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In That 70's Show it is almost always seen that when Eric talks about his father he uses his father's first name "Red" and Donna uses "Bob and Midge" for her parents and I think Steven Hyde also does the same for his mother. I personally find that disrespectful and unusual in general.

Is it a common practice in US culture?

But I have seen other American movies and TV shows where people refer to parents by Daddy, Mom, Pappa etc (e.g. Friends).

So is this something specific to the 1970s?

  • 1
    It's not uncommon but it is situational dependent. It's a cultural thing. – Paulie_D Sep 26 '18 at 18:34
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    It is sometimes a "thing" for rebellious teenagers to do. – SiXandSeven8ths Sep 27 '18 at 18:14
  • Compare The Simpsons where Bart always refers to Homer by name. – OrangeDog Sep 28 '18 at 11:06
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In some cases it does not always mean disrespect, as some parents may encourage or allow this in order to provide trust and create more equal footing by attempting an anti-authoritarian approach to parenting.

However, in the case of That 70's Show it most likley is meant to invoke disrespect or a breakdown of previous American family structure, because the 1970's period is about the decline of a movement of young people (hippies and flower children) rebelling against the establishment, which is furthered by the backdrop of The Vietnam War.

An Anit-establishment view or belief is one which stands in opposition to the conventional social, political, and economic principles of a society. The term was first used in the modern sense in 1958, by the British magazine New Statesman to refer to its political and social agenda. Antiestablishmentarianism (or anti-establishmentarianism) is an expression for such a political philosophy.

In some ways That 70's Show sometimes mocks "Hippie culture", because like in real life, it became a part of mainstream culture, becoming marketable, proving the lack of organization from the 1960's birth (Summer of Love) a failed venture, but still pushed for other sociopolitical movements, such as the sexual revolution.

One way to rebel against the establishment would be to break the social norms between parents and children. However I do not recall if this was true in each case of every character that did so on the TV series and of course there is loads of irony coming from all directions of political correctness of such a debate.

  • Is your use of the words “equivocate” and “wane” what you really mean here? – 1252748 Sep 28 '18 at 0:20
  • Ah cool, just checking. – 1252748 Sep 28 '18 at 2:47
  • "a part" and "apart" mean opposite things. Which do you mean? – OrangeDog Sep 28 '18 at 11:06
  • Also note that in the case of Eric, he jumps between "my dad" and "Red" depending on the context. More often than not, "Red" is used when Eric thinks his dad is being Red, whereas "my dad" is used when Eric considers his dad to be acting like a normal dad. – Flater Oct 1 '18 at 9:03
  • Also note that it's not inherently 70's culture that ties into this. The Simpsons made it a key point that Bart calls Homer "Homer" ever since he can speak, much to Homer's discontent. This is part of Bart's rebellious nature. Lisa later does the same (as she is similarly rebellious, albeit in a different way), whereas Maggie is the first to call Homer "daddy". – Flater Oct 1 '18 at 9:04
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I believe they do it to add a sense of adulting and rebellion to the character's personalities.

  • Do you have any evidence to support this, or is it just a guess? – Meat Trademark Sep 26 '18 at 21:45
  • I do believe the core of your answer is correct, but the answer suffers from massive quality issues. A few tips to get you started (1) Elaborate your answer to explain your belief, rather than merely stating your belief and expecting us to put blind trust in your unfounded asumption (2) Can you corroborate your claim with examples from the show? (3) Can you compare why Hyde/Donna/Eric (who call their parents on a first name basis) are different from Jackie/Kelso (who don't?). These are good additions that dramatically improve the question. – Flater Oct 1 '18 at 9:11

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