Stranger Things 3's "three inches" line is now a heartbreaking meme

8 July 2019, 16:19

Katie Louise Smith

By Katie Louise Smith

What does "keep the door open 3 inches" mean in Stranger Things? It means I'm gonna cry again.

The ending of Stranger Things 3 has undoubtably been one of the saddest moments of the series so far. The cast had issued warnings ahead of the release, telling us all to brace ourselves and stock up on tissues and, like fools, we low-key didn't believe them.

What could possibly be that sad in a show so epic? What could possibly happen that would have us reeling for the rest of the week, the month, the year? Weeeell, it turns out that there was one thing. And that one thing was a big thing. And that big thing was a DEVASTATING thing.

READ MORE: Who is the American prisoner in the Stranger Things 3 post credit scene?

That devastating moment is now responsible for the influx of hundreds and hundreds of tweets and memes referencing the phrase "keep the door open three inches" which plays a huge part in Eleven's storyline. What began as a hilarious moment between Eleven and Hopper at the beginning of the season, soon turned into one of the most poignant and heartbreaking moments of the entire show.


Stranger Things 3: "Keep the door open three inches" memes
Stranger Things 3: "Keep the door open three inches" memes. Picture: Netflix

What does "Three Inches" mean on Stranger Things?

At the start of the season, we see that El has been spending a lot of time holed up in her room with her boyfriend Mike. Hopper, who is now her adoptive dad, is not exactly cool with it but allows her to spend time with him on one condition– the door must be kept open three inches.

Like any teenager, El rebels and ends up closing the door on several occasions which drives Hopper crazy, causing him to burst in a couple of times only to find El and her guest (Mike, or even Max) sitting there reading magazines oh so innocently.

Hopper soon comes to the end of his tether, sick and tired of not spending any time with his daughter so he asks Joyce to help write a speech that will lay down the law under his roof to the two loved up teens. Together, they write a short "heart to heart" speech but at the end of the season, we find out that he wrote his own emotional heartfelt speech on the paper underneath Joyce's.

Eleven cries reading Hopper's speech
Eleven cries reading Hopper's speech. Picture: Netflix

When Joyce discovers the speech amongst his belongings in the final episode, she realises that Hop never even spoke to Eleven. So she hands her the letter and lets her read it.

READ MORE: Is Jim Hopper still alive? An Easter egg from season 1 could hint at his survival

At the end of the speech, Hopper writes a closing line that echoes back to the beginning of the season, saying "But, please, if you don't mind, for the sake of your poor old dad, keep the door open three inches." (If you want to read the entire speech, we typed the whole thing up right here. Through tears. Lots and lots of tears.)

The scene–and Hopper's speech–reduced the fandom to tears almost immediately and the memes, tweets and reactions to that one tiny detail has sent them flying off the deep end.

Never in my life have I cried at a TV show as hard as I cried at the end of Stranger Things 3.

You know how hard Eleven was crying? I was crying ten times harder.


My emotions haven't been compromised like this since the scene with the old couple on the bed in Titanic.

The number 3 is CANCELLED.

Avengers: Endgame 🤝 Stranger Things 3

Making me cry in 2019

"Keep the door open three inches" and "I love you 3000" have the exact same energy.

I can't. I literally can't.

Please send help. I will never know peace again.


It's funny but I'm still crying.

One day, when Hopper is found alive, I will laugh.

I'm never closing my door again.

Me, writing this article.

David Harbour and Millie Bobby Brown have also been referencing the speech on Instagram with their latest posts... David posting about the first line in the speech where Hopper calls back to the moment he left Eggos out in the woods for Eleven in season 2 and Millie posting some heartbreaking fan art of Hopper and El.

But it's David's comment on Millie's post that has reduced the fandom to tears again.

View this post on Instagram

like father like daughter ♡

A post shared by mills 🐳 (@milliebobbybrown) on

David Harbour's comment on Millie Bobby Brown's Instagram picture is everything
David Harbour's comment on Millie Bobby Brown's Instagram picture is everything. Picture: Instagram

Now, if you don't mind, I'm gonna go and listen to 'Heroes' and cry a bit more. Thanks. Bye.