Friday, August 26, 2016

We Need a Hero

To get you in the mood for today's post, we begin with a song...

Or maybe you'd prefer the spoken word version...

If you haven't seen The Way Way Back, check it out sometime when you're not binge watching whatever it is you have to binge watch to keep yourself entertained before the Gilmore Girls revival begins.

Anyway, I probably shouldn't watch television. That's not entirely true; I probably shouldn't watch television in which I will become attached to one or more of the characters on the show. I can't help myself with certain shows. I become so invested with a character or characters that watching the show becomes stressful. Or I get irrationally irritated with a character because he or she makes a choice I deem is a bad one. My poor neighbors have heard me yell "Make smart life choices!" at my television more times than I care to admit. And when a character dies? No thank you. This is the worst part of watching any halfway decent show; a favorite character will always die. I believe this is related to being a very dedicated reader; the same thing happens to me when I read a book or series. I become so invested in characters that I don't want the story to end OR I want them to be real. Such is the life of a fan.

Among my invested characters we have Rory Gilmore (seriously wanted to shake her most of seasons 5 and 6), Lane and Zach from also Gilmore Girls, Terry and LP from Treme, everyone on Firefly, Spike on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Detective Mike Logan from Law & Order (before he was Mr. Big). I love Detective Logan so much I watched the movie NBC did featuring him trying to redeem himself or some such nonsense. Mike Logan was and always will be Law & Order. Everyone else is just an imitation.

There are others but these are really my go-to list of fictional friends. I have very specific opinions about them (#TeamLogan) and will argue with other people for hours about minutia within the universe of the show. I would like to believe that these opinions will serve some purpose for me later in life but I'm not entirely sure how that will work. More than likely, it'll just be more information to store away for trivia or when I go to an Escape Room with interns who weren't born in the 1980s and I need to use my knowledge of the era to solve the puzzle to get us out of the room. This is how the world works.

I recently finished watching the Netflix series Stranger Things. I don't normally binge watch television shows even on Netflix. Sometimes I get into a Gilmore Girls binge but that's about my level of tolerance for the practice. I like the unfolding of a show over the course of season. I like looking forward to something each week as I anticipate a new episode. To me, that is the beauty of watching serialized television. I realize I'm in the minority on this. However, with Stranger Things I definitely binge watched the show. I watched four episodes last Friday and the second four episodes last Saturday. It is a remarkable and enjoyable show, made better by watching it all at once.

I don't want to talk about Eleven (who is amazing and badass) or the boys (also wonderful) or Barb (#justiceforbarb) or even the fact that I want to smack the smug off Steve Harrington's face so badly every time he's on screen. No, we have more important things to discuss. And by more important things, I mean Chief Jim Hopper.

Chief Hopper is the true hero of Stranger Things. He is the glue that binds this crazy town together and he is the man that gets shit done. No one else broke into a secret government facility with the cool and attitude he did...multiple times. No one stared down the creepy blonde government agent and dared her to disagree with terms of his plan. No one else faked his way into the morgue to make sure that his suspicions about "Will" were right (this was a hard scene to watch). No one else didn't call the librarian after they hooked up and then thought she'd help him with research for the case. No one else agreed to go with Joyce to multiple locations that could have gotten him killed. And frankly, no one else really believed Joyce until Chief Hopper did. I don't know where that car was taking him in the last episode but you can bet he handled whatever it was like a boss.

Side note: The actor who plays Chief Hopper, David Harbour, is a fantastic actor and is so perfect in this role. He also feels really bad about Barb according to this Buzzfeed post.

If I lived in Hawkins, which I would never do because it is truly a terrifying place to live, I would want Chief Hopper to be in charge and protect our town. Despite his drinking and other poor life choices, he gets into the investigation and gets into some real police work. I love shows and movies set in a pre-cell phone age; everyone manages to live their life and accomplish things. One of my favorite scenes with Chief Hopper involves him and Officer Powell sitting in the library scanning through microfiche. Microfiche!? There are people reading this blog who don't know what that is and probably had to look it up while watching the show. That's just sad. And what about the hat? Normally, I have ambivalent feelings about hats in terms of men's fashion, but the hat is as much a part of the character of Chief Hopper as his cigarette, his sense of humor, and his perpetual hangover.

And let's admit it, he's hot. Chief Hopper is, by far, the hottest dude in Hawkins. I'll give you the cute factor of Officer Callahan; he's cute in a "nerdy boy you date in your first year of college" sort of way. Hopper is the older gentleman you move onto after you realize nerdy college boys will always be a disappointment. Yes, he's a womanizer but I'm okay with this for some reason (normally I would not be) and I've come to terms with it as a part of his character. I want to sit around with Chief Hopper listening to Big Star records and talking about life and love. I don't know why Big Star because I don't actually think Chief Hopper would be a Big Star fan but that's how I feel. 

I don't condone smoking but I approve this image:

Or maybe this is better:

Of course because Chief Hopper is my new television show crush (Is a Netflix show considered a television show? I don't know how that works.), I spent a large portion of every episode suffering anxious feelings because I thought that he was going to die. (Spoiler: he doesn't.). This is what a good character does to us. We get so wrapped up in their life, we can't help but only want good things for them. Television (or a movie or book) becomes stressful. It's not normal. I never felt this way about any television character before I started watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Was it the shows that changed or was it me?

Chief Hopper & the boys
Smoking Chief Hopper
Hopper and Indy
My Dream Man

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