‘That ’90s Show’s Debra Jo Rupp Admits She ‘Just Cried’ When ‘That ’70s Show’ Kids Returned (Exclusive)

'That '90s Show' stars Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith talk about the 'new energy' of the young cast, reuniting with the 'That '70s Show' kids all grown up, and more.

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Kitty and Red Forman are welcoming a new generation of kids into their home in That ’90s Show. They’ll be housing their granddaughter, Leia Forman (Callie Haverda), for the summer in the brand-new Netflix series. HollywoodLife spoke EXCLUSIVELY with That ’70s Show vets Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith about reuniting on screen and working with this new group of kids.

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Debra Jo Rupp and Kurtwood Smith as Kitty and Red Forman. (Netflix)

“It was very exciting, and it actually helped I think with the difference between the ’70s and ’90s. It helped with the decades, you know, to have new energy to bounce off it,” Debra Jo told HollywoodLife during the show’s press junket. “That was very helpful. I like to work with young actors and new actors, especially when they’re so talented. We have this group of kids that really care about what they’re doing, and they work really hard. They navigated COVID so well. I’m not sure I could have done that at their age, rehearsing with a mask all week and then the mask comes off, and all of a sudden you have the whole face and having to adjust in front of an audience. They do a remarkable job.”

When That ’90s Show begins, it’s 1995. Kurtwood revealed that Kitty is “really excited” to have “new life in the house, rather than grumpy old Red.” Meanwhile, Red is “disappointed because he thought he was going to have his nice little retired life where he sat in his chair and read his paper, and all of a sudden he’s got these little monsters all over the house in his closet trying on his flannel shirts, and in the basement, and in the refrigerator. He feels like he’s under attack.”

Debra Jo and Kurtwood also reunite with their onscreen son Topher Grace and more of the original That ’70s Show cast, including Ashton Kutcher, Mila Kunis, and Laura Prepon. Kurtwood said it was “great” to work with the old gang again.

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Kitty and Red with Eric and Leia in ‘That ’90s Show.’ (Netflix)

“Well, I just cried,” Debra Jo admitted. “They didn’t come all at once. They came kind of individually. Every time one of them would step through that living room door or the kitchen door, I would get a little teary. Honestly, I’m just so proud of them. I’m so proud of the people they’ve grown up to be and their careers and their families. I guess I’m a bit like a puffed-up mom. I don’t know. It was kind of emotional.”

As for who Eric and Donna’s daughter takes after, the answer is simple for Debra Jo and Kurtwood. “Oh, I think she takes after her dad with the exception of I think she’s had it with all the Star Wars in regard to her dad,” the actor told HollywoodLife. “She’s a bit more practical, which I think she gets from her mom. There’s something sort of fascinating the way she accepts her own geekiness and deals with it and makes it work for her, which is something Eric did as well.” That ’90s Show premieres January 19 on Netflix.

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