Steve Harrington has become such a runaway favorite character among Stranger Things fans that it's incredibly easy to forget how much of an incredible jerk he used to be. In fact, he was a pretty terrible dude over the greater majority of the show's first season. But it effectively established the foundation for a redemption arc that has continuously paid off in the best possible ways.
He may have been a hard guy to love at first, but there's no denying that his heart's made of high-karat gold at this point. To showcase Steve's incredible (and oftentimes hilarious) journey from insufferable jerk to world's greatest babysitter, check out this list of the five absolute worst things Steve's ever done, contrasted against five that totally won over our hearts and minds.
10 THE WORST: A Womanizer In The Worst Possible Way
There's nothing wrong with being suave, so long as you've got a conscience to back it up. Sadly, Steve's was pretty underdeveloped when we met him in Season One. When he sneaks over to Nancy's house to help her study, he wastes no time in attempting to charm her into bed.
Even after he successfully woos her into his bedroom and they hook up, he stays pretty aloof of their relationship and often dismisses her complaints. All in all, the guy is pretty terrible boyfriend material. At least he becomes self-aware of that during Season Two.
9 WON US OVER: He Splits Up With His Crappy Friends
Steve may not have started out as the prize peach that he grew into, but the low company he kept back then definitely didn't help. Tommy and Carol gleefully encouraged his delinquency at every opportunity.
After Steve's ill-advised fistfight with Jonathan, he tends to his wounds as the pair rattle off a deluge of thoughtlessly hateful vitriol concerning Nancy. Finally becoming fed up with their toxicity and realizing he need to rethink his own point of view, Steve tells them off and ditches them in a convenience store parking lot.
8 THE WORST: He Shows No Concern For Barbara
Barbara's disappearance takes a heavy emotional toll on Nancy, as she partially blames herself for ditching her to go hook up with Steve during a house party. She finally works up the nerve to talk to Steve about it, and brings up the idea of going to the police.
Steve displays an unreal level of conceit when he totally shoots the idea down on the basis that his parents would find out he'd thrown a party involving alcohol while they were out of town. The idea that he values keeping himself out of trouble with his mommy and daddy over a dangerous missing person situation says a lot about his level of concern for others.
7 WON US OVER: He Doesn't Leave Nancy & Jonathan Behind
Feeling the need to "make things right" between himself, Nancy, and Jonathan, Steve turns up at the Byers' residence at the worst possible time, as Nancy and Jonathan are preparing to square off with the Demogorgon. He initially flees, absolutely terrified by the creature's monstrous and otherworldly appearance.
Afterwards, the creature gains the upper hand on Jon and Nancy, and just when it seems like they're on the losing end of the battle, Steve charges back into the house, unable to leave the pair behind. Taking up Jonathan's nail-bat, he beats the nightmarish entity into the trap they'd set for it, effectively saving the day.
6 THE WORST: Breaking Jonathan's Camera
This one's admittedly arguable, as Jonathan's voyeuristic photography session of Steve's house party definitely seems a little creepy when taken out of context. But Steve's reaction to the situation is entirely over the line, even managing to put Nancy off.
After wresting Jonathan's backpack away from him, Steve and his crew rifle through his belongings until they find the photographs and camera. Destroying the pictures was, perhaps, understandable, but going the extra mile to destroy one of Jonathan's very few prized possessions is just too much.
5 WON US OVER: He Values The Kids' Safety Over His Own
Steve really came into his own over the course of Season Two, and some of its best moments stem from his unlikely bond with the kids. His genuine concern and willingness to interpose himself between any present danger and the lives of his younger friends has won him no shortage of acclaim.
Whether he's fending off a pack of ravenous Demodogs, leading the way through a series of creepy underground tunnels, or standing up to apex bully Billy Hargrove, Steve's the babysitter they never knew they needed.
4 THE WORST: He Ditches A Drunk Nancy At The Party
Nancy's got a lot weighing on her conscience when she and Steve attend Tina's Halloween bash, and she ends up cutting into him with a deluge of hurtful comments after having a few too many drinks. He's understandably put off by her behavior, but leaves her drunk, vulnerable and alone when he takes off.
Regardless of how rough her slurred verbal assault might've been for him, taking off and leaving her in such a state is a lot less than cool. Fortunately, Jonathan is there to ensure she gets home alright.
3 WON US OVER: He Takes Nancy Choosing Jonathan In Stride
In what is probably Steve's biggest display of character growth over the entirety of Season Two, he indirectly gives Nancy's pairing with Jonathan Byers his blessing, and admits his own failings as a boyfriend in one short, sweet, and simple scene.
As the two are scavenging for supplies to help free Will from the influence of the shadow monster, he tells Nancy that she should go with Jonathan to help. She's initially reluctant, but relents when he admits that though he wasn't a great boyfriend, he makes for an amazing babysitter.
2 THE WORST: Disrespects Nancy, Bullies Jonathan Into A Fight
This is definitely where Steve's character hits a total low point for Season One. He catches Nancy and Jonathan at her house, and assuming they'd been sleeping together behind his back, teams up with his cohorts to spray a lot of vitriolic graffiti concerning Nancy around Hawkins.
Upon being confronted over it by Nancy and Jonathan, he responds with a degree of audacity that's almost cringe-worthy. He particularly targets Jonathan, shoving him and insulting him over everything from his missing brother, Will, to his mother, until Jonathan wheels on him and the two engage in a brutal fistfight.
1 WON US OVER: His Bromance With Dustin
Steve's unlikely bromance with Dustin is easily one of the highest points of Steve's character, if not the entirety of the series. The two of them forming a sidesplitting comedic duo may have been the last thing fans expected, but it happened, and we all loved it.
Practically every moment shared between the two is wrought from solid gold, but of particular note is Steve awkwardly divulging his secrets to putting the moves on the ladies to a curious Dustin. He covers everything from maintaining a gorgeous head of hair to projecting an irresistibly blasé attitude, all of which Dustin puts to hilarious use during Season Two's finale.