Whatcha Watchin'?, Season Two


#444

Stranger Things, to point out my one significant disappointment…

I wasn’t really happy about the gang portrayal. Not the actors’ individual performances, just the overall feel. It felt like a caricature to me.


#445

I felt like Max was just there mostly to fill the “girl” quota. They made her “not like other girls” which was cringey enough, but then they barely utilized her. They’re in middle school, we don’t need a jealousy subplot ugh.


#446

Me either, but I didn’t expect it to. That’s the rule of sequels.

One of the criticisms I’ve seen repeatedly is that ST seems to take place less in the 1980’s than it does in an idealized Totally 80’s homage, to which I say that’s the point.

Most nostalgic folks like myself don’t pine for the actual decade that gave us AIDS, crack and a detrimental ‘greed is good’ mentality; we long for the 80’s from our iconic movies back then, and the way they made us feel.

That said, I also agree it was nice to see the character growth, and an attempt to make amends for the callous way the show handled the fate of Barb last season.


#447

I plowed through the whole second season yesterday, and I agree, there’s so much to love about it. Noah Schnapp (Will) absolutely blew the doors off with his performance, and I really adored Sean Astin’s precious cinnamon roll of a character. He was too good for this world and deserved so much better than what he got in the end, which my wife characterized as “the most Sean Astin way to die” the moment the broomstick hit the floor. The #JusticeForBarb sub-plot (which led to what may well be my favorite line - “How was the pull-out last night?”) was a welcome touch, too.

I did keep wanting to bap Mike upside the head for being such a jerk to Max, though. It felt like the writers bound him so tightly to El by the end of last season that they didn’t really know exactly what to do with him this year as a result. It did at least give Dustin (who is also a precious cinnamon roll) and Lucas a lot of room to shine, and they were both really great this season.


#448

And very necessary, despite the complaints that the the writers just did it to deal with criticism from the viewers.

The audience was right to be irate, because the character reactions just didnt ring true at all.

A White female teenager goes missing in a small Indiana town in the 80’s, right after another kid had disappeared, and no even blinks an eye?

Gimme a break…


#449

The best thing about the 80s for me is that I barely remember any of it. :cocktail:


#450

I spent the whole series thinking he HAD to be secretly a spy for the bad guys because he was just TOO NICE. Boy did I feel bad about that later on.


#451

I definitely agree with you. Even without the (entirely justified) outcry, Barb’s disappearance was a loose thread that really needed to be tied up. Structurally, I can see why she got the short end of the stick last season - the story was always primarily about Will’s disappearance and El’s escape, and I think season 1 was mostly well-served by not getting bogged down in too many b-plot weeds - but you’re absolutely right that narratively it left a lot to be desired. I think the problem was that the writers tried to have her serve two different narrative purposes: Nancy’s personal inciting incident, and, to borrow a line from Galaxy Quest, “the person who dies before the first commercial break to prove the situation is serious”. You can’t show the red shirt getting dressed for duty and kissing his wife and daughter goodbye in the morning before he gets brutally murdered by the sentient gas cloud! She was just too fully-realized to be treated as a disposable character. The resolution she got seemed to be targeted at confirming what the audience already highly suspected (she ded), and giving Nancy some closure, but it ignored Barb’s place in the broader community and narrative. I’m really glad that the show runners acknowledged that misstep and took the time to address it. Bonus points for doing it in a way that wasn’t just “fine, we’ll deal with Barb, are you happy now?”, even going so far as to specifically call themselves out in-script for just forgetting about her.

Haha, you and my wife both. I was initially somewhat suspicious, but by the time he was telling Will about his fear of clowns, I had moved him definitively into the “good, if perhaps dangerously oblivious” column. I know you meant well, Bob, but really, that was some bad advice you gave him.


#452

For me, it cemented the fact that that he was clearly going to die by the end. Between his too-good-to-be-true niceness and the obvious chemistry between Joyce and Hopper, it might as well have been written on the wall (right below the alphabet Joyce painted last season. :wink: )

BINGO.

If Barb’s presence in the show was just supposed to be a walking plot device to get Nancy to Steve’s party
(ie, her first intro to the “stranger things”) then the writers should have just had her fade into the background after the job was finished, and no one would have raised any fuss.

And if Barb was supposed to be a mere Red Shirt, then they shouldn’t have shown anything more than the most cursory, necessary interactions with her to keep the plot going.

By making Barb more than a one dimensional background character (and therefore “disposable”) the writers really fucked up; they inadvertently made Nancy less sympathetic and unlikable by comparison.

Because nothing says ‘shitty excuse for a friend’ like badgering your so-called bestie to drive you to a party that you know she won’t enjoy because she’ll be the fifth wheel, then peer pressuring her to drink just because it will make you feel more comfortable, not being very concerned when your bff hurts herself, and then blowing her off completely to go get your fuck-on.

O_o

That’s all really shitty behavior in and of itself; but once you factor in the horrible way Barb died at the end of the night, it’s over the top fuckery.

So yeah, good on the Duffer Bros for at least owning their mistakes, and trying to make amends this season, and not just with Barb’s tragically short arc.

Another weak plot point they sought to course correct was Lucas’ family, which I can’t recall seeing or even hearing once during the entire first season; it was a really odd oversight.

Personally I’m really pleased they heard the audience’s valid criticisms, and incorporated them into making the story more cohesive.

Not to mention, the annoying little sister was a nice touch.

That’s the thing though; if Will had been dealing with something mundane and ordinary in everyday life like night terrors or bad dreams, it wouldn’t have been bad advice at all.

It’s just unfortunate that Bob didn’t realize Will’s problems were of a much more paranormal nature, until it was too late.


#453

I mean, no wonder Nancy blames herself for Barb’s death. She ditched her friend and her friend died horribly. That’s … gonna fuck you up.


#454

Honestly? The first time Nancy started crying this season, this was my reaction:

Yeah, Nancy didn’t actually kill her, but it is totally her fault that Barb was even at Steve’s the night she died, and she did treat her friend like complete crap right beforehand.

IMO, she earned a whole lot of that guilt she felt…


#455

Lucas’s little sister is amazing.


#456

Some fans are calling her ‘the new Barb;’

Considering how badly things ended for Barb, I sure hope not…


#457

Agree with all of the above for ST.S2. Some of the music drops in E1 seem really forced, they were trying to create the right setting but it felt like they were just cramming them in there to make sure they made an appearance rather than letting them flow organically in the show.

It isn’t an 80s show, or even an 80s homage, but more of a cinema of the 80s homage and an idealized childhood revisited by the Duffers. Watching BeyondST now, they are pretty cute. So funny that there is a bunch of stuff the young actors didn’t catch on to, but I don’t know how you would filming all that stuff out of sequence and not knowing what was going to make the cut or how it would all cut together.

They needed Max for their first kiss subplot and all the new kid on the block tropes. Just like Nancy lost her virginity in S1, I think they wanted that youth milestone along with those from the final episode in S2.

I definitely was waiting for more of a twist with Reiser’s character as well as thinking Bob the Brain was an evil fedgov agent.


#458

I loved stranger things this season while i liked, but didn’t love, it last season. It all felt a lot more substantial this time with each and every character getting their chance to shine; steve and dustin’s teamup being a highlight for me. Plus some great new characters (poor bob :cry: ) and the lovecraftian horrors have really been ramped up in this one. The in-your-face 80s of it all can get a bit much sometimes though*, weren’t the creators born in the 80s? But i am eagerly waiting for the next season in a way i just wasn’t before this one. Oh, and i liked the theory i read somewhere that billy is dealing with his sexuality: you get a sense of that in the shower scene with steve and crying while he’s beating him so i hope that’s explored if it’s the case.

*The aliens homage in chapter six (with burke himself, no less) while being gratuitous was still immensely enjoyable. That whole episode was peak stranger things.


#460

Ok, I am enjoying At Home with Amy Sedaris. I am finding that each episode has some parts that fall a little flat for me, but occasionally there are bits that make me laugh so hard I have trouble breathing. I really want her to do well. I have been a superfan of hers for a long time.


#461

My daughters are intensely into Boruto. I have a crunchyroll subscription for basically this one series. And at 30 episodes in, I think I actually kind of hate it.

I recognize that a show with the word “generations” in the title is going to have some callbacks to the earlier show, and stuff about how people relate to their parents, but maybe they could just not constantly wallow in that theme. Also, anything involving Kagura is so painfully dumb


#462

Haven’t been hitting the bbs as much,need to come around more often.

My media has been more or less living and breathing Mr. Robot and the related ARG stuff.

GLOW was a fun watch, been watching the docs on musicians on netflix as well, nothing amazing but iIenjoy the career retrospectives and details about their challenges.

Mozart in the Jungle is a fun watch in a Sex in the City kind of fun young adult in NYC way.


#463

I ummm went a little crazy at the central branch of the library the other day.

Power of the Daleks was neat. It is the first Pertwee story and considered lost for a long time. While they found footage it wasn’t in good shape but with the original full audio and snippets of film to work with they did pretty decent job of making an animated version. While the animation wasn’t anything great it was watchable and it was a good story for The Doctor.


#464

Black Mirror - series 4

Only seen the first 3 episodes so far but i am hooked again. Maybe, just maybe, the themes are beginning to repeat themselves but i’m all in for the ride. USS callister in particular being a standout - a timely story of white male entitlement and quite a charming homage to star trek. Crocodile - jesus christ… :worried: