"Even forgoing the fact that Starcourt is the stomping ground for Russian baddies and oozing demons, it’s thrilling, poignant, and downright weird to see a shopping mall that’s so vibrantly alive again," says Sean O'Neal. "You can understand why people would want to come and gawk, eager to revisit a simpler, less morbid time — even if it’s one that never actually existed. This kind of longing for the superficially reconstructed past is Stranger Things’ least strange thing, of course. Nostalgia is one of the show’s primary creative forces, and its massive success can be at least partially attributed to the way it both soothes Gen-Xers and amuses millennials and Gen-Zers with its endless mixtape of Star Wars riffs, neon shirts, and schlocky Corey Hart ballads. The retro-scavenging of creators Matt and Ross Duffer often straddles the line between loving verisimilitude and kitschy theme party, and in that sense, the mall is just one of the show’s many winking references — a Can you believe people really lived this way? artifact that today seems as obsolete as the Ford Pinto driven by Winona Ryder’s Joyce. Like the Dragon’s Lair arcade console that so enraptured the kids in season one with its cutting-edge LaserDisc technology, there’s both comfort and comedy to seeing Starcourt’s Sam Goody storefronts and Jazzercise studios, and it doesn’t really require any further context to get it. It’s enough just to see these things and remember when, even if (or especially if) you didn’t experience it the first time around."