It’s high time I admit this in a public space: I, AJ Caulfield, have never seen Stranger Things.
Sure, I know what the series is about: A young boy goes missing, trapped in a slimy alternate dimension known as the Upside-Down, and his friends, a frazzled Winona Ryder, and a human test subject with a buzz cut and a taste for Eggos go looking for him. There’s also a mustached cop; a hulking monster with a Venus flytrap face and a name I can never spell right on the first try; a bad boy boyfriend whose hair is so high, it puts the Seattle Space Needle to shame; a girl wrongfully murdered because her paper-thin best friend can’t stop macking on said bad-boy boyfriend; and a whole lot of 1980s-inspired goodness. But I don’t know any intricacies of the narrative or the series’ characters, or why the curly-haired kid has a gapped-toothed smile, or why Eleven gets nosebleeds all the time. Suffice to say, I’m like Alicia Silverstone’s breakout teen comedy movie: Clueless.
To remedy my confusion, get right with the Netflix gods, and fit back into the current wave of pop culture, I sat down to watch the opening episode of Stranger Things and document my reaction for the world to witness. Here are the 30 thoughts I had while watching Stranger Things for the first time.
1) Getting major Alien vibes.
2) If I could run that fast, my legs would be toned to the high heavens.
3) Did your parents teach you NOTHING about the buddy system?
5) Bad feeling confirmed.
6) [Ice Cube voice] Pills and cigarettes are bad for your… health.
7) Oh, hello Chief Hopper! I know you.
8) Fully was not expecting a golden nugget of a motto like “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation.” Adding that to my lexicon.
9) Winona Ryder is so wholesome on screen.
10) Hey there, Barb! You’re another familiar face. Three things: I want justice for you, ’cause of the whole “you die later on in the season” thing; I’m glad you’re still here; and you should really cut ties with Nancy — she’s gonna do you dirty, girl.
11) How is a gooey monster snatching up your precious pancake of a son NOT the worst thing that’s ever happened to Hawkins? I would kick approximately 153 people in the face to find my missing child.
12) I don’t believe that that is your home, mister squid-thing.
13) “The breathing is coming from INSIDE the wall!”
14) The boys about The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit with a twinkle in their eyes? I’m not getting emotional, YOU ARE.
15) I’ll take “bottomless pit” for $200.
16) ELEVEN HAS TELEKINETIC POWERS. SHE IS THE ’80s SCI-FI MATILDA. SHE IS AN X-MEN.
17) Can we get an Eleven spinoff?
18) How did I not put that together? Consider me thoroughly shook.
19) Chief Hopper, you are not doing a very good job of Chief Hopper-ing. Isn’t it, like, very frowned-upon to take evidence from a crime scene?
20) Okay, I see you, Hop. You’re makin’ like Mulan and gettin’ down to business to defeat the monster.
21) These flickering lights are doing me a panic.
22) I do not enjoy when Nancy does that thing where she moves her lips and words come out.
23) Feeling a deep connection with Mike’s little sister at this moment. She gets my emotions.
24) Hopper’s backstory. Ow, my tiny heart.
25) No, seriously. Someone help. IT HURTS ME IN MY INSIDES.
26) I do not enjoy when Steve does that thing where he moves his lips and words come out.
27) Diner eats quickly turn to death? Call that a social disservice.
28) I, too, would smooch my boyfriend to “Africa” by Toto.
29) Talk about a shocking phone call. (I’ll leave…)
30) Not to be dramatic, but I would die for these kids.
Are you all caught up on Stranger Things? If so, what did you think of the season, and what should I look forward to in the upcoming episodes? Let me know in the comments below, or on Twitter, @aj_caulfield.