Stranger Things season two just released last week, and we were able to power through all nine episodes over the weekend. Even with nine episodes, the show came in at about 6 hours and 45 minutes total. It’s slightly longer than the first season, which had one less episode. There were a number of hidden references and Easter eggs of sorts dating back to the 80s nostalgia. We did our best to pick up as many as we could, and we even found a nice little error the Duffer Brothers made. Let’s take a look at some of them below, and of course be sure to let us know which ones you found.
The first one is revealed almost immediately out of the gate. The crew goes to the arcade, and Dustin quickly finds out he doesn’t have the high score in Dig Dug anymore. The new record holder belongs to someone called MadMax, a clear nod to the Mel Gibson film from the lates 70s. In fact, a few episodes later both Max and Lucas show up at the arcade themselves. The kid who runs the arcade refers to Max as “road warrior”. Mad Max: Road Warrior was the sequel to the first film.
The kids are dressed as Ghostbusters for Halloween, and the Terminator is playing at the local movie theater. The dates are important here. Ghostbusters released in the Summer of 84′. The Terminator, on the other hand, released on October 28th, 1984, so it matches up perfectly with the timeline in the show. Not everything was as fortunate as this, however. Later on in the final episode, Joyce asks Will if he remembers when he was 8 and she bought him that giant box of crayons for his birthday – the 120 pack. Here’s the thing. Will is 13 in the show, meaning he was 8 in 1979. The giant box of crayons Joyce is referring to is by Crayola. The issue at hand here is that in 1979 there were only 78 colors available. The 120 count box was not available until 1998 nearly 20 years later. It’s a minor snafu, but it’s something I picked up on after recently taking my kids to the Crayola factory.
Chances are you’re not my age if you are reading this. I’m 38. That being said, you probably haven’t seen classic 80s movies like The Goonies, Stand by Me and St. Elmo’s Fire. That last one is what Red Ranger Dacre Montgomery’s character is pulled from. His character is called Billy in Stranger Things, and is a direct pull from Rob Lowe’s character of the same name in St. Elmo’s Fire. In fact, he even looks exactly like him. Check it out here.
There were a few cool Halloween costumes that references classic 80s characters as well. At the party that Steve and Nancy went to, they dressed up as Tom Cruise and his girl from Risky Business. The kids dressed up as Mike Meyers from Halloween and Jason Voorhees. My favorite one was Johhny from Karate Kid who was fully dressed up in his Cobra Kai outfit. The Karate Kid film also released in 1984 – June 22nd to be exact. Those are pretty famous movies so you may have seen them. One lesser known one is Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Wynona Rider is in the film and dances with Dracula. In Stranger Things she dances Sean Astin who is dressed as, you guessed it, Dracula.
One of the main “monsters”in this season is the crew’s new “pet”. In fact, this is no pet at all. Instead, it’s a slug from the upside down that Dustin finds in his trash can outside of the house. He calls him Dart, short for the Musketeer D’Artagnan from the Three Musketeers. Since he doesn’t have any room for him, Dustin decides to put him in his turtle’s enclosure. When Dustin pulls him out, he says “Sorry Yertle”. Yertle the Turtle is a Dr. Seuss character, another classic reference. Hey, I have three kids – of course I know this stuff. Oh yeah, there’s also an ET toy on Dustin’s shelf. Speaking of ET, Eleven decides to dress up on Halloween simply by putting a sheet over her. This was exactly what they did to the alien in the film ET.
Goonies is one of my all-time favorite movies. Sean Astin, of course, played Mikey in the movie. They were looking for One-Eyed Willie’s Treasure. He was a pirate. At a certain point in the series, Joyce is trying to decipher a series of maps with Jonathan and Mike. He is able to figure out that it’s a map of Hawkins. He notices that there is an “X” on the map and calls it pirate treasure. It’s a clear reference to Goonies and when they were using Chester Copperpot’s map to find One Eyed Willie’s treasure. My other favorite film is Stand By Me. There’s a part in the film where Dustin and Steve are walking down a set of train tracks. Steve is giving Dustin some advice on girls. It’s a clear reference to Stand By Me, which is obviously one of the show’s inspirations along with Goonies.
There is also a lot of product placement. This is obvious, as the show takes place 33 years ago, but it’s still cool to see. There’s an Alice in Wonderland figure in Eleven’s nursery – the one still intact at her mom’s house. Her mom just sits in front of the TV mumbling numbers and words all day, but we still got a glimpse of The Family Feud popping up on screen. Besides that, you have Jiffy Pop, KFC “finger lickin’ good” chicken, Boggle, Meow Mix, Walkman, Radioshack, Barbie, He-Man and Steve’s Faberge Organics hair products with Farrah Fawcett spray. There are probably a bunch more, including the various video games in the arcade, but these are only the ones that stood out. Which ones did you find?
If you liked cartoons growing up in the 80s, you probably watched Care Bears. The worst episode in the season was number seven. In it, Eleven finds her sister Kali, number 8. She’s the leader of a wannabe gang that has a member called Funshine. This was the name of a Care Bear. The funny part is that the “gang” wears masks when they go to try and take out those responsible for what happened to she and Eleven. The mask he wears is a Care Bear mask, but it’s not Funshine. Instead, he goes with Tenderheart Bear. This is also ironic, considering he’s robbing people with a Tenderheart Care Bear mask, but it was still pretty funny.
The one that really stood out wasn’t from the 80s at all. In fact, it was a book released in 1990 and a film in 1993. That is Jurassic Park. In fact, when I saw this my reaction was just like “Come on man, really?” because it was so obvious. At the part in the junkyard when the crew is trying to lure the demodogs to them, Steve decides to go outside and check what a sound was. He sees the demodog and decides to approach it with his bat. Of course, he’s unaware that he’s being flanked by multiple other demodogs, just as the raptors in Jurassic Park. In fact, they even are hidden in the mist, which is another pop culture reference.
If you’re like me, you thought that Dustin was the star of the show. He really was. The part where he got pissed off at Mike and Nancy’s dad at the house was hysterical. At the end of the last episode, they all go to the school dance. Dustin shows up looking EXACTLY like Jon Cryer from Pretty in Pink. I mean, it’s pretty much identical. Dustin has the mullet going, the jacket and even the funny tie. Both Dustin and Duckie were rarely dressed up in their respective shows as well. Take a look at them side by side below.
There were a lot of other ones you may have found. In fact, there were some others we didn’t mention because they were so obvious, such as the Exorcist. Well, I guess we mentioned it now. That being said, which ones did you find? Let us know below along with which ones were your favorites.
Stranger Things season 2 is available now on Netflix.