Why “Stranger Things” Is Better Than I Thought
My son is obsessed with “Stranger Things” like most young teens. When it first came out I was told by everyone that I would “love it” because it has all kinds of 80s nostalgia. It certainly does. I watched the first 3 episodes and didn’t watch any more….until recently.
Now, I have been “binge watching” to get caught up for the release of “Stranger Things 4” on July 1st.
So, why am I really into it now?
A lot of series are full of padding. Whole scenes come across as a copy of another show you saw before. This show has a lot of “Goonies” vibes mixed with a little “Stand By Me“. That’s a plus. Both iconic 80’s!
Stranger Things never does this. It references other stuff, sure, but that other stuff is nostalgia.
It does well with keeping the mystery going.
Every scene contains some subtle but rich observation that get you in the gut. When Mike (Finn Wolfhard) is called upstairs by his impatient mom (When will she say “Beetjuice! Beetlejuice! Beetlejuice!) he doesn’t just reply ‘coming!’ in a loud voice. He screeches “COMING!” like a banshee. That’s clearly based on real observation. It is exactly how my brother and I would have yelled back during a frustrating moment. Of course, that would have prompted a response from dear olé dad….but I digress.
Nancy’s love interest, Steve (Joe Keery), isn’t merely shallow. His shallowness is really douch-y. You get the feeling his character arc is going to be defined by this in a really interesting way. Keep in mind I just started Season 3 and I can see his character development already.
When Will’s mom (Winona Ryder) gets a new phone to replace the one that was torched by a weird electrical surge, she doesn’t just plug it in and sigh. That’s what she would do in a show that’s copying other shows. In this show, she sits down in an armchair with the phone on her lap. And you know she’s going to sit there for hours. It’s what I would do if it was my son.
This is, I think, why Stranger Things is so good. Great performances, beautiful camera-work and luxuriant period detail are all part of it as well. But I think it’s the fullness of the storytelling and the complexity of the characters that lifts it above the herd.
I understand why Billy wants to get with Mrs. Wheeler (Cara Buono) let’s face it….Cara is a smoke show. Still, the scene gave me the creeps. ~ Parker