This 'Saturday Night Live' sketch had an important point to make about police brutality


What's scarier than Stranger Things, the supernatural, synthesizer-laden 1980s nostalgia trip that smashed records on Netflix this summer?

For the black community in America, the answer might be law enforcement — a foe much more real and sinister than the Demogorgon. That, at least, is the conclusion drawn by one of the sketches from Saturday Night Live's Oct. 8 episode, which spoofed the series in order to make a larger point about police brutality.

The scene begins with the show's three child leads — Mike, Dustin and Lucas — perched on their bikes, plotting a way to rescue the fourth member of their squad, Will, from the clutches of the monster terrorizing their small town. Enter Lucas' "parents," played by Kenan Thompson and Leslie Jones, to reprimand him for being out past his bedtime. 

"But we have to find the Upside Down! It's like the normal world, but scarier, and there's danger at every turn," Lucas, played by Sasheer Zamata, protests.

"Baby, people who look like us already live in the Upside Down," Jones replies.

"Let me put it this way Lucas, you don't have to go looking for scary stuff — it's going to find you," Thompson says.

The sketch comes at a time when fundamental distrust in law enforcement is rampant. A 2015 Gallup poll found that in general, American's trust in police is at its lowest level in 21 years. Trust in police among black Americans in particular, the survey found, fell 6% from 2012-2013 to 2014-2015.

Later in the sketch, when the town's resident law enforcement shows up in the form of Police Chief Jim Hopper, Lucas' parents finally react with the terror that the show's younger characters usually reserve for science fiction demons and armed pursuit by shady government agents.

"Ah! A monster!" they scream.