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Stranger Things Wiki

Theodore "Ted" Wheeler is a recurring character of Stranger Things. He is portrayed by Joe Chrest.



Ted Wheeler was born in 1938 in Hawkins, Indiana. During his adulthood, he managed to get a high paying job.

In the early 1960s, he married Karen, although it's believed he wasn't truly in love with her, and that they married merely to satisfy the idea of the "perfect nuclear family.“ Despite this, they managed to have three kids.

Although It is unknown what he does for a living, it is likely that he has a high paid yet long hour job and Karen stays at home (since that is usually where she is based) thus explaining why he has a distant relationship with his children. It is suggested that he doesn't choose not be involved but rather that he doesn't have time to be because of his job.


On November 6, 1983, when his wife, Karen tells their son Mike to end a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with his friends, Ted tells Mike to listen to her as he's fixing the television.

The next day, Ted and his family are having dinner, when Karen mentions that she isn't going to let Mike and Nancy out of the house until Will is found. Mike argues with her and she looks at Ted so he can back her up, but he barely acknowledges her.

Nancy starts to argue with Karen after she doesn't let her out of the house so she can study with Barb. Nancy gets mad at the fact that she's under 'house arrest just because Mike's stupid friend got lost on the way home', which angers Mike. Mike then tells their parents about Steve, which causes Nancy to call Mike a douchebag and leave the table. During this argument between Nancy and Mike, Nancy swears twice, to which Ted says, 'Language!'

Karen calls for Nancy to come back to the table, but she does not respond. Karen then starts to comfort Holly, and Ted blames the argument on Mike. Mike has an outburst and leaves the table. Because of this, Karen turns to Ted and tells him that she hopes he's enjoying his chicken. Ted asks her, 'What did I do?' as she leaves the table with Holly. This could suggest that Karen and Ted's marriage is going downhill.

Ted remained largely oblivious to the strange events which took place in the fall of 1983. Like Karen, he had no idea that an escaped test subject from the nearby laboratory was living in his house for a number of days. As such, when agents arrived at their house to search for evidence relating to the girl, he trusted them, telling Karen that they were "on their side" - however, Karen appeared more conflicted about their presence in their home. Later, Ted and Karen went to Hawkins Middle School to find Mike safe and sound after Dr. Brenner's and the Demogorgon's deaths, along with Eleven's disappearance. Ted and Karen then go to the hospital as Will had been rescued from the Upside Down where Ted is seen sleeping in the waiting room before Mike and his friends go to greet Will.

One month later, Ted is seen sleeping in his chair as his family, as he and his family celebrate Christmas together, along with Steve Harrington.


On October 29, 1984, Ted was seen in the kitchen with his wife and Holly, watching Nancy chase Mike for taking change from her piggy bank where Ted orders his children to stop running. On the next day, while eating at the dinner table, Ted and Karen tell Mike to put some of his toys in two boxes as punishment for taking some of Nancy's change, remarking Mike's toys as "chunks of plastic."

Four days later, while eating breakfast with his family, Ted hears Nancy say she's planning to go have a sleepover at a friend's house for the weekend and asks if it's okay which Karen says yes (unaware that Nancy plans to expose the Hawkins Lab with Jonathan's help, in order to avenge Barbara's death).

On the next day, while Karen was on the phone, Ted answers the door, after hearing the doorbell rang, and meets Dustin who asks for Mike. Ted says Mike is over at Will's, but Dustin says he can't reach anybody at Will's so he asks for Nancy. However, after asking his wife, Ted says that Nancy is supposedly at Ally's and comments that this children don't live at home anymore. Annoyed, Dustin calls Ted a son of a bitch for being such a big help, causing Ted to reprimand Dustin for using foul language as he watches him leave.

Later, while Karen takes a bath, she hears the doorbell ring and asks Ted to answer the doorbell, but Ted is fast asleep in his chair. Annoyed, Karen gets out of the bath, answers the door, and meets Billy Hargrove.

A month later, Ted attended the funeral of Barbara Holland with his wife and daughter Nancy after private investigator Murray Bauman revealed information that Hawkins National Laboratory was involved in his daughter's best friend's death.


During the summer of 1985, Ted's consistent laid-back attitude finally causes Karen to almost have an affair with Billy Hargrove at a motel. However, on June 29, Karen stopped herself from starting an affair with Billy after seeing Ted asleep in his chair with Holly on his lap, reminding her that despite his laid-back personality, he still cares deeply for their family and abandons the idea.

Ted is later seen attending the Fun Fair with Karen and Holly and watches the 4th of July fireworks from atop the Ferris Wheel; Karen tells him she slipped the operator five dollars as a bribe in order to secure the best seats to see them. During the fair we see that Ted is visibly shaken by even the mildest of rides and seems very uncomfortable in The Rotor. After the ride, Ted watched Jim Hopper and Joyce Byers run off together in such a hurry, unaware they're being pursued by Russian hitman Grigori. When Karen noted they make an odd couple, Ted remarked that there's always one for everyone, putting his hand on his wife's shoulder, which causes her to roll her eyes in annoyance.


Ted Wheeler is extremely laid-back which affects the relationships he has with his wife and children, he was often at work which meant he had little time to spend with his family whilst his wife did. Unlike Lonnie Byers, Ted is often oblivious towards any situation his older children are going through, despite trying to be there for them no matter such as being the first one to suggest speaking to Mike after Will's "death". He does act like a normal, typical father by criticizing not only his children, but their friends for use of bad language. Ted also holds some trust and respect for his country's government when the Hawkins Laboratory agents came over to their house; assuring his wife that they were "on their side."

Although subtle, Ted could be "nerd" himself due to his obliviousness to situations and the fact that he has trouble knowing when he is did something wrong (e.g when the family were arguing at the dinner table discussing Will's disappearance) combined with having a job that affords for his wife to stay at home and live in a 2-3 floor house.


Season One appearances
The Vanishing of Will Byers The Weirdo on Maple Street Holly, Jolly The Body
The Flea and the Acrobat The Monster The Bathtub The Upside Down
Season Two appearances
MADMAX Trick or Treat, Freak The Pollywog
Will the Wise Dig Dug The Spy
The Lost Sister The Mind Flayer The Gate
Season Three appearances
Suzie, Do You Copy? The Mall Rats The Case of the Missing Lifeguard The Sauna Test
The Flayed E Pluribus Unum The Bite The Battle of Starcourt
Video Game Appearances
Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales

Family tree

Ted Wheeler Family Tree icon.png
Ted Wheeler
Karen Wheeler Family Tree icon 001.png
Karen Wheeler
Nancy Wheeler Family Tree icon 002.png
Nancy Wheeler
Screen Shot 2017-07-19 at 6.33.40 AM.png
Mike Wheeler
Holly Wheeler

Memorable Quotes

  • "What'd I do... What'd I doooooo?"
  • "This is our government. They're on our side..."
  • "What happened to her hair? Oh my god - is she Russian?"
  • “No running in the house!”