For all its darkness and monsters, Netflix's Stranger Things is, at its heart, a warm sci-fi comedy about a group of tweens living in suburban America. In fact, their stories, problems, and relationships, have "a rare respect for both adult grief and childhood suffering," according to The New Yorker, which goes on to call the show "an original."
Regardless of the climbing death count, not to mention more terrifying villains popping out of the woodwork, Stranger Things and its adorable characters remain undaunted by what the future might bring. They exude confidence, not just in their own intelligence and abilities, but also in how deeply they love and care for one another.SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Updated on July 11th, 2022 by Danielle Bruncati: While there's no doubt that Stranger Things has made a name for itself in the sci-fi genre, the reason the show is as successful as it is is because of the incredible characters and the emotional moments the characters have experienced over the last four seasons of the show. Sure, fighting monsters is cool but the mystery isn't what keeps fans rewatching, it's the reunion between characters and the hilarious and sentimental monologues that do. With the complete season four just released on Netflix, fans can now rewatch the entire series to relive some of the more tearjerking moments.
Hopper's 8,000 Calorie Peace Offering - Season 2, Episode 2
After Hopper denies Eleven's ardent desire to go trick-or-treating for Halloween, she sulks for the entire night (and for part of the next morning.) To get her in a better mood, Hopper decides to go the food-bribery way and creates a lavish breakfast dessert that he knows Eleven will love: the Triple-Decker Eggo Extravaganza.
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This 8,000-calorie dessert consists of Eleven's favorite Eggo waffles, layered with an indulgent mixture of Hershey's kisses, jelly beans, whipped cream, and Reese's pieces. Hopper's plot works without a hitch, putting a smile on El's face as well as the viewers'.
Dustin's Relationship With Dart - Season 2, Episode 3
Dustin's "pet," a Demodog he names after D'Artagnan, one of the three musketeers, is rather cute — or as cute as his species can be. The fact that Dustin doesn't harm Dart even though he murders the Henderson cat shows how much the boy has come to care about the little creature.
While the other boys do try to kill Dart, it is the Demodog's acceptance of Dustin's nougat-flavored olive branch that allows Max, Mike, Steve, and Lucas to escape the pumpkin patch tunnels. It's quite sad when Dart has to die, though.
Mike Meets Eleven After A Long Absence - Season 2, Episode 9
Given that Eleven first stays at Mike's house after escaping her lab prison, it's not surprising that they would develop a strong bond with each other.
When she disappears after killing the first Demogorgon, Mike refuses to believe that she has gone away forever and constantly attempts to reach Eleven via his Supercom (as well as maintaining her pillow fort sleeping area.) El only reunites with Mike after returning from her visit with Kali, but their hug shows more than anything words could ever say.
Anything To Do With Steve And Dustin Together - Season 2 Onward
Steve's cruel and self-centered nature erodes after the conclusion of the first season, but one of the best changes incorporated into this character is his blossoming big-brother relationship with Dustin.
The pair becomes nearly inseparable. Steve gives Dustin dating pointers, not to mention they go on wild adventures together when Mike, Lucas, and Will start doing their own thing. Steve and Dustin's bond has only grown stronger throughout the series.
Nancy Asks Dustin For A Dance - Season 2, Episode 9
Dustin is extremely excited to go to the Snow Ball and primps himself something fierce before entering the school. With a new hairstyle, snazzy clothes, and his trademark cheeky grin, he waltzes onto the dance floor and confidently asks one of his classmates to dance with him.
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The girls coldly reject Dustin, leaving Nancy to come and pick up the metaphorical pieces, telling him that he's her favorite and that he is surely going to "drive them nuts" at some point. This is extra charming because of Dustin's preexisting crush on Nancy.
Alexei's Deep Love For Americana - Season 3, Various Episodes
Although part of the research group studying the Key, Alexei exhibits very little patriotism towards his home country, as seen by his completely childlike sense of wonder when it comes to anything American.
This includes Looney Tunes, carnivals, Slurpees, the Fourth of July, 7-Elevens, and so on. Watching Alexei's face lighting up with wonder is both adorable and heartening, as it proves that anyone can understand and accept the beauty that lies in the simplest of things.
Robin's Coming Out - Season 3, Episode 7
Robin Buckley's coming-out scene is overflowing with warmth — making audiences wish that LGBTQ+ characters had been depicted with this level of sensitivity and tenderness in '80s film and TV (and not just in a show set in that era).
Robin expects Steve to react negatively, or at least not be entirely accepting of her announcement, but his reaction is anachronistically thoughtful and considerate. In fact, Steve tries to help Robin get over her crush, Tammy Thompson, by comparing the latter's singing voice to "a Muppet giving birth."
Billy Sacrificing Himself To The Mind Flayer - Season 3, Episode 8
Sacrificing his life at the end of Season 3 does not completely redeem everything Billy Hargrove has done to other people, but it certainly helps enormously. Under the control of the Mind Flayer, Billy seems unstoppable until Eleven triggers a core memory of his mother with the words "seven feet."
This changes his motivations on the spot, and he turns against his controller in order to save his sister and everyone else. Billy also apologizes to Max in one of the most sentimental moments in the show.
Dusty-Bun & Suzie-Poo's Adorable Phone Duet - Season 3, Episode 8
Although nobody believes that Dustin's new girlfriend is real, he proves his friends wrong when he calls her in Utah, asking for the exact value of Planck's constant. She agrees to tell him, but not before they both perform their duet together (The Neverending Story theme.)
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This is sweet enough by itself, but it's made considerably more comical since nearly everyone else in the main cast is listening in on their conversation. Dustin's friends initially find it irritating, considering their situation, but Lucas and Max end up teasing him for it later.
Eleven With Her Dad's Letter - Season 3, Episode 8
Having found Eleven's first relationship a bit disconcerting for his tastes, Hopper chooses to express himself in his "heart-to-heart" letter, using Joyce's help to complete it.
He never does get to read it to his daughter since he disappears at the end of Season 3. However, Eleven reads the letter after asking Joyce's permission, finding it intensely bittersweet. It's one of the most tear-jerking scenes in the entire show.
Will Giving Mike His Painting - Season 4, Episode 8
After much secrecy around his painting, Will finally presents it to Mike in episode 8 of Stranger Things season 4. The scene proves to be heartwarming and heartbreaking all at the same time as Will abandons his original plan of gifting the painting to Mike as a gift from himself and instead pretends that the painting was El's idea.
While it's heartbreaking to watch Will essentially confess his feelings to Mike who doesn't understand that is what is happening, it's also a heartwarming scene that shows just how much Will cares about Mike and El. He's willing to put his own feelings on hold to help his two best friends feel better about themselves because he cares that much. Will's selflessness is one of his best and worst traits.
Eddie's Speech To Dustin - Season 4, Episode 8
In the midst of preparing for an epic battle against Vecna, the Hawkins crew manages to take a minute to breathe and bond with each other. This pivotal scene includes several heartwarming moments including this one between Dustin and Eddie.
The two play wrestle after Dustin says a terrible pun that Eddie secretly finds hilarious. As the two settle down, Eddie pulls Dustin close and tells him to "never change." The moment is one of Eddie's most emotional and best quotes in volume 2 and is a bittersweet one given his character's fate. However, it's a moment that solidifies the bond these two nerdy characters shared.
Erica Admits She Loves Her Brother - Season 4, Episode 8
Erica is the quick-witted and sometimes-annoying little sister of Lucas who has a penchant for snarky comebacks. While that attitude hasn't gone away, fans did get to see a softer side of Erica in Stranger Things season 4, volume 2.
It's in this scene that Lucas and Erica share a sibling heart-to-heart where Erica admits that she does love her brother even though she has a funny way of showing it. And Lucas shares the love back, proving that the Sinclair siblings are some of the best siblings on the show.
Steve Shares His Big Family Dreams - Season 4, Episode 8
While Steve's timing for an emotional look into his future might be extremely off given the fact that their chances of hunting down Vecna are getting slimmer by the second, his revelation is still a heartwarming one. The scene shows Steve talking to Nancy about how he's always dreamed of driving a Winnebago around the country in the summertime with a giant family of "nuggets" of his own.
Ordinarily, this would be a small cute moment but because it's coming from Steve it's a truly heartwarming moment. After all, the Steve in season one never would have been vulnerable enough to share his dream nor would he have likely even dreamed of that. But after spending time with Dustin and the rest of the kids, Steve's started to come around to the idea of being the family man -- something his own life is lacking.
Hopper & El's Reunion - Season 4, Episode 9
Fans were gutted at the end of season 3 when everyone, including El, thought Hopper was dead. From the minute they learned the truth, fans were counting down the seconds until El and Hopper got to reunite. They had to do a lot of waiting but finally in the final moments of season 4 episode 9 the reunion came.
It's one of the most heartwarming moments of the fourth season as El immediately runs to Hopper and breaks down in his arms. She makes reference to his speech from season 3 and tells him that she never gave up believing he was out there. The scene then shifts to a much more lighthearted tone as these two characters who struggle with emotions poke fun at each other's appearances since that's how they truly show love to each other.
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In real life, Ajay disguises himself as an academic, mainly writing textbooks for children — who all hate him for making their lives more miserable. He also writes about TV and film, strewing his opinions across the internet to see if people care (they don't). You can find him @stain_dprinc_ss on Twitter.More From Ajay Aravind