E01 -

Natalie Dowzicky, Landry Ayres, and guest Ellie Hamlett find themselves in the heat of summer in Hawkins, Indiana, the birthplace of Stranger Things. Join us for a wild conversation through the Upside Down.

Aaron Ross Powell
Director and Editor
Trevor Burrus
Research Fellow, Constitutional Studies

Natalie Dowzicky is the Manager of Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org. She studied Leadership and Latin American, Latino, and Iberian Studies at the Jepson School of Leadership at the University of Richmond. She is also a contributor for Young Voices.

Landry Ayres
Senior Producer

Landry Ayres is the Senior Producer at Lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org. He hails from Texas and graduated from George Mason University with both a Bachelor of Arts in Media Production and Criticism, and a Master of Arts in Communication. If he had it his way, he would wear blue jeans and a plain grey t‐​shirt everyday.

Ellie Hamlett works in community activism at a D.C.-based think tank.

Hello fellow Stranger Things fans! We have a doozy here for you today, as we launch our exciting new project. If you didn’t think we were hip before, think again! Our first show on pop culture, coincides with the release of Stranger Things Season 3. How convenient! Most of us would much rather be playing Dungeon & Dragons and fighting off demodogs rather than working. Guest, Ellie Hamlett, joins hosts Natalie Dowzicky and Landry Ayres to dive in to the many ‘80s references made throughout the show. We do not claim to be experts in all things Stranger, but being a super fan must count for something. Stay tuned to the very end where Landry Ayres, newly appointed game host, puts the pressure on Ellie and Natalie to name as many movies from the 1980s as they can. Enjoy!

If you like the format of this show, please be sure to leave us comments on our social media platforms. We look forward to exploring more hidden dimensions with you soon!



00:07 Aaron Powell: Hi, this is Aaron Powell. Today, we’ve got a bonus for Free Thoughts listeners. A preview of a new show, coming soon from lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org about pop culture and liberty. In this episode, my colleagues Natalie and Landry and their guest talk about one of our favorite shows.


00:32 Natalie Dowzicky: You may notice that we are in fact not Trevor and Aaron, but hopefully you will still hear us out. At lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org, things just got a whole lot stranger because we’re talking about Stranger Things. I’m Natalie Dowzicky.

00:45 Landry Ayres: And I’m Landry Ayres.

00:46 Natalie Dowzicky: What will season three hold? We have Ellie Hamlett, a community activist at a DC‐​based think tank, here to help us imagine what ‘80s horror we should brace ourselves for tomorrow. Thanks for joining us, Ellie.

00:56 Ellie Hamlett: Well, thank you for having me.

00:57 Landry Ayres: Now, we should probably note that while we can’t spoil season three because as of this recording, it has not been released yet. But if you have not seen seasons one and two, we may be dipping into those events a little bit. So if you haven’t watched them pause this, stop whatever you’re doing, and go and watch those, watch the whole thing, right now. And then come back and join us.

01:19 Natalie Dowzicky: All right, so now let’s kick it off with setting the scene. We are in Hawkins, Indiana and the summer is heating up much like it is here, in DC. Sticky and gross. A rather perfect setting for our old and new demon friends from the upside down. Do we think our beloved characters, Will, Dustin, Lucas, and Eleven will stay innocent? Landry, what do you think?

01:38 Landry Ayres: I don’t know if they really were innocent at all after the first season. Watching the second season, you see them sort of dealing with and managing the trauma that they’re all living with after the first season. And I think Hopper even says to Joyce at one point, “Nothing’s ever gonna be the same after this.” So I’m wondering where we go from here. It seems season two, based around Halloween, was sort of spooky and scary as if things were getting a little darker. And this one’s all set around July the 4th. So maybe we’re going to something a little more explosive and sort of the Big Bang that’s coming. But I don’t know if they’re really innocent anymore at all.

02:24 Natalie Dowzicky: Well, I think it’s also interesting because Halloween is notably a kids’ holiday. So as we’re kind of going… Progressing through their year and I wonder how much older they’re gonna seem. We know the characters are growing up very quickly, especially from the jump from season one to season two, but from the jump from season two to season three I wonder how much we’re gonna get of them actually becoming pre‐​teens now. Partially ’cause the last season ended with their first school dance, where it was all awkward. The boys are separate from the girls and they’re dancing feet apart. So I wonder what we’re gonna be in for this summer. And also part of me… I liked the scenes where they were getting, I guess, when they were dressed up as Ghostbusters in season two. They were kind of getting made fun of, that they were still dressing up. We have scenes where Mike’s throwing away his toys. They’re still obviously very into arcade games. That was a big theme in season two. So I’m wondering how much of that will carry over. What are your thoughts Ellie?

03:25 Ellie Hamlett: It is quite difficult to stay very innocent after such a traumatic experience has happened, but what I was thinking when I was watching the shows is how striking the bravery of these kids are. But then I was thinking, ’cause season one, it’s all about dungeons and dragons, and then the second season is all about the arcade games. It’s almost like they’re getting to relive these experiences. Or live them in real life, I should say. So I thought that was very interesting that they’re so gung‐​ho to find Mike and then find the mind flayer, and it just seems to me that this is their chance to live out the games that they’re playing, in real life. So I wonder what we’re gonna see, what the theme for the third season will be.

04:08 Natalie Dowzicky: I also think it’s interesting watching the boys in contrast with Eleven in terms of innocence because Eleven never really had a childhood, doesn’t have a good sense of what family means. And it’s very interesting watching them interact with her because, in a way, she values her friends like most of us value family, and she’s kind of wondering what this innocence is and doesn’t really know how to deal with it, in my opinion.

04:35 Landry Ayres: I also think, going back to what Ellie said, the differences between starting with dungeons and dragons, and moving on to the arcade game dragons layer. I think it’s interesting, because Dungeons and Dragons is all about exploring within this whole world that you get to create and explore with the dungeon master… Controlling and setting things in motion, whereas the arcade games are… There’s a very limited number of options that they can pursue and dealing with obstacles that sort of limit them a little bit more. So I wonder if I’m reading a little too much into it. If it’s sort of mirroring their lack of choice and the rigid things that they’re getting set into, now. But I am curious about that third game. Or to see if there even is a game, that they start with season three. To see what kind of choices and path they’re gonna be taking for the third season.

05:29 Natalie Dowzicky: I also think it’s interesting because we have to remember they are kids, right? But if you’re looking at them compared to today’s kids how much freedom they have. They’re riding their bikes all these places, their parents are pretty much non‐​existent, besides for Joyce but rightfully so, right? Her son is being possessed [laughter] But I think it’s really interesting because, even the little glimpses we get of the other kids parents are very brief and usually it’s like the kids are lying to them about where they’re going, or they’re saying they’re gonna be somewhere they’re not, and how late they’ll be out and it’s interesting because usually a lot of the time you see their older siblings or their older sibling’s friends be the ones taking care of them or trying to solve issues. So in a lot of ways, besides Hopper and Joyce, a lot of the adults in the show are very laid back, not very aware of everything going on.

06:22 Landry Ayres: I feel like that’s a trope in a lot of ‘80s films of sort of the absent parent going on. And in a way, Stranger Things kind of subverts that with Joyce specifically. But in a lot of ways, it obviously pays homage to it with for instance, Mike’s parents who are constantly portrayed as trying to parent, but not using a very heavy hand. I think the worst thing that happens to him is he has to not watch TV or they threatened to sell his Atari at some point compared to Joyce who is making sure that her son is actually safe and keeping him at home to maintain his physical safety.

07:05 Ellie Hamlett: I mean, I remember one point in season one when they think that Will has died and Mike is very upset. Mike’s dad is like, “Should we go talk to him?” And his mom is like, “No, he’ll come to us when he’s ready.” I mean, that is some hands‐​off parenting in my opinion. But yeah, I think the most parenting we see from my Mike’s dad is, whenever one of the children curses, he’s like, “Language.” And that is the extent.

07:28 Natalie Dowzicky: Exactly. Yeah. So if I was riding my bike at their age late at night fighting monsters, I think my parents would have had a very different response, probably would have ended with me grounded if anything, especially if I was just out late trancing around on Halloween. And I just think that’s very interesting. And it’s also much like Landry said, it’s a call back to the ‘80s because that’s like the heyday of children being free and away from helicopter parents like we might see today.

07:56 Landry Ayres: I can’t even imagine what kind of show this would be if this same events happened, but in the current climate. Somebody would just text someone instead of looking for them and constantly riding around. I mean, kids go outside these days. I don’t wanna play in a big idea that kids are just inside all the time. I mean, I don’t know the statistics. They probably are. I spent more time inside than these kids, but I’m sort of bridging the gap between kids these days and the ones set during the show. But I also wanna know what are you most looking forward to in season three are there any unanswered questions that either of you were curious about or perhaps characters that you are wanting to see make a come back?

08:37 Natalie Dowzicky: I think for me at least, prior to season two, I was really ready for Eleven’s background story. Because in season one we got nothing. And then season two, we got a little more explanation of her mom and her sister or who she says mama. And we get a little bit more of what happened to her and what let her there. I would kind of like to see more of Hopper and Eleven’s relationship to be honest. I think there is a substantial arc in their relationship last season from him being like, “Should I be a parent? Should I be a friend? I care about her. I want her to do what’s right and I want her to stay safe.” But I don’t think Eleven realizes that yet. I don’t think she appreciates that fully. And I kind of wanna see that blossom a little bit more, which is kind of interesting because it’s another parent‐​child relationship which I said are very few of in the show.

09:28 Ellie Hamlett: Well, especially since the only real parent relationship she’s seeing are Mike’s parents or Lucas’s parents. But when you contrast that to Hopper who’s trying to parent and trying to keep her safe, she would not understand that, especially because she hasn’t been socialized yet to understand what dangers are besides the bad men. She has no understanding of actual real‐​life dangers that other kids are facing these days. So I’m interested in seeing her kind of adjust to society in a meaningful way.

10:00 Landry Ayres: It’ll be interesting to compare her development as well because she’ll be sort of trying to adjust to life with other teens and getting to know people her own age while they’re all navigating this very sort of tumultuous period of adolescence that stacked on top of it. So you can see them starting develop romances with one another and they’re like…

10:21 Ellie Hamlett: There’s so much puppy love going on.

10:23 Landry Ayres: Yes, exactly. So it’ll be interesting to compare how those two sort of conflict with one another and how it complicates things amongst all of them. Because while is it her and Mike that have the sort of infatuation with one another, is she gonna understand where she’s coming from and he’s gonna have a little bit more context, but not a lot.

10:49 Natalie Dowzicky: And we all know what happens when you start relationships within friends and that’ll be a weird dynamic. I’m sure the other boys are gonna get jealous because there’s only… Well, now there’s two girls in the group with Max, Mad Max. But that was always gonna create a weird dynamic and I’m sure Eleven is gonna be challenged by it.

11:06 Landry Ayres: Yeah.

11:06 Ellie Hamlett: Yeah. And the only real context she has is the movies that she’s watched. So yeah, I’d really like to see how this plays out.

11:15 Landry Ayres: Who I’m really interested in seeing develop and sort of us learn more about in season three is Lucas. Because of all the group of those core friends at the beginning, I feel like we’ve gotten the least amount of back story for him. We don’t get to see his home life quite as much. We saw Mike and Will and Dustin… Dustin a little bit more in season two when he finds the Polliwog. But Lucas, we don’t see as much. And I’m hoping that maybe his relationship with Max is something they’re gonna explore a little bit more because I feel like there seems to be some tension with Max’s brother that they hint at in the second season, but I don’t know if they ever go out right with it. But I’m wondering if perhaps in this third season, that’s gonna come to more of ahead and there’s gonna be some conflict there as their relationship develops.

12:06 Ellie Hamlett: And I think we also have to remember as they’re creating all these relationships and getting to know each other more, they’ve also been through significant trauma. So that’s also gonna be something that’s going on along the way. I mean, do you ever really recover from being possessed? Do you ever really recover from like for Eleven, opening the gate and all of that kind of mental trauma she’s been through? And I think it’s kind of important that… And I think it’s gonna be a big part of season three is not only how do we move on from this, but how do we move on from this and continue to fight the good fight which is like what they’re trying to do. I’m wondering what you guys think the upside down represents.

12:44 Landry Ayres: I don’t even know what the upside down represents. Maybe it’s something about sort of the duality of the world and that this world you’re living in seems bright and full of something you can explore, but there’s always gonna be this other side that is following you that you have to learn to navigate or live with in Will’s instance. That’s something that’s always gonna be with him and gonna be sort of encroaching on his life and while it’s not physically manifesting for all the other kids, it’s certainly affecting all of their lives. So Maybe it’s something about how you have to learn to navigate and learn to live with things that are seen as evil, or bad as composed to the good that you want to explore.

13:31 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah, I think I completely agree with you. I think it’s more of like they’re gonna be learning how to live in the in‐​between and not to sound like they’re going to die or something, but they have to learn to live with the hardships and the good things, and I think they’re somewhere in there right now, but they have no idea what’s coming next. And I think part of it is internalizing what’s already happened and being able to get to that next step.

13:56 Ellie Hamlett: When you’re in the upside down, when Eleven is in the upside down, you kind of only see snippets of the scenery and it’s all kind of like a black mirror so it’s almost like it is picturing the actual trauma. So when you see when eleven finds Barb and that seems to me to be representative of Nancy’s trauma or when she’s seeing Will and he’s starving, and he’s like, “Hurry” we see that, and I think that is the memory that Will is carrying with him that sort of thing.

14:28 Natalie Dowzicky: So I think we should shift gears here a little bit and talk about authority. [chuckle] So how much our beloved kids in Hawkins trusting of authority? How much is the society testing the authority? We see them hint a little bit that we don’t like the Department of Energy and their cover up. I’m wondering why they chose the Department of Energy to blame it on. And I’m kind of wondering what you guys think of that in our libertarian plug here, what we think of authority.

15:01 Ellie Hamlett: Well, certainly I think that they chose to DOE because it’s less conspicuous if you put the Department of Defense right in the middle of Hawkins Indiana everyone would be like, “What are they doing here?” But even in the very beginning when they first go to check out the DOE, because they found the piece of hospital gown in the tunnel. And one of the police officers is like, “I hear they build the space lasers there” so everyone hears all of these rumors about what might be going on at the Department of Energy, And I think that they chose it, so it’d be less conspicuous.

15:34 Landry Ayres: Sure, and it’s set obviously during the Cold War, so there’s tensions over nuclear weapons and the sort of lingering threat that that could entail. So I think while it is inconspicuous it still gives them enough leeway from a production standpoint, to be like, “but you never know, they could be involved in something nefarious there.”

15:56 Natalie Dowzicky: Well, it’s also funny, ’cause do we know a lot of what the Department of Energy does? For your DOD example. A lot of people understand the general gist of what the DOD does. Most of us probably, unless you’re really into energy, don’t necessarily know exactly what the DOE does. I also think it’s funny in the second season when for some reason, when Will is being possessed, Joyce is like, “Oh let’s them take him to the lab, because that’s like the doctor they’ve been seeing.” who’s like essentially a fake doctor right? And it only comes towards the end of the season that she’s starting to question whether or not she should take him to a real hospital, don’t take your kids to the DOE, if you want a real doctor. That’s one thing. Two it’s just very… She knows something’s fishy going on, but she’s not willing to say like, “Oh they’re really, they’re conspiring against us. I know it”, but there’s so many hints that she sees and she’s like, “Maybe I should think more into this, but no, my son is being taken care of by a bunch of people that don’t care about him/​know what’s going on.” And I think there are quite a few red flags that she might have missed to take your children elsewhere.

17:10 Ellie Hamlett: Yeah, I mean, at one point when they’re trying to kill the demi dogs and Will is reacting badly. I remember one of the doctors is like, “Well if he dies, he dies. Like it’s for the greater good”. I feel like that was kind of the whole era. I remember Mike’s dad, when they were trying to find Eleven at the end of the first season, he was like, “they’re the government, they’re on our side.” No one would even think to not trust in the authority.

17:37 Landry Ayres: Right. And it’s really interesting, a lot of the adults are at first, and they don’t all turn out this way, but they’re very trusting of authority and those in power, perhaps only Hopper is the one that’s a little hesitant, but he also occupies a place of power, albeit lesser on the totem pole as a local police officer. But all of the kids are being asked to trust members of authority. So at one point, even in personal relationships, Hopper has to ask Eleven I need you to trust me because you can’t go outside, you can’t go trick‐​or‐​treating in season two because it’s not safe. But then you’ve also got someone like a great character Steve Harrington asking Nancy to trust Him about their relationship and how he has hope for the future. And everything is gonna work out fine. And even if I don’t graduate this year, and I can just get a job with my dad then we’re gonna, we’re in love and everything’s gonna turn out great. And all of the kids are very, very hesitant based on what they’ve been through, to trust members of authority and I don’t think that that distrust is something that should be ignored, I think, it’s something that definitely is warranted.

19:00 Natalie Dowzicky: Well, also talking about trust and whatnot. I remember in that conversation when Hopper was supposed to watch a movie with Eleven I think, and he lost track of time and then he gets home and there’s this big blow up, and it ends with Eleven saying, “Well, friends don’t lie.” And she repeated that multiple times. And I think it’s interesting because as we were saying earlier, Eleven doesn’t necessarily understand innocence and childhood and obviously the first thing a little three‐​year‐​old tells a little white lie. She never really had that experience so she doesn’t necessarily understand one trusting someone that’s lying for her good in a sense or to what a lie necessarily, means in a relationship and I just thought it was interesting because then the same kind of sentiment happened when Max was learning the story of what happened to Eleven and she… At the end she was just laughing.

19:55 Natalie Dowzicky: She’s like, “Okay funny story, you got me.” And they were like, “No no no, this is real. Like you can’t tell anyone.” And so she just assumed that they were lying to her. Just to make her feel part of the group. In that same scene when they started freaking out, they’re like, “You can’t tell anyone” ’cause they were worried about someone finding out that Will just didn’t get lost in the woods like they were saying, and they were worried that if it got out more, that they were gonna get in trouble from whether it be the government or whoever is trying to cover up what’s happening to Will. So those kind of lying and trusting of authority, not trusting authority all weaving together throughout and I think that’s also important part of childhood. So you’re understanding what’s appropriate in relationships, as well as in terms of trust and also learning how to trust someone is a big part of childhood ’cause you obviously grow up trusting your parents and you’re trying to figure out how you trust other people that aren’t family members and how you gain that from someone as well as how you earn it from someone.

20:54 Ellie Hamlett: Right. And with Dr. Brenner their entire relationship was based on conditional love, right? If you do this well, I will reward you in some fashion with affection”, that really… That can really mess with your head too, especially when you’re trying to figure out how, how to love someone and how to receive love in a way that isn’t conditional, because it’s totally different.

21:17 Landry Ayres: Especially when we’re thinking and seeing Dr. Brenner as a government figure the idea that it’s a seemingly, a relationship with Eleven’s providing something for a greater good, but she is only rewarded when she gives them something that they deem useful. I wonder if that is sort of a theme that we as libertarians, can seize upon to say, how beneficial is that relationship? And it obviously is rather…

21:47 Natalie Dowzicky: Seems very transactional.

21:48 Landry Ayres: It’s coercive definitely.

21:50 Natalie Dowzicky: Alright, so do we wanna move to some fun questions here guys? Get some good predictions and we can picture what ‘80s tropes we’re gonna use. We’ve already used a ton of them in the first two seasons, so I’m wondering which ones are gonna be left to use. But let’s start off with Ellie. If you were a character in the show, who would you be?

22:11 Ellie Hamlett: Oh, definitely Mr. Clark. On the curiosity voyage.

22:15 Landry Ayres: I think he’s a great character I wanna get to know more about him. He’s a very fun guy, who has basically just been used as either set dressing or to explain very tough concepts, like the space time continuum and traveling through dimensions, which was rather advanced, for elementary or middle school science teacher. But I’ll take it but I… We get more back story. The more seasons, we get for those minor characters. So, I wanna know more about him. I think that’s gonna be pretty interesting. Maybe we can get some sort of peak into his home life or he’ll be involved with something.

22:57 Ellie Hamlett: Yeah me too, especially a great teacher can make all the difference. So it’s awesome to see how into science, these kids are, and it’s definitely because of Mr Clark. A good teacher can be very inspiring and it can keep them in their passion. And obviously, these kids have quite a propensity for science.

23:14 Natalie Dowzicky: Well, it’s also funny too. They think the upside down is some… Has some type of scientific explanation, right? And they’re just searching for it probably ’cause of Mr. Clark, they think that, and they’re obviously very, very nerdy kids so they kind of look up to him in a way they’re like “One day I’m gonna be him” or “One day I’m gonna be as smart as him”. For me I’d wanna be Dustin. Partially just ’cause I think he has a balance of a sense of humor and a sense of urgency. So when he has Dart and it eats the cat, he’s freaking out. Mind you, he lies to his mom in the process, tells her to go away, but he’s freaking out and he’s calling everyone up. Code Red, Code Red and no one’s answering. He’s just kinda going about his day and he devises all these traps for Dart and tries to get him stuck in the basement and he was very, very devoted and it’s so funny because when he finally gets a hold of someone, to help him, he reprimands them right away and I think I see a lot of myself in him [chuckle] and I hope that his character development continues, though I think he’s gonna grow up quite a bit in the next season.

24:22 Landry Ayres: There were a lot of characters that I wish I was. Like I wish I had the bravery of some of the kids or the beautiful head of hair that Steve Harrington has but of all the characters, I think I might be a Bob.


24:38 Landry Ayres: Well, meaning. Gonna try and give some great advice. A little goofy, but good at heart. And I think I would try to sacrifice myself for the people that I care about, but maybe not always be the most competent or useful in a fire fight situation. But I definitely see, I see myself as a Bob.

25:01 Natalie Dowzicky: Hey, hey. He was also very trusting. They’re telling him the whole story and they have this crazy map on the wall. And he’s like, “Okay”, didn’t question. It was like “Alright, let’s get to work”. [chuckle]

25:12 Landry Ayres: He indulges them a little bit. And I think that if someone goes to that length to try and explain something to me, I’m not gonna dismiss it out right, I’ll allow it for a little bit then sort of indulge them.

25:26 Natalie Dowzicky: That’s a friend you wanna have.

25:28 Ellie Hamlett: When they show, when he has all the tunnels on the wall, he’s like, “Did you draw this?”, that’s all he says. He’s like, “Did you draw this?”.

25:34 Natalie Dowzicky: He wasn’t concerned that someone was possessed or just out of control.

25:39 Landry Ayres: He appreciates the art.

25:41 Ellie Hamlett: Yeah. [laughter]

25:42 Landry Ayres: Here’s a question. We know that Stranger Things has a lot of fun with music. They’ve got a great score, a great soundtrack and use of music from the time. If you were on Stranger Things, if you were a different character and they showed you for the first time, what song from the ‘80s would play as they introduced you?

26:04 Natalie Dowzicky: I did consider Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, but I thought that was too mainstream. So I’m gonna have to go with Heaven is a place on Earth.

26:11 Landry Ayres: That’s a good one, that’s a good one.

26:13 Ellie Hamlett: Mine would be my go‐​to karaoke song which is Welcome to the Jungle by Guns N’ Roses.

26:19 Landry Ayres: Good one.

26:20 Ellie Hamlett: I would love to have a big entrance. If I’m ever giving a commencement speech or anything, that is the song that will play as I walk on stage, for sure.

26:29 Landry Ayres: I think it might be Round and Round by Ratt on mine. [laughter] I don’t know why. I just think it’s a great jam, but it’s just I think it has a lot of energy to it and I would like to play someone cool on the show, even if that would be a stretch for me.

26:43 Natalie Dowzicky: I think it also depends on what scene we’re walking out in ’cause I also considered Eye of the Tiger. If I was trying to intimidate someone, I would definitely want Eye of the Tiger playing. But if it’s just introducing me, I think that’d be different. It definitely depends on the type of scene.

27:00 Landry Ayres: Very true.

27:00 Ellie Hamlett: Mad Max’s brother got a great entrance. I don’t remember the song, but I remember being like…

27:05 Landry Ayres: I believe it’s Rock You like A Hurricane by Scorpions.

27:09 Natalie Dowzicky: Yes. Yes.

27:09 Ellie Hamlett: Yeah.

27:09 Landry Ayres: Very good.

27:10 Ellie Hamlett: Yes, it was perfect.

27:11 Landry Ayres: He has a really good soundtrack. I think it Shout at the Devil plays at one point. Obviously, they’re trying to lean into what he might be interested in, music‐​wise, but I think he was a really a good character and they served him well with his soundtrack choices.

27:27 Natalie Dowzicky: Well, they also gave him a more so different personality and different… Just like… He’s kinda badass, right? So they’re gonna give it more upbeat songs and more ones that are a little bit edgy, which play into his character.

27:41 Landry Ayres: Right, and he’s the new kid in town, so they wanna really create something jarring to illustrate that he’s there to shake things up and introduce new conflict in to the situation.

27:51 Ellie Hamlett: Yeah. He seemed to be written in, for the purpose of writing in, an antagonist.

27:55 Landry Ayres: And I think they might be hinting that he’s gonna be much more of a villain in season three, which I’m pretty excited about ’cause I thought he was pretty interesting and I’d like to see some more development from him as I said earlier.

28:07 Natalie Dowzicky: So, can we name every ‘80s movie that’s referenced so far?

28:14 Landry Ayres: Well, luckily I have a list, so let’s…


28:16 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh Landry, that’s cheating.

28:19 Landry Ayres: I’m the dungeon master in this scenario, so…

28:21 Natalie Dowzicky: Okay, fine, fine.

28:21 Landry Ayres: I’m gonna say…

28:22 Natalie Dowzicky: I seed my power.

28:22 Landry Ayres: Let’s see how fast we can do this. I’m gonna start a timer for us. I’m gonna put a minute on the clock and you’re gonna… Between the two of you, just name all the… These are movies that were made in the 1980s, so they reference a few made before and after, but I only listed the movies made in the ‘80s that there are homages or references to.

28:46 Natalie Dowzicky: Okay.

28:46 Landry Ayres: And then, I’ll see how many you can get.

28:49 Ellie Hamlett: Oh gosh.

28:50 Landry Ayres: Alright, your minute begins.

28:53 Natalie Dowzicky: There’s no way I’m gonna come up with 20, but I know Sixteen Candles.

29:00 Landry Ayres: Definitely Ghostbusters, that was pretty obvious though.

29:00 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah. Breakfast Club.

29:02 Ellie Hamlett: Oh yeah. Indiana Jones, right? Yeah.

29:07 Natalie Dowzicky: The Exorcist or exor… I was gonna say Exorcism Emily Rose, but I don’t know which one’s in the ‘80s. The Goonies, definitely.

29:16 Ellie Hamlett: Do they ever reference ET?

29:18 Landry Ayres: Thirty seconds.

29:21 Natalie Dowzicky: I think so.

29:21 Ellie Hamlett: Yeah.

29:22 Natalie Dowzicky: Was that on the list? We’re good, keep going. [chuckle] The Shining.

29:26 Ellie Hamlett: I feel like Star Wars? Or was that the next season? Oh, okay. Good.

29:32 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh, that one’s…

29:33 Landry Ayres: Fifteen seconds.

29:35 Natalie Dowzicky: Jaws. Definitely Alien, definitely The Terminator. Is The Terminator not on there? Oh.

29:43 Landry Ayres: Five seconds.

29:47 Natalie Dowzicky: I don’t have anymore.

29:47 Ellie Hamlett: I don’t have anymore.

29:48 Landry Ayres: Alright, okay. Actually, I looked this up. It came out in 1990.

29:52 Natalie Dowzicky: What the heck.

29:53 Landry Ayres: Really?

29:54 Landry Ayres: Sorry about that. No points awarded for it.

29:57 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh man.

30:00 Landry Ayres: Alright, we have one, two… Six, seven, eight, nine, 10 out of 37. The movies you missed were Aliens, Altered States, Blow Up, Body Double, Carrie, Close Encounters. There’s 37 other movies, I’m not gonna read them all.

30:13 Ellie Hamlett: Oh, Close Encounters.

30:14 Natalie Dowzicky: What ones are more well‐​known that we missed?

30:16 Landry Ayres: Firestarters, a Stephen King story, it’s a big influence.

30:19 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

30:20 Landry Ayres: Karate Kid.

30:20 Ellie Hamlett: Oh.

30:21 Natalie Dowzicky: Oh yeah.

30:22 Landry Ayres: Mad Max: Road Warrior you didn’t mention, Poltergeist is a very big influence, Stand By Me with the four friends… Oh, 11. Sorry, I forgot to highlight The Terminator. So 11 is what you got. Eleven.

30:37 Ellie Hamlett: Oh, how wonderful.

30:37 Landry Ayres: Look at how that worked out.

30:40 Ellie Hamlett: [30:41] ____.

30:41 Landry Ayres: And a few others, but those are the big ones. I feel like that you might recognize.

30:44 Natalie Dowzicky: So which ones… What’s left? [chuckle] What are we gonna hit next season?

30:49 Ellie Hamlett: You know what I was thinking is Baywatch. Was that big in the ‘80s or in the ‘90s?

30:52 Natalie Dowzicky: I think that was ‘90s, but we could grow into it. Baywatch… Right, because it’s set in the summer now too. We could get… We’ve gotten pretty much all of the famous scary movies from the ‘80s in terms of… The Shining obviously was the biggest one. You know what? When was…

31:10 Landry Ayres: Nightmare on Elm Street, something like that too.

31:13 Natalie Dowzicky: When was Silence of the Lambs?

31:15 Landry Ayres: I believe that was early ‘90s.

31:17 Natalie Dowzicky: Early ‘90s?

31:17 Landry Ayres: Yeah.

31:17 Natalie Dowzicky: It was somewhere around that time, right? So we could grow into them.

31:20 Landry Ayres: Some of our listeners are…

31:21 Ellie Hamlett: Are cringing.

31:22 Landry Ayres: Are shaking their fists at us right now. [laughter]

31:26 Natalie Dowzicky: Just to put into context that we were not alive in the ‘80s.

31:28 Aaron Powell: Yes.

31:28 Natalie Dowzicky: So we’re gonna put it that way, which makes us super qualified to talk about life in the ‘80s just from our experience in Stranger Things.

31:38 Ellie Hamlett: I had to call my mom to prep for this. I said, “What was big in the ‘80s?”.

31:42 Landry Ayres: Do you guys think that’s one reason that this series has been so successful is that there is a sense of nostalgia for an era that perhaps people our age may not have experienced but for people a little bit older than us, they see as their childhood?

32:00 Natalie Dowzicky: I think in terms of audience, they did an excellent job of appealing to a wide audience. Like you just said, you’re gonna get… Our parents who look at that like nostalgia, you’re gonna get us and those who are slightly older than us but not old enough to be our parents yet, that know of a lot of these themes, but didn’t live through them. Obviously, I’ve seen most of the movies that we just listed, but it wasn’t something that I was growing up with which is definitely a different way I view the show, than my parents would view the show and obviously, they would have different opinions on how accurate certain themes are. But I think a big thing is that they’re gonna appeal to that wide of a range partially ’cause people are interested in how they portray the ‘80s.

32:42 Landry Ayres: Do you think there’s gonna be a Stranger Thing style show for the 1990s or even the 2000s where they take a bunch of references and homages to things that happen during those periods and make something out of them?

32:56 Natalie Dowzicky: We’re living in it right now.


33:00 Landry Ayres: Is there something that is such a clear aesthetic as what the 1980s is sort of pictured as. Or do we need a little more distance from it do you think for that to crystallize?


33:10 Ellie Hamlett: Definitely need some distance from it. But I’m picturing for the 2000s like frosted tips and denim on denim, very Britney Spears.

33:18 Natalie Dowzicky: And NSYNC, Backstreet Boys.

33:20 Ellie Hamlett: Oh yeah, we could do it. We should write it.

33:23 Natalie Dowzicky: Yeah.

33:23 Landry Ayres: There we go. That’s how we’ll do it.



33:38 Aaron Powell: Thanks for listening. If you liked what you heard, make sure to rate and review Free Thoughts in Apple podcasts or in your favorite podcast app. If you’d like to learn more about libertarianism, visit us on the web at www​.lib​er​tar​i​an​ism​.org.