Netflix’s hit of the summer has officially gone from merely popular to full-on cultural phenomenon.
In the wake of its success, we have seen mash-ups and fan-made art, video games, toys. With such rich opportunities for cosplay, I guess it was kind of inevitable that Stranger Things would rule Halloween this year too.
To celebrate the spooky occasion, Netflix have just released a BTS video: archival newsreel footage from 5 WIYZ Hawkins, Indiana.
The clip features news anchor Brenda Wood, who made a brief appearance in the first ep, discussing the disappearance of Barbara Holland, and a certain Eggo shoplifting incident…
Spoilers, yo. Just go watch the series. You have to.
Poor old Barb. As you will recall, Barb was the good girl pal of Nancy. In the show’s second episode, Barb and Nancy attended a party hosted by jerk-turned-decent-guy Steve Harrington.
After cutting herself while trying to shotgun a beer (classic Barb), Barb decided to chill a bit by the pool. Meanwhile, Nancy and Steve went upstairs for some heavy canoodling.
Like a true friend, Barb sat by the pool waiting for Nancy so that they could leave together. Unfortunately for Barb, the blood from that cut attracted the Demogorgon from the Upside Down. Barb is mentioned a few more times in the show and at the end we get some kind of messed up closure when Eleven finds Barb’s rotting corpse.
Despite her limited screen time, Barb soon became a cult icon. The character has inspired its own slew of memes/ fan-art, and tributes have been made to her killer fashion sense and status as an all-round great friend.
Barb wasn't supposed to be a big deal and you lovely people made her important. Thank you 💜
— Shannon CURSER 👻🎃 (@shannonpurser) August 20, 2016
But why the Barb love?
The simple answer is that many of us see ourselves in Barb. Anyone who was somewhat of an outcast or misfit gets it. Be honest, we’ve all been that boy/girl at some point. Unless you were always super popular, and in that case you are probably Team Steve.
Just check out the many fans who have been tweeting their own school pics with the hashtag #WeAreAllBarb, and people went to Barbsville on Halloween.
The other thing about Barb is that, until now, the show didn’t really seem to care about her. Everyone is going mad looking for Will Byers, but the police find Barb’s car and kind of just stop there. “I guess she skipped town. Oh well, let’s continue our huge manhunt for Will”…is what we assume the canned dialogue was.
Naturally, this all led to another Barb-related hashtag, #JusticeforBarb.
I’ve mentioned before that Stranger Things is great because it not only pays homage to, but also explores or upends the cultural tropes it relies on. This is the case with Steve, who in the ’80s would have remained a jerk, but it’s also something we can see in Barbara/Nancy situation.
Anyone who has watched an ’80s horror knows this: If you have sex, you die. The trope is so well known, that it was even mentioned as a “rule” in Wes Craven’s meta take on the genre, Scream.
So going back to episode two, we can see how the Duffer Brothers play with this trope. Nancy has sex, but it is the chaste Barb who is punished. That would never happen in Friday the 13th!
At any rate, the good news is the show is finally showing Barb more love.
The bad news is we’ll have to wait ’til 2017 till we can return to Hawkins for season two. Can’t wait!