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May 22, 2017 | by  | in TV | [ssba]

Watching Stranger Things as a Horror-Hater who has No Nostalgia for the ’80s

Recently I bestowed my sister with my Netflix password. Slightly idiotic, I know, but if it’s getting paid for out of my course related costs, I might as well spread the love around. The beauty of giving your younger sister access to your Netflix account is that she tries things I’m too afraid to.

Like Stranger Things.

I know, I know, how can this b!tch proclaim to be a TV buff if she hasn’t seen Stranger Things? It’s a seminal piece of television. I hear you. You are right. But to be fair, I did everything except actually watch the show. I read all the critique, engaged with my various timelines on the matter, watched the Emmys as those kids handed out sandwiches.

Alas, Stranger Things was just not made for me as a TV viewer. I was not alive in the ’80s and therefore have little to no appreciation for the style and effects of the time, let alone nostalgia for them. I cannot stand horror — I’m not entirely sure why, I’m just not big on scaring myself for no particular reason. I’m also, and I apologise profusely for this, not that into kids, in real life or on screen; I always skipped every time Ross’s kid showed up on Friends. Sorry, but I just don’t like them that much.

That’s literally a trifecta of things that put me off Stranger Things. Sure, the poster and the theme music was cool, but I had no real desire to put time into it, especially with OJ: Made In America taking up so much of my attention at the time.

So when I woke up on Sunday morning and saw my sister watching the first episode, I couldn’t help but join her. Then, when she left for work, I couldn’t help but keep watching. Then, as the expert TV watcher I am, I couldn’t help but binge the whole show and finish it that day.

It’s an interesting experience, watching a show for the first time that you already sort of know everything about, and getting the chance to properly form your own opinions about what you are watching — almost a year after everyone else has. For example, I really enjoyed the character of Nancy, and despite what that Saturday Night Live sketch might have you believe, we do see Lucas’s parents. Plus, the horror of this show can be avoided if you watch it in the daytime and can anticipate the jump scares. Also yes, I am going to beat this drum too: Millie Bobby Brown is incredible.

There’s a lot of love out there for this show, and I get it, but I don’t necessarily share it. The whole “government lab conspiracy” thing kind of grinds my gears, and I could do without seeing yet another down-on-his-luck male law enforcement officer who tries to drink his problems away but just ends up waking up on the couch with the sun streaming into his face, whereupon he picks up his next cigarette.

Maybe I’m a little more critical of the flaws of such a show given that I am not swept up in the nostalgic beauty of it (I have also, sorry, never read a Stephen King book), but that’s okay. It’s important to remember that not all TV is for everyone, and you are bound to like some shows a lot more than I am!

It’s alright; I’ll just watch the second season ten months too late as well.

— @LauraLives


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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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