Stranger Things

This week, I binge watched the Netflix series Stranger Things. It’s not something I would necessarily have gone for had I not seen it billed as pretty great by a few friends and colleagues. Here are some random thoughts on the series, in more or less chronological order from the time I started the series until now, starting maybe halfway through.

  • Steve is an asshole. He’s like Brendan Frasier meets maybe Johnny (sweep the leg!) from Karate Kid and every other entitled shithead kid from every 80s movie ever.
  • Is Nancy a riff on the female lead from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off?
  • The kid missing his front teeth is great, sort of a highlight of the show for me, basically Gertie from E.T. meets Chunk from The Goonies meets, I dunno, kid Jeff Goldblum?
  • The title graphic is so perfectly Stephen King/all-horror-authors-from-the-80s that I can hardly bear its perfection.
  • Little twinges of Twin Peaks in the title music.
  • Look, these walkie talkies aren’t actually the ones we all had as kids (you know, the gray ones with the black and orange buttons). Get it right or go home. Also, they said at one point to tune to channel 6, but later we see that they’re three-channel walkie talkies. Are they counting by twos or is this a mistake?
  • Oh god, please don’t kill the black kid when he’s up in the tree watching the evil people at the nefarious science/whatever facility. We see enough murder of black kids by authorities in real, daily America.
  • Look, is this show for real or are you, with your super duper promiment 80s kitsch “background” details, just trying to appeal to my nostalgia for my childhood?
  • Who the heck are the Duffer Brothers?
  • The El actor is kind of horrible, but she’s also a kid and this is probably pretty hard to pull off.
  • Steve’s sidekick is the most freckled brown-headed kid I’ve ever seen. (It’s ok, I can say it, since I’m a freckled person.)
  • Ah, the good old 80s, when a 17-year-old and his nemesis’s girlfriend can buy a bear trap, some gasoline, and a bunch of ammo and nobody bats an eye. ‘Murica, Fuck Yeah!
  • The (uh, maybe spoiler?) isolation tank bits seem kind of right on.
  • Look, Winona puts on all the makeup except eyeliner when she’s suddenly not feeling like an isolated raving lunatic and is tramping about in an (uh, spoiler) alternate universe looking for her kid.
  • I swear the Matthew Modine character (the evil white-haired scientist guy) reminds me of some other guy who starred in a like WB show a decade or so ago about a widowed dad and his kid (One Tree Hill? — checked, and nope), but the only name that comes to mind is “Chut,” which isn’t a real name.
  • Awww, Steve’s an ok guy after all. Pretty bad (ironic? I think maybe not) taste in sweaters, though.
  • Please please end this and move on. Like, let there be closure and let us understand that, sure, there may be a second season, but it’ll be a whole different problem set with maybe whole different people. Please for the love of all things pleasant in the world don’t do some stupid bullshit thing where you give us a hint of some vague continuation of the next season, which’ll just be a like pandery pale shade of the current reasonably tight 8-episode season just because. Please don’t have one of the main characters under sort of mysterious, shady circumstances find some mystery box in the woods in which to place some food for the maybe disintegrated sort of beatified terribly acting numerically named character who all along I’ve thought of as sort of a surrogate for his tragically dead daughter and who happens to horde Eggos oh fuck my life, you’re putting Eggos in the box aren’t you Elliot Hirsch neé David Harbour?

On the whole, I liked it. I’m glad it was short, and if there’s another season, I hope it’s not a continuation of this season, though it seems like it will be. Everything doesn’t have to have a sequel.

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