Entertainment

Stranger Things introduces first queer character

By Naomi Canny

This summer, fans anxiously awaited the return of a much loved Netflix series, Stranger Things, which came out with its third season on July 4. In this season, viewers got some insight on what it’s like for the kids of Hawkins when they finally get a break from school. Fans also got meet new characters. A fan favorite and an extremely memorable character who debuted this season was Robin Buckley, Steve Harrington’s coworker at the Scoops Ahoy ice cream shop at the new Starcourt Mall. 

While Mike, Will, El and the gang were trying to discover more about the ominous threats they were facing, Robin and Steve provided the comic relief and perfect chemistry that we all needed after such an intense season. Robin was important not only because of her personality, but because she was also the first openly queer character on Stranger Things.

Many fans speculated that Will Byers could also be queer because he was the only boy in the season without a girlfriend, and there is still a possibility that this may happen. There was a scene in the season in which Mike tells Will it isn’t his fault that Will “doesn’t like girls.” According to the actor, Noah Schnapp, his sexuality is “up to interpretation.”

But in the episode “The Bite,” after Robin and Steve were drugged by Russians, they seek refuge in a bathroom inside the Starcourt Mall, where Robin tells Steve she had an obsession with him – but not because of a crush. It’s revealed that Robin liked Tammy Thompson, a girl who actually had a crush on Steve, and she was jealous of how Tammy looked at him. 

Robin admitted that she would scream into her pillow at night because she wished that Tammy would look at her instead. This moment also showed the Steve’s maturity and character development from the first season. He initially referred to Jonathan as a “queer” as an insult, but when Robin came out to Steve, he told her that she deserved even better than Tammy. 

A new sense of vulnerability and emotion was explored in the platonic relationship between Steve and Robin that was very different to Steve and Nancy or any relationship in the show. The actress who plays Robin, Maya Hawke, revealed that she thought it was an obvious decision when she was filming the fourth and fifth episodes that Robin and Steve should not be together when it was originally planned for the two to be in a straight romantic relationship. Maya Hawke said of her character Robin in an interview with Variety magazine: “Sometimes we can have empathy for people on screen that we wouldn’t normally have empathy for in real life. If I can hope for anything it’s that maybe some people fell in love with Robin and that helped them fall in love with girls who love girls and boys who love boys.” Viewers grew quite fond of Robin and look forward to seeing her in the next season, which was confirmed by the creators of the show a few months ago.

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