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I Hope Stranger Things 3 Is Better Than Its Lame Merch

Stranger Things Target Landing page
(Image credit: Credit: Target)

Having followed the rumors for Stranger Things Season 3 since well before the first trailer hit, I've had a growing interest in this summer-infused season. Or at least that was the case until Target decided to make Stranger Things lame. 

I was just scrolling Twitter mindlessly (is there any other way) yesterday when this video ad played, and I cringed so hard I nearly started grinding my teeth. 

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The caption "Big on hair? Big on style? Go back to 1985 with #StrangerThings gear at Target." is so empty and hollow that I should have seen it coming. I shouldn't have watched the footage. But out of morbid curiosity, I did. 

The clip doesn't incorporate any characters from the show, but instead tries way too hard to dress models up in 80's attire and makeup, without actually consulting anyone who was actually there. Crawling down through to the upside-down of licensed intellectual property, I clicked through to see Target's mess of a Stranger Things online store. 

Reader, I nearly screamed when I saw a really shoddy Keith Haring knockoff design decorating the online shop. I started laughing, though, when I found that they're selling a Stranger Things sheet set with said print, because nothing screams fun nostalgia than bastardizing the work of an 1980's artist who died of AIDS and selling merch where no sales will go to his estate or any good causes. 

The merch is also tempering my enthusiasm for things I've seen in the promotional photos. Yes, I want to know what kind of an employee Steve Harrington is at the nautical-themed ice cream parlor we've seen teased in press photos, but I have no idea who wants to buy the ice cream he's going to sell — but here we see the Scoops Ahoy USS Butterscotch Ice Cream, a Baskin-Robbins release.

I might just be too cynical, I guess. Our social media editor Kenneth Butler shrugged off all of my complaints, and declared that "anything fans will enjoy is a good thing." And to be fair, it's not all bad. The Waffle Pool Float that has a maple syrup-looking "011" is kinda fun, and the Nike Stranger Things Air Tailwind 79 sneakers aren't that bad. 

If anything comes of all of this Stranger Things merchandise, I'd hope it will lead to the show living beyond a third season. These days there's a lot of discussion about how Netflix cancels shows that aren't super successful after 2 to 3 seasons, due to how its contracts work.