We?ve all seen it happen before. There?s always been a fool-proof formula for a love triangle. Douchebag boyfriend gets the girl, loser nice guy shows up confusing the girl, douchebag boyfriend bullies loser guy until eventually girl dumps douchebag boyfriend and ends up going for Mr. Loser-But-Nice guy in the end.
This might be what Stranger Things seem to be going at in the beginning. Steve (Joe Keery) certainly has all the qualities of the typical mullet-sporting jock that girls fall for back in the ?80s. But as the show progressed, we realized Steve is more than a stereotype. Let?s review:
First, Steve insists on joining Nancy (Natalia Dyer) for a study date?in her room. By the time Steve has climbed through Nancy?s window, Steve?s part as a horny, boundary-challenged jackass has already been established. We kind of know what?s coming next. He would pressure Nancy for sex, and would call her a prude when she refuses. Well, after Nancy?s ?I?m not like other girls,? speech, surprise! Steve backs off and, guess what, helps Nancy study for her Chemistry test.
Second, Steve bullies Jonathan (Charlie Heaton). It?s a requirement for the jock boyfriend to always have someone to bully?in this case, the camera-wielding loner, Jonathan. But as it turns out, when Steve is presented with the product of Jonathan?s surreptitious paparazzo session during the pool party at his house, and sees a photo of Nancy in the act of undressing, Steve goes on protective boyfriend mode. We all know that Jonathan didn?t initially set out to take their photos that night. But can we blame Steve for being upset and breaking the alleged perv?s camera?
Third, the offended ego, where Steve would expectedly slut-shame his girlfriend, because hey, he?s cool, no one can cuckold him just like that. But we find out that Steve wasn?t even the one who sprayed the offensive message on the cinema board, but rather his friend Tommy, who he severs friendship with over the entire incident. To make matters worse, we see Steve up on the ladder, doing the chivalrous thing of cleaning up the mess and protecting his girlfriend?s honor.
Stranger things, stranger still
Jonathan, on the other hand, isn?t even going after the girl. His only mission is to save his brother, and unfortunately, in the course of events, he always finds himself in the path of the cool dude. With Nancy suspecting that her friend Barb is in big trouble like Jonathan?s brother, Will, they find themselves backs against each other, becoming more like soldiers-at-arms against the faceless monster. Remember when Nancy allowed Jonathan in her room, and he was ready to sleep on the floor? We rooted for the safe and gentlemanly Mr. Nice Guy and hope he would get the girl (that he wasn?t even trying to get).
But the odds turn back to Steve when, in the moment of despair and confusion, he goes after Nancy and gets more than what he bargained for. Nancy gives him a free pass, and boy, can he run from the terror. At the last minute where we expect douchebag boyfriend to turn into loser coward ex boyfriend, Steve risks his pretty mullet head and hits the faceless monster! Boy, we are in a dilemma.
Strange how things worked out in the end. Douchebag boyfriend is a decent human being after all, even generous enough to allow Nancy to give a present to Jonathan at Christmas. And Nancy seems to be in a dilemma like all of us. What an enjoyable love triangle.
We can?t wait to find out what happens to the three of them in Season 2. In the meantime, who would you want Nancy to end up with?