Hey Duffer brothers, call me for season 3 — the ’80s were my formative years — I can help you with all these period-accurate mistakes you made…
1. What’s Up With The Chicago Skyline?
When Stranger Things scanned the downtown Chicago skyline for season 2, watchful Chicagoans noticed a few errors and took to Twitter to air their grievances. Despite the second season taking place in 1984, some obvious post-1984 additions include Chicago’s Trump Hotel and Tower which opened in 2009, the Two Prudential Plaza building was finished being built in 1990, and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Tower opened for business in 1997.
2. The Dig Dug “High Score” Screen Seems Off.
Was that an arcade version of Dig Dug the kids were playing in season 2? It looks like it. The shot of the “high score” screen on games monitor includes one slight error. The original Dig Dug upright arcade console was introduced to America in 1983 (period correct), but it didn’t allow for high scorers to enter more than three characters – people usually entered their initials or words like SUX, DIX, and ASS. Obviously, with names like MADMAX, DUSTIN, and JKRACH, the show bypasses the three-character rule for creative license. On Dig Dug II, a high scorer was allowed six characters, but America didn’t get those until 1989
3. Why Did The Boy’s Orange Bike Lights Shine Bright White?
The bikes that Mike, Lucas, and Dustin zip around Hawkins on all have orange handlebar lights during the day despite emitting a bright white light on night rides? How does that work? Car-enthusiast website Jalopnik guessed that the error comes from light gels used by film crew to level out the bright headlights during night shots. It’s a small detail, but bugs me every time I see those white lights.
4. There Seems To Be Discrepancies With The Kids’ Fancy Walkie-Talkies
The boys, especially Will, don’t exactly have money trees growing in their backyards, so it’s odd that they all use relatively expensive Realistic TRC-214 walkie-talkies – it’s way more walkie talkie than the kids would have, but that’s besides the point. The real discrepancy is the availability of the radios. Wired says that the TRC-214 wasn’t around yet. The radio didn’t hit the market until 1985 when it appeared Radio Shack’s catalog. They’re cool looking radios, but they didn’t exist.
5. The D&D Demogorgon Game Piece Wasn’t Around In 1983.
Dungeons & Dragons plays a big part of the ‘80s (if the series didn’t make that abundantly clear). It’s one of Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will’s favorite pastimes. And without the game, who knows what we’d call the multi-headed creature that was down in Wheeler’s basement. In reality, the boys wouldn’t have called the creature a Demogorgon because again, according to Wired, that Demogorgon figurine wasn’t in existence until 1984.
6. Mr. Clarke’s “Acrobat And The Flea Analogy” Misses The Mark On Multiple Dimensions
Yes, the “acrobat and the flea theory” plays a big role in the existence of Stranger Things – it explains the concept of what the Upside Down is. But, it’s not the ideal analogy when one wants to explain how dimensions exist. Cosmologist Ranga-Ram Chary says that “Upside-down is the same as walking on top of the tightrope … negative X is the same as positive X.” Simple math and science fundamentals proves the Acrobat and the Flea analogy incorrect (in this case). Mr. Clarke’s pen-through-the-paper-plate demo was cool though, right?
The Duffer brothers seemed to have taken so much time in making sure Stranger Things was period accurate, it’s shocking they got so much of the music wrong…
8. The Bangles / Hazy Shade of Winter / 1988 November 1987
The Bangles were a cute, fun band, but never taken seriously as artists until they covered Simon and Garfunkel’s 1966 hit, “Hazy Shade of Winter.” It made The Bangles as famous as Simon and Garfunkel (at the time) – it’s not like this was an obscure ‘80s b-side. Therefore it’s difficult to understand how the Duffer brothers didn’t realize the song wouldn’t exist for another four years when they closed out season 1’s episode 2 with it.
9. New Order / Elegia / May 1985
The Duffer brothers probably knew New Order’s Elegia wouldn’t exist for another couple years after it was being used two years after Will Byers’ disappearance, as heard in his funeral montage. The song is perfect for the scene: It’s gothic, erie, and New Order wrote it as a tribute to the death of Ian Curtis, the band’s former lead singer when they were Joy Division. Also, Elegia sounds a lot like Tangerine Dream – the atmospheric art-rock band that unwittingly invented the dark synth-pop score just about every ‘80s horror movie used. Also, elegia is Greek for elegy.
10. Tangerine Dream / Green Desert / January 1986
Speaking of Tangerine Dream… Like I mentioned up above, Tangerine Dream was the go-to band for ‘80s thriller/horror movie soundtracks – they did 20. They did soundtracks for Risky Business, Fire Starter, Street Hawk, and maybe one of the band’s best works, Near Dark. So it’s no surprise that the Duffer brothers used them for Stranger Things. The problems is that the song they used while Sheriff Hopper ripped his trailer apart to try and find a bug didn’t exist for another three years. In all fairness, the song was recorded in 1973, but wasn’t released to the public for another 13 years.
Corey Hart / Sunglasses at Night / January 1984
Welp, the fact that Corey Hart’s insufferable Top 40 “Sunglasses at Night” proves that if you hang around long enough, you become you come back in style. Hart’s song plays on Steve’s car radio as he drives to Nancy’s house with the insufferable Tommy and Carol. An otherworldly feat considering the song wasn’t released until the following year.