Disclaimer: This post contains spoilers for Season 1 of Stranger Things.
Stranger Things hit Netflix and became an almost-instant juggernaut. Seriously, no one out there could have predicted the hit that it was, but more than anything, no one could have expected Barb. That’s right, the nerdy redhead with the common sense that our lead lacked. To many, she was a revelation, and became something of a sensation all on her own…despite the fact that she had maybe 30 lines in the whole series.
Speaking with THR, show producer and director Shawn Levy discussed his bafflement over Barb’s popularity with viewers.
“I think everyone has some Barb in them. I think everyone feels like a misfitting, not cookie cutter, at ease in herself kind of person. We all have felt like an other. We all have felt a little bit on the margin, like we don’t quite fit in. That’s Barb…and to see a character who is comfortable being an other, I think that we cheer that.
“Sadly, it didn’t work out so well for Barb. We never expected that. I still don’t know what to make of that. But I do think that that’s the Barb phenomenon is that we’d never seen anyone like Barb on a television show. So I think just the sheer unusual unique nature of it was part of it, but also I think she resonates as an outsider.”
Early on in the first season, we saw her get thrashed around in the Upside Down by the Demogorgon, and then later on, we pretty much saw her rotting corpse. Yet, for some reason, there are countless fans out there who are hoping that she’ll make a grand return to the show next season. Levy himself is shocked that fans still think this, and pretty much dashed all hopes of her return.
“I’ve had a lot of people — some huge celebrities come up to me at these awards show and are like, ‘So between us, Barb’s coming back, right?’ I’m like, 'No. You saw. She had like a creature-slug-worm-snake coming out of her mouth! I don’t know that there’s a bounce-back from that!'”
This is definitely great to hear, and even more great to hear that this season will not be a fan service-y wish list of all the things we want to see. As was the Duffer vision, we won’t be seeing Barb return simply because she was randomly popular in the show, and we think it’ll be all the better for it.
What do you think? Are you sad, or are you as baffled as we are over the Barb phenomenon?
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