Joseph Gordon-Levitt only appeared briefly on That ’70s Show, but he was part of a historic episode because of his scene with Topher Grace.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt featured in one of the most memorable episodes of That ’70s Show that many fans would deem a defining moment for TV.
The actor depicted Buddy Morgan that aired during the inaugural season of the series back in 1998. Here’s a brief flashback to what happened with Buddy and the reason his cameo is discussed 20 years later.
After gaining recognition via 3rd Rock from the Sun, Joseph was a guest star on That ’70s Show season 1 episode 11 titled Eric’s Buddy.
Joseph Gordon-Levitt made a cameo as Buddy Morgan on That ’70s Show.
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In the episode, Buddy teamed with the central figure, Eric Forman (Topher Grace), as lab partners in high school. Buddy was thought to be wealthy and successful, while his stylish car immediately won over Eric.
The lab partners shared a lot of time together and Eric soon noticed Buddy was more than his social standing.
As it turns out, Buddy was gay and had a big crush on Eric. Because of Eric’s endless conversation about his troubled relationship with Donna Pinciotti (Laura Prepon), Buddy assumed Eric could be gay as well.
— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) September 18, 2017
After a deep interaction, Buddy landed a kiss on Eric. Obviously, Topher’s character was not gay and behaved in total shock. Eric came clean from the incident with his mates while Buddy was never seen again on the show.
The actor’s stint on That ’70s Show was fleeting, but it was memorable in TV history.
How Did Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s Cameo on That ’70s Show Make History?
— Joseph Gordon-Levitt (@hitRECordJoe) December 6, 2018
The kiss between Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Topher Grace on That ’70s Show was the first-ever kiss between two men on North American primetime TV.
The season one kiss between the two stars took place merely months before another gay kiss in an American teen drama series Dawson’s Creek.
It wasn’t the first gay kiss, though, since there were many programs before the sitcom that featured a snog between two female characters. Despite it being the late ’90s, it was still a big deal and a monumental moment for TV. Unfortunately, the fan-reaction was split.
There were suggestions Gordon-Levitt was set to play a recurring part in the show, but the viewer’s reception of the kiss scrapped the idea. Some were not exactly upset by the kiss, but rather how Eric responded to Buddy’s orientation in an exaggerated manner.
Critics also pointed out the fact that the kiss and Eric’s reaction were intended for laughter.
In the meantime, Buddy was comfortable with his identity and felt no shame about his sexuality, which is precisely the reason Gordon-Levitt felt quite proud to play the character in the scene.
The series’ timeline was set in the ’70s when the majority of people were not tolerant of homosexuality, and the scenario was a reflection of the times.
Either way, the episode of That ’70s Show acted as a message on representation for all those concerned.