The uncomfortable comfort of strange things

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Deep in episode 7 very strange thingsIn the fourth season, Dustin makes a very good joke. He, Lucas, and Max are on the edge of the Lake of Lovers, watching their friends search for what they think may be an underwater portal to the Upside Down. Watching their search, he realizes that this new passage to the underworld may have a very funny name: Watergate.

In the current season very strange things The events take place in the spring of 1986, ten years after the scandal that resulted in the overthrow of Richard Nixon. Some of Dustin’s friends – mostly older ones – get his gag. Others just react awkwardly. But watching this in 2022, while congressional hearings on January 6 Uprising plays out on another channelIt’s hard not to want to go back to a time when the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington, D.C. seemed to be the most embarrassing event in the history of an American presidential term. Be kind and rewind.

Much has already been written about what nostalgia is. very strange thingssecret sauce. It’s true that part of his fandom is made up of Gen Xers and millennials who still remember a time when someone could sincerely ask, “What is the Internet?” People who miss Clear Pepsi and Police Academy and a carefree childhood spent on roller skating rinks.

And while watching very strange things now still hitting all the same nostalgia buttons and also hitting a few more. It may contain links to Nintendo and A Nightmare on Elm Street (and the cameo role of Freddie himself, Robert Englund), but one of the main plots is satanic panic and fears that Dungeons & Dragons will lead children to necromancy. It is also, again, based on deep-rooted Cold War-era fears about Russian interference in American life. And in 2022, with Russia invading Ukraine and the January 6 hearings taking over the airwaves almost as much as the Watergate hearings in 1973, reflecting on a time when D&D was more of a PTA topic than active shooting practice makes for a very uncomfortable feeling of comfort. . And so, we look.

Part of this, however, is due to the historical details that very strange things decided to forget about the 1980s. It makes no mention of the AIDS crisis, no discussion of the ill effects of the war on drugs (although at one point a “Just Say No” poster is clearly visible). Nobody talks about the Iran-Contra affair though Tower Commission only started at the end of 1986, so it could happen. Much of the action revolves around events in the bucolic suburb of Hawkins, Indiana. Vecna ​​can kill teenagers, but otherwise the problems of the outside world seem like a distant memory. very strange things it is not necessary to include these events, but their absence helps escapism.

And then there’s Kate Bush. The rebel singer and gothic forerunner, “Running Up That Hill”, is featured prominently this season and tops the charts 37 years after its release as a result. Some declared Bush Renaissance. It is supposedly a song about walking in someone else’s shoes, but in the series it helps a small child (I won’t say who exactly, because these are spoilers) to fight the evil of the world. Both, to borrow a phrase from a song, are worth a deal. As above, so below.

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