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‘Stranger Things’ Season 4’s Saddest Storyline is Will Byers Pining for an Oblivious Mike Wheeler

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Way back when Stranger Things Season 3 premiered back in 2019, Decider’s own Brett White penned a gorgeous essay about how he saw himself in the character of Will Byers (Noah Schnapp). He saw himself in Will as a (then closeted) gay geek.

“Okay okay okay–the show doesn’t come out and explicitly address it, and the scene I’m talking about may have left some viewers scratching their heads, but to a gay like me, a gay who was 100% Will Byers when he was 14, I’ve picked up on all of the signs. They’re not signs to me. They’re billboards,” Brett wrote before expertly picking apart each and every thread that Stranger Things had woven into the tapestry of Will’s potentially gay identity.

As it happens, Stranger Things Season 4 seems to not only confirm that Will is gay, but that he also has a very real crush on his long-time best friend Mike Wheeler (Finn Wolfhard). This crush reveals itself in clues dropped by Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown), arguments between the two out-of-sync teen boys, and tortured, loving glances that Will secrets Mike’s way.

While Stranger Things Season 4 Part 1 doesn’t officially come out and have Will say it, those billboards Brett wrote about now feel like they’ve been lit up like a technicolor Times Square ad. The messaging is so loud even I, a straight woman, can now pick up on them, saying to myself, “Oh, that poor little gay boy has a crush on his very straight best friend!”

Will and Mike in Stranger Things 4
Photo: Netflix

Stranger Things Season 4 picks up six months after the events of Season 3. While most of our beloved buddies have stayed put in Hawkins, Dr. Owens (Paul Reiser) has relocated Joyce (Winona Ryder), Jonathan (Charlie Heaton), Will, and El to Lenora, California. Still, their Hawkins friends remain on their minds. Eleven writes Mike letters that spin everything mundane and strained about her California life into the most glittering and fun situation ever. She lies and says she’s making friends and Joyce loves her job. When it comes to Will, she doesn’t necessarily fudge the truth as much as she hints that she’s not entirely sure what’s going on – but something is:

“Will is painting a lot, but he…he won’t show me what he’s working on. Maybe it is for a girl. I think there is someone he likes, because he has been acting weird.”

Now we already know from last season that Will’s painting probably is not for a girl. After all, Will was agitated by his own friends’ girlfriends and longed for girl-free gaming sessions. At one point, Mike even point blank tells Will, “It’s not my fault you don’t like girls!” Indeed, when it comes time to see who the painting is for, it’s obviously for Mike. Will carries his rolled up artwork to the airport, but doesn’t seem to have the guts to give it to Mike. In fact, when he tries to embrace Mike, the other boy awkwardly pats him in a platonic way. (This is right after Mike hugged, kissed, and gave Eleven hand-picked flowers.)

Stranger Things 3, Mike saying Will doesn't like girls
Photo: Netflix

When the trio goes to the roller skating rink, Will rolls his eyes at El’s lies and simmers in jealousy. Eventually, Mike calls him a douche. A douche!!! Mike fires back that he’s been miserable being a third wheel and asks, “What about us?” Mike is confused, but Will is emotional, explaining that he’s gotten a few phone calls to El’s “book of letters.” Mike once more is like, “Dude, she’s my girlfriend and you’re just a friend.” Will is in the friend zone. Sad synth music plays.

The thing is these clues — Will’s secret painting, his steadfast and unrequited devotion to Mike — are resurrected again and again over the season. Mike’s priority is Eleven and Will’s is Mike. If these kids were Gen Z and not Gen X, they might have the vocabulary to express what’s really happening. Will is gay and in love with Mike, who is straight and in love with El. Unfortunately, it seems that Stranger Things is going to let Will’s feelings stew in the shadows until the bitter end. (Or at the earliest, when the Stranger Things Season 4 finale comes out on July 1.)

Stranger Things Season 3 did something wholly progressive by having Robin (Maya Hawke) come out to an understanding Steve (Joe Keery) with nary a problem with the reveal. Season 4, however, is reminding us that the ’80s were a homophobic time. Robin is terrified to ask her crush Vickie (Amybeth McNulty) because she could be chased out of Hawkins, while Will’s friends seem totally unaware that he loves Mike. El literally assumes Will is crushing on a girl and Mike is confused by why Will is so hurt by his affections for Eleven.

Stranger Things Season 4 shows us that the 1980s were a scarier time. Not because of Vecna monsters, but because we were forcing kids to stay in the closet when they could have been having swoon-worthy romances out on the rolling skating rink floor.

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What Time Will ‘Riverdale’ Season 6 Be on Netflix?

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The season finale of Riverdale aired in late July on The CW. Notice we said season finale? Thankfully, the beloved series will return for a seventh season, but, unfortunately, Season 7 will be the final installment of Riverdale.

If you already streamed the current season, make sure to read Alex Zalben’s interview with Riverdale showrunner Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa on Decider. If you’re waiting to binge Season 6 on Netflix, well, you better clear your calendar because all 22 episodes are about to drop on the streamer. What time will the sixth season of Riverdale debut on Netflix? What time does Netflix release shows? Here’s everything you need to know.

WHEN IS THE RIVERDALE SEASON 6 NETFLIX RELEASE DATE?

Riverdale Season 6 premieres Sunday, August 7 on Netflix.

HOW MANY EPISODES ARE IN RIVERDALE SEASON 6?

The sixth season of Riverdale consists of 22 episodes.

WHAT TIME DOES NETFLIX RELEASE NEW SHOWS?

Netflix releases new episodes at 3:00 a.m. ET/12:00 a.m. PT.

WHAT TIME WILL RIVERDALE SEASON 6 BE ON NETFLIX?

Netflix is based out of California, so Riverdale Season 6 will be available to stream at 12:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time (3:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time) beginning Sunday, August 7. If the clock strikes 12:00 (or 3:00 a.m. for folks on the East Coast) and you don’t see the new episodes, give it a moment, hit refresh, and then enjoy the show!

WILL THERE BE A SEASON 7 OF RIVERDALE?

Yes! Decider recently covered that very topic.

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Actress Anne Heche Suffers Severe Burns After Crashing Car Into Los Angeles Home

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Actress Anne Heche, known for her roles in such films as Donnie Brasco, Volcano and I Know What You Did Last Summer, was involved in a fiery car crash in the Mar Vista area of Los Angeles on Friday.

According to TMZ, Heche was driving a blue Mini Cooper and had first crashed into the garage of an apartment complex. Residents of the apartment complex tried to get her out of the vehicle but she backed up and sped off.

Footage of Heche speeding down the streets of her neighborhood had been obtained by TMZ as well as her initial encounter at the apartment complex.

In the first clip, you can hear her car crash towards the end. It has been reported that the actress crashed into someone’s home, causing her vehicle and the house to erupt into flames. Heche suffered severe burns and was resisting being taken away in a stretcher. You can also view footage of this via the TMZ article.

It has not been confirmed whether alcohol has been involved in the incident since her condition prevents doctors from performing any tests to determine if she was driving under the influence. She is currently intubated in the hospital but expected to live.

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These are the vulgar license-plate requests the DMV has rejected

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Stay CL4SSY, New York!

The state Department of Motor Vehicles nixed 3,752 requests for vanity license plates in the last three years because it deemed them too raunchy, radical or simply ridiculous.

New York’s personalized plates go for $60 initially, and then $31.25 annually for renewal. You can get any plate as long as no one else has it and it’s not offensive.

Odds are a request for a plate that marks a wedding anniversary or shows your allegiance to a team — like METS86 — will pass muster with the DMV gatekeepers.

Vulgarity won’t get you to first base.

So plates with the phrase LFGM — the acronym for Pete Alonso’s “Let’s F–king Go Mets” rallying cry — did not make the cut.

And you won’t see anyone driving around with the custom plates MILFDAD, AS5M4N and WLHUNG.

Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
Crude meanings such as “MILFDAD” are unacceptable by the DMV.
New York DMV
NYC123
New York state Department of Motor Vehicles denied more than 3.5 thousand requests for license plates deemed inappropriate.
New York DMV
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
“AS5M4N” was rejected for referring to “Ass man.”
New York DMV

The DMV also put NICEBUNS, FATFANNY, GOTAPOOP and BENDOVER in the rear-view mirror.

One player unsuccessfully tried to score the plate YESDADDY, to no avail.

The DMV also shot down such dark requests as DEADGIRL, GENOC1DE, S8TAN, DETONATE and MURDERM3.

“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
“SUM8ITCH” is not allowed.
New York DMV
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
The DMV thoroughly nixed a request for “CNNLIES.”
New York DMV
BOOBIE is prohibited.
BOOBIE is prohibited.
New York DMV

Getting political is a dead end too — FJOEBIDN, FDTRUMP and CNNLIES were nixed.

LUDEDUDE, NARCO, GOT METH and BLUNT also went up in smoke.

Staten Island attorney Bill Dertinger said his blue 1995 Jaguar SJS was tagged with ESQLTD after his company and his 2014 Porsche had the plate GHOSTGTS because the sleek sportscar was white.

“The plates can make you stand out — which can be a curse or a blessing,” the 54-year-old Dertinger said. “Make sure you don’t cut anybody off.”

A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
A man attempted to sneak in “YESDADDY” onto his license plate.
New York DMV
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
The DMV stopped a request for “FJOEBIDEN.”
New York DMV
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
The DMV also rejects any license plates referring to politics.
New York DMV

There must be a New York Jets fan playing referee at the DMV because a request for the seemingly innocent plate GASE was sidelined. Ex-Jets head coach Adam Gase had an offensive 9-23 win-loss record during his forgettable two-year tenure.

The DMV would not reveal who gives the final yea or nay.

“The DMV reviews all custom license plate requests and works hard to ensure that any combinations that may be considered objectionable are rejected,” said agency spokesman Tim O’Brien.

“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
“GLOCKS” referring to guns is not accepted by the DMV.
New York DMV
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
“FLYMOFO” is not approved by the DMV.
New York DMV

He said guidelines on what plate combinations are restricted can be found on the DMV website: https://dmv.ny.gov/learn-about-personalized-plates. Approximately 50,000 personalized and custom plates are sold per year, O’Brien said.

Bagged Tags

The state DMV has rejected 3,752 requests for custom license plates in the last three years because it deemed them potentially offensive. Here are some:

YESDADDY

FJOEBIDN

FDTRUMP

GLOCKS

FLYMOFO

BOOBIE

AS5M4N

BUDLIGHT

DEADGIRL

SUM8ITCH

GENOC1DE

S8TAN

CNNLIES

DETONATE

MURDERM3

MILFDAD

WLHUNG

Source: NYS DMV

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