Like most children of the ‘80s and sci-fi loving nerds, I am a huge fan of Netflix “Stranger Things,” whose 3rd Season, dubbed “Stranger Things 3” (like it were a movie sequel) began streaming on the 4th of July. I knew before the season began I would want to write about the ups and downs – and upside-downs – of Hawkins, Indiana’s summer of 1985. Back to the Future, The Goonies, and Fletch were in theaters, and Ronald Reagans’ 2nd term was in full swing after his “Morning in America” landslide the previous fall.
I submitted a few “excitable” posts about the season on Facebook in the 5-7 days it took me to view the 8 episodes. This caught the attention of my friend Lori, who proposed I do a write up with her 11-year-old daughter (Hello – 11! – get it?!) Audrey, who is a big fan of the show. I thought to myself – this is perfect. Why not talk Stranger Things with a young lady who is about the same age as the kids at the center of our beloved series?! With that, I have several questions for Audrey, which I hope you enjoy with her answers below:
(WARNING – HUGE SPOILERS AHEAD. DO NOT READ UNTIL YOU HAVE COMPLETED VIEWING “STRANGER THINGS 3”)
TODD: Hello, Audrey. Though we’re more than 3 decades separated from the events of the show, I understand you are 11 but nearing 12 years of age. So, do you feel you have a lot in common with the group of childhood friends that make up our central characters of the show? In what ways? In what ways are things different for you and your friends in 2019?
AUDREY: Something I have in common with the kids of Stranger Things is I also have a big group of friends of boys and girls and we also hang out a lot. Now we may not be talking about how to defeat a monster from another dimension but we get along just like them. What’s different in 2019 is that instead of asking our parents for walkie-talkies we ask for cell phones! Another thing that we do different now is parents always have to know where you are at all times because they get worried. We don’t roam around the neighborhood on our bikes like they did in the 1980s.
TODD: Are some of the 1980s pop culture references familiar to you? For example:
- Have you seen 1980’s classics like “The Goonies” and “Back to the Future?”
- Are you aware of the 1980s pop culture significance of actor Carey Elwes, who played corrupt Mayor Kline?
- Do the corny / nerdy hairstyles and style of dress seem goofy to you?
- What about the Cold War and our adversarial relationship with the former Soviet Union? If not, does it really matter, or are you able to follow along just fine?
AUDREY: Yes, I have seen many classic 80s movies such as Jaws, Poltergeist, ET, Back to the Future and many more. I did not know that Mayor Kline was an actor from the 80s but I recognized Sean Astin in season 2 and knew he was from the Goonies. I think all the details from the 80s decade were realistic, for example Steve’s and Billy’s mullet hairstyle is very 80s. When Max takes Eleven shopping you can see all the bright colorful clothes that were in style. I think malls became popular in the 80s. I like the style and the 80s music.
I knew that in the 80s America had this thing against Russia and I heard of the Cold War but I didn’t know much about it. I did wonder if it was ok that they kept insulting the Russians or if they had to get permission to do that. I was still able to follow along.
TODD: Ok, let’s get into the season. What did you think of the overall plot and action that made up Stranger Things 3? Feel free to give a long / detailed reply.
AUDREY: This season had many different plots. Dustin, Steve, Robin and Erica were all doing a separate thing than the rest of the gang. They found an evil Russian Lab under the new Starcourt Mall. The other kids were trying to defeat Billy, who was taken over by the Shadow Monster. Joyce, Hopper and Murray try to interrogate the Russian character Alexi, who tragically dies at the Fun Fair. In the end they all came together and it all connected as one.
TODD: Are you happy with the way it concluded? And what do you think we can expect for some of the plot for Stranger Things 4? For example, do you think “El” / “11” gets her powers back? Should we care? Again, feel free to flesh out your thoughts.
AUDREY: I am very happy with the way it concluded because for some reason I didn’t think there would be a new season after this one and with that kind of ending it shows that there’s definitely more to come. I also think that we can expect several new characters because Joyce and her family, including Eleven, are all moving away and that will add a lot to the plot in season 4.
TODD: Your mother tells me you also have an interesting theory about what happened to Hopper… do tell!!
AUDREY: I believe that “the American” that the Russians refer to at the end is not Hopper but someone from the Hawkins lab, like it could be Will’s therapist from season 2. What do I think happened to Hopper? Well, I think before the portal exploded, he jumped into the Upside Down, and somehow the Russian’s took away Eleven’s powers so she couldn’t look for him. So I think he’s still alive but trapped in the Upside Down.
TODD: Who is your favorite character, or characters, and why?
AUDREY: That is a hard question to answer. But if it’s life or death, I would have to pick Max or Robin. I like them both because they lighten up the mood and are self-empowered and funny.
TODD: Do you see yourself as more of an El, a Max, a Nancy, an Erica, or a Robin? … or perhaps one of the guys? And why?
AUDREY: I see myself as an Erica and Robin mixed with a little bit of Max. Erica because she’s sassy. Robin because she is brutally honest and sarcastic. And Max because she is a good friend to Eleven. And if it weren’t for Max, Eleven would not know what happened to Billy because it was Max’s idea to spy on him.
TODD: Now, when she was your age, which character do you think your mom, Lori, most resembled? (and ask your mom who SHE would say)
AUDREY: My mom always tells me stories about middle school and her friends so I think she’d be a Nancy because she was social. She says she was more like Eleven because she did not know how to talk to boys, and if she had powers she totally would have used them to spy on the boys with her friends.
TODD: Audrey, do you have any questions for me, or opinions of mine you’re curious about with regard to Stranger Things 3? (it’s ok if the answer is “no.”)
AUDREY: What was your favorite scene or line? My favorite line was when El said “I dump your ass!” My favorite scene was when we found out Suzie really did exist and she and Dustin sang the Never Ending Story duet. Although I heard some fans are blaming Suzie for what happened to Hopper.
TODD: Without question, my favorite line of Season 3 was, “You can’t spell America… without ‘Erica!’” Erica Sinclair is a big, bad ball of capitalist confidence and intelligent, doesn’t fear anyone, and knows what the deal is. She’s also a thorn in her brother’s side, which makes for good comic moments.
As for Suzie, I think it’s great that they featured her to put to rest all of the gang’s doubts that Dustin even had a girlfriend. I don’t blame her for Hopper because there was no way the trio of Joyce, Murray, and Hopper would all get out of the bunker unscathed, and so they might as well have shown that couples bonding scene through music/pop culture of that time period. In fact, I like the cliffhanger of not knowing Hopper’s fate, but having some faith (through the Marvel-like post credits scene) that he may be alive.
Audrey – thank you so much for discussing Stranger Things 3 with me. Onward to Stranger Things 4 … I hope Netflix doesn’t keep us waiting too long!!