FOX (ended 2006)
|the reason why the show started in '76 is becuase thats when Star Wars came out|
|I think the problem was when they were coming up with the show they didn't think it would last as long as they did. If they thought it would they have set it in 70 or 71.|
I think the reason they chose 1976 instead of earlier was because it was a really fun, carefree time in America's history. If they started the show in 1970 or '71, they would've had to deal w/issues like Watergate & Nixon's resignation (OMG, can you imagine how much angrier Red would've been b/c of that?), Vietnam & the draft, the deaths of Morrison, Joplin, Hendrix & Mama Cass. Way too heavy for a sitcom. By starting it in 1976, the heaviest issue was the economy & gas crisis, which fit great in a comedy about a teen who owned a gas guzzling Vista Cruiser.
I've questioned the years that the episodes take place, too. Do the licence plates lie? Well, think about it. It's already been brought up that Eric turned 17 in 1976 and turned 18 in 1978, according to the plates. Anyway, here's how the years the plates suggest the episodes take place. (I don't think there are any mistakes, but feel free to point them out for me.)
Let me just say that what I'm about to do isn't nitpicking for the sake of nitpicking but for the sake of fun. I think that it's fun every once and a while to notice mistakes that shows make, but it doesn't really ruin the show for me because I don't mind.
Anyway, the first episode of season 5 is set during the summer before Eric's senior year. The plates say it's '78. Are the plates wrong? Most likely. I would bet that the writers placed that on the plate so people wouldn't be in disbelieve of how slow time was going (even though it went slow enough as it was). After all, if Eric was a junior in '76-'77, he'd be a senior from '77-'78, so it would be the summer of '77 instead of the summer of '78. That means that all seasons between 1 and 5 take place in '77.
Since the last episode of season 5 is graduation, it must take place in '78. Some episodes of season 5 are in '77, and others are in '78, were we to follow a realistic timeline.
Also, if I haven't made a mistake, the first episode of season 6 takes place a few weeks after the last of season 5. I doubt that Laurie's honeymoon in Mexico would last for months (even though she's the kind of person who would probably take a honeymoon that long. With that being said, at least some of the episodes of season 6 take place in '78 instead of '79, like the plate suggests.
It's hard to determine exactly when the series would (realistically) make the switch over to '79. Of course, Red's remark in the first episode of the eighth season points out that it's '79. (Eric's G.I. Joes were killed in the Great Dumpster War of 1979.)
This is where things get tricky. The writters treated each season as an invidual year, no matter how you look at it. Everyone says that Eric and Donna were apart for a year, and Eric said that he was taking a year off. There are also the holiday episodes that have been pointed out. If we wanted to make sense of the timeline, we could say that the episodes just weren't aired in chronological order, and that some of the holiday episodes of different seasons took place close to one another. Of course, you'd have to worry about story arcs, blah, blah, blah, and who has the time to do that?
If we were to take holiday episodes into account, however, then the show wouldn't be set in '79 until sometime around season 8. Remember the episode when Red told Hyde about his present stash? Well, I thought it sucked, too, but I still remember it. It took place around Valentine's Day.
Anyway, here is a much more logical (but most likely still flawed because of each season being treated as a year) year for each season.
As you can see, had a more logical year been given to each episode, then nearly half of the episodes would take place in '77. Staying in '77 for almost 5 years. That's probably why the plates had screwed up years on them.
Of course, the fact that episodes wouldn't be aired in chronological order if we were to take holiday episodes into account might mess with the order above a little. If someone had enough dedication, though, they could watch the holiday episodes of '70s and come up with a logical order for the episodes.
Are the plates wrong? Probably not. After all, this is not our creation. Perhaps it was the creator's intent for the episodes to take place exactly in the year the plates say. It's their creation. After all, if Bart Simpson can stay 9 years old for nearly 20 years, then '70s can get away with all of the errors it makes.