Why Barb from Stranger Things is My Hero

Barb should be the star of Stranger Things.

She’s a true hero. Someone who inspires us to be better humans or demogorgans if that’s your thing.

If you’re like me and you’ve allowed the genius of Netflix’s new original series, Stranger Things, to take over your life at the moment, then you know what I’m talking about. Please, out of respect for Barb, keep reading this and share it with all your friends. Together we can make the world a more Barb-friendly place.
If you haven’t watched the show, go watch it! But, before you do, take a read and meet your new best friend, Barbara Holland.

Barb the Bestie

Barb is the best kind of friend.

She’s loyal, isn’t afraid to call you out when you’re being stupid, but also has enough respect to let you sit in the mess you made and won’t force you to do what’s right. Even though she knows you’re in for a world of hurt.

We should listen to Barb because she knows we aren’t that stupid and will tell us so to our face.

I love this story choice. In my opinion, it makes her a stronger character. She’s there to be a support to Nancy, but between the writing, directing and the actress’ choices, she’s not a two dimensional character. She’s a good friend, but still has real responses that come from her, not just to carry the story further.

I have a few Barb’s in my life. They are some of my closest friend, who call me out on when I’m being stupid. I so admire them for their willingingnes to incure my potential wrath all because they want what’s best for me. They are true heros.

What about you? Can you find Barb in some of your friends?

If so, hold on to them! They may be a bit of a pain sometimes, especially when you want to go flirt with that cute boy. But trust me, our Barb’s have our best interests in mind.

coyqxywviaa0ju2Barb the Study Buddy

When it comes to studying for that next test. Barb’s your girl. While I’m sure she has cooler things to do than ask you about alpha particles and what they become when they go through gold foil, she still takes the time to do it.

And, while you may have a cute boy who wants to “study” with you too. Barb is by far the superior choice. She’ll help you stay focused on the task. You’ll be more likely to get that coveted A+ than if you study with the cute guy.

When Barb is walking with Nancy and quizzing her about particles, she doesn’t get to finish, because the cue cards are snatched out of her hand and she’s given a wet willy, but instead of getting super upset, she just stands her ground and sticks by her friend.

I think this is a departure from the normal, stereotypical “best friend” so many shows produce these days. Well done Duffer Brothers and well done Shannon Purser for not taking the character down that road.

Personally, I find this to be heroic. I am, by nature, an incredibly dramatic individual. If I’d been in Barb’s place, I think I would have gotten a lot more upset. Maybe even stormed off.

She’s a great example of choosing the higher road by shrugging it off. Not only is her response mature, but in a time when so many kids are struggling with bullies, she shows in this simple act how to not give power to those bullies. Something I think all of us could learn from.

Barb the Real Girl

Barb’s not perfect and that’s probably one of my favourite things about her. She clearly doesn’t have any interest in going to an exclusive party and third-wheeling it, but she still does, because she’s just that good of a friend.

She isn’t afraid to speak her mind and she seems to know who she is and doesn’t envy the “cool kids”. She’s comfortable in her own skin and doesn’t feel the need to change, until Nancy peer pressures her into trying something stupid and obviously dangerous.

Barb is not perfect and that’s ok, because she’s got faults like the rest of us.

I found this aspect of her character to be refreshing. So often, I look at the hero’s of film and TV and wonder if I can ever be like them. If I’ll ever be “perfect”. I want to be the leading lady in my life, but so often feel like the bestie. Barb has reminded me it’s ok if I’m not perfect and that being the bestie is actually pretty awesome. This make her my hero.

Personally, I believe this is one of the reasons she’s taken the internet by storm.

SPOILER ALERT and Confession

Another reason I love Barb is because she dies. Now before all you die-hard Barb fans throw rotten fruit at me, hear me out.

Barb is a character we love and a big reason for this is because both how she’s written and how the director and actress chose to portray her are pretty spectacular.

When I first watched Stranger Things, Barb made me uncomfortable.

In fact, I am ashamed to admit, I cringed when she first came onto the screen with those high waist pants and silly glasses. I thought, “Great, here’s another stereo-typical “best friend” type who’s gonna get whiney and be so annoying”. I even remember thinking those two would never have been friends in real life.

But as I got to know the character, I began to realize how untrue that was. Do you realize she is only alive for a two episodes! That’s it. It’s the beginning of episode three when we see her die.
Yes, we are strung along for a bit longer until we find out officially that she’s gone, but we all knew it by that opening scene.

Barb has reminded me to stand up for what’s right and to be a support to my friends.

I’m fascinated by how it only took two episodes for us to fall in love with her…

It took only two episodes.

Can you imagine what she would be like as the hero of a story? How much she could have taught us if she’d been allowed to live?

But as I said before. I am glad she died. It was the last act in defiance of the stereo-typical best friend. The best friend role is never meant to have that place of honor and to me, this makes her even more of a hero.

I hope I’ve given you a glimpse of a truly amazing character and that you are all convinced to be better human beings after this and have decided to not be demogorgans.

I’ve learned a lot from this character who was willing to be herself no matter the circumstances and as cheesy as it is, I’m gonna start asking myself this question:

What would Barb do?

Not because I want to be like Barb, but because Barb has reminded me to stand up for what’s right and to be a support to my friends, remembering I’m not always the main character. Sometimes what my friends are going through is more important than my own stuff.

But most importantly, she’s reminded me to be me with no regrets.



  • Charis Joy Jackson

    Producer, Director, Writer, Actress

    Charis Joy Jackson is a writer, director, producer and teacher working with The Initiative Production Company. During the day she makes movies and in her spare time writes short stories and novel. She's a self-proclaimed nerd who wishes she could live in Hobbiton. You can follow her on Instagram @charisjoyjackson


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