Summer. The season of beaches, ice cream...and Demogorgons. That's right. Stranger Things is back for its much anticipated third season. It's time to whip up some Eggos and watch our favorite characters face off against the latest beastie from the Upside Down.
And as much as we love the creepy sci-fi-horror special effects, it's the characters that truly make the show. Every fan has someone to root for, whether it's everyboy Mike, rough-and-tumble Hopper, or the sweet but short-tempered Eleven. Not only have the show's leads become pop culture icons, but the supporting characters too. #JusticeForBarb, anyone? But while we want to express our love to the bit players of Hawkins, Indiana, there are a few who deserve some shade. Here is Stranger Things: 5 Best Supporting Characters (And 5 Worst).
10 Worst - Claudia Henderson
Claudia's ranking is a testament to the excellence of the show, because there's really nothing wrong with her. She's a nice mom who loves cats and is a Democrat. But that's all we really know. In Season 2, the Stranger Things cast expands, as the viewer gets to see the home lives of both Lucas and Dustin. The results are...kind of boring. The only function Claudia really served was as an obstacle for Dustin keeping Dart in the house. Should she return, we hope to see her more involved in the action. It doesn't seem likely though. She really does not enjoy getting out of her chair.
9 Best - Barb Holland
Barb really deserved better. Hopefully her spirit can settle for her ranking on this list. In her brief appearance on the show, Barb really struck a chord with the audience. Her BFF Nancy may come across as the girl next door, but she's the Hollywood version—the doe-eyed beauty who attracts the most popular boy in school. Barb is the real girl next door. She's the kind who spends most of her high school career being ignored. That's what makes her relatable. How many of us have been the third wheel at a high school party we never wanted to go to in the first place? After her tragic death, viewers rallied to make sure Barb was overlooked no more.
8 Worst - Erica Sinclair
Like Claudia, Lucas' little sister Erica is another unnecessary family member that bloats the cast. But at least Claudia is warm and fuzzy; Erica's annoying at best and downright nasty at worst. Some viewers likely find her sassy and precocious, but they're wrong. Erica's like a mosquito bite that refuses to go away, but one that can talk, and calls you a nerd. Other than giving the viewer an excuse for an Eggos break, Erica's only function seems to be messing with Lucas' walkie-talkie. Who knows, perhaps Season 3 will find Erica being useful for once. That's when we know we're truly in the Upside Down.
7 Best - Murray Bauman
Upside Down shenanigans notwithstanding, Hawkins is a sleepy middle America town. That's what makes disruptor Murray Bauman a breath of fresh, tinfoil hat air. His presence sure makes the fans happy, as he's in town seeking #justiceforbarb.
In Hawkins, eccentricity is a trait best run over by a lawnmower. Not everyone is welcoming to the brash Murray, including Hopper though, theoretically, they're on the same side. Murray's mania can make others think he's crazy, but the viewer knows he has his finger on the pulse as to what is really going on. Plus he gets bonus points for providing the crash pad for Nancy and Jonathan's steamy hookup. Like the viewer, Murray will always be looking for what's behind the curtain.
6 Worst - Lonnie Byers
Lonnie Byers is a deadbeat dad of the lowest order. After Will's disappearance, the only concern Lonnie shows is when Jonathan interrupts his afternoon bender. Real class act, that Lonnie. But hold onto your daytime whisky, it gets better. Will is later believed to be dead so Lonnie actually shows up for the funeral, even staying with the family for a couple days. As if things couldn't get any stranger. No, wait. Lonnie's just chasing a get-rich-quick scheme. But hey, even if it doesn't work out, Will's death means half the child support, so Lonnie's sitting pretty.
Lonnie's only redeeming quality is that he's not worse than Neil Hargrove, Billy's dad. But Neil's such a cartoonish waste of screen time, he's not even worth this sentence.
5 Best - Bob Newby
Whoever said nice guys finish last...was totally right. At least when it comes to Bob Newby. Poor Bob. Welcome to Hawkins, the town where kindness gets you killed.
Bob may not have been the most complex, exciting character on the series. But he was a good, solid guy. For better or worse, everyone treats Will differently after his return from the Upside Down, except Bob, who offers a sympathetic ear. Aside from being a stand-up guy, Bob was also fiercely smart. He's able to determine that Will's drawings are a map, which puts Joyce and co. on the right path to curing Will. Lastly, Bob commits the ultimate act of bravery, sacrificing himself to a pack of Demodogs to save the gang. He proved that schmoes can still be superheroes.
4 Worst - Kali "Eight" Prasad
Along with Eleven, Kali was another test subject at Hawkins Lab, where she was known as "Eight". We get to know Kali in the infamous Season 2 standalone episode "The Lost Girls", where Eleven runs away. This is the most polarizing episode of the entire series, with some fans declaring it brilliant, and others wishing it would have died on the cutting room floor. If you're in the latter camp, congratulations, you're correct. It was that bad.
Everything about Kali is insanely grating. Traumatized though she may be, she has some serious telekinetic powers. So why not use them to help others...or at least help yourself? Kali surrounds herself with a pack of brain-fried losers who live like rats in warehouses. By all means, get revenge on the ones who done you wrong, but do it from a house with...plumbing? The only good thing to come out of this whole abomination of an episode is that Eleven learns the word "b****in''.
3 Best - Karen Wheeler
Karen Wheeler may seem a little tightly wound. But wouldn't you be if both your kids' best friends went missing in the span of a couple days? So yes, Karen can be strict but she's also incredibly loving. She let Mike say home from school when he's distraught over Will's disappearance.
Karen's a fascinating character, trapped in a boring suburban prison of her own making. Her cinder block of a husband falls spends most time at home asleep and even when awake, Ted is barely attentive. Karen has to content herself with reading smutty novels in the bubble bath. As much as we hate Billy, his brief encounter with Karen was brimming with awkward sexual tension. There's a feisty, flirty version of Karen yearning to break free from her housewife façade. Season 3 seems like the perfect opportunity.
2 Worst - Ted Wheeler
It's time to rip into Ted Wheeler like Eleven at an all-you-can-eat Eggos buffet. The man is quite possibly the biggest nothing burger TV has ever seen. Other than being the automaton breadwinner of the Wheeler household, what function does he serve? Okay, he can be counted on to bark out "Language!" every time one of his kids utters a minor curse word, but that's about it.
Perhaps the best moment of the entire series is an exchange between Dustin and Ted. Dustin, ever the diplomat, tells Ted, "Son of a b***h. You're really no help at all. You know that?" Yes, Dustin, yes. Thank you for saying what the entire audience is thinking. Ted's response is to utter his catchphrase, "Language!", and even this is half-baked at best. He's so useless, he can't even be bothered to defend himself. Maybe he's more self-aware than we give him credit for...
1 Best - Scott Clarke
Being a nerd in 1980s Indiana isn't always fun. Just ask Mike and the gang. They're constantly bullied, and even their principal sneeringly refers to them as "less athletic types". But they have a dorky oasis in Mr. Clarke. He's their science teacher who wholeheartedly encourages and feeds their thirst for knowledge. Mr. Clarke may not be part of the main action, but he sure (unknowingly) helps when he instructs Dustin in building a sensory deprivation tank.
This phone interaction between teacher and student is beyond hilarious. Also, how many people were ready to drop the main plotline like a lit match if it meant discovering more about Mr. Clarke's mysterious date? We hope she makes his eyes light up as much as they do when he talks about science.