Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence in the Series

Uncovering Stranger Things: Essays on Eighties Nostalgia, Cynicism and Innocence in the Series

by Kevin J. Wetmore (Editor)


View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Monday, April 6


The Duffer Brothers' award-winning Stranger Things exploded onto the pop culture scene in 2016. The Netflix original series revels in a nostalgic view of 1980s America while darkly portraying the cynical aspects of the period.
This collection of 23 new essays explores how the show reduces, reuses and recycles '80s pop culture--from the films of Spielberg, Carpenter and Hughes to punk and synthwave music to Dungeons & Dragons--and how it shapes our understanding of the decade through distorted memory. Contributors discuss gender and sexual orientation; the politics, psychology and educational policies of the day; and how the ultimate upper-class teen idol of the Reagan era became Stranger Things' middle-aged blue-collar heroine.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476671864
Publisher: McFarland & Company, Incorporated Publishers
Publication date: 04/06/2018
Pages: 262
Sales rank: 827,021
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.53(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr., is a professional actor and director whose previous books have covered topics ranging from Star Wars to Renaissance faires. He is a professor and chair of the theater department at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, California.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vi

Introduction: Stranger (Things) in a Strange Land or, I Love the ’80s? (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.) 1

Section I: Popular Culture

The Rebirth of King’s Children (Ashley Jae Carranza) 8

Lost Nights and Dangerous Days: Unraveling the Relationship Between Stranger Things and Synthwave (Nicholas Diak) 20

Transmissions from the Upside Down: Post-Punk Sound Waves in Stranger Things (Jennifer Kirby) 29

Competing Nostalgia and Popular Culture: Mad Men and    Stranger Things (Ryan Twomey) 39

Stranger Things and Our Memories of Colombian TV in the Late Eighties: Bringing Back Alf, V.I.C.I., Evie and Guri-Guri (Enrique ­Uribe-Jongbloed and Sergio ­Roncallo-Dow) 49

Monsters and Moral Panics: Dungeons & Dragons as Force of Good in Stranger Things (Kevin J. Wetmore, Jr.) 60

Section II: Cinema

The ­Eaten-for-Breakfast Club: Teenage Nightmares in Stranger Things (Rose Butler) 72

Women as Stranger Things: Frankensteinian Exploitation and Weaponization of Female Bodies (Melissa A. Kaufler) 84

Not a Princess Anymore: How the Casting of Winona Ryder in Stranger Things Speaks to the Essential Falsehood of 1980s Media Depictions of the American Working Class (Lisa Morton) 93

Stranger (The) Thing: Echoes of John Carpenter in the Series (John Palisano) 103

Spielberg Things: The Nostalgic Heart of Stranger Things (Jacopo della Quercia) 112

Section III: Gender and Orientation Revisiting the Monstrous Feminine and Monster Parents in Stranger Things (Elsa M. Carruthers) 128

AIDS, Homophobia and the Monstrous Upside Down: The Queer Subtext of Stranger Things (Emily E. Roach) 135

The Monstrous Queer Child: Mobbing, Bullying and Bad Parenting in the 1980s (Fernando Gabriel Pagnoni Berns, Canela Ailén Rodriguez Fontao and Mariana S. Zárate) 146

Gaslighting, Marginalization and the ­Well-Coiffed in Stranger Things (Rhonda Jackson Joseph) 156

Badass Mothers: Challenging Nostalgia (Brenda Boudreau) 164

Section IV: Society, Culture and Politics of the Eighties

Half-Lives of the Nuclear Family: Representations of the     ­Mid-Century American Family in Stranger Things (Anthony David Franklin) 174

The Forgotten Rural: Bungling Police Officers and the Rise of Vigilantism in 1980’s Film, Culture and Stranger Things (Dustin Freeley) 183

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”: Stranger Things and the ­In-Between (Christine Muller) 195

The Upside Down of Education Reform During the Reagan Era: A Re-Examination of Education Policies Through Stranger Things (Ludovic A. Sourdot) 205

“A nice home at the end of the ­cul-de-sac”: Hawkins as Infected Postmodern Suburbia (Lacey N. Smith) 215

The Nine Most Terrifying Words in the English Language (Scott Wartham) 225

The Strangest Thing About Stranger Things (Jimmy Butts) 235

About the Contributors 247

Index 251

Customer Reviews