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Stranger Things Season 2: Three Musketeers really are the WORST (Spoilers)

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1 minute ago, The Great Unwashed said:

@Heartofice - I suppose asexuality could be a possibility, but (and I could be wrong because I was a kid growing up in small-town America during the 80s in a town much like Hawkins) looking back I don't remember asexuality being nearly as much of a widely-accepted preference as it is now (which even now still seems to me, admittedly as an outsider, to be a newer addition to the recognized spectrum of sexuality preferences). 

The show has to be viewed through the lens of 2019, not the 80's I think. 

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23 minutes ago, Heartofice said:

However before 5 years old I looked exactly like a dark skinned Danny from the  shining! That was the fashion 

Was your best friend named Tony and did you sit around muttering "redrum" over and over? Because if so, I'm sorry but I'm gonna have to block you. :leaving:

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Wow, that final episode was great.  I wasn’t really feeling this season but the final ep was something else.

On 7/14/2019 at 11:12 PM, Maltaran said:

I have to say, having watched them both a couple of times, I think Lucas and Max’s version of the song is better than Dustin and Suzie

Why are all those kids so good at singing that?! That’s a hard song to sing!

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On 7/15/2019 at 2:39 AM, The Great Unwashed said:

Did you grow up in the 80's? Short-shorts and tube socks were pretty standard summer wear for kids and tweens.

I'm about a year younger than the characters - neither of those things were really what boys wore in Britain.

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7 hours ago, john said:

Wow, that final episode was great.  I wasn’t really feeling this season but the final ep was something else.

Why are all those kids so good at singing that?! That’s a hard song to sing!

All three of those actors (Dustin, Lucas, and Max) were on Broadway before getting cast in Stranger Things

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Posted (edited)

Finished this a couple of days ago with Linda. On the whole, it had some highs and lows. The bathroom scene in episode 7 is one of he best things the show has ever done, and Robin in general was a great addition to the cast. The nostalgia of Starcourt Mall, the scoring and musical choices, the Mind Flayer's increasingly gruesome efforts -- good stuff. And the story was pretty tight -- 8 episodes was pretty much spot on (I'm slogging through the interminable final season of Jessica Jones which is once again padded out to 13 episodes and it's clear it would have been a better show with half as many, so the contrast stands out).

That said, there's some real issues too. The kids besides Dustin and Eleven were basically afterthoughts this season -- I think Lucas's sister had more lines this season than he did! -- and Nancy and Jonathan were relegated to fifth wheel status (get it? Fifth wheel, fifth estate, because newspaper.... forget it) while on the adult side... oh boy. Hopper was turned into this ridiculous caricature. I thought that it'd be just the first episode, a parody of stereotypical dad behavior in some of the 80s teen comedy-romances, but it just went on and on with his basically being a Neanderthal in a Hawaiian shirt. Harbour seems like a lovely guy and a great sport, but there was only so much he could do with it, and so he played it broadly. Things improved toward the very end, but it was kind of painful to see him in those first episodes.

And Billy... I wish they had given us another episode or two pre-body snatching with him to try and maybe hint more at some of the revelations that show up later in the season. The actor did well, but it was hard to develop much connection to a character whose final turn and sacrifice was supposed to carry some weight with the audience.

 

Edited by Ran

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I think Ran totally mirrored my thoughts. I finished off S3 yesterday and overall I thought it was an improvement on S2, but at some point the show seems to have lost that edge, that something that made me think it was something special. 

I look back to Season 1 and there were so many great things going for it. It had this awesome cast of unknown kids who had charisma and energy, it had this quirky Goonies style 80's setting, 80's movie references, but most of all I think it had 'The Upside Down'.

I always thought there was something very interesting about the Upside Down and how it relates to our world, that kind of odd mirror to the way our world worked. There was a ton of cool ideas to exploit with it in S1, especially with the way El managed to find herself there with her powers.

Now fast forward to S3 and The Upside Down is barely mentioned. Its just an excuse for a monster movie with a (pretty unimaginative) gross monster. S3 doesn't really feel like any sort of continuation on the idea of the upside down at all, what it feels like is that they put a bunch of ideas from 80's horror movies in a hat and made a show about it. I wanted to delve deeper into how El interacts with that world, with how that world interacts with ours. But that all went out the window and El just became a side character who was useful for the writers to get themselves out of dangerous situations. There was always El's powers to fix the problems. A real waste I think.

I mean I enjoyed S3, it was campy and over the top and just a lot more fun than season 2, but at the same time I still get the sense that a bunch of potential has been lost with the show and its getting a bit stale.

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I still think it's one of Netflix's genuinely strong titles. What made s1 special was the nostalgia and on the nose references/homages. They couldn't sustain that without changing decade though because they threw everything into season 1. To continue would have been "greatest hits vol2" which by definition has to be worse.

With season 3 i think they've found what they want the show to be minus the over-reliance on nostalgia and they mostly succeeded in splitting the narrative between the characters. They maybe need to cull some characters in terms of overall presence though and focus on the ones that work. Although the consensus there may vary. I'd be surprised if people hated Steve, Robin and Dustin but I'm sure some of the others are more divisive

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It’s always been kind of broad strokes storytelling with a lot of stereotypes.  So I didn’t find Hopper’s character that egregious.  I think they more or less did a good job trying to convey a bit more sophisticated message at times this season.

I agree that they underused the Upside Down as a concept.  And that we could have had a lot more depth to Billy than we got.

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To be honest, I don't think a lot of people out there think of asexuality as anything more than a phase, aside from psychologists, people well-versed in sexuality and, of course, asexuals themselves. It's probably going to be a very long time before we see more awareness grow on that front.

I would consider myself pretty young (like I said earlier, I was in college when the first two seasons dropped), but I can still remember how coming out was a big deal even ten years ago. This show isn't very strict with having it's characters behave in a way that matches the times (which was one of the big criticisms I've seen of this series), but I have a hard time picturing anyone in 1980s rural Indiana coming out prior to 30. I've seen a lot of people (most of whom are probably younger than I am) saying how badly they want to see Will get a boyfriend, and I don't think they realize just how truly dangerous that would be for a teenage boy as recently as a decade ago, let alone three.

On another front, even if this season (allegedly) got higher viewership ratings than the last two, it doesn't seem to have taken over the media in quite the same way as the last time. When season two dropped, every website was putting out pieces ranking the characters and episodes, dissecting Easter eggs, making season three predictions, etc. Now it's mostly just Buzzfeed and Screen Rant recycling click bait. I don't mind the decreased coverage--as we saw with GOT, sometimes a show getting so big can make it less fun, not more--but I guess this does say something about the longevity of our new binge-watch routine. 

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4 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

To be honest, I don't think a lot of people out there think of asexuality as anything more than a phase, aside from psychologists, people well-versed in sexuality and, of course, asexuals themselves. It's probably going to be a very long time before we see more awareness grow on that front.

I would consider myself pretty young (like I said earlier, I was in college when the first two seasons dropped), but I can still remember how coming out was a big deal even ten years ago. This show isn't very strict with having it's characters behave in a way that matches the times (which was one of the big criticisms I've seen of this series), but I have a hard time picturing anyone in 1980s rural Indiana coming out prior to 30. I've seen a lot of people (most of whom are probably younger than I am) saying how badly they want to see Will get a boyfriend, and I don't think they realize just how truly dangerous that would be for a teenage boy as recently as a decade ago, let alone three.

On another front, even if this season (allegedly) got higher viewership ratings than the last two, it doesn't seem to have taken over the media in quite the same way as the last time. When season two dropped, every website was putting out pieces ranking the characters and episodes, dissecting Easter eggs, making season three predictions, etc. Now it's mostly just Buzzfeed and Screen Rant recycling click bait. I don't mind the decreased coverage--as we saw with GOT, sometimes a show getting so big can make it less fun, not more--but I guess this does say something about the longevity of our new binge-watch routine. 

Is the coming out point you are making about Will or Robin? Because for Robin it really does make sense - she is drugged, has been beaten and interrogated and is on the run with death as a distinct possibility. Pouring her heart out before she died isnt surprising.

disregard if this was jsut about will though :) 

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, HelenaExMachina said:

Is the coming out point you are making about Will or Robin? Because for Robin it really does make sense - she is drugged, has been beaten and interrogated and is on the run with death as a distinct possibility. Pouring her heart out before she died isnt surprising.

disregard if this was jsut about will though :) 

Yeah, Robin was injected with a truth serum so in her instance it is understandable. .

Edited by Arch-MaesterPhilip

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Posted (edited)

I enjoyed it again.  I watched seven episodes in one sitting during a long flight, and then finished the season two days later on another flight.  It was cheesy summer fun, which was a good change in energy to avoid repetition.  It was more of a basic monster/serial killer flick this time, with less mystery about science experiments or parallel dimensions.  The most noticeable references for me were Terminator, Star Wars and non-specific horror movies about body snatchers (I don’t watch them so I cannot cite a specific one).

Like most people, I enjoyed the Steve/Dustin/Robin/Erica arc the most.  The Nancy/Jonathan arc was just to remind us that cartoonishly exaggerated sexism is bad and to reinforce that all the female characters are right all the time, even when they seem to be making selfish decisions with no foundation.  I was not upset that Will/Mike/Max/Lucas/El had a smaller arc this time.  The first four were pretty weak as character and actors, so El was carrying them all both as a super-powered character and as an actor.  And I won’t repeat all the problems with Hopper, except to say that I find Joyce almost as bad — her manic twee schtick where she obsessively over-protects her kids by abandoning them for days at a stretch to investigate fridge magnets wore really thin.  Bauman was great, Robin was the best character overall, Erica had some of the best comic relief (if we overlook her entitled brattiness at the ice cream store before Operation Child Endangerment).  Alexei was a decent character to humanize the faceless commies.  The plot of the Russian base was beyond absurd, and significantly less plausible than the upside-down.  I felt sorry for Mr. Wheeler.

Overall, it was just really well made.  Despite some weak spots in plot and characters, the pacing, visuals, soundtrack, nostalgia references, energy and sense of immediacy just make it work.  For example the scene with the fireworks attack on the mindflayer was pretty pointless in the plot but really worked as a visual build toward the climax.

I don’t know where they go from here.  The original group of child actors were fine for the ET/Goonies of S1, but they’re struggling now.

Edited by Iskaral Pust

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2 hours ago, Iskaral Pust said:

I don’t know where they go from here.  The original group of child actors were fine for the ET/Goonies of S1, but they’re struggling now.

They really need to transition to some deeper kind of background to the world.  The horror, action, fantasy stuff works fine.  The drama stuff is pretty basic.  All the kids can act well, unlike just about any show with kids.  So give them something meatier to work with.  The most sophisticated dramatic resolution this season was Mrs Wheeler deciding not to sleep with a teenager.

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On 7/16/2019 at 6:34 PM, The Bard of Banefort said:

To be honest, I don't think a lot of people out there think of asexuality as anything more than a phase, aside from psychologists, people well-versed in sexuality and, of course, asexuals themselves. It's probably going to be a very long time before we see more awareness grow on that front.

I would consider myself pretty young (like I said earlier, I was in college when the first two seasons dropped), but I can still remember how coming out was a big deal even ten years ago. This show isn't very strict with having it's characters behave in a way that matches the times (which was one of the big criticisms I've seen of this series), but I have a hard time picturing anyone in 1980s rural Indiana coming out prior to 30. I've seen a lot of people (most of whom are probably younger than I am) saying how badly they want to see Will get a boyfriend, and I don't think they realize just how truly dangerous that would be for a teenage boy as recently as a decade ago, let alone three.

On another front, even if this season (allegedly) got higher viewership ratings than the last two, it doesn't seem to have taken over the media in quite the same way as the last time. When season two dropped, every website was putting out pieces ranking the characters and episodes, dissecting Easter eggs, making season three predictions, etc. Now it's mostly just Buzzfeed and Screen Rant recycling click bait. I don't mind the decreased coverage--as we saw with GOT, sometimes a show getting so big can make it less fun, not more--but I guess this does say something about the longevity of our new binge-watch routine. 

Speaking as a male who grew up in the 80's, lesbians were much more accepted by homophobes (at least, male ones), with the implied idea that a threesome might be in the picture. hardcore homophobes would sneer at the closeted-but-everyone-knows male gays and then turn around and chat amiably about girl on girl porn.

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6 hours ago, kuenjato said:

Speaking as a male who grew up in the 80's, lesbians were much more accepted by homophobes (at least, male ones), with the implied idea that a threesome might be in the picture. hardcore homophobes would sneer at the closeted-but-everyone-knows male gays and then turn around and chat amiably about girl on girl porn.

I wouldnt say that is “acceptance” at all, its just rather crass fetishisation. Which still goes on today of course

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Sigh. Another great show made less great by overt, obvious social commentary. Mostly hated the new characters and expanded roles of Max and Erica.

Also I didn’t like Elle’s reduced powers.

Overall ok, but liked it less than the previous seasons.

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20 hours ago, kuenjato said:

Speaking as a male who grew up in the 80's, lesbians were much more accepted by homophobes (at least, male ones), with the implied idea that a threesome might be in the picture. hardcore homophobes would sneer at the closeted-but-everyone-knows male gays and then turn around and chat amiably about girl on girl porn.

I can see this. There definitely is a certain fetishization of lesbianism in our culture that makes some men more accepting of them than they are of gay men. That would actually be a really interesting hurdle to see in Steve and Robin's friendship going forward, but I seriously doubt Stranger Things would ever go there, especially since so much of their marketing depends on "babysitter Steve." They're not going to anything at this point that might affect his likability.

On that note, while I agree that Steve had some good development in the first two seasons, I'm not really sure if I agree with the narrative that he's still showing character development. He's lost about thirty IQ points since season one. Steve was never a genius, and he's a lot more fun this way, but he's basically a different character at this point.

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12 hours ago, Free Northman Reborn said:

Sigh. Another great show made less great by overt, obvious social commentary. Mostly hated the new characters and expanded roles of Max and Erica.

Also I didn’t like Elle’s reduced powers.

Overall ok, but liked it less than the previous seasons.

I'm not sure what you mean be obvious social commentary. Do you mean that they included LGBTQ+ character(s)? If so, that isn't social commentary, that's just...people in society. And while I don't care for Erica, Max was awesome. I'm honestly befuddled by your comment.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, The Bard of Banefort said:

I can see this. There definitely is a certain fetishization of lesbianism in our culture that makes some men more accepting of them than they are of gay men. That would actually be a really interesting hurdle to see in Steve and Robin's friendship going forward, but I seriously doubt Stranger Things would ever go there, especially since so much of their marketing depends on "babysitter Steve." They're not going to anything at this point that might affect his likability.

On that note, while I agree that Steve had some good development in the first two seasons, I'm not really sure if I agree with the narrative that he's still showing character development. He's lost about thirty IQ points since season one. Steve was never a genius, and he's a lot more fun this way, but he's basically a different character at this point.

I agree about Steve. While he had plenty of screen time, his character didn't have much of an arc. I just love Steve's character--I mean, when you watch what a dick he was in Season 1 to who he is now, I think he might be my favorite character. But this season, his arc seemed to be that "he finally beat someone up." Which seemed a weak insult for Dustin to throw at Steve who has shown himself to be quite capable (with his spiked bat) time and again. I know Billy kicked his ass, but jeez, whose ass would Billy not kick in this show outside of Eleven? Anyway, I hope he gets a bigger arc next season. Him dropping Dustin off at the dance last season and seeing Nancy was so good.

P.S. A lot of fan favorites (like Hopper) lost IQ points, didn't they?

Edited by Simon Steele

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