Stranger Things (S2) life lessons: being halfway happy and half-truths

Tuesday, October 31, 2017 Permalink

Although it was accidental I binge-watched season two of the Netflix TV show Stranger Things when it launched last Friday.

I enjoyed the first season but read a review just days before implying S2 offered nothing new so was a bit worried.

As a result my expectations were low but I was pleasantly surprised. And I did decide to go to bed on several occasions but each episode ended at a cliffhanger, willing me to continue watching. So I did.

Something popped up in one of the early episodes though (the second I think). And – spoiler alert – though I think everyone knows Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) returns in S2 it’s in a scene where local Sheriff Jim Hopper is teaching her a new word. I wrote it down because I liked the way it’d been explained and decided it could form the basis of some more detailed analysis consideration (which won’t surprise those of you accustomed to my over-thinking ways).

Stranger Things life lessons

1. The art of compromise: being halfway happy
Although it’s a bit like Sesame Street and the concept of cooperation (which I seem to remember being rammed down our throats), Hopper teaches Eleven about the act of compromise. (And is that something we need to learn in life or what?!)

But when doing so he explains that it means ‘halfway happy’.

And I loved that. It’s a less negative option to the way I usually view the word and it somehow resonated. (Hence me getting my lazy self off the sofa to write it down!)

It made me focus more on the ‘trade-off’ element of the word (and life in general) and fact we’re still getting something good, rather than the fact we’re giving up our ground or something.

2. Trust is important
There are a few new faces in this outing. Some completely irrelevant, and Roman / Kali / Eight I’m looking at you. However a fairly central new character is introduced in the form of Max (as an aside, Max’s older sibling Billy seemed to be a bit of a waste of TV time and space – his existence, not just because of his lack of likeability).

Some of the boys are reticent to accept a new member and of course Mike is pining for Eleven and doesn’t want anyone to replace her, but Max’s arrival is ultimately a reminder that things change and sometimes we need to accept new people into our lives and put our trust in others.

3. Half-truths are sometimes more palatable
This bit is a big spoiler so I won’t go into detail but one of the characters (Nancy) is keen to reveal some of the nastier secrets of the Hawkins Lab and government conspiracies. She goes to great lengths in an attempt to find evidence, keen to get closure for her friend Barb’s family (spoiler: Barb suffered a dire fate in the first series).

Their story is – of course – so outrageous that the conspiracy theorist / whistle-blower they approach suggests they temper the truth; make it more believable and palatable.

I wondered briefly it was unjust. If those involved should be outraged. Instead I realised it was a reminder that sometimes it’s best to give people only as much as they can handle.

I gather Netflix has already committed to two more seasons but realise we’ll be waiting a while for the next installation. I must admit I was surprised at how easily and quickly I was drawn back into the lives of those in Hawkins and their ‘Upside Down’ (alternate reality, kinda). I suspect having an end date will mean the series isn’t overly drawn out and makes it easier for the Duffer brothers (the series’ creators) to give us a story arc that retains our interest and enthusiasm.

Are you a fan of Stranger Things? Are you as enamoured as I am about the concept of compromise being ‘halfway happy’.

* pic from IMDb

  • Vanessa
    October 31, 2017

    I’m actually really bad at watching the new shows on Netflix. I usually watch things after work so I just want something nice and familiar and not new at that time of day. I find that I’m using Netflix less and less so I don’t know if I want to keep it long term.

    • Debbish
      October 31, 2017

      I’m the opposite Vanessa. I watched the Marvel superhero thing as soon as it was released but am slack about continuing to watch stuff. Several times over the past year (since I subscribed to Netflix) a couple of months have passed since I turned it on. I tend to tape stuff on TV during the week and watch them when I have a break from reading. However, since I’ve restarted fulltime work I’ve found I’ve been a bit keener to watch stuff on weekends again.

  • Natalie Peck McNamara
    October 31, 2017

    I binge watched The Handmaids tale on SBS… couldn’t get enough of it. I also love love Animal Kingdom on Netflix.. just for the men..LOL #teamIBOT

    • Debbish
      October 31, 2017

      I loved The Handmaids Tale and binged on it as well. I think there is a gazillion lessons to be learned there (although that was written a long time ago and we’ve still not learned them!!!!).


  • Denyse Whelan
    October 31, 2017

    B watches so many different series on Netflix and I am delighted he is loving them. This one is not one but he gives most genres a go. I have not much attention span these days but the Crown engrossed me and I am delighted that series 2 is on its way for early December. I can never ever watch anything scary. Always been my thing. D xx

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2017

      I’m looking forward to The Crown season two as well Denyse. I just saw the other day they’ve announced who’ll be playing the Queen for seasons 3 & 4 but guess they’ll only be out annually!

  • Carol Cameleon
    November 1, 2017

    Perhaps it’s because I’m in the UK and/or don’t have NetFlix. Either way, I’ve never heard of this but it sounds intriguing and yes, I love the ‘halfway happy’ concept! thanks for sharing this with #HighlightsofHappy , it’s appreciated.

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2017

      There was a lot of press about Stranger Things when it came out last year but it took me a while to get to it from memory. I wasn’t actually planning to binge on it the day it was released but kept watching and watching…

  • Michelle W (@pinkypoinker)
    November 1, 2017

    We’re up to ep4 S2. I’m a bit over it really. My husband is right into it though. I like the lesson you took away from the compromise discussion. I didn’t quite get what he meant at the time so you’ve enlightened me. I should probably pay more attention.

    • Debbish
      November 1, 2017

      Ha… it was just the ‘halfway happy’ comment I liked – enough obviously to jump up off the couch (well, get up!) and find some paper and a pen! There were a couple of elements to this series I didn’t get. The whole sister thing was weird and I’m guessing she’ll be back in future seasons. And Max’s brother was weird. I kept thinking we’d find out her father was the guy from the facility or something… that there’s be some macabre secret about her family…

  • Moon
    November 6, 2017

    Hi. Actually, I found the wording “halfway happy” deeply sad. It means no one is really happy. Yes, yes, compromise is necessary. Inevitable. But on a deeper philosophical level it struck me as depressing. I’m sure I’m just projecting my own situation onto it.

    • Debbish
      November 6, 2017

      I’m probably the same. To me the art of compromise means neither party actually ‘wins’ and has their own way, but each gives a little so they’re both half-way happy in that instance rather than one being more so. (Maybe!!!)

I'd love to hear your thoughts