Out of all the characters of That ‘70s Show, Jackie has had the most relationships with members of the core six characters, having dated everyone but Eric and Donna. And with good reason too, as Jackie is arguably the most beautiful, charismatic, funny, and interesting character that has ever set foot within the hallowed halls of Eric Forman’s basement. Despite everyone’s (sans Kelso) initial dislike for Jackie in the pilot, by the time Season 8 rolls around, she’s firmly cemented within the group, leading to her three canonically romantic relationships over the course of the show.
Since Jackie has had so many relationships, the discourse surrounding her relationships runs rampant throughout the That ‘70s Show fandom. But it’s finally time to settle the score and come to a general consensus on the many lovers of Miss Jackie Burkhart.
Jackie and Eric: 9/10
I genuinely don’t understand why Jackie and Eric as a concept is not more popular within the fandom. At first glance, you may recoil in both fear and loathing, but let me remind you, dear reader, of 2000s teen drama relationships such as Summer and Seth, or Blair and Dan, each of which have developed their own cult following. So why shouldn’t Jackie and Eric receive the same treatment just because Fox was too afraid to make it happen?
At the end of the day, the truth is that teen dramas have taught me nothing if not that nerdy boys make the best boyfriends. Jackie and Eric both have similar desires for committed relationships that Kelso, Hyde, nor Donna just can’t seem to satisfy. The only reason why I’m taking one point off is that we never saw it actually play out, so there’s no real way to know if it would’ve been awkward or not. That being said, the nerdy boy and mean girl trope will always have the keys to my heart.
Jackie and Hyde: 8/10
I love Jackie and Hyde, I really do. I think the decision to put them together over her and Kelso was infinitely genius and probably saved both of their character developments to some extent. Hyde being in an on-screen romantic relationship was humanizing for him, and the fans would not have appreciated Donna and Eric being broken up for his sake. Additionally, their relationship coincided with Jackie’s mother’s abandonment of her family, and Hyde was able to support her more than Kelso ever did.
That being said, sometimes they are nauseatingly toxic. In reality, Hyde was way too emotionally unavailable and noncommittal to ever make Jackie truly happy, and by the end of the show, she wanted to get married and have a family, which he wasn’t able to provide. He wasn’t able to tell her that he loved her until after he cheated on her, which in and of itself should be a glaring red flag.
Jackie and Kelso: 3/10
I don’t think anyone with any media literacy skills at all has ever liked their relationship past Season 1. At a certain point, the relentless cheating with numerous girls got to be way too much, and it started to lose shock value. There was the month-long affair with Laurie, and then kissing Pam Macy, and dozens of other women who I can’t even remember just because of how much of a serial cheater Kelso was.
Besides the constant cheating, Kelso was just genuinely a bad boyfriend. Maybe Jackie was overcritical of him or had too high of expectations, but it wasn’t like he had the best interests of their relationship at heart either.
Jackie and Donna: 8/10
Maybe I’m insane for this, maybe I’m genuinely a little crazy, but the more I think about these two in practice, the more into it I get. If you recontextualize all of the scenes in which Donna tells Jackie to break up with Kelso because she could “find someone much better,” it really gets you thinking. I could see this working out so well with a friends-to-lovers mutual pining sort of scenario.
The only issue I have with this relationship is that like Hyde, Donna wants a certain kind of freedom, and may not be able to provide Jackie with the stability that she desires. That being said, most of Donna’s reasoning for not wanting to settle down with Eric relates somehow to a desire for rebellion from the patriarchy, so she may not have that issue within a queer relationship.
Jackie and Fez: 2/10
I think Fez and Jackie might be the only That ‘70s Show relationship that’s hated to the extent that it is. And the worst part is that they end up together. I don’t even know where to begin when explaining how bad this is. I don’t know who’s idea was, but I think in reality, the writers were too scared to bring about Jackie and Donna, Hyde was married to a stripper, and Kelso and Eric were both off the show.
The thing is, Fez has had some perverse obsession with Jackie for almost all 8 seasons, and then they just miraculously get together? It makes zero sense, and disgusts me. I pray everyday that the reboot will undo this horrible decision, but I don’t have high hopes at the moment.
It makes perfect sense to me that Jackie would be such a hot commodity throughout the show, even if some of the relationships she gets herself into would be questionable at best. However, I still mourn the ghosts of Jeric and Jonna (Donkie?) on the daily.