The iconic redhead that we loved so much from That 70’s Show is very much the girl next door. But as we watched more of the show and learned details about her personality, we realized that her portrayal as the girl next door comes with a good amount of mystery as well. Guys everywhere dreamed of Donna and girls wanted silky far out hair like hers as well as a feisty personality like Miss Pinciotti’s. She was arguably one of the most complex characters on the show with her tough, no-nonsense side, a playful side, a girly side and then just a part that was inexplicably pure Donna. If you’re reading this, then you probably grew up watching Donna and Eric move from the friend zone to planning a future together and then right back to the friend zone. The issues in her teens and young adult life rang true for many of us and it was fun to watch her tackle them with her signature take-no-bs attitude and witty comebacks. Here are 15 things that you didn’t know about That 70’s Show Fan Favorite that we’re all in like with, Donna Marie Pinciotti.
15. Donna’s Many Nicknames – Terms Of Endearment?
Friends give each other nicknames. But Hyde, Eric, “Kelso” and Fez gave Donna more than her fair share. Through the years, she endured several nicknames that she was probably wishing wouldn’t stick since none of them were flattering or desirable especially to a take-no-nonsense girl like Donna. Credit goes to Hyde for Hot Donna and Hot Neighbor Girl (Eric was “Scrawny Neighbor Boy”). She was also called Jugs A Poppin’, Big Red, Big D, Bigfoot, Lumberjack, Donna Pinch-My-Butt-i, Poop Chute Sally (because she once wore jeans that had a small hole in the back), Madam Man Fist, the Low Rider and finally, Granny Panties. Back in the ’70s, nicknames were more commonplace than they are today. And apparently, the worse they were, the more likely they were to stick around!
14. Donna’s Hydden Romance?
Of course if you’re a true blue That ’70s Show fan, then you know that according to the official storyline, there was no Donna and Hyde romance written in that went anywhere besides Hyde referring to Donna as “Hot Neighbor Girl” and “Hot Donna” or the time he said he wanted to kiss her at the disco but apparently Donna and the curly-haired wisecracker had enough romantic electricity crackling between them to inspire fans to create “Donna and Hyde love story” videos and romantic fan fiction. At one point, actress Laura truly had love for a Masterson only it wasn’t Hyde/Danny but his brother, Christopher. Maybe fans predicted a Masterson relationship in her future and got the signals crossed? In any case, I don’t think a Hyde/Donna romance would have worked out because their personalities are both so strong. Still, fans are allowed to dream.
13. Attention To Women’s Issues Across The Years
Although her character was, Donna’s mindset wasn’t necessarily stuck in the ’70s. Her troubles transcend the decade— girls of any generation, including today’s youth, can relate to heartache, breakups, father/daughter issues, fears of rejection, (intended future) mother-in-law struggles and worries of not being treated fairly by peers/in the workplace due to being a woman. Through Donna Pinciotti, girls were able to watch as she provided a good role model by handling these tough issues like a champ, always with a funny sarcastic quip or two tossed in. Teenage girls today as well as in the future can learn just as much about standing up for themselves from Donna as teens from the ’90s did. Way to leave a lasting legacy, Pinciotti!
12. She’s Real! (And So Is Eric!)
A Reddit user called GIlky800m posted this photo and claimed “My Parents are Eric and Donna from That ’70s Show.” While Reddit went wild with comments about how much the poster’s father looks more like Mark Hamill than Topher Grace/Eric Forman, you’ve got to admit that there’s a lot of likeness between the two couples. The eyes and facial expression of the men is strikingly similar. Several people have commented that the poster’s parents are extremely attractive, even more so than Donna and Eric! The fact that the photo of the real couple looks like it was likely actually taken in the ’70s just makes it that much more ironic. It’s too bad that I could’t find a photo of the real life couple today… it would have been fun to see how “the real Donna and Eric” turned out— and what their kids looked like, too! What do you think— is this couple the real Donna and Eric or is their child just a wishful That ’70s Show fan?
11. Donna Got Punk’d
Well, actually it was Laura who got punk’d and for some reason, this episode is kind of hard to find. Ashton Kutcher loved “punking” his celeb buddies and his favorite castmates were no exception. In the fifth season of his prank show, Laura Prepon goes to a nice lunch in L.A. with a gal pal. Despite her protests, a waiter claims it’s her birthday (though it wasn’t) and she gets the restaurant’s royal birthday treatment. When a staff member finds out it was a trick, he accuses Laura and her friend of trying to get a free meal and threatens to fire the waiter. Until sneaky Ashton makes his appearance by running onto the scene, Laura bought into the prank but handled it with total class all the way. So, Donna. In case you’re too young to have missed out on Punk’d, don’t worry. Ashton doesn’t discriminate. He also punk’d Wilmer Valderrama, Danny Masterson and future wife Mila Kunis.
10. Donna Went Blonde Because Of Laura’s Upcoming Role As Karla Homolka
Following the show’s storyline of Eric and Donna’s called off wedding, we see a new blonde Donna emerge near the show’s finale. Donna’s new sunshiny locks had everyone talking about the change, almost as much as “The Rachel” do from Friends back in the day! But the storyline, which states that Donna wanted to try something new and dyed her hair as a way to celebrate a new chapter in her life, hides something very conveniently. Laura Prepon was gearing up to prepare for the role of Karla Homolka, who of course is blonde, in the 2006 true crime movie, Karla. It would have been a lot of work to change Laura’s hair color back and forth and her hair would have been completely fried so the excuse that Donna’s new blonde hair signals a change worked as a perfect cover up. If you haven’t seen the film and prefer to keep the image of the feisty yet good girl Donna in your mind, trust me and skip the search.
9. Donna’s Keen Sense Of Style
High fashion alert in Wisconsin! Well, maybe not exactly but Donna was fashion forward. Although most of her looks are considered dressed down and very casual, Donna could rock a classic button-down plaid shirt or casual bandanna in her hair today, and manage to pull it off. Plus many of her wardrobe staples are coming back again. Donna loved wearing wedge cork sandals, flare jeans, a little fringe action on a jacket, kick-butt boots and that signature Pinciotti plaid. Today, Polyvore and Pinterest boards have heaps of different Donna-inspired looks so whatever she did on the show (or rather, whatever the costume designer on set did for her on the show) worked because Donna’s fashion sense is still inspiring women today! Maybe she should have started a clothing line with Jackie!
8. Donna, The Brave Soul
Whether it was about her parents “they want me to choose sides but they’re both idiots!” or verbally beating up the guys anytime they so much as thought of finishing a sexist statement, Donna was a brave girl. Sure, there were several feminist activists in the ’70s but they also faced potential backlash from their families and friends. We think that even if Donna was put in that situation, she would have told anyone where to stuff it and had no qualms about doing so. Even though they all ragged on each other, Donna earns the respect of the gang by never being afraid to speak up about what she believes in. So where was all of this courage supposed to come from? Certainly not from her maternal role model in Midge. Guess Donna was just born with it, or written with it.
7. Revenge Was Her Middle Name
Actually it was Marie but she sure knew how to deliver a healthy serving of revenge if she was crossed. This scene is hilarious and perfectly demonstrates Donna’s serving up nice cold revenge to her buddies, proving that no one was safe around her if they crossed “Big Red.” When Donna and Eric get stood up and disrespected by their friends, Donna knows that the best way to get even is to kill them with kindness. Kelso, Hyde, Jackie and Fez don’t seem to think it’s a bit odd that Donna would go to the trouble to make a batch of “special brownies” just for them after they were rude to her and Donna seems to anticipate this. Eric gets in on the act as well but it’s Donna who planned and executed it. Before Fez runs away, he looks back at Donna and Eric and yells “You bastards!” before running off and Donna just seems to be enjoying herself more at that. Mixing in chocolate Ex-Lax with brownie mix was a nice touch, wasn’t it?
6. Girly Girl
On the other hand, Donna sometimes acted girly and not like a feminist at all but most of these situations emotionally vulnerable moments in Donna’s life where in a weak moment, she reluctantly took the advice of Jackie. Of course, these moments are few and far between compared to her brave moments but it’s still worth mentioning. Besides, contrasts like this in Donna’s personality add complexity and dimension and make her relatable. For example, there was the time that she followed Jackie’s word on fluttering her eyelashes when she was alone with Eric for one of the first times after she realized she had feelings for him. Or the time she took her advice and threw a basketball game against Eric after beating him the first time. But hey— we’re not ones to judge. When it comes to true love, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do, right?
5. Eat Dirt
Although childish and mean, telling someone to go eat dirt is just a funny comeback and Donna was known for her clever and hilarious zingers. But if you watch closely you might recall that she may have had a dirt obsession as well as making other people eat dirt as a punishment. On more than one occasion, she mentions forcing people to eat dirt in some of her badass moments. One time, her mother tells her “Don’t make Tina (her younger sister) eat dirt, I mean it” and in other scenes, she threatens to make Eric eat dirt. Another time, when Eric asks her what she had for breakfast, she says, “Dirt! I swear!” Did Donna have pica, a form of eating disorder, where people feel compelled to eat things like dirt that have no nutritional value? Or maybe it’s just a random Donna Pinciotti quirk that makes her so unique!
4. Girl Power!
Donna is known on the show as the kind of girl who says what’s on her smart mind without hesitation but her character has a deep sense of principles and believes in standing up for what she believes in. I personally love that she proves she’s not one to be so drawn into Kelso’s charm that she disregards his sexist statement in this exchange that shows off her wit. When Kelso states, “college is for ugly girls who can’t get modelling contracts” Donna quickly comes back with, “No, college is for women who don’t want to marry the first idiot they meet and squeeze out his bastard moron children”— making all the women in the audience clap and cheer as well as the women watching from home. Donna’s feminist slant in her personality was meant to strongly contrast with Jackie’s ultra girly, bratty personality and it worked out very well!
3. The Voice Of Reason For Everyone
It’s a requirement for each group of people who hang out together on a regular basis to have at least one person who acts as the collective voice of reason. Everyone else may be gunning for a really fun but stupid idea and it’s this person’s job to successfully talk them out of it and name the reasons why. It’s kind of like being the designated driver for messy situations. Not necessarily a fun job but someone’s got to do it. Donna Pinciotti was a natural at it for this group of ’70s Wisconsin teenagers and they were better off because of that. Sure, Eric had a reasonably good head on his shoulders but on more than one occasion, he was easily talked into some really dumb plans. If you had to choose someone to take advice from out of the six Point Place, who would you choose? Kelso? Please! Donna’s the only logical option.
2. Just One Of The Guys
Donna’s character was so cool because she was extremely versatile. She could talk girl stuff with Jackie when she wanted to or necessary (for guy advice) but hang with the guys and it was no big deal. She fit in like one of the boys and they treated her as such. Can you see Jackie hanging out with the guys (not sitting in Kelso’s lap) laughing and shooting the breeze? Not even close. It was Donna who could jump right in teasing whoever’s turn it was and talking about guy stuff while still maintaining her image as a sophisticated tomboy— SKILLS! I think she was definitely the strong one in her relationship with Eric and he seemed to appreciate it. It’s hard to see a guy like Eric in a long lasting relationship with someone like Jackie.
1. Romeo And Donna
Though she keeps her feet firmly planted on Wisconsin soil, is generally very smart and one of the most level-headed characters on the show, Donna is a true romantic through and through. She pined for Eric when she was a preschooler. In the pilot episode, she told Eric, “you could have had me when I was four” when they discuss how they’ve known each other practically their entire lives but are only casual friends and have never expressed feelings for one another. Throughout their entire relationship, Donna playfully teases Eric yet she fully allows herself to fall head over heels in love with him. When their relationship comes to an end and the wedding that everyone was waiting for got called off, she dealt with her heartache over it in her own way and showed strength in maintaining herself well. Classy move, Donna, and not easy for a true romantic.