Stranger Things: Season Three S3E1
A Note to Parents: We at TheSource4Parents.com realize it’s difficult to find fun family entertainment today. With that in mind, we realize that a few of you might object to some of the content in shows like Stranger Things and choose not to show it to your kids. After all, even secular media organization Common Sense Media rated Stranger Things “age 14+”… so maybe use that as a rough plumb line. Even though this show is mild by today’s standards, it does include foul language and some sensual situations (which might be good to dialogue about). If you do decide to let your kids see it, hopefully the following discussion guide will give you some ideas of themes you can discuss and what scripture says about it.
Stranger Things just dropped their third season and critics & audiences alike are already loving it! Families are loving it too…it fills the need that E.T., Goonies, and Super 8 once provided… kids on bikes saving the world! (And probably is about the same “rating” for language, violence, etc. Truly PG-13)
But Stranger Things also provokes good discussion about everyday life and relationships, or even deeper discussions about its naturalistic world view. Regardless, we hope you use it to provoke meaningful conversation in your home!
Episode One: Suzie, Do You Copy?
Now that a year has passed since Season 2, most fans were eager to catch up with the Hawkins crew, hoping they were living mostly normal teenage lives now that the gate to the Upside Down had been closed.
One problem. Russians! (Yes, this show takes place in the 80’s. . .and that means the Russians are the bad guys, and they are definitely up to no good!)
In the opening scene we see some Russians inexplicably trying to re-open the gate that El worked so hard to close.
So much for normal.
Did we really expect anything else from a show called Stranger Things?
One of the themes we see right off the bat in Stranger Things Season 3 is relationships. Everyone is navigating relationships, some in healthy ways. . .some in not so healthy ways.
Humans love companionships, both as friends or romantic. And both friendships and romantic relationships take a lot of work. If you’ve ever been in a romantic relationship this goes without saying. You can’t treat your spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend like trash or the relationship won’t last.
But the same goes with friends. You can’t ignore your friends and only consider your own needs. Good friends listen and put others’ needs before their own.
Episode One shows us plenty of examples of people struggling in their relationships.
Take El for example. She is so focused on making out with Mike that she disrespects Hopper. Then Hopper becomes so frustrated with El that he begins ranting to Joyce and doesn’t pay any attention to Joyce’s needs.
Then there’s Steve and his big ol’ hair. Steve is hoping to get into a relationship with a girl but is having zero luck in his ridiculous sailor outfit at his mall job at Scoops Ahoy. His attempts are hard to watch, though his co-worker Robin seems to enjoy his failures. After he bombs with a group of girls, Robin reveals through her clever dry erase chart that Steve is now zero for six in his attempts to set up a date with his teenage customers.
Robin: And another one bites the dust. You are oh-for-six, Popeye.
Steve: Yeah, yeah, I can count.
Robin: You know that means you suck.
Steve: Yep, I can read, too.
Robin: Since when?
Steve: It’s this stupid hat. I am telling you, it is totally blowing my best feature.
Ah yes. The famed Steve Harrington hair. I’m sure that’s the problem.
Dustin also becomes frustrated with relationships, both romantic and friendships. He frustrates all of his friends dragging them on a mission to “connect” with his camp girlfriend, which he also fails to connect with.
Then there’s all the desperate housewife moms at the pool, including Mrs. Wheeler, who are infatuated with Billy. Sure, Mrs. Wheeler’s husband is pretty boring. But does this excuse adultery?
Is there even one good relationship in Episode 1?
The Bible chimes in on relationships countless times, because relationships are of key importance to God. Half of the ten commandments are about our relationships with others, and entire chapters focus on loving others and what that actually looks like (I Corinthians 13). But I think one of my favorite passages about relationships has to be in Philippians, Chapter 2. It reads:
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. 4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. (Philippians 2:3-5, NLT)
Does it get any more clear that this?
Don’t be selfish. (Whoops, a bunch of us mess that one up a lot).
Don’t try to impress others. (Whoops, there goes social media.)
Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves. Or just in case we missed the point he says it another way. . . don’t’ look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others too!
Can you imagine how much better our relationships would be if we were considering others interests before our own? Can you imagine how much better kids would treat their parents. . . or how much better married couples would treat each other?
Let’s discuss this a little more.
- What did you enjoy most about this first episode?
- Which character did you relate to most in this episode and why?
- How did you feel about Billy’s role in this episode?
- What do you think went through Mrs. Wheeler’s mind when she saw her husband holding their daughter as she prepared to walk out the door to meet Billy?
- What does it mean in the verses above when the author said, “consider others interests before your own”? What does that look like in the real world?
- What are some ways people fail to be considerate of you and your interests?
- What are some ways you tend to respond when people treat you this way?
- What are some ways you have failed to consider someone else’s interests before your own?
- How should you treat your friends and even people in romantic relationships?
- What is something you can do this week to live this out?
Rob Chagdes is one of the pastors at Prairie Lakes Church in northern Iowa. In the years since he met Jesus as a sixteen year old, Rob has spent his life working to raise up the next generation to love God and invite others into His unending story. He spends most of his free time with his wife Leslie, their three amazing daughters, and their energetic dog Jedi. You can reach Rob at firstname.lastname@example.org