Stranger Things is a show about horror and adventure and pushing the limits of one’s understanding, but in addition to this, it is very much a show about human relationships. The characters are always busy running around trying to solve a mystery or literally running away from a monster, but in the midst of all this chaos, there is still, somehow, some room made for romantic drama.
Each season is different from the last for several reasons, but one of the key differences is in the amount of romance that’s involved. The first season might be the least romantic of them all, seeing as most of the characters are too young to care much about anything but friendships and games, but even season one manages to get in some substantial love narratives with the love triangle between Nancy, Steve, and Jonathan–and by the end of the season, fans begin to see the early moments of love budding between Mike and Eleven. However, not all of these moments reach fans’ hearts equally.
10 Romantic: The Snow Ball
At the end of season one, Mike alludes to the fact that he’d like to take Eleven to the Snow Ball, the annual school dance held at school, and he makes it clear that he doesn’t want to take her as just a friend.
This is a special moment between the two and is the first big step toward the reality of their romance. It’s done in a subtle, charming way that warms the heart.
9 Missed The Mark: Nancy And Jonathan In The Elevator
When Nancy and Jonathan find themselves standing side by side in the elevator in season three, the two are meant to be sharing their first intimate moment together ever since their big argument.
It’s meant to resolve the issues between them when Jonathan admits that he was wrong in doubting Nancy’s pursuit of the poisoned rat story, but the moment is undercut by the fact that Nancy apologized to Jonathan before he even said anything about being wrong. This makes it appear as though Nancy intended to take the blame for the argument, making it much less powerful when she says she looks forward to him never doubting her again.
8 Romantic: Joyce Holding Hopper’s Hand
Joyce and Hopper play cat and mouse in their romance–if one could call it a romance. Rather, the two share several almost-romantic moments, never quite getting there, until finally the tension breaks and Joyce just reaches out and clasps Hopper’s hand when they find themselves stuck on an amusement ride whilst trying to find their children.
The moment feels very real and is true to the kind of dynamic the two have shared.
7 Missed The Mark: Mike Fumbling For Words In The Supermarket
Mike attempts to tell Eleven that he loves her while they are sitting together on the floor of the supermarket, but it doesn’t go too smoothly.
This is a relatable moment, as many know the awkward, terrifying task of trying to spit out those scary three words–but while it borders on cute, the moment ends up being a bit lacking. The humor relies on Eleven’s usual blank-faced confusion, and Mike’s familiar state of being flustered, and it feels played out.
6 Romantic: Eleven Telling Mike She Loves Him
Eleven finally reveals that she overheard Mike when he declared to the whole room that he loved her–not realizing that his words carried through the door that she was standing behind.
It’s touching to see the two recognize their love openly, but Eleven admitting that she was keeping this from him all along feels a bit cruel.
5 Missed The Mark: Bob Opening Up To Joyce
Bob and Joyce sit outside leaning against the car while Joyce has her lunch break from work, and Bob takes the moment to relish in how lucky he feels to be dating “Joyce Byers”–a name he says with a tint of awe as if Joyce exists levels above him.
The fact that this emphasizes some idea that Bob feels inferior to Joyce, even after their days of being in different social cliques in high school, makes the moment more sad than romantic–especially since Bob Newby is such a lovable character.
4 Romantic: Max And Lucas Talk On Top Of The Bus
Max and Lucas having a heart to heart on top of the school bus in season two is one of the sweeter moments of the season, and certainly, the most romantic moment shared between them in the show so far.
In season three Max and Lucas are older, but they mostly act like buddies and never have a conversation so personal and meaningful as they do in this instance.
3 Missed The Mark: Nancy And Steve In The Bathroom
Nancy changes a lot throughout the show, and this is particularly noticeable when looking back on how she interacts with Steve when they first start seeing each other in season one.
Nancy and Steve are kissing in the school bathroom, and when Steve tries to get Nancy to stay longer she calls him an idiot–even though it’s clear she’s playing cute and coy. The scene is a little too cliché to be particularly cute but reminds viewers how much more interesting Nancy gets later on.
2 Romantic: Jonathan And Nancy At Bauman’s
Jonathan and Nancy’s experience at Murray Bauman’s stands out as one of the most memorable and enjoyable of season two.
Fans have waited for ages for Jonathan and Nancy to figure out what they are to each other, and Bauman pushes them to this point, comically mocking them for how obvious their bond is and causing them to finally face the love they have for each other.
1 Missed The Mark: Hopper Throwing A Fit About Joyce
Hopper’s feelings for Joyce exist as a gentle undercurrent to seasons one and two of the show, only every once in awhile nearing the surface but never quite breaking through. This all changes in season three, with Hopper asking Joyce out on a date and then consequently flipping out when she stands him up.
The extremity of his response to being rejected shows how much this moment of finally actualizing their feelings for each other meant to Hopper, but anything romantic about it is dominated by the level of his immaturity in how he handles it.
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