Chapter Four - Will The Wise
Cheers - Right before Hopper disconnects the television, punishing El by getting rid of her TV privileges, the sitcom Cheers can be seen playing. The series would run from 1982-1993.
The Shining - After being attacked by the shadow monster, Will begins speaking for another entity that’s residing within him. This strikes at least some similarity with the young boy from The Shining, Danny, and his “imaginary friend” Tony who lives in his mouth.
Music From This Episode: The Clash's "This Is Radio Clash"; Paul Engemann's "Scarface (Push It To The Limit)"
Chapter Five - Dig Dug
Mondale/Ferraro ‘84 - In the lawn of The Henderson home, there’s a campaign sign for Walter Mondale, who with Geraldine Ferrero as his running mate, would lose - and lose badly - to President Reagan in the 1984 campaign.
Family Feud - Playing on the television when El meets her mother for the first time is the game show, Family Feud, hosted by Richard Dawson. This ABC version of the show where two families would compete in a test of common knowledge would end in 1985, before being picked by CBS in 1988.
“Sorry About That Road Warrior” - When Max arrives as the arcade and sees the “Out of Order” sign on the Dig Dug game, she’s distraught, to which the arcade employee responds, “sorry about that Road Warrior,” making another allusion to the film on which her leader board name is based. The sequel to 1979’s Mad Max was originally titled The Road Warrior (as opposed to Mad Max 2) when it released in the U.S. in 1981.
Hi-Q - Bob arrives at The Wheeler house with a stack of games, brain teasers really, that he used to play with as a child that he intends to give to Will. This includes the game, Hi-Q, which was a brand name version of the common peg board solitaire game
He-Man - Though it’s unclear if it was a He-Man toy sitting next to E.T. in Dustin’s room, at Lucas’ house, his sister is definitely playing with a pair of action figures - He-Man and Man-At-Arms - from the popular 1980s cartoon series.
Three Mile Island - In 1979, the Three Mile Island Nuclear Generating Station near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania experienced a malfunction which led to a partial meltdown. The incident only fueled the growing nuclear fears in the country, resulting in stricter regulations on nuclear power. When trying to figure out how they can convince the public that Hawkins Lab is responsible for Barb's death, Nancy and the Murray Bauman (the conspiracy theorists they seek out) decide it'd be best to water down the facts to make it more plausible for the public to believe. Using the Three Mile Island incident as inspiration, they decide on using the story that chemical leaks from the lab were the cause of Barb's death and the reason for the cover-up.
Indiana Jones - The Duffer Brothers haven’t made it a secret that the Indiana Jones films influenced their work, specifically citing Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. So when Hopper is rescued from the tunnels in Upside Down, it isn’t at all surprising that he make a point of reaching back and grabbing his wide-brimmed hat - just like Indy.
Music From This Episode: Carol Lloyd's "Try My Love"; Bobby Bare's "Green, Green Grass of Home"; Billy Holiday's "No More"