Here's to Steve Harrington, High School Jock With a Heart of Gold
We love you Steve, and we love your hair even more.
This should go without saying, but spoilers for Stranger Things Season 2 are ahead. You've been warned.
We were never supposed to like Steve Harrington. "King Steve," of the excellent, gravity-defying hair and gloriously tight jeans, was introduced in Stranger Things Season 1 purely within the confines of the high school jock character trope. You know, that rich, preppy, and secretly insecure douchebag we all knew (and later realized had fully peaked in high school)?
Back in Season 1, of course, he reigned utterly supreme. Steve's image was crystallized by a series of crushing first season moments, like the one in which he broke Jonathan's camera. Somewhere along the way, though, he had a change of heart. The epic climax of Season 1 saw him start to shift into the intrepid, fluffy-haired fan favorite we know him as today. And if you ask us, there was no greater redeeming moment than the one in which he famously charged back to the Byers' house to try to save Nancy and Jonathan's asses from the Demogorgon –– with a spiky baseball bat, no less. Seriously. Badass. Move.
This transformation was a pleasant surprise for us as viewers, and wasn't originally in the show creators' plans either. Matt and Ross Duffer have said Steve was initially going to remain the requisite irredeemable tool, but then everyone was enamored by actor Joe Keery on and off screen. "We fell in love with him during the making of season one, which is why we ended up writing that arc for him where he's helping to save the day with Jonathan and Nancy. Steve was supposed to be this jocky douche bag, and Joe was so much more than that," Ross Duffer told the Hollywood Reporter.
See? No one can resist that charisma. And that spiked bat-twirling! Not to mention that luscious head of hair (hold on, more on the hair later).
Steve's Season 2 character arc really established him as our de facto favorite on the show (with Dustin coming in hot on his heels –– we can't resist those pearls!) We really started to get a satisfying peek at Steve's pathos as he and Nancy were forced to deal with the fallout of the tragic events that occurred in Season 1. #JusticeForBarb, though.
Nowhere was this more evident than during the emotionally charged, drunken breakup scene in the bathroom at Tina's Halloween party. You just couldn't help but feel for him as his face crumbled when he responded to Nancy's inebriated babbling, "Like we're in love?" He really had us then.
But rather than sit around moping over his ex-girlfriend, Steve's redemptive character arc continued to surprise us. From befriending Dustin to giving Joyce a run for her money for Best Mom on Stranger Things, and, of course, wielding that spiked bat once more, Steve proved himself to be the antihero with a heart of gold. He also got his ass whooped for it. Again.
Our favorite Steve moment? None other than when he gave The Very Important Hair Advice to Dustin. When Dustin asked how to achieve his flowing locks, Steve explained to his new and adorkable sidekick, "When [your hair’s damp, not wet], you do four puffs of the Farrah Fawcett spray." But, he continued, "You tell anyone I just told you that and your ass is grass. You're dead, Henderson." Does it get any better than that?
Questionable dating advice aside, an inexplicable, delightful bond between the two formed on that fateful journey through the woods and Steve won us over completely. The unexpected friendship between the two also cemented the fact that they had each transcended stereotypical character roles. This was only further proven in the final moments of the season finale, when Steve's mentoring culminated in Dustin's transformation into a mini-Steve (at least hair-wise). We're sure Dustin's version of the mullet involved horrific amounts of Farrah Fawcett spray, despite Steve's specific instructions.
We're gonna need a whole lot more Farrah Fawcett spray and Dustin and Steve bromance in Season 3. Until then, we'll be here, patiently waiting and daydreaming about Steve's hair.
We'd like to leave you with this very important image. Team Steve forever.