Hopper (David Harbour) is less charming and more terrible in Stranger Things 3.

Happy ‘Stranger Things’ Day to My Husband, Jim Hopper

There are fictional characters who come into your life and make you think, “That’s a husband.” For me, this Stranger Things Day and every day, that’s Jim Hopper. Rolling up into work, saying that “mornings are for coffee and contemplation,” and being forced to constantly deal with people he doesn’t like? Perfection.

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Introduced in season 1 of Stranger Things, Jim Hopper is played by the amazing David Harbour. Hopper is someone who plays the “reluctant” hero so well that even when he is at his worst and lashing out, he is someone you still care for. Far from a perfect man, Jim Hopper says the wrong things all the time and pushes people away. Yet he’s still there to help those around him when they need him, which makes for an interesting character to unpack.

Stranger Things has so many characters to explore, so picking your favorite might be hard. For me, it’s been Hopper from day one. I can’t change my love and I don’t really want to. Even when he’s being a complete jerk to everyone else, he’s still lovable and that’s a testament to Hopper as a character as well as how Harbour plays him. It might be that floral shirt, though. That shirt really did a lot of heavy lifting.

jim hopper with a cigarette in stranger things

Without Hopper, I don’t know how the show would function because he’s one half of the only two parents in all of Hawkins, Indiana who care about their kids. Jim Hopper is the sheriff who is too dedicated to not caring about his job after the death of his daughter Sarah, but when Eleven (Millie Bobby Brown) is in his care? He becomes the best of dads.

A good dad in a sea of absent parents

David Harbour as Hopper in Stranger Things

In Stranger Things, Hopper stands out in large part because Joyce Byers (Winona Ryder) and Hopper are two of the only parents who are actively paying attention to what goes on in the lives of their children. The Wheelers have their own issues they’re dealing with (so they don’t mind their children), and we don’t focus a lot on Dustin’s parents or what Lucas and Erica’s mom and dad are up to. The point of Stranger Things is to capture that ‘80s feel, and often parents in ‘80s movies were less than attentive to their children. But Hopper isn’t a typical ‘80s dad. He wants to be there for El and will do anything to keep her safe.

They’re not a perfect father/daughter pair. Hopper yells at her and tries to control every situation, and El is not the kind of girl to sit and take it. She runs away, she does the opposite of what Hopper asks of her, and she’ll scream right back at him. But they love each other deeply, and it’s a father/daughter relationship that I cherish very much. It is only one aspect of why I love Jim Hopper, but it is an important part of why he is such a great character.

My sweet Hopper has been through a lot. He lost his family before the show even began, then he gained a daughter in El, then he was captured by Russians, and he got to sleep with Joyce Byers. All of it? Perfection. I do miss the floral-shirt era of Hopper, but I can hope he’s back to his normal self in Hawkins in Stranger Things season 5. Until then, here’s to you, Jim. I love you so much.

(featured image: Netflix)

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.