Newsflash: Stuart Sweet is a guy who wouldn’t know he’s lost in the woods because he’d be too busy looking at the trees!
By now, you’ve probably read my colleague’s take on the Stranger Things season three promo. In hit, he dissects real and perceived anachronisms like only Stuart Sweet can do. Last week, he duped me into watching the horrendous Sharp Objects on HBO. I took it all in good fun, but his critique of the recent Stranger Things promo is a bridge too far. Stuart made a few errors and miscalculations of his own. So, here is my critique of his critique of Netflix’s Stranger Things, the best thing going in streaming today. You did this to yourself, Stuart!
So we’re all on the same page, let’s take a look at the Stranger Things season three promo:
Pretty cool, huh? I sure thought so. It brought back memories of 1980s shopping malls. While malls have fallen on hard times these days, these shopping centers were king in the 1980s. It’s where Generation X went to buy things, of course, but it was more than that. Malls were also the place where we hung out with friends, played video games, and met our future girlfriend or boyfriend. (I know I did!) Since Stranger Things gives Generation X a chance to look back on itself, it seems only fitting that the fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana would get a shopping mall.
I have many good memories of the 1980s, shopping malls, and shopping malls in the ’80s. That’s why I was both shocked and aghast – though not surprised – that Stuart panned the season three promo. For the record, he’s allowed to have his opinion, however silly it might be. I’m fine with that. What I won’t stand for is his deliberate misrepresentation of the trailer. In thinking he got things right, Stuart actually made at least two mistakes:
Steve Harring (Joe Keery) doesn’t work at a hot dog stand. He actually works at Scoops Ahoy ice cream. (Come on, Stuart. The clip shows him swearing a sailor suit and saying “ahoy!”)
Stuart mentions a Chess King, which was a great place to shop for the fashionably conscious ’80s teen. Too bad I didn’t see a Chess King anywhere in the promo, and I’ve watched it five times.
The Hunt For Red October might’ve been a bestseller in 1984, but Stranger Things season probably isn’t set in 1984. Season one was set in 1983, and the events in season two were set a year after. Following this logic, season three might very well take place in 1985. We’ll have to wait until it’s available to stream on Netflix to see if Stuart actually bungled this one. (I so hope I’m right and he’s wrong on this one!)
Also in his critique, Stuart suggests that he’s being a nitpicky fan boi, but I disagree. No true Stranger Things fan would care about these small mistakes that only he would notice:
He says that the opening animation was “SO totally Google Earth,” and he was “put off from the start.” He’s just bagging on it because I like Stranger Things so much.
What’s all this business about typography and graphics? (Besides being typical Stuart Sweet baloney.) Okay, maybe it’s not exactly what was popular in the 1980s, but it was close enough. Such things are not enough to dissuade real Stranger Things fans from their favorite show. Believe me!
Okay. Maybe Hot Dog on a Stick was only a California thing. So what? It doesn’t detract from this excellent homage to 1980s mall culture.
Stuart says he spotted a teenager in glasses that he says is not period appropriate. I think he’s talking about the geeky kid in the orange shirt at the 57-second mark. To me, he’s really reaching here.
He also says that at the one-minute mark – it’s actually at 1:11 – there’s something wrong with the Orange Julius menu board. Yes, it looks a little off, but is that really a problem? Really?
Stuart Just Doesn’t Get Stranger Things
Yeah, I said it. Right here in the Solid Signal blog I said it. In his critique, he admits to not being a “massive fan” of Stranger Things. (Duh!) He then sums up the series as an ode to 1980s preteen angst, of which he says he’s more than happy to forget. Stuart, my friend, you could never be more wrong. Are their some angst-ridden moments in this series? Sure. But Stranger Things is more than that, much more.
If we’ve learned anything from this Netflix series, it’s that there was a dark undercurrent to that seemingly happy and innocent decade. Stranger Things shows us this, all while faithfully recreating all the fun and naivety that made the 1980s such a lasting and memorable decade for Gen Xers. And the show’s creators are able to pull this off without devolving into some silly ’80s parody, such as The Wedding Singer or Hot Tub Time Machine.
Enjoy Netflix’s Stranger Things, Season Three!
Over the past few years, I’ve tried my best to steer you, our faithful readers, toward quality movies and series that you can stream. While my tastes are eclectic, I’m not as finicky as other contributors to this blog. (Not naming any names.) I rather enjoyed the “faux-mercial” about the Starcourt Mall in Hawkins. I thought it was a faithful recreation of 1980s mall culture and an interesting tease about season three, which fans still know precious little about. I wouldn’t be surprised if more teasers and trailers are released between now and October, which is typically when Stranger Things new series are released. I hope you all enjoy this amazing Netflix original series. I know I will!