"Stranger Things" needs to keep Hopper and Joyce platonic for my sanity
I’m about to throw something very controversial out there: Stranger Things needs to keep Hopper and Joyce platonic for my sanity. I am serious, please do this for me.
I know, I know. How dare I ask for such a thing. The chemistry between these two characters is clearly there, as anyone who has watched both Season 1 and Season 2 of the Netflix series knows. Not only do these two have a history that dates back to high school, but now they’ve been brought together once again because there is a force of evil threatening their small town, and more importantly, Joyce’s son.
Basically, this is a clear cut situation for romantic tension, I KNOW. I am well aware. I have watched the first season, I have watched the second season, and just watching Police Chief Jim Hopper and single mom Joyce Byers interact makes me all warm and fuzzy inside. Like, remember how he keeps giving her his cigarettes, and she keeps choking while inhaling them, and he just kind of chuckles to himself about it? It’s downright adorable. Hopper, on his own, makes my heart all aflutter, but him being sweet to Joyce? It’s too much.
However, I also can’t deal with Joyce and Hopper being endgame, let alone OTP (OTP = one true paring, an acronym I have Googled too many times for my liking).
If you’re still here, and still reading, chance are you need to know why I feel this way about Stranger Things, and it is simple. There are far too few really good, strong, platonic male and female relationships on television right now — and Joyce and Hopper need to be one of them. Lately, it seems that no matter what show, whether comedy or drama, half hour or hour long, the main guy and the main girl have to get together. While this isn’t written in any Television Show Scripture, it’s basically gospel. I get it. I lived through Pam and Jim, I know what’s supposed to happen.
So it only makes sense if this is what happens between Hopper and Joyce, since — while the Duffer Brothers claim they’re not slowly bringing them together — it’s happening on screen. David Harbour openly ships these two, which is why I’m here to oppose this ship, and keep it in the dock instead (that was a boat reference).
The thing about Jopper — Joyce + Hopper — is that it’s absolutely not necessary to further the story of Stranger Things. These two adults both have lives of their own, and enough emotional baggage to fill up a few closets in the Byers house, maybe even the entire space under Hopper’s cabin floor. The story is about the kids, and their quest to save the world, and how the adults are here to help them. The story isn’t about Joyce and Hopper living happily ever after. Admit to yourself that, even though it’d be fun to see it play out on screen, these two are never going to live happily ever after together. There’s too much history, too many skeletons in the closet, too many trips back and forth to the Upside Down.
Instead, they need to stay really good, true platonic friends. That’s the relationship Joyce and Hopper need more than anything else. They need a friend. They’ve been let down so many times in life before, and what they need now is someone to rely on, and lean on (Joyce a little bit more than Hopper, but still). They don’t need someone to hop into bed with — though, FINE, it’s not like I would turn down a Hopper sex scene, it’s just not needed for the show, and I’m sorry I even brought it up because that’s probably all you’re thinking about now.
Speaking as someone who has more platonic male friends than I do female friends, I really appreciate seeing male and female relationships on screen where there is no romantic tension. Leave those stolen glances and butterflies on Stranger Things for Jonathan and Nancy. Meanwhile, Joyce needs to save Will, not fall into Hopper’s arms. Hopper needs to make sure Eleven is adjusting to life outside of the Upside Down, not planning a romantic weekend away with Joyce.
In short: I don’t want to see some sort of grand romance play out between the two of them. I am tuning into Stranger Things to see Eleven THROW THINGS WITH HER MIND and watch Steve babysit some kids. I’m not here for any mushy romance, and something like that would quickly turn me off the show.
The idea of this couple sounds great, but it shouldn’t happen. (And if only because, tbh, the only ship I support is me + Hopper, but now’s not the time for that.)