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Watch: Ben Schwartz reveals that Stranger Things and Parks and Rec take place in the same universe

Constance Grady is a senior correspondent on the Culture team for Vox, where since 2016 she has covered books, publishing, gender, celebrity analysis, and theater.

Ever since I fell madly in love with the Netflix series Stranger Things, I’ve been tormented by certain unanswered questions. Sure, I’m curious about what happened to Eleven, but here’s the one that’s really driving me nuts: Does Stranger Things take place in the same world as Parks and Recreation? And if so, is Stranger Things’ Steve the father of Parks and Rec’s Jean-Ralphio?

Jean-Ralphio from Parks and Rec and Steve Harrington from Stranger Things
The resemblance is uncanny.
Left, NBC. Right, Netflix

Luckily, Ben Schwartz, the actor who played Jean-Ralphio, is here to set my mind at ease — and the answer is an unqualified yes.

In a web exclusive for The Late Late Show with James Corden, Schwartz explains everything:

"Jean-Ralphio probably lived 50 percent of his life in the Upside Down," Schwartz said, "but he was super cool there. Like, he ran that shit. He was super friends with the monster. When he met the monster it was a little kid, so by the time it was a full-blown monster, they had like a dance together."

This theory does, of course, raise another important question: Is the reason that Jean-Ralphio was so attached to Tom Haverford, to the point of dance-routine-based friendship, that Tom reminded him of the Demogorgon? If so, does that mean that the Demogorgon is secretly a thwarted entrepreneur?

"I’m assuming there’s a 100 percent chance of me being on Stranger Things seasons two through 100," Schwartz concluded, and logically so. Personally, I don’t see how the Duffer brothers can pass up this opportunity to really delve into the mythology of the shared Stranger Things/Parks and Rec universe.

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