Skip to main content

The most likable characters on That ’90s Show, ranked

For fans of That ‘70s Show, it may be difficult to come to terms with the fact that the time period in which the sitcom initially aired is now considered a throwback era for the sequel series. Set in the same home in Point Place, Wisconsin, 15 years after the events that ended That ‘70s Show, That ‘90s Show follows Eric (Topher Grace) and Donna’s (Laura Prepon) teenage daughter, Leia (Callie Haverda), and the antics she gets up to with new friends she meets in town.

What was to be a quick visit with her grandparents Red and Kitty (Kurtwood Smith and Debra Jo Rupp, reprising their parental roles) turns into a summer that saves Leia from having to attend Space Camp with her dad. The nerdy loner Leia happens upon a group of teenage outcasts with whom she fits right in precisely because none of them truly fits in either. Through the 10-episode first season, a few characters have already emerged as fan favorites.

7. Jay Kelso

Michael Kelso squeezing his son Jay Kelso's face while both men smile in a scene from That '90s Show.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

What would That ‘90s Show be without a Kelso? While Michael (Ashton Kutcher) and Jackie (Mila Kunis) make a short cameo in the first episode, it’s their son, Jay (Mace Coronel), who is a main character on the show. Much like his father, he’s a handsome womanizer with a history of being a “player.” But he instantly takes a liking to Leia.

Jay, however, shows a bit more depth than his dad did on the original show. While Michael Kelso was ditzy, it seems like Jay puts on an act more to live up to his father’s “cool” reputation, but is far smarter and more emotionally intelligent than he lets on. With plenty of room to grow, Jay will likely continue to be a fan favorite should the series be picked up for a second season.

6. Sherri Runck

Sherri from That '90s Show trying to ride a bike while Red looking on smiling.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Andrea Anders, who fans might recognize from her many supporting roles in movies like Daddy’s Home 2 and Spirited, as well as TV shows like Young Sheldon and Modern Family, plays the Forman’s new neighbor Sherri, who is renting the old Pinciotti house. The aimless, struggling single mom of half-siblings Nate and Gwen is revealed to be dating Fez (Wilmer Valderrama returning in a recurring role).

Sherri quickly makes herself at home at the Forman home, taking Kitty up on her offer to use their shower until hers is fixed, going “shopping” in their fridge, and getting relationship advice from the far-too-kind Kitty. She fills the nosy and annoying neighbor sitcom trope perfectly. But there’s something about Sherri’s strong Wisconsin accent, high ’90s-style scrunchie ponytail, and no-care attitude that makes her likable despite her invasive nature.

5. Nikki

Nikki sitting at the kitchen table on That '90s Show, holding a paper and smiling at someone.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Every group of teenage friends on a show like this needs that one bookworm friend. The person is the overachiever who is happy to get up to all the silly antics, but when it’s all said and done, school and their future is a priority. On this show, that’s Nikki, played by Sam Morelos.

She’s ambitious, intelligent and, as typical high school rules would dictate, she’s dating the school jock, Nate. The mismatched pair have physical chemistry, but it’s clear they will eventually be following very different paths in life. Still, fans love Nikki’s maturity and kindness, like when she helps Kitty update her résumé to apply for a nursing job at the school. Nikki is making the most of her youth and enjoys every moment of high school life. But unlike the others, and even at such a young age, she’s already thinking several steps ahead and is aware of (and preparing for) something bigger out there in her future.

4. Red Forman

Red Foreman playing cards and looking angry in a scene from That '90s Show.

One of two returning main characters on the show (though there are plenty of nostalgic cameos, including both main and guest stars from the original), Red Forman hasn’t changed a bit. Happy to live a quiet life reading his newspaper in the kitchen and tending to his garden, the “old” Red comes out as soon as he sees his son — or any young kids — coming around the house again to disrupt his peaceful existence.

From the flowing insults and glaring looks to the “foot in your ass” threats, Red’s comic relief is just as funny several decades later as it was back in the ’90s. What makes Red so likable despite his surly attitude, however, is that beneath the tough exterior, he has heart. and not just for Kitty and Leia, but for others, too. Cases in point include when he went out of his way to help Sherri and quietly gave Nate an old plaid shirt he knew he liked.

3. Ozzie

Ozzie from That '90s Show smiling while talking on a cordless phone.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

One of the funniest characters on That ’90s Show, Ozzie (Reyn Doi) is the outcast who seemingly doesn’t care that he doesn’t fit in. He’s content being himself, rarely shows emotion, and loves to chat with his French-Canadian boyfriend, Etienne, who lives in Quebec (and no one believes exists).

Despite not being part of much of the drama that goes on with the rest of his friends, Ozzie is always there to offer sage advice, or deliver a biting comment. He approaches the idea of a young man being gay in the ’90s in an honest way, recognizing the difficulty he’ll have in coming out to his parents. Fans love how confident he is in himself and how comfortable he is in his own skin.

2. Kitty Forman

Kitty Foreman smiling, her hands to her face in a scene from That '90s Show.
Netflix

Just as Red hasn’t changed a bit, neither has Kitty. While Red has reveled in having an empty house, Kitty is right in her element the second she learns Leia will be staying and that there’s a new group of local friends to make use of the lonely and iconic basement. She’s quick to invite them over any time they want (much to Red’s chagrin), and starts planning a grocery list of snacks: this includes “Doritos, Tostitos, and all the itos.”

Kitty’s blissful innocence at times is countered by her ability to enforce rules when needed, even if she’s always doing it with her signature high-pitched voice and jovial attitude. Kitty has a few stand-out moments in the first season, including her heart-to-heart with Ozzie when he decided to come out to her (before telling his parents) and her dental surgery tattoo incident. It’s impossible not to like Kitty, who is always so warm and welcoming, and happy to give up her basement, her shower, even her groceries to whoever needs it.

1. Leia Forman

Leia Foreman smiling while sitting in the "basement circle" on That '90s Show.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Leia is the perfect combination of Eric and Donna. She’s dorky but, when push comes to shove, she can be fiercely confident as well. Younger than her parents were at the beginning of That ‘70s Show (Leia turns 15 during the first season), she still has a lot of learning to do and plenty of coming-of-age challenges. But she’s relatable to anyone who knows what it’s like not to fit in, especially at such a crucial and difficult age.

Her innocence is what makes Leia so endearing — from her admittance that she had never kissed a boy before to being unable to choose a movie for movie night — to the point that her peers might consider “hip” and “cool.” While Leia is open to trying new things, it’s always simply to have a good time and push her own boundaries, never because she’s giving in to peer pressure.

You can stream That ’90s Show on Netflix.

Editors' Recommendations

Christine Persaud
Christine has decades of experience in trade and consumer journalism. While she started her career writing exclusively about…
Yellowjackets season 2 episode 1’s shocking ending, explained
Shauna carries a tray of meat into a cabin in Yellowjackets season 2 episode 1.

The Yellowjackets season 2 premiere, titled Friends, Romans, Countrymen, picks up where the show’s first season left off.

In the past, the surviving Yellowjackets are still struggling to make it through a difficult winter. In order to cope with the increasing darkness of their reality, Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) and Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) have begun using the former’s daily hunting trips to put together a map of the wilderness around them. In case it wasn’t bad enough that Natalie’s hunting trips continue to produce little results, though, her lover and hunting partner, Travis (Kevin Alves), has also become consumed with trying to find his missing brother, Javi (Luciano Leroux). Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), meanwhile, has taken to talking to the corpse of her dead best friend, Jackie (Ella Purnell).
Clues in the present reveal Yellowjackets' past
In the present, Tawny Cypress’ Taissa still hasn’t fully come to terms with the severity of her renewed sleepwalking spells, while Melanie Lynskey’s adult Shauna spends most of the season 2 premiere trying to finish covering up her season 1 murder of her former boyfriend, Adam. In order to do so, Shauna and her husband, Jeff (Warren Kole), break into Adam’s former art studio, have sex, and then proceed to destroy all of the many paintings that Adam did of Shauna while they were together. Later, after jamming out privately to Papa Roach, Jeff helps Shauna burn all of Adam’s remaining belongings, as well as the journals she kept during her time in the wilderness as a teenager.

Read more
Watch these 5 movies and TV shows before they leave Netflix in March
Jason Bateman peaking through some bushes in a scene from Arrested Development.

Every month, licenses expire and movie and TV show titles are removed from streaming services like Netflix. In some cases, Netflix has even removed (and continues to remove) its own original series to make way for new content and to keep the interface fresh and up to date. Already in March, for example, movies like Air Force One, Shutter Island, Cake, and Scream 4 have been removed, as have shows like Borderliner (a Netflix original) and all three seasons of Sundance series Hap and Leonard.

What’s going next? We’re here to update you on which movies and TV shows will be leaving Netflix this month as well as when they’ll be leaving so you can watch them before they’re gone.
Arrested Development, seasons 1-5 – 2013-2019 (leaving March 15)

Read more
The best sci-fi shows on TV right now
Billy Crudup standing in a suit beside a sign that says Brightside in a scene from Apple TV+ series Hello Tomorrow.

In an era when everyone has too much TV to watch, it can somehow still be difficult to find a good sci-fi show. Many of them are too convoluted for their own good, or lack the great characters that always make quality sci-fi sing. It's always possible to go back to the sci-fi shows you used to love, of course, but sometimes you want something that's still airing to meet your regular sci-fi cravings.

Luckily, we've tracked down five of the best sci-fi series still airing new episodes for you to enjoy. This list includes a few shows that have been running for decades, or that are part of larger cinematic and televisual universes. Elsewhere, though, there's some more original content that you might find equally satisfying.

Read more