In the circles in which I run, Stranger Things for most people seems to fit into one of two views: (1) Hey it’s got 80’s nostalgia and creepy fun! (2) All entertainment products of the last 20 years are garbage.
While I certainly sympathize with the latter characterization of modern media and find myself avoiding most books written pre-90’s these days, I am a fan of the show. Not die-hard or anything, but I’ve had fun watching both seasons.
Kaiju really enjoyed season 1, too. Season 2…well, let’s just say he and I don’t see eye to eye. It was inferior to the first, I agree in that. But despite its failings, I still enjoyed it on the whole.
There were superfluous characters in Season 2. Many, I would even say. But the best addition was Bob, played by Sean Astin. Bob is the love interest to Winona Ryder’s character – an old high school classmate who at the time had only an icicle’s chance in hell at getting the girl, he’s now what a more mature woman would look for in a mate: responsible, stable, intelligent, good with kids. And courageous. See, Bob is the scifi man with a screwdriver (he’s not really that big, though).
Bob demonstrates relatively early on in the shit-show that eventually unfolds in Season 2 that he can be trusted with all the insane shizola that’s going down. When he’s enlisted by Will and Joyce to make sense of some seriously creepy map that’s taken over their house, he is resistant at first. Hey, if I was dating a woman with a weird kid and I showed up one day to find the house wallpapered in black tube-like crayon sketches and they started pushing on me to help them figure out what it all means…
But he eventually plays along. Then once he realizes it’s a map and they say they’ve gotta go, he goes with. When they find a weird black hole into hell in a rotten field, he goes down into the hole. He helps save Hopper, the alpha.
Bob may not be the toughest son of a bitch on the block, but he’s no pansy.
As more of this weirdness unfolds, does he say “fuck this” and peace out? I wouldn’t blame the guy if he did, but no. Never. He sticks by Joyce and tries to be of help to her and Will. Because that’s what a real man does.
Later on when shit hits the fan at the facility, Bob is the only one who knows how to reboot the power system using BASIC. So like a man, he does what needs to be done.
In the end, Bob doesn’t make it. He almost does, but he winds up as a sacrifice. The others are able to escape and survive because of him. This pissed off some fans, I think, because the show killed off a decent guy. But I’d say his death had meaning because he was a decent guy. If he had been less of a hero, just another incompetent male, no one would have cared. Well, maybe the Samwise Gamgee fanboys.
There are some pretty good characters in Stranger Things, but Bob has been my favorite so far. It’s a shame he didn’t survive for Season 3, but he went out like a champ.
Here’s to you, Bob!