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Stranger Things/Second Episode


“The Weirdo on Maple Street”

The Hook Into Large Viewership / Second Episode

Resurrection of a Modern ET

John Fraim


Based on research from Netlix, the second episode can hook up to 70% of loyal series’ audience. Stranger Things accomplished this task in the summer of 2016 after the second episode “The Weirdo on Maple Street” was released. It is much the story about a mysterious girl with a shaved head who is discovered by some boys and then brought back to one of the boy’s homes where she is hidden in his basement. They are all science nerds and they see her as a scientific curiosity. She hardly speaks.

Just by the very act of harboring a type of alien from another world, this episode of Stranger Things particularly referencesa powerful symbol and mythology of ET. The hiding someone from those looking for them. The young boy of Stranger Things who hides Eleven is so similar to the young boy in ET who hides ET. There is a particularly worthwhile act for both boys in both films to perform. Protection from the world who is out to capture and most likely harm ET or Eleven.

Like in the legendary Spielberg film, we are given the girl in Stranger Things of Eleven  – much like ET – alien to our particular world, lost within it. Eleven serves as a type of symbol for this modern version of ET. It shows a strong understanding of not only the images of the great master image makers like King, Spielberg and Lucas. But also, it seems to offer up something more.

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The symbolism and mythology at much of the heart of the series is the protection of a particular type of “other” who has escaped from a world. There is the constant question if this is the world of our government today. The grand conspiracy theory of secret things being done in our government. Things we don’t know about. Hidden from us. The results of the secret things done by the government. Now exposed. In the form of the girl discovered by the gang of boys.

In important symbolic ways, Stranger Things episode two “The Weirdo on Maple Street” offers up the ET story packaged in a modern version. Attracking similar people as the ones attracted to the originals ET. Yet with a new generation also attracted to this symbol. Protection of an outsider from the outside. Protection by outsiders. In many ways, it is how the millennial generation Duffer brothers, revision the symbolism at the center of ET. In many ways, it is a story about any bullies and all who have been bullied in schools. Like the Duffer Brothers were. I don’t think its something that ever really leaves people. Both the bully and the bullied.

The Duffer brothers offer up much symbolism with this second episode of their powerful series. Perhaps one of the most powerful in these number of episodes ever to reach such a high state of popularity in culture. The anticipation is so great as we release of season three of Stranger Things on July 4 of this year. What will it be about? Will the Duffer brothers attempt to end the series?

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The series starts out with this theme of protecting an “alien” from the brutal real world. Whether a creature from outer space or a little girl with a shaved head who simply lands in the world out of nowhere. It starts out as the story of a group of boys protecting an alien outsider from the outside world. As clashes with the gang of boys representing Eleven’s protectors and the gang against them. What is this episode of the series about, though? How might it suggest such a powerful theme to hold audience to the Netflix story?

Something that not many pick up on. This series has been written by two nerd-type brothers who were bullied in high school. They both experienced the common experience of bullying it seems from what they say in their interviews and all. Much of episode two of Stranger Things is about protecting someone from the bullies of the world. The bullies that the protector boys know all too well.

The Duffer Brothers with Eleven / A Brilliant Modern Cinema Team


(The above taken from our larger work Stranger Things & The New Kings in progress now about the symbols and symbolism in the Netflix series Stranger Things. Season three of Stranger Things begins on July 4, 2019. Send an email to me at to hear about the larger project)

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