Point Place

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Point Place is the fictional town in, Wisconsin in which the television sitcom That '70s Show took place. The town was depicted as being very small, although this is sometimes contradicted by other occurrences, such as the town having its own mall, library, courtyard, hotel (and a motel) and police and fire department.[original research?] According to the episode "Hey Hey What Can I Do," Point Place's economy seems to be largely built around slaughtering (in fact, a later episode reveals a roadway named "Slaughterhouse way" due to the fact it leads to a slaughterhouse).

Background[edit]

Over the course of the series, Point Place is depicted as a population center gradually evolving from an industrial town into a growing suburban city during the economic downturn of the mid-to-late '70s. During the period between 1976 and 1980, 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, Bargain Bob's (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 and Muffler Master (which purchased the Forman & Son business) moved in and opened. During the eighth and final season, in contravention to this trend, the William Barnett-owned music chain Grooves is 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 rich town. Though Jackie thinks it looks like Paris, the town is often verbally bashed by some characters. Republican politics have been referenced as impacting the town: Jackie's dad, who was a local Republican politician (before landing in prison for financial crimes), organizes a campaign rally for President Ford in 1976, which is attended by much of the town, including both Eric's and Donna's parents. At the event, Red criticizes Ford for pardoning Nixon (though Red is later depicted as a Nixon diehard).

Point Place is located within the fictional Greater Oshkosh Area of Wisconsin.[1] The "FAQ" on the program's official website 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. There is an episode where the gang travels "down" to Kenosha to go to a movie."[2] This seemed to be directly contradicted by concrete information given in several episodes,[3] 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. Over the course of the series many local businesses and events were identified as being in or taking place in Kenosha (which is actually 155 miles 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[edit]

Forman residence[edit]

The main setting for most of the series. The Forman house is not home just 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 stays with them while Immigration Services conducts an investigation on him. Jackie secretly moves in with Hyde in the basement after her father is sent to prison and her mother is nowhere to be found. Donna spends the night with Eric on occasion, and even Bob needed sanctuary once after being kicked out by Midge. Most scenes in the series were shot in the Formans' home, notably the basement, a favorite hangout spot and the locale for most of the "smoke out" scenes. Some of the most pivotal moments in Eric and Donna's relationship occur as they recline on the hood of the Vista Cruiser in the Forman driveway.

Pinciotti residence[edit]

The house right nextdoor to the Formans', and a frequent setting for episodes in the series, primarily those involving members of the Pinciotti household: Bob, Midge and Donna. (There was also a younger sister, who was written out of the series.) Eventually Bob and Midge break up, but agree to continue living together even while dating other people, causing Donna much stress. In later seasons, Midge has run off, leaving Bob to stew over the depressing shambles of his former life. He starts dating again and eventually starts seeing Jackie's mom Pam, played by Brooke Shields. Midge returns unexpectedly, and decides to shack up with Bob and Pam in some sort of bizarre threesome. Eric's parents, who used to get along fine with the Pinciottis, have long since written them off as weirdos, and mostly steer clear of the madhouse.

Burkhart residence[edit]

The house where Jackie lives until her father is carted off to prison. The planning session for President Ford's visit is held here, as well as the "high class" party Jackie holds to test Kelso's fitness as a lifelong mate. Predictably the evening ends in disaster at Kelso's hand, and Jackie is forced to admit that she is "in love with a doofus."

Kelso residence[edit]

Though not seen as much as the above mentioned residences, this is the house that Kelso, his brother Casey, and their parents and four other siblings lived in. Donna and Eric both went there to confront Casey about his behavior. Eric also went there in need of a toilet (when he was unable to use either one at Donna's house or his house) but was rejected by Kelso for refusing to hold a party. Casey's bedroom is shown in Season 4, Ep 22, "Eric's Corvette Caper", when Donna and Jackie snoop around in his room while he is gone, and are met by Kelso sleeping in Casey's bed.

The Hub[edit]

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".[4] The Hub also had fake wood paneling and what appears to be a large peace sign painted on the wall behind the jukebox, although as the series progressed and video games rose in popularity, the machines were removed and replaced by a Space Invaders cabinet, and the Hub was painted, replacing the wood with a simple white wall.

The water tower[edit]

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"). A running gag involves someone—usually Kelso—falling off the tower every time the characters climb it. Charlie Richardson is the only known person to have died from falling off the water tower (resulting in its rechristening as the Charlie Richardson Memorial Water Tower). Those from the gang who fall off it rarely end up in a hospital; most times they get away with scratches and bruises (to which Kelso once remarked "Screw that, I'm invincible!" after falling off the tower shortly after Charlie's death). The tower was also the site of Eric and Donna's engagement. it was also the site of Fez's and Jackie's first official kiss as a couple. In the final episode, Fez and Hyde trick Kelso into jumping off the tower one last time.

Dog food factory[edit]

An unnamed factory owned by Joanne, Bob's girlfriend after Midge left. Eric briefly worked here after Red fired him from Price-Mart, though was fired by Joanne after she broke up with Bob.

Fotohut[edit]

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 Hyde's assistance. Leo claims to own more of these huts, but forgets where they are. When Leo disappears, Hyde, Kelso, Fez and Jackie discover that everything from the Fotohut has disappeared as well.

Grooves[edit]

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 is owned by Hyde's biological father, William "WB" Barnett, who later sells the chain and gives Hyde the last remaining store in the final season. By the end of the series, it is run by Hyde with help from Randy and Leo.

Forman & Son muffler shop[edit]

Red'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 both him and Hyde a job. The shop is ultimately closed down in the eighth season after Red sells it to a big muffler chain and retires. The store is apparently turned into a parking lot by the chain.

The Slaughterhouse[edit]

An unseen slaughter house located in or near the town on Slaughterhouse drive. It's possible one of the employments Eric was interviewed for in "Hey, Hey, What Can I Do?" (5x18) was the company that owns the slaughterhouse.

Point Place Veteran's Association[edit]

A VFW type place for military veterans. The place was known for excluding National Guardsmen until Bob sent a series of angry letters to get them to change their policy. Red is well known here. The place is notoriously anti-hippie, even setting up Jane Fonda targets in the urinals, though Leo was treated with respect due to his veteran status.

Bargain Bob's[edit]

Bob's appliance store, apparently the only store open on Christmas Eve, which is seen during the first three seasons. Red briefly works there as well. When Price-Mart comes to Point Place, Bob can't compete with them and is forced to close the store.

Price-Mart[edit]

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 ("The Sound")[edit]

A small radio station specializing in 1970s hard rock. Donna works there for most of the series as an intern and later a full-time DJ. Her on-air nickname is "Hot Donna."

Point Place Church[edit]

An unnamed church attended by the Formans. The denomination is never stated; it has no priests and no apparent Catholic iconography, but it is nonetheless attended by Bob and Midge Pinciotti, established Catholics. During Season 1 Episode 10 Sunday Bloody Sunday, Red's mother, Bernice Forman notes the number of Polish in the congregation. Services have been officiated by two different characters: Pastor Dave (Kevin McDonald) and Pastor Dan (Billy Dee Williams). Eric Forman also mentions taking communion in one episode.

Point Place High[edit]

The high school of the town. Every major character attended high school here. The team name is the Vikings. The gym is the town bomb shelter. Eric always has the best parking spot next to the exit. The high school resides at 2120 South Michigan Ave., Point Place, WI. The street address is an in-joke; 2120 South Michigan Avenue is the name of a 1964 instrumental by The Rolling Stones, itself based on the street address of the offices and recording studios of Chess Records and Checker Records, at 2120 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago.

Our Lady of Perpetual Sorrow[edit]

An all-girls Catholic school established about 10 miles from Eric's house. Donna was sent here for her senior year as punishment for running off to California.

Old Maine[edit]

The Elementary school most of the gang attended until it burned down. The gang returned here on Halloween one year to find their permanent records had survived the fire.

Point Place Junior College[edit]

An unseen community college Donna attends in lieu of going to the University of Wisconsin to be with Eric (it is also implied Randy attends here). While the education is described as lackluster, the college is located right next to a Dairy Queen (Free Peanut Buster Parfaits are handed out the first day of class).

Funland[edit]

An amusement park about 12 miles from Eric's house. The mascots are Woofy the funland dog and the Funland Princess. When Woofy hears someone ask for the time he jumps in and says it's always "fun o'clock" (except for closing time), usually followed by a barbershop quartet. Kelso gets lost every time he goes there because "there's fun around every corner".

War Memorial Auditorium[edit]

A stadium built mainly for concerts. The gang sees Ted Nugent there in one episode.

Mount Hump[edit]

A mountain popular as a destination to have sex. Donna and Eric planned to have their wedding here. During the planning, they accidentally destroyed Kelso's van. The guys try to row a canoe down the mountain once. A nearby lake (where the gang has camped before) is reputedly filled with alligators, though this is mostly a myth cooked up by the cops for reasons unknown.

Nipple Creek[edit]

An unseen creek that was mentioned as a possible location for Eric and Donna's wedding.

The Vikings' Lounge[edit]

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.

Fez's apartment[edit]

Fez's home after his marriage to Laurie fails and he has to find another place to live, (he also says his host parents, the Erdmans, found out he graduated high school). Initially he shares the place with Kelso. Red takes delight in messing up their apartment when they first move in. After Kelso moves to Chicago, Jackie moves in. Fenton, being the landlord, lives below them.

Erdman residence[edit]

The Erdman couple initially host Fez. They have a distaste for rock & roll music and the Devil. In Season 1 Episode 8, Hyde refers to the them as Ozzie and Harry.

Holiday Hotel[edit]

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 also 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 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[edit]

Houses many of Point Place's retail amenities such as The Cheese Palace, where Jackie takes her first job as Cheese Maiden. Halverson's department store is where Kelso gets 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.

Point Place Public Access[edit]

A public access TV station serving Point Place, offering programs such as local news and presumably "What's up Wisconsin?", hosted by Christine St. George (Mary Tyler Moore). Jackie once had a show where she mostly talked about trends she considered cool and bashed people she hated, and later served as an intern for "What's up Wisconsin?". There was also a belly-dancing show that Bob Pinciotti once co-hosted (much to Donna's horror).

Fatso Burger[edit]

An old fashioned burger joint that the gang likes to eat at. Eric's first job was here, though left due to the demand for his time. The drive thru contains an iconic statue of the mascot Fatso the clown, which was once stolen by the gang and accidentally destroyed by Fez upon trying to return it. Bob impregnated Midge in the parking lot (apparently while she was drinking a Milkshake).

Point Place Hospital[edit]

The town hospital where some of the major characters are sent for suffered injuries. Kelso is sent there after an allergic reaction to eggs (he drinks raw eggs to try and impress Jackie). It is also where most of the male characters go after falling off the water tower (though depending on the activity they may lie to their parents about it). Red is sent there after his heart attack at the end of season 5. Leo is sent there after a car accident in which Fez drives into some crates which fall on top of Leo. Kitty Forman, in the beginning of the series, works as a nurse there, and later quits. She soon wishes to go back and remains employed there throughout the rest of the series. Eric goes to work with her in the episode "Career Day".

Point Place Police Academy[edit]

The academy all new recruits for the Point Place Police force go to learn about police basics. Kelso attends the school to become a cop, though temporarily transferred to an academy in Waukegan, Illinois after he accidentally burns down the one in Point Place during flare gun practice gone awry.

Charlie's Bar[edit]

A bar in Point Place where some of the adults and possibly the teens hang out. On Red's last day of work at the auto-parts plant, he joins his coworkers at the bar for one last drink. Ironically, this is the only time Red drinks with them here (the coworkers are presumably hated by Red but are friends with each other and apparently hang out here).

Bus station[edit]

A bus station for Greyhound and other cross country buses. In season 1 episode 9, the Forman family pick up Laurie and Kate (Laurie's friend) on their Thanksgiving holiday visit back from college. Eric dropped Donna off here when she was planning to go to college (though she stayed behind). In another episode, Kelso tries to drop Jackie off here so she can head for Chicago to begin her new job, but she refuses because "other people's butts have been in those seats" and demands Kelso drive her there.

Jeri's Fresh Hair[edit]

The hair salon which employs Fez in Seasons 7 and 8. It is also Donna Pinciotti's hair salon. Jackie Burkhart also works here briefly.

Phillies[edit]

A diner briefly shown in the eighth episode of season 1 where Red and Kitty eat. The camera zooms out, showing the diner from Nighthawks.

Blannigan's[edit]

This casual restaurant for young folk replaced the high class The Lion's Head restaurant, which previously burned down. Both of these venues are featured in Drive-In Season 1 Episode 8, when Mr. and Mrs. Foreman are trying to be more spontaneous, due to poor results in a Cosmo survey.

McDonalds[edit]

Located near the Forman's house. Leo mentions that he got lost trying to get to their house and ended up at McDonalds, which he calls "that one house where the clown lives".

K-Mart[edit]

Jackie mentions one is opening up on Franklin Street.

Nearby Referenced Locations[edit]

Kenosha[edit]

Mrs. Foreman references to another town, Kenosha, as "quite a drive", and Eric bargains his curfew to be pushed to 1am on Saturday night, implicating quite some distance. [That Disco Episode (season 1 episode 7 minute 2)]

Neighbor Midge Pinciotti refers to a Community College in Kenosha. She is taking the class The Woman Warrior: Fighting Female Stereotypes [Stolen Car (Season 1 Episode 14 Minute 4)]

The National Guard Armory at Kenosha hosts World Wrestling Federation Professional Wrestling in That Wrestling Show (Season 1 Episode 15).

Mackinac Island[edit]

Mrs. Foreman reminisces dancing to the song Volare by Dean Martin at The Avalon, a venue on Mackinac Island that she and Red used to frequent. Eric implicates that this is an even further than Kenosha. [That Disco Episode (season 1 episode 7 minute 3)]

References[edit]