Despite the bevy of heartrending drama, political intrigue, and high-stakes criminality that we’re offered night after night by the benevolent despot that is contemporary television, the real emotional powerhouse of the passing TV season has actually occurred beyond the confines of one given series. No, I’m not talking about the behind-the-scenes shakeups of The Great British Bake Off… although the recently announced exit of host Mary Berry has relegated most of the Nerdist editorial staff to sporadic tears. What I am talking about is the unexpected union of a lost soul and his long estranged father. I’m referring, of course, to Jean Ralphio Saperstein and Steve… Steve… uh, Steve Fromstrangerthings.
Always hard at work on a case of cultural import, Twitter was the first to recognize the physical similarity between Parks and Recreation‘s Ben Schwartz and Stranger Things‘ Joe Keery. It wasn’t long before the dots were connected. Stranger Things takes place in Hawkins, Indiana, in the early 1980s, during which time the aforementioned Steve clocks in at 18 (and exhibits the sexual appetite of your typical 18-year-old). Parks and Recreation first introduced a late-20s Jean Ralphio in an episode that both aired and took place in 2010, in its own Indiana city: Pawnee. Considering these actors’ identical mugs in tandem with a shared setting and timeline that adds up quite conveniently, the internet had no other choice but to assume a direct family lineage.
It wasn’t too difficult to shrug away questions pertaining to Jean Ralphio’s canonical father, played by Henry Winkler, and twin sister, played by Jenny Slate, either, since… well, we really wanted this to work.
And we weren’t the only ones! Just a few days back, renowned comedian Schwartz and apparently-also-funny-person Keery joined forces to suggest they, too, were Steve Ralphio Truthers. However, the pair’s union on Schwartz’s Instagram was only a taste of their involvement with the gag; an appearance on last night’s The Late Late Show with James Corden made for the full meal. Watch above for a few laughs—you don’t have to be a Parks and Rec or a Stranger Things fan to find the antic funny, though it’ll probably help.
Got any more inter-series conspiracy theories brewing in your heads? Let us know!
Stranger Things season two characters revealed!
Featured Image: The Late Late Show with James Corden