‘Stranger Things’ Breakout Star Shannon Purser Is A Hit With Fans And Here’s Why [Spoilers]

If you’ve seen Stranger Things, then you likely know one of the most talked about characters is Barbara Holland, Barb for short, played by Shannon Purser. Warning: spoilers for Season 1 ahead.

The Netflix sci-fi/horror series has quickly become a cult hit with some media outlets saying a show hasn’t garnered this much advertising by word-of-mouth since Netflix’s Making a Murderer. Much of the love for Stranger Things comes from the audience’s adoration for Shannon Purser’s character, Barb – a secondary character who doesn’t get much screen time but certainly left a lasting impression.

Surprisingly, Stranger Things is the first acting job Purser has ever had. In the short amount of time Purser’s character had on the show, only appearing a handful of times, Purser brought Barb to life with depth that’s hard to achieve with secondary characters. And the wardrobe! Even Barb’s clothes have been talked about as much as the character herself.

Barb is the nerdy, responsible best friend of the pretty and popular Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer). She’s the type of friend who warns you against succumbing to peer pressure and is always ready to study with you. She’s the third wheel, and haven’t we all been in her shoes at one time or another?

A staggering amount of memes, blog posts, fan fiction and character-inspired art has been created in the name of Barb after Stranger Things debuted just two short weeks ago. One fan apparently painted a mural of the character, according to Business Insider. Stranger Things fans connected with her and used the hashtag #WeAreAllBarb on Twitter to come together.

Den of Geek put together a playlist of ’80s songs dedicated to Stranger Things’ highly popular character.

Unfortunately for Barb in Stranger Things, when her empty car is discovered, the police assume she’s run away even though Will has gone missing, too. Nancy, however, isn’t buying it, and neither should anyone else on the show.

Brian Moylan from Slate says it best when he writes, “The Barbs of this world (all of us) don’t run away. We store up our resentment of the mainstream and then we go to college and move to a big city where we turn that resentment into creative magic…”

So why did Barb strike such a strong chord with the Stranger Things audience? Purser, who says she was surprised and grateful for the attention her character has received, has the answer in an interview with Vulture.

“People saw Barb and saw how unapologetic she was about who she was and what she believed in and what she wanted to wear, even. I think they admired her for not wanting to please others too much, and for being an honest and loyal friend… Everybody has been a third wheel, and Barb is a wonderful, nerdy third wheel. People really relate to her and her outcast, left-out position because everybody’s felt that way at some point.”

Consisting of eight action-packed episodes, Stranger Things is a sci-fi/horror lover’s dream with shades of Stephen King, Steven Spielberg, and ’80s nostalgia coloring the show. Viewers are already asking if Stranger Things will continue on for another season, but so far, there is no official word from Netflix as to whether that will happen.

The chances of Stranger Things returning for a second season are looking good with the eager reception of the first season, but could Barb return? She appeared to be dead in the “Upside Down” dimension, but as Stranger Things is a sci-fi show, she could very well be written back in somehow, some way.

Share your thoughts on Stranger Things below. Who is your favorite character? Are you hoping for a second season?

[Image via Netflix]