Stranger Things Jean-Ralphio Theory

Netflix’s Stranger Things is exactly the kind of topsy-turvy sci-fi mystery that gives rise to endless fan theories big and small. In any corner of the internet where people are discussing Stranger Things — which seems to be every corner of the internet these days — you can find viewers arguing about what really happened to certain characters, how other characters are really related, or where all of this is really taking place.

But my favorite theory by far is “Jean-Ralphio Saperstein from Parks & Recreation is really the son of Steve Harrington from Stranger Things,” based on the remarkably astute observation that hey, these two idiots kind of look alike. And now we have definitive proof. Ben Schwartz, who played Jean-Ralphio, has “confirmed” that the two characters are in fact father and son, and even shared his thoughts on what Jean-Ralphio’s childhood might have been like. Some spoilers ahead for season 1. 

Okay, so the idea that Steve fathered Jean-Ralphio isn’t that mind-blowing… but who’d have guessed Jean-Ralphio would have spent half his life in the Upside Down? “But he was like, super chill, he was super cool in the Upside Down, you know what I mean?” explains Schwartz. “Like, he ran that [shit].” Apparently Jean-Ralphio and the Demogorgon are childhood friends, with a cute little choreographed dance together and everything. Actually, on second thought, maybe this makes perfect sense. How else to explain Jean-Ralphio’s completely warped perspective of the world?

Schwartz adds, “I’m assuming there’s a 100% chance of me being on Stranger Things seasons two through 100,” and even has a plan for how it could happen. Here’s a hint: it involves Eggos.

And now that you’re down the Jean-Ralphio / Steve rabbit hole, we know you’ve got lots of questions. For much, much more on S + N = J-R, the best in-depth exploration of theory is this one at Uproxx.

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