If you haven’t seen Stranger Things on Netflix, stop reading this, go get yourself some popcorn and some soda pop and watch it. You might as well schedule some pizza delivery and prepare to sit in front of the tele for the next 8 hours because once you start, you will not want to stop. (There are 8 episodes which average 42 to 52 minutes each; however, eight hours will allow time for bathroom breaks, Snapchat updates, and Instagram posts.)
If you grew up in the ’80’s, watch out because the show will bring back memory after memory about how life was back in the day. If you didn’t grow up in the ’80’s, this post will answer some questions you may have about the show.
WARNING: THE FOLLOWING CONTAINS SPOILERS. DON’T READ UNTIL YOU HAVE WATCHED THE SHOW.
- You may wonder about the authorities incessantly searching for and calling for Will Byers instead of putting his face on a milk carton. In the ’80’s, people stealing kids just wasn’t that common. Although the milk carton campaign started in 1984 and a lot of kids did go missing due to abduction, people still thought of a child being kidnapped as something that “happened to somebody else.” People felt safe in small town neighborhoods. The natural assumption was that Will had run away or had gotten lost.
- Nancy is really too skinny to correctly represent an ’80’s girl. Girls, for the most part, weighed more and were curvier. If you don’t believe me, watch the original Elisbeth Shue in The Karate Kid with Ralph Macchio, also see Mollie Ringwald in Sixteen Candles, and Mia Sara in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
- Nancy’s clothes, and everybody else’s, are spot-on. Girls actually wore dresses on a day to day basis and liked it. We wore blouses and tied thin ribbons around the neck with a bow, then layered a thin sweater over it.
- Barb’s glasses are the best. As you can see, I had a pair of those, or two or three. It was what everybody word: round and half as big as your face.
- If a teen girl in the ’80’s returned home super late, the mom wouldn’t have said, “You can talk to me.” A mom would have said, “I don’t care where you were, you are late. You are grounded for a week.” And after finding out the girl had been with a boy, the mom would have said, “I am making an appointment to get you a pregnancy test. You are grounded for life, and you will never see that boy again.” (One slight deviation from reality and how the show portrays reality.) By the way, the show is not really clear on whether or not the teen couple actually have sex. I like that as a viewer–not to watch a teen sex scene and not to know how far they actually went.
- Speaking of which, back then, if memory serves, Victoria’s Secret was for grown women with extra spending money for fancy lingerie. It was not for the everyday woman. Women wore plain (mostly white) bras and pretty much plain underwear, although some of the panties were colored or had little designs on them. The girl’s bra in the show is fairly representative of the choice we women had back them.
- Although we did not have colored bras, we did have colored toilet paper. Blue, Pink, Yellow (?) I don’t remember all of the colors available. People had toilet paper to coordinate with the color schemes of their bathrooms.
- I don’t remember boys having hair like Steve’s hair–except in the movie Sixteen Candles. It was either the crew cut or the bowl haircut as demonstrated by Jonathan Byers, Will Byers, Mike Wheeler, and Dustin Henderson. The rest of the hair is spot-on, especially Barbara’s “Dorothy Hamill” hair and Nancy’s mom’s “Feathered” hair (Again, see picture above.)
- Dungeons and Dragons was huge. It was also considered evil. Many parents forbid their kids to play it. I wish I had had access to a group so I could have played. I would have been into the cosplay and the whole bit.
- We didn’t say, “Seriously.” We would say, “Are you for real?” We also said, “Well, duh,” instead of “obviously.” If someone was running fast, he (she) was bookin’. Good looking guys were foxes and stud muffins and hunks. Pretty girls were foxes and babes.
- I don’t know where Mrs. Byers and the pre-schooler go all day. Back then, most moms didn’t work. The show never says where they go off to. I don’t think Mrs. Byers has a job because she comes home with groceries in the middle of the day in one episode. Moms, by the way, really did bake all of those goodies for Christmas.
Stranger Things has two sexual situations that I can think of, but it doesn’t really show much. Violence is minimal although there is some. It is a show that holds appeal for all ages.
Two aspects of this show really stand out to me.
Number One is that the teens are portrayed as teens really are: conflicted, immature, caring, curious, intelligent, and too brave for their own good. Not perfect people, but not bad people.
Number Two is that the adults and kids eventually work together. The adults are not the enemy.
If you have any memories of how things were in the ’80’s, or if you have something you would like to share about this show, please write it in the “comments” below.
(I couldn’t get my numbers to go to 5 after the picture. My daughters are sleeping, so it is going to have to stay the way it is.)
And, yes, I did that pic of Reepicheep myself. Pretty gnarly, huh?