That 70’s Show set had its share of squabbles among its stars.
That 70’s Show brought together a cast of unknowns to portray suburban teenagers in a glossing over of the 70s in a manner similar to that of the cast of Happy Days representing an earlier decade. When producers assembled the cast of the show one, Topher Grace, was either led to believe or assumed that he was to be the star of the show. First year scripts did focus more on his character and his relationships with school, friends, and family. As other members of the cast began to emerge as stars, some even more so than Topher, his resentment became evident. Grace distanced himself from the off-screen camaraderie displayed by the other male stars of the series, not taking part in the marathon card games and clubbing forays the others enjoyed. Other problems developed during the series eight-year run, and still others emerged after the show was canceled.
Mila Kunis lied about her age to gain a spot on the cast, discovered by the show’s producers too late to cease production and hire a replacement. Lisa Robin Kelly suffered from a miscarriage and subsequent substance abuse issues, even as the show continued to make drug use a major aspect of its background. Danny Masterson was eventually charged with rapes occurring during his time on the program. Tommy Chong, then a regular on the series, faced nine months in jail for his involvement in the sale of drug paraphernalia. Wilder Valderrama appeared on Howard Stern to brag about his personal conquests with Hollywood stars, and rank their performances in the bedroom. When the program filmed its finale, Topher Grace agreed to return in a brief cameo. He filmed his appearance and left without sharing in the farewells between the rest of the cast.
Mad Men had a rift over, of all things, advertising
Mad Men broke new ground for television with its depiction of 1960s Madison Avenue advertising executives and their relationships with coworkers, clients, and family. The program was controversial throughout its run. One reason for the controversy was its depiction of antisemitism in American business and society. Another was the influence of big business, such as the tobacco industry and its domination of television advertising. The program made Jon Hamm a star. It also generated considerable controversy over its depictions of alcohol and tobacco use, explicit harassment in the workplace, stereotyping, and glorification of all of the above. It also depicted the influence of advertising on the everyday lives and habits, and how that influence could be extreme.
After its extremely successful first four seasons, which aired on AMC, Mad Men devolved into a controversy between its producers and stars and the network which had made it a success. The bone of contention was two minutes per episode. AMC wanted each episode shortened by that amount of time, in order that it could sell more advertising while airing its popular show. The action also reduced the cast budget per episode, which the cast opposed. Selling advertising to support a show about advertising was to them unthinkable if it had an adverse effect on their income. Fans were unhappy about the show’s delayed production, flooding social media with their complaints. Mad Menreturned in 2012 following a negotiated settlement, with real advertising continuing to support fictional advertising for another three seasons.
Where do we find this stuff? Here are our sources:
“I Love Lucy: An American Legend”. Article, Library of Congress. Online.
“A Book”. Desi Arnaz. 1976
“Did Desi really Love Lucy? The Scandal That Rocked TV’s First Family”. Darin Strauss. Vanity Fair. August 13, 2020
“Ginger or Mary Ann? The Professor knew the answer”. Phil Luciano, Peoria Journal Star. December 30, 2020
“The Avengers: The Emma Peel Years (1965-1968)” Benjamin McVay, Cinema Scholars. June 1, 2021. Online
“Dame Diana Rigg: How the actress battled TV’s gender gap 54 years ago”. Article, BBC News. September 11, 2020. Online
“Everything William Shatner and George Takei Have Said in their Long-Running Feud”. Alexandra Schonfeld, Newsweek. October 18, 2021