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10 best Jackie Burkhart quotes

10 best Jackie Burkhart quotes from That ’70s Show
Mila Kunis is nothing like Jackie Burkhart, a fact that spoke to the young actor's aptitude and comedic prowess in her breakout role. (Photo by Mark Mainz/Getty Images)

Jackie Burkhart was Mila Kunis’ breakout character in more senses than being her major role. The way the two bookend the likability scale underscored the precocious actor’s aptitude.

“She’s a horrible person,” Kunis acknowledged while revisiting some of Jackie’s lines for a Cosmopolitan YouTube video last month.

Kunis laughed as she said this, much like her fans did when they saw her in character on That ’70s Show.

Regardless of her time period’s standards, Jackie comes across as backwards, out of touch and insensitive to those less well-off. The alienating rich-girl archetype is not above twisting herself into prize-winning pretzel art in order to have everything both ways.

That is nothing like the Ukrainian expatriate whose early life taught her to take nothing for granted. If Jackie existed in the real present day, Kunis would surely call her out on occasion.

Fortunately, while she might embody polarizing attitudes on gender and class, Jackie herself is pure fiction. Her role may be funny because it’s true, but the emphasis is on funny. The humor steps up when it is at her expense, although there are also times when she deserves sympathy.

With Kunis turning 35 this Tuesday, and the 20th anniversary of her character’s first appearance coming next week, now is an exceptional time to revisit the most knee-slapping lines she spoke on ’70s.

10. “That’s one.”
Being a sophomore, Jackie must find a way to occupying herself while her junior friends finish Career Day. She finds a currently jobless Red Forman repairing his car, and the two form what initially looks like an unlikely bond.

By the episode’s epilogue, though, it starts to make sense. Jackie borrows one of Red’s milder admonishments to Eric, reasserting her professed superiority based on class.

In addition, the line foreshadows Red’s future status as a reluctant father figure to Jackie. While her actual dad is present in Season 1, her need for a surrogate will become apparent later.

9. “Can’t wait to be divorced.”
Leave it to Jackie to turn the focus on her, and to add an unlikely positive spin.

With Eric overseas throughout the final season, Kitty considers Fez a surrogate son. She thus disapproves of his dating one of her friends, then drowns her sorrows in margaritas when he defies her.

While Donna attempts to comfort Kitty, Jackie joins in and articulates the inspiration she is drawing from Fez’s flame. Though nowhere close to tying down with anyone herself, she already fantasizes about a fallout where she will flex her monetary muscles.

8. “Mom, what are you doing in there with that wet, hairy man?”
Sure, it is awkward when two longtime friends see one of each other’s parents get together. That is what we see for a time during the sixth season, when Pam Burkhart shows up and starts dating Bob Pinciotti.

Still, Donna is Jackie’s most willing female friend. By the same token, as discomfiting as the arrangement may be for both kids, robbing Bob of his individuality is not the smoothest way to handle it.

In fairness to Jackie, neither she nor Donna were prepared to see their respective parents together in Bob’s hot tub. Their eyes get the vision before their brains, and Jackie blurts a hilariously and characteristically shallow reaction.

7. “That’s what we’re made of, you dumb***.”
Bob is not the first of Jackie acquaintance’s to acquire an improper phrase in lieu of his name. Adding to the intrigue of this line, it is another brick in Jackie’s gradual taking after Red.

Amidst Eric and Donna’s breakup throughout the fourth season, Eric’s ex puts him off by replacing her recently relocated mother with his. One of the least likely pairs of allies in the gang of six teenagers results when Jackie stresses why this is bad news for Eric.

But of course, she does not hesitate to reaffirm their friction when Eric incorrectly guesses that girls gossip about “Sugar and spice and everything nice.” In response, she also goes against her own statement by tacking on Red’s go-to put-down.

6. “This is so great. You guys all hate Laurie, and you love me.”
When you are as shallow as Jackie, seeing your rival disqualified feels as good as a hard-earned victory. That is the conclusion she reaches when Eric and friends say that would rather have her in the basement than Eric’s own sister, Laurie, whom Kelso has started dating after Jackie caught him with her.

As a bonus, this leads up to Jackie’s can’t-miss comeback that clinches her quarrel with Laurie. When Laurie warns her to “watch your back,” Jackie retorts, “you should stop spending so much time on yours.”

Even Kelso cannot help admiring that “burn.” At best, his reflexive reaction calls into question whether he has moved on from Jackie. In the wake of another breakup, she will return the favor.

5. “Get off my boyfriend!”
This line is so memorable it serves as its episode’s alternate title.

At the previous season’s ending, Jackie had mistaken Kelso’s incredulous question for a marriage proposal. Paralyzed by his unwitting commitment, Kelso had joined Donna in California, where he began a more-carnal-than-anything relationship with Annette.

Jackie has unequivocally moved on by the middle of Season 5, when Annette shows up in Point Place. Unequivocally, that is, until she sees Annette and Kelso making out on the Formans’ living-room couch.

4. “I can’t wait until all of Donna’s giant clothes are out of the closet. I don’t even go in there now. I’m afraid I’ll fall into one of her shoes and never be heard from again.”
Jackie’s relentless critiques of Donna’s size and strength doubtlessly grow tiresome for the recipient, if not everyone. But when the two are rooming together, Jackie makes like a biting stand-up artist with this uproariously absurd visual.

The fresh spin and detailed elaboration on the otherwise bland Donna-is-a-lumberjack motif makes this statement work. Granted, Jackie is sitting in “the circle” when she says it, but there are no penalties for PEDs here.

3. “It’s simple. The women just need to be a cook in the kitchen, a maid in the living room and an acrobat in the bedroom. And I can hire a cook and a maid.”
After Eric and Donna divulge their engagement, they decide to simulate their marriage. This leaves the rest of the gang to assume their positions in the circle and share their takes.

According to Jackie, the hopeful spouses need not rehearse their roles. Naturally, though, her unique view is informed by her privilege and I-got-mine hypocrisy.

Nothing conveys her desire to dodge the downsides of gender stereotypes quite like banking on substitutes for two-thirds of her duties.

2. “If I could run across the beach into my own arms, I would.”
Kelso’s relationship with Annette does not last one episode beyond “Get off my boyfriend.” He loses his rebound when he once again takes a turn confirming he is still hung up on Jackie.

The ensuing love triangle continues for the rocky balance of the fifth season. By the finale, Jackie decides she is weary of tormenting her suitors. It is hard to blame her after one cheats on her and the other responds by trying to seduce her.

When asked who she chooses, she not-quite-predictably, yet not inconceivably, picks herself. All things considered, that is the right choice, as neither guy deserves her or anyone now.

But the way Jackie elaborates reaffirms her own selfishness and makes for another one of those top-notch mental illustrations. Comedically speaking, her sincere delivery seals the deal.

1. “Nobody ignores Jerky Backhart!”
Once again under the influence, Jackie speaks a deeper truth than she intends. This botching of her name is a solid sequel to the spoonerism from her first attempt at anchoring public access.

Backie Jurkhart might as well be spelled Jerk Heart. The adjective she later errenously enunciates as her first name cuts to the chase even quicker.

Despite the gaffe, unlike her nervous crumble on TV, Jackie stays assertive in this context. She will not give an inch to the notion that others do not desire her company.

With that said, unlike Kunis, this is someone we don’t mind seeing in this state of self-imposed embarrassment.

Al Daniel

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