It's never been cooler to be a killjoy. Barb from Stranger Things achieved an insane amount of love and support in the wake of the Netflix original series. She is the true song of the summer. However, maybe ironically given the circumstances of the character, with everything popular comes haters. So, here is a defense of Barb from Stranger Things (spoilers) that goes beyond a "yas" and a GIF and a "Barb, tho." If you hate Barb, I'm sorry, but your opinion and you are just wrong.
To be perfectly honest, I'm a bit baffled by the obsession with Barb as well. Besides the fact that she has a bummer name, she's more #relatable than relatable, it seems. I get that it's cool to exaggerate how awkward or uncool you were in high school, and Barb is a great mascot for that kind of self-deprecating Throwback Thursday attitude. However, we're not all Barb, chill.
Barb and Nancy represent two very different sides to Molly Ringwald's iconic '80s characters, and whether you're more of a Sixteen Candles fan or a Pretty in Pink fan might determine where you align on this issue as well. I think there's also a sense that Barb is the "true nerd" compared to Nancy, which isn't fair. Some people manage to make it out of puberty in tact and still have some brains to spare. Some are simply late bloomers.
I'm a weirdo who liked Nancy, Jonathan, and Steve Harrington pretty equally by the end of Stranger Things Season 1. Fight me! However, my trepidation to go so far as worship Barb never swung so far in the other direction as to become hate, and yours shouldn't either. Here's why.
1. Everyone Looked Ridiculous In The '80s
The fashion of the past exists for the fashion of the present and future to take note and improve on it. You can't blame Barb's mom jean on her.
2. We're Not All Barb, And That's OK
Some people were popular and well-adjusted in high school, I've heard — and to you I say "boo hoo." However, just because you don't understand Barb or don't relate to Barb doesn't mean you should hate Barb. That's just basic anti-bullying.
3. Respect The Dead, Much?
OK, so maybe you do hate her, but be chill about it! Barb was eaten by a monster, after all. Perhaps save the vitriol for, like, Hawkins Lab. People are rallying behind Barb because she was gone too soon, and the town basically forgot about her.
4. Her Feelings Are Valid
One reason to dislike Barb, and not just Barb's posthumous popularity, is that she's mean to her friend. She accuses Nancy of not being true to herself, and that's not cool. However, while Nancy gets a chance to defend herself to Jonathan, Barb vanishes. I think that's important, because Barb's meanness is coming from a real emotional place. She could feel Nancy slipping away from her. That's an awful feeling, especially when you're young, and totally explains why she lashed out in that moment of abandonment.
5. Steve's Friends Are The True Villains
Let's not lose sight of the worst teens in Indiana.
6. Those Epic Eyerolls
I know I said I was going beyond gifs, but how can you hate that level of shade? She's right up there with Liz Lemon and Lady Mary.
7. She Has A Car
If high school taught me anything, it's to be nice to people with cars. You never know when you'll need a ride.
8. She's Rocking A Trapper Keeper
That "must have" back to school item is probably the coolest thing about Barb, and therefore very on brand.
9. Geeks Need Heroes Too...
Not just the ones on Big Bang Theory, am I right? Seriously, Barb-haters, I'm so sorry that you're popular and everyone likes youShe . How awful for you. Is everyone who hates Barb just Tommy H and Carol's descendants? Respect the normcore.
10. She's A Child
You demogorgon. Why are you hating a child? This has gotten out of hand.
11. Not All Teens Are Irresponsible
So, maybe the only teen on this show that isn't prone to sneaking out and rule-breaking dies brutally on Stranger Things. However, the brief glimpse of Barb, and the subsequent flocking of fans to her character, is pretty neat for that reason. She's not a rebel. She's not Katniss, Rey, Bella Swan, or even Hermione Granger. She's Barb, and that's pretty cool.