Amidst the supernatural thrills and chills in the town of Hawkins, it's amazing that anyone in Stranger Things can find time for a relationship. Whether the townspeople are turning into mindless drones of the Mind Flayer, being chased by demonic Demogorgons, or dealing with an impending apocalypse originating in the bizarre world of the Upside Down, there are reasons to believe that adversity may just be the key to bringing them closer together.
The hit series has become a streaming giant, and the interpersonal interactions between its engrossing main characters are part of the reason why. The bonds between the cast onscreen make the threats they face together more tangible, and the romantic relationships that blossom deliver some of its most memorable moments. Some pairings have been embraced by fans over the show's three seasons, and some haven't. Below you'll find 5 relationships fans got behind, and 5 they rejected.
10 WERE BEHIND: NANCY AND JONATHAN
While it seemed unlikely that these two would cross paths based on their social status at the same high school in Season 1, Nancy and Jonathan bonded out of a mutual curiosity for the odd things happening around Hawkins as well as a thoughtful introspection in both of their personalities.
Fans rooted for Nancy affording Jonathan a social leg up, and for Jonathan as the underdog to instill in Nancy a sense of confidence to be uniquely herself rather than try to fit in with the popular kids. She ditched her social clique to help the rest of the gang save Hawkins from The Flayed, and by Season 3, her and Jonathan were a dynamic duo in more ways than one.
9 REJECTED: MAX AND LUCAS
Max was a fun addition to the crew in Season 2 - a fiery young woman with a temper to match her hair. Out of all the gang she chose Lucas to be her boo, the most sensible and forthcoming of the crew. For a while it seemed like they made a cute couple because they complemented one another's personalities.
But between Season 2 and Season 3, they constantly broke up and got back together in a circuitous cycle of teenage drama. Max's answer to whenever Lucas disagreed with her was to dump him, and his method to win her back was always to buy her something.
8 WERE BEHIND: DUSTIN AND SUZIE
When Dustin declared that he'd found someone as hot as Phoebe Cates when he left for camp, fans of the show couldn't help but match Dustin's goofy grin. Of all the gang, he deserved luck in the romantic department, because he had the biggest heart and the most love to give.
Fans were rewarded or their emotional investment when his girlfriend was finally revealed, a fellow math geek named Suzie who helped him decipher vital information in defeating the Mind Flayer. Their scene involving The Neverending Story theme song is what love is all about.
7 REJECTED: NANCY AND STEVE
Though their social ranking in high school would have you believe that someone as cool as Steve "The Hair" Harrington and as pretty as Nancy Wheeler should belong together, it was a blessing in disguise when they didn't last past Season 1.
Steve had a lot of growing up to do - his transformation into Mom Steve wasn't something that could be rushed. Nancy also had a bit of transforming to do herself - into someone that cared more about Demogorgons taking over Hawkins than what party to go to.
6 WERE BEHIND: JOYCE AND BOB
One of the most adorable relationships in the entire series, and not least of which because Bob was played by Samwise Gamgee himself (Sean Astin), Joyce and Bob were something pure in the midst of terrible chaos. Plus, as a surrogate dad, Bob might have tried a little too hard at times, but he was the best thing to happen to Will and Jonathan.
Unlike Joyce's other male suitor, Chief Hopper, Bob had the emotional capacity to help Joyce in her fragile moments, and he pledged himself to defend her and her boys up until the end. His departure was only acceptable as a means for Hops to have a chance.
5 REJECTED: ROBIN AND STEVE
Fans initially thought going into Season 3 that it would only be a matter of time before Robin and Steve became an item. Though Steve liked to deny Dustin's assessment of their romantic status, it was clear towards the end of the season Steve had grown feelings for his eccentric coworker.
And though they spent ridiculous amounts of time together in matching Scoop Troop suits, that was where their connection ended. Steve revealed he would be willing to give romance a try and Robin shut him down. That was fine by the fans who felt their bond had been forced anyway.
4 WERE BEHIND: MIKE AND ELEVEN
Of all the relationships in the series, the one between Mike and Eleven may have evolved the most. He was her first real friend, and that bond has grown from him helping her adjust to life as a regular teenager to exploring concepts of puppy love in their first relationship.
Season 3 sees them facing their first lover's quarrel, somewhat inspired by the over-protectiveness of Eleven's adoptive father, Chief Hopper, but it enforces important lessons they need to learn if they're going to stay together. Fans will root for them until the end.
3 REJECTED: TOMMY AND CAROL
Two of the most popular kids in high school, Tommy and Carol were a picture perfect couple that hung out with Steve and ridiculed him for dating Nancy in Season 1. They made everyone's lives around them miserable, constantly spread rumors about their classmates, and only used their popularity as a tool for bullying.
Not only did they tease Steve for dating Nancy, they teased him even more when they broke up and she spent more time with the resident loner, Jonathan Beyrs. If they split up and didn't feed off each other's negativity, they might have been more tolerable.
2 WERE BEHIND: JOYCE AND HOPPER
If there's one fantasy relationship on the show that desperately needs to become a reality, it's the one between Jim Hopper and Joyce Beyrs. Both of them grew up together in Hawkins, but ended up marrying different partners. Fate continuously finds them thrown together at times when a relationship seems to only add to their stresses.
Though Season 3 saw Joyce still mourning Bob and Hopper becoming increasingly more aggressive with his temper, they did a good job of being an effective team that accomplished their goals. They need only look to Mike and Eleven to see how a love based on friendship succeeds.
1 REJECTED: BILLY AND KAREN
Like all of the local moms at the community pool, Karen Wheeler liked to watch Billy strut his stuff on the way to the lifeguard platform. Though her daughter goes to school with Billy, she has no shame in oggling a man half her age, and Billy doesn't mind.
When she toys with the idea of meeting him for private swimming lessons but ultimately backs down, it ends up saving her life. Billy becomes one of The Flayed and under the Mind Flayer's control, proving a massive waste of a person who was more than their looks.