Many viewers who dove into Stranger Things season 3 missed the well-hidden Beetlejuice Easter egg. Since the series began in 2016, watchers were trained to keep their eyes peeled for clever references to past popular franchises. Season 3 took that notion up a notch by including a nod to one of their cast members.
Stranger Things has been revered as a love letter to the '80s. The show's creators, Matt and Ross Duffer, have made no secret in the inspirations they pulled from the decade as the foundation for their Netflix series. Since Stranger Things is set in the '80s, there's an abundance of references to the well-known works by Stephen King, John Carpenter, and Steven Spielberg, among many others. Many of the Easter eggs are in plain sight but there are a few that the Duffer Brothers made viewers work a little harder for.
Following the release of Stanger Things season 3, the show's writers noticed that viewers haven't found a specific Easter egg from the second episode, "Mall Rats". They took to Twitter to get viewers on the search with a prize at stake. Shortly after, eagle-eyed fans figured out that there was a clever Beetlejuice reference at Mr. Clarke's house. When Joyce needed answers about the magnets falling off of her fridge, she sought help from her son's science teacher. She went directly to the source by showing up unannounced at his house. Mr. Clarke had an entire model of Hawkins and a quick pan of the camera revealed Beetlejuice's tombstone, an exact replica of the movie.
The scene focused on Mr. Clarke providing Joyce with an explanation through an experiment on electromagnetic fields. The Easter egg was meant as a nod to the actress who plays Joyce, Winona Ryder. In 1988, Ryder starred in Tim Burton's Beetlejuice in the role of Lydia Deetz. Lydia and her parents lived in the home previously owned by the recently deceased couple, Adam and Barbara Maitland. The trio eventually turned to the crude "bio-exorcist" Betelgeuse (pronounced Beetlejuice) to stop Lydia's parents from ridding the ghosts. Beetlejuice memorably resided in the graveyard within Adam's model of the town. That same gravestone decorated with skeletons was present in Mr. Clarke's model.
Considering Ryder's popularity bloomed in the mid-to-late-1980s, it seemed like the Duffer Brothers would add some sort of Easter egg as a tribute to Joyce at some point. There is a bit of a date discrepancy since Stranger Things season 3 took place in the summer of 1985. Beetlejuice wasn't released until 1988, nearly three years before the third installment of the Netflix series was set. On the other hand, the situation of the town model and scene involving Joyce, it seemed like a clever opportunity that the writers couldn't pass up.