A few days ago, three shows dropped just before Memorial Day weekend. We were all so excited for them too. Shoresy (on HULU), Obi-Wan Kenobi (Disney+), and Stranger Things season 4 (on Netflix). One of these was actually worth waiting for, and that was Shoresy, the Letterkenny spinoff. I might go into it later, but it’s basically like a feel good sports movie (think Goon, Remember the Titans, Friday Night Lights) that has been infused in a Tim’s Double-Double for like five weeks. It’s good. It has an awesome soundtrack. I laughed outloud throughout the whole thing and I liked nearly all of the characters. It left behind the silly Letterkennyisms for the most part which I think have hurt that show. It was just a good watch.
Kenobi is more of just polishing that same turd the Prequels left us with. Ewan MacGregor carries the show on his back like a bantha. Mary Sue Organa is too precocious and once again they bent the rules of what we know about Star Wars…you know what? Fuck it. I don’t care anymore. Between the fans of the franchise who think it’s all real and the movies, there isn’t much else left to like about the series other than whatever the hell Mando is up to with Baby Yoda. Go nuts, b’ys.
So, my rant comes to Stranger Things, which as far as I can tell is just a fan fiction of the 80s through the lens of millennials who watched too many 80s movies growing up. They have once again applied their own sensibilities and romanticism to an era they hardly understand. They researched the time through painstakingly scouring old Speilberg VHS tapes and episodes of the Goldbergs. This season they threw in some Dazed and Confused to appeal to the stoners. Season one was great, then it fell off. By Season 4 we have a steaming pile of dogshit that has gone over budget with special effects, and hired the Woke Squad as the writers room. As Shoresey would say “Ho-leee…”
This is what I mean by Woke. I get inclusion, I get agency, all of that. But when you choke your sensibilities down everyone’s throat you get the same sorts of stereotypes you were trying to avoid. There isn’t one single likable character in this show right now. I finished episode two last night and I don’t even like Dustin or Steve very much. There is no chemistry. Nothing.
One of the things that bothers me the most is the character of Robin, who is a gay highschool girl and is very open about this fact with her buddy Steve. Yes, there are gay people in the world, and I’ve known lesbians who are just as vocal at talking about women they are crushing on as any high school boy. Now. Not in 1986.
That was at the height of the AIDS epidemic. People were getting the shit beaten out of them for maybe being homosexuals. Usually they weren’t! Our nation’s leaders were saying they were getting what they deserved with a slow agonizing death too. It was a scary time for gays in America, especially in the midwest. Robin in real life wouldn’t have so much as breathed her sexual preference outloud much less trying to chat up the pretty girl in band. It wasn’t like it is now! Things have changed a LOT since 1986.
The bullies are stereotypical bullies too, with the LaCoste shirts and blonde hair and mean girl tropes. The rollerink scene was an orchestration of some bullying that introduced the requirement of empathy when Eleven just snaps and she’s supposed to feel bad about retaliation, when most people in the 80s would have wondered why it took her so long to break that girl’s nose.
With a package covered in Soviet postage, Joyce would have wound up on a watch list with a white van parked in front of her house until 1991.
Then they jumped all over that Satanic Panic bullshit too with the DnD kid being suspected of murder and everyone freaking out. Nobody really cared back then about Dungeons and Dragons. Only the churches said anything, and the pastors shouting about summoning demons were on their third extramarital affair anyway. The congregation who actually took them seriously were probably waiting in line to be next, or so painfully naive in their social structures that they were too busy selling Shackley to do anything about their kids. They did NAIL the types of people who would be found sitting around a table in HS like that. But I rarely…RARELY saw anyone who could be considered a drug dealer playing RPGs. Stoners hung out with stoners and anybody dealing was likely already dropped out by then because they were making some money. What I’m saying is they didn’t DM campaigns. And in the 80s, nobody was calling horse traquilizer “Special K.” In 1986, there was coke, crank, weed, and pills. I doubt Hunter Thompson was even experimenting with ketamine yet. Maybe Timothy Leary.
Plus, the show is goddamn slow. Vegna or Vecga or Lou Bega, whatever the monster is called this season is creepy as hell and the damage he does is on Kronenberg levels of body horror. To that, I say, you had my curiosity, but now you have my interest. But the rest of it, from Nancy’s “journalist” assistant, Freddy(?) who is just Waldo, copied and pasted out of Van Halen’s “Hot for Teacher” video to Eddie, who is the crazy stoner NOBODY would want to hang out with unless they were already so burned out…well, you see where I’m going with this. For being Woke and all, there is no GenX agency or representation here. Which is no fucking surprise. It’s sorta what makes us GenX.
It’s millennials playing dress up from their parent’s old clothes closet. This season isn’t even fun. The nostalgia is just sublimated tripe extracted in concentrated doses and injected into a corpse of a franchise that people enjoyed for a while until the kids got older and creepy looking, which is a factual representation of what happened to all of those 80s child stars.
As GenZ kids would say…Cringe.
So, watch Shoresy and give yer balls a tug, titfucker.