A Deeper Look At The Stranger Things Phenomena

A Deeper Look At The Stranger Things Phenomena

We choose to love the stories that empower us.

While I can't say with complete accuracy that the whole world is talking about the Netflix original series "Stranger Things," I can say that it certainly does feel like they are. Since it's season two release in October, fans have expressed their continued admiration for this television series.

It would be hard to resist watching it, even without all of the social media buzz and inside jokes for people who have seen the show. If you haven't yet ventured down this rabbit hole, I encourage you to, but I personally wanted a deeper understanding of this project and just exactly why so many people were obsessed with it seemingly overnight.

I present to you, a breakdown in which I explore the nuts and bolts of the "Stranger Things" phenomenon, we love it because of it's...

Realistic And Relatable Characters

The characters, although fictional, so closely resemble real people that it’s much easier for an audience to be able to resonate with them. Maybe you find your sense of humor reflected in the playful banter between the kids or you recognize the panic a mom feels when Joyce Byers can't find her son Will.

Real people are complicated, messy, imperfect, flawed, and so are these characters. Even when it comes to Eleven, who is considered to be a supernatural element, she is more humanized by her feelings for Mike and her struggle to learn to understand everything around her.

A Mascot For The World's Outcasts

In the words of Will’s brother Jonathan, “Nobody normal ever accomplished anything meaningful in this world.” Despite the series having a diverse fan-base, there is an undeniable broader appeal to the nerds, outcasts, freaks and misfits of the world.

For, those who were always a little different than other people, who’ve been through great tragedy and who’ve been lost for a while can find comfort in the Stranger Things story-line.

It sends a message that even in the depths of the upside down, all is not lost. Combine this with the copious amounts of sci-fi elements, pop culture references and unsung heroes; it’s a dream come true for any nerd.

Incredible Writing, Character Development And Story Arc

Unless you’re someone who looks beyond the face value of art that’s put in front of you, you may not catch one of the most underappreciated aspects of this show--the writing! It takes more than just actors and cameras to put a TV-show together, and without quality scripts, you aren’t going to get very far.

The writers have to take a vision and lay it all out in the form of words so it can relay to everyone else who is a part of the project. There are numerous examples of sensational writing here, such as the multiple character developments, most notably that of Chief Jim Hopper.

Additionally, there is the borderline-genius story arc that keeps the audience wanting more each time. Writers who use this tool well are known for working on the projects that turn into fan-favorites.

Story arcs work best when you have a denouement in mind and according to the show creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, there is going to be a definite end for the story-line and all its characters.

Thinking about that this early on may damper the mood for some fans, but The Duffers have given us an estimate of taking us all on this journey for about "four or five seasons."

Haze Of Nostalgia And Homage To A Simpler Time

In a world where everything is so digital and de-humanized it’s only natural for some people to have a longing for the more straightforward and arguably happier times of their childhood. Older viewers can reminisce while teaching their younger counterparts all about how things were back in the day.

Whether you were a child of the '80s or not, there's still something special about anything from that era. This is why it's particularly exciting for fans who have spotted several connections to other classic films and more in the series.

Focus On Friendship, Family And Redemption

Not many kids today would find a random bald girl wandering around the woods and instantly bring her home and feed her Eggo waffles, but Mike Wheeler was a good friend.

Whether it was searching for Will or helping the town of Hawkins survive a Demogorgon invasion, friendship and family played a prominent role in this story-line. Redemption was another common thread throughout seasons one and two with Eleven closing the gate after being the one to open it in the first place and Chief Hopper saving Will after being unable to do so with his daughter Sara.

Ability To Let The Fans Play Detective

If you've ever enjoyed watching the mystery or crime-solving types of entertainment where the audience can put the evidence together as they are watching, then you are definitely going to be a fan of Stranger Things.

There is an incredible combination of hidden gems of information, foreshadowing, cliffhangers, flashbacks and moments left open for speculation that keep fans on their toes and with their thinking caps on.

One of the most talked about instances of this is when fans spotted the detail of Chief Hopper giving his bracelet to Eleven at the end of season two. After some investigating, it was further revealed that the bracelet was formally a hair tie belonging to his deceased daughter Sara.

Speculations and theories have already been spread about what this means for season three as well as other questions or pieces of the puzzle we are waiting to have answered and wrap together.

Ability To Find Humor During Even The Worst Of Times

Adding humor to an episode can sometimes be the perfect pinch of salt on a good pot roast, and that's exactly what happened in the case of this show. Although the town of Hawkins is under attack and there's some mostly unknown evil lurking out there, fans can still get a chuckle out of some well placed zingy one-liners or moments of great sarcastic attitude.

One of my personal favorites happens in season two when Dustin is looking for all of his friends, who are currently MIA, and he goes to The Wheeler's residence. Dustin gets this typical dad response from Mr. Wheeler after he relays that his children are elsewhere.

Incredibly Talented Cast And Crew

It goes without saying that there are several talented people in Hollywood but I believe the cream of the crop was picked for these specific roles. It's really gratifying for fans to see one of the most iconic '90s actresses, Winona Ryder, bring our love for her back to the present and to witness the well-versed actor, David Harbour, finally getting the leading man spotlight he deserves.

Aside from the two main adult leads, there are also all the younger cast members who have been praised repeatedly for their performance and amount of professionalism.

No one might have expected such excellence from such young artists, but that's part of the shock and excite value they brought to this series. Putting them all together has given us a cast known for their grace, humility and dedication to their art.

It's Inspired A Movement

All of these seemingly little things have added up to make this television series into a globally recognized masterpiece that fans will love for a long time to come. But even though there are infinite reasons to admire great pieces of work like this that we could analyze all day long, I believe it can be simplified into one main idea. We choose to love the stories that empower us.

It's the acknowledgement that we're not too weird because as different as Eleven was she still found friends of her own or that maybe we can make mistakes and still be a good parent like Hopper and Joyce. We see a reflection of ourselves in the characters we love most and in the journey they lead us on and it makes us realize that the ups and downs of life are all just a part of our own story arc. Admittedly, I could be wrong in my theory of this, but stranger things have happened.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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10 Songs To Make You Feel Like A Female Badass

Here's your daily dose of confidence!

Whether post-breakup or just need a pick-me-up, these are some of my favorite girl power songs to make me feel like a badass.

1. “Sorry Not Sorry” by Demi Lovato

Now I'm out here looking like revenge
Feelin' like a ten, the best I ever been
And yeah, I know how bad it must hurt
To see me like this, but it gets worse (wait a minute)

A classic post-breakup banger. No matter if you broke up last week or years ago, this song will make you feel like the boss you are without the ex-boy toy (who was probably a jerk tbh). No matter what you’re feeling, this song is guaranteed to hype you up.

2. “Problem” by Natalia Kills

We’re hell raising and we don’t need saving
‘Cause there's no salvation for a bad girl.
We’re rock bottom, but there ain’t no stopping
‘Cause it’s you and me against the world

…That girl is a problem.

This song. THIS SONG. Feeling sexy and powerful has never been so fun. Problem, along with many others by Natalia Kills, are notorious anthems for women who are ~in touch~ with their sexuality. If you want hype, this is the song.

3. “Miss Me More” by Kelsea Ballerini

I miss my own beat, to my own snare drum (I miss me more)
Miss my own sheets in the bed I made up
I forgot I had dreams, I forgot I had wings
Forgot who I was before I ever kissed you
Yeah, I thought I'd miss you
But I miss me more (I miss me more)

On the country side of things, Kelsea Ballerini hits the nail on the head with this one. Miss Me More was one of my favorite songs for a long time because it never failed to make me feel like I’m in control of my own life. Empowering, fun, and a great song to dance to!

4. “I Did Something Bad” by Taylor Swift

I can feel the flames on my skin
Crimson red paint on my lips
If a man talks shit, then I owe him nothin’
I don’t regret it one bit, ‘cause he had it comin’.
They say I did something bad,
Then why’s it feel so good?

This song, along with any other song on the Reputation soundtrack, is an ode to giving zero thought to what others have to say. Whether you’re feeling down, angry, or just need to feel like a badass for once, “I Did Something Bad” is one that will make you feel empowered from the first beat.

5. “Woman” by Kesha

I buy my own things, I pay my own bills
These diamond rings, my automobiles
Everything I got, I bought it
Boys can’t buy my love, buy my love, yeah

I'm a motherfucking woman, baby, alright
I don't need a man to be holding me too tight
I’m a motherfucking woman.

Does this song even need a description? Kesha has always been good at hype songs, but her new album Rainbow has some of the best yet. Each song is an ode to the oppressed and exploited, showing that you are more than those who hurt you. If you need an uplifting song to make you feel loved and heard, this is the song for you.

6. “You Don’t Own Me” by Grace ft. G-Eazy

You don't own me
I'm not just one of your many toys.
You don't own me
Don't say I can't go with other boys.

Don't tell me what to do, and don't tell me what to say.
Please, when I go out with you, don't put me on display.

This is a new take on an old song. Originally sung by Lesley Gore, Grace and G-Eazy turn this song into a sexy, powerful anthem for anyone feeling oppressed and downtrodden. This song breaks free of those chains and shows that nobody owns you. You are a boss, so show it!

7. “Feeling Myself” by Nicki Minaj ft. Beyoncé

Changed the game with that digital drop
Know where you was when that digital popped
I stopped the world
Male or female, it make no difference
I stop the world, world stop…
Carry on

I think we can all relate to this song in some moments, but this song puts it into words and then some. Both Beyoncé and Nicki Minaj are acclaimed for their Girl Power movements, and their songs reflect that. Feeling Myself never fails to make me feel badass!

8. “New Rules” by Dua Lipa

One, don't pick up the phone
You know he's only calling 'cause he's drunk and alone.
Two, don't let him in
You'll have to kick him out again.
Three, don't be his friend
You know you're gonna wake up in his bed in the morning.
And if you're under him, you ain't getting over him.

This song is one of my personal favorites. Everyone knows that guy. You know, the one who you broke up with, and now won’t leave you alone? Yeah, this song is about that one. The wonderful Dua Lipa was able to put all those feelings into one amazing, empowering set of lyrics, and it always seems to help me

9. “Shout Out to My Ex” by Little Mix

This is a shout out to my ex, heard he in love with some other chick
Yeah, yeah, that hurt me, I'll admit
Forget that boy, I'm over it
I hope she gettin’ better sex, hope she ain't fakin’ it like I did
Took four long years to call it quits
Forget that boy, I'm over it

This has always been my favorite post-breakup anthem. Sassy, bold, and a little bitter, Little Mix killed it with this one, guaranteeing to help you get over that-one-guy-who-I-won’t-name and make you feel empowered to move on.

10. “Flawless” by Beyoncé

You wake up, flawless, post up, flawless
Ridin' round in it, flawless, flossin' on that, flawless
This diamond, flawless, my diamond, flawless
This rock, flawless, my Roc, flawless
I woke up like this, I woke up like this
We flawless, ladies tell 'em
I woke up like this

Beyoncé doesn’t need an introduction. Every song she creates ends up a hymn to being boss af. Flawless, in particular, has helped me to increase my confidence before a date or a night out. Whether you’re with your friends or on your own, this song can boost your mood in the first five seconds.

Go forth and live your best life. You deserve it.

Cover Image Credit: Flickr

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7 Reasons Why I Will NEVER See Any Shade Of The 'Fifty Shades' Series

Call me crazy, but I find the idea of these movies disturbing.

I may be one of the few people who are not obsessed with the latest release of "Fifty Shades Freed." I have not read one of the books nor seen the movies.

At first, the series simply didn’t interest me. As the hype increased over the years, I wanted to see what the big deal was. I read up on the series and watched the trailers.

From what I’ve read and seen, I do not ever want to see a single one of these movies. Some may argue that it is just pure entertainment and that’s fine. It’s whatever floats your boat. Personally, I find it all disturbing, but that’s just my opinion.

1. Christian Grey’s character is not attractive

Yes, you read that right. I do not think Mr. Grey is attractive. Sure, his physical appearance is easy on the eyes, but he has poor character. He’s manipulative, obsessive, angry and abusive. I’m sorry, but those qualities are awful.

"Mr. Grey will see you now." Hmmm... no thank you!

2. Physical and emotional abuse is glamorized

From what I’ve read, Christian is emotionally and physically abusive towards Ana. Hollywood takes this and glamorizes it. It turns into something people perceive as “fun” or “hot.” In no way should a woman being put down be glamorized.

3. The series does not show men the proper way to treat women

Men see how women are crazy about the books and movies. For some, they may think they need to act like Christian Grey to get a girl’s attention.

4. Women can become confused on how they should be treated

On the other hand, women see Christian Grey in the movies and think his demeanor towards Ana is “hot.” This leads girls to think being abused is OK.

5. I do not want to see these characters nude

Must I say more? It’s basically porn! The number of times Dakota Johnson is supposed to be shown nude in these movies is insane. Seeing her is just not at the top of my priority list.

6. It could cause disassociation from others

Let’s say you’re watching this movie with your boyfriend. Who do you think he’s thinking about? You or what is on screen? Let’s just ponder that for a while…

7. Parts of the books were left out of the movies

This part is downright disturbing. There were parts of the books that were not included in the movies because they were too explicit and graphic to be filmed. That speaks for itself.

Cover Image Credit: Universal Studios / Youtube

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