When you’re in the same room as Red Forman, you should expect to be called a “dumbass” at some point. There are numerous examples across all 200 episodes of “That ’70s Show” of Red using his favorite word, but few have as much impact as a classic line from the Season 1 episode “Thanksgiving.” Eric ends up upsetting Donna (Laura Prepon) after getting the hots for one of his sister’s friends. This puts a damper on their will they/won’t they relationship, and Eric attempts to find solace in his father. It’s at this time Red offers the following gem: “Son, you don’t have bad luck. The reason that bad things happen to you is because you’re a dumbass. Now fix it.”
What makes this particular scene so iconic is all in Kurtwood Smith’s delivery. A lot of the time, Red operates on one level: Pure anger. When he’s calling someone a dumbass, he’s practically shouting it. In this line, he’s merely declaring it as a statement of fact. It’s almost inspiring when he follows it up with “Now fix it.” He doesn’t just accept that his son does stupid things; he actively wants him to do better because he knows he belongs with Donna.
Red loved Eric even though he had a funny way of showing it. Maybe he thought if he were tough on Eric, he would straighten out a bit. By the end of the series, that’s precisely what happened. Eric fixed it.