A friend recommended this show on Netflix, “Stranger Things.” I was a little hesitant because one website listed the show as “horror” and I don’t do horror. But then I read an article which referred to it as “sci/fi suspense thriller” so I decided to watch it.
Well I can say this, the show reminds me of several old movies from the 1980’s: ET, Stand By Me, The Goonies, etc. I enjoyed watching most of it (there were a few parts I fast-forwarded through…for instance, I don’t need to watch teenagers making out).
However, there was one thing I noticed, and I don’t know if it was done on purpose, or if it was accidental, but it bothered me.
There isn’t one good father in the entire series.
Here’s the list of characters whose fathers are mentioned or shown:
Will and Jonathan Byers: this guy is a real piece of work. He is selfish, neglectful, he attempted to use his own son’s abduction for financial gain, he
Eleven: Yes, I know Dr. Brenner isn’t her “real” father, but she treats him as such. He’s an evil man who asks her to do evil things.
Nancy and Mike’s dad: this guy isn’t bad per se, but he is standoffish, milquetoast, and acts like he’d rather be doing anything else the entire show.
Steve’s dad leaves his troubled son home alone for days, and is described by Steve in such a way that we understand he is not a nice person.
Just about the only father that could be seen as a “good father” is Chief Hopper, whose daughter died of cancer before the show started, and he has now divorced his wife and sleeps with random women and has a substance abuse problem.
Contrast this with the mothers:
Will’s mom believes in him and stops at nothing to show her love for him and his brother Jonathan.
Eleven’s (presumed) mother has been in a comatose state as she mourns the loss of her baby daughter over ten years ago.
Nancy and Mike’s mom: she’s there for her kids, taking them places, showing an interest in their lives, having the hard conversations, and helping them.
The only mom that could be called “not good” was Barb’s mom, who didn’t seem to care that Barb was missing.
Fathers are needed. Fathers are necessary. And we need good examples of fathers in the shows and movies we watch. Here’s to hoping that season two of Stranger Things has a few good dads.