"Stranger Things" is one of Netflix's newest TV series, paying homage to the 1980s sci-fi/thriller genre, centering around the suddenly-missing Will Byers and his friends. From the moment Will goes missing, his best friends, town police chief, and his family begin a frantic rescue search - and discover much more than they likely bargained for with a vast array of "stranger things" revealed over the course of the currently-one-season-but-needs-to-be-more show.
Despite only taking place over eight episodes (equaling almost two weeks in the show's universe) many of the characters are incredibly complex and I was personally astounded by how three-dimensional and richly-written some were. On the other hand, there were some characters that absolutely sucked - and those are the ones we are going to discuss. Here are the top 5 worst characters in "Stranger Things."
BEWARE: Massive spoilers ahead.
5. Dr. Martin Brenner
Dr. Brenner runs Hawkins Lab, the scientific complex that serves as one of the main locations for the monster's warp gates into the Upside Down in addition to being the site of LSD-induced mind experiments that Eleven and Terry Ives were subject to. There are theories about El being his daughter, however based on their respective apparent ages I'd argue that she's more likely to be his granddaughter. Conspiracies aside, Dr. Brenner isn't the worst character in this show. Sure, he's pretty crazy, messing with people's minds and giving them (or boosting?) telepathic powers in order to weaponize them and acquire intelligence from the Russians. However, he's pretty clear about being the "bad guy" in the show - and honestly, I think most of his "evilness" comes from a series of mistakes he made and fervent belief in unorthodox morals. There are certainly worse characters, believe it or not.
4. Lonnie Byers
Being the deadbeat dad he is, Lonnie isn't present in the household - and clearly hasn't been for many years - when Will goes missing. He's questioned by the cops (and Jonathan) for any information that he fails to provide because, of course, Lonnie isn't the criminal here. Sure, he sucks, because no kid should have to deal with their dad not committed to being present in their life, but Lonnie barely seems to care Will disappeared until his "body" was found and Lonnie realizes he can utilize this as reason to sue the state over Will supposedly falling into the quarry. He pulls the "we can use this money to let our other kid go to college because you're poor, Joyce" excuse, but couldn't even tell Joyce where Jonathan wants to go. To put it simply, Lonnie is a terrible parent, but lives up to his deadbeat stereotype and you can't quite blame him for that.
3. Steve Harrington
Much like my reaction to every other 80s teen heartthrob, I immediately fell in love with Steve in the first episode of the show. I fell less in love with him when it became evident he really only wanted Nancy for sex, and fell in hatred when he lashed out at precious Jonathan for taking pictures of them at the sex party. Granted, he WAS justified in being upset for being low-key stalked, but the boy way overreacted by breaking Jonathan's camera. That was just rude. Later, he teams up with Tommy and Carol (who also suck SO MUCH they're SO TERRIBLE) to write "Nancy The Slut Wheeler" in spray paint on the movie theatre marquee following the featured film title 'All the Right Moves.' Jonathan proceeds to beat him up, badly, and Steve's character arc begins.
There are a few characters on the show that are incredibly mysterious, such as the monster itself and El, but I would consider Steve the most complex and realistic character in the show. He is undoubtedly the "hot jock turned jerk turned good guy" archetype that John Hughes movies tended to portray, but I think Steve is deeper than that. He genuinely cares for Nancy for the duration of the season - even while he was angry, as seen after his outburst against Tommy - and ends up as Nancy and Jonathan's savior in the final battle agains the monster at the Byers residence. Due to this, Steve shouldn't be given the title of Worst Character (but also doesn't deserve to be unincluded since he was mean to my girl Nancy).
2. Lucas Sinclair
I like kids. I do. The young boys in the show are pretty much my favorite kids ever. But Lucas SUCKS. He's so irritating - I guarantee I spent most of my wine mom time watching the show yelling at Lucas and scolding him for being a little shit rather than the cliche yelling-at-characters-for-doing-dumb-stuff-that's-gonna-get-them-killed wine mom time. He's so mean to El for the longest time (even Dustin comes around way before Lucas), he really does nothing to help find Will until the last damn episode, where he rides off on his own to go search instead of teaming up with his homies (therefore labeling him a pretty crappy friend), AND TO TOP IT OFF he's jealous of El for being close to Mike. Like, dude, she's a person in trouble and Lucas gets all pissed off because she's intruding on he and Mike's friendship. Lucas is the worst kid! Believe it or not though, there is a character worse than him.
1. Karen Wheeler
Let's get this straight - Karen is literally the most horrible mother I've ever watched exist (albeit in a TV universe). She based her marriage entirely on the "American Dream" for money, and becomes an uber-suburban mom, making meatloaf and living in a house on a cul-de-sac with her three children. Granted, Mr. Wheeler sucks a lot too, but he honestly isn't included enough in the show itself for me to discuss him. The absolute worst thing about Karen is that she's what I would like to call a "selective mother." By this, I mean she picks and chooses when she wants to mother her children, rather than always acting as the parent; this doesn't mean she hates her kids, because she certainly has lots of love and cares when Nancy and Mike are upset and when Mike disappears just before the Hawkins scientists question her. Both of her older children have a scene where they deliberately disobey her instructions (since she isn't that authoritative anyway) and she blows up at them for a brief 5 sentences before telling them in a soft, nurturing voice that she wants them to feel like they can tell her everything and come to her when they have issues. Like, what? She's a hypocrite and complete contradiction of herself. Karen is absolutely the worst character on the show.