So like anyone else obsessed with Stranger Things, I binged season two. I didn’t mean to; it just happened. I sat down to watch one episode, and next thing I know, it’s four episodes later and I didn’t want to stop there.
I love how this show has a little bit of everything. Being a person born in the mid-90s, I wasn’t even a thought in 1983-84. My parents hadn’t even met yet – they were still in middle/high school. It has the 80s feel that makes you crave the classic John Hughes movie involving lawnmowers, fist bumps at the end of an awesome song, and proclamations of love in the worst fashion choice of the decade. There’s a love triangle, first loves, and first fights over first loves. To make the mix even better, there’s the possible end of the world as they know it.
Seriously, this show has everything I love.
Even love triangles.
A lot of people have a distaste for the cliche love triangle, but I love how you can spin it around to something new – and Stranger Things did something wonderful. In season one, Nancy chooses Steve Harrington. He’s the guy with the awesome hair and the one you hate to love, so you decide you don’t. He’s cocky and sure of himself in a way that begs you to still plead with Nancy for an entire year to change her mind and chose the loner with the camera. But season two did something marvelous: I changed over to Team Steve. STEVE! He might have awesome hair and a beautiful face to match, but come on! Her choice was so typical.
I couldn’t imagine ever wanting Steve to get the girl. The writers made it abundantly clear in season one that he would get everything because he’s Steve Harrington, boy wonder. Jock, hot, and witty rhetoric. Then I met him in season two, this new and improved Steve. It showed his vulnerability and growth in his and Nancy’s relationship, even though she still thought about Jonathan.
It opens up with his worrying about college and saying he wants to stay, anyway, so Nance doesn’t forget about him. He’s insecure in a subtle way that was beautifully done and softened my heart toward him. I thought about him in the way you want to run your fingers through his hair at first, but then I thought, “I want to be there for this guy.” He thinks he’s stupid, but he shows us he obviously isn’t. He also thinks it’s possible for anyone to forget about him. I mean, his hair alone has a fanbase. But his personality – his personality! – I wanted every scene to involve Steve in some way or another.
He noticed his tenuous hold on his life, and it screamed the high school, young adult years with such clarity. Even those irritating and vapid friends of his from season one are only in a total of maybe two minutes of the entire season. He’s grown! Even if it is into a person that recognizes his weaknesses. He’s not the jock that you’ll see at a high school reunion and roll your eyes at how he peaked in high school. He still has more to go.
Jonathan’s character, in this season, fell flat for me. The reason that I started watching the show in the first place (because I hate to be one of those people that watches something just because everyone else watches it) is a trailer that a YouTuber (Elle of the Mills) made that begged the question, “What if Stranger Things were a rom com?” Yes, I liked Jonathan automatically. I expected to like him just as much in this season.
Nope. No growth. No change. He’s still the guy who doesn’t like people and can’t admit his feelings toward Nancy until she has a boyfriend and ends up being the one she cheats on her boyfriend with.
So, basically, any scene that involved Steve pining over Nancy, broke my heart.
And before you ask, no, she doesn’t deserve him. She deserves Jonathan, who, let’s be honest, is pretty self-centered. Steve turns into the dad of the group and shows how much of a conscience he has, breaks our hearts with the, “Yeah, Nancy’s different” scene with Dustin, and without him the world might have ended.
I want Steve to be happy.
I was talking to one of my bookstagramming friends about the triangle, and we summed it up like this: if the loner gets the girl, it’s cliche. If the jock with a heart that focuses on saving the world instead of the girl (but still secretly does it for the girl) wins out, it’s not.
(At least in my mind.)
After the “Like we’re in love?” and ending scene above, don’t tell me you want Steve to lose the girl.
And P.S.: I have hopes for Steve in season three, and I don’t believe that Jonathan and Nancy’s relationship will work out in the end. The world can’t always be ending. Meaning, the line about how they only spend time together when the world is ending rings true. What happens when life is boring and mundane?
Team Steve for the win.