Low Key

Share

'Stranger Things' Is Better When You Don't Understand It

Season 1, Ep. 34

For all the nostalgia of "Stranger Things" -- the New Coke, the mall, the music -- the most uncanny memory it conjures is the feeling of first seeing a scary movie you were too young to see.


With the very good Season 3 behind us, we still don't have resolution to some of the key mysteries unveiled in Season 1 and Season 2.


Is the show doing too much? Or does the continuing mystery add to the feeling of being 10 years old, sitting in a cold theater or watching a worn VHS tape, trying to understand the mysteries of "Gremlins" or "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" or countless other mid-80s movies that drew millions of young fans, but also flirted with very confusing horror.


We've never seen another show that reminds us of that childhood sense that we were learning about strange new things that frightened us, and that we might never understand. (And that maybe adults didn't understand, either. That was the most frightening part.) The Duffer Brothers do a very good job of capturing that uniquely unsettling feeling, and how it pierces our uncomplicated nostalgia for Slurpees, video games, and the other fun parts of being a kid.


Here are some of our other discussion points this episode, and where they come up:


1:15: Does "Stranger Things" Season 3 make any sense if you haven't seen Seasons 1 and 2?

9:02: What do the antagonists actually... want?

10:20: What happened to Billy being racist?

11: 30: "This is the only show where I think not understanding it actually helps it."

11:48: One of us calls "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" by the wrong name

15:01: Is the show introducing too many characters without fully exploring the existing ones?

20:10: Does "Stranger Things" actually care about the death of America's small towns?

30:45: What's going on with Will (or not going on with Will), and why we relate to him

38:30: Does it seem like people are more angry at Hopper than Billy?

 

 

More Episodes

7/23/2020

Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado

Season 1, Ep. 70
In this episode we explore Netflix's Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado, about a Puerto Rican TV astrologer who rose from humble beginnings to become a sequin-caped inspiration to millions.With his distinctive look, aura of mystery — especially about his sexuality — and ability to blend many religious beliefs into a medley of optimism, Walter Mercado gave hope to the hopeless — until an ugly legal dispute yanked him from the air and cost him control of his own carefully cultivated image.:45: Our late-night infomercial memories3:00: Is the Michael Jordan-approved The Last Dance real journalism? Is Walter Mercado getting the Michael Jordan treatment?5:45: "Celebrities nowadays are derivatives of celebrities back in the day."5:50: How Walter Mercado was like Michael Jackson and Prince7:05: About that psychic phone line...7:50: How is Walter Mercado different from a televangelist?8:50: "You just can't swindle a swindler"10:00: Let's talk about Walter Mercado and his manager's relationship11:45: Zodiac signs12:40: "What's the difference between a Walter Mercado and a Tony Robbins?"15:00: Tim has the same religious beliefs as Walter Mercado: "No one has a monopoly on God"18:00: "He had a much better life than most people have"24:00: A Billy Dee Williams story (and here's the background on the gender-fluid story)27:00: Another excellent famous-person story30:55: "The only person I ever saw solve racism was Prince"31:50: "Netflix, again, coming through on the diversity point before it was fucking cool. ... They've been on this train."33:15: Netflix's $120 million donation to HCBUs36:00: "I have an appreciation for any man that dresses up like a wizard"Mucho Mucho Amor: The Legend of Walter Mercado is now streaming on Netflix.