At the risk of preaching to the choir, all Punky Moms need to watch the very popular and thought-provoking Netflix series, Stranger Things.
While packed full of sci-fi and horror tropes, Spielberg references, 80s kitsch and a great title sequence, it also includes three (or four?) wonderful depictions of mothers. Of course, since the main plot of the series revolves around a band of youngsters who resolve to help a friend, the moms have to be involved to ground the show in its selected genre.
Thankfully, the mothers are both wonderfully full characters and the actors who portray them are excellent. Mind-blowingly for this child-of-the-80s, the mother of the friend in trouble is played by 80s heartthrob Winona Ryder. Who knew that this proto-manic pixie dream girl could dazzlingly depict a doting and dedicated (and borderline nuts?) mommy? Ryder’s character steals the show by gradually growing from concern to full-on panic, widening her brown eyes from lovely to crazy.
However, the mother of her son’s friend, played by Cara Buono, quietly shows a counter-point – a mom who uses the home as a safe place and wants to have a sincere relationship with her kids. She tries to understand them and who they are and why they are. Don’t just take my word for it, Donna Dickens of HitFix has written a wonderful article about this mother and does a much better job of explaining why she fascinates.
Finally, sadly, the story includes a mother who is so devastated by the loss of a child that she is catatonic. Too morbid? Well, Elise Jost writes in MoviePilot about a possible explanation for this condition and links to the internet commenter whose theory may explain this mother’s catatonic state. Most articles about the series contain spoilers so I suggest you first trust me and watch Stranger Things – it is just 8 hour long episodes and brilliantly “bingeable.”