Because life is so expensive, the boys decide to postulate for an opening at Jackie's dad's diner Fatso Burgers. Despite Red's solicitation training for workers' hell ('never too soon to learn how much you can take from the boss'), Eric gets it but never has any time for Donna anymore. Michael feels discriminated by lame manager Ricky for his good looks, but still had Jackie, who however makes clear she expects a provider... Written by
When her parents go away for the weekend there's a party at Donna's house, but the only person she really wants to attend is stuck working late at his new job. This fifth episode of "That '70s Show" derives much of its humor from the familiarity principle: everyone's been in similar situations to what Eric Forman is going through. Let's face it, who hasn't begun their working life with a menial job such as being employed by a fast food restaurant (or a retail outlet, or a grocery store, or a video store, etc.)? It really hits home for a lot of us and that's what makes this piece so funny.
Fatso Burger in itself is another testament to that sense of familiarity with its scarily generic set design and recognizably mundane color schematic. There's even a cookie cutter employer molded out of guest star Danny Bonaduce (who found fame in the actual seventies by appearing on another popular sitcom, "The Partridge Family"). Throw in a goofy, mock informational training video, replete with grainy black-and-white, and the scenario is concluded.
Things are also coming together nicely cast-wise for this installment. Danny Masterson has started to imbue more sincere (and sincerely endearing) sarcasm into his role of Hyde while Topher Grace (as Eric) has finally found the balance between indecisive square and altruistic centerpiece. Even Ashton Kutcher has expanded his dim bulb routine for Kelso; paying particular attention to the crafting of the job interview sequence using understated gestures and vocal patterns for maximum effect. There's still room for Kurtwood Smith to steal the one liner's spotlight as well with his slaughterhouse joke near the beginning of the program (though the introduction of Wilmer Valderrama's trademark catchphrase "it gives me needs" deserves an honorable mention, too). Last but not least, this is the episode that features Donna's famous disappearing sister Tina (played by pretty jailbait Amanda Fuller), who would never be seen again in the series' run. Overall, "Eric's Burger Job" hits almost as many high notes as one chapter of a sitcom can, making it a wonderful addition to the incredible first season.