Culture


Warning: Spoilers for Stranger Things 2 follow.

If you didn’t get up from your bed/couch all weekend because of Stranger Things 2, meet the other 4,501,677 of us! What did you order on Seamless? Anyway, it was totally worth it, though. Mostly because of Jim Hopper, Hawkins’ chief of police: the season’s MVP (according to Twitter and me, at least).

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Here are all the things we appreciate about our favorite Eggo-buying, monster-fighting, dad-bodding cop.

1. He can dance.

Sure, it’s dad dancing, but…his character was literally a dad.

This scene—in which Hopper tries to cheer Eleven up by showing her how to dance—was so iconic that there’s now a whole Twitter account dedicated to it. You can watch him jig to ’80s classics, right-now chart-toppers, or even the Friends theme song. It’s the best.

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2. Hopper might not be Eleven’s dad (yet), but he sure as hell acts like it—and doesn’t do a bad job.

From the season two trailers, we knew that Eleven probably survived her huge final battle with the Demogorgon from the first season. And the season one finale also teased a connection between Hopper and Eleven with a shot of the police chief wrapping some of her favorite food—Eggo waffles—and putting them in a hideyhole.

But this season, we discover that Eleven’s not only alive, but has been living with Hopper for almost a whole year. (353 days, which, by the way: 3 + 5 + 3 = 11. MIND BLOWN.) Hopper found her a safe place to live, is teaching her vocabulary and spelling, reading her bedtime stories, and keeping her supplied with freezer waffles.

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When it comes down to it, Hopper didn’t have to step up to become Eleven’s protector and guardian—but he did, and that makes him one of the most generous characters on the show. His choice has even more emotional resonance because we know he once had a young daughter, Sarah, who died tragically. So the result is a pretty magical bond between Hopper and Eleven:

3. When Hopper makes mistakes, they’re understandable ones—and he learns from them.

One of season two’s most heartbreaking arcs shows Eleven (understandably) chafing under Hopper’s rules. She’s not allowed to open the windows or go outside alone during the day. It’s obvious that he’s decided on these parameters for her own safety—the Hawkins lab people probably still want to get their hands on their experimental plaything—but for a little girl, it’s a lot to handle. Plus, she really, really wants to see Mike—but Hopper keeps putting it off, saying she’ll be able to see her friend “soon.” But that time just doesn’t seem to be coming. Eleven is furious, because, as she reminds Hopper, “Friends don’t lie.” (He also lied to Eleven about her mom, which is the worst.)

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From an adult’s perspective, it’s easy to see why he’s keeping her hidden from the rest of the world. Any additional people who are let into the secret of Eleven’s hiding place would be a risk. But their disagreement leads to a huge fight in which Eleven’s powers basically destroy the house’s insides, and Hopper yells at her. Yet instead of apologizing for his fibs—which at one point he seems to want to do—he just gruffly tells her to clean the house up.

Hopper is the adult in this situation, and it’s on him to be the bigger guy, obviously. He didn’t do his best in that difficult moment, but he does make a tearful apology to Eleven later that seems real and like a turning point for their relationship. Emotional awareness: It’s hot!

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4. All the other dads in the show are bad.

Hopper seems like an even better dad because most of the other dads in the show are plain awful. Take the Wheelers’ father, who is admittedly so terrible he’s likely a satirical take on bad dads: His signature moves are reading the newspaper and ignoring anything his family says. Then there’s Max and Billy’s father, who’s an abusive asshole. Of course, there’s “Papa,” Eleven’s torturer—a cruel take on a father figure, for sure. In comparison to this bunch of feckless fathers, Hopper’s paternal nature stands out.

5. He’s always been really good to Joyce.

Unsurprisingly, scores of Stranger Things fans look forward to the day that Hopper and Joyce Byers, Will’s long-suffering and kickass mom, get together. They went to high school together, bonded over Will’s disappearance in season one, and both know what it’s like to see their child suffer. Hopper was one of the only people who eventually believed that Will was still alive, and in season two, he does everything he can to help Joyce when her young son is in danger again. What a guy.

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6. David Harbour seems like the chillest guy.

Harbour, whom you might also remember from Revolutionary Road, State of Affairs, or Brokeback Mountain, has been super active on Twitter in support of the Netflix series. You can find him chiming in on fans’ questions and comments, and making cute jokes—sometimes at his own expense. Is he going to be in this high-schooler’s senior photos? GOD I HOPE SO. Gotta love a dude who is sweet to fans and is down for whatever.

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7. David Harbour got really buff, guys.

Hopper has always been an appealing character, both for his caring personality (hidden beneath a rougher exterior, of course) and rugged good looks, courtesy of actor David Harbour. But fans were wondering if something happened to Harbour between the two seasons of the show. And, well, yes…it did.

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Harbour’s training regime for an upcoming role in Hellboy was so effective that Stranger Things even worked in a few lines about Hopper going on a diet to make the change seem more realistic. Does anyone have some kind of electrolyte beverage? I need to rehydrate…is it hot in here? Help.

8. David Harbour is funny.

Exhibit A:

Wait, we were supposed to talk about Hopper, right? Everything is so confusing. Okay, maybe this shouldn’t be its own point. I just got so distracted by this photo.

9. Hopper is both a dad…and a daddy.

In a poll that has been deleted but lives on in screenshot infamy, Harbour invited fans to decide whether Hopper is a dad or a daddy.

But the best part about Hopper is that, yes: He’s both. You’re welcome. Have a nice day.



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