When Netflix's Stranger Things premiered in 2016, it became a surprise hit. For months, the Internet would not stop talking about the show (has the Internet ever really stopped talking about Stranger Things?).
Articles and memes kept flooding in. Barb became an Internet sensation. So did all the kids in the cast: cute videos of them spread like wildfire. The cast of unknowns (with the exception of Winona Ryder) became stars overnight, and have gone on to great success. The show picked up five Emmy wins and 13 nominations. It makes sense that a show that premiered on a streaming service and got lots of buzz on the Internet would also be a bountiful source of memes.
Here are 15 Hilarious Stranger Things Memes That Will Split Your Sides. For more Stranger Things, check out a list of the references and Easter eggs you probably missed, or peep some of the craziest fan theories.
Stranger Things 2 is out as of Friday, October 27 on Netflix, just in time for Halloween.
15 She's our friend and she's crazy
This quote comes from the epic scene in which Eleven saves Mike after bullies force him to jump off a cliff.
After Eleven uses her telekinesis to levitate Mike back to the ground, knock one bully down, and break the other one's arm, they flee. Dustin piggybacks off the situation with a triumphant, swaggering speech that includes this quote. Of course, it's not nice to call Eleven crazy. After all, it's not her fault that she ended up this way. But the word "crazy" aside, Dustin is expressing his friendship for the protective Eleven in a very endearing way.
Somehow, this meme also works really well for non-life-threatening friendship situations. We all have that friend who will make anyone who breaks your heart or tries to hurt you regret being born.
14 Get you a girl that can do both
When the boys first meet Eleven, she has a shaved head and is wearing an oversized t-shirt. To make her blend in better, they disguise her in a frilly pink dress and a blonde wig. And even though the dress is a little prissy, she cleans up good. Not to say that she wasn't beautiful before, because she was. In fact, the shaved head makes her look totally awesome.
As this meme points out, Eleven can look good in a dress and also get her hands dirty (literally) fighting bad guys. No wonder Mike goes all starry-eyed around her.
However, it's worth noting that if the boys wanted to disguise her better, they would have gotten her a brunette wig to match her natural hair color instead of this light blonde number.
13 What is friend?
"What is friend?" For Eleven, the question is literal: she really doesn't know what the word means. For the rest of us, a self-deprecating meme was born.
We've all had those days where it feels like we don't have any friends, and we jokingly think to ourselves "What's a friend? I don't know what that is."
This isn't the first meme that's taken a characters very literally question and turned it into a self-deprecating meme. There's also "What is a week-end?" from Downton Abbey. Maggie Smith's character Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham, who lives in the early 20th century, is genuinely asking what a weekend is, since the term has only just started being used. Of course, now it's been repurposed for those of us who have so much to do that it seems we never get time off.
12 Curiosity door
This line is pretty great. It's the pinnacle of Dustin's argument persuading Mr. Clarke to drop everything on a Saturday night and tell him how to build a sensory deprivation tank.
As a reaction meme, it's essentially a very extra way to say, "Why?" And the Internet loves to be extra.
All of us have experienced times when Google doesn't do what it's supposed to. There shouldn't be anything Google can't answer. And yet, how often are you on the third page of your Google search results cursing the world and thinking "Why aren't any of these results giving me what I need?!" Bonus points to anyone who wins an argument in real life by quoting this line.
The quote is one of the many pieces of Dustin gold that fans of the character cherish.
11 Finding Will
The sole flaw in Winona Ryder’s character Joyce Byers is that she only ever does one thing: obsess about finding her son Will - though it's entirely understandable for a mother to be so single-minded.
She’s always on edge and teetering on the brink of losing her mind. The expression she’s making in this meme is pretty much the only one she ever makes. The meme compares her to Marlin, the father of the lost clownfish Nemo in Finding Nemo. His character is similarly single-minded, thinking only of finding his kid. Both characters seem to always be yelling some variation on the line "Have you seen my son?" His expression in the original still from the movie is one of bug-eyed worry.
At least the first season of Stranger Things closes with the characters finding Will, so hopefully in season two we won't have to hear Winona Ryder gasp "Where's Will?" again.
10 Stealthy Mike
When bad guys come to Mike's house, he says this line to his mom before escaping.
This is the best excuse that he, a twelve-year-old boy, can come up with to explain his absence. But it's so cliche that there's no way anyone would buy it. In fact, it sounds like a line Mike lifted from an action flick, which fits into Stranger Things' homage to '80s horror movies. It also reinforces how Mike and his friends are everyman protagonists trying to overcome disasters they've only seen in horror movies before and taking inspiration from these films.
This doesn't seem like a line that jumps out as being memorable or quotable, but internet-loving Stranger Things fans have found a way to make it a meme. And it works. It's a great screencap to use as an overly dramatic response to anything you want to avoid, however small.
9 Barb x Mrs. Doubtfire
Why do Barb and Mrs. Doubtfire look so much alike?!
This is insane. Somehow, a dorky teenage girl from the '80s looks exactly like a man pretending to be a woman who is an old British nanny in the '90s. That's a little awkward for poor Barb.
Barb is an underdog. She's not as pretty as her friend Nancy. Her clothes are dowdy and conservative. She chooses unflattering jeans. She wears huge glasses. She's the responsible one. But the fact that she looks exactly like the costume that Robin Williams' character puts together to impersonate a plump matron does not reflect super well on her.
Luckily, Stranger Things takes place in the '80s and Mrs. Doubtfire didn't come out until 1993 or Barb's classmates would surely have teased her about the resemblance.
8 Where'd they get the wig?
After watching Stranger Things season one, you may have wondered, where did Mike, Dustin, and Lucas get the wig that they used to disguise Eleven?
While this meme is funny, we actually do have a perfectly reasonable explanation for this. In Chapter Four, Dustin finds the wig in a dress up bin at Mike’s house. He has an older sister, Nancy, and a younger sister, Holly. The wig probably belonged to one of them. Perhaps they wore it for a Halloween costume. So did the pink dress and the makeup. As for the "flawless" condition of the wig, his sisters probably just take good care of their costumes.
So alas, the implication this meme is making that Mike, Dustin, and Luca like to cross-dress is unlikely.
7 The Fresh Prince of Hawkins
This one isn't inaccurate. Stranger Things is the story of how Will Byers' life got flip turned upside down. In fact, it got flip turned upside down when he disappeared into a place called the Upside Down.
Of course, when Will Smith's character raps these lines in the catchy theme song for the TV show The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, the big life change he's referring to is that he got in a fight and had to move away from home to his aunt and uncle's mansion. Somehow, that doesn't seem as bad as being trapped in a hellish alternate dimension filled with monsters and fighting for your life, which is what happened to Will Byers.
You'll feel bad for laughing at this one.
6 Good Guy Steve
At first, Steve is a real jerk, but he redeems himself at the eleventh hour by coming back to save Nancy and Jonathan from the Demogorgon and it's one of the most satisfying and triumphant moments of the series.
Those of us who took an immediate disliking to Steve for his peer-pressuring and bullying habits were forced to take another look at the character and regret hating him.
The words on Steve's medal acting originate with the 2005 TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender. The quote comes from season three, episode 12, "The Western Air Temple." Katara, referring to the evil Prince Zuko, says "Let's go find him and give him a medal. The Not-As-Much-Of-A-Jerk-As-You-Could-Have-Been award" (note that the original wording is slightly different).
5 L'Eggo my Eggo
Stranger Things gave Eggos another boost in our cultural consciousness. The public had never stopped eating the toaster waffles since their debut in 1953. The quotable phrase "L'Eggo My Eggo," used to advertise the brand, has never really left our minds.
But when Stranger Things premiered, Eggos became a big thing again. The company must have seen a huge sales boost for all the people who bought Eggos for their Eleven Halloween costumes and Stranger Things parties. And Stranger Things memes featuring Eggos have made the rounds on the Internet.
It should be noted that no one on Stranger Things ever actually says "L'Eggo My Eggo." But it's funny to imagine that the reason Eleven went crazy on those bullies is that they took her Eggos.
4 U up
After the first season of Stranger Things premiered, the design studio Nelson Cash created makeitstranger.com, a website that allows you to type anything you want into the iconic neon Stranger Things logo. The color and front of the brilliant logo is inspired by Stephen King book covers and '80s movie posters. Unfortunately, Nelson Cash took the aesthetics of the logo very literally. Your text has to be two lines and you can't include punctuation.
Obviously, it immediately became a meme and the Internet had a field day. This one from Sean O'Kane took "U up?," a monotonous phrase used to booty call someone over text with the least effort and typing possible, and spelled it out in attention-grabbing neon with all the gravity of the unsettling Upside Down background.
3 Lee Daniels' The Butler
Of the many TV show and movie titles people have plugged into makeitstranger.com, this takes the cake.
Who can forget the ridiculous dispute surrounding the title of Lee Daniels' The Butler. The movie was originally supposed to be simply The Butler, but Warner Bros. came after The Weinstein Company, the studio behind the 2013 film, complaining that the title might cause confusion with its 1916 short film The Butler. That claim is ridiculous of course: no one has ever heard of 1916's The Butler, and the two movies are separated by almost a century. Basically, it was just Warner Bros. being petty but they won and the film took on the clunky title Lee Daniels' The Butler, after its director.
The ungainly title is magnified by the Stranger Things font, making it seem even more absurd.
2 Eleven x Leslie Knope
Stranger Things' Eleven isn't the only TV character with an intense love for waffles.
Parks and Recreation's Leslie Knope is obsessed with the waffles and local Pawnee, Indiana watering hole JJ's Diner. There are some similarities between Eleven and Leslie: they have blonde hair, they are surprisingly tough, they have a strong sense of right and wrong, fight conspiracies in their local government, and they're both from small towns in Indiana. Bless this person for finding a screen cap of Leslie in a hospital gown, which Eleven also wears in Stranger Things.
Leslie is certainly a unique person with her unending positivity and slightly but harmlessly deranged drive to get things done in government. It would make sense if she wasn't a regular person, but instead an illicit experiment gone wrong.
Has Eleven ever tried homemade waffles? She might like them even better than Eggos.
1 Stranger Things x SpongeBob SquarePants
You have to admit, the image of SpongeBob's outline as he bursts through a wall is pretty similar to how the Demogorgon stretches then bursts through the walls of the Byers home.
Squidward even has a terrified expression on his face, which makes this meme work on an extra level. As well as being set in the 1980s, Stranger Things is heavily influenced by the horror movies of that decade. Stranger Things creators Matt and Ross Dufferhave said that the Demogorgon was influenced by '80s movie monsters. In a HelloGiggles article analyzing the inspiration for Stranger Things' Monster, author Emily Baines cites the influence of writer/director David Cronenberg’s 1983 film Videodrome in the way the Demogorgon pushes through walls.
What's your favorite Stranger Things meme? Share it in the comments!