Watching the Hulu animated comedy, Solar Opposites, a sit-com about a family of aliens stranded on Earth and attempting to blend in, you can’t help but shake the feeling that you’re watching a weird episode of Rick and Morty.
One of the aliens sounds like Rick, the other sounds kind of like Morty, the art style is the same, the humor is much the same, the violence, the gore, the gags… all of it seems very familiar, sort of like how American Dad was highly reminiscent of Family Guy.
Don’t worry, though, because although the similarities are obvious, Solar Opposites, a lot like American Dad, becomes something unique unto itself… when given enough time.
There’s the usual fish out of water gags that you would expect from this series, but unlike Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites doesn’t rely on nihilism to drive its characters. The aliens actually want to be accepted by society, they’re unhappy with who they are, and they crave acceptance. While Korvo harps endlessly about how he hates Earth, he leaps at any chance to transform himself and become part of the culture. Terry, Korvo’s wide-eyed partner, throws himself happily into any situation. The “replicants”, Yumyulack and Jesse, experiences the highs and lows of the education system and the life of teenagers.
On the surface, it’s a Rick and Morty-like show, but at its heart, it is something different.
“The Matter Transfer Array”
In the first episode, Korvo and Terry are excited to discover that there is another alien living on Earth by the name, “Funbucket” but, when they discover Funbucket is only a character on a television show, they decide to make Funbucket real by using their alien lab.
At first, everything is great, but the Funbucket grows apart from them and decides he likes other people better leading to the aliens creating another Funbucket and then disaster ensues.
Unsurprisingly, “The Matter Transfer Array,” being the first episode, is the very Rick and Morty-like. It’s cynical, a little mean-spirited, and relies on gore, body horror, and torture for its humor, not only with Funbucket, but also with a side-story with Jesse and Yumyulack shrinking a bully and running experiments on her.
It’s funny, but you do get the feeling that you’ve seen something very similar.
“The Unstable Grey Hole”
Terry and Korvo use alien technology to make their neighbors like them while Jesse tries to convince Yumyulack that humans are good at heart.
If the first episode was Rick and Morty-like, this is the Rickiest and Mortiest episode of all. It’s practically dripping in nihilism and cynicism and culminates in a violent bloodbath similar to “Look Who’s Purging Now?”
I honestly remember very little from this episode. It just didn’t leave much of an impression on me.
“The Quantum Ring”
Korvo decides to become a magician and that’s about it.
Believe it or not, I really think that this episode is where Solar Opposites starts transmogrifying into something unique. It’s not mean spirited, it’s not pessimistic, and it features the Rick-Alien, Korvo, embracing a part of Earth culture, a culture he claims to hate.
I think that this is important because Korvo and Rick were interchangeable at this point and now, Korvo is developing his own personality and his own motivations.
The episode is pretty funny too, so that’s a plus.
“The Booster Manifold”
The aliens secrete tiny creatures called gooblers. Usually harmless and eaten by the Pupa, Korvo gets stressed and secretes a red goobler who is determined to kill him.
This is the high-concept sci-fi comedy I was hoping for. The gooblers were a running gag and I really liked how the show expanded the mythology for something that seemed so inconsequential and throwaway.
“The Lavatic Reactor”
Terry decides to make Korvo more fun by shooting him with a dumb-ray and then realizes that Korvo’s intelligence is more important than he realizes.
I liked this episode because, again, it de-Ricks Korvo by showing that, despite his intelligence, he can be easily outwitted. I also enjoy that this episode allowed Terry to grow and change, becoming better and more informed even if only slightly so.
“The P.A.T.R.I.C.I.A. Devise”
This episode was probably the best Fish out of Water story of the entire season as Korvo and Terry decide they want a Man Cave like their neighbors have and then realize the only thing that is missing is a wife who hates it… so they create one!
This one is just hilarious. It doesn’t try to say anything important, make a point, or have its characters grow, it just wants to have wacky fun based on silly misunderstandings and it succeeds perfectly.
“Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear”
A turning point for this series is when it introduced The Wall, a society of people who have been kidnapped and shrunken by the replicants and placed into a wall of containers where a Walking Dead society develops.
At first, its a running gag, but then it develops into its own episode with the alien escapades relegated to the running gag in the background. I was actually quite surprised with how enthralling this particular storyline became and consider the episode “Korvo and Terry Steal a Bear,” the episode that focuses on the Wall and the power struggle within, to be the best episode of the season.
Terry and Korvo mess up the timeline when they steal Korvo’s wallet back in the past.
This episode gives us a look at the alien’s homeworld and, honestly, it was a little underwhelming. The Butterfly Effect of meddling with time is nothing new and, frankly, it was done better elsewhere. The fact that the episode ends with a “It was all a dream” ending didn’t help either.
Solar Opposites becomes a very enjoyable series once it finds its voice and its own legs. While it does stumble a couple of times, the time that it runs more than makes up for it.
Does it still feel like Rick and Morty at the end? Yeah… but not as much as it did at the beginning. In any case, with only eight episode, it’s a fun series you can binge in one sitting.