Stranger Things Steve Jean-Ralphio video

Stranger Things has given way to a great many conspiracy theories, but perhaps none more convincing than “Steve is really the father of Jean-Ralphio from Parks & Recreation.” The evidence is incontrovertible: the two guys kind of look alike, and both characters hail from Indiana, and… actually, that’s about it. Okay, so maybe it’s not all that airtight after all. But Ben Schwartz (a.k.a. Jean-Ralphio) and Joe Keery (a.k.a. Steve) are more than happy to run with it, and that’s what matters.

Earlier this week we oohed and ahhed over a bunch of snapshots of father and son being reunited thanks to The Late Late Show With James Corden, and now there’s video footage of their special encounter — including the moment they realized that, yes, they are related after all. 

Corden had Entertainment Tonight’s Nischelle Turner sit down with Schwartz and Keery to get to the bottom of the Steve Jean-Ralphio fan theory.

The two actors immediately deny any relation between their characters. “We’re literally from different worlds,” says Schwartz. But then the evidence starts to mount. Not only do they show up dressed in the exact same outfit — thanks to a shared obsession with, of all things, Daniel Day-Lewis — they learn that both of them play characters from Indiana, both of them enjoy MP3 copied onto vinyl (and singing about it), and both of them once battled a monster from the Upside Down. Eventually, Schwartz realizes that Keery is his father. No matter that, as Turner points out, it’s impossible. The guys then set out to make up for lost time, as Keery teaches Schwartz to how to shave, how to drink whiskey, and how to ride a bike.

As heartwarming as this father-son bonding time is, though, it actually represents a whole new twist on the fan theory. We’d speculated that Steve and Jean-Ralphio were related, but never before that Keery and Schwartz might be too. It also seems to contradict Schwartz’s earlier confirmation (also to The Late Late Show) that Steve fathered Jean-Ralphio. So was Schwartz lying before, or did something happen to make him forget? If Keery really is Schwartz’s father, how do we explain the fact that Keery is actually younger than Schwartz? Just how much deeper does this entire conspiracy go? Is Nancy (Natalia Dyer) involved? How about Dr. Saperstein (Henry Winkler), Jean-Ralphio’s dad from Parks and Recreation? Or Jean-Ralphio’s sister Mona-Lisa (Jenny Slate)?Surely the entirety of Stranger Things season 2 will be devoted to answering all of these pressing questions.

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