"That '90s Show" Found the Perfect Jay Kelso in Mace Coronel
There's a new Kelso ruling Point Place, WI. On "That '90s Show," Netflix's "That '70s Show" spinoff, viewers are introduced to a new generation of basement-dwelling teens, including town newcomer Leia (Callie Haverda), rebellious badass Gwen (Ashley Aufderheide), sassy scene-stealer Ozzie (Reyn Doi), attached-at-the-lips lovebirds Nikki and Nate (Sam Morelos and Maxwell Donovan), and charming jokester Jay (Mace Coronel). During the series premiere, we learn that Jay isn't just any Jay; he's the son of Michael Kelso, portrayed by Ashton Kutcher in the original series. The father-son duo share a sweet moment when Kutcher makes a cameo in the first episode, highlighting just how incredible Coronel's casting really is.
Though "That '90s Show" didn't intend to re-create characters from the OG show, the similarities between Jay and Michael are hard to ignore. For starters, Coronel looks just like a young Kutcher, from the floppy brown hair to the sweet smile. Beyond physical attributes, Jay is just as goofy, lovable, and endearing as his dad and even shouts his signature "Burn!" catchphrase from time to time.
Coronel tells POPSUGAR he prepared for the role by watching old episodes of "That '70s Show" to observe Michael and onscreen mom Jackie, played by Mila Kunis. "I studied both of my parents in the show," he says. "Biologically, we tend to adopt slight characteristics and mannerisms from our parents. So it was important for me to be able to apply that science into the character by studying."
"I was told by my parents to not walk in secondhand shoes, but rather break in mine."
When it came time to slip into his finest flannel and embody Jay, Coronel didn't consider the big shoes he and his castmates were filling by starring in the reboot of such a beloved show. "I was told by my parents to not walk in secondhand shoes, but rather break in mine," he says. "I've been acting since I was 7 and rarely get intimidated, only inspired to create and express." He says he thoroughly enjoyed his brief time acting on set alongside Kutcher, with whom he bonded over a mutual love of jiu-jitsu.
Throughout season one of "That '90s Show," Jay transforms from suave flirt with a player reputation to total sweetheart who's falling for Leia, the most innocent member of their smoking circle. However, their relationship status is up in the air as Leia heads back home to Chicago for the school year; after Jay breaks up with her to avoid doing long distance, he quickly realizes his mistake and begs to reconcile. But there may be secret feelings brewing between Leia and Nate, leaving her unsure how to proceed. Thankfully, the show was recently renewed for a second season, so we'll get to see how the potential love triangle plays out soon enough.
To celebrate the ongoing Kelso legacy, we rounded up all the ways Jay is similar to his dad, both looks- and personality-wise. See the side-by-side comparisons ahead, and witness Coronel in action on "That '90s Show," now streaming on Netflix.