Just before holiday season, WIRED published a video featuring Stranger Things' Gaten Matarazzo and Joe Keery answering Google questions that autofill in the search engine, and it's so joyful that it's basically a cure for your November blues. In the first place, you have the pair that basically lit up Season 2 being just as funny and harmonious as their characters were on the show. In the second place, the video is fairly comprehensive, running through everything from "Is Stranger Things based on a true story?" to "Is Joe Keery still in Post Animal?" to "Is Stranger Things inspired by It?" But one question the video fails to answer is how 15-year-old Matarazzo has such an eerily comprehensive grasp of the pop culture of the '80s. Well, OK, maybe more like two questions, since one other extremely pressing query gets gracefully passed over.
The pair reveal that one thing the worldwide web has been (hornily?) googling is the question "Is Joe Keery Dating?" While, yes, Keery is probably dating Maika Monroe since he took her as his date to the Stranger Things Season 2 premiere, he kept as quiet as possible on the topic, only saying, "Well, I think I'll just have to leave it up to mystery because that's what it's all about." Yeah, that sentence doesn't totally make sense, which presumably signals that yes, the heartthrob is dating. Why else would he get so hot under the collar about it? It could be that he and Monroe want to keep their rumored relationship on the low, which would also make sense.
But the really intriguing aspect of the short is just how knowledgeable the actor who plays Dustin is about the '80s. Sure, on the one hand, Stranger Things is a loving homage to the decade. But, on the other hand, the actor is just 15 years old, and most of the films and books he references came out roughly two decades before he was born. While most people will have in-depth knowledge about some '80s stuff, Matarazzo seems to have in-depth knowledge about all '80s stuff. He references a pretty detailed It easter egg in Season 2 of his show, in which Bob mentions a clown in Maine who would appear in his dreams every night. Given the Stephen King novel's Maine setting, as Matarazzo points out, this is probably a nod to Pennywise.
The actor delves even further into the Stephen King parallels when one oft-Googled query turns out to be whether the show is inspired by It. And if you're shaking your head and assuming he's just watched the 2017 movie, nope. Matarazzo even delves into the parallels between the Duffer Brothers' series and the clown novel and the 1980 horror movie The Shining in terms of people who are psychic. This guy knows what he's talking about.
And it gets better. Just as you're assuming that maybe, maybe, this guy is just a King fanatic (since The Shining was also written by the famous horror author), he starts waxing lyrical about whether you could compare the 2017 Netflix series to The Goonies. "It's a little darker than The Goonies, I've got to say," he says, "not as playful." You guys, the hit kid comedy came out in 1985, 17 years before this planet was blessed with Matarazzo, but he's previously identified the film as his favorite '80s movie.
Obviously, DVDs and streaming sites exist and there's nothing stopping someone who's super into pop culture from burrowing down the rabbit hole. But it's fascinating that the actor doesn't seem to have a cursory overview of the era so much as a detailed, nuanced understanding of that time period's pop culture. Could we be in a The Shining situation, with Matarazzo a reincarnation of an '80s fan boy? Will we find an old photo with the actor looking eerily fully grown and toasting the photographer at a party from that decade a la Jack Torrance? Probably not. But it's still fun to think about while enjoying the delightful chemistry between these two off-screen besties.