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Ted Wheeler is a recurring character in Stranger Things, portrayed by comic actor Joe Chrest. He is the perpetually exasperated - and perpetually clueless - patriarch of the Wheeler family.

History

Background

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 job. His wife, Karen, does not appear to work. Ted has a distant relationship with his children.

1983

On November 6, 1983, when his wife, Karen told their son Mike to end a Dungeons and Dragons campaign with his friends, Ted told Mike to listen to his mother.

The next day, while Ted and his family were eating dinner, Karen mentioned that she was not going to let Mike and Nancy out of the house until Will was found. Mike argued with his mother, who looked to Ted for support. Ted barely acknowledged her.

Nancy argued with her mother about being confined to the house. Nancy got angry that she was under 'house arrest just because Mike's stupid friend got lost on the way home'. This statement angered angers Mike. Mike then told their parents about Nancy's new boyfriend, Steve, which caused Nancy to call Mike a douchebag and leave the table. During this argument between Nancy and Mike, Nancy swore twice, to which Ted said, 'Language!'

Karen called for Nancy to come back to the table, but she did not. Karen then started to comfort Holly. Ted blamed the argument on Mike. Mike had an outburst and left the table. Karen turned to Ted and sarcastically told him that she hopes he was enjoying his chicken. Ted asked her, 'What did I do?' as she leaves the table with Holly.

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. On November 12, 1983, 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 the agents' presence in their home. Later that day, Ted and Karen went to Hawkins Middle School to find Mike safe after Dr. Brenner's and the Demogorgon's deaths, and after Eleven's disappearance. On the night of November 13-13, Ted and Karen went to the hospital where Will was recovering from his ordeal. When Will regained consciousness, Ted was asleep in the hospital waiting room before Mike and his friends went to see Will.

One month later, Ted was seen sleeping in his chair, when his daughter gave a new camera to Jonathan Byers. Nancy then cuddled up on the sofa with Steve Harrington.

1984

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. Ted ordered his children to stop running in the house. On the next day, while eating at the dinner table, Ted and Karen told Mike to put some of his toys in two boxes for an upcoming yard sale. When Mike protested that the toys had emotional value, Ted responded that the toys were "chunks of plastic."

Four days later, while eating breakfast with his family, Ted heard Nancy say she was planning to go have a sleepover at a friend's house for the weekend. Nancy asked her mother if this was okay and Karen said yes Karen and Ted were unaware that Nancy really planned to expose role of Hawkins Lab in the death of Barbara Holland.

On November 3, while Karen was on the phone, Ted answered the doorbell. Dustin was at the door, and asked if Mike was home. Ted said Mike is over at Will's. Dustin said he can't reach anybody at Will's so he asked if Nancy was home. After asking his wife, Ted said that Nancy was supposedly at Ally's and commented that this children do not live at home anymore. Annoyed, Dustin called Ted a son of a bitch for being such a big help. Ted reprimanded Dustin for using foul language as he watched Dustin leave.

On November 4, while Karen took a bath, she heard the doorbell ring and asked Ted to answer the doorbell. Ted was fast asleep in his chair. Annoyed, Karen got out of the bath, put on a robe and answered the door, and met Billy Hargrove.

A month later, Ted attended the funeral of Barbara Holland with his wife and daughter Nancy.

1985

During the summer of 1985, Ted's consistent laid-back attitude finally caused 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 she saw Ted asleep in his chair with Holly on his lap. This reminded her that despite his laid-back personality, he still cared deeply for their family. She abandoned the idea of having an affair.

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

1986

Personality

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."

His massive disconnect from his family & seemingly lack of interest in their lives does not come from a lack of care about them, & he is never intentionally malicious, callous or neglectful. Rather, Ted is a well-meaning but simple man. While it doesn't take much to make him happy, it also means he is not a complex person or a deep thinker. He naively believes without question that the government is a just system to be trusted & that if you follow the "rules" everything will be fine. Ted, like many others at the time, believes that happiness is the American Dream of a pretty wife, kids, a nice house and stable job with which to provide them an safe & comfortable life. As a result he finds it hard to understand his families deeper feelings & needs, as well as when they are in danger, as since they have the nice house, family & security they must be happy & safe.

Ted is very oblivious and has trouble knowing when he has done something wrong (e.g when the family were arguing at the dinner table discussing Will's disappearance). He has a job that affords for his wife to stay at home and live in a 2-3 floor house. According to Jonathan in his argument with Nancy from The Sauna Test, Ted makes six figures.

Appearances

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
Season Four appearances
The Hellfire Club Vecna's Curse The Monster and the Superhero
Dear Billy The Nina Project The Dive
The Massacre at Hawkins Lab Papa The Piggyback
Video Game Appearances
Stranger Things: Puzzle Tales


Family tree

note: family trees are only visible on desktop.

 
 
 
 
 
 
Ted Wheeler Family Tree icon.png
Ted Wheeler
 
Karen Wheeler in Season 4.png
Karen Wheeler
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Nancy Wheeler Family Tree icon 002.png
Nancy Wheeler
 
Mike Wheeler Season 4.jpg
Mike Wheeler
 
Holly Season 4 icon.png
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?"
  • "LANGUAGE!"
  • "Understood. We're all patriots in this house."


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