10 reasons Barb on Stranger Things is the best TV sidekick ever

Credit: Stranger Things - Curtis Baker - Netflix
Credit: Stranger Things - Curtis Baker - Netflix /
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Barb Stranger Things
LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 29: Actor Shannon Purser attends The 23rd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 29, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. 26592_012 (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images for TNT) /

9. She is wise beyond her years

Nancy is far more of a teenager than Barb.

Sure, they’re the same age technically, but Barb is just so stinkin’ wise. While her friend is clearly driven partly by hormones and the desire to “be cool,” Barb marches to the beat of her own drum. She recognizes other people’s motivations (“He just wants to get in your pants”) and understands the consequences of teenage actions.

This is not to say that Nancy is immature or irresponsible.

She starts the show a little on the nerdy side and her parents seem to trust her. Not to mention, she grows throughout the series immensely as she protects her town, searches for her missing friend, and rejects the appeal of the popular crowd in favor of being true to herself.

That being said, her maturity simply pales in comparison to Barb’s. Even though Nancy is the one gettin’ some on the side from Steve, Barb is the knowledgeable friend, teasing with a raised eyebrow and references to late-night activities. Barb is the one guiding her in decision-making. Barb is like her BFF guardian angel.

This is an incredibly unique quality for a sidekick. In traditional media, sidekicks are often portrayed as lesser, or even dumb. Think again of Shaggy, or even Patrick Starr from Spongebob or Pinky from Pinky and the Brain. These characters play second fiddle to the heroes in most ways.

In Stranger Things though, Barb shines in her own right. She is smart, capable, and helps a teenaged Nancy to grow up a little.