“Stranger Things and Queerness” — A Hot Take

Let’s begin with a massive SPOILER ALERT — do not read further unless you’ve watched at least episode seven of season three of Netflix’s “Stranger Things.” More below —

Okay, now that that’s out of the way, Stranger Thing‘s “big reveal” of Robin’s (Maya Hawke) sexuality is both encouraging and problematic. Encouraging, in that Steve’s (Joe Keery) reaction was just surprise — which certainly wasn’t uncommon either in the era portrayed nor today — but obvious acceptance and clear affirmation of who she is as a person and that her sexuality will have no impact on their obvious bond and mutual affection. Problematic, though, in the sense that, for a queer person (such as myself), it seemed almost too obvious as a plot device. It was obvious from the introduction of her character that she and Steve had chemistry (which does not always indicate something sexual, just that they seemed immediately to “get” each other). It was obvious by episode two, however, that the question regarding that particular relationship wasn’t “will they or won’t they?” but “is she or isn’t she?” In 2019, that could have much more subtly addressed. I imagine that every person on earth knows someone who identifies as queer, even if it’s unsaid, not ever to be discussed on penalty of death, or a complete nonissue. I have no desire to even attempt to untangle the webs of intricacies that are involved in Stranger Things, much less the labyrinth of plot entanglements or the reduction of Eleven (the incredibly talented Millie Bobby Brown) to essentially a Deus ex Machina to be deployed when the scary creatures show up and she says “Talk to the Hand” — but a show that has technically succeeded on every level, even with a premise that’s absurd, I expected more of a key subplot (and there are a shit ton of subplots.)

~ by Benji on 17 SatAmerica/Los_Angeles2019-07-13T15:47:18-07:00America/Los_Angeles07bAmerica/Los_AngelesSat, 13 Jul 2019 15:47:18 -0700 2017.

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