Stranger Things Fans Are Turning On The Show
Stranger Things is the latest franchise to be turned on by its own fans, but the reason this time is a bit surprising.
There is no pop culture franchise that will not eventually be hated by its own fans. As Game of Thrones author George RR Martin recently expressed, it seems that no one despises a series these days as much as the people who claim to love it (and more importantly, claim ownership over it). The time has now come for Stranger Things, apparently. According to a new article in Rolling Stone, a rising wave of fan backlash against Stranger Things is taking place on the popular social media app TikTok. As can (sadly) be predicted, it pretty much has to do with longtime fans of the show disliking that other people also like the thing they like, but not for the things they themselves like.
Specifically, it seems that a sizable contingent of Stranger Things fans do not care for the outpouring of fan love for season four’s breakout character Eddie Munson and the actor who plays him, Joseph Quinn. As the Rolling Stone article details, cosplayers who dress up as Eddie Munson are getting slammed by Stranger Things fans who feel that liking a character who appeared in the fourth season (rather than the first, second, or third) somehow diminishes their own enjoyment of the show. There appears to be a turn against the character, and by extension, the show itself, most likely prompted by the runaway popularity of the doomed Metallica-loving Dungeon Master.
This is all unfortunately very predictable. Stranger Things is an enormous, cross-media hit on a level rarely seen, with only Netflix’s own ultraviolent Squid Games being able to best it in viewing numbers. For years, Stranger Things has been a flagship series for Netflix, achieving the kind of cultural saturation that shows that do not get their own specially branded Domino’s Pizza app can dream of. As we have seen with Star Wars, Star Trek, video games in general, Lord of the Rings, Zack Snyder, Taylor Swift, and pretty much everything popular, when things get really big, people start to get protective over them. Regrettably often, that protectiveness manifests in a feeling that people who come to a series like Stranger Things later rather than earlier do not like the show in the appropriate way ( the Rolling Stone article quotes a TikTok comment as “I’m sorry but I miss 2019 stranger things fandom right now”) and that a character who gets too much love is somehow bad for the show.
And to be fair, a lot of Stranger Things fans really, really love Eddie Munson. It has been definitively established that Stranger Things fans love a character with really distinctive hair and something about Eddie Munson’s combination of earnestness and sarcasm has made him a breakout. Given that the character died in the season four finale of Stranger Things, it is unlikely that he will be showing up in the fifth and final run of episodes, but you never know (stranger things have happened and so forth). Hopefully, more fans don’t come to hate the thing they like before the end.