A fan theory suggests that Eric Forman was in a coma for a big portion of That '70s Show, and passed away in the sitcom's series finale. Topher Grace portrayed the character for seven seasons before exiting the series in 2005. He returned for the show's series finale the following season.
That '70s Show benefited from its ensemble cast, especially with young breakout stars at the forefront of the sitcom. Eric might not have been the strongest character in the series, in terms of comedic power, but he served as the central figure of the series. His home, more specifically, the Forman's basement was the main hangout for Eric and his friends. When Eric left for Africa ahead of the show's eighth and final season, That '70s Show struggled to fill the void left by the character's absence.
Even though That '70s Show ended over a decade ago, the sitcom still has a heavy fan following. The popularity spawned a number of fan theories, but none are as wild as the belief that Eric fell into a coma in the middle of season 4. According to the fan theory (via Reddit), Eric was badly injured during the episode, "Tornado Prom." During the episode, the gang was at the high school for prom but Eric ventured out to pick up Donna at the radio station. Meanwhile, a tornado headed straight for Point Place but Eric missed the weather warning. While he was driving to the radio station, the tornado was seen in the rear window of the Vista Cruiser. The theory suggested that Eric was actually hit by the tornado and fell into a coma.
The Evidence Supporting That Eric Forman Was In A Coma
To support the coma theory, the Redditor pointed out an interesting detail in the episode. At the end of "Tornado Prom," Red and Kitty were in the basement when they hear that the tornado warning has been lifted. Following the message, the news announcement continued with the statement, "And updating our top story, a local teen is in critical condition....," which may have been a reference to Eric and his injuries.
If Eric was hit by the tornado, he could have very well been in critical condition. The theory added that the rest of the series was then told through Eric's mind while he was in a coma. The timeline for the second half of the series was notably mixed up. This confusion was said to be Eric's mind trying to fill in the blanks of the events that he was missing. His absence in the final season was suggested as Eric's brain finding out how his loved ones would carry on without him. To take the theory a step further, the theory stated that Eric's return in the final moments of the series finale was Eric coming to terms with his impending death and saying one last goodbye to his loved ones. He then supposedly passed away as That 70s Show ended.
The Problems With The That 70s Show Coma Theory
Although there's some evidence that supports the theory, it's also difficult to believe that a sitcom would go this deep. Most of the evidence relies on the inconsistent timeline, but it's been since proven that the series often aired episodes out of order. There's a correct way to watch That '70s Show that better matches the timelines based on the production order, and which casts doubt upon the theory, but it's fun to consider nonetheless.