I grew up in the era of VHS tapes, when most households only had one TV and it was located in the living room (so pretty much the dark ages), which means I was often slave to the TV shows my parents wanted to watch.
For as long as I can remember every night at 7 pm, my dad would watch Wheel of Fortune, followed by Jeopardy. The rest of the evening he’d spend snoring in his Lay-Z-boy lounger, but if you changed the channel he’d suddenly wake right up and command you put back on the show he was watching with his eyes closed. I love you Dad, but it’s true and you know it.
Also, this pretty much explains how I became such an avid readers.
However, this new era of Netflix and Chill, where I can binge watch an entire series without commercial interruptions is damn well magical. I don’t think any misses the inflatable balloon guy commercials.
As someone who is typically writing, reading or crafting with my ten-year-old, a night spent in front of the TV, or more often than not, snuggled in bed with the laptop perched on my stomach—I like to think of it as an inverse, relaxed plank—can be pretty rare.
There are a select few TV shows that I will drop everything for. And there are one or two I might even attempt to binge watch, which for anyone who knows me is a feat and a half. I have the attention span of a squirrel hopped up on Redbull.
But if ever there was a show that could force my butt in a lounger for several uninterrupted hours (aside from snack and bathroom breaks), Stranger Things is it.
It is my favourite show in the universe. Stranger Things reaches into my mixed tape loving soul and brings me back to the glorious 80s, an era of epically bad hair and questionable fashion statements.
Things you should know about me before I go any further: I do not typically watch shows (or movies) with a horror element. I’m more Vampire Diaries than Walking Dead. I tried to watch The Walking Dead. I made it five minutes into the episode the first time. Twenty minutes the second. I gave up after that. I don’t derive much enjoyment from being anxious for an entire hour. Also, my imagination is plenty vivid all on it’s own so I’m good with not watching an alive-dead person eat another human.
So how is it that I’m able to watch Stranger Things and not need to sleep with the lights on for the next three months (and keep a butcher knife tucked under my pillow)?
Let me explain. With visuals, of course.
1. Dear 1980’s, you were awesome. I’m glad you’re back.
Look at the epicness of this set. I’m fairly certain we had those exact lamps and everyone had one of those blankets. You could spill almost anything on it and the stains would never show up.
Remember when horror movies didn’t have CGI to scare the living crap out of us for days afterward? I sure do. Stranger Things brings back everything (horrifyingly) awesome about the 80s, including plaid shirts, denim jackets, trucker hats and even shoulder pads and those geometric patterned jackets that are difficult to look at. That 80s feel helps take the terror down a notch.
The Demogorgon is still creepy AF, though. It’s like a praying mantis mated with a Venus flytrap and they sprinkled in some human DNA for kicks. Maybe he, (or is it gender neutral since I’m not seeing any distinctly male features here *coughnodanglybitscough*), is simply misunderstood and a really nice guy-thing. Regardless, I’m pretty sure I never want to meet a demogorgon in a dark alley unless I have a tank and some superpowers.
Moving on . . .
2. Jim Hopper
You work that ugly beige uniform, Jim, you work it good.
Jim Hopper, Sherriff of Hawkins, and pseudo-dad to Eleven (I’m getting to her, just wait) has single-handedly made the dad-bod sexy. Don’t try and deny it. There’s just something inherently guh about a guy who takes in an orphaned girl and feeds her Eggo waffles, and goes to battle against the shadow-monster from the Upside Down. Also, the beardy scruff is hot. I can forgive the fact that he’s a chain smoker because everyone smoked in the 80s. It’s a fact.
LOOK AT HOW ADORABLE HE IS! Just look! He is the most adorable, toothless kid in the world. And that trucker hat. And that mop of curls. I want my daughter to date him. Not really. She’s too young to date, and he’s a TV star, so that’s all kinds of bad news. *jots down notes for new plot bunny* But Dustin is awesome, even if he does try to raise a demogorgon for a while which results in the near death of almost everyone. We can’t all be perfect. He learned from his mistakes.
4. Steve the Babysitter
His hair alone is enough reason to love him. It’s everything terrible and wonderful about the 80s. Steve is the quintessential underdog. He’s usually stuck in the friend zone, but watch out for Steve, he’s kind of a badass. Just look at the baseball bat with nails sticking out of his knapsack. Steve reminds me of my favourite 80s cult flicks circa the Molly Ringwald era. You know what I’m taking about; Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink. He’s the unlikely hero who actually gets the girl. Yes, there’s some romance in this weird and whacky show, which feeds my romantic soul. Surprisingly, no one has shown any interest in the demogorgon . . . yet . . .
5. Winona Ryder AKA Joyce Byers
I don’t think this requires much explanation. I mean, it’s Winona Ryder being . . . well Winona-ish and rocking a corduroy jacket like nobody’s business. She’s a little nuts (in the show), but I’ve loved Winona since she starred as Lydia in Beetlejuice (1988), although Girl, Interrupted will always be my personal favourite. Nothing says love like scribbling the entire alphabet over your wallpaper and stringing Christmas lights so you can communicate with your son while he’s trapped in the Upside Down.
Oh, Eleven, you rock the girl power like nobody’s business. Also, the goth look totally suits you. Where do I even begin with Eleven, test subject in the Hawkin’s lab, saver of the universe, survivor of the Upside Down? If there was ever a character in a show I’d want to be, it’s Eleven. When we’re introduced to her she’s terrified and seemingly helpless. Oh, how wrong we are.
And there’s even puppy love at the end of season two! The cutest swoony moment ever!
So there it is. My obsession with Stranger Things explained. It’s not really horror. More sci-fi than anything. And the best show ever made. And there’s a romance sprinkled in there, probably to make people like me feel better about all the terrible things that happen.
Sadly, season three doesn’t come out until April of 2019. I’m only sort of devastated. On the Upside (see what I did there), I can watch seasons one and two over again in preparation for season three. While wearing my Dustin hoodie, drinking out of my Steve the Babysitter mug, with my Jim Hopper pillow.
I could really use a Stranger Things blanket, actually. And an Eleven t-shirt. I’ll just get started on my Christmas list while I’m thinking about it . . .