Thursday, September 15, 2016

Stranger Things, Redux

Now that I've finished watching Stranger Things, I thought I'd revisit my initial thoughts about the series.
  • I previously expressed disdain for Steve, the "Teenage Jerk Who Coerces Uncertain Female Virgin Into Sex." He is still that, but somewhat redeems himself by helping fight the monster from the Upside Down, I guess.
  • I also criticized the 80's tendency for films in the "boyhood pal" genre to portray boys being misogynistic. This topic is probably deserving of its own post, but there I was particularly reminiscing about cetain John Hughes movies that have whiffs of "nerdy guy engages in rape culture behavior but it's okay because he's a pathetic nerd" subtext to them. I was also thinking of The Sandlot, which technically is early '90s, but in which the worst insult EVAR was for boys to be told they played "like a girl."  
Anyway, Stranger Things' cadre of '80s boy pals eventually came to a grudging respect for, at least, one girl: who they called "El.". Although one primarily because he had a crush on her and the others primarily because she had supernatural powers and could kill them if they were assholes. Don't get me wrong. Eleven is a cool character. But I'm interested in her story, not the story of how a group of boys relate to her.
  • I noted previously that '80s bullies were such jerks. Yep, they were. It's nice that Steve helped with the monster and, due to his reformed personality, got the girl-prize Nancy in the end! 
  • Oh, yeah. I should have also mentioned that another '80s trope that can go to hell is female characters being treated as prizes for male characters, like the also-rapey Revenge of the Nerds series. Ideally, Nancy would focus on her studies for the rest of her high school career and not have a boyfriend. OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE, date neither Steve nor Jonathon but some other guy or gal. But actually guy, because it's the 1980s.
  • Eleven going Dark Willow was immensely satisfying. 
  • It was established in the comment sections of my previous post that the word "douchebag' might actually be historically accurate, since it was said in E.T.  Don't say you never learned anything from Fannie's Room!
  • Oh, Winona Ryder. Her character was totally gaslit, of course, and she was right the whole time. Because of course she was. It's the 1980s. And doesn't anyone know that the living ignore the strange and unusual, while she herself is.... strange and unusual?? The point is, when a 1980s Winona Ryder character says something, you better fucking open your trapper keeper and take notes.
  • WHAT ABOUT BARB??  If Stranger Things were truly an 80's series, Barb would have ditched the glasses, saddled up to the sewing machine to make herself a fancy prom dress, and ended up with Steve. But since this is really 2016, she apparently just died and barely anyone in her life noticed. Because that's how 2016 rolls. The toast can't never be bread again.
Discuss this, or other stuff!

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