I find that “Reefer Madness” (3.1) is a very defining episode for Eric and Hyde’s friendship. Eric, Hyde, Kelso, and Fez are all best friends, but Eric and Hyde are more brothers than they are best friends. And this episode is a classic example that illustrates this.
Kelso refuses to help Hyde by (truthfully!) incriminating himself and Fez eats Hyde’s sandwich because, well…he’s Fez. Of course, this doesn’t mean they want Hyde to get kicked out. They recognize what a dire situation this is, they just aren’t the most helpful.
But Eric, as Hyde’s brother, gets passionately angry by Red’s decision to kick Hyde out. He has a severe meltdown/temper tantrum in the kitchen, to the point where he can’t even form a coherent thought: “You know what? You’re – you’re bull…I – I…you’re very – I – I’m very mad at you!”
You can see just how angry he gets from these screenshots (that I couldn’t help but laugh at while I was taking).
And then Eric storms off into the basement where he (perhaps illogically) uses that rage to come to the decision to tell Red that he ‘does it too.’ Worrying about getting himself in trouble is the last thing on his mind. All Eric cares about is the fact that his brother is about to unfairly take the fall for something he knows they all should be punished for. (And although this post is mostly about Eric, it’s worth pointing out that Hyde doesn’t want Eric to get in trouble by revealing himself to Red.) Eric promises Hyde he won’t say anything, but when Eric resolves to tell Red and save Hyde anyway, he bursts into the kitchen and furiously throws himself protectively in front of Hyde. And I love it.
After Jackie and Hyde, the relationship between Eric and Hyde is probably my second favorite. They’re my BROTP. These two define what it really means to be brothers, and they don’t even share blood.
This post is more a summary of the events of this episode than it is insight, but the brotherly relationship between these two goons is too important to me to just skip its significance in this episode.