Farewell to #Justice4Barb, Stranger Issues’ most enduring meme

Spoilers for Stranger Issues season 1 (and early, minor developments in season 2) forward.

Barb Holland solely received a small quantity of display time in season 1 of Stranger Issues, however that didn’t cease viewers from falling in love together with her. Her finest good friend Nancy could be the good, standard excessive schooler we want we had been, however the bespectacled, dowdily dressed Barb might be the teenager we had been. Nancy will get to make out with the preferred boy in clbad; poor Barb finally ends up sidelined, ignored, and ultimately lifeless, with a slug monster wriggling round in her mouth.

Barb was shunted to the facet as an early casualty of Stranger Issues, however followers didn’t take her graphic homicide frivolously. They demanded #Justice4Barb on-line, making a meme so standard that even these concerned with the present had been in on the joke. At a New York Comedian Con panel final yr, actor David Harbour (who performs Sheriff Jim Hopper) instructed the viewers followers would get some form of justice. “We do take care of the unfastened ends in season 2, and we do take care of among the web rage over Barb’s dying,” he stated.

Stranger Issues season 2 makes good on Harbour’s promise in a single apparent method: individuals truly speak about Barb being lacking. The place season 1 appeared to shuffle the character out with none fanfare from her household, in season 2, Barb is all of a sudden on the forefront of their considerations. Within the first episode, we be taught Barb’s mother and father are promoting their home to rent a non-public investigator to allow them to monitor down their lacking daughter. However they’re burning via their funds within the course of, for what viewers know might be a heartbreaking finish.


Nancy is haunted by Barb’s dying. She mourns her good friend via quiet crying clbades and public outbursts. She resents her sentient hairpiece of a boyfriend, Steve, for wanting to maneuver on. “It’s like everybody forgot,” Nancy tells Steve at a celebration. “It’s like no one cares.” The dying of her finest good friend is the driving drive of Nancy’s arc in season 2. Though Nancy was silenced about Barb’s disappearance, via threats of presidency imprisonment or bodily hurt, she searches for methods to avoid these constrictions and punish these accountable getting Barb killed — the group that opened the trail to The Upside Down, and helped unleash the Demogorgon.

In an interview with Selection, the collection’ creators, the Duffer brothers, stated they’ve meant for a very long time for Nancy and Barb’s household to deal with her dying, and that it’s onerous to understand how a lot of an impact the fan marketing campaign truly had on the season. “We definitely needed a giant concept for this season to be the characters to be coping with the trauma of what occurred up to now,” Ross instructed the publication. “We needed individuals to react realistically for that, and for somebody like Nancy who feels responsible as a result of she performed a component in her finest good friend’s dying, that’s not one thing you’ll be able to simply brush apart and recover from in a yr. So we would have liked her to be coping with it. In order that storyline was already set in movement by the point the Barb stuff got here out.”

It’s affordable to say that, as a result of season 1 of Stranger Issues befell over a few week, Barb’s disappearance had little or no time to settle. Grief takes time to course of. The thought of justice for any lifeless character is hard, as a result of in contrast to in actual life, fictional justice has to serve a bigger narrative, and are available to a logical, satisfying, and acceptable conclusion. Justice is meaningless for the lifeless; it solely serves to fulfill the dwelling. Barb gained’t be coming again to life anytime quickly, however Stranger Issues season 2 has a minimum of given followers a method to bury their collective outrage. It’s time to discover a new meme. Possibly “Hopper dancing to” may be this yr’s obsession.




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