Zenmasters is the pairing between Jackie Burkhart and Steven Hyde, named after Hyde's lessons to Jackie about how to be Zen in "Cat Fight Club". Their numerous fans call themselves "Zennies" and have since the original airing of "Cat Fight Club". Theirs is arguably the most popular ship from the show. Discussions about them thrive on social media sites such as tumblr.com and on message boards like fanforum.com, generating thousands of likes and reblogs as well as hundreds of thread topics through the years.
New Jackie and Hyde fan fiction continues to be posted each day on fanfiction.net, and the pairing has over 700 stories and counting on the site. This number does not take into account, however, stories on other sites like livejournal.com and archiveofourown.com, among others.
Many fans attribute Jackie and Hyde's popularity to the fact that the characters challenged each other to grow and change for the better. They also have an undeniable physical chemistry.
The relationship can be split into six parts
- First date
- Separate Ways
Jackie and Hyde's relationship before the episode "Kiss of Death" ranges from mutual annoyance to compassion. Hyde often urges his friend Michael Kelso to break up with Jackie, but he also doesn't approve of Kelso's bad behavior toward her (e.g., abandoning Jackie to danger in Halloween and cheating on her with Eric Forman's sister, Laurie Forman).
On the surface, Jackie and Hyde act disdainful of each other. She is "shallow and rich and mean and bossy... everything that [he] hate[s]" (Jackie Bags Hyde). Hyde, meanwhile, is "scruffy" and "poor". Subtextually, though, their behavior tells another story. Hyde seems to relish his connection to Jackie, however negative, and Jackie repeatedly shows trust in Hyde when she's upset.
- Jackie goes to Hyde for comfort about Kelso. She sits almost in his lap, and he holds her while she cries.
- Jackie, heartbroken about not being able to go to the junior prom, asks Hyde to take her.
- Hyde refuses to go to the prom with Jackie until she (fake) cries in his lap.
- Hyde's initial reaction to Jackie upon seeing her on Prom night is, "Hey. Wow, you look beautiful."
- Hyde's fingers don't close around Jackie's hands while they dance at Prom, as if he's afraid to touch her.
- Hyde sees how miserable Jackie and Kelso are without each other. He puts his own dislike of their relationship aside and gets them back together.
- Kelso shoves Jackie aside when he fears for his life in the burnt-out school, Old Maine. Kelso later justifies his behavior, and Hyde says, "I don’t wanna come out in favor of saving Jackie, but that’s the price you pay for docking your love boat in Jackie-vya
- Hyde reads Jackie's permanent record. He reveals to everyone with impish glee that her middle name is "Beulah".
- Jackie's reaction to Hyde's revelation about her name is to scream that she hates him and to physically attack him.
- Hyde does everything he can -- outside of directly stating facts -- to get cheating Kelso caught by Jackie.
- Hyde admits to Donna that he is "laying traps left and right to get Kelso caught".
- Hyde tries yet again to get Kelso and Jackie broken up.
Once Jackie catches Kelso cheating on her with Laurie, Jackie seeks comfort and companionship in Hyde. His objections are weak at best, and he spends time with her. He even goes to far as to teach her an emotional-distancing technique of his, something he calls "Zen," so that she won't to succumb to Laurie's taunts. Hyde's protective feelings toward Jackie come out fully during this period. Hyde defends and protects her against Laurie.
After "Cat Fight Club," Jackie becomes infatuated with Hyde and hero-worships him. She also becomes hungry for his attention, something he does not want to give her; but he in spite of himself, he develops romantic feelings for her ("Jackie Bags Hyde"). He only fully realizes this after they have their first real kiss. Jackie, however, has a different response to their kiss. Although she admits the kiss "was hot," she also says she "didn't feel anything". Hyde echoes this sentiment, but his body language and previous dialogue reveal the truth.
- Jackie finally discovers that Kelso has been cheating on her with Laurie. She breaks up with him and runs into Hyde's arms, crying, "Hyde!"
- Jackie asks Hyde if he would miss her if she was gone from the basement. Hyde answers uncomfortably. He tries to say something sympathetic about her breakup with Kelso and has trouble. He mumbles that it's important to have friends' support.
- Jackie invites Hyde to the mall, and he declines, saying he meant for her to get support from "friends like Donna or not me."
- Jackie convinces Hyde to spend time with her buy offering to pay for a meal at The Sizzler.
- Jackie buys Hyde a pair of new boots at the mall.
- Jackie looks as if she's going to cry, and Hyde says scornfully, "Oh, what are you going to do now, cry?" But when he sees that she's really crying, his whole demeanor changes. His voice and words become sympathetic, and he moves closer to Jackie in the car. He puts his arm around her shoulders and brushes his hand through her hair repeatedly.
- Jackie mistakes Hyde's kindness for attraction, and she tries to kiss him. He shoves her away and says, "No! Bad Jackie!"
- In dialogue cut from the episode, Hyde says Jackie's on the rebound and that she doesn't really want him (source: http://s194.photobucket.com/user/zenscreencaps/media/Scripts/KScarscene2.jpg.html").
- Hyde says he's trying to help her and that she can do better than Kelso. He also reassures her that she'll "find someone great".
- Fez wants to ask Jackie out, and Hyde says, "That's a bad idea, Jackie's on the rebound right now. Why don't you just give her a break?"
- Eric shouts for Jackie to get out of the basement while they all play Monopoly, and Hyde defends her, stating, "[Jackie is] better than having Laurie down here. She's like a big cancerous tumor. And Jackie, she's like a tiny benign cyst." Jackie repays his kindness with Monopoly money.
- Hyde is clearly not happy when Laurie burns Jackie in the basement.
- Hyde tells Jackie that Laurie wants Jackie to hate her, that she "feeds on your anger, man. It only makes her stronger."
- Hyde invites Jackie into his "Dojo of Coolness" and teaches her the art of "Zen," of being aloof and unresponsive to Laurie's taunts.
- Hyde willingly spends the day with Jackie to help her learn "Zen".
- Hyde variously calls Jackie "Grasshopper" and "small grasshopper" during this episode.
- Hyde invites Jackie to the circle for the first time.
- Jackie successfully uses Hyde's Zen techniques against Laurie until Laurie says something Jackie can't emotionally-distance herself from. Jackie physically attacks Laurie and wins the fight.
- Jackie says her fighting Laurie "wasn't very Zen of me, was it, Hyde?" Instead of being disappointed, however, Hyde is proud. He says, "Where Zen ends, ass-kicking begins.
- Jackie tells Donna that Hyde is "the sweetest coolest guy I’ve ever met," that her feelings of hatred toward him have changed.
- Jackie tracks Hyde down at The Hub. She informs him she signed them up for roller-disco lessons at Skate World that night. He rejects her, saying, "You and I don’t have anything in common. You’re, like, a square, a cheerleader. So just roller-disco on out of here, okay?"
- Jackie isn't deterred by Hyde's rejection. She shows up later at The Hub's back alley and gives Hyde the pot she bought off her housekeeper. She says, "I just wanted you to know that I'm not a square cheerleader. I am on the wrong side of the law."
- Hyde asks Jackie with disdain if she wants to be a burnout now. She says no and, "I just wanna be with you, okay? I think you're one of the coolest, sweetest guys I've ever met." Hyde gets angry, says, "No, you don't!" and tosses the bag of pot onto a car.
- A cop shows up and threatens to arrest Jackie for possession, but Hyde protects her by convincing the cop the pot is his. Hyde gets arrested instead.
- Hyde continues to protect Jackie -- by keeping a secret that the pot he got arrested for was hers -- despite that Red kicks him out of the house for being "a dopehead".
- Jackie wants Hyde to be "on the streets" so he'll have to rely on her and his "love for [her] will grow]. She tries to keep Donna from telling the Formans the truth about the pot.
- Red allows Hyde to stay in the house once Donna tells him the truth about Jackie's pot. Afterward, Jackie claims to their friends that she and Steven are "in love". She hugs him forcefully and doesn't let him go.
- Jackie yearns for Hyde's love. Hyde wants Jackie to leave him alone.
- Jackie says to Hyde that "This hatred thing you have for me is just you protecting yourself." She also says to him, "You’re afraid to reach the peaks of love, for fear of being dropped off a cliff. Well, I’m your safety line, Steven. So grab me." To which he replies "Go grab yourself, freak."
- Jackie asks then begs Hyde to be her roller-disco partner in a competition. He refuses, saying, "Hey, how about instead you hit me in the face with a wrench, and I black out?"
- Jackie says, "It's a last chance at love ... our love. Now, will you or will you not skate with me?" Hyde replies, "I would, Jackie, but seeing you there in your cute little skating outfit, with all your tassels and sequins, I might be tempted to ... push you down a flight of stairs."
- Jackie crashes Kelso's van, destroying its bumper and rear doors. Kelso gets angry and shouts at her, and Hyde tells him to relax.
- Hyde helps Jackie and Kelso "figure out" what they "owe each other" monetarily. Hyde demonstrates whose side he's on by pointing out that Kelso, among other things, burned down Jackie's house.
- Kelso complains about Hyde's final tally. Hyde says, "You could have been a man and forgiven her. But, no. You wanted to do the math."
Jackie invites Hyde to go to Mr. Forman's Veteran's Day barbecue with her, but he rejects her. She doesn't absorb the rejection, however, or the one following. At his wits' end, Hyde composes a haiku for her on the spot to "explain [his] feelings" to her. This, she understands and becomes dejected. Jackie asks Donna why Hyde "had to hurt me like that". Donna explains that Jackie's been "stalking" Hyde and that she is to Hyde what Fez is to her. Finally, Jackie realizes the depth of Hyde's rejection, and she says, "Oh, God, Steven and I will never happen. ... I wish my daddy could buy him for me."
Jackie brings a date (Chip) to the Formans' barbecue to make Hyde jealous. He reacts Zen, which Jackie sees through, thanks to her lessons in "Cat Fight Club". His aloofness is clearly an act, and he seems unhappy Jackie has brought a date. Hyde takes it upon himself to question Chip. Chip says listening to all of Jackie's "talking" is "worth it if [he] can nail her." Hyde doesn't like this answer and says, "You should probably think about that, man. Jackie's kinda young. She's only had, like, one boyfriend so..." In response to Hyde's warning, Chip says, "Hey, that's not a big surprise. You know, she's a bitch." Hyde likes this answer even less and says with a sigh, "Oh, no," before slugging Chip in the jaw. Chip falls unconscious. Jackie runs to the scene and asks Hyde what happened. Hyde is barely coherent when he answers, unsure of what happened himself, but Jackie puzzles it together and says, "[Chip] called me a bitch, and you hit him!" Hyde tries to deny it, saying, "No," but Jackie says, "Liar. I am the bitch, and you love me!"
Jackie begins to idealize Hyde even further and sees him clad in shining armor and sitting on a horse. Hyde says, "Stop staring at me. Quit it! I'm not this guy. Oh, God." Hyde enters the Formans' kitchen angrily. Kitty Forman asks Hyde if his "girlfriend" is okay. Hyde says Jackie isn't his girlfriend, that she's everything he hates, and Mrs. Forman argues that Hyde has feelings for her. Hyde, wanting to find out the truth of his feelings, invites Jackie on a "freakin' date". Jackie and Hyde go to the hills of Mt. Hump. They sit variously on the hood and trunk of her father's Lincoln. After thirty minutes of not talking, Jackie claims "This is the best date ever." Jackie says Hyde doesn't have to say anything because she understands him. She says Hyde is "wondering, 'How can I open up to her [Jackie] when everyone I have ever loved have abandoned me? Am I even worthy of love?'" Then she says, "Well, you are, Steve. You are."
Hyde responds to Jackie's sentiment by blowing a raspberry at her. She hops off the car and tells him to take her home, but he doesn't want the date to end yet. He invites her back to the car, offers her his soda, and she puts his arm around her shoulders. During the course of the date, Hyde gives Jackie his denim jacket. Toward the end of their date, Jackie asks Hyde what he thought of it. He says, "It was no worse than bowling... I don't hate bowling." Jackie and Hyde kiss deeply. Afterward, Jackie claims she "didn't feel anything," and Hyde seems surprised. He says, "Nothing?" She says the kiss was hot then asks him if he felt anything. He hesitates, says no, then he almost recants it by saying, "Well..." then he reaffirms his no. Jackie looks down sadly, and Hyde touches his fingers to his lips and rubs them, clearly having felt a lot more than "nothing". Though this could've just been the actor's body language.
After their unsuccesful date, Jackie and Hyde's relationship is treated by season 3 and season 4's storylines, with rare exception, as if it never existed. The characters' interaction with each other is limited, and neither of them mentions their kiss to anyone. Certain scripted scenes and unscripted moments between Jackie and Hyde, however, have created a "Zennie" subtext that link the two main halves of the relationship. Jackie and Hyde seem to have a physical closeness none of their friends (except maybe Fez) notice. Hyde still demonstrates a protectiveness over her and celebrates her burns of other people, and he tries to make Jackie and Kelso fight (to win a bet).
- Hyde tries to provoke Jackie and Kelso into fighting, going so far as to knock Kelso's soda onto Jackie's shirt, in order to win a bet.
- Hyde scares off Wuffy (the Fun Land mascot) when he tries to get handsy with Jackie.
- Jackie brings a girl who she deems not to be pretty (Rhonda Tate) to Eric and Fez's "get Hyde a girlfriend" party.
- Hyde offers Jackie a low-five for her burn of Eric.
- Jackie stands by Hyde and agrees when he says he wants to gift-wrap Pastor Dave.
- Jackie and Hyde are cast as Mary and Joseph in Eric's Christmas pageant.
- Hyde teases Jackie at her new job, saying, "The floor is shiny and I can see your heiny."
- In Fez's fantasy, Hyde is seen holding Jackie's hand briefly.
- Hyde draws a unibrow on a sleeping Jackie.
- Jackie happily accepts the task of planning Hyde's eighteenth birthday, though so does everybody else.
- Jackie quits the task of planning Hyde's birthday when Hyde says he refuses to celebrate it.
- Jackie plants her hands on Hyde's stomach and kisses his cheek at his party. He puts his hand on the small of her back in a partial hug.
- The two are shown dancing together when the main cast performs Shake Your Groove Thing by Peaches and Herb.
- Hyde catches Jackie when Donna shoves the Formans' kitchen door open (Hyde, Jackie, Kelso, and Fez were eavesdropping on her breakup with Casey Kelso).
Jackie and Hyde start a romantic relationship in season 5. Despite Eric and Donna's disapproval, both Jackie and Hyde are determined to be together. They go through various growing pains with each other, both learning how to be better people individually and in a couple. For example, Jackie teaches Hyde that love goes beyond arguments and anger ("Misty Mountain Hop", and Hyde gives Jackie a safe place to be vulnerable ("Bring It on Home").
Also, Hyde puts Jackie's feelings above his own. When he has trouble comforting Jackie properly about her father's imprisonment ("Black Dog"), he doesn't give up. He tries more than once to do so verbally and asks others for advice (e.g., the Formans, Eric and Donna). Eventually, he shaves off his beard for her, something he refused to do earlier in the episode, and it cheers her up. He "let the razor say the words [he] couldn't speak."
Kelso tries numerous times to break Jackie and Hyde up, but his attempts fail until "Your Time Is Gonna Come". Upon seeing Kelso making out with another girl, Jackie shouts, "Get off my boyfriend!" Hyde breaks up with her over this, but Jackie wins him back by finally telling him she loves him -- and without expecting to hear it in return ("Babe I'm Gonna Leave You".)
Ultimately, Hyde's lack of trust gets the better of him, and he believes Jackie is cheating on him with Kelso ("You Shook Me (1)"). He sleeps with a nurse, not out of lust, but out of pain and anger. He wants both revenge on Jackie and to break up with her for good. He knows he can best accomplish both by sleeping with another woman.
The truth comes out, however, that Jackie was merely comforting Kelso over Fez's sex dream about him (Nobody's Fault But Mine"). Hyde confesses to Jackie right away about what he did with the nurse, and she breaks up with him. Hyde broods in misery, even going so far as to listen to country music.
Kelso says he'll be going after Jackie while Hyde sulks in the basement and says "Whatever." This spurs Hyde into action, and Hyde goes to the Pinciottis. He tells Jackie, for the first time, that he loves her. For a moment, this declaration seems to reach Jackie, but she says back, "Yeah, well... I don't love you" and leaves.
In Immigrant Song," Hyde thinks he's lost Jackie forever. He and Kelso fight over Jackie at the water tower, resulting in Kelso falling off it. Hyde and Kelso make a pact at the hospital to put their friendship first and not go after Jackie. Jackie rushes to the hospital, however, thinking Hyde was hurt.
Hyde is shocked to see her. Then he realizes that Jackie "came down [to the hospital] because you still cares about me... So I still have a shot with you." He stares at Jackie in a love-daze while she half-denies his words. He continues to stare, in-love, after she kicks his shin and while Kelso slings his arm around him, claiming that no "chick is gonna come between [them] anymore".
Later, Hyde tells Kelso that he's changed his mind and is "gonna get Jackie back." Kelso asks about their pact, and Hyde says, "Look, Kelso, I never felt this way about a girl before, okay? And that pretty much beats our third grade pact. And I'm sorry, but I want to be with her."
Jackie, though, still acts undecided in "Celebration Day". She pits Hyde and Kelso against each other to prove who loves her the most. In the end, she decides that she loves herself the most and will take the summer to make her choice between her ex-boyfriends. This is how season 5 ends.
In the first episode of season 6 ("The Kids are Alright"). Jackie pretends still to be undecided, but she confesses to Donna that she's chosen Hyde. Jackie eventually tells Hyde this fact -- and that she "missed [him] so much". They have a hot make-out session in the basement that's interrupted by Hyde's leather-clad date (Raquel). Hyde says to Jackie, "You didn’t think I was gonna wait around for you all summer, did you?"
Later in the episode, Jackie fantasizes about getting Hyde back and swears she'll do it.
Jackie and Hyde finally reconcile in "Join Together" -- with Kelso's help. He finally and truly "released" Jackie in the previous episode, having realized she'd grown beyond him thanks to Hyde. Jackie and Hyde's reconciliation doesn't come easily. Jackie tries to seduce Hyde, and he resists (though it's hard for him). Their pride gets the better of them, too. They both initially refuse to admit they want to be with each other. Jackie proves herself to be the braver person, however, and risks confessing she wants to be with Hyde. Hyde then confesses he wants to be with her. She attempts to get another, "I love you" out of him, but he tells her not to "push it," and they kiss.
During "Magic Bus," Jackie and Hyde make out heavily on Donna's bed. Jackie says, "Steven I am so glad we're back together. I thought I'd lost my little Puddin' Pop forever." Hyde says, "Wanna hear something sick? I actually missed you calling me 'Puddin' Pop.'"
They continue to make out and are interrupted by Eric and Donna. Jackie inadvertently lets slip her pet name for Hyde, and Hyde's teased relentlessly for it. In the circle, Jackie almost reveals Hyde's pet name for her, but he stops her by shoving Eric's birthday cake in her face.
In "The Acid Queen,"Jackie learns Hyde can't lie to her. He tells her he thinks Brooke Rockwell is hot when Jackie asks him. Jackie variously asks and orders Hyde to lie to her and say he doesn't think Brooke is hot, and he refuses to do it.
Jackie goes to Mrs. Forman for help. Jackie says, "How do I know [Steven] loves me if he doesn't obey me?" Mrs. Forman gives Jackie the advice to "pick her battles". Jackie takes this advice to heart. She tries once again to get Hyde to lie about thinking Brooke is hot and he refuses once again. Then Jackie asks him to "go to the drug store and get [her] a Vogue magazine". He protests, saying his ice cream is going to melt, but he abandons it and, to Jackie's delight, does as she asks.
In "I'm Free," Jackie shows compassion for Hyde's childhood. Hyde gets angry at Kelso for wanting to abandon his unborn child and for thinking that it's okay if a child grows up fatherless. Jackie points out to Kelso that Steven grew up without a father. Then she says to Hyde, "Oh, Steven you're sensitive to this because your father ditched you, too... That is so foxy." They walk off together with their arms around each other's backs and holding hands.
Hyde begrudgingly agrees to go to Jackie's Christmas dance with her in "Christmas" so she can get back on the cheer squad. He initially refuses, but she pouts adorably at him and says, "Pwease?" and he gives in. They dance intimately together, which he seems to enjoy, but the rest of the night he is unhappy. He suffers through it, though, for her sake.
Julie, the cheer captain, invites Jackie back on the team, but Jackie changes her mind and decides against it. She tells Hyde about this, saying, "I realized these girls aren't my friends anymore. I learned something about myself." This epiphany is yet another example of how Jackie has grown because of her relationship with Hyde.
In "I'm a Boy" during the circle, Hyde and Jackie have a very revealing moment. Hyde says, “When you’re truly, deeply happy, that’s a sure sign you’re doing everything wrong.” Jackie replies, “It’s true. ‘Cause when Steven’s miserable, I know our relationship’s in good shape.” Hyde says, “Then we’ve been tip-top since the day we met.”
Jackie smiles at him, genuinely touched, and Hyde presses his cheek to her forehead with the deepest, happiest grin we may have ever seen from him on the show. Hyde’s words are clearly expressing the opposite of their surface meaning. He’s admitting that he’s “truly, deeply happy” with Jackie. His body language and the playful way he says his words show this fact — as well as Jackie’s reaction to him.
In "Do You Think It's Alright?" the question of Hyde’s long-term commitment to Jackie is almost directly addressed and settled. Jackie keeps playfully pestering Hyde about their eventual wedding because Eric and Donna’s is approaching. Hyde keeps telling Jackie that he and she aren’t getting married. He also makes her promise not to talk about weddings or marriage "in or around the United States".
When he finds Jackie wearing a wedding dress, however, he doesn’t yell at her as she both expects and gives him permission to do. He stares at her in that love-daze, approaches her, and blurts, “You’re beautiful.” He continues to stare at her in love until she realizes the significance of his actions. She says, “Oh, my God. You like me in a wedding dress, which means that -- someday -- we’re gonna get married.”
Season 5 established that Jackie and Hyde’s relationship had a growth-and-change effect on both of them. Several episodes of season 6 re-confirmed this effect they had on each other. Season 7, however, robbed them of that growth, reverting Jackie back to her previously discarded marriage-and-money-obsessed ways — and turning Hyde into someone who seemed to forget his deep (and hard-fought) love for her.
Until the episode "Winter" it’s clear that Jackie and Hyde are still very much in sync and in love, In "Let's Spend the Night Together," we witness how truly supportive Jackie is of Hyde and that she has a significant influence on his behavior. In the beginning of the episode, we learn that she continually pushed for him to “call [his] father”. Hyde, as usual, deflects by saying he agreed only to make Jackie “shut the hell up,” but he wouldn’t have given in unless he trusted her judgement.
They’re also very physically (not sexually) affectionate in this episode. Jackie not only sits on Hyde’s lap, but their fingers are entwined for a good part of it. Before W.B. arrives at the Formans’, Jackie and Hyde sit next to each other on the living room couch. He’s looking at his framed birth certificate, and she essentially hugs his arm and puts her chin on his shoulder while looking at the certificate, too. He seems very comfortable with their physical closeness in this scene. Then, when he’s talking to W.B., Hyde sits next to Jackie on the organ bench with his hand on her knee and her hands clasped over his arm.
After W.B. implies Hyde is after his money and Hyde storms out, Jackie is very protective of him. She tells W.B. that he’s “wrong about Steven” and that Steven is “perfect”.
Later, it is Jackie whom Hyde goes to about his feelings. It’s clear they were discussing what had happened with W.B. Jackie, again, defends Steven — albeit in a humorously narcissistic manner: “I’m just so mad at that William Barnett. I mean, thinking you wanted something from him. Everyone knows I’m all you’ve ever desired.” Her statement can be taken as both egocentricity and a touch of insecurity. Hyde’s focus isn’t on her at the moment but on the situation with W.B. She might have wanted a little assurance that despite the potential of a new relationship with his father, Hyde wouldn’t neglect her.
Jackie tries to comfort Hyde by bringing her relationship to her own father into the discussion. She says, “Well, who need’s a father anyway? You know what? I’ve been doing just fine since my dad disappeared into the jungle to bring freedom to the grateful natives.” Yes, she created a fantasy story rather than stating the truth, that her father’s in prison. But her motive was to make Hyde feel better. Hyde and Jackie’s discussion comes across as somewhat superficial and doesn’t indicate that they have much practice at having deep conversations. Seasons 5 and 6 contradict this depiction.
In "(I Can't Get No) Satisfaction ," in order to catch the viewer up on what happened, Jackie asks Hyde, “So, Steven, did you have a good time when you went out with your new dad?” It’s at least the next day from the previous episode, but Hyde would have shared his experience with Jackie first — and alone. Characterization was sacrificed for technical necessity.
Later in the scene, however, Jackie and Hyde sit together on the basement couch while looking at pictures of Kelso’s newborn daughter. Jackie keeps both hands on his knee. They’re still physically connected.
A new day in the episode, and Hyde still hasn’t called W.B. Jackie insists that he does. Hyde refuses, and Jackie says, “Steven, you never do anything I say.” This contradicts what we see in the previous episode where Hyde called W.B. because of her influence. It also contradicts the episode "The Girl I Love" where she learned how to approach him when she wanted or needed something.
Unfortunately, this is a case of the writers manipulating the characters to serve plot, something they do consistently to Jackie and Hyde throughout season 7.
This episode does, however, give an in-character substantiation for why Hyde, in this specific case, doesn’t do what Jackie wants him to. After Kitty tries to manipulate Hyde into believing she was on the phone with W.B., Hyde says, “Why cant you guys just let me do things my own way?” He doesn’t like being controlled, but Jackie and Kitty are two of the three most important women to him. The dialogue that follows characterizes both Jackie and Hyde well.
Jackie: Because I know meeting your dad meant a lot to you.
Kitty: And every time something means a lot to you, you push it away before it can push you away.
Jackie: And every time something means a lot to me, I smother it, which is why were such a good couple.
When Jackie says that last line, she kisses Hyde then hugs him, and he doesn’t push her away. In fact, he relents, saying, “Fine, I’ll call — if you both promise to stop bothering me about it and let me do it by myself.” The above exchange, at its core, essentially states that Jackie and Hyde love each other.
"Beast of Burden" epitomizes season 7's inconsistent writing of Jackie and Hyde — especially where Jackie is concerned. Red sets up his muffler shop, and his dialogue about Jackie contradicts a very early deepening of her character in "Career Day". Red says, “Thanks for… standing around saying, ‘Ew, grease!’” Jackie is covered head-to-to in motor oil all day in “Career Day,” and she learned how to fix a car quickly. This characterization was dropped, but “Beast of Burden” deprives Jackie of something far more precious, her compassion.
After Jackie tells Hyde to take some pictures during his lunch with W.B., the follow exchange occurs:
Hyde: Well, we have some really good [family pictures] of my mom down at the county jail: one full face, two profiles — each one dated and numbered
Jackie: Oh, Steven, you’ve had the hardest life. You know, I should probably be more generous and considerate with you… but I am what I am.
Jackie’s words could be taken tongue-in-cheek. She sounds compassionate, but she characterizes herself as the opposite. During seasons 1-5, compassion was shown to be mixed into her egocentricity. These conflicting aspects of her personality are partly what make her a three-dimensional character.
“Beast of Burden” isn’t all bad for Jackie (and Hyde), though. The following exchange is both humorous and demonstrates Jackie’s love for Hyde.
Hyde: Jackie, I gotta take this job. You kiddin’ me? I mean, I’m good with my hands, I don’t mind dirt, and… uh, I have a high tolerance for fumes.”
Jackie: Fine, if it makes you happy, then I’m happy. Steven, why is it everything I love about you also grosses me out? You’re so complicated.
Hyde grins after this, obviously liking what she said.
Jackie also pops in on Hyde’s lunch with W.B. She has a camera with her and takes as many pictures as she can. She’s looking out what she believes are Hyde’s best interests. He never had a real family (outside of the Formans), and she wants him to have the typical, loving family experience with all the accoutrements including a family album.
In "It's Only Rock and Roll", Hyde starts working for W.B. Hyde has no experience working in a corporate office. Despite that W.B. runs a music business, it’s still a business, and Jackie tries to help Hyde as best she can. Hyde doesn’t accept her help at first. She tries to convince him to dress appropriately, not in jeans and a t-shirt, and Hyde says, “Lay off, okay? I’m dressed fine.” But when he shows up at work, W.B. tells them they have a dress code.
Hyde’s seemingly out of luck until Jackie arrives. She both bought and brings him a new suit and packed a lunch for him. She’s being as supportive as she can be. Granted, it’s for her own interest, too. If Hyde does well in this job, he’ll make a lot of money, and she believes she’ll get a share of that money.
In "Rip This Joint", despite the partially out-of-character writing that’s plagued Jackie and Hyde thus far, they’re still being written as a close-knit couple. She greets him with a kiss at the basement door when he comes home from work. And the following exchange is rather interesting:
Jackie: Did you hear that, Steven? We’re gonna be rich
Hyde: No, we’re not Jackie. I hate the man, I’m still dedicated to kicking his ass. I’m just doing it from the inside where… I get a pension and dental and stuff.
Hyde doesn’t dispute the “we” Jackie used. In fact, his response, “No, we’re not,” indicates he believes they’ll be together for the long haul, as established in season 5 and confirmed in season 6. He doesn’t seem to object to the idea of him and Jackie as a unit, just to the idea of him becoming a “money-grubbing corporate zombie.”
The following scene in the episode is a favorite of Zennies and understandably so.
Hyde: Jackie, I don’t know what’s going on with me. I just go paired up with this book-keeping guy who told me a story about account’s receivable. Not only did I know what he was talking about, I suggested he make a flow chart.
Jackie: Oh, my God, you are so sexy right now… Say flow chart again.
Hyde’s face shows discomfort but he takes Jackie’s hand and leads her into the kitchen.
Hyde was sharing his confusion and, perhaps, fear, with Jackie about becoming corporate. He trusted her enough to reveal this information to her — and he was probably expecting some kind of comfort in return. This moment evidences that he and Jackie communicated important things to each other, but it also continues Jackie’s character-regression.
She’s turned on by Hyde’s corporate-speak. As cute as that is, it goes back to her father and how financial success once topped her “perfect partner” list. In "Hot Dog," we learn that Hyde’s been trying to teach her to value deeper things about people and life, and in "Whole Lotta Love," we see that he’s gotten through to her. Perhaps not perfectly, but after another year of being with him, she would have continued to grow and change. Without demonstration of this growth to balance her lust at Hyde’s corporate-speak, it becomes a character-reversion instead of a simple of-the-moment response.
In "Mother's Little Helper," we don’t get much in the way of Jackie/Hyde interaction, but what we do get is good. When Jackie and Donna try to play-fight, the “playing” grows violent” and Hyde pulls Jackie from the fray. Eric isn’t happy that Hyde stopped the fight, calling him a “spoil sport,” and Hyde says, “Hey, yours is gonna kill mine.” Hyde’s love for and protectiveness of Jackie is clear in this scene, and it’s nice to see.
"Angie," is another moderately good episode for Jackie and Hyde's relationship. After Hyde’s sister, Angie, makes him look bad in front of their father, Jackie is genuinely upset on his behalf. She says, “Who does Angie think she is anyway? She can’t just walk in here and pull your strings like you’re some kind of puppet. That’s my job!”
Jackie is claiming Hyde as her possession, but her last bit dialogue is (mostly) a joke. In “The Acid Queen," we see that Hyde will show his love for Jackie by making sacrifices and doing what she asks (e.g., leaving his ice cream to get her a Vogue magazine). Ultimately, she doesn’t want Angie to use his kindness and vulnerability against him.
Hyde decides he can’t “stoop to [Angie’s] level” but allows Jackie to. Jackie pulls out all the stops, doing her best to ruin Angie’s reputation at work. In this scene (and episode), Jackie and Hyde are “partners in crime”. Hyde obviously respects Jackie’s deviousness. Hyde says, “Jackie, if there was ever a game show called Make that Girl Cry, I’d go on with you.” They share a kiss afterward.
"You Can't Always Get What You Want" isn’t a particularly deep episode, but the closeness between Jackie and Hyde is demonstrated well. The majority of the time, they’re high in a circle, but they’re always sitting together. Jackie is particularly physically affectionate with Hyde, resting her head on his shoulder, holding his hand, etc. He keeps his hand on her knee, and they often look at each other while talking. In this episode, they’re still shown as being in sync with each other and deeply in love.
In "Surprise, Surprise," Jackie’s given back her compassion. She wants to “cheer [Steven] up” because his sister and Kelso are sleeping together. She tries to make his favorite cookies, but she’s a terrible baker. Hyde appreciates the gesture, despite the inedible nature of the cookies. But she starts to get upset, asking if “they’re no good.”
Hyde says, “No, no they’re good. I’ll just suck on them.”
He lies to spare her feelings. This is not something we’ve seen Hyde do for Jackie before. In fact, we were explicitly shown and told in “The Acid Queen” that he doesn’t know how to lie to spare her feelings. He must have learned how, and he’s not doing it to protect himself. He’s doing so to protect her, out of his love for her.
In "Winter," Jackie reminds Hyde "about the Ladies of Point Place party" they're supposed to attend together that night. Hyde says, "Oh, yeah, I forgot. I can’t go. Something more important came up." Jackie says, "But you promised you’d go," and Hyde says, "Jackie if I promised, I clearly wasn’t listening, which you should have known, so this is your fault.
Hyde’s disrespect of Jackie continues throughout the episode. Jackie says, "[Playing with toys] is what’s more important than going to a party with me?" Hyde says, "Jackie, I think you’re overreacting… and, yes."
Jackie: "Look at who decided to finally show up [at the party]."
Hyde: Jackie, are you still mad? Come on, man, this is not a big deal. I mean, six months ago you would have thought this was really funny.
Jackie: Yeah, six months ago. Steven, you can’t act like this forever. I need to know the guy I’m in love with isn’t gonna blow me off for a roomful of toys.
Hyde: That’s not a guarantee I can ever give you.
Jackie: Well, things are changing, Steven. I mean, we’re practically grown up.
Hyde: Yeah, and you know what? I’m just trying to have a little fun before I settle down and life goes to crap.
One subtextual explanation for Hyde’s behavior is that working for W.B. and starting a true career has freaked Hyde out. Jackie’s been the main person supporting him during this transition, and disrespecting her is a way of protecting himself from adulthood. His freak-out is understandable, but his treatment of Jackie is not. She becomes a scapegoat for his fear.
At the end of the episode, Hyde laments the fact that he and Jackie used to “kind of just hang out” before they were in a romantic relationship. He also offers to drive Jackie home in the episode, an act of kindness very much in-character. Essentially, “Street Fighting Man” shows a Jackie and Hyde who miss each other.
"It's All Over Now" has Jackie doubting if Hyde loves her. This doubt is completely understandable, considering how he acted toward her in “Winter”. She bravely tries to talk to him about their relationship, but she chooses the wrong time. He’s very busy at Grooves, and he’s only half paying attention to what she’s saying. His dismissiveness leads her to asking if she’s “so disgusting” to him. This is heartbreaking, especially when one remembers how in-love he was with her during “The Immigrant Song”. He’d gotten confirmation that she still loved him, and he couldn’t stop staring at her in a love-daze.
"On With the Show" is a decent episode for Hyde. Hyde had apparently heard Jackie's request to talk in the previous episode and followed-up at a time where he didn’t have a thousand things going on. She denies she had anything important to speak about, and he gives her a classic Hyde, emotion-veiling answer. “You know what? Good. Great. Believe me, I don’t wanna talk about us, either.”
But it’s clear he means the opposite, confirmed by him later asking Fez about what Jackie wanted to talk about. Hyde says, “Well, if she wanted to get back together, that’s something I wouldn’t mind knowing. So why don’t you just go ahead and spill the beans?” If Hyde didn’t love Jackie, he wouldn’t want to get back together with her. If he didn’t want to deal with the question of having a life with her, he’d just call it quits. He doesn’t, though, and his behavior in future season 7 episodes is very contradictory.
At the end of “On With the Show,” Hyde is very much his noble self by sacrificing his own need to reunite with Jackie so that she can feel good about her public access show. Donna meets him at the TV station first, and she says, “Oh, you’re gonna tell [Jackie] that you love her!” Hyde doesn’t deny it.
"Down The Road Apiece," though it gets Jackie and Hyde back together, has major issues. The reasons Jackie and Hyde give for having gotten involved in the first place directly contradict season 5.
Jackie says, “I like the way his scruffy beard felt on my soft, creamy, porcelain skin,” but “Black Dog” is an episode all about how she hates his beard and wants him to shave it.
Hyde says, “I also kinda liked the fact that she was technically still with Kelso,” but Jackie had written Kelso a break-up letter and sent it to him, presumably before she and Hyde had kissed on the couch (“Going To California”).
Jackie also says, “And I knew being with him would piss of my mom,” but her mom was absent until halfway through season 6.
Hyde says, “[I knew being with her would piss off] all my friends,” but he wasn’t happy they wanted him and Jackie to break up. In “I Can’t Quit You, Baby," Eric and Donna order them to call it off. Hyde says to Jackie, “Screw it. Let’s just do what we want, okay?” So being with her wasn’t about “pissing off his friends” but about being with her in spite of their friends. Plus, he felt bad about hurting Kelso. In “Heartbreaker,” Hyde sincerely apologizes for dating Jackie and says he hadn’t “planned for this,” the “this” being developing strong enough feelings to keep on dating her.
“Down the Road Apiece” continues with Jackie and Hyde claiming their connection was based on mutual secrecy and disgust, and this utterly contradicts and dismisses the truth of their relationship, as depicted throughout the earlier seasons. Their reunion in this episode didn’t heal their relationship. It merely put a band-aid on a gaping wound.
“Oh, Baby (We Got a Good Thing Goin')” is an excellent, in-character episode for Jackie and Hyde, perhaps the best of the season. They accompany Red and and Kitty to a car show. Kitty laments how Red will abandon her during the day and warns Jackie that Hyde will do the same, but Hyde stays by Jackie’s side the whole time. His answer as to why he does so is simple: “She’s my chick.”
This episode demonstrates Jackie and Hyde’s connection, one that definitely goes beyond enjoying a “dirty, secret, disgusting relationship”.
“Who's Been Sleeping Here?” is another good episode for Jackie and Hyde. They’re chosen over Donna and Hyde to be Betsy’s godparents because Kelso thinks “they’re gonna last longer”. Jackie and Hyde’s physical affection is back in fine form. She sits on his lap, or they sit really close together. In addition, Hyde demonstrates he knows how Jackie thinks when they play (and win) Password against Eric and Donna.
Furthermore, the inclusion of Kelso's idea that they would last longer strongly implies that this is what the S7 writers intended - for Jackie and Hyde to still be together and going long term at the series end.
“2120 So. Michigan Ave” does no harm. Jackie and Hyde are enlisted to decide who gets the bigger room in Kelso and Fez’s apartment. Jackie and Hyde sit together and interact as if they’re close, but nothing significant for them occurs.
“2000 Light Years From Home” is Jackie and Hyde’s last episode as a non-conflicted couple. Jackie is again protective of Hyde against Angie when Angie gets promoted out of Grooves to the corporate office.
Moreover, in “Til The Next Goodbye,” Hyde chooses to go after Jackie in Chicago, but instead of allowing them to reunite, the episode tossed a naked Kelso into the mix. The season 7 writers probably thought they were leaving the season 8 writers a meaty Jackie/Hyde/Kelso triangle to work with. Little did they know that the new writers hired for the show had never liked Jackie and Hyde’s relationship (as stated in a TV Guide interview and by Danny Masterson). The cliffhanger gave the S8 writers all the room they needed to break Jackie and Hyde up permanently.
Jackie and Hyde never reconcile, as was clearly the intention. New showrunners were hired, and they ignored, dismissed, and dismantled the previous seven years of the show and characterization. Throughout the season, Hyde behaves entirely unlike himself and treats Jackie cruelly, especially in the episode “Keep Yourself Alive” where he calls Jackie "bitch" and says she's "real bitchy". He also lets her fall into a lake and laughs at her afterward.
The first episode of the season “Bohemian Rhapsody” teases the audience into thinking Jackie and Hyde might get back together. Hyde returns home after spending two weeks in Las Vegas. Jackie says, "Steven I am so sorry about what happened in Chicago. I was alone, and I thought I lost you." Hyde says, "Yeah well, I can see why you thought that." Jackie says, "Look, why didn't you tell me sooner you wanted to get married?" Hyde says, "Because I wasn't sure I wanted to. And now that I've thought about it, I'm right, I'm not ready to be married yet."
Jackie feels hope at Hyde's use of the word "yet". Then Samantha arrives and claims she is Hyde's wife, married during a drunken wedding in Las Vegas. Then she breaks up with him for good a day later.