's Day": "In the Name of Love" by Thompson Twins; "Modern Love" by David Bowie; "I Want Candy" by Bow Wow Wow
- "My Dead Friend": 99 Luftballons by Nena, "The Great Unknown" by Elvis Costello and the Attractions; "People Who Died" by the Jim Carroll Band
- "Spring Break '84": "As Far as I Know" by Paul Westerberg; "I Ran" by A Flock of Seagulls; "Whatever Happened to You?" by Stan Ridgway; "Cruel Summer", by Bananarama
- "Katie's Birthday": "Guitar, Talk, Love & Drums" by Gary Myrick; "Up Where We Belong" by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, "If I Didn't Love You" by Squeeze
- "After The Kiss": "This Is Radio Clash" by The Clash; "Goo Goo Muck" by The Cramps; "Steppin' Out" by Joe Jackson
- "Double Date": "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" by Culture Club; "Meeting in the Ladies Room" by Klymaxx; "She Talks in Stereo" by Gary Myrick and the Figures
- "Punk Club": "Karma Chameleon" by Culture Club; "People Are People" by Depeche Mode; "Footloose" by Kenny Loggins
- "Road Trip": "I'm So Excited" by The Pointer Sisters; "Balls to the Wall" by Accept; "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar; "I Love LA" by Randy Newman
- "Sophia's Depressed": "We're Not Gonna Take It" by Twisted Sister; "The Reflex" by Duran Duran
- "Beach Party": "We Got the Beat" by The Go-Go's; "Time the Avenger" by The Pretenders
Guest stars and recurring characters
- Ed McMahon, Pat Benatar, and Neil Giraldo all appeared as themselves in the episode entitled "Road Trip".
- Tiffany appeared in the episode "Punk Club" as "Candy", an employee of the "Chaos" punk club.
- Debbie Gibson appeared as an annoying show tunes-loving customer named "Janice", and Morgan Fairchild appeared as R.T.'s rival competitor "Cossima Blair", in the episode "Beach Party".
- John Taylor appeared in the episode "Sophia's Depressed" as Margaret's personal decorator.
- Nathan West appeared in the episode "Spring Break '84, as "Wray Thorn", a former classmate of Corey's turned successful musician.
- Tammy Lynn Michaels and Josh Braaten appeared in several episodes as "Patty" and "Owen", Roger's and Katie's significant others, respectively.
- Kelly Clarkson appeared briefly as an uncredited dancing extra, prior to her appearance and subsequent fame on American Idol.
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