SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from Stranger Things 2. Proceed at your own risk.
Stranger Things 2 dropped a couple weeks ago and fans have been binging it like crazy. With only nine chapters and a compelling story, it’s hard not to.
With this latest season, the Duffer brothers continued delivering intriguing new characters and building on their old ones. However, one character this season really stood out above the rest: Bob. C’mon, you have to love this guy! And there are many reasons that Sean Astin’s character should be considered among the top tier of the series.
Dat Goofy Personality Doe
The cheery personality that Astin gave Bob was a huge factor in his lovability. During the show, Bob nonchalantly approaches all the weirdness and danger with a smile.
His reaction as he walks in and sees Joyce piecing together the random scribbles that Will drew is priceless. At first, he’s flustered with what he’s seeing, then BAM a giant light bulb went off the moment he spots a familiar shape on the wall. Immediately, he forgets all about how weird the situation actually is and lends a hand to figure out where Hopper is trapped. Nothing can stop that baffling chipper personality.
Astin Channeled his Inner Hobbit
We can’t talk about Bob and not bring up Astin’s most famous character, Samwise Gamgee from the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Even though the Duffer brothers didn’t nod to the hobbit hero in this season, there’s a hidden connection that the two characters share.
While Hopper and the others are trapped in the science facility with Demo-dogs patrolling the halls, they think of a plan that involves a risky trek to the lower levels. It then became Bob’s time to shine, and given he was the only one who knew the computer language, BASIC, he volunteers himself to do it. Up to this point, Bob was mostly there for comedic relief in more serious situations. But now, he’s taking action.
In LOTR, Sam was known for being incredibly heroic, like when he fought Shelob and rescued Frodo. Likewise, Bob embodies this heroic selflessness when he puts his life in danger for the group. Though Bob may seem weak and goofy, inside beats the heart of a warrior. In an interview with Vulture, Sean Astin explained how the two characters were similar:
“There are definitely similarities between Bob and Samwise, too. Sam is the guy you want to have with you when stuff gets hard. As it turns out, even though he’s a dorky wannabe stepdad, Bob is also a guy who isn’t overwhelmed by a terrifying reality.”
His Attitude Earned Him Extra Screen Time
What really proves the greatness of a character is when the creators of the show have no choice but to keep them on longer than originally planned. Creator of AMC’s Breaking Bad, Vince Gilligan, was so impressed with Aaron Paul’s portrayal of Jesse that he just had to keep hold of him, even though his original plan was to kill him off in the first episode.
Bob is another one of those characters that the Duffer brothers just couldn’t get rid of so easily. In another Vulture interview, co-creator, Matt Duffer said:
“He was going to die around [episode] four. We just kept delaying it because we started to really like the character, and he started to become more important to the plot. We just kept pushing his death further downfield until we got to the point where it was going to happen in episode eight.”
Even they couldn’t deny the uniqueness that Astin’s character brought to the table.
As the show moves forward, make sure to always keep Bob in your heart. Stranger Things already has a great selection of characters, but they lost a BIG one in their ranks this season. We can only hope that the Duffer brothers are secretly cooking up a prequel spinoff for Bob called “The Adventures of BASIC Bob.”