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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50 Quotes from the Best Vines

If you're picturing the vines in your head, you're doing it right

In 2017 we had to say goodbye to one of the best websites to ever roam the internet: Vine. In case you have been living under a rock since 2013, Vine was -(sad face)- a website and app that took the internet and the app store by storm in Winter 2013. It contained 6-second videos that were mostly comedy- but there were other genres including music, sports, cool tricks and different trends. Vine stars would get together and plan out a vine and film it till they got it right.

It was owned by Twitter and it was shut down because of so many reasons; the viners were leaving and making money from Youtube, there was simply no money in it and Twitter wanted us to suffer.

There's been a ton of threads on Twitter of everyone's favorite vines so I thought I'd jump in and share some of my favorites. So without further ado, here are some quotes of vines that most vine fanatics would know.

1. "AHH...Stahhp. I coulda dropped mah croissant"

2. "Nate how are those chicken strips?" "F%#K YA CHICKEN STRIPS.....F%#K ya chicken strips!"

3. "Road work ahead? Uh Yea, I sure hope it does"

4. "Happy Crimus...." "It's crismun..." "Merry crisis" "Merry chrysler"

5. "...Hi Welcome to Chili's"

6. "HoW dO yOu kNoW wHaT's gOoD fOr mE?" "THAT'S MY OPINIONNN!!!.."

7."Welcome to Bible Study. We're all children of Jesus... Kumbaya my looordd"

8. Hi my name's Trey, I have a basketball game tomorrow. Well I'm a point guard, I got shoe game..."

9. "It's a avocadooo...thanks"

10. "Yo how much money do you have?" "69 cents" "AYE you know what that means?" "I don't have enough money for chicken nuggets"

11. "Hurricane Katrina? More like Hurricane Tortilla."

12. "Hey Tara you want some?" "This b*%th empty. YEET!"

13. "Get to Del Taco. They got a new thing called Freesha-- Free-- Freeshavaca do"

14. "Mothertrucker dude that hurt like a buttcheek on a stick"

15. "Two brooss chillin in a hot tub 5 feet apart cuz they're not gay"

16. "Jared can you read number 23 for the class?" "No I cannot.... What up I'm Jared, I'm 19 and I never f#@%in learned how to read."

17. "Not to be racist or anything but Asian people SSUUGHHH"

18. 18. "I wanna be a cowboy baby... I wanna be a cowboy baby"

19. "Hey, I'm lesbian" "I thought you were American"

20. "I spilled lipstick in your Valentino bag" "you spilled- whaghwhha- lipstick in my Valentino White bag?"

21. "What's better than this? Guys bein dudes"

22. "How'd you get these bumps? ya got eggzma?" "I got what?" "You got eggzma?"

23. "WHAT ARE THOSEEEEE?" "THEY are my crocs!"

24. "Can I get a waffle? Can I please get a waffle?"

25. "HAPPY BIRTHDAY RAVEN!" "I can't sweem"

26. "Say Coloradoo" "I'M A GIRAFFE!!"

27. "How much did you pay for that taco?" Aight yo you know this boys got his free tacoo"

28. *Birds chirping* "Tweekle Tweekle"

29. "Girl, you're thicker than a bowl of oatmeal"

30. "I brought you Frankincense" "Thank you" "I brought you Myrrh" "Thank you" "Mur-dur" "huh...Judas..no"

31. "Sleep? I don't know about sleep...it's summertime" "You ain't go to bed?" "Oh she caught me"

32. "All I wanna tell you is school's not important... Be whatever you wanna be. If you wanna be a dog...RUFF. You know?"33. "Oh I like ya accent where you from?" "I'm Liberian" "Oh, my bad *whispering* I like your accent..."

34. "Next Please" "Hello" "Sir, this is a mug shot" "A mug shot? I don't even drink coffee"

35. "Hey did you happen to go to class last week?" "I have never missed a class"

36. "Go ahead and introduce yourselves" "My name is Michael with a B and I've been afraid of insects my entire-" "Stop, stop, stop. Where?" "Hmm?" "Where's the B?" "There's a bee?"

37. "There's only one thing worse than a rapist...Boom" "A child" "No"

38. "Later mom. What's up me and my boys are going to see Uncle Kracker...GIVE ME MY HAT BACK JORDAN! DO YOU WANNA SEE UNCLE KRACKER OR NO?

39. "Dad look, it's the good kush." This is the dollar store, how good can it be?"

40. "Zach stop...Zach stop...You're gonna get in trouble. Zach"

41. "CHRIS! Is that a weed? "No this is a crayon-" I'm calling the police" *puts 911 into microwave* "911 what's your emergency"

42. "WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? WHY? "

43. *Blowing vape on table* * cameraman blows it away* "ADAM"

44. "Would you like the spider in your hand?" "Yea" "Say please" "Please" *puts spider in hand* *screams*

45. "Oh hi, thanks for checking in I'm still a piece of garrbaagge"

46. *girl blows vape* "...WoW"

47. *running* "...Daddy?" "Do I look like-?"

48. *Pours water onto girl's face" "Hello?"

49. "Wait oh yes wait a minute Mr. Postman" "HaaaAHH"

50. "...And they were roommates" "Mah God they were roommates"

I could literally go on forever because I just reference vines on a daily basis. Rest in peace Vine

Cover Image Credit: Vine

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The Queen Of Soul Leaves A Story To Tell And A Voice That Cannot Be Replicated

Aretha Franklin may have passed on, but her legacy will live forever.


On March 25, 1942, Aretha Franklin was born. The daughter of a well-known and highly respected Baptist Minister and Gospel singer from Memphis, Tennessee would soon move to Detroit, Michigan, where Aretha would meet lifelong friends and musical contributors.

Aretha Franklin was engulfed in music from the day she was born and, by the middle of the 1950s, Aretha had learned to play piano and began singing alongside her sisters in the church choir. It was during this time that Franklin first met strong, historical figures, such as Clara Ward, Smokey Robinson, and civil rights activists Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson. These are notable family friends that would stand by Aretha's side many times in the future.

Like many people finding themselves in the spotlight, there is more to Aretha Franklin's story than what is put in the tabloids. There are deeper events in her timeline that contribute to her emotion-filled voice. At the small age of six, Aretha endured her mother's leaving of the family and death four years later.

Aretha began a family of her own at the age of 12. In 1956, Clarence, Franklin's first son was born. Two years after, Aretha gave birth to her son Edward.

In the years that make up the start of the Franklin Clan, Aretha Franklin signed to Columbia Records and moved to New York. Moderate success would be found in the next five years of her music career. In 1961, Aretha Franklin was married and conceived her third child, Teddy Jr., with her newly-wedded husband.

While moderate success is admirable, Aretha signed with Atlantic Records and, in 1967, released an album "I Never Loved A Man The Way I Loved You" with a hit track of the same name giving Aretha Franklin her first Top 10 hit.

Following the great success of her 1967 album, Aretha moved on to release other critically acclaimed hit songs, including, "Respect," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain Of Fools" and more, earning her several Grammy awards and the cover of Time Magazine, where her nickname, The Queen Of Soul, was born.

To the outside world, Aretha Franklin was constantly moving up, but, behind closed doors, Aretha's personal life was struggling. Ms. Franklin has a history of arrests for disorderly conduct and reckless driving. She had also developed an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Franklin divorced her abusive husband, Ted White, and allowed the experience to serve as inspiration in the studio. Aretha was married and gave birth to her fourth son, Kecalf, in the 1970s. The relationship would end in 1984.

Along with her growing popularity as a singer, Aretha Franklin became a symbol of pride for many black Americans during the climax of the Civil Rights Movement. Many women, also looked to Aretha as a strong black woman that is living proof of what Black Women can be.

Aretha Franklin was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1987, becoming the first women to ever be listed.

As times changed and music continued to redefine itself, it became difficult for a soul-gospel singer to stay in the spotlight. Nevertheless, Aretha Franklin always found a way to release a hit that transcended the ever-changing boundaries of music. With collaborations, covers, an autobiography, and The Presidential Medal Of Freedom awarded in 2005, Aretha Franklin never left the minds of all who cared to listen and pay attention. She continued to inspire multiple generations and give breath-taking performances that reminded the world why she was, indeed, The Queen Of Soul.

Aretha Franklin spoke to hearts around the world with the utter of one subtle note. Her ability to stay relevant, no matter the age group, amazed but did not surprise. The world knew she was one of a kind. The world knew there was only one Aretha. Through the years, Ms. Franklin never altered to fit in and never strayed away from the type of music she wanted to produce for the happiness of others. Her name alone is a cause for celebration. The amount of records she holds is mind-boggling. Her music narrated, not only her personal endeavors but the lives of people worldwide. A personal connection can be made when listening to any of her songs. Aretha Franklin is a standing ovation within herself.

Little did the outside world know, Ms. Franklin had been battling illness for years, behind-the-scenes. Although occasional rumors would ring of her health, Aretha dodged all questions and killed all concerns with poise and a brilliant smile. She did not want the world to know of her health issues, no matter how small. A longtime friend of Aretha Franklin told People Magazine, "She has been ill for a long time, She did not want people to know and she didn't make it public." Word spread of a battle between Aretha Franklin and Pancreatic Cancer for many years, although, of course, no confirmation or details were given on the matter.

It started to become hard to hide the ailing condition of The Queen once shows frequently began to be canceled, due to doctors orders. Aretha had announced in February of 2017 that she would be retiring from music, but may take the stage at select events. Franklin was true to her word and returned to the stage in August of 2017 and at the Elton John AIDS Foundation's Enduring Vision benefit gala in November of the same year. Fans became highly concerned by the more than noticeable shift in Aretha Franklin's appearance.

A close friend of the phenomenal singer told TMZ, "she could go at any time," and mentioned that she was down 85 lbs. This information was given two weeks ago. Unfortunately, better updates did not follow.

On the morning of Thursday, August 16, 2018, The Queen Of Soul, Aretha Franklin passed away. She leaves behind her soul-touching music, a record of more than 20 chart-topping R&B; hits and 18 Grammy wins, and anthems that will live for ages. She is survived by her four sons.

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, and, while the physical body that is Aretha Franklin has moved on to Glory, the teachings and inspirations of her soul shall live forever. Like many idols before her, it is indeed hard to say goodbye, but let us be grateful for the time we had to witness the greatness that is Aretha Louise Franklin. May she rest in sound peace.

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