Warning: Minor SPOILERS for Barb's character on Stranger Things — if you've not binged on the series yet, you might want to leave now (and have a serious word with yourself).
While there are a bunch of things to root for in Netflix's surprisingly successful Stranger Things, none have caused such a social uproar than the death of the nerdy girl in high-necked plaid, Barb. It's true that everybody loves an underdog, but it was Barb's relatable realism, understated style, her loyalty and courage to stand up for who she is that has caused the character to garner an almost religious following within a matter of weeks.
Dubbed the "Best Character" and "Unofficial Star" of the show — whether you believe that or not — it's undeniable that, for the time being at least, Barb is a cult TV icon. She's been immortalized in memes, in fan art, on T-Shirts and — like any star taking center stage in 2016 — a hashtag: #WeAreAllBarb. Everybody loves her, look:
Sure, 19-year-old Shannon Purser has her career set after this super lucky break, but that doesn't stop people from mourning a character who deserved a life so much better than the one she was dealt — like so many of TV's best characters before her.
Below you'll find a list of nine other characters dealt a rough hand, alongside hashtag suggestions like #WeAreAllBarb, should you want to fight for their cause.
1. Gunther - Friends
Played by: James Michael Tyler
This poor, flamboyantly dressed dude gave all he had to give over the decade Friends was on the air and what did they give him in return? That's right: Nada. Gunther deserves a medal for all the crap those six highly strung pals put him through but instead all he got was a little unrequited love and some small talk.
- Hashtag: #GunningForGunther
2. Spike — Buffy The Vampire Slayer
Played By: James Marsters
Not only was Spike's dye-job debatably the most iconic in TV history but he's clearly the best vampire too. Full of sassy quips and a backstory brimming with fascination and — obviously — blood, he might not get as much love as Angel but boy did he earn his own spin-off! And he nearly got one too, though it was never greenlit due to money issues — a shoddy excuse if you ask me, surely there are fans out there who'd crowdsource the thing. Hell, I'd pay for it myself!
3. Lincoln — Broad City
Played By: Hannibal Buress
If the way Lincoln pandered to Ilana didn't make you want to pick him up, spin and squeeze the living shit out of him, then there's something wrong with you. The man is hilarious — helped of course by the fact he's played by a stand-up comedian — and honestly, how often are you gonna find a guy who'll make you a gingerblunt man to chow en route to the doctor's? Not often, that's the answer. The dude's a gem.
4. Lucy Moran — Twin Peaks
Played By: Kimmy Robertson
For starters, Lucy truly respected the value of a doughnut, so in my books that's enough of a reason to give the woman more credit, but alas, 'twas never the case. Not only that, she rocked a bold AF selection of knitwear on the daily and she grounded and glued together the bonkers band of Twin Peaks law enforcement agents, a feat that should not be underestimated.
5. Freddy — House Of Cards
Played By: Reg. E. Cathey
It makes me well up just thinking about how mistreated poor Freddy was in House of Cards. I mean, obviously Frank Underwood's an asshole, ain't no two ways about that, but Freddy deserved so much more than the shit-coated straw offered up to him. Also, anyone who can pull off the line, "You a mothafucka, Mr. President," gets a huge hat tip.
6. Marisol 'Flaca' Gonzales — Orange Is The New Black
Played By: Jackie Cruz
Although Litchfield State Pen is rammed full of strong characters, there are few that shine quite as brightly as Flaca. She stands out thanks to her "punk" aesthetic and love for The Smiths, but it's her golden heart mixed with a healthy dose of hilarity that makes this prisoner so goddamn lovable.
7. Rickie Vasquez — My So Called Life
Played By: Wilson Cruz
Major props for being the (probably) first openly gay teenager on TV, but it's a downright travesty we only had him for one season! When MSCL was axed, not only did we lose the young, plaid-plastered Claire Danes and Jared Leto, but also Rickie's endless wisdom and snappy sass, his loyalty and tears and, importantly, his beyond fabulous wardrobe. And that is really, really not ok.
8. Rose & Bernard — Lost
Played By: L. Scott Caldwell and Sam Anderson
Debatably the only couple in this show that weren't utterly batshit mental, Rose and Bernard steered well clear of all the mad smoke creatures, mythology and incest vibes and love triangles and instead just rocked their own vibe — a loving, sweet, down-to-earth vibe, one that made them worthy of way more screen time IMO.
9. Omar — The Wire
Played By: Michael K. Williams
Yes, we might have had five seasons of Omar Little, but will that ever really be enough? The man is TV gold and (spoilers) if he hadn't been shot in the face in the last season, he would truly warrant a spin-off show. Hell, give the man one anyway — prequel the living shit out this character, whatever. This guy is a duster-donning, trigger toting, TV legend and to be honest, we need more LGBT characters like him. Make it happen, HBO.
Which TV character do you think deserves way more credit?