It's been impossible to escape Stranger Things since the premiere of its second season (though, why would you want to?), but late night host Jimmy Kimmel unveiled a new twist on the series that may have made things even better. Perfect Stranger Things on Kimmel reimagined the Netflix show as an '80s sitcom, and it was not to be missed — even if the original inspiration for the spoof is a reference that not everyone in the audience might have caught at first.
Perfect Strangers was a sitcom from the late '80s that paired up two distant cousins, American Larry Appleton (played by Mark Linn-Baker) and Mediterranean Balki Bartokomous (Bronson Pinchot), for an Odd Couple-esque roomie comedy that emphasized their culture clash. Both Linn-Baker and Pinchot returned for the parody on Kimmel, though this time Larry and Balki welcomed yet another distant — very distant — relative: the Demogorgon. Though their new roommate, who was played by none other than Kimmel himself, seemed to prefer going by Mr. Dem O'Gorgon.
There were all the Stranger Things callbacks one could ask for, including flickering lights and strung-up Christmas decorations, as well as corny sitcom jokes and a boisterous laugh track. When half the young cast showed up midway through, it made everything complete.
The spoof started with Larry and Balki getting to know their new pal Dem and dealing with all the readjustments one has to handle with a new roommate. There were totally normally apartment-sharing moments like fighting over the remote or enjoying a friendly glass of wine, but life was far from easy with a Demogorgon down the hall. Not every roommate covers your toothpaste in gelatinous green muck or transports you to the Upside Down when he's upset, but luckily those little disagreements were easily fixed with Balki's traditional Dance of Joy and a group hug.
Young cast members Caleb McLaughlin, Noah Schnapp, Gaten Matarazzo, and Finn Wolfhard (who play Lucas, Will, Dustin, and Mike respectively on Stranger Things) first popped up as a gaggle of trick-or-treaters visiting the apartment in search of candy. They ended up being chased around the living room by Dem until they escaped — all except for poor Schnapp, who was caught by Dem and exclaimed, "Not again!" to canned laughter. The kids reappeared later on for a conga line.
The parody finished up with a quick glimpse at another mashup: Full House of Cards, in which single dad Danny Tanner was flung in front of a passing train. How rude indeed.
Though Stranger Things is rife with '80s nostalgia and references to popular films of the time, it does usually skate around the inherent cheesiness of the decade (aside from the voluminous hair and that one mom-sponsored romance novel, of course). The Perfect Stranger Things segment on Kimmel embraced that silliness wholeheartedly by staying true to the tone of '80s sitcoms. Filtering all those iconic moments from the Netflix series through a broadly comedic lens was a more rewarding mix than viewers might have expected before they saw it. Who knew the Demogorgon had comedy skills?
The short spoof could also provide a nice break if the more intense moments of Stranger Things Season 2 were stressing you out. If watching Will deal with his Smoke Monster possession or seeing Steve get beaten to hell and back was a little too tough to watch, then unwind with all the zany sitcom absurdity that the parody on Kimmel provided. The second season might have ended happily, but there are still threats on the rise. As you wait and wait (and wait) for Season 3 to continue the story, try watching Perfect Stranger Things a few more times — maybe it will make the months fly by.