When it comes to the 1980s, sometimes you just had to be there.
Warning! This article contains Demogorgon-sized spoilers for Stranger Things 3.
Stranger Things loves to wear its references on its sleeve. Co-creators Matt and Ross Duffer don’t try to hide its influences, from Jaws in the first season to the amalgam of It, Stand By Me, and Red Dawn that makes up Stranger Things 3.
If you’re watching with your kids, many of Stranger Things 3’s 1980s references will probably go straight over their heads. Getting dressed up and getting your Glamour Shots taken at the mall, after all, is something the mallrats of Hawkins would definitely do in 1985, when the show takes place, but it's not something kids who have Instagram on their phone would know anything about. Those little tidbits will just whizz right by them.
Other times, the characters actually comment on the cultural ephemera around them, which may require a bit of explanation for the generation that sure, has probably seen Back to the Future, but didn’t grow up with memories of Phoebe Cates's red bikini in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. When you see them get a puzzled look on their faces, you’re going to have to give them an '80s pop-culture road map. Start by telling them about these totally awesome, completely radical 1980s references. (But you’re on your own for figuring out Planck’s Constant.)