Characters: 3rd Rock from the Sun
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Dr. Dick Solomon
High Commander of the aliens and as such patriarch of the family, he teaches physics at the local university. He somehow manages to be a condescending genius while also being an idiotic manchild, and has an on-off relationship with his co-worker Mary.
Portrayed by Kristen Johnston
Security Officer and Dick's "sister", she comes to realize that by Earth standards, she's gorgeous, and learns to use her looks to get what she wants and use men as she pleases. However, she's still Security Officer and is easily the most Badass
member of the family when required.
Portrayed by French Stewart
Dick's "brother", Harry is the "transmitter" with which they contact the Home Planet. Otherwise though, his role is deliberately ambiguous as even the narration in the early episodes states — "they had an extra seat".
- The Casanova: He's easily the oddest of the aliens, yet he has had the most relationships with gorgeous women who could easily do better than him.
- His romantic interests have included Vicki Dubcek, Nina, an alien played by Cindy Crawford, a body builder policewoman named Janice, and in the last episode we find out that for the entire show he'd secretly been with Mrs. Dubcek.
- Catchphrase: "LET'S GO!" and "Incoming message from The Big Giant Head!"/"Transmission ending in three... two... one.. (sneezes)"
- Early on he also had "Prepare to be dazzled!"
- Chick Magnet
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Worst of the four.
- Consolation Prize: Harry was given a free tote bag along with the body he selected, implying that it's an unpopular model.
- The Ditz
- Genius Ditz: He's not very bright in terms of book smarts, but he's the most artistically gifted and has surprisingly no trouble dating women way out of his league. He also cracked the bar code.
- Eyes Always Shut
- Flanderization: When the series began Harry was just as odd, only quiet and a little subtler. As the seasons went on he started becoming louder.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Sanguine with a dash of Phlegmatic.
- I Want My Beloved to Be Happy: He told Vicki that she should stay with the Big Giant Head because he was sincerely trying to do right by her and Eric Travis, and he didn't want Dick to get punished for disobeying orders.
- Kavorka Man: If he opens his eyes fully, he suddenly becomes a chick magnet.
- Large Ham
- Likes Older Women: Has been with Mrs. Dubcek.
- Mad Artist: In the sense that he's an excellent painter but he's very weird, although that doesn't channel into his medium. He's literally just an artist who's kooky.
- Nice Guy: While his stupidity sometimes leads to unintentional Jerk Ass moments, Harry is overall well-meaning and certainly the nicest of the aliens.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: French Stewart was born with a nerve condition which causes him to appear half-asleep all of the time. He exagerrates the squinty look as Harry.
- Too Dumb to Live
- Wacky Guy
Information Officer and Dick's "son". He's actually the oldest and perhaps smartest of the crew, and much of his character comes from being frustrated with the conflicts between his literal age and his teenaged body, such as why he can't date a middle-aged woman and hanging out at a senior's home where he fits right in.
- The Berserker: A rare comedic variation.
- Butt Monkey
- Compulsory School Age
- Deadpan Snarker
- Did Not Get the Girl: Actually, he did get the girl. But Sally misconstrued Alissa's thoughts on graduation to her wanting to break up with Tommy, so she told her that he was breaking up with her. He had two chances to get back with Alissa afterwards, and blew both of them. The first, Tommy wound up telling everyone at graduation in his valedictorian speech about how they made out on her parents bed. The second, he tried to sacrifice Alissa to save himself when it appeared that there was some maniac brandishing a power tool in Alissa's backyard. It was Sally and Harry pulling some hair-brained scheme to push the two back together again.
- Dude, Where's My Respect?: He's a lot more competent in his role as information officer, but his efforts are frequently overlooked.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: Phlegmatic with a dash of Melancholic.
- Grumpy Old Man: Tommy's actually the oldest of the aliens, and quite pissed that he's in a young body subjected to raging hormones.
- Important Haircut: In season four he finally gets his hair cut. This is around the time Joseph Gorden-Levitt started to get older.
- Not So Above It All: Just because he's saner than everyone else doesn't mean he's exempt from acting like an idiot.
- Older Than They Look
- Only Sane Man: Among a quartet made up of a Ted Baxter, a Statuesque Stunner, and a Too Dumb to Live Kavorka Man.
- Really 700 Years Old
- The Snark Knight
- Teen Genius
Dr. Mary Albright
Dick's (initially reluctant) Earthling love interest and an anthropology professor at his college. As much as she finds Dick insufferable and his family bizarre, she does come to care for them. Her work in anthropology often makes her the perfect foil for Dick, who is befuddled by Earth customs and society.
Promotion To Opening Titles In Season 3
Portrayed by Simbi Khali
Dick and Mary's secretary, she's friends with Mary and often snarks at Dick's ignorance about humanity.
Officer Don Orville
Portrayed by Wayne Knight
A portly, dim-witted cop with an overblown image of himself as an enforcer of justice. He's Sally's boyfriend and will do anything to please her, including playing up said overblown image to turn her on.
Mrs. Mamie Dubcek
Portrayed by Elmarie Wendel
The Solomons' eccentric landlady
Dr. Judith Draper
Portrayed by Ileen Getz
A fellow professor known for her monotone and sarcasm.
- Annoying Laugh
- Ambiguously Gay: In Judith's very first episode, Mary is Mistaken for Gay and Judith responds by sending her a lovely bouquet of flowers with a card Mary refuses to read.
- Conspiracy Theorist: One-time occurrence. Once thought the ladies room had a hidden camera and dismantled the ceiling tiles looking for it. Dick, of all people, was weirded out by this.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Imaginary Friend: Mary believes her boyfriend Trent is imaginary.
- Noodle Incident: Entered Mary's office, and the respective episode, finishing a conversation with Mary that ended with her saying "and when they found him, he was completely devoured by woodland creatures."
- The Stoic
- Vitriolic Best Buds: With Mary. With Dick it depends on the episode.
Dr. Vincent Strudwick
Portrayed by Ron West
Potrayed by Shay Astar
Tommy's first girlfriend. She became increasingly elitist and hypocritical as the show went on, eventually becoming The Scrappy
in some viewers' eyes.
- Characterization Marches On: As the show went on she gradually became more stuck-up and hypocritical, until she finally broke up with Tommy after she admitted that she was cheating on him.
- Deadpan Snarker
- Dumb Blonde: Averted.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Following her break up with Tommy, when he became editor of the school paper he kept telling people that their break-up had left her a wreck and that HE broke up with her. She kept having to remind people to her frustration that the reverse happened, but no one listened.
- Pet the Dog: Wrote a rather scathing review of Alissa's performance in the high school play, but told Tommy (the editor of the school paper at the time) that she would understand if he didn't print it since Alissa was his girlfriend.note
- The Snark Knight
- Straw Feminist:
Tommy: Nina, I need a woman's point of view for something. Um, my girlfriend's not speaking to me because I didn't ask her to a dance.
Nina: Mmm. Send her flowers.
Tommy: She once told me that flowers reminded her of the morbid stench of death.
Nina: Okay... well, how about a gift? Maybe a nice makeup kit?
Tommy: She sees makeup as a way for the arrogant misogynists to decorate the women they own and turn them into, you know, like vacuous playthings.
Nina: Oh, I bet you two have a lot of fun.
- Took a Level in Jerkass
Portrayed by Larisa Oleynik
Tommy's second girlfriend.
Portrayed by Jan Hooks
The skanky white-trash daughter of Mrs. Dubcek and Harry's on-off girlfriend. She repeatedly fails to understand that Mary is Not That Kind of Doctor
and has a Southern accent for some reasonnote
. Ultimately, she ended up being Queen of the Universe. Don't ask.
- Chewing the Scenery: Her conversations with Harry will usually begin to sound like they're in a porno. Their first sexual encounter happened on Thanksgiving, on Mrs. Dubcek's kitchen counter and involved Harry wearing a turkey carcass on his head.
- Large Ham: After she becomes the Big Giant Head's wife, but even then she had plenty of moments.
- Lovable Sex Maniac: Most of her personality, really.
- Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Becomes one as a Compressed Vice in "The Big Giant Head Returns Again". She seems to get over Harry at the end of the episode, but it was her last appearance on the show anyway.
- It's generally implied that Vicki's psychotic behavior stemmed entirely from gigantic frustrations she was having with her husband that had been going on ever since her last appearance.
Big Giant Head
The aliens' Evil Overlord
. The Ghost
for most of the series, but he eventually showed up as an Adam Westing
Shatner. On Earth, he goes by the alias "Stone Phillips
", the name of an NBC
reporter at the time of the show's run.
Dr. Liam Neesam
An evil alien way better than Dick
who briefly worked at Dick's college as a biology professor.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: In his second appearance, he came back to Earth with plans to turn everyone into monkeys in order to turn it into an amusement park, "Planet Monkey World". Dick winds up turning Liam into a chimpanzee in order to stop him. Unfortunately, Mary saw the whole thing, and this leads to Dick admitted he's an alien.
- Evil Is Petty: Was originally sent to blow up Earth. Why? We're blocking his home planet's view.