100 thoughts on “Did Pop Culture Kill Stranger Things?

  1. I think the first season was brilliant and I initially watched because Winona Ryder was in it. I totally had the same feeling when I first saw it – like I'd stumbled across it and mostly just wanted to figure out what the heck it was. I didn't care as much for the second season. I feel the writers are like…too conscious of the fandom and sort of…write to appease them (like Barb's justice plotline and Nancy + Jonathan). Don't get me wrong, I still loved season two. Will getting a chance to shine was my fave. But I've felt myself slowly losing interest since season two. The massive hype and amount of merch for season 3 is really dragging it further down for me too.

  2. I think that letting commercialism ruin your enjoyment can be a big internal problem to deal with- I think you should like things because you like them, other peoples opinions on your value as a fan or the pop culture is difficult but also not worth ruining something you genuinely connect with. I don’t feel at all that Stranger Things was ever very indie to begin with, so for me personally this push of merch was expected.

  3. I find with the merch, it can actually be quite spoilerish. As someone who did not watch the trailer for season 3, as I wanted to be surprised, the level of merch everywhere with spoilers was crazy!

  4. My overwhelming feeling is disillusionment. Watching the show and feeling so connected to it as one of my favourite tv shows, feeling excited about the style and references to 90s cult classics, and also the relatable nerdiness of the Duffer brothers work BUT to then find out that, like almost all cheap popular shows, they have chosen to needlessly capitalise on its success by licensing excessive and distasteful merchandise which does not capture the uniqueness, spooky tone and nostalgia of the show. I'm honestly disappointed in the creators but ultimately I still love the show and appreciate independent merch sellers who seem to understand the vibe and are inspired to make art rather than just exploiting the catchphrases etc for profit.

  5. I know this is long, but I wanted to share my hot take:
    Yes, I do understand that indie culture is a great lowkey way to feel like you're in a community. I mean after all, you, Qcknd, have built your own indie community in a way. Which I love and have been a member of for a couple years now. Being a part of something so niche and so lowkey can feel very heartwarming and more personal in a world that seems to just be full of capitalist hype and marketing.
    HOWEVER:
    and its taken me a while to come to terms with this, but just because something is popular and mainstream, doesn't mean it doesn't deserve the hype or that it isn't worth it. For example, I was a twenty one pilots fan for years and years before they became popular, and by the time blurry face came out, I was so ready to hop right off because all the hype was just a bit overwhelming. I felt like the fan base was just way more into them than me? Even though I knew and loved their music, I was intimidated.
    Over time though, I fell back into them, because I really did feel connected with it. And now no matter how much hype they get, or how mainstream it feels, I know why I'm there, and I love what they do. Same thing with stranger things. Yes, it's BIG and people KNOW whats up. But honestly, that show is incredible. So much character development and connections to 80's culture, I just really fell in love with it. Not only that, but the memories I have watching it with friends and in my room with spooky lighting, its something I cherish. That's why, at the end of the day, I don't care about the popularity as much. Marketing will always be there, behind the scenes (capitalism sucks)
    But for real, I'd just hang tight to those good feelings and memories, and keep digging the vibe that you've loved all along.

  6. "did pop culture kill stranger things?" not if you pay zero attention to pop culture like i do but i totally see where you're coming from. I hope it doesnt get as bad as Frozen, like today i literally saw a coupon for Frozen string cheese at the grocery store which is funny but also sad in a way. I dont even know if ST is good enough to deserve the hype honestly even though i did enjoy it.

  7. I do feel like pop culture has ruined stranger things a bit, but I think my reasons are a bit more personal to me. I’m an environmental sustainability major, and ever since I started studying the environment and getting into ZW movements and whatnot, the rampant consumerism reallyyyy bugs me.
    I’ve been gifted so much merch for the “fandom” stuff I’m into, such as stranger things or Harry Potter, and it’s usually stuff that I don’t even want! It just feels like shit you buy for someone when you don’t know what else to get them. I only like fandom merch if it’s really low-key and looks nice and anything more than that leaves a bad taste in my mouth because of my personal opinions on consumerism, as well as my personal style overall. I’m trying to be more minimalistic and only keep things around that I love and… merch just doesn’t do that for me? I feel like it takes up space and I feel like I’m 14 still when I wear it/own it most of the time. Maybe I’m just getting to old to enjoy some things.
    I can still enjoy the show if I ignore the fandom but it’s a shame that merch bugs me now.

  8. I just finished the season last night and I thought it was still enjoyable! The funny part is the new ice cream girl (Laura? I can’t remember her name) reminded me of you the entire time!!! She totally looks like you and I kept thinking wow qcknd could really nail a look book for her 😂

  9. After I binged s3, I really wanted El’s romper so I looked it up and they had it at Target. The next day it was completely sold out lol

  10. I get that the sense of community might be more cozy if you like something not many other people like, but at the same time I don't really understand how something can be "ruined" just because more people enjoy it. Enjoying something from the beginning or enjoying something since more recently doesn't make anyone more or less of a fan, and it's that kind of elitist attitude that splits and destroys communities and fandoms despite the fact that they still have the thing that they like in common

  11. omg the Levi's jeans jacket but only with shirtless Billy pls lmao. IDK though it's so hard, like I would wear any of these items but I also don't like the hype.

  12. I don't think pop culture killed stranger things; I think that our mentality about money did, aka capitalism (yes, I used the dirty word). When something is new and fresh, everyone wants the chance to make money from it, and that's easy when the targeted audience feels a deep connection to the subject you want to base your product on.

  13. Everyone always likes to think they're the only ones, or the first ones, into something. Everyone thinks that everything they enjoy is indie or only appealing to a niche group. Reality is that this show has never been indie. I've never watched it (just never found the time to dedicate to it yet. I image I'll watch it eventually) but my boyfriend's brothers were the ones who told me about the show when it first dropped on Netflix and they are the very defintion of mainstream junkies. Everything they are into is super popular and if it isn't considered popular by the masses, then they're not into. They're heard people lol.

    The problem with the merch is that it's based in the 80's and thus most of the clothing / style featured in the show is pretty easy to find at thrift stores and garage sales (or you dad's closet LOL). But literally every popular show / movie series has this amount of merch. So all they can really do is slap the logo on everything lol.

  14. And if it makes you feel better I've been a fan of the show Supernatural since day 1. Yes all the way back in 05 when it first came on The WB the night it first aired I was there lol and I own just 1 poster and a funko pop doll. Both were gifts from a friend. So in the almost 15 years I've been a fan I have not purchased any merch. I just don't feel like I need to buy useless shit to prove I enjoy something.

  15. i disagree but only because i live in the UK and have never seen a single piece of stranger things merch. the only piece of ST merch i have, i got when i was on holiday in the US. but i can totally see where you're coming from as i saw it happen with game of thrones. but it seems like stranger things is safe here…for now.

  16. I mean does it really matter if its indie or mainstream? If anything I think its really cool that for once theres a show that me, my friends, and boyfriend all get really excited about and share our opinions on. I also think its cool that less standard hollywood stuff and more out of the box shows are getting large bugets.

  17. LOL its been pop culture since its inception… its also set in the 80's which is the epitome of pop culture

  18. Tbh almost all the merch you pulled up in the video I was like "Into it. Into it. Into it." It's my favorite show and I'm pretty pumped there's so much merch out there. The first year it came out I spent almost $100 on a pink dress from Etsy because I couldn't find one ANYWHERE. And now I already own the romper Eleven wears because Target put out an exact replica. So I'm excited I can get stuff from my favorite show wherever I want, and because there's so much to choose from I don't have to buy the crappy half ass stuff some places put out.

  19. Ok I’m sorry but it doesn’t freaking matter if something is “indie” or not like it doesn’t matter as long as it’s good. I get your point with the merch but you kinda downplayed you’re point with the “I wAnNa FeEl SpEcIaL” thing.

  20. slightly out of topic, but does "shampoo girl" mean a girl who is just starting to get interested in something and wants to know everything right away or am I missing something? English isn't my native language.

  21. Season Three was very disappointing… They basically put a damn Cocacola ad in the middle of an episode and it was not sublte… over it.

  22. can we also talk about the MOST CRINGE scene when Lucas was basically doing an entire commercial for Coke while they were in the grocery store?? i was thinking to myself.. they wouldn’t.. but he KEPT GOING and i was like OH GOD MAKE IT STOP PLEASE

  23. I watched the whole 1st season the day it came out on Netflix and I loved it so much. When Hot Topic got the merchandise, I knew everything would go down hill. With every other season following, it seems more and more desperate to stay relevant and it’s disappointing.

  24. I guess I just don't understand what exactly you're frustrated by. I like what I like regardless of how popular it is. If companies want to spend a lot of resources marketing the show/merchandise, cool. A lot of it doesn't impress me personally, and I don't own anything officially licensed either, but good for the fans who do want the merch. Good for the companies who are making money with what works, and what there's obviously a demand for. Good for the celebrities who are getting the publicity and probably a cut from their characters' merch sales. Just because something has mass appeal doesn't mean it's of lower quality or less cool. I like bonding with people who watch the show. I like all the excitement on twitter anticipating the new season. Who's saying liking something has to be a personality trait? Most people have too much going on in their lives to be anymore than a casual fan of anything, and that's completely fine/expected.

  25. I feel like this happens with every fandom that gets the smalles bit of popularity. Also hot topic picks anything up that gets slightly popular because its the hot topic at the time lol

  26. In Norway everyone knew about it and was watching it when it came out, so it was kind of super popular already in the beginning. Never indie. I'm also one of the few people who couldn't care less if only 2 people like the show I like to watch, or if millions of people like it too. It doesn't change my mind about it. The only merch I've seen in Norway is the H&M items, and the only reason I haven't bought any of them is because I'm picky. I didn't get the bodysuit because I don't want to walk around with fake "lifeguard" clothing, and I didn't get the slippers simply because they don't have my size. I would have gotten the stranger things logo t-shirt if only the white shirt came with red letters instead of black. The subtle plant pattern they have with the demogorgon face on it is super cool though, but then again I don't like the items they put it on :') If I could fit a men's shirt, I totally would've gotten the demogorgon hawaii shirt <3

  27. I feel the same way! I just so happened to stumble upon Stranger Things on Netflix when it first came out and was immediately obsessed. I started to recommend it to people because I couldn't believe nobody was talking about it but once season two was about to come out, shit hit the fan. It was absolutely everywhere and I became more and more disinterested and kinda angry that it became so overwhelmingly popular. Normally, when things I love gain attention I feel proud in a way that they are doing well but I haven't felt this way about any other fandom. I like how you said it was made to feel indie even though it's not the case. Maybe that's why we all feel so cheated? We were sold something that promised us one thing but was something completely different. I don't want to say it was false advertising because it was more about the feelings that came with it.

  28. Slightly off topic but the whole time watching season 3 I can’t get over how Robin looks kind of like you!

  29. Completely agree with everything you said.

    Also, my family had Netflix before it was a streaming service. Like when you went online and ordered the movie or show you wanted and they'd send the DVD in the mail. Then you'd watch it within the first day or two and mail it back. Does anyone else remember this?

  30. I remember in australia every man and his dog had a stranger things shirt when season one was a big thing. the merch here has kinda died down but there's still a bit of it in places like cotton on and jay jays. https://www.jayjays.com.au/shop/en/jayjays/netflix this was an add for netflix show merch at jay jays in aus.

  31. I have some custom Stranger Things art as my lock screen, but I feel like if I wore a shirt of it in public I'd feel like a walking advertisement 🤔

  32. I literally nearly didn't watch this video because I'm that sick of stranger things now. I really liked the first season, recommended it to people I thought would like it and everything but even before the second season came out I was seeing far too much merch and I already felt a few episodes into the second season that the fame and popularity had gone to the writer's heads, causing them to write it differently than if they had have been indie as you felt they were. This meant that I have not watched anything past the first couple of episodes of season 2. I may pick it up some time in the future when it's died down a lot and doesn't feel like I'm being forced to like it but I have absolutely zero interest anymore which is a shame. I don't like being the person that dislikes them just because they're popular but it's things like the Friends don't lie catchphrase that you mentioned that ruin it for me because they kill the show by overhyping otherwise mostly insignificant aspects. I also dislike how greedy they have become to so much as block videos like yours even if all it would have done is give them good publicity.

  33. i think you felt that indie vibe because it was unannounced and just showed up on netflix.. but that was part of the entire branding and feel of the show, its a mysterious show and the mystery of it showin up on netflix added to that vibe and it felt like a cool little netflix gem. but lets be real here, netflix has come a long way and is not what it used to be. they are killin it with the original content. and of course companies are going to merch the shit out of something that is such a favorite and very popular.. also i think the 80s setting of the show adds some immediate nostalgia and indie feel

  34. Did they ask you to put a Scoops Ahoy/Baskin Robbins add on your look book video? Just thought that was funny. Considering that I watched this before hand and they fucked you with a copy right. Sips tea

  35. I don't want to seem rude or hateful of you, but I disagree completely. Every fandom is kind of like this. I think that no one knew about season one because the producers were just seeing if people would like it or not. Now, it is extremely popular so they have obviously tried very hard to advertise it. Every fandom has some weird and questionable merchandise and definitely over hyped and pointless things about it. Being consumed by pop culture seems like a very natural next step after gaining popularity. Again, don't mean to be rude, this is just what I think

  36. My first reaction would be to say no, pop culture didn't ruin stranger things; because it is in itself a piece of pop culture. it's a TV series which has been super popular in a lot of circles & is apart of our current entertainment zeitgeist (ie a Netflix original, feeding into the 80's nostalgia trend ect). The amount of consumer goods from the show has maybe numbed the excitement toward it, especially since it is still more indie than mainstream cable shows as well as large studio movies (which we expect to have a lot of merch) :))))

  37. I felt this as well and honestly the second season really fell through for me but beside that it’s so mainstream season three to me was much better than 2.

  38. Being a child of the 70s and 80s and having thoroughly enjoyed growing up in that time, what you don’t understand is that it was the height of merchandising. What they’re currently doing fits exactly that era, overkill of pushing gaudy products LOL Bringing back things I wore, listened to and played with as a kid and I’m LOVING it.
    Stranger Things has just never been indie, it’s always been pop culture since it’s inception three years ago. It is literally powered by 80’s pop culture, I don’t understand how you ever thought is was anything else. It just successfully pulled in all audiences, including indie fans. That’s why you’re feeling like it was something special to you, but just so you know, everyone else feels this way too. Especially those of us who lived it. It’s a fandom where EVERYONE is invited ❤️

  39. Stranger things is just an amazing show you don’t have to buy into all the stuff and just enjoy the show
    I was hyped when the show first came out and I’m hyped now
    It’s okay to like stuff other people like

  40. Netflix has been popular since it came out. Stranger things when it aired everyone and the dog was watching it. Considering it was all over. Stranger things is just a super cool show that people love and want everything stranger things. I don’t see how it being popular killed it. Idk you annoyed me with this video.

  41. girl what……. I love you, Q, but I have to disagree. The merch has been a bit much but it’s to be expected for the magnitude of this show. It’s watched all over the world. This sounds like some cringey hipster dialogue.

  42. When you've been drinking your own koolaid for so long that you forget you didn't invent koolaid yourself…. I've had netflix since it very first started and it was just dvds. The second they started streaming services I signed up immediately. If Netflix users were a country it would literally be in The Top 10 Counties in the World, Population-wise. Everyone has seen Stranger Things, and Netflix has never had any kind of an "indie vibe"…. ever. It was just a good way to cut the cord from cable/satellite TV, like over a decade ago. I don't understand why you feel like this show was just for you and nobody else. They have to make a living, hence all the merch. Sorry :/

  43. There is an article from 2016 from cnet titled "Netflix: get your 'Stranger Things' merch here!" They have been big on the merch since day one. Where have you been?!? LOL

  44. Why does it matter if it's indie? It's never been indie ever, it's made by a multi billion dollar company and it had tons of ads and hype when it came out. Which is why I watched it. I'm sorry, but I really just find this attitude kind of annoying. I really enjoy your videos but i think it's kind of pretentious to be skeptical of the show because it's popular with a lot of merch. I guess I really just don't see why it matters?

  45. This is the most pretentious video I’ve seen in a while. Stranger Things has been massively popular since it first came out! EVERYONE watches it, Hell my red neck parents even enjoy it, plus my little kid and his friends. I don’t know how you could have ever thought this show was some obscure, hipster program made just for you. Girl please. Let people enjoy things and get over yourself.

  46. I never post negatively but I don’t think it’s destroyed I cried during the recap “This exists in our time!”. I won’t lie I definitely bought a stranger things shirt from some random site. Does it suck it’s everywhere when you feel it’s yours? Absolutely. But it’s like punk music was back in the day I suppose. I’m still gonna be a die hard even when my grandma finally asks what it’s all about.

  47. I get where you're coming from – I've had things that I experienced alone (books, movies, etc.) that, because I got to them late or just didn't know anyone else who liked them, felt like "mine" – the stories moved me so deeply that I almost didn't want to share them. I think that's probably more common than we think, it's just a hard thing to put into words. But it doesn't make the thing less worthy to find out that it's popular. Yes, we may have mixed feelings – that's part of being human, part of being a creative person who connects strongly with stories. And as an someone in my early 30s, I do get sick of the over-merchandising of a lot of stuff – but I just don't (or rarely) engage with it and go on liking the story or movie or thing in my own way. I think it's cool that you're exploring these feelings online – that's a risky thing, considering some reactions, but you've always been up front and authentic and I still love your channel and value what you have to say. Love you Quack!

  48. this video is so entitled. stranger things has always been popular, i got my family into it (after seeing Noah Schnapp on stage at Madison Square Garden for PATD 2017 Death Of A Bachelor tour for fucks sake). i get how it can feel person, it felt personal to me too and it still does regardless. sure there's some over the top merch and a weird obsession thats just what happens now days when something is too good. but whatever pop culture is doing doesn't and shouldn't have any effect on the show and certainly isn't "killing" stranger things.

  49. despite all the merch and what you seem to think,, not everyone watches stranger things and the people that do either like it, love it, or have an obsession with it. you’re still able to recommend the show to people,, you can still feel excited to be a part of a community no matter if it’s big and mainstream or small and indie; i can agree that it’s a little crazy that so many different stores are selling licensed merchandise but at the same time not everyone is going to have every piece and so it can still be special and cool to own something from the show you enjoy. like other comments are saying,, stranger things was built to be mainstream since the moment it came out. i remember watching it for the first time only because everyone and their brothers were posting about it on snapchat.

  50. I still love it to the moon and back and had a blast and loved the new season. Sure it aint no season one but still great. Also how the hell do you think netflix made the show…..money. The reason they were able to have such great cgi in it……money made from merch. Its like yelling at small artist for selling there work and actually making a profit from it

  51. I'm so over not liking things because they are popular. Just like what you like. I don't have any of the merch either but that's ok, I don't have any Star Wars merch or a whole lot of Harry Potter merch (Hufflepuff for life) but that doesn't mean that I don't like those things. I actually like that "being a nerd" is kind of in now and that I can get merch for stuff if I want it at like Gamestop or whatever and don't have to go trawling through the sea of ebay nightmares for super niche items.

  52. I don’t agree that Stranger Things seemed indie from the beginning. I thought Netflix made it very clear it was an original series and it was pretty popular from the beginning. I also don’t think it’s unusual that rushed, shitty merch was released. That’s pretty common right? I don’t know, I just was not surprised by the progression of the hype and commercialization. It was always mainstream in my eyes

  53. luv your content a lot, but this kinda feels like gatekeeping? not in a rude way, but just because something is popular doesnt make it automatically bad. its annoying seeing overselling of products but yknow

  54. Why do people get offended when something is popular? You're too cool to watch it because it's too mainstream? That's a pretty lame way of thinking. If it's good it's good. If somethings is good it's going to have a high chance of being popular. It seems people who think this way care too much about being cool and hipster. Stranger Things was mainstream the day it was released. Luckily I can enjoy things that are both mainstream and not all while not caring about how little or how many people like it.

  55. I’m pretty obsessed with Stranger Things, but I don’t make it a personality trait. I just keep it on the DL
    Nah, my obsession personality trait is bands (mainly ADTR)

  56. Ok… so I guess I understand the Steve body pillow’s appeal for allowing the thirsty fans to imagine they’re cuddling Steve, but WHY THE BAT?! I know it’s a pillow and it’s just harmless fun, but in a realistic context, why would you want to cuddle a rigid stick of wood covered in jagged metal spikes

  57. I’ve seen a lot of your videos, but I didn’t hit subscribe til the moment you blew bubbles in your tea. FYI.

  58. My husband and I finally watched it for the first time ever about two weeks ago. We binged all 3 seasons lol. We both were hooked from the first episode and found we really enjoy the show.

  59. I am always amused when people say ST gives them a sense of nostalgia…… When they are only in their 20's now…. I mean uhm… ok…. Thats one thing that always leaves me perplexed… When twenty-somethings all say they get such nostalgia from watching ST but its set in the decade before they were even born lol.

  60. i think the reason the Evangelion merch doesn’t seem as overwhelming is because it’s a lot easier to put cartoon characters on merchandise and have it look good. Also a lot of the Evangelion merch is just a character on an item while a lot the stranger things merch seems to be focused of random phrases, items, and places from the show.

  61. We used to get Netflix by mail, 1 or 2 dvd's at a time! LOL It was SO different back then!! I remember when it became a streaming service too!

  62. I never thought of stranger things as indie, since its a netflix show.. but it def had those indie vibes in the beginning. I dont think that mainstream marketing has necessarily killed it – i still really love the show.. but slapping the stranger things brand on every single object possible, like disney or marvel etc is overkill at times. but its all to turn profit ..

  63. Stranger thing has been choosen as the mascott for the whole 80's fascination & of course… It's comercialisation.

  64. I have a child, so I’m used to this “in your face” marketing tactic that explodes with the release of a new season or movie. It’s not really unheard of, and certainly not for Netflix, which, at its core, is a company concerned with making money.

  65. For me, Netflix stopped being "indie" when House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black exploded. It's kinda weird (and quite awkward) to think of Stranger Things as ever being "indie" when in 2016, Netflix was worth $8.831B. (Side note: The "Friends Don't Lie" line is still mentioned even in S3. It's a saying that has stuck with Eleven ever since season one. [Eleven: "But friends don't lie." Max: "Yeah, well, boyfriends lie. All the time."])

  66. What made me feel really disenchanted was I feel like a lot of things in season 3 were just done for shock value, they didn't tie up some of the loose ends they left behind in season 2, and the monster is just disgusting. I'm sorry but I can't look at that thing for 5 seconds without vomiting.

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