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Those adorable “Stranger Things” kids won the Emmys without actually winning any Emmys

Actors Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin and Millie Bobby Brown from the Netflix series "Stranger Things" arrive at the 68th Primetime Emmy Awards in Los Angeles, California
Reuters/Lucy Nicholson
Ready to fight the Demogorgon.
  • Adam Epstein
By Adam Epstein

Entertainment reporter

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

On an Emmys night dominated by HBO and FX, one Netflix series still showed up big, even without winning any awards.

To be eligible for this year’s Emmys, which aired last night, a show must release most of its episodes before May 31. That means that all summer shows, like Netflix’s Stranger Things (and HBO’s acclaimed The Night Of), aren’t eligible until the 2017 Emmys. But that didn’t stop the popular sci-fi romp from making its mark on the evening.

The beating heart of Stranger Things is, of course, its talented cast of tweens. While critics have praised everything from the show’s soundtrack to its smorgasbord of 1980s film motifs (also a point of contention for some), the whole thing would fall apart without some youngsters who could convincingly portray a group of friends going on an adventure to save one of their own from the clutches of a mysterious creature.

Luckily, they can, and it appears they’ve now taken their rambunctious rapport off of TV screens and onto the Red Carpet.

Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin and Gaten Matarazzo arrived to the Los Angeles show in style, taking over the ceremony’s official Snapchat story and making the interview rounds with reporters.

“Yeah, I just went to this place and got this tux,” Matarazzo said when E!’s Giuliana Rancic asked him what he was wearing, as if he were George Clooney and not a 14-year-old on his first Red Carpet. ”I got it at this rental place. Yeah. From Neil Allyn.”

Before the show, the trio went inside the theater and performed an impromptu rendition of “Uptown Funk” by Bruno Mars. Watch them sing and dance on stage while the adults in the room mingle and find their seats:

And then, during the show, they rode down the aisles on bicycles, passing out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to audience members:

The ubiquity of the Stranger Things kids during the Emmys speaks to how quickly the show has become a widespread phenomenon. According to Parrot Analytics, a firm that measures audience demand for television shows, Stranger Things was the most popular series of the summer. It’s reportedly the second most-watched recent series on Netflix (after the Full House reboot Fuller House), according to SymphonyAM, a media research company that attempts to discern Netflix ratings (which Netflix keeps secret).

It’s a rare show that is popular with, obviously, young people, but also with their parents, who might recognize some of their own childhoods in the adventures of the show’s characters. On top of that, critics love it. The show seemed to arrive at the perfect time to help fill the summer TV void, right after HBO’s Game of Thrones ended its sixth season. Netflix announced last month that the show was renewed for a second season, to premiere in 2017.

It was a great night for Stranger Things, but less so for Netflix as a whole, which was overshadowed by its content rivals in cable, HBO and FX. Those two networks each won six awards during the broadcast last night (to Netflix’s three), and won 22 and 18, respectively, in total (some awards were revealed earlier). Netflix won nine, good for third place, ahead of streaming competitor Amazon, which won six.

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