The supporting characters of Stranger Things. Beware of spoilers.
The Wheeler Family
Mike and Nancy's mother. A housewife who serves as the voice of concern for her son and daughter, though only within the confines of their home.
- '80s Hair: Sports very full, blown out wings in Season 1, and then a frosted, hair-sprayed edifice come Season 2. Season Three shows her with very teased, blown out, curled hair even in a ponytail.
- Blonde Republican Sex Kitten: In Season 2 she has lightened and curled her hair and is implied to be voting Republican what with the Reagan/Bush '84 sign on their front yard. She was also implied to be talking favorably about Margaret Thatcher on the phone with a friend, possibly comparing her to the Democrat Geraldine Ferraro.
- Distracted by the Sexy: Becomes flustered and hilariously nervous when she meets Billy. Didn't help that his shirt was unbuttoned enough to expose his chiseled pecs and abs.
- Foil: To Joyce. A colder, still-married, and more stable mother that stays at home to watch her kids and who, despite her best efforts, has a hard time getting involved with the broader narrative.
- Girliness Upgrade: In the first Season, she typically wears plaid shirts and sensible slacks, but come Season 2, she sports a frosted, coiffed 80s hairdo, more make-up, and a more feminine wardrobe (pussy-cat bow blouses, pencil skirts etc). She also has a fairly fanservicy bathtub scene, where she greets a delighted Billy on her doorstep in a flowy, sexy bathrobe. Whilst she was undoubtedly pretty in Season 1, she goes full on Stacy's Mom in Season 2. Season 3 upgrades it even further with her in bold make-up matching a figure-hugging swimsuit, looking utterly like a movie star or star of another Netflix show set in the 1980s.
- Good Parents: She tries to reach out to both of her children, especially after Will's disappearance.
- Happy Marriage Charade: Her and Ted, according to Nancy, married out of convenience rather than love. Season 2 drives further the point that Ted and Karen are definitely not on the same page. Season 3 even has her nearly cheating on Ted with Billy.
- Hidden Depths:
- It's implied that she used to be closer to Mike and Nancy, but they've grown distant from each other. She does care deeply for them.
- She picks a lock with a hairpin, suggesting that she might have been something of a Former Teen Rebel.
- In season 3, she tenderly comforts Mike and Nancy when they're distraught, and provides the latter with genuinely good advice. Her talk to Nancy also implies that she once tried to make it in the world, but was eventually beaten down. She also is ultimately unable to go through with cheating on her husband.
- Horrible Judge of Character: She once found Ted to be a desirable choice to spend almost 20 years in a marriage and she still found Billy to be the desirable option even after witnessing him publicly humiliate an overweight child.
- I Coulda Been a Contender!: When she talks to Nancy about her struggles at the Hawkins Post, it's implied that she likely struggled with trying to make her mark on the world while feeling beat down by the misogynistic attitudes of her day.
- I Need a Freaking Drink: Especially in Season One, she is often seen with a glass of something in her hand, likely due to the monotony and her dissatisfaction with her marriage.
- If You Thought That Was Bad...: Sure, she's worried about Mike when the government agents kick her door in, looking for the boys and Eleven; what she doesn't know is that they have little to no inconvenience killing people that are tangentially in contact with the girl. Had the scrubs and agents not been preoccupied with locating the kids, Karen and Ted might have not come out alive and kicking.
- Locked Out of the Loop: She's visibly frustrated at the fact that her children don't talk to her. This leads her to seriously underestimate how deeply in trouble they are.
- Mama Bear: While not as prominent as Joyce, she was extremely frustrated and vocal when Brenner and Connie refused to tell her the details when her son was in danger. While not particularly insightful, she is shown to be a very doting parent.
- Mrs. Robinson: While she ultimately decides to not follow through on it, there's no mistake that she has major hots for Billy, who is roughly her daughter's age. In Karen's defense, she is married to Ted.
- Nice Girl: Brings food to Joyce in episode 3 and attempts to comfort her despite her off-putting and frantic behavior. She also possibly bought Will an Atari for Christmas in the finale, seeing how Joyce could hardly afford something like that.
- Out of Focus: Despite still receiving main character billing, Karen has very little screentime or plot significance in season 2.
- Parental Obliviousness: Doesn't realize that Mike is hiding Eleven in their basement, and ascribes any of his odd behavior solely to missing Will. By the time of episode seven of season three, shes lost complete track of two of her kids, guessing theyre probably off with friends and justifying her lack of knowledge as its summer!.
- Parents as People: She's loving, but her hesitation and obviously in-over-my-head-ness when it comes her older kids have helped build up walls between them all; they all know, but don't discuss it.
- Parents Know Their Children: She immediately picks up that Nancy is visibly altered by something that happened during her get-together (as Nancy just had her first sexual experience with Steve). She knows that something is obviously wrong, only that she cannot pinpoint what. Later, Nancy does confess because of Barb's disappearance.
- She's Got Legs: Her hanging out at the pool in Season 3 has her walking right into this trope.
- Skewed Priorities: Briefly slips into this when she learns Steve and Nancy slept together. Nancy calls her out on worrying about that when Barb has completely vanished and Karen clearly realizes her mistake immediately.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Look at Karen, then look at her husband. There's a discrepancy there. Nancy somewhat bitterly analyzes her parents' relationship as a Marriage of Convenience, with Karen as the younger Trophy Wife and Ted as the older partner providing the money.
- Your Cheating Heart: Subverted. She lusts after Billy and over the Summer plans to have a tryst with him, but at the last minute sees Ted sleeping in his armchair with Holly sleeping on his lap and realizes that she's throwing away a perfectly good family for a short-term thrill, prompting her to abandon her plans and stay home.
Theodore "Ted" Wheeler
Mike and Nancy's extremely laid-back and removed father.
- Adults Are Useless: The most prominent example in the show. He's useless whenever the family gets into an argument, speaks in lame baseball metaphors to a son who couldn't be less interested in sports, and instantly believes everything the government cover-up team tells him. Lampshaded in this exchange from "Dig Dug", when Dustin attempts to ask him where both of his children (who have been gone for days) are;Dustin: Son of a bitch. You're really no help at all, you know that?Ted: Hey, LANGUAGE!
- Demoted to Extra: Appears only twice in Season 3, and only has dialogue in one scene.
- Dissonant Serenity: No matter how crazy things get, Ted doesn't let that get to him. The guy just doesn't care; it's as simple as that.
- The Drag-Along: He doesn't act out of his own initiative, though it goes beyond the apparent. It's implied that Karen's apparent inaction towards their children is due to Ted talking her out of her concerns.
- Dumbass Has a Point: It's clear that he is not the most curious or intellectual man, but his hunch in Season 1 that the weird events surrounding Hawkins lab may have something to do with the Soviets more or less comes true, when the Soviets attempt to reopen the gate in Hawkins.
- Foil: To Lonnie Byers. Ted is a lot less charming and personable, but he's also a completely genuine individual who actively provides for his family and while he's undeniably distant, in his own way he does make an effort to be there for his loved ones. In short, he's more oblivious than outright neglectful.
- Hands-Off Parenting: If Ted was remotely more invested in the plights of his kids, Eleven would have been found out sooner. He seems to leave most of the parenting duties to Karen, only really contributing with the occasional admonishing comment, and always only at her overt insistence.
- Happy Marriage Charade: Him and Karen, according to Nancy, married out of convenience rather than love. Season 2 drives further the point that Ted and Karen are definitely not on the same page.
- Lazy Husband: When he isn't making clueless remarks and asides, he is often asleep on his chair in the living room especially when his wife is taking a bubble bath where she is supposed to be relaxing by candlelight reading a romance novel and listening to Streisand.
- Locked Out of the Loop: With a huge slice of "doesn't even want to know that there's a key to get into it". He's installed his own filters for so long, it's doubtful either Nancy or Mike have bothered telling him anything they think genuinely important for years. This might even have saved his life, ironically enough.
- Mellow Fellow: It is in general very hard to get a genuine rise out of him, but this unfortunately also is a problem for his relationship to his family.
- Misery Builds Character: Tells Mike that ties are supposed to be tight when they dress for Will's "funeral."
- Parental Neglect: A downplayed example; he's far from the worst parental figure on this show, but he is pretty checked-out when it comes to the lives and concerns of his kids, and usually puts in the barest effort possible into engaging with them (usually limited to chiding them for their language).
- Patriotic Fervor: When the government is at his door asking questions, his immediate response is to insist they trust them. And when told Eleven is a danger to Mike, his first response is to worry she's a spy. In Season 2, his house has a great big Reagan/Bush '84 sign in front of it, and it's revealed that the government spookshow easily secured his unqualified cooperation by taking his "Russian child agent" story and running with it. He even salutes them and calls his family patriotic Americans.Ted: My god, is she Russian?
- Skewed Priorities: The poster boy. Disappeared kids? He's got chicken to nibble! Government agents kick the door open asking for his son? Let's trust them!
- The Snack Is More Interesting: Ted doesn't stop eating dinner while the rest of the family engages in an emotionally charged conversation about Will's disappearance. Karen calls him on it by heatedly asking if he's enjoying the chicken. He doesn't even understand what she's mad about.
- Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Look at Ted, then look at his wife. There's a discrepancy there. Nancy somewhat bitterly analyzes her parents' relationship as a Marriage of Convenience, with Karen as the younger Trophy Wife and Ted as the older partner providing the money.
Mike and Nancy's youngest sister, an adorable toddler.
- Cassandra Truth:
- Is one of the few people besides Joyce who sees the thing living in her walls, but because of her young age, when she tells her mother, she isn't believed.
- In season 3, she notices the trees rustling at the Fourth of July festival but her parents encourage her to look at the fireworks.
- Children Are Innocent: She's only three years old, and usually with her mom, so she doesn't get into much trouble.
- The Cutie: Holly is absolutely adorable.
- Daddy's Girl: She is often found alongside her father. This becomes a plot point in Season 3, wherein Karen discovers Holly sleeping gently on Ted's lap in front of the TV. Such familial closeness ultimately reminds Karen that her responsibilities as a mother and a wife come first, and she stands up Billy's offer of a late-night tryst.
- Girlish Pigtails: Which add to her cuteness.
- Out of Focus: More so in season 2, season 3 shows her presence to be important to her mother deciding not to cheat on her father, and shows her spending time with her parents at the fair.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight:
- Sees Will trying to signal her with the lights and his attempts to push through the wall, but she's more confused than freaked out.
- In season 3 she spots the nearby trees rustling due to the Mind Flayer moving through them, but her parents ignore what she's saying and tell her to look at the fireworks.
Hawkins Police Department
Officer Calvin Powell
Chief Hopper's second-in-command in the investigation. A laid-back Police Officer, largely uninterested in the investigation.
- Clueless Deputy: Played with. What makes him clueless isn't so much a lack of intelligence, but rather the fact that he is too skeptical and uninterested to pick up on all the weird stuff happening in Hawkins. Hopper also seems to consider him the more reliable of his deputies. Given the competition, though...
- Salt and Pepper: Pepper to Callahan's salt.
- The Scully: He's not just skeptical, he's also lazy.
- The Slacker: Yes-no. It's not that he's completely clocked-out, but rather that he jumps on anything that could close a case both quickly and with the minimal hassle for him.
- Small Town Boredom: Contrary to the Chief, Officer Powell is ostensibly a small town cop unwilling to go the extra mile.
- Those Two Guys: He is often seen with Callahan by his side.
- Token Minority: The sole African-American in the little Hawkins police force.
- Too Soon: His quips tend to be really poorly timed, from cracking about Joyce's Sanity Slippage to suggesting Will is too dead for an interrogation just a few days into the search for him.
Officer Phil Callahan
One of Chief Hopper's officers with a tendency of speaking without thinking.
- Clueless Deputy: A more straight example than Powell. Compared to him, Callahan is very obviously none too bright.
- No Sympathy: No matter what crime he is investigating, this guy will feel not one iota of empathy towards the victim.
- Porn Stache: In Season 2, he's sporting a thick, bushy 'stache.
- Those Two Guys: Officer Powell is almost always with him.
Hawkins Police station's secretary and clerk. A grandmotherly figure.
- Apron Matron: She is the stern yet loving glue that holds the police department together. Her no-nonsense attitude appears to be the only thing protecting Hopper from himself at the start of the series.
- Cool Old Lady: She is completely unfazed by her co-workers' quirks, can snark back and forth with Hopper like a pro, and shows some admiration towards Jonathan for standing up for Nancy.
- The Face: The reason why she's the one to interact with the public the most is that she's not a Jerkass like everyone else in the station and is the one who shows the most empathy towards crime victims.
- Morality Chain: For Hopper and the police department as a whole.
- Only Sane Employee: She routinely has to remind Hopper and his deputees that yes, they have a duty to the citizens of their town and no, they can't laze around the station all day.
- Sassy Secretary: Shows shades of this, having somewhat of a sarcastic streak with Hopper and the deputies, but at the end of the day, always has their best interests at heart.
- The Reliable One: She serves unofficially as the person who talks to relatives at the station.
- Team Mom: Everybody at the station bows to her as if she were their momma. Played for comedy in Season 2 where she plucks a cigarette out of Hopper's mouth and replaces his donut with a piece of fruit all while briefing him on the business of the day.
Hawkins High School
Steve's friend and Carol's boyfriend. A guy with an extremely caustic personality.
- Birds of a Feather: His relationship with utter bitch Carol is a match made in heaven/hell — take your pick.
- The Bully: It comes with being a Jerk Jock. With the exception of his equally horrible girlfriend, Tommy picks on just about everyone.
- Demoted to Extra: For the majority of Season 2, although in the fourth episode, he informs Steve and Billy in the shower about Jonathan and Nancys relationship going back on. Needless to say, he is still the same, if not on a marginal level. By the events of Season 3, he is completely out of the main character's lives (not that anyone misses him, though).
- Even Evil Has Loved Ones: The cool and cruel Tommy and Carol have the most consistent relationship in the series. Barb says that they've probably been having sex since the 7th grade. They're always seen together and always support each other. When Steve loses his temper and yells at Carol in "The Bathtub," Tommy's temper explodes.
- Hate Sink: This jock has no redeeming qualities in his soulless bones, other than his love for the equally terrible Carol.
- Jerkass Has a Point: When Steve finally calls him out on his behavior, Tommy immediately points out that he's never stopped him.
- Jerk Jock: Tommy is on the basketball team and is aggressively unpleasant.
- Poisonous Friend: It doesn't take him long to try spiking Steve's relationship with Nancy. For what looks suspiciously like the giggles. Begs the question of just how much of their relationship is for the lulz on his end.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Most of Steve's poor behavior is due to Tommy's hateful influence. He eventually comes to realize that Tommy and Carol only serve to bring out the worst in him. Steven undergoes a lot of character development as Tommy and Carol's influence on him fades.
Tommy's girlfriend. An equally caustic girl with a chip on her shoulder.
- Alpha Bitch: Played with. She's a clear-cut example of trope of a catty popular girl who torments those she sees as inferior, but normally seems to hang out in a group of friends entirely consisting of guys (aside from herself).
- Birds of a Feather: She's basically a gender-flipped version of her boyfriend Tommy. It's a horrible thing to see in action.
- Bitch Alert: She doesn't even try to pretend to be nice. Just about every word out of her mouth is abuse and condescension.
- The Bully: Just like her boyfriend, Carol enjoys taunting people.
- Demoted to Extra: Appears in the first episode of Season 2 admiring Billy with two other girls and in the background of the second episode. By Season 3, she is completely absent from the main storyline (not that anyone seems to care).
- Even Evil Has Standards: She actually seems distressed when Steve and Jonathan are fist-fighting and tries to get Tommy to break it up.
- Hate Sink: Like Tommy, Troy, and James, she is a bratty ass bully who treats Nancy and Jonathan (two major characters) like dirt. With little to no redeeming qualities whatsoever, she is probably one of the one-dimensional characters in the show.
- Hypocrite: Slut-shames Nancy after having previously made fun of a teacher for (allegedly) being a virgin. In addition, it's hinted that she and Tommy have played the full baseball game, themselves.
- Jerkass: Every bit as much of an unpleasant, braying jackass as Tommy.
- Poisonous Friend: If Nancy thought she could eventually be, if not fast friends, than at least friendly with this little viper, she was horribly mistaken. But, Steve was the most mistaken of all.
- Slut-Shaming: On the giving end of it towards Nancy, going as far to help spray paint "Nancy the slut Wheeler" on a movie theater marquee. This also drives home what a hypocrite she is, as it's well known that she and Tommy have slept together plenty of times.
- Toxic Friend Influence: Guess who supplies some of the slut-shaming ideas to both Tommy and Steve?
Hawkins Middle School
Prof. Scott Clarke; Mr. Clarke
The boys' science teacher. A friendly, knowledgeable man and enthusiastic teacher.
- Adorkable: Mr. Clarke is clearly passionate about science and is shown to be knowledgeable about Dungeons and Dragons, but his enthusiasm for teaching, his willingness to answer the boys' questions at inopportune times and general demeanor make him a lovable dork.
- Cool Teacher: He's a smart, compassionate man who loves his job and acts as a mentor to the AV Club. He even purchases a ham radio for our kid heroes to play around with during lunch. Mr. Clarke is also familiar with Dungeons & Dragons, which serves as a plot point, explains parallel dimensions to the boys, and tries to console them at Will's funeral. He even tells them how to build a sensory deprivation tank at night while on a date! Season 3 reveals that he has an absolutely massive custom built and painted D&D board in his basement.
- Demoted to Extra: Has a significantly smaller role in Season 2 and only a single scene in Season 3.
- I Have This Friend...: His students milk him for advice by claiming that all of its applications exist in the realm of the hypothetical.
- Interrupted Intimacy: Dustin easily guilts him into telling him how to create a sensory deprivation tank "for fun"... with the aid of the fact that he's in such a rush to get back to his date, that he gives the boy potentially dangerous scientific information despite trepidations.
- Kavorka Man: He's just as geeky as the main characters, but he's got an attractive girlfriend at home.
- Meaningful Name: Given that he explains the some of the more fantastic aspects of Upside-Down in scientific terms that the boys can understand, he may have been named for Arthur C. Clarke.
- Nice Guy: He's in the running for the most kind-hearted citizen in Hawkins, and is one of the first volunteers to go out searching for Will.
- Locked Out of the Loop: The boys actively try to keep him out of what is happening quite deliberately by framing everything in hypotheticals and throwing smokescreens up. They do both like and, to a great extent, trust him. But, they also know exactly how crazy everything sounds. And, that it would be his job to report them.
- Reasonable Authority Figure: He is shown to be remarkably caring and nurturing of the kids' pursuits regardless of the weirdness of their requests and the appropriateness of the situation.
- Red Herring: In Season 3, following the revelation that Billy was flayed there is an extended shot of Scott doing something shifty while Joyce is ringing his house bell. It powerfully indicates that poor Mr. Clark has also been Flayed...then it's revealed he was just really focused on painting his D&D miniatures.
- Science Is Bad: And very, very cool, but it's mostly unforgiving on the careless, therefore he advises that his students treat it safe. Which is this trope played for the better: safety goggles are needed for a reason.
- Sempai/Kohai: He was Bob Newby's underclassman and friend, this being the reason why he mentors the AV club at school (Bob being Clarke's mentor himself).
- Small Role, Big Impact: His scenes are few and far between, yet his explanations on electromagnetism gave Joyce the knowledge to investigate the latest town conspiracy that would lead to her helping to thwart the Soviets.
- Super Gullible: The various lies that the boys have fed to him (Eleven is from Sweden, the boys are "in mourning" immediately before Dustin complains about the lack of Nilla Wafers, and they're building a sensory deprivation tank "for fun") really, really have no business working on him. His excuse could be that he's aware they're lying, but assumes mostly benign or childish reasons lie behind the awkward. It's not like "interdimensional shenanigans and governmental conspiracies" would be your first guess, either, in his shoes. It could also overlap with Plausible Deniability, the less he knows, the less he'd have to tell anyone else.
- Unwitting Pawn: He's fooled by Brenner's men into revealing the names of the children in his AV club, under the pretense of enrolling them in a state-wide AV project. Brenner's men knew that Eleven was in the AV room and therefore any kid who used it could have seen her.
The boys' classmate and school bully. A cruel, mocking kid.
- Ax-Crazy: Not at first, but when El humiliates him in front of the whole school, he becomes murderously angry.
- Barbaric Bully: He tries to outright kill Mike by threatening to cut Dustin's teeth out of his mouth! That's some Henry Bowers-level shit.
- Bully Brutality: He threatens Dustin at knifepoint so that Mike jumps into the gorge. Even his friend James is apprehensive about him taking it too far.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Troy is (thankfully) absent from the remainder of the series. This is mostly because Peyton Wich was not asked to return as well as his character's totally negative reception.
- Disproportionate Retribution: Eleven made him pee himself in front of the whole school. His response is to try to kill Mike in retribution. The kid's messed up, alright.
- Enfant Terrible: Easily the cruelest, most malicious kid in the show.
- Freudian Excuse: His mother is very easily played, and it's strongly implied that she never holds him accountable for any of the things she does find out about.
- Hate Sink: There are no redeeming qualities beneath his bullying. Unlike Steve, he never reforms, or shows any remorse for his actions.
- Jerkass: Who taunts the friends of a missing, possibly dead, kid, saying that he was killed?
- Knife Nut: He carries a knife around, which he uses to make threats against his victims.
- Knight of Cerebus: Despite not being a significant threat in the series, the scene in which he tries to kill both Mike and Dustin is pretty dark and realistic.
- Playing the Victim Card: After Eleven breaks his arm with her powers, he goes with his mother to the police to try to have her arrested, claiming she attacked him for no good reason, conveniently leaving out the fact that he was trying to murder Mike at the time.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: He derisively refers to the dark-skinned Lucas as 'midnight' and makes homophobic comments about Will.
- Potty Failure: Eleven makes him piss himself in front of the entire school.
- Sadistic Choice: He bullies Mike into jumping into a gorge by threatening to cut out Dustin's teeth. Considering what Hopper said in an earlier episode, the drop would have been fatal.
- Sanity Slippage: Not at first, but he becomes downright psychotic after some choice humiliation.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With James.
- Troubling Unchildlike Behavior: He exhibits the standard bullying tactics of name-calling and tripping up his victims, but he well and truly crosses the line into this territory when he grabs Dustin and threatens to chisel his teeth out with a knife. It's pretty clear that whatever's up with him and his home-life, it's very far from normal.
- "Uh-Oh" Eyes: Due to his actor having rather deep-set, dark eyes, Troy looks positively demonic when angry.
The boys' other school bully. Mainly tags along with Troy.
- The Bully: He is Troy's stooge and bullies the heroes alongside him.
- Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Like Troy, no explanation is given for his absence in the remainder of the show.
- Even Evil Has Standards: He may be a bully and a serious jerk, but even he's disturbed by some of Troy's actions.
- Jerkass: A nasty person all around, but he serves mostly as Troy's enabler. And, even he grows a little hesitant to go that far.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Uses racist and homophobic slurs.
- Those Two Bad Guys: With Troy.
The Holland Family
Barbara "Barb" Holland
Nancy's best friend and reluctant voice of reason.
- Adorkable: With her quirky sense of fashion, giant 80s glasses, shyness, and being a darn good friend, Barb is the perfect fusion of adorable and dorky.
- Academic Athlete: According to "Stranger Things Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-The-Scenes Companion", she was noted to be playing Varsity Softball while being a Class Treasurer and public library volunteer, and a member of the Key Club, National Honor Society, Rotary Youth Exchange, and a Mathlete.
- Alone Among the Couples: At Steve's party, she's forced to fifth-wheel alongside Carol/Tommy and Steve/Nancy.
- Ambiguously Gay: Even for a best friend, she's quite protective and devoted to Nancy, and her hurt and dejection after being told by Nancy to go home while she stays with Steve at the party can be read as romantic rejection, but it's never really developed one way or another. Not least because she is abducted into the Upside Down and brutally killed mere moments after.
- Band Geek: According to "Stranger Things Worlds Turned Upside Down: The Official Behind-The-Scenes Companion", Barb played the first clarinet in the Marching Band.
- Cruel and Unusual Death: She is abducted into the Upside Down and dragged offscreen screaming before she can escape the monster. We see her badly mutilated and half eaten corpse in the penultimate episode, confirming her demise was quite gruesome.
- Dead All Along: Nancy is worried that Barb might have been killed just like Will, only that Will wasn't killed, but Barb was. She doesn't get confirmation until El finds out while searching for both in the Upside-Down.
- Death by Sex: Inverted. She is the only one at the party not to have sex and is taken while everyone else at Steve's party is hooking up.
- The Drag-Along: Sensible, dependable Barb really has no interest in partying at Steve's house with jerks like Tommy H and Carol, but Nancy convinces her to come along, and she reluctantly agrees. She really only stays out of well-founded concern for Nancy, and gets abducted to the Upside Down by the Demogorgon whilst patiently waiting for her on the patio.
- Face Full of Alien Wing-Wong: Her mutilated, decaying corpse is found by Eleven with a larger version of the worm-thing Will coughed up emerging from her mouth.
- Famous Last Words: "Nancy!"
- Foregone Conclusion: We as the audience know for a fact that Barb was murdered by the Demogorgon less than five minutes after it abducted her, but Nancy and subsequently nobody else knows what has happened to her. When her ultimate fate is revealed in Episode 7 "The Bathtub", foregone conclusion it may be, but seeing her mutilated corpse is gut wrenching and heartbreaking at the same time, especially at the thought that an innocent girl had died so horrifically.
- Gas Leak Cover Up: Invoked and played with. Investigator Murray argues that in order to hit Hawkins Lab where they will hurt, he, Nancy and Jonathan have to set up a considerably less outlandish version of the truth of Barb's death. In their version, instead of Barb being pulled to a parallel dimension and killed via a rift that the Hawkins Lab personnel forcibly opened, Barb would have died from a poisonous experimental gas leak that the lab coats tried to cover up. Contrary to the trope itself, it's not the suits who are trying to push the story, but rather Barb's friends trying to exact punishment from the offending party, who otherwise would have been given the benefit of the doubt.
- Gory Discretion Shot: We don't quite see her body in full (with the exception of her face), but she was clearly dispatched quite gruesomely after being dragged back into the pool.
- Gut Feeling: Barb has 20:20 vision when it comes to the internal dynamic of the terrible trio Nancy is trying to make friends with to get with one of them. And, wasn't all that wrong about how awfully the pool party would go for her in their company, either. Unfortunately for her, "party-crashing monster from beyond the dimensional veil" would have needed a full-blown crystal ball and tarot deck, not just a good gut.
- Kill the Cutie: With her large glasses, mom jeans, coy demeanor, porcelain features, red hair, and her loyalty towards Nancy, it's hard to not find Barb endearing. This is likely why so many audience members were upset when she was confirmed to be dead.
- Meganekko: Wears glasses the size of dinner plates, apropos to the time period.
- Missing White Woman Syndrome: Subverted and deconstructed. In an age where teens were allowed to be more free-range, going missing even when you are a white young woman doesn't get the authorities all that bothered, especially after only a couple of days of it.
- Nerd Glasses: She sports very large Sally Jessy Raphael style glasses which, along with her penchant for voluminous high-waisted pants and high-necked blouses, lend her a rather momsy, mature look.
- Nice Girl: Barb is perhaps the nicest teenager in the show (along with Nancy), being excited for Nancy and her budding relationship with Steve, but also concerned for her when she begins to hang around jerkasses Tommy H and Carol. She also waits for Nancy when she goes upstairs with Steve, despite her telling Barb that she can go home.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: She goes to the party with Steve and his friends to make sure Nancy doesn't get too drunk. Even after Nancy tells Barb that she can go home, Barb remains nearby out of concern for her friend. This ultimately leads to her getting abducted and killed by the Demogorgon.
- The Reliable One: From being a pre-test quiz mistress to having a car, compassion and common sense, Barb is great to have in your corner.
- Revealing Cover Up: When her car is oh-so conveniently found by ever-so convenient state troopers right by the bus station, it all but confirms to Hopper that the "Energy Department" is definitely behind everything going on in Hawkins.
- The Runaway: Invoked, as this is the initial presumption of her disappearance. As most of the search efforts are concentrated on finding Will, Barb's own disappearance largely goes under the radar. El finds out that she was taken to the Upside Down and killed by the Demogorgon; when Hopper and Joyce venture into the beast's lair, they find Barb's dead body next to Will. Season 2 reveals the government is still lying that it's a disappearance.
- Sacrificial Lamb: She's the first in our world to be eaten by the monster while her friend gets laid.
- Sarcastic Devotee: A loyal friend to Nancy, but frequently snarks about her relationship with Steve and his party.
- Shrinking Violet: She's extremely uncomfortable at Steve's party.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Despite being killed off less than halfway through Season 1. Not only does her death lead to Nancy realizing the existence of the Demogorgon, and in turn down the path of the other main characters, but it also serves as the final nail in the shutdown of Hawkins Laboratory.
Mr. Holland & Marsha Holland
- Adult Fear: Despite the brevity of the scene, the phone call that Nancy makes to Marsha in the first season, where it rapidly becomes clear that neither of them has any idea of Barb's whereabouts, is chilling for any parent to watch.
- Gaslighting: The Lab does this to them — badly. Because of the "Department of Energy's" piss-poor attempt at selling the "Barb ran off to the bus station and got on a Greyhound to wherever" story (rather than coming up with a more character-appropriate reason for her disappearance, a fake body or a Jane Doe report meeting their daughter's description, the idiots just left Barb's ultimate fate hanging), they (quite naturally) still tried digging into their daughters disappearance with Murray's help — since worried parents do this kind of thing. This then got Nancy, Steve (well, somewhat) and Jonathan to feel guilty about not being able to tell them what had happened and inadvertently joining in on adding to this terribly wrong narrative, especially as the Hollands were sinking their house and savings into looking. Which got the kids to move against the Lab more actively. Nice job, Brenner & Co.
- Good Parents: Post-disappearance, they are both willing to blow all their money to either get their child back or at least find out what happened to her.
- Housewife: Marsha is a classic example, as she is seen at home during the day wearing an apron, preparing the family meal. The fact that she later offers only KFC to Steven and Nancy speaks volumes about her state of mind at that point.
- Huge Guy, Tiny Girl: Played with, Mrs. Holland is a tall and solidly-built woman like her daughter was, but her husband dwarfs her with his large physique.
- Oblivious Guilt Slinging: They are upbeat about the possibility of finally tracking down Barb, unaware that their dinner guests know exactly what happened to her but can't bring themselves to tell them.
- Outliving One's Offspring: Sadly is the case for them, as Barb was taken to the Upside Down and killed there.
- Parents Know Their Children: Which is why they knew what they were told about Barb's disappearance was a pile of BS.
The Ives Family
Teresa "Terry" Ives
A middle-aged catatonic woman and former subject of Dr. Brenner's experiments.
- Adult Fear: Her baby was taken from her.
- Ambiguous Situation: In the first season, it's not known whether Terry went insane from the pressure of her efforts to fight the government, or the scrubs at Hawkins did something to her to shut her up once and for all. Season 2 confirms that Terry was subjected to brutal electroshock therapy. This, combined with the trauma of losing- and briefly finding, only to lose again- her daughter, is what fried her brain and made her the Empty Shell we see today.
- And I Must Scream: This is precisely what Terry's Madness Mantra means: Terry has been seeing certain things and hearing certain words related to Jane's kidnapping on loop for years now - Becky telling her to breathe as she goes into labor. The sunflowers in her hospital room where she's lied to and told Jane was stillborn. The combination on the safe she gets the gun out of to go get Jane back at any cost. The rainbow on the doorframe outside Jane's room, where she finally confirms she was always right and Jane was kidnapped. And finally, horrifically, the voltage Brenner ordered the shock therapy machine turned to when it fried her mind. Breathe. Sunflower. Three to the right, four to the left. Rainbow. Four-fifty. Breathe... Her worst memories on repeat for eternity - Becky says Terry's stuck in a dream she hopes is good, but really Terry's been subjected to a hellish Fate Worse than Death. And by the time Eleven leaves, Becky knows. Imagine her caring for her sister now, hearing those words and knowing what they mean.
- Cassandra Truth: No one believed her when she told the world that she carried a baby to term and was taken away from her. The problem lied in the fact that she tried to fight a battle against the very people that held all records of the events with nothing but her word to show for it. Taking matters into her own hands, she broke into Hawkins Lab to find her daughter, finding her in the "Rainbow Room", where she was eventually captured and subjected to a lobotomy.
- Conspiracy Theorist: What her sister Becky describes Terry devolved into. It reached the point where it became Big Brother Is Watching until she lost her sanity. It's later revealed that she was lobotomized by Hawkins Lab personnel.
- Daddy Had a Good Reason for Abandoning You: Gender Flipped, but still. She never intended to abandon Jane, and only abandoned her after being driven to insanity by electroshock therapy.
- Empty Shell: Her traumatic past has taken its toll on poor Terry, though Season 2 shows that Brenner running a powerful electrical current through her head has more than a little to do with that. We see her sitting in her wheelchair with an apathetic Thousand-Yard Stare.
- Faking the Dead: She claimed that her baby was taken away from her and that all records were faked in order to show that she aborted the baby. All signs point to the possibility that Eleven is her daughter Jane, though Eleven wasn't the only child they experimented upon.
- Gaslighting: The government spent such an effort trying to convince the world that she miscarried her daughter, that Terry went insane; sure, she still has the right idea, but the government made sure to destroy everything else in her mind, rendering her unable to fend for herself. Season 2 reveals that her present state is a result of her attempt to bust into Hawkins Lab and find Jane. She succeeded in that much, before Brenner caught her and essentially had her brain deep fried.
- Guinea Pig Family: She was experimented upon as a young woman, and her possible daughter was too.
- I Was Quite a Looker: With a side of She Cleans Up Nicely; She isn't ugly but being catatonic, she isn't able to put some attention to her appearance aside from pulling her hair back and dressing in clothes. When she was a young woman in the 70s, she was a very pretty lady with golden locks and stylish clothing.
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: The scientists at Hawkins Lab literally fried her brain with 450 volts of electricity after she broke into the lab to look for her daughter, leaving every single one of her memories removed forever except for her worst ones, which she endlessly repeats to this day.
- Madness Mantra: She is in a permanent, semi-catatonic state, endlessly repeating the refrain "Breathe. Sunflower. Rainbow. Three to the right, four to the left. 450." It turns out that this apparent nonsense is linked to her memories of losing Jane to the researchers at Hawkins Lab, and her desperate attempts to get her back. It is all that she has left of her daughter.
- Mama Bear: She fought so much to try to prove her child was alive that her mind broke under the pressure, or at least that's what her sister Becky thinks. Turns out, she was lobotomized to keep her quiet once and for all.
- Mind Rape: She was experimented upon, gaining telekinetic powers in the process. Thing is, she was pregnant at the time and they took her full-term baby from her when it was born. This crime against her shattered her mind and left her catatonic.
- Parents Know Their Children: She refuses to believe anything but the fact that her child is still alive and will come back to her.
- Psychic Link: Played with. It's not yet know whether she indeed developed psychokinetic powers, but this opens the possibility that Terry is not just insisting out of wishful thinking, but rather, that she's fully aware that her daughter is alive because they might indeed share a link. This is confirmed in Season 2.
- Psychic Powers: While she can't do anything on the scale of her daughter, she can manipulate small electronics and share memories with Eleven through their Psychic Link.
- So What Do We Do Now?: Even if she were to get her child back, she is in no position to raise anyone, as she's already off her rocker and completely unable to even take care of herself. As Eleven sadly finds out.
- Tested on Humans: All sorts of things were done to her bordering the fringes of Psychic Powers.
- Unwitting Test Subject: Subverted. She volunteered for the experiments and paid no mind to what was being done to her until she found out that she was pregnant... and the scrubs had shown some vested interest in the prospective daughter. All hell broke lose from that point forward.
- The Woobie / Wheelchair Woobie: She is arguably the most tragic character on the show, who didn't even die a gruesome death. After a near fatal birthing process, her baby daughter is taken from her- which she witnesses, but nobody believes her. Then when she goes to save her daughter from the Hawkins Lab, Dr. Brenner and his men capture her, and strap her to a table, where they electrocute her brain to the extreme (450). Henceforth she is left brain-dead, with nothing but the worst, painful memories of her life. As a result, she now lives disabled.
- You Are Too Late: Hopper and Joyce come to talk to her about the experimentation done on her past, but she had been rendered catatonic years ago by Brenner pumping her brain full of electricity. They leave empty-handed.
Rebecca "Becky" Ives
Terry's younger sister and main caretaker.
- Agent Scully: She received the brunt force of Terry's breakdown, so she is not so inclined in believing her claims of a "lost child".
- Arbitrary Skepticism: Played with. She's aware that Terry was experimented upon, but she doesn't believe in a missing child or the whole superpowers claims. It's hard to blame her, considering how outlandish it sounds. El showing up in Season 2 and opening the door with her powers puts a pin in that.
- But for Me, It Was Tuesday: When Hop and Joyce visit her and Terry, it's markedly clear that Becky has had to deal with people asking names and nosing around for a long time.
- Cool Aunt: After she learns that Jane is actually her niece, she immediately wants to take care of her and does her best to help her.
- Nice Girl: She loves her sister dearly and takes care of her the best she can. What's more, when Eleven tracks her and Terry down and proves that she's Jane Ives, Becky shows herself to be a very loving and attentive aunt. She even asks Eleven to stay and live with her, and apologizes to her for not believing that she existed.
- Promotion to Parent: She's her sister, Terry's, only carer and becomes this for Jane as Terry can't take of her.
The Hargrove Family
Billy's father and Maxine's stepfather.
- Abusive Dad: Is both physically and verbally abusive toward Billy, which goes a long way toward explaining Billy's Jerkass behavior.
- Crazy Jealous Guy: Implied by Max that he didn't like the amount of time that she was spending with her biological father, which is what was the catalyst of the Hargroves moving from California.
- Domestic Abuse: He physically attacked his first wife for the crime of encouraging Billy's love of surfng.
- Evil Counterpart:
- To Jim Hopper — Like Jim he commands obedience and is prone to angry outbursts when their step-children go missing, and generally have a tough time disciplining said step-children. However unlike Jim, Neil is not shown to have a soft, fatherly side or any of Hopper's other likable traits.
- To a lesser extent, he is also one to Lonnie Byers, who was only shown as emotionally abusive, but not physically, and seems to have a better temper by comparison.
- Hate Sink: One of the most despicable adults in the show. He is one of the reasons for Billy's repugnant behavior, and is also incredibly hotheaded and aggressive. Even in-universe, when El sees the past Neil's abuse in Billy's memories, she expresses great disgust at him as she looks for "the source".
- Jerkass: He's a stern, vicious man who exhibits a variety of intolerant behaviors and is shown to be violently abusive to his son.
- Jerkass Has a Point: He's a violent and bigoted asshole who seems to expect Billy to keep constant watch over Max. Nevertheless, he is understandably angry when he realizes Billy let Max wander off.
- Karma Houdini: He wrecked Billy's life and since he doesn't appear in any present scenes in Season 3, it's likely he never gets his comeuppance. Extra sad is that Billy was ultimately the one to pay the price in the end. Even worse, the only other people who could punish Neil are in no position to do so at the end of Season 3, as El (who saw past Neil in Billy's memories) loses her powers and moves away, while Hopper (who El could have tipped off) is missing or potentially also dead.
- Kick the Son of a Bitch: Subverted. Whatever satisfaction that could be had from watching him verbally and physically beat Billy down will be lost when you realize that's precisely why Billy is a son of a bitch in the first place.
- Papa Wolf: He seems to be quite protective of Max, and wants Billy to look out for her. Even if he has to beat him into submission to get it done.
- Politically Incorrect Villain:
- Chews Billy out for "staring at himself in the mirror like a faggot" and offhandedly refers to the girl he's planning a date with as a "whore". Makes you wonder how his wife feels.
- As seen from Billy's childhood, he's incredibly insecure when it comes to masculinity, considering his first wife's loving nature to be weakening Billy.
- Soft-Spoken Sadist: How he talks down to Billy is a mix of this and Hair-Trigger Temper. Billy then talks to Max the same way.
Max's mother and Billy's stepmother.
- '80s Hair: Her strawberry blonde hair is permed and coiffed to high heaven.
- Adults Are Useless: Hardly around enough to see how much of an asshole her stepson is to her daughter.
- Parental Neglect: Doesn't seem to have that much of presence in Max's life, and while clearly bothered by Neil's abuse of Billy, she does and says nothing about it.
- Put on a Bus: She and Neil are suspiciously absent from Season 3.
- Useless Bystander Parent: Not only is she not around to keep Max safe, but she sees her husband physically manhandle his son and just stands there horrified. Granted, she was likely afraid of how he might react if she tried to intervene.
- Asshole Victim: Tom and Bruce go through a Trauma Conga Line of being Flayed, beaten up, liquefied, turned into a freakish chimera abomination, then absorbed into the Mind Flayer's physical body. Considering the kind of people they were, though, it's hard to feel sorry for either of them.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: The editor of the local paper and possibly his entire staff become pawns to some overarching danger right around the time Soviets invade Hawkins. There's clearly meant to be an Orwell-style allegory.
- Fat Bastard: At least one of the men who bullies Nancy is obese.
- Pick on Someone Your Own Size: All the staff are in their 40s and 50s, yet bully teenage interns.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: The male staff all show a regressive attitide towards women, especially women who show ambition.
- Strawman News Media: Possibly the least reliable source of information until conspiracy theorists discovered Patreon. They routinely ignore any topics of interest Nancy brings up based on her gender and lack of experience, then at least two of them become servants of the Mind-Flayer.
Heather's father and the Editor-in-Chief at the Hawkins Post.
- Da Editor: Of the Hawkins Post.
- Happy Marriage Charade: With his wife Janet, obviously being married to a misogynist who mistreats his teenage interns is not pleasant at all.
- Jerkass: Cruelly joins on making fun of Nancy (who is the same age as his daughter) with the other male employees of the paper (albeit not nearly as much as Bruce does.)
- Jerkass Has a Point: Ironically, it's only after getting flayed and trying to cover for the Big Bad that he shows any ethics. And technically he's right since Nancy and Jonathan committed fraud, broke into a senior citizen's house and tried to publish a story that came from an unreliable source.
- Mean Boss: At least to Nancy, being generally dismissive and somewhat condescending towards her.
- Orifice Invasion: Subjected to this alongside his wife by the Mind-Flayer.
A journalist for the Hawkins Post.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: He is eventually possessed by the Mind Flayer alongside Tom. Needless to say, his already creepy and assholish demeanor is amplified under its influence.
- Hate Sink: He's an even more obnoxious of a bully towards Nancy than Tom and doesn't even have his love for his family to redeem him.
- He-Man Woman Hater: His behavior towards Nancy gives off this vibe, the worst sexist men in Sterling Cooper would find him horrid.
- Jerkass: Every scene of his is spent bullying/demeaning Nancy with childish pranks and misogynistic comments.
- More Than Mind Control: When he gets flayed and attacks Nancy, his taunting use of her nickname implies that he's not truly a puppet of the Mind Flayer. A more accurate descrption would be that his nastier tendencies have been enhanced.
- Troll: He seems to get a real kick out of being a general asshole, going the extra mile to annoy Nancy more than most anyone else in the office.
- '80s Hair: Sports a teased and curled style in Season 3.
- Bourgeois Bohemian: Implied. She's not vocal about her political beliefs like the usual trope, she does display a Mondale/Ferraro '84 sign in her front yard and lives in the same hilly, upper-middle class area of Hawkins as the Sinclairs and Wheelers.
- Kind Hearted Cat Lover: A loving and supportive mother who is very attached to their cat Mews. After Mews died (as far as she knows the cat "disappeared"), she is seen snuggling a new kitten at the 2nd season finale.
- Nice Girl: Very sweet, close and loving with her son, dotes on her cat.
Chief Hopper's late daughter with his former wife Diane.
- The Cutie: One of the reasons her dad has been long unable to cope with her loss. She was a cute little button.
- Daddy's Girl: She was Hop's pride and joy.
- Ill Girl: She had a terminal disease that kept her in the hospital for the last days of her life.
- Littlest Cancer Patient: Implied Trope. She had fainting spells whereas her mom and dad took her to the hospital to find out that she presumably had cancer.
- Morality Pet: Sara is one of the reasons her dad is fiercely protective of Eleven, as she was the object of much of his kindness.
- Posthumous Character: Her demise is the source of Hopper's grief, aggressiveness and bouts with alcoholism. It's also presumed to have caused his divorce.
Mr. and Mrs. Sinclair
- Dad the Veteran: Mr. Sinclair had fought in the Vietnam War.
- Good Parents: Involved, loving, and expecting their children to behave well. Compared to the Byers and the Wheelers, theyre presented as a more stable, functional family.
- Happily Married: In contrast to most of the parents on the show, theyre presented as a loving couple who are affectionate with one another.
- Nuclear Family: A classic example made up of mom, dad, son and younger daughter.
- Women Are Wiser: Apparently one of the reasons that Mr and Mrs Sinclair have such a good relationship is that Mr Sinclair has learned to subscribe to this; when Lucas is asking him for advice on talking to girls and brings up how Mr Sinclair mends fences with his wife even when she is in the wrong, Mr Sinclair's response is to half-jokingly quip "She's never wrong."
The towering owner of a diner and a friend of Chief Hopper. He is the first resident of Hawkins that encounters Eleven.
- Boom, Headshot!: His unfortunate fate at the hands of Connie Frazier.
- Gentle Giant: He's big, muscle-bound and intimidating, but he shelters and feeds Eleven for the short time he met her.
- It's Personal: Eleven squishes Connie Frazier's brains the next time they meet because of Benny's assassination.
- Never Suicide: Brenner has his murder staged to look like a suicide, but Hopper doesn't totally buy it.
- Nice Guy: He initially runs after Eleven because she's stealing from him, but the second he realizes she's in some kind of trouble and is not mentally well, he becomes a very benevolent presence.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: He discovers a dirty, starving little girl in his kitchen, and after realising she requires aid, he cleans her up, gives her fresh clothes, feeds her burgers and ice cream, and phones Social Services in an attempt to help her. His ultimate reward is to be murdered by the DOE and have his death staged as a suicide.
- O.O.C. Is Serious Business: Hopper justifiably suspects foul play in Benny's "suicide", as he knew him personally. He just wasn't the kind of guy that would attempt such a thing.
- Sacrificial Lamb: His death goes some way to establishing just how ruthless Brenner and his cronies are.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: In fact, he's killed within the same episode he's introduced.
- You Know Too Much: Merely interacting with Eleven was his death sentence.
Bob "the Brain" Newby
Joyce's boyfriend at the start of Season 2 and head of Hawkins' Radio Shack.
- Action Survivor: He's not a fighter like Jim, but still risks his life to open the research lab's doors. This trope is sadly deconstructed immediately afterwards; thanks to his nerves and inexperience, Bob makes a couple of mistakes such as leaving his gun behind and knocking over a broom that get him killed.
- Actor Allusion: When shown the map of the tunnels, he asks "What's at the 'X'? Pirate treasure?"
- Adorkable: Is delightfully nerdy, which is likely why he gets along with Will more than Jonathan. Especially evident on Halloween when he dresses up like classic Dracula, complete with cheap-looking plastic fangs and a bad Bela Lugosi impression. The punnage... ouch.
- Badass Bookworm: He's geeky, but he still risked his life to open the doors at Hawkins' "Department of Energy" research facility.
- Catchphrase: "Easy-peasy."
- Connected All Along: Turns out he was the one that set up Hawkins AV club in Hawkins middle school and Clarke learned everything from him.
- Dare to Be Badass: "Bob Newby, superhero."
- Face Death with Dignity: Tragically averted. He can be seen screaming in agony as he dies, although there's really only so much composure you can maintain when you're being ripped apart and Eaten Alive by vicious alien beasts.
- Forgotten Fallen Friend: Heavily averted. After his death, Mike makes a point of beating the Mind Flayer so Bob's sacrifice wouldn't be in vain. Joyce is more determined to fight the Mind Flayer because of Bob's death, and we see her mourning his loss at the season finale. We also see that Will drew Bob as a superhero and hung it up to honor the man.
- Good Parents: Not in a literal sense, but he loves Will and Jonathan as if they were his own sons. This makes it all the sadder when he's killed while trying to protect them.
- Heroic Sacrifice: He willingly risked his life to save Joyce, Hopper, Will, Mike and Dr. Owens. He almost made it before being killed.
- Hidden Depths: In "The Mind Flayer", Mike reveals that Bob founded the AV studio at Hawkins school and fundraised the equipment. Mr Clarke also learned everything he knew from Bob. He also initially seems to be a bit of a clueless dork, if kind-hearted and well-meaning, but is later shown to have a cool head on his shoulders, be very good at mentally adapting to strange and bizarre new circumstances, and a very brave and self-sacrificing man.
- Hollywood Nerd: Bob is a pretty classic nerd, with rather low self-esteem, lame tastes and an interest in technology and puzzles.
- Hope Spot: After escaping a small Demogorgon and seeing Joyce next to the exit, one more Demogorgon rushes out of nowhere and kills him.
- I Can't Believe a Guy Like You Would Notice Me: Elated, he tells Joyce that he can barely believe that he's dating the Joyce Byers.
- Irony: Early in the season, he professes to hate scary movies. When he finds himself in his town's real-life equivalent of one, however, he adapts very well under the circumstances. Though sadly not well enough to save his life.
- Locked Out of the Loop: Attempted. Joyce tried to do this, but his intelligence was too useful and he was forced into the loop.
- Meaningful Name: Bob Newby is unaware of the weirdness in Hawkins, and when he gets pulled into it headfirst by the events of Season Two, he's mostly out of his depth. In other words, he's a newbie.
- Nice Guy: He is always kind and generous to everyone around him, and he loves the Byers family so much that he's unofficial family.
- Parental Substitute: Although Bob's not married to Joyce, while Jonathan and Will aren't really his sons, he proves to be a far better father figure than their biological dad Lonnie Byers ever was.
- Romantic False Lead: A heartbreaking example. He was a kind man throughout the season and wanted more with Joyce, but he was killed near the end of the season.
- Sacrificial Lion: As a half-way important character, he is sacrificed by the writers to add drama and make the demo-dogs look more of a threat.
- Shoo Out the Clowns: He gets eaten by the demogorgons in the penultimate episode of Season 2, right when the series has reached its most serious and dramatic point.
- Shrine to the Fallen: Will's drawing of "Superhero Bob" on the Byers' fridge.
- The Smart Guy: He demonstrates a strong knowledge of electronics, knows how to program computers in BASIC, and loves puzzles and brain-teasers; back in high school, he founded the A/V Club and was mockingly called "Bob the Brain", a label he's rather proud of as an adult. His intelligence comes in handy when he is able to figure out where Hopper is in Season 2 and resets the research facilities' doors saving everyone's lives.
- Take a Moment to Catch Your Death: He slams the door behind him just before the Demodog catches him, and when he sees Joyce it seems like it's over. Until another Demodog catches him from the side.
- Unfazed Everyman: His initial reaction to seeing the Byers' House Full of Crazy is a nonchalant "Huh." Admittedly he seems to initially think it is just some kind of game, but he continues to keep a level head after witnessing clearly supernatural things and being brought in on the Government Conspiracy.
- Unwitting Instigator of Doom: His advice to Will of facing your fears is sound if it was just irrational fears like Bob thought it was, and not a very real and dangerous Eldritch Abomination trying to take over Will's body.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Thanks to being Locked Out of the Loop, he gives Will some dodgy advice. If it had been actually classic anxiety/PTSD Will was dealing with, it would have been pretty solid stuff. Unfortunately... Hawkins doesn't just do normal, anymore. This can be seen with his advice to Will about his own childhood fear "Mr Baldo". As it turns out, standing your ground and firmly telling a monster that I'm Not Afraid of You doesn't work so well on the non-imaginary Mind Flayer.
The mayor of Hawkins, introduced in the third season.
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Pretends to be a caring, Nice Guy mayor but is really a slimy, jerkass Sleazy Politician.
- Bullying a Dragon: Practically his hobby. He seems to really like mouthing off to and belittling people that are much bigger and stronger than him. He usually gets his ass beaten for it.
- Butt-Monkey: Guy can't catch a break receiving beatdowns from the likes of Hopper, Joyce and Grigori.
- Cigar Chomper: As shown in the picture, he smokes a cigar while supervising the carnival setup.
- Jerkass: An arrogant, sleazy asshole who is willing to stoop as low as insulting Hopper over his dead daughter.
- Sleazy Politician: Tries to blackmail Hopper and it turns out he's made some seriously shady deals with a group of Russians. Crosses over somewhat with Corrupt Politician.
- Spanner in the Works: He alerts Grigori when he spots Hopper and Joyce at the fair, which leads to Alexei getting killed.
- Villain with Good Publicity: To the public, he's the beloved mayor of Hawkins who will happily take pictures and play carnival games with his fellow citizens. Behind the curtain, he's a sleazy, corrupt Jerkass who snorts coke, commits adultery with his secretary, and has secret connections with the Russians.
- Your Cheating Heart: According to Hopper, he's cheating on his wife with his secretary.
Billy's fellow lifeguard at the Hawkins Community Pool.
- '80s Hair: A teased side ponytail with a scrunchie.
- Alliterative Name: Heather Holloway.
- Bound and Gagged: How Billy transported her to the abandoned steel mill to "join" the Mind Flayer's flesh proxy army.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: She gets possessed by the Mind Flayer, thanks to Billy.
- Emotionless Girl: After she's possessed by the Mind Flayer.
- Ms. Fanservice: Along with Billy, she seems to service this role as the lifeguard.
- Nice Girl: Aside from her obvious crush on Billy, she seems to be a very sweet girl who checks on Billy when it appears he isn't feeling well.
- No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Billy takes her to join the Mind Flayer's army for checking up on him when he gets ill from being possessed.
- Patricide: She and Billy knock out her parents and assimilate them into the Mind Flayer's army, which, for all intents and purposes, means death.
Mrs. Doris Driscoll
An old woman who calls the Hawkins Post after rats eat her fertilizer.
- Alliterative Name: Doris Driscoll.
- Brainwashed and Crazy: After the Mind Flayer possessed her, she was found having eaten her fertilizer.
- Christianity Is Catholic: When Nancy is looking at photographic evidence she has found of the Mind Flayer's victims, she includes a local Catholic church's bulletin about a senior Bingo night where Doris was in attendance. Also has an Irish last name.
- Conspiracy Theorist: Supposedly, according to one of the misogynists at the Hawkins Post, she believed that President Kennedy was assassinated through orders of Lyndon Johnson.
- Cool Old Lady: During her brief time before she was brainwashed, she seemed to be a very good humored woman.
- Scatterbrained Senior: Played With. When she talks to Nancy and Jonathan she seems perfectly lucid, and she is aware that her claims of diseased rats eating fertilizer can be easily dismissed as the ramblings of a senile old lady, so she makes sure to have the evidence to back it up. Tom does say that she is a paranoid schizophrenic, but since he is already Flayed at this point and she becomes Flayed soon after, whether this is the truth or an attempt at a cover up is unclear.
Wife of Tom Holloway and mother of Heather.
- '80s Hair: A modernized variant of a bouffant with long and thick mane coming out.
- Bound and Gagged: How she and her husband were taken to the Mind Flayer after being Slipped A Mickey.
- Happy Marriage Charade: Implied at the one dinner we see between her and her husband where he seemed very critical of her drinking and even gave a stern voice (like it were not uncommon). Yet they look fantastic in photos....
- Housewife: Presumably her appearance of being a perfect and cherry homemaker.
- Orifice Invasion: Along with her husband when meeting the Mind Flayer.
- Nice Girl: Like her daughter, she seems to a be a sweet woman that welcomes people in, even strange young girls who walked inside the house (like El and Max)and worries about their welfare in the rain.
- Pink Is Feminine: She wore a light pink outfit when she got kidnapped.