Joyce is one of the series’ most depressing characters. She’s a single mother in precarious financial circumstances, and seemingly devoid of friends. Though the viewer is aware pretty early on that there are supernatural goings-on in the world of Stranger Things, the scenes with Joyce are still often ambiguous as to whether Will’s actually communicating with her or she’s just crazy. We believe Eleven can reach him, but it’s quite late in the piece that we get confirmation that Joyce could too.
As with her son Will, Joyce’s design is a bit neither here nor there; this will be a recurring theme for most of the human characters, as they’re mostly meant to be ordinary people. However, when the figures are viewed as a whole, they work quite well together, creating a consistent world for the characters to inhabit.
Joyce comes with the Christmas lights that she used to communicate with Will while he was trapped in the Upside Down – the only other accessory that would make much sense would be the burnt-out phone. The lights are all tangled up here though, and give no indication of which colours they’ll actually shine once they’re hung up on the wall. However, this is consistent with the scene Will makes them glow bright white – and if it bothers you, it’s an easy fix to customise.
Winona Ryder has had her ups and downs over the years, which unfortunately has probably had a negative impact on her career trajectory. She was a huge star in the late 80s right up until around 2001 – and it’s only really been in the last few years that she’s started to re-emerge significantly into the public eye. But in some ways we should be grateful for this; were her profile a little higher, the producers behind Stranger Things might not have been able to get her for the role.