In season 3, Stranger Things’ celebration of ’80s pop culture becomes a political ideology

Warning: spoilers ahead for season 3 of Stranger Things.

The third season of Stranger Things, like the first two seasons, revels in the fun, funny, nostalgic detritus of 1980s pop culture. Much of the series’s action is set in a mall, the center of teen life before the advent of iPhones and Amazon. In the shopping emporium, the kids buy colorful ‘80s clothes and watch movies like Back to the Future and George Romero’s Day of the Dead. Glimpses of classic Dungeons & Dragons manuals and period issues of Penthouse are scattered around the screen. Running jokes include references to ‘80s teen sex symbol Phoebe Cates and the bombastically maudlin theme song for The Neverending Story. Most horror stories surprise the audience with terrifying…

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