My Labor Day plans consisted of one main activity: watching the Netflix Original Series Stranger Things. The fantastic thing about this, besides how enjoyable the series was, is that when I told my coworkers about it, they all agreed that this was a worthy endeavor–that a productive weekend required no additional action. Let me break down how fantastic that is. I told my peers that my big weekend plans were to watch eight hours of television, and they said, “We respect and admire your motivation and hard work.” Yes! Finally, I’m getting recognition for my specific talents and abilities.
Keeping culturally current with the shows of the day is pretty well regarded as a worthwhile investment of time. To the point that when I later mentioned offhandedly to my coworkers that I hadn’t yet seen any of Breaking Bad, they each gave me a reflexive look of horror and disgust–the same look you’d give to someone who was attempting to swallow a $100 bill, oh and also their face is melting off. The look that you are no doubt making yourself right now. Or now as I write that I also haven’t seen any Game of Thrones or Lost or The Wire or Dr. Who or Twenty-Four or Boy Meets World. That should’ve gotten just about everybody, I think.
So clearly, I haven’t done a great job keeping culturally relevant with my TV shows. I just didn’t realize the social implications, I guess. It’s like hour-long TV dramas are the new intellectual salons, where people of good taste can meet to discuss the latest ideas. It’s probably a good thing that Netflix didn’t exist during the time of the French Revolution, or people would have spent so much time talking about their Narcos theories that they wouldn’t have had any time to get around to French Revolting.
And after having watched all of Stranger Things and talking about it with people at work, I get it–it is super, super fun. And so, in the spirit of the TV Salon, I’d like to share some of the conclusions that I and my esteemed colleagues arrived at in our analysis. The discourse which proceeds hence is comprised of spoilers.
- I have never watched a show with so much yelling. Yelling people’s names, repeatedly even though that person is definitely not answering back. Yelling at someone to tell them they’re a liar or to assure them that you’re not a liar or that they have to believe you, they just have to. Yelling because a monster man is jumping out at you or chasing you or is supposed to be doing one of those things but isn’t and you’re just so gosh darn frustrated.
- The amount of parental neglect depicted was spot on. Those parents must have been doing some Daniel Day-Louis stuff to get it down so accurately.
- Little kids cursing is hilarious.
- No school assembly for Barb, huh? Well she left her car at the train station, so there’s certainly no reason for the police or her parents to keep that search up; let’s get back to Nancy’s search for popularity.
- The amount of restraint shown for 80s nostalgia was laudable. There were just enough nods without getting to the point of ever hearing the line, “My son Jonathan is ignoring me and listening to his SONY WALKMAN, so I’ll have to contact Will using this LITE BRITE.”
- I desperately hope that they don’t pick up the second season right where they left off with the first one. I feel like the temptation will be too great to just have another weird occurrence beset the town of Hawkins because of the Department of Energy Laboratory. Because by the third season, it’s just going to be, “I wonder what sort of crazy hijinks Hawkin’s Lab is getting up to this time! That Matthew Modine, he just doesn’t know when to quit!”
I’m not sure if I’m ready to sink 52 hours in order to catch up on Breaking Bad, but if I do find myself with a spare full-time work week’s worth of hours, you know I’ll be saloning it up. About three years too late.