CFC: So, who wants to talk about Stranger Things?

From Hannah: I have no idea why we haven’t done an episode on Stranger Things. But with Volume 1 of Season 4 currently released on Netflix (and breaking ratings recordssuch that they are things), and Volume 2 about to drop next weekend, I thought it was time. Besides, as a podcast with connections to Durham, NC (the hometown of the Duffer Brothers that gets referenced in the show so many times), we are basically obligated. (Some Durhamites get pretty excited about Stranger Things too. The Bulls have had themed nights for the show, for instance.)

This is the penultimate season of the show, and the newest trailer makes things look darker and more tense than ever.

As a co-host of a pseudo-academic roundtable, I have some topics in mind: How does Stranger Things play with the eighties? How is it both speaking to a time of nostalgia (even if all of its viewers weren’t even alive then) and the contemporary? What are the more interesting ways it plays with different genres (there’s so much to say this season especially about the horror film … I’ve loved the Nightmare on Elm Street references in particular)? How does it conceive of small-town American life? (And I think we can even think back to our recent episode on mall cultures with how Season 3 used Starcourt Mall.) Also: I really, really want to look at the Hellfire Club from the show … and talk about the historical Hellfire Club (Note From Mav: yeah, yeah, yeah… we know… and the direct reference Marvel Hellfire Club). It’s like the writers’ room knew I was waiting for an opportunity to get in my eighteenth-century references!

But as a fan, I’m just … very concerned about what’s going to happen. If a two-minute trailer makes me emotional, what about the actual show? Where we be left until the final season drops? And, most importantly of all, is Steve going to be okay? But really, is Steve going to be okay?

3 Comments and 0 Webmentions for “CFC: So, who wants to talk about Stranger Things?”

  1. I grew up on “kids on bikes” media, like E.T. and in a very real way I LIVED “kids on bikes.” I was at the tail-end of the generation where a lot of summer days were waking up, watching cartoons while eating a bowlful of terrible cereal, then riding around all day with your friends, stopping at someone’s house for lunch (usually a baloney and cheese sandwich or something similar), and then back at your house before dinner.

    The show manages to capture a lot of the feeling of that time, of having perhaps more freedom to be a kid and to explore than you really ought to have at that age. We never got attacked by a Demogorgon, but more than once we had to come up with a clever story for why someone’s bike got wrecked that absolutely could not involve the things that actually wrecked them.

    I like large parts of this season, other than that they really don’t seem to know what to do with Will, Mike and Jonathan. Their entire plotline could be run by any one of the characters, and the addition of Argyle just makes those segments feel even slower.

    The Hellfire Club is interesting because while it allows them to bring in the elements of the Satanic Panic that make (my new favourite character) Eddie work, they’re doing a disservice to the actual history of the Satanic Panic by having that plotline revolve around an actual murder. I mean, I get that it’s the easy way to do it, and that Eddie isn’t actually the murderer, but the fear and loathing of the Satanic Panic wasn’t merely directed at the wrong target, it was directed at a target that simply didn’t exist.

  2. I know I’m spamming the comment thread, but in my defense, Mav told me to: I’d love to hear you folks talk about Mystery Science Theater 3000 and related media, where people watch bad movies and make fun of them while you watch. It’s a very odd sort of theater, adding an additional layer of fiction as a kind of buffer between you and an otherwise negative viewing experience that, I think is part of what makes the experience enjoyable rather than insufferable.

    Specific to MST3K, there’s also some “wokeness” to talk about, with the character of Gypsy being renamed GPC, and the addition of more female voices to the writing and performing staff.

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