Credit: Curtis Baker/Netflix; Netflix

This post contains spoilers about season 1 of Stranger Things

While official ratings for Netflix series Stranger Things are not available (the streaming service doesn’t release viewership stats), there’s anecdotal evidence of the show’s breakout status in the form of complete and total internet obsession.

Much of the online love has been centered on Barb (Shannon Purser), best friend to Nancy (Natalia Dyer), who ultimately is killed off by Things‘ slimy monster. Creators The Duffers understand viewer support for Barb (#JusticeForBarb became a popular hashtag) but say her death was necessary for the series.

“There had to be casualties in order for the stakes to be what they are,” says Ross Duffer. “It’s a little of what George R.R. Martin does so well which is you’re always a little bit on edge because you don’t know who’s going to make it to the end. We want continue that obviously.”

And while there wasn’t much time spent on mourning Barb, the Duffers say they had to make hard decisions for story. “The one thing I would like to publicly defend is Barb’s parents,” says Matt Duffer. “People are saying they don’t care — they care. We just don’t go there. You do see them. They’re talking and crying with the Wheeler family when Mike comes in and hugs his mom at the end of episode 3. We made a decision to not open that door and not follow her parents around because we wanted to concentrate on our core group of characters.”

Barb wasn’t the only meme to spring forth from Stranger Things: another popular fan theory was that Nancy’s boyfriend Steve (Joe Keery) is the father of Parks and Recreation character Jean-Ralphio Saperstein. Even Jean-Ralphio actor Ben Schwartz got in on the fun, saying he felt the Parks and Recreation character was Steve’s son.

“It’s hilarious and it’s obviously true,” laughs Matt Duffer of the meme. “I’ll confirm that.”

Season 2 of Stranger Things will air in 2017.

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Stranger Things

Netflix’s hit sci-fi series follows a group of kids in the '80s battling supernatural forces in Hawkins, Ind.

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