It feels like the entire world is currently buzzing with talk about Stranger Things 2. The hottest new season hit Netflix this October, and it wasn’t long before fans had binged the entire nine episode run as quickly as possible, before heading online to share their thoughts and memes. This second season brought new threats, new friends and new enemies to the town of Hawkins, Indiana, with Will, Mike, Lucas and Dustin separated from Eleven for the majority of the run. The psychokinetic Eleven returns only to go on her own journey of self discovery that sees her track down family members, travel to Chicago and mix with a bad crowd.
The arrival of tomboy Max and her cruel older brother Billy adds an unpredictable element into the lives of our young heroes, and Will’s disturbing visions only ramps up the tension, proving that the Upside Down has more terrors awaiting in the dark. There were also some surprising fan favorites, as not only does Steve Harrington step up and become the best babysitter in the world, but we find a new superhero in the unlikeliest of places: Radioshack manager Bob Newby. With all that and more, here are CBR’s picks of the 15 funniest Stranger Things 2 memes!
15 WORLD OF DIFFERENCE
What a difference a year makes. To be fair, it was a particularly rollercoaster year for Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown): escaping from her home/sadistic secret lab, making friends, fighting a Demogorgon, being absorbed into the Upside Down, escaping, living in the woods (and eating squirrels), living with Jim Hopper (David Harbour), finding out her birth mother is still alive and that she has a “sister.”
That laundry list of emotionally crazy activities is enough to drive anyone into the arms of a bad crowd, which is pretty much where Elle found herself as Stranger Things 2 moved towards its conclusion. While episode seven is a low point for the series, there’s no denying the transformation the experience had on Eleven, giving her a new look, a new attitude and the strength to defeat the Big Bad of the season.
14 BABYSITTER STEVE
Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) is perhaps the second most unlikely babysitter in all of Hawkins county (behind Billy Hargrove), yet that’s exactly what he became in Stranger Things 2, as events transpired that led to him spending more and more time chasing Mike, Will, Lucas, Dustin and Max and trying to prevent them getting into the inevitable mischief they find themselves in.
By the end of the season though, Steve had gone from merely the designated adult that was stuck with the kid adventurers to a guy that was willing to die (or at least suffer a pretty brutal beating from Billy) in order to protect those under his care. Not only that, but he risked his life earlier in the season by being the “bait” for a gang of “Demodogs,” proving his trust and ultimately love for those pesky kids.
13 REAL MVP
We can all pretend that Erica Sinclair (Priah Ferguson) didn’t steal every scene she was in, but we’d only be lying to ourselves. Lucas’s little sister proved to be just as adorable and annoying as is every little sister’s job and responsibility, embarrassing her brother Lucas (Caleb McLaughlin) at every available opportunity, and piling on enough sass to win over the entire Stranger Things audience twice over.
You have to feel a little bad for Dustin (Gaten Matarazzo). At one point, his sweet little “lizard” friend Dart had revealed its true identity as a Demorgorgon pup and ate the family cat (R.I.P. Mews), forcing Dustin to trap it in the cellar under the house. This was a Code Red situation, and he needed the whole gang. Who did he get, however, when he tried to radio Lucas? Little sister Erica, who had three simple words for him: Shut Your Mouth.
The gift and the curse with Netflix shows is that every episode of a new season is dropped into your lap from day one. Having everything you want does come with its drawbacks though. This isn’t a movie we’re talking about, this is seven to eight hours of your life (or 14 and a half hours to watch both seasons in a row), which is a marathon binge session by anyone’s standards.
Most sane people would spread this out over a few days, maybe a week, in order to fit it around the responsibilities of everyday life (plus those frustrating obstacles such as sleeping and eating). We all know that sanity flies out of the window when a new season of your favorite show hits, and many fans watched Stranger Things 2 in two sittings or less, meaning things like school, a job, family and friends had to be sacrificed.
There were many unlikely pairings in Stranger Things 2, but one of the more heartwarming was the father/daughter bond between Sheriff Jim Hopper and the newly “resurrected” Eleven. Rescuing her from a life scavenging in the woods, Hopper brought Elle into his cabin home, keeping her secret and safe from not only her enemies, but her friends.
This isolation took its toll on Eleven, who didn’t quite understand why she had to stay away from Mike (Finn Wolfhard) and the others, which led to tension and arguments and ultimately Elle running away. With Hopper’s daughter dying before season one began, it was both wonderful and heartbreaking to see the highs and lows of his and Elle’s relationship develop. Plus seeing David Harbour and Millie Bobby Brown acting against each other was some of the best television of the year.
10 DEMOGORGON WHISPERER
We all suspected that we hadn’t seen the last of the dreaded Demogorgon. The major threat from season one, the Demogorgon (named after the Dungeons & Dragons monster by the boys) originated in the Upside Down, but was destroyed at the end of the final episode.
While that Demogorgon was successfully wiped out by Eleven, the link between the Upside Down and the real world became stronger in season two, leading to a tiny Demogorgon ending up in the Henderson’s trashcan. The unwitting Dustin took the tiny hellbeast into his home, feeding it Three Musketeers bars and keeping it in a cage. The monster grew out of control quickly, but ultimately it was this bond that Dustin shared that saved all their lives later in the season.
Stranger Things 2 saw many -- if not all -- of its core cast go through some real character growth over its nine-episode run. Not only did Eleven gain a greater control over her powers and become more confident, but characters like Mike, Will (Noah Schnapp), Nancy (Natalia Dyer) and Jonathan (Charlie Heaton) all had a distinct arc this season. Perhaps the greatest arc came from the most unlikely of places: Steve Harrington.
The resident bully of season one, Steve was pretty unlikeable. Not only did he seem like the ultimate jerk boyfriend to Nancy, but hung around with a similarly nasty crowd that tormented Jonathan and Nancy both. He’d reformed by the end, but this season saw him truly step up and unleash his inner hero, spending most of his screen time with the kids, protecting and putting his life on the line for them multiple times.
8 COOL MOM
When Steve Harrington first bumped into Dustin and they worked together to search for the missing Demo-dog, who would have thought that he’d become the straight guy to a rabble of kid heroes in the season’s funniest moments. He rose from petty bully in season one, to cool mom babysitter and all around hero in season two.
Whether it was acting as bait to a pack of Demo-dogs to protect the gang, taking a thorough beating from Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) or navigating the Upside Down tunnels under Hawkins, Steve consistently proved that when it came down to it, he was the hero we all needed when it counted, working hard to protect Dustin, Mike and the gang and by the end of the season bonding with the kids and being a genuine parental figure for them.
If you speak to any fan of Stranger Things that has watched season two through to the end, they’ll tell you there was only one true superhero: Bob Newby. Sean Astin’s portrayal of the kind-hearted Radioshack manager took us on a real rollercoaster throughout the season; he went from a happy but oblivious boyfriend to Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder), to a man that stepped up to the challenge of protecting everyone from a pack of Demodogs in Hawkins Lab.
As we all know, Bob paid the ultimate price for his bravery, being killed in a heartbreaking scene where we all thought he was finally safe. The final twist of the knife came when we saw at the end of the season a drawing that Will made, depicting Bob as the superhero we all knew he was *cue many fan tears.*
Erica Sinclair is just one of the scene-stealing new characters in Stranger Things 2, but she stole many fan’s hearts with perhaps the shortest amount of screen time. In fact, there was only two main scenes that proved unequivocally to many that she was their favorite character.
The first came when her older brother Lucas joined his friends and dressed as one of the Ghostbusters (choosing Venkman, which annoyed Mike). He was pleased with his costume, until Erica kept mouthing the word “Nerd” to him. The second was when Erica found her older brother’s walky talky, and proceeding to torment Dustin on the other end, before turning it off and stealing Lucas’s action figures to play with. It’s safe to say that Erica won the internet the day that fans discovered just how awesome she is.
5 LORD OF THE BINGE
It could be the high quality of Stranger Things, or it could be the temptation of knowing that every episode of the brand new season is right there ready and waiting for you, but the idea of just watching one episode and only one episode would require a level of control that most of us just don’t have.
There’s also the tricky notion of spoilers. If the episodes are released weekly, we can all watch at the same speed and know that no one is jumping hours ahead of you. With all the episodes out there at once, however, there comes a point where spoilers are fair game, and you’ve got to watch as many as you can, as quickly as you can, in order to keep up. Most likely though, we binge Stranger Things because it’s so very addictive.
4 MOOD SWINGS
Throughout Stranger Things 2, there were many occasions where characters did things that could be classed as both insane and awesome: Dustin deciding to keep a Demogorgon as a pet, Jim Hopper venturing into the tunnels under the pumpkin patch, Will crazily drawing the underground map of Hawkins, Steve acting as bait to a pack of Demodogs, Bob volunteering to turn the power back on in the lab.
These are all moments where your first thought is that your favorite characters are risking their lives or making decisions that are flat out insane. On the other hand though, it’s these insane decisions that lead to some of the most memorable moments of the season. Ultimately it’s because you care about these characters, you don’t want to see them get hurt, leading to the contradiction that they may be insane, but they’re also awesome.
3 I HEART BOB
Most people didn’t know what to think of Bob Newby when they first saw him in Stranger Things 2. Sure, he seemed to make Joyce happy and she really deserves some happiness, but the kids thought he was lame and there’s always something suspicious about a guy that seems too nice.
Pretty soon though it turned out that he wasn’t too good to be true, he was just too good, and as the season progressed he won over the fandom with some genuine heartwarming moments, and even solving the riddle of Will’s mysterious drawings, making him a useful member of the gang. All of this made his sacrifice even more heartbreaking and shocking in episode eight, as we’d all grown to love his kind heart, his simple nature and his genuine love for Joyce and the Byers kids.
In season one of Stranger Things, there was one character that fans gravitated towards, and felt like the show’s creators betrayed them when she was captured and killed by the Demogorgon: Barb Holland. Her story got some closure in Stranger Things 2, but between the seasons there was one hashtag used more than any other: #JusticeForBarb.
It seems like every season of Stranger Things is destined to break our hearts by making us love an unlikely character before killing them off in a painful, devastating way. In season one it was Barb, in season two it was Bob Newby. His sacrifice saved the lives of Joyce, Hopper and the others, but the fact that he died in such a horrible way left us all feeling broken after a season of learning to love him. After that, there was a new hashtag that only seemed appropriate: #JusticeForBob.
1 THE WAIT BEGINS
On the one hand, you get the chance to watch all the episodes of Stranger Things 2 within eight hours of it going live on Netflix. On the other hand, all those months of waiting is over so fast, and before you know it you’re sat there with no new episodes to binge, wondering when Stranger Things 3 is going to start.
Think about it this way: if Stranger Things was released on a regular television schedule, we’d still be waiting for new episodes to be released, which would perhaps make the wait a little more bearable. Still, there’s something to be said for being able to watch them all in one go, and while we wait we can pore over every minute detail of both season one and season two, as well as making memes of all of our favorite moments.
What was your favorite part of Stranger Things Season 2? Let us know (via memes) in the comments.