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Point Place

Point Place is a fictional small suburban town in Wisconsin, somewhere near Kenosha, Wisconsin, in which the television sitcom That '70s Show takes place. The characters speak with a Midwestern accent, consistent with the inhabitants of Wisconsin. The town is depicted as being extremely small, and many jokes allude to the town's having a dismally low population, although this is sometimes contradicted by other occurrences, such as the town having its own mall and police department. It would make sense the town had a population of anywhere from 3,000 to 15,000. According to the episode "Job Fair," Point Place's economy is largely built around slaughterhouses.

Over the course of the series, Point Place is depicted as transitioning from a small industrial and suburban town into a growing city during the economic downturn of the late 1970s. During the period between 1976 and 1979, small, locally-owned businesses are forced to close as aggressive chain stores move in and rust belt factories are shut down due to the fall in consumer demand. Other closings include the auto parts manufacturing plant (where Red Forman was a supervisor), a local appliance and electronics store (owned and operated by Bob Pinciotti), the local Foto Hut chain (owned by Leo) and the Forman & Son muffler and auto repair shop (itself built in a former local muffler business). In their stead, large chain stores such as Price Mart (a thinly veiled parody of K Mart, which was popular in the 1970's) and Muffler Master (who purchased the Forman & Son business) moved in and opened. The eighth and final season depicted a subtle turnaround in this trend with the William Barnett-owned music chain Grooves being sold and closed, with the sole remaining store becoming the privately-owned business of Barnett’s son, Steven Hyde.

The town is depicted as a somewhat poor town. It is not really liked by most of the characters. Though Jackie thought it looks like Paris, France, most other characters see it as a crappy town, or "crap-hole".

Although the location of Point Place within Wisconsin was never fixed on the program itself, the "FAQ" on the program's official Web site says, "Point Place is a fictional suburb of Green Bay, Wisconsin. This is why many Wisconsinites may recognize names of nearby towns such as Kenosha. This seemed to be directly contradicted by concrete information given in several episodes, such as the fact in one episode ("The Velvet Rope") it was possible to drive to Chicago, attend a party, and drive back in the course of a few hours and in another Kelso explicitly states that Chicago is a two hour drive from Point Place, and the fact that over the course of the series many local businesses and events were identified as being in or taking place in Kenosha (Kenosha is actually 155 miles (249 km) from Green Bay).The name Point Place was chosen for the town because co-creator Bonnie Turner is from Toledo, Ohio where there is a section of town called Point Place.

Points of interest

  • The Forman Residence - The main setting for most of the series' scenes. The Forman Family home is more than home to Red, Kitty, Eric and Laurie. Most of the main cast members have stayed with the Formans at least once. Hyde was permanently taken in when his mother skipped town. Fez stayed with them while Immigration services conducted an investigation on him. Jackie would sneak into the basement to stay with Hyde when her father was sent to prison and her mother was no where to be found. Donna would spend the night with Eric on occasion and even Bob needed sanctuary after being kicked out by Midge. Kelso requested to stay in Laurie's room after Betsy was born to keep her safe from his rowdy brothers and all of the dogs in the Kelso home. Most of the scenes in the series were shot in the Forman's home, most notably the Basement. The driveway is where Eric and Donna's most pivotal moments in their relationship are shot while they laid on the hood of the Vista Cruiser.



  • The Hub — Point Place's local teen hangout, a tiny short-order diner renowned amongst Point Place's youth for its french fries. While the pilot depicted it as being a toned-down version of a cowboy bar, subsequent episodes presented it as a 1950s-style soda fountain. Earlier episodes depicted it as containing a small pinball arcade primarily featuring the Williams pinball game "Travel Time", although as the series progressed and video games rose in popularity, the machines were removed and replaced by a Space Invaders cabinet.
  • The Water Tower — Point Place's signature landmark and a popular after-hours hangout spot for the town's youth, which has been repeatedly vandalized by the gang, including the painting of a pot leaf (although, it looks more like a hand giving the finger), one testicle, and the tag "MICHAEL + JACKIE" (which was later repainted erroneously into "MICHAEL + FEZ"). Every major male character except for Randy Pearson, Bob Pinciotti and Red fell off the tower at some point during the series' run; in Kelso's case, multiple times. Charlie Richardson is the only known person to have died from falling off the water tower (since his death, the Tower was renamed as Charlie Richardson Memorial Water Tower). The ones from the gang who fall off it rarely end up in a hospital, the most times they get away with scratches and bruises. The tower was also the site of Eric and Donnas engagement.
  • Fotohut — The town's photo developing lab (based on Fotomat). It was located in a small shack in a grocery store parking lot. The business was run by town hippie Leo with the assistance of Steven Hyde. Leo claimed owning some more of this huts, but forgot where they were. When Leo disappeared, Hyde, Kelso, Fez and Jackie discovered that everything from the Fotohut disappeared as well.
  • Grooves — The town's record store, opened in the late 1970s as part of the invasion of chain stores into Point Place's formerly locally owned business scene. It was owned by Hyde's biological father, William "WB" Barnett, who sold the chain and gave Hyde the final remaining store in the final season. By the end of the series, it was run by Hyde with the help from Randy and Leo.
  • Forman and Son's Muffler ShopRed Forman's muffler shop which he opened in the seventh season. The name of the store is ironic, in that, Eric never worked there, though Red did offer Hyde a job. The shop is ultimately closed down in the eighth season after Red sells it to a big muffler chain and retires.
  • Bargain Bob'sBob Pinciotti's appliance store which is seen during the first three seasons. Red briefly works there as well, which is apparently the only store open on Christmas Eve. When Price-Mart comes to Point Place, Bob can't compete with them and is forced to close the store.
  • Price-Mart — A one-stop shopping center akin to Wal-Mart which both Red and Eric work at during the second through fifth seasons; Red as an assistant manager and Eric as a stock boy. Eric is ultimately fired by Red after he announces he's engaged to Donna and Red leaves the store after suffering a heart attack at the end of the fifth season.
  • WFPP — A small radio station specializing in 1970s pop music and hard rock. Donna worked there for most of the series as an intern and later a full time DJ. Her on-air nickname was Hot Donna.
  • Point Place Church — An unnamed church attended by the Formans. The denomination was never stated; it featured pastors as opposed to priests and no apparent Catholic iconography, but it was attended by Bob and Midge Pinciotti, established Catholics.
  • Fatso Burger — A locally owned fast food restaurant and location of ridicule for Point Place's teens. Eric had his first job there, though he quit due to the job's high demand for his time. Both Red and Kitty went on dates on Friday nights there during their courtship. While Kitty became attached to the small-town charm of Fatso the Clown, Red believed they were just there to eat burgers. Fatso the Clown is stolen by the gang in the eighth season and is summarily destroyed (accidentally) by Fez. The restaurant was once owned by Jack Burkhart, before he went to prison for bribery.
  • Point Place High — the high school of the town. Every major character attended all four years here (except Donna and presumably Fez). The team name is the Vikings. Known as the town bomb shelter.
  • Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow — An unseen Catholic high school Donna attended in her senior year, And is established 15 kilometers from Eric's home.
  • Old Maine — A grammar school most of the gang attended until it was burned down by arson, presumably by Hyde who claimed he was out of town that week. The gang once visited the remains on Halloween.
  • Funland — An amusement park 12 miles from Eric's house. The gang tried to get Eric and Donna to go after their break up, but both declined (Eric was depressed while Fez asked Donna while he was in her bathroom). The mascot is Woofy the Funland Dog. It seems Kelso always gets lost here because "there's fun around every corner".
  • The Reservoir — A popular hangout for the gang, mostly for skinny dipping. During one skinny dipping session the gang's clothes got stolen, forcing them to drive to Hyde's house naked.
  • War Memorial Auditorium — A stadium built mainly for concerts. The gang saw Ted Nugent here once.
  • Mount Hump — A mountain popular as a destination to have sex. Donna and Eric planned to have their wedding here, during which they accidentally destroyed Kelso's van.
  • The Lake — A lake nearby. The gang once camped out here, when many incidents occurred. The police apparently once started a rumor that an alligator was in the lake, possibly to stop teens from skinny dipping.
  • The Sleepytime Lodge- A motel "three pukeholes" down from the Hub.
  • The Starlight Motel- A motel Red and Kitty went to on their wedding night and on their anniversary 25 years later.
  • The auto salon — Red loves going there for car shows, much for Kitty's dismay, either to watch cars or brag about his Corvette (that he sold shortly afterwards) or about his muffler shop.
  • The Viking's Lounge — This is for elderly men what the Hub is for the youth. This is the place where elderly men, including Red (and, twice, Steven Hyde) hang out and hide from their wives. It is also known for having a sauna, where Hyde gets uncomfortable when the old men open their robes.
  • That One House That Needs to be Painted — A house featuring a poor paint job that acts as that closest thing to a ghetto Point Place has.
  • Eric Forman's basement - The Forman's basement, and also the frequently used hang-out of the gang. The reoccurring 'circle' is normally seen in the Forman's basement, where the gang gets high.
  • Holiday Hotel- A hotel in Point Place where the high school job fair takes place. It is here that Hyde meets up with Roy Keene, his former "Big Brother", and takes a job as a hotel kitchen worker under Roy's supervision. It is here that Kelso gets involved with the Point Place Police Academy during the job fair and in the interim takes a job as a bus boy for the hotel. Eric is in need of cash to support his family and make money to marry Donna and wins the title of waiter in a competition against Kelso. Nurses conventions and weddings are frequently held at the Holiday Hotel. Presumably based on Holiday Inn.
  • Point Place Shopping Mall- Houses many of Point Places retail amenities such as The Cheese Palace where Jackie took her first job as Cheese Maiden. Halverson's department store is where Kelso got an underwear modeling job. The jewelry store is where the character Fenton is introduced, and it is mentioned he worked at the lingerie store before that. There is also a bridal store where Jackie goes every week to try on wedding dresses. The mall is one of Jackie's favorite places to be so she can pretend she is a Dallas Cowboys Cheerleader and sign autographs for 6th graders. Midge thinks the mall is a great place to wear White Shoulders perfume. Based on the glory days of '70s shopping malls.

References

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