Yes, I am completely one of those (getting-to-be-annoying?) people who has drank the Stranger Things Koolaid. In my case, though, it’s less like Koolaid and more like the very blood that runs through my ever-nostalgic veins – this show could not possibly be more up my alley than if it were called The Sandra Lewrey Show for Sandra Lewreys. I grew up on a steady diet of the ’80s movies, TV shows, novels and music Stranger Things so lovingly recreates (Steven Spielberg, Stephen King and John Carpenter being the primary influences) and its arrival on Netflix not even two weeks ago now – right in the midst of a languid summer heatwave, exactly the kind of conditions under which I used to sprawl out in a friend’s cool basement and wile away the humid daylight hours with some combination of The Goonies, Stand By Me and either Poltergeist or Jaws playing on an endless loop on the TV – signaled the end of all other productive activity. I’ve regressed, and it feels fabulous.
Everything that just about everyone has said about Stranger Things I second, third and fourth, which is also the approximate number of times I’ve watched the eight episodes back-to-back. I even found myself engaging in a round of Shag/Marry/Kill today with Mr. Clarke, Hopper and Mike and Nancy’s dad, Ted (for the record, Ted gets the axe, Mr. Clarke is the one I’d marry and Hopper…it’d be hot for about two seconds. Then he’d start crying and pass out on top of you in a drunken stupor until you’re either crushed to death by his massiveness or drown in his cold flop sweat.)
On a more serious note, Stranger Things is a show to be savoured, a show to be studied. Note all of the grid imagery that makes up the bulk of the show’s aesthetics. Start looking and you’ll find those horizontal and vertical lines – like the bars of a cell – and grids – like the graph paper the boys use to plot out their D&D adventures – EVERYWHERE. Then there’s the use of water and keys and music, and the fact that I am super invested in a fictional relationship between two 11-year-olds. Stranger Things have happened.
I could talk about this show all day long (pretty much do) and I adore it more than anything I’ve seen in forever, but I’ll leave off for now with these nails, a nod to Joyce Byers’ homemade wall ouija and the show’s overarching message that we’re all RIGHT HERE. Nothing strange about that.