I figure I might as well set one thing straight around here, before someone else tries to report it as fact: Episode 2 of Netflix’s Stranger Things has NOT been edited to remove a scene where Jonathan discreetly snaps a photo of Nancy in her bra. Anyone who remembered this scene was suffering the Mandela Effect because it was never actually in the episode to begin with. The bra photo is not revealed to exist until Episode 3, when Nancy gets peeved at seeing it in the stack of photos. THAT scene is still there (and yet somehow, he won her anyway).
So how did this rumor get started in the first place? Because the Duffers admitted to Variety that they had been re-editing old episodes without anyone’s knowledge. The subject came up of some of the VFX shots in Season 4 not technically being complete, and they confirmed “newer” versions of those episodes were discreetly replacing the unfinished versions…and then they confessed to changing a birthday date mentioned back in Season 1, because they had set an entire episode from Season 4 on that day without realizing it, and the character was in that episode, cheerfully unaware of his own birthday. Even he forgot!
They were embarrassed. Which happens. If you’ve written anything in your life that you were proud of, set it aside for a while, and then looked at it again months later, the mistakes tend to LEAP out at you. Here’s the thing, though…no one takes a mistake harder than the original creator (plus maybe a handful of fans with no lives). The urge to go back and “fix” your older work is natural. But you should draw the line at actually doing it. The majority of your audience will prefer your creation the way it is, and will just be angered by any unprompted changes.
If I an ever in an elevator with the Duffs, I could name off a lot of things that would drive them nuts. For example, if every building in the Upside Down is a frozen snapshot of a specific moment in 1983 and doesn’t change (as revealed in Season 4), then Joyce could not have written the alphabet on her wall and had it appear on the other side for Will to use (in Season 1). The show is full of inconsistencies like this. I don’t care. I love it anyway, flaws and all, and so do a lot of people.
Nothing really drastic has happened to the show yet. But as Star Wars proved, it may only be a matter of time. The bra scene remains uncut, but if I’m rewatching an early episode ten years from now and Dustin suddenly says “Maclunkey” where he didn’t before, I won’t be pleased.
UPDATE. 1:30 PM PT: Well, that was fast. In what surely was a direct response to this article, the Duffers came forward and vowed to NEVER re-edit or splice existing episodes of the show. Thanks, guys!