- „The three true branches of the government are military, corporate and Hollywood”
- —Hyde's awareness[src]
Steven Hyde is the illegitimate son of William Barnett and Edna Hyde, stepson of Bud Hyde, and adoptive member of the Forman family. Hyde represents the adolescent of the seventies that was suspicious of government and organizations. In the first couple of episodes of the first season, Hyde was comparatively less intelligent than in later episodes and more "street smart". However, Hyde quickly falls into the role of the intelligent "tough guy".
His intelligence is often undermined by his refusal to apply himself, but he is one of the smarter members, if not the smartest member, of the group. Hyde was actually a child prodigy, and might have gone on to do great things if not for a frame-up in elementary school where he was blamed for destroying a classmate's science project, which Eric had actually done.
Hyde, like Eric, has a witty, blunt, and sarcastic sense of humor. He does not seem to take things seriously, but as the series progresses, the compassion, gratitude and love he has for those around him is evident. Hyde's advice is often sought by the members of the group because of his tendency to see things as they are, but his cynicism and his pleasure in seeing a good "burn" sometimes leads him to give his more gullible friends bad advice on purpose to watch their plans end in disaster for his own entertainment. Regarding more serious matters, Hyde shows compassion and empathy and gives his friends very good advice, showing he has a good sense of virtue. He gives the money he makes at the Fotohut to Red and Kitty to help them pay the bills. It is evidenced thus that Hyde has a sense of propriety and responsibility to rival that of his friend Eric's, yet is not proud of it as he is more accustomed to his stoner lifestyle.
At the beginning of the first season, Hyde does not care for anyone around him and would much rather spend his time alone. He felt this way probably as a result of his father leaving him as a child and his substance-abusing, negligent mother. After the Formans take him in, and Eric and Hyde are considered brothers, he shows love and gratitude for the Formans and the rest of the group. When he moved in with Eric, he also did several chores around the house to show his gratitude. While Hyde enjoys his reputation as "the bad influence", there is some evidence throughout the show that some of Hyde's behavior had been influenced by his environment. His mother's own drug and police record is referenced throughout the course of the show. In one of the later episodes, Hyde is seen trying to give up pot and takes up exercising and cooking to get away from the habit, but it was his friends who actually pulled him back in, refusing to let him "ruin his life".
Hyde despises authority. His displays of rebellion include smoking marijuana and cigarettes, drinking beer, and a devout interest in conspiracy theories. Though he may seem sarcastic and careless, as well as manipulative at times, over the course of the series a more mellow side of Hyde reveals itself through his show of gratitude towards the Formans for taking him in after his mother abandoned him, and his treatment of his significant others in his few relationships. Steven almost always refers to and addresses his parents by their first names (Edna, Bud) or their initials (William Barnett). This practice of naming parents and other adults was frequently considered taboo in the 1970s, especially when addressing one directly. Eric Forman seems to have picked up a little from this practice, naming his parents when talking to others but not usually when addressing them directly. In contrast to this practice, Steven usually refers to Kitty as "Mrs. Forman", but usually calls Red by his name, probably since it is a nickname (his real name is Reginald).
Hyde holds a great deal of respect for Red and Kitty. His gratitude for them adopting him is very evident, and he tries his best to make them proud. One example of his respect for them is when he was arrested for possession of marijuana, Red was completely ready to throw him out of the house. While Kitty and Eric tried to persuade him not to, Hyde did not because he did not question Red's judgment. Though visibly disgusted with this decision, he simply replied that if Red does not believe that he is good enough to live in his house, or if they do not believe that he is positively influencing the group, then he will leave immediately without question. He was even about to leave peacefully until Red agreed to allow him to stay. Another example is when he is the only one to remember Kitty's birthday.
Hyde is highly critical of organized religion. He tells an Episcopalian girl that she believes in "the exact opposite of what [he] believe[s] in". Also, in "Holy Crap!", he claims he does not go to church because it would make him a hypocrite. He specifically states, "While I respect the Judeo-Christian ethic, as well as the eastern philosophies and, of course, the teachings of Mohammed, I find that organized religion has corrupted those beliefs to justify countless atrocities throughout history. Were I to attend church, I'd be a hypocrite". Despite the fact that Hyde mentions God such as stating his hair was a gift from God in "Eric's Hot Cousin", he does not express any sort of religious affiliation.
In contrast to the sensitive New-Age men prevalent in the 1970s, Hyde is very traditionally masculine, much like Red Forman. He does not voice or show his emotions often, a notable exception being when he has to tell Jackie he cheated on her in season 5, and other occurrences throughout their relationship. He does fake his emotions sometimes, like crying, but ends up sticking his tongue out and spitting. He does not worry about romantic relationships and women the way Kelso, Eric, and Fez do; he considers himself too "tough" and strong for that type of behavior. He generally acts as though he does not care for anyone, perhaps as a defensive mechanism; however, it is shown during the course of the series that he does care deeply about his friends and the Formans.
He also shows compassion throughout the series, sometimes taking responsibility for other people's behavior, such as when Jackie gets caught by the police with marijuana, and when Eric breaks the television screen with a bowling ball. He was there for Jackie when Kelso cheated on her, for Donna when Eric broke his engagement with her, and when Fez was locked in a closet by a group of jocks, he told Fez to "come get him" if they bother him again. By the end of the series, the viewer is shown that although Hyde is not perfect, his morals and intelligence make him a good person. It's shown that Hyde is a deep person with good morals because he cherishes his friendships more than worldly or materialistic possessions.
After Hyde's mother abandoned him, Hyde was forced to live on his own in his mother's house. Since he was so poor, he was going to sell the house and live on the streets. After Kitty and Eric saw how miserable Hyde was in the house, they persuaded Red to make his living arrangements better by asking Hyde to move in with them. In the episode "Hyde Moves In", Hyde moves in, but since there are no extra bedrooms in the house, he sleeps in the storage room in the basement on a military cot from Red's days in the war. Hyde finds a job working at the Fotohut for his burn-out boss, Leo, in order to pay his way for the generosity the Forman's show him. After Eric's departure to Africa, Hyde became more of the main character due to his relationship with Eric's parents (his foster parents) and marriage to Samantha.
Hyde's best friend, and later foster-brother, is the nice, geeky Eric Forman The two share probably the closest friendship out of the group, shown by how they care and rely on each other and each others' advice. Eric and Hyde met in 1968 at age 9 when Eric asked Hyde to walk him home because he was scared of Donna, because she had punched him. Back then, Eric called Hyde, Steven. But Hyde told him that he goes by his last name Hyde. The two apparently hung out after Eric's mom forced the two to take a bath together.
Hyde developed a fairly close relationship with Eric's dad, Red Forman, who admired his toughness, lack of showing emotions, and traditional masculinity, all qualities his son Eric lacks. Red became the closest Hyde ever had to a real father after he moved in with the Formans. Red does occasionally feel that Hyde can be a bad influence on Eric, particularly due to his frequent marijuana use, and briefly kicked him out when Hyde was arrested. However, Red has shown more respect for Hyde than his own son, due to Eric's smart-mouth, inability to play sports, and lack of quality work habits.
Red even offered a job at his muffler shop to Hyde and not Eric. Red and Hyde occasionally have a one-on-one man talk with each other, a famous one being in the episode "Hyde's Birthday" where Red opposes to Hyde's idea to move out when he was 18. Red states that if Hyde moves out, he is either going to end up at a dead-end job, or go to prison. Red also tells Hyde not to tell Eric about their talk, as Red will make Eric move out when he is 18. Hyde normally does what Red tells him and does not talk back to him, because he knows how much Red respects him.
Hyde found a job working at the Foto Hut with his burned-out hippie boss Leo (Tommy Chong). Leo and Hyde created a friendship early on in Hyde's employment to the Foto Hut. In a season 2 episode, Hyde stated he never had a dad, and Leo stated that he never had a son. (Later in the series, however, Leo states that he does have a son.) Leo requests Hyde to be his father, and the two end up having a father/son relationship. In the episode "Magic Bus", Leo thinks of Hyde as the son he never had. Ironically enough, during his tenure in the Foto Hut, he was the more responsible worker between himself and Leo, even telling his own boss off for not doing his job. In season 5, Leo mysteriously disappeared from Point Place, leaving behind a note for Hyde that explains that he was only supposed to be in Point Place for a short while, but ended up staying for 6 years. Hyde was greatly upset by this, but Leo had left him some "film" and Hyde was okay. Hyde and Leo's friendship resumed when Leo returned to the series near the end of Season 7.
Steven Hyde had a rough childhood. His step-father, Bud had abandoned him at a young age. Steven continued to be upset with him for years until he finally reconnected with him in season 3. In season 1, Hyde was abandoned by his mother, Edna Hyde who only appeared in the episode Career Day, and was heard in three others. Hyde and his mother generally do love each other but always argued worse than other families. In the end, Edna generally does love Hyde and admits that she was never a good mother. She apparently knew about Hyde's illegal doings, because it is hinted that she is the one that gave him his fake ID to buy beer.
Kitty discovers that Bud is not Hyde's real father. Hyde meets his father, William Barnett, who is a black man, making Hyde biracial. Hyde later meets his half-sister, Angie, who one day dreamed of owning her own record company, but ends up working alongside WB in Madison. Hyde says that he knew Angie "wasn't right" ever since he heard her say that she was a math major. There was a 36,584/1 chance that Hyde's family would be black.
Early on in the series, he was rarely interested in getting into a serious relationship, and was very cynical about the idea, as portrayed in some of his quips such as "Dating is prostitution, only you do not always get what you pay for". However, as the series progressed, he enjoyed a number of relationships. It was mentioned that his only girlfriend ended up leaving him for his uncle, and when Hyde and Fez make fun of Kelso for being "whipped" by Jackie, Kelso points out that he is the only one "getting any".
Hyde's first love interest was a biker chick named Esther. After they broke up, she started seeing his uncle. She is never seen and never referred to after the episode "Eric's Burger Job".
His first serious love interest of the series was a proto-punk girl, Christie, with whom he lost his virginity. She wanted him to move to New York City with her to start a rebellion against the government. He ultimately decided to stay in Point Place, and she left for New York. The relationship lasted only one episode.
Before Eric and Donna started to date, Eric and Hyde both had feelings for Donna. Hyde tried to win Donna to the point that even Fez began to mock him over his repeated failed attempts. At one point he attempts to kiss her, but she rejects him with a slap. In an early episode, she blows off a "study date" with Hyde at the library to go out with Eric for Valentine's Day. Hyde finds Donna and believes that she has feelings for him but she has not showed interest in him throughout the series except for being good friends. Hyde quickly gives up soon after, prompting the assumption that he was more infatuated with Donna and not in love with her, and they remain close friends. He frequently does ask Donna why she's with Eric or why she likes him, just because she believes she can do better.
Main article: Jackie & Hyde
In Season 5, he became paired with Jackie Burkhart. There is foreshadowing of their relationship throughout the series, most prominently at the Forman's Veteran's Day BBQ in Season 3, where Jackie's date Chip calls her a bitch behind her back. Hyde responds by punching Chip in the face, knocking him out. Later that day, after talking to Mrs. Forman, Hyde takes Jackie out for their first date which leads to their first kiss. Hyde also took Jackie to his junior prom in the first season, and he is the one Jackie goes to for comfort when she and Kelso encounter problems in their relationship, prompting him to ask, "Why does she always come to me?" Despite initially loathing Jackie for all that she represents (she is spoiled, shallow, and rich), he has his first real romantic relationship of the series with her. In the beginning of season 5, Hyde and Jackie both say that they are not together, it is just a meaningless fling.
Hyde and Jackie's relationship was a very typical 'opposites attract' set up. Hyde tells Eric that he simply ignores Jackie's constant complaining and bossiness and focuses on how "hot" she is instead, although he does become more mature and caring as their relationship progresses. They came together during the summer between Seasons 4 and 5 when they found themselves bored with watching The Price Is Right. The relationship gradually grows into a surprisingly strong one, considering their past conflicts. However, they went through trouble when Hyde mistakenly perceives her to be cheating on him with Kelso. In response, he cheated on her. He sincerely apologizes, but Jackie ends the relationship. He even tells her that he loves her, something he has not said to anyone. The separation is brief, however, and they get back together at the beginning of Season 6. They remain together until midway through Season 7, when Jackie becomes insecure about their relationship and asks Hyde if he can see a future with her. His response, "I don't know", breaks them up briefly, but they reconcile after only a few weeks apart. However, when Jackie is offered a job in Chicago, Hyde allows her to leave. In the very next episode, however, he decides to follow her and propose. In the middle of Hyde and Jackie's conversation, Kelso walks into the room in only a towel, carrying a bucket of ice and making a comment implying he and Jackie were about to have sex. Although Kelso frequently makes sexual comments to every female on the show, including Jackie and Donna, Hyde once again believes the two really were about to engage in sex, and drives off to Las Vegas.
In the last season of That '70s Show, Hyde returned from Las Vegas after his confrontation with Jackie and Kelso. While he was in Vegas, he got drunk and married a stripper named Samantha. Although Jackie claims nothing happened between herself and Kelso in Chicago, Hyde chooses to stay in the marriage instead of annulling, ending his and Jackie's relationship forever. The marriage was bitter, as they were often seen screaming at each other, but it was hinted that they had an excellent sex life. In the middle of Season 8, Samantha's real husband showed up unexpectedly, and decided to take Samantha with him back to Vegas. In the midst of the confusion, Hyde decided that it would be best for her to go with her previous husband, thus making their existing marriage null and void. In addition, his father granted him sole ownership of the record store. He had no significant other in the final episode.
Hyde wears an afro and sideburns, and his sunglasses, which he is almost always seen in. He regularly sports jeans, was once failed in PE for refusing to wear shorts, and also has many band t-shirts, which include: Santana, Judas Priest, Eric Clapton, AC/DC, KISS, Led Zeppelin, Jimmy Page, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Jimi Hendrix, The Doors, The Rolling Stones, Ted Nugent, Rush, Aerosmith, John Lee Hooker, The Allman Brothers Band, Blue Öyster Cult, Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Who, and the Grateful Dead. Contrasting with his tough guy exterior, Hyde was once caught on videotape dancing to Frank Sinatra singing. Additionally, following his first breakup with Jackie, he happened to hear B. J. Thomas' "(Hey Won't You Play) Another Somebody Done Somebody Wrong Song" and became a fan of country music.
Hyde along with these many bands holds a passionate love of Led Zeppelin, the group he wears most frequently ,and when once questioned by his father as to why he wears said shirts he replies "If god didn't want me to wear them so much he wouldn't have made them rock so hard". He also noted that he likes to watch Little House on the Prairie, because it "reminds him of a simpler time". He dislikes the music of Pat Boone, Styx (although he did tap his foot to their music), ABBA, Peter Frampton, Andy Gibb, and Little River Band. In fact, he once even broke up with a girl because she liked the Little River Band.
- A running gag throughout the series is that during The Circle, Hyde mentions a car that runs on water owned by the government, without any recollection of mentioning it before in past Circles.
- He wears sunglasses that he rarely takes off.
- Jackie introduces Hyde to the captain of the cheerleading squad as Steven J. Hyde III. She was trying to make him sound fancier than he really is. He counters her by telling the cheerleader that the first two are in jail.
- He wears his class ring on his pinkie.
- Hyde knows how to operate a manual transmission.