With the debut of "Awake" on Thursday, March 1, Wilmer Valderrama will be a regular castmember on a television series for the first time since "That '70s Show." He's certainly been busy with guest appearances across television in the intervening years. And in a nice bit of scheduling synchronicity -- that was surely orchestrated by NBC -- he spent the eve of his debut in a sort of mini-reunion with his old "'70s" co-star Laura Prepon on "Are You There, Chelsea?" (Wed., 8:30 p.m. EST on NBC).
It was as if in some twisted alternate reality, Fez got to live out one of his fantasies by finally scoring with Donna. In this reality, he played minor league baller Tommy, who actually managed to sweep Chelsea (Prepon) off of her feet. Theirs was a whirlwind romance that was perhaps going along too well. Her fears that he may stray while on the road were put on the backburner when he told her he wasn't going on the next road trip. He'd been called up to the major leagues.
But that set off a crisis she could never have anticipated, as Tommy had been called up to join the New York Yankees. Chelsea and her father were such die-hard Red Sox fans, they had developed family traditions around their hatred of the Yankees. But Chelsea wanted to be supportive, so she hid her allegiance to the Sox from Tommy, and even wore the Yankees jersey he gave her to attend a game in support of him.
A game, of course, against the Boston Red Sox. And it proved too much for Chelsea, who couldn't bring herself to root for the Yankees. After she got escorted from the game, Tommy asked her if she could root for him hitting a home run. But when Chelsea lashed out in retaliation against a young Yankees fan for throwing a milkshake at her, Tommy realized this could never work.
"Call me if you ever get traded," Chelsea said to him in parting. Between love and baseball, for both of them the baseball proved too much to overcome.
Valderrama is a co-star in "Awake," premiering Thursday, March 1 at 10 p.m. EST on NBC. "Are You There, Chelsea?" airs Wednesdays at 8:30 p.m. EST, also on NBC.
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