**This love letter contains Stranger Things spoilers**
A couple of months back I fell in love, and I fell hard.
Sadly, this love was never fully realised as, a) it was for a fictional character and b) the object of my affection was coldly snatched from me before it could develop any further.
Still, that’s not going to stop me waxing lyrical on how great she is. So without further ado, let’s hear it for The Barb.
Barb Holland (of Stranger Things), on the face of it, comes off as a bit of a drag. I mean, she’s sensible and protective and that comes from the best possible place but she also has a judgmental air that isn’t becoming. But she’s the ‘mom’, she cares about her BFF Nancy Wheeler, worries about her virtue and means well.
I know how she feels for I was Barb back in the day, and this is undoubtedly why the character means so much to me. Slightly off in the looks department, terrified she will be dumped for the cooler crowd and not at all attractive to the opposite sex (yet) so therefore without a frame of reference as Nancy gains sexual experience and maturity. Me.
And millions of former awkward kids across the world, which again has to be part of the reason why she’s become such a stand out from the series, despite only being in three episodes.
Barb has a style all her own, all mom jeans and ruffled checks, ginormous snooker-player spectacles and ginger helmet hair (which I remember only too well from my own follicle history). She is resolutely herself and that’s what I like. Had she not been dragged into The Upside Down perhaps this would have changed and Barb would have swapped the Dennis Taylors for contacts and lowered her waistlines, fallen more in line with the new crew. This would have been fine if that’s what she wanted, but Barb is/was perfect already.
The only fly in Barb’s ointment, apart from the death and all, is that when she was gone only one person visibly cared. Justice was never served for Barb Holland and it’s an outrage of epic proportions. When Will Byers disappears, the whole town gets involved and his mother Joyce doesn’t rest for a second. Neither do his friends. When Barb goes missing, only Nancy notices her absence and only Nancy mourns her when her fate is casually revealed. Barb deserved better.
The Duffer Brothers promise #justiceforbarb in Season Two, coming up in 2017 and I bloody hope they deliver. In the meantime though, this one goes out to The Queen of the Upside Down, the slightly annoying but caring friend, who would have lived had she not tried to fit in, or if she’d been a worse friend and just left Nancy to her own nocturnal devices.