Donna Pinciotti
That '70s Show character
First appearance "That '70s Pilot"
(episode 1.01)
Last appearance "That '70s Finale"
(episode 8.22)
Created by Mark Brazill
Portrayed by Laura Prepon
Nina Jefferies (teenage)
Liliana Mumy (child)
Nickname(s) Hot Donna
Big Red
Big D
Leia, Neighbor Girl
Saucy Redhead
Donna Pinch-My-Butti
Vampira, Poopshoot Sally
Occupation Disc jockey
Radio show host
Family Bob Pinciotti (father)
Midge Pinciotti (mother)
Relatives Mark Ryan (maternal grandfather)
Sharon Aldren (maternal grandmother)
Midge's sister (maternal aunt)
Jenny (aunt)
Significant other Eric Forman (boyfriend; ex-fiance)
Casey Kelso (ex-boyfriend)
Randy Pearson (ex-boyfriend)

Donna Pinciotti is a fictional character and one of the two female leads in the Fox sitcom That '70s Show, appearing in all eight seasons. Portrayed by Laura Prepon, Donna is the love interest to Eric Forman.

Character biography

Donna's relationship with next-door neighbor Eric Forman is often the main focus of the series. However, it is tumultuous at times, having suffered two break-ups during the show's run. Despite this, Eric and Donna often act as the "parents" of the group, being mature and responsible when their friends are not, for example in episodes like "Dine and Dash". Another episode that illustrates their parenthood of the group is when they have just broken up and Eric takes them all out and returns late. He and Donna engage in an argument because Eric gives Fez ice cream and Donna is angry because he wouldn't be hungry for dinner. When Fez is going to be deported, she and Eric become upset because "their" Fez is leaving. Eric is sometimes threatened by his feeling inferior to her, especially during the third season, when she gets a job as a disc jockey.

In the beginning of the series, Steven Hyde|Hyde is also interested in Donna along with Eric. Donna makes her choice clear, however, when she blows off her "study date" with Hyde to hang out with Eric. Even after the relationship between Eric and Donna is established, for a short time Donna usually goes to Hyde when she feels unsure about her relationship and needs to talk about it. In such circumstances, Hyde usually refers to her as the "hot neighbor girl" and Eric as the "scrawny little neighbor boy", or some variation of these. Though a romantic relationship between Donna and Hyde is never established, Hyde initially likes Donna and would have been interested in her if Eric had not kissed her first (as stated in the episode "It's a Wonderful Life"). Hyde still tries to win Donna in the beginning when she and Eric aren't together. There are even some comments by Fez during that season that mock Hyde over these failed attempts. When the group goes to Jackie's father's cabin for a ski trip, Hyde decides to kiss Donna and is slapped for his efforts, ending his infatuation but not their close friendship. Hyde never shows any significant interest in Donna again.

Season 3

Toward the end of season three, Donna's job as a disc jockey is taking priority over her relationship with Eric, causing her to cancel their dates. While Donna genuinely feels that she is right to do this and is simply following her goals through to their logical conclusion with wanting to be a writer and a newswoman, her actions provoke a bad response in the normally even-keeled Eric, who feels that Donna is not taking him and/or their relationship seriously. Unable to resolve the conflict, Eric breaks up with her in the third season finale "The Promise Ring". Throughout season four, much awkwardness ensues over rights to the basement and trying to find new relationships. Donna is a bit annoyed at just how many girls are interested in Eric and happily mocks him when his attempts at finding a new girlfriend backfires. When she finds out he dated another while they were apart (he kept it a secret), she is absolutely furious, believing he cheated on her.

Season 4

During the fourth season, Donna begins dating Casey Kelso (Luke Wilson), Michael Kelso's older brother. Even though he is flaky, a few years older than she is and against Donna's feminist beliefs, Donna thinks Casey is the perfect boyfriend, since he seems to be sensitive, good-natured, laid-back and easy-going. Eric sees Casey for what he is: an oversexed frat boy who just wants to sleep with Donna and move on to the next girl. Eric tries to warn Donna but she ignores him and he then threatens to hurt Casey if he hurts Donna.

Donna ends up skipping school to get drunk with Casey. When Eric and Kitty witness this, they (along with Red and Bob) decide to intervene. In an animated discussion in the Formans' living room, Casey dumps Donna, deciding that his relationship with her is not worth the hassle, and admitting that he never loved her. The realization of her own overconfidence, poor judgment and being dumped in front of the people who meant the most to her come as a shock to Donna, who regards herself as an ideal feminist, since she had fallen for the type of man she always swore she would never be with.

Hurt, humiliated and heartbroken, Donna turns to Eric, who offers his sympathy. When a shaken-up, crying Donna tells him she wants to be with him again, he refuses, believing that she does not really want him for who he is, but simply wants a way to feel better about herself and would most likely dump him when someone better came along. A tearful Donna pleads with him to take her back but he refuses to be her "second choice".

Unable to handle being rejected by her first love, an emotionally wrecked Donna flees Point Place for California, where she lives with her mother and tries to sort out her feelings. She decides she truly does love Eric and tries to call him but can't get hold of him; she suspects he no longer wants her and has moved on to another girl, leaving her rather depressed. But then, to her delight, Eric shows up in California looking for her, and the two very romantically reunite and return to Point Place. When Donna comes home from California, the normally easy-going Bob sends her to a Catholic school as punishment, an act that Donna deeply resents and hates for the remainder of the school year. This occasion also gave the writers/creators an opportunity to change Donna's common "lumberjack" attire as she now wore, for a few episodes, the school's uniform consisting of a plaid skirt, a white shirt and long white knee-high socks. Her new looks also provide openings for jokes from the boys about Donna's sexiness, which underlies their views of her throughout the series, no matter what type of attire she is wearing.

Season 5

In season five, Eric ignores the objections of their friends and proposes to her at the water tower, which Donna accepts. Once Red and Kitty find out about the engagement, they are shocked. Kitty in particular, reacts badly, claiming that Donna is trying to snatch her "baby" away from her. Despite enduring a great deal of flak (mostly from Red), Eric stays loyal to Donna and their marriage plans. Because of this, Red accepts that his son has become a man and gives them his blessing. Donna and Eric prepare to leave Point Place together and go to college in Madison. However, just as they are packing their stuff in the Vista Cruiser, Fez and Laurie announce their marriage so Fez can stay in the country after graduation. Red is so shocked at this, he has a heart attack. As a result, Eric decides to stay in Point Place and help support the family. Donna ends up putting off going to college in Madison so that she can stay with Eric. Eventually, their wedding plans fall through at the end of season six when Eric, worried that marrying Donna would hold her back, fails to show up for their rehearsal.

Season 8

After Eric's departure from the show between seasons seven and eight, it is assumed that they still keep the relationship intact. However, Donna tells her friends that Eric has broken up with her in the eighth-season episode "Long Away", when Fez and Jackie suspect that she is cheating on Eric with the new cast character, Randy (Josh Meyers). Donna tells them that Eric did this three weeks earlier. There were hints leading up to the breakup when Eric calls Kitty but not Donna, even though she is awake at 4AM waiting for him to call her. Also, when Donna is at the Foremans' for Red and Kitty's 25th anniversary, Eric calls his parents and Kitty gives the phone to Donna, but Eric speaks to her only briefly before hanging up, claiming he has to "go to class".

Donna then begins dating Randy, seemingly without regard for her long-standing relationship with Eric. However, she ends the relationship when she realizes that things with Randy are moving too fast, and that she is using him as a substitute for Eric. This is further evidenced when Kitty catches Randy and Donna kissing in Eric's bedroom, and she accuses Donna of replacing Eric with Randy, departing from her usual rivalry with Donna over being the main woman in Eric's life.

In the final episode, Eric returns to Point Place for the New Year and he and Donna kiss. They end up getting back together again at the end of the series and the end of the 1970s.

Other appearances

  • Actress Rosie Marcel portrayed the character in the British version Days Like These.

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