‘Stranger Things’ Star Shannon Purser Reacts to How Fans Obsessed over Her Character, Barb

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[Warning: If you haven’t seen Stranger Things but plan to, there are major spoilers ahead!]

Sometimes, it’s the smaller characters who strike the biggest chord with fans, and Barb’s brief but memorable life, played by Shannon Purseron the hit Netflix series Stranger Things did just that.

Barbara “Barb” Holland  is the loyal and more responsible best friend of Nancy Wheeler (Natalia Dyer), who warns Nancy about getting too close to her new, popular boyfriend, Steve (Joe Keery), because, you know, he only wants one thing. Nancy nonetheless drags her friend to a little get-together at Steve’s house, sort of as a safety net for Nancy, but is quickly dismissed as uncool and left alone while Nancy and Steve go upstairs.

It is then that poor hapless Barb, sitting outside by the pool and nursing a cut hand, is unfortunately plucked by an alien monster (aptly called a Dungeons and Dragons figure, the Demogorgon) and dragged into the “Upside Down” alternate dimension to be seemingly consumed by the monster. Her death shocked the fans of the show, who demanded #JusticeForBarb ever since.

Now, Purser, the 19-year-old actress from Atlanta, Georgia who plays Barb, is marveling at the attention her character has gotten. She spoke with Entertainment Tonight on Tuesday about it.

The fan response has been absolutely incredible! This was my first acting credit, so I didn’t really know what to expect. I loved the character from the very beginning, and I was really excited to play her. I had such a good time filming, [but] I didn’t really think people would think too much of the part. A few days after [the show] aired, it was incredible. This response started to flood in, and it’s been amazing. I wasn’t expecting it but I’m super thankful.

As for all the memes and tributes for Barb that has sprung up, she’s impressed:

It’s absolutely been crazy. I think the rap tribute was my favorite so far — it was hilarious, oh my gosh! I started watching it and I’m like, “Oh this so cute. They’re rapping about the show,” and then they started talking about Barb — it was so weird. It’s actually still stuck in my head, it’s so catchy.

I just recently saw the candlelit vigil for Barb on Facebook, and I think there is something like 1,000 RSVPs already, which completely blows my mind. I kind of relate to it because I’m kind of like the dorky person who would, if I like a show or movie, I’ll draw something from it — I really encourage creativity. I think that good TV and good art kind of create new good art, so it’s been awesome to see all the creative responses to this show. For the vigil, I really hope someone sends me pictures of the people who were there so I can be like, ‘Aww, solidarity!’

Read the whole interview here! Let’s hope that maybe a version of Barb comes back for a Season 2.