'Stranger Things' Season Two Would be Great if Not For All That Sexism


#1

Mild spoilers for Season 2 of Stranger Things ahead.

I just started episode six, so I'm not through, but so far, Season 2 of Stranger Things is knocking it out of the 80s-inspired park in almost every aspect. It's stronger than the first by a long shot, with much tighter pacing—it feels like a horror thriller in itself, with the confidence to be its own thing, less the loose mishmash of Goonies/Gremlins/Aliens/General 80s Spielberg tropes that defined season one.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://waypoint.vice.com/en_us/article/ne373g/stranger-things-season-2-sexism

#2

my first reaction to the news of it being announced was “why? the first season ends perfectly” and having watched it, even though it wasn’t bad, I still feel the same way. Winona Ryder’s still fuckin great though.


#3

There are apparently plans for five seasons in total so as long as it’s talked about/watched and the cast continue to return (and grow into the roles) then I’d expect plenty more opportunities to ask why.

Of course, that does give them plenty of space to go about fixing some of the issues noted in the article.


#4

I’m a bit perplexed about the introduction of Max - and her brother, for that matter. Neither character needs to be there, and don’t lend much to the show. That’s the writers’ major malfunction, but Max in particular is kind of a one-note, nothing character.


#5

The show is really garbage, and the writing is bad and literally lives on tropes, so none of this is very surprising.


#6

Garbage is a bit harsh. Yes it relies heavily on tropes, but as an homage it’s supposed to. Relying on hoary tropes but making it feel fresh and interesting is an art in and of itself, and Stranger Things manages to thread the needle pretty well all things told.


#7

Yeah I don’t think it relying on tropes in the name of making it like an 80s thing or a Stephen King novel is a flaw in the show. Just stuff like when Eleven first sees Max, that was dumb as hell because it was stupid sitcom 101 shit where A woman sees her guy interacting with another woman at all and it instantly breaks her because dames, amirite? On the one hand I didn’t mind the idea of Eleven having some tension with the group - big part of the show is her going from space to space that other people are telling her is home - but Max and/or Eleven coming back to the group for a bit needed like half an episode to not come off as sexist lazy shit, not half a second.


#8

i feel like in the hands of better writers Eleven being a girl and also ~the other~ in terms of u know, fuckin magic powers could be really cool as a response to the Boyish Adventures model of a lot of pulp sci fi

aaand this show is like pretty much never going to actually deliver that or give her real interiority is it lol


#9

I liked, didn’t love, the first season, knowing that it was a love letter to the 80s and hoping it was a fun standalone thing. This second season is pretty bad and unnecessary. I was wondering where it would go while watching it last night and realized I was on the second-to-last episode. Oh, right. It’s gone nowhere.


#10

I enjoyed this season, maybe more than the first one. There were a few things that bothered me:
The 80’s nostalgia, there’s a fine line before it becomes pandering. Does this movie cross it? I’m not sure.
Max and her brother felt like superfluous characters, even when time was spent developing them. I was convinced that they were russian spies until the last episode, but nah, just some latchkey teens.

On a positive note, I loved the dad bro moments with Stephen and Dustin, his character improved the most this season. What did he say, “I’m a shitty boyfriend, but a great babysitter”?
Creepiest moment, Billy and Stephen in the boys shower, not sure what was going on there. Again, I was convinced Billy was a Russian spy, and trying to form shower bond with Stephen. “Now we are shower brothers, yes? You tell me about the demensional portals.”


#11

It reminds me of the second season of Twin Peaks. Lots to love, more than a little to dislike. Doesn’t know what to do with its female characters. One character leaves and goes on a journey to find themselves that doesn’t feel necessary and lays down plot elements and new characters that contribute little or nothing. And the obvious possession by a dark being from another dimension thing.


#12

it blows my mind that no one ever seems to acknowledge that the show was inspired by Elfen Lied? of all things? and the end result being a familiar brand of tumblr-by-way-of-twitter Woke Fandom popping up about a show thats basically “what if E.T. was a girl based on the 2004 anime catgirl who pees herself”


#13

I both hate and respect myself at the same for not being able to tell if that’s a joke post or not.


#14

Ohhhh buddy


#15

I…I can’t…why would they…how does…ELFEN LIED?!?


#16

unfortunately for both you and me, none of it is a joke!


#17

While, in theory, I’m on board for “The Continuing Adventures Of Trying To Socialize Eleven,” I don’t really like how it played out. She’s made some progress, I guess. I did very much like her adventure with the other test subject and learning how different she could be if she had never found people who did actually care about her.

Holding out hope for decent Max/Eleven interaction in S3. The show has done a lot of things where whenever I have a beef with how something is going, it gets answered in the next episode, and the two of them only meet about half an hour from the end.

I enjoy the show while recognizing the flaws but I do hope they can come up with something better to do than “well we have to keep finding ways to isolate Eleven from the main plot, otherwise we wouldn’t have a season’s worth of episodes.” Stuff that is threatening to the main cast is the stuff she can clean up in fifteen minutes. Writing around that seems like it’s going to be a continuous problem and I’m not sure if the Duffers are good enough to do it.

Worth noting that both the “eleven gets a makeover” episode from S1 and the “eleven gets jealous of some girl” episode in S2 are both written by Justin Doble.


#18

Oh my lord I’m dying. :smiley:


#19

Wow that is so deeply disappointing omg lol.


#20

I enjoyed a lot of this season, but I don’t know if I really want to see Dustin start taking after Steve, even though those interactions (With the exception of the “Sexual Electricity” one) had me laughing basically every time. I think Dustin was a lot stronger this season. Mike was already like, lowkey a little annoying/whiny in S1 and they kind of turned the fuckboy up to 11 in this which made him genuinely unlikable. (I kind of want S3 to be Eleven realizing how much he sucks even though I know this isn’t gonna happen lol) I feel like they are just trying to make me hate this annoying teenager who would probly be picking up a fedora and jumping on the incel reddit in a few years if this was taking place today. I thought the death of Bob was not great. It felt cheap and reminded me of bad HBO deaths that pushed me out of basically all of their series. I think the interactions between Hop and Eleven are cool though, Hop is one of my favourite characters, and it’s interesting watching him fuck up/worry about him getting turned into a smear by an angry eleven. And I like that for parts of this he felt genuinely in peril.

Something else that I enjoyed in this season was that they kind of turned up the camp? Like the scene with Mikes mom and Max’s brother was a little creepy, ngl, this racist pos is still a minor, but all of the gratuitous but shots on him were funny to me, idk. On top of that I feel like the entire arc of Eleven and Eight was just the Duffer Shadowrun group, loved it.

Edit: I want them to give more time to Lucas, he’s incredible and I feel like most of the things that focus on him land well.