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Series / 3rd Rock from the Sun

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From left to right: Dick, Tommy, Sally, and Harry.

Tommy: Dick, when are we gonna leave these bodies?
Dick: When we've learned everything there is to know...about life.
Harry: Wow...good thing we got cable.
— "Body & Soul & Dick"

A '90s Sitcom in which a team of aliens come to Earth disguised as a human family in order to study mankind. A very similar premise to Mork & Mindy, but had enough nutty humor to make up for it. The series lasted from January 1996 to May 2001, and featured a total of 139 episodes in six seasons.

As the Solomon family, the aliens infiltrate the Ohio college town of Rutherford where mediocrity reigns despite it being a Quirky Town. The commander of the aliens is Dick Solomon (John Lithgow), a pompous Manchild with an ego the size of Jupiter playing the role of a professor of physics at nearby Pendleton University. His "sister" Sally (Kristen Johnston) is a seasoned commando now "the" woman, his "son" Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is a crotchety information officer going as a teenager, and "the brother" Harry (French Stewart) is a... well, technically he's the communications officer, but is really The Ditz with an antenna in his head. Their original species also doesn't have different genders, leading to much confusion and Lampshade Hanging of human gender dynamics in their new forms.

The local Earthlings include Dick's insecure office mate and love interest Dr. Mary Albright (Jane Curtin), her Sassy Secretary Nina Campbell (Simbi Khali), Sally's cop boyfriend Officer Don Orville (Wayne Knight), and the Solomons' eccentric landlady Mrs. Dubcek (Elmarie Wendel). The more the Solomons view Humans Through Alien Eyes, the more they realize that Humans Are Special.

Not to be confused with the song and album by Joe Diffie, nor with fellow NBC sitcom 30 Rock.


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  • Accidental Misnaming: Tommy's early-season girlfriend August did not take well to being called "Augie."
  • Accidental Pervert: In "Shall We Dick," Alissa accidentally walked in on Don changing for the dance, and Sally assumed she did it on purpose to get a peek at Don's goods.
  • Acronym Confusion: In "The Loud Solomon Family: A Dickumentary," Dick took Harry to what he thought was an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting, where he forced Harry to admit he was an alcoholic. The woman behind the counter then corrected him: "This is Triple A (AAA)."
    • In "Y2Dick," Sally, Tommy, and Harry are about to buy a DVD player. They don't quite know what it stands for; they guess "Digital video..... dynamite." note 
  • Actor Allusion: John Lithgow has so very, very many...
    • He redid his entire anti-music speech from Footloose resulting in giant amounts of hilarity.
    • His first time riding in a plane, Dick panics after seeing "something on the wing." Mary informs him that that's the engine.
    • The last time John Lithgow was a university teacher, he rode out a nuclear apocalypse.
    • The tie-in book 3rd Rock from the Sun: The Official Report (written as the report of the Solomons stay on Earth) features a foreword by John Lithgow with a post-it note attached "written" by Dick Solomon claiming he doesn't know why the foreword is there and referring to Lithgow as an Earth actor who appeared in "some helicopter movie".
    • Roseanne Barr plays the Big Giant Head's niece, Janet, who was supposed to be Dick's wife. At first, she's totally devoted to being a good wife, and enjoys cooking and cleaning. Then Dick finds out that she was under the belief that she "had" to love him since she was his wife and those were "the rules". Dick informs her that there are no rules to marriage and she's free to be with whoever she wants. Janet then drops everything and reveals that she really hates cooking, cleaning, being with Dick, and his family, and then decides to explore the world. Up until Janet's declaration of her hatred of being a housewife, Roseanne's role was an inversion to her former glory as Roseanne Connor from Roseanne. Upon admitting how she really felt it turned into a shout out to her former role. (Both that show and this show were produced by Carsey-Werner.)
    • Dick re-enacts Shirly Maclaine's "give my daughter the shot" scene from Terms of Endearment, a movie Lithgow was in.
    • After years as Prymaat Conehead, Ms. Curtin finally gets to play the human.
      • In season 2, Dick and Mary attend a convention, where the first cosplayers they see are Coneheads.
    • In one episode Sally complains that Mary forced the family to watch an A&E Biography of Susan Saint James, Curtin's Kate & Allie co-star.
    • John Cleese in his second appearance disguises himself as a black knight at a renaissance fair, a call back to one of his most famous roles in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
    • Larisa Oleynik really is an "average kid" and it's her boyfriend Tommy who has a "secret" and is literally from a different "world"
  • Added Alliterative Appeal:
    Harry: Chippy the chipmunk. Chippy the cheerful chipmunk. The tragedy... of Chippy the cheerful chipmunk.
  • Alien Among Us: Duh.
  • Aliens Never Invented Democracy: The Universe is ruled by the Big Giant Head, an absolute monarch. The episode "Dick the Vote" focuses on the aliens' introduction to American democracy.
  • Alien Non-Interference Clause: The aliens are forbidden from making major changes to Earth.
    Harry: I want to bring mankind the gift of electricity.
    Tommy: They have electricity.
    Harry: Ahh... then my work is done.

    Dick: You see, we can make small differences, not global differences.
    Harry: Dick, can I blow up the Earth?
    Dick: (Beat) You see Harry, that would be a global difference.
    Harry: It's so hard to keep track of these things.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: While Rutherford, Ohio is a fictional place, it does embody the spirit of small town Midwest America.
  • All Just a Dream: Occurs frequently in "Rutherford Beauty," as Dick has erotic daydreams about Nina.
  • Almost Kiss: Sally and Don, numerous times. This is lampshaded by Don when he tells Sally that they've been dating for almost two years and haven't kissed.
    • An early example occurred in "Frozen Dick" when Sally and Leon's kiss is interrupted by the lights coming back on. Sally's overjoyed that they don't have to mate to perpetuate the species. Leon is less than thrilled by this news.
    • "InDickscretion" sees this happen to Dick and Sally. They're so turned on by talking about Mary and Don, respectively, that they start eyeing each other longingly. Just before their lips make contact, they realize what they're doing and panic, and run.
  • Alternate Reality Episode: The two-parter "Dick'll Take Manhattan," complete with opening and ending credits in a different font and a remixed theme song.
  • Always Someone Better: Dr. Liam Neesam (John Cleese) is this to the Solomons, especially Dick. He's an alien just like them, but is so much more competent at everything (including, apparently, the Big Giant Head).
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: While Dick, Sally, and Harry manage to humiliate Tommy on countless occasions, Sally's overbearing manner makes her the worst offender.
  • Amazonian Beauty: Sally, Nina, and Janice. Deconstructed in Janice's case; she hates how much people try to test her mettle after seeing how big and strong she is.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Technically, all the aliens, at least while in their true forms. It's unclear whether their species simply doesn't have genders, or if their understanding of gender and sex is so different from ours that we humans couldn't hope to understand it — similar to how they feel about our understanding gender and sex.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: The name of "Big Giant Head" may refer to either the size of the character's head or them being the head of the organization. However considering the mentioning of a "Big Giant Butt" and a "Big Giant Jenny", the former apparently being the Head's superior and the latter the Head's assistant, and the additional mentioning of it being a job... Whoever runs that organization must have a strange taste in the naming of ranks.
  • Amusing Alien: Guess who?
  • Anal Probing:
    • One episode began with the main characters watching an episode of The X-Files on television, groaning over how laughably inaccurate the show is. One scene, described by Tommy as an alien inserting a probe through someone's ear, is met with the derisive comment from Dick, "Everyone knows the proper place to insert an alien probe is the butt!"
    • In a later episode involving a psychotic alien hunter who kidnaps Dick and accuses aliens like him of "probing the butt of the poor American farmer," Dick denies that aliens anally probe anyone. However, he mentions an incident involving a farmer near Akron, who was "asking for it".
    • Dr. Albright's brother Roy claims that he has been probed.
  • Analogy Backfire: In "Same Old Song and Dick," Dick tries to convince Mary that they need to spice up their relationship, and says they should be more like Romeo and Juliet.
    Dick: I want ceaseless joy and never-ending passion like Romeo and Juliet.
    Mary: They both wound up dead.
    Dick: Antony and Cleopatra.
    Mary: Dead.
    Dick: That couple from Wuthering Heights.
    Mary: Insane and dead.
    Dick: F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda.
    Mary: Drunk, insane and dead.
    Dick: Tristan and Isolde.
    Mary: Abgeschossen.
    Dick: A-ha: Siegfried and Roy.
    Mary: Okay, one.
  • And Then I Said:
    Don: ...Not your pants, the gun! (everybody laughs) Yeah... that didn't really happen.
  • Apathetic Teacher: Mary and Dick when not a full on Sadist Teacher.
  • Armor-Piercing Question: In "Dick the Mouth Solomon," Tommy asked Don what he's accomplished by being on the right side of the law, and answers it for him: "Nothing, nothing!!"
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Let's live! Let's taste danger. Let's go for the gusto, consequences be damned! Let's drive fast and eat cheese!"
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Used epically in “Dick for Tat”, when Nina asks Dick whether he is haunted by learning Mary had a one-night stand with his nemesis Dr. Strudwick:
    Dick: I can't get his face out of my mind!
    Nina: Strudwick's?
    Dick: [sincere, wistful tone] No, Nina, little Davey Tenant, the boy down the block. You see, ever since Davey was three years old, he's wanted more than anything to see a real professional baseball game. He wished the biggest wish his little heart could muster. But his dad was laid off and couldn't afford the tickets. Well, one day last week, little Davey was outside playing ball like he always does, and who should walk up the block, tall as a building, but home run king Mark McGwire. To see little Davey's face light up as McGwire handed him four seats on the first base line, well, it's something that I will never forget. [pause] (Annoyed): YES, STRUDWICK'S! DON'T ASK STUPID QUESTIONS!
  • Attack of the Political Ad: Done to Harry in "Dick the Vote"; his opponent, Gansmiller, ran a smear ad on Harry that insinuated he was in the Mafia.
  • Back for the Finale: At the start of the series finale Tommy returned from college to his unit as he is shocked that their mission is cancelled.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": Mary is accused of this in "The Tooth Harry"; she puts on a quasi-British accent for the promotional film about Pendleton University. Amusingly, she doesn't seem to notice she uses one.
    Mary: Helleau. Ah'm Dahkter Mehry Awhlbright, and Ah'm proud to be a member of the Pendleton Faculty.
    Judith: Whoa. What's with the accent?
    Mary: (normal speaking voice) What accent?! This is my formal speaking voice, always has been.
    Judith: ...I'm sorry.
  • Baffled by Own Biology: Four aliens land on Earth and assume human bodies and have no idea how anything works. In the pilot, they don't even know what all the openings in their heads are for.
    Harry: Guys! I can't see through my eyelids!
    Tommy: You have to open them.
    Harry: Oh! They're manual.
  • Bait-and-Switch: In "Post-Nasal Dick", Tommy describes his first make out session:
    Tommy: Well, I don't know what came over me, but... they were so big and round and beautiful... I just had to touch them.
    Dick: And then what?
    Tommy: She screamed "Ow, my eyes!" and that just basically killed the mood.
  • Bank Robbery: Harry, Tommy, and Sally try this in "Frankie Goes to Rutherford," not for the cash involved, but just to see if they could pull it off. However, their planning goes sour in a hurry as the three grow suspicious that each isn't up to snuff on the task.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Guest star David Hasselhoff is apparently supposed to be this in "Dick & Tuck," and tries to convince Dick that plastic surgery can make Dick as beautiful as he is.
  • Becoming the Mask: Tommy, while in the Hootie mascot outfit in "Collect Call For Dick." So much so that he doesn't even acknowledge someone when his real name is said.
    Principal: Tommy? (Tommy doesn't respond) Hootie, can I talk to Tommy now?
  • Been There, Shaped History: The aliens. Apparently, Easter Island was a prank that got out of hand, and they may have killed the dinosaurs.
  • The Berserker: Tommy, in a rare comedic variation. When provoked (usually by Dick), 9 times out of 10 he jumps right to the attack.
    • It's generally more understandable with Dick, but he also once does this to Mary's father after the guy gives him a playful punch, which Tommy responds to by socking the elderly man in the stomach.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: The source of a few aside jokes. For example, in the "See Dick Continue To Run" two-parter, Sally, Tommy and Harry happen to run into Dennis Rodman (As Himself), who turns out to be a fellow alien, and they all have a laugh about how no one's figured it out yet. Then they grill him about celebrities he's interacted with:
    Sally: Madonna. Where's she from?
    Dennis: Detroit.
    Harry: Detroit, Earth?!
    Dennis: Yeah, she's here. She's here.
    Tommy: Oh, what about Michael Jordan?
    Dennis: ...robot.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Played for Laughs in "Red, White & Dick" when the household turns into a communist-esque regime: Harry announces that the house will be filled with intercoms so he's always listening.
  • Big "NO!": Mary emits one in "Fifteen Minutes of Dick" when Dick leaves the door open and Pepper runs in.
    • Mary also says this in "Stuck with Dick" when she realizes she's locked in the library with Dick all weekend.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family:
    • This is how the Solomons appear to everybody else for a majority of reasons, mainly due to Dick's egomania, Sally's rage, Tommy's lust, and Harry's... everything. There're also those times when they forget they're supposed to be related and either call each other by the wrong word or act way too intimate than being related would allow.
      • This is taken to the extreme in The Loud Solomon Family: A Dickumentary, when Mary does a film based on the Solomon's family life. To cover up their alien identities they end up making themselves look even more screwed up than usual. Sally's "outed" as a lesbian, Tommy's outed as a bed wetter (which is true), Dick is accused of being physically abusive, and Harry pretends to be an alcoholic so he can get more screentime. When it finally gets to be too much, Tommy reveals the big secret they've been trying to hide: Dick's not his father.
    • Straighter examples of this trope on the ongoing side are the Albrights and the Dubceks.
      • Mary's parents are horrible people who dumped all their emotional baggage on her for her entire childhood, her mother's a vindictive, controlling, racist drunk, and her father's a cheat. The two constantly split up, and at one point Mary's father began dating Sally. Her brother and sister are no better. Roy let Mary take the blame when their parents discovered his collection of Playboys (a move which put her in therapy for a few years) and tries to get women to sleep with him by lying about getting abducted by aliens. Renata, Mary's sister, is relatively more successful than she is and enjoys destroying Mary's happiness any chance she can get, even trying to steal Dick from her. It's a wonder Mary isn't even more messed up than she is now.
      • The Dubceks, on the other hand, are much more pleasant to deal with despite Mamie and Vicki being rampant, self aware nymphomaniacs, with Mamie being the grandmother of more than one illegitimate grandchild and an implied stoner, and Vicki acting as though she's in a bad porno most of the time. Oh, and the time she tried to kill Harry's girlfriend after marrying the Big Giant Head.
  • Big "WHY?!": Dick considers telling Mary that he and his family are aliens. The only thing is that the Solomons have just seen a sci-fi movie featuring an Alien Invasion, so they stage a simulation to how it would go. After Dick tells Sally (posing as Mary) he's an alien, she "dies." While cradling her "corpse," Harry lets out a Big Why that would do William Shatner proud.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The aliens return home in the series finale, but Mary doesn't dare to leave the Earth with Dick.
    • An alternate ending (shot in case the series was ever Uncancelled) featured Dick returning moments after he had left, to "abduct" Mary.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Played for a lot of laughs; the most consistent description of what the Solomons really look like is that they resemble purple tubes. Beyond that, that show is rife with jokes about exactly what their real forms are, each more confusing than the last.
  • Book Ends: It starts with the four aliens in a Rambler after they arrive on Earth and it ends with them in a Rambler leaving Earth.
  • Bland-Name Product: Possibly. After Mary pokes the Mr Potato Head toy Dick keeps on his desk with about three dozen pencils, Dick exclaims "My Mr Potato Man!" This could ether be the producers not wanting to say the actual name and/or just another 'alien misnamed something' joke.
    • Riverdance - King of the Jig.
    • Playboy Magazine got the similarly-named Playpen Magazine.
  • Blatant Lies: In "The Fifth Solomon," Gary marks down that Harry doesn't smoke on the insurance forms, despite Harry repeatedly saying that he does smoke.
  • Bleak Abyss Retirement Home: In "Portrait of Tommy as an Old Man", Tommy decides to retire from the mission and moves into a local retirement home. He enjoys it for a while, but eventually gets so bored he loses track of what day it is.
    Tommy: They keep the TV too loud, it's too hot, everyone's on drugs. It's like a rave without the babes.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The Solomons. Being Starfish Aliens, they don't understand anything about human culture, which explains why they spent so long on Earth in the first place (apparently other missions on other populated planets don't take much longer then a week).
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: Harry, upon his "invention" of a new color:
    Harry: I combined red with yellow. I call it... redyellow!
  • Brick Joke: Harry's lobster claws from "Rutherford Beauty"
    • In "Tricky Dick", Dick and Mary get into a prank war. At one point Mary is trying to talk to an auto mechanic, but he only speaks Spanish (which she doesn't). Dick volunteers to help, but tells the mechanic that she also wants to car painted with flames, subwoofers installed, and a horn that plays "La Cucaracha", saying of the expense "Don't worry, she's loaded." At the end of the episode, Mary managed to get Dick's hands and head superglued to his desk, and they realize how far the prank war has gone and agree to call it off. Then we hear "La Cucaracha" from outside and Judith looks out the window remarks "Mary, it appears your Volvo is back from the shop" as Dick starts laughing.
  • Broken Bird:
    • In an alternate universe, we find that Mary is just a bitter lonely woman with little to live for. Dick tries to convince her that she can be more, but she's already given up. Despite having an otherwise much better life, it's this dead-inside Mary that gets him to go back home.
    • Real world Mary is on the happier edge of being one. She has a relatively decent life, but her terrible childhood, Dick, sexual history, Dick, and her frustration with working in a third rate college with Dick give her slightly better reasons to be bitter at the world than most.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: Dick's bizarre, childish behaviour is tolerated at the university because his advanced alien knowledge of physics makes him one of the best in his field.
  • Burger Fool: Dick is reduced to working at Rusty's (a fast food restaurant) in "Proud Dick" when he quit his job at Pendleton over a parking space dispute. Dick is required to say, "Thank you for making Rusty's a part of your day." after each transaction.
  • The Butler Did It: Referenced in "Dial M For Dick"; the Solomons wonder who could've killed the first victim in the murder mystery, and one suggestion thrown out there is the butler. Being unaware of the trope, they find such a possibility ridiculous.
  • Butt-Monkey: Poor Leon.
    • Oh shut up, Caryn.
  • Calling Shotgun: In "Gwen, Larry, Dick & Mary," Dick took Mary on a date to a drive-in theater, and Tommy, Harry, and Sally tagged along as well. But since Tommy called shotgun, Mary couldn't even sit next to Dick on the date, much to her annoyance.
  • Can't Live with Them, Can't Live Without Them: Subverted in "Dick Behaving Badly":
    Judith: Men: Can't live with 'em... (pause) Good night, Mary. (leaves)
    • Dick lays it out pretty plainly in "Tricky Dick":
      Dick: Women. You can't live with 'em, and yet you can't have heterosexual sex without 'em.
      Harry: That's probably true.
    • There's a subversion right there in the pilot episode, "Brains and Eggs":
      Harry: Women. You can't live with them, and yet... they're everywhere.
  • Cassandra Truth: The first time Dick tries to out himself to Mary as an alien was when he got sick for the first time and thought he was dying. He tells her not to be alarmed if she finds only a shivering purple tube in his place the next day. She seems to take it as either melodrama or delirium.
    • The next time, it's after they've been attending a sci-fi convention that she's really gotten into. She thinks he's gotten equally into it and awards him appropriately.
    • Dick also revealed that he's an alien to the psychiatrist in "A Nightmare on Dick Street," but he just brushed it off as crazy talk.
    • Out of options, the Solomons admitted they were aliens in "Dick and Taxes" to explain their whereabouts during the years before they landed on Earth. The IRS agent, however, believed this to be just another excuse: "Sorry folks, I've heard that one before too."
    • Dick also attempted to tell Mary he was an alien when he was befriended by a former (gay) student of hers that believed he was gay and tried to help him come out.
    • At one point he's also trying to 'get to know' his students by asking them about their pasts. One of them asks him where he's from and, right before the bell rings signaling the end of the class, he says "Long story... true story... I'm not human."
  • Catchphrase:
    • Dick had "Family meeting! FAMILY MEETING!" and, less frequently, "You're not family. GET OUT!"
      • He also had variations on "I'm gorgeous!"
      • Also a frustrated shout of "Damn!"
      • "Oh shut up, Caryn." Dick's student Caryn is, obviously, the Phrase Catcher.
    • Harry had "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!" and "Spank me!"
    • Ms. Dubcek had: "Lovely 'X', very nice..." (some examples include, "People, wedding, funeral")
  • Central Theme: Everybody is at least a little crazy.
  • Chain Letter: Dick and Mary each receive one in "Superstitious Dick."
  • Character Filibuster: Dick has given quite a few of these.
  • Chekhov's Gag: "Tricky Dick." Born out of feelings of bitterness, Dick and Mary engage in an ever-escalating prank war. Amongst Dick's ideas are removing Mary's desk, getting a garage to add massive speakers and flame decals to her car, and sending her a fake letter from the President. Mary, however, gets Dick with a big one: getting Dick stuck to his desk with thermal bond epoxy. As Dick is slowly removed from his desk, they finally agree to end it and act like adults..... just before they hear the loud, booming noise of Mary's car being returned from the shop.
  • Chewing the Scenery: Most of the Solomons are guilty of this, but Dick absolutely inhales the scenery.
  • Christmas Episode: "Jolly Old St. Dick."
  • Cliffhanger Copout: Season Three ended with a Cliffhanger in which Harry had been kidnapped by Vicki's old boyfriend Randy. Phil Hartman, who played Randy, was murdered shortly after the episode aired which meant the writers were forced to abandon whatever resolution they'd planned. The fourth season opens after Randy has ditched Harry at a carnival's freak show.
  • Clip Show: Season 3's "Seven Deadly Clips."
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Harry Solomon, to the point where it actually hurts him to think too hard.
    • Harry is the worst, but all the aliens have several moments of this, for obvious reasons. Even Tommy who is usually the sanest of the four.
    • Vicki Dubcek also has her moments, where despite being a human, she occasionally acts just as nutty as the aliens.
  • Cock Fight: Dick and Neesam over Mary. Later, Harry and The Big Giant Head over Vicki.
    • "Superstitious Dick" has a variant; Alissa has a crush on hockey star Stenstrom. Tommy is naturally jealous and goes to tell Stenstrom, who's in the dark about Alissa's crush, to stay away from his girl. But Tommy's words don't register, because Stenstrom doesn't speak a lick of English outside of "Stay in school, don't do drug" and "Okay."
  • Cold Opening: Started having these halfway through season 1, rather than an Opening Narration.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Really, isn't this the point of every episode? Some examples:
    • Dick, in "Romeo & Juliet & Dick":
      Dick: "Romeo & Juliet" is a Shakespearean tragedy; it has nothing to do with a horny teenager and his girlfriend!
    • In "Dickmalion," Tommy told Dick he got suspended for setting off the fire alarm. Dick was appalled at the school, since Tommy saved hundreds of lives. Tommy admitted that there was no fire.
      Dick: Tommy, this is outrageous. The next time you set off the fire alarm, you damn well better start a fire first!
    • Another example from season one: Dick goes AWOL (he's got locked in the fire escape at work) and Sally decides he's deliberately left her in charge to see how she handles it, exclaiming "This is a test!" Harry leans over to Tommy and says "She's about to emit a high-pitched tone."
    • Any time Nina's race is brought up. The Solomons never seem to grasp that 'black' refers to skin color and not just a cultural group.
  • Competence Zone: Dick, Sally and oddly Tommy inhabited it. Harry... didn't.
    • Specifically, despite their utter failures at fitting in, Sally is great at security, and Tommy repeatedly shows information-handling skills beyond the greatest hacker, including creating false backstories for all of them multiple times. Dick has advanced knowledge of physics, but so do the others; his actual competence is that he is really pretty good at anthropology, and while he's an awful leader, is pretty good at telling the others what they should do to better understand Earth. It may be worth mentioning that Harry is a quite talented artist, both in execution and in analysis.
  • Compulsory School Age: Tommy Solomon, who is actually the oldest of the aliens, but was the one stuck in a teenage boy's body.
  • Confession Cam: Utilized in "The Loud Solomon Family: A Dickumentary", where naturally some of the things they said in private gets them in trouble when the documentary is aired.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: Dick becomes one in "Paranoid Dick" when he suspects Mary of soon being replaced as dean. Ironically, Mary ended up getting removed as dean because she and Dick snuck into Judith's office to see if they could find any proof that Mary was on her way out (she wasn't).
  • Constellations as Locations: The aliens' homeworld is located in the border territory between the Cepheus and Draco constellations.
  • The Couch: Which wasn't a couch at all, but three chairs and an ottoman. The roof of their apartment probably qualifies as well.
  • Courtroom Episode: "Sensitive Dick," in which Dick's abrasive attitude towards his students is called into question.
  • The Cover Changes the Gender: In the dream episode, Harry sings "Life Has Been Good to Me" from Randy Newman's Faust, in which it was sung by Bonnie Raitt. In Harry's version, "I got a good man waitin' for me" is changed to "I got a good gal waitin' for me."
  • Covering Up Your Gray: In "Dick's First Birthday", Dick becomes aware that his human body is (physically) middle-aged, so he dyes his gray hair black. Dick thinks he looks "gorgeous". The other Solomons think it's hideous. Everyone else who sees it is desperately fighting the urge to laugh.
  • Creator Cameo: Randy Newman appears as the pianist accompanying Harry's performance of "Life Has Been Good to Me".
  • Crop Circles: In episode Fun with Dick and Janet: Part 2, Tommy covers for the alien landing spot, by confessing to a crop circle prank where he ran laps with a flaming 2x4 behind him.
  • Crowd Song: In "Frozen Dick," Dick begins singing "Oklahoma!" to cheer up Mary. Within a few bars, the entire restaurant has joined in.
  • Crying Wolf: Charlotte from "Alien Hunter" did get it right about Dick being an alien, but the F.B.I. wouldn't come close to believing her considering she apparently murdered numerous others she thought were aliens.
  • Curse Cut Short: Mary is cut off from fully saying "What the fuck?!" by Dick in "Dial M For Dick."
    • In "Collect Call For Dick":
      Harry: Well, it's a good thing you stopped when you did, Dick. One day you're admiring Fuzzy Buddies through the drug store window. Next thing you know, you're flying out of Bogota with a balloon full of Fuzzy Buddies shoved up your-
      (the rest of the Solomons exclaim to cut him off)
  • Cutting the Knot: After an episode where Dick struggles with dieting after outgrowing his pants he resolves the situation by... just buying bigger pants.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Judith
  • Deliberately Monochrome: Sally's dream in "A Nightmare on Dick Street."
  • Demoted to Extra: The last season sees Tommy demoted to an occasionally recurring and not very important cast member, partially because he's off to college and thereby separated from the rest of the cast most of the time. The actors playing Nina and Don were listed as regular cast members starting on the third season, but likewise appeared only occasionally on the last season.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: From "A Portrait of Tommy as an Old Man":
    Harry: It happens, but it's rare. But it happens. But it's rare.
    • From "I Brake For Dick":
      Dick: We shall have no animal products, no animal byproducts, and you shall not buy any animal byproduct or products.
    • Then there's Dick not getting people's corrections:
      Dick: This is great dip, Mrs. Sumner.
      Mrs. Sumner: It's paté.
      Dick: This is great dip paté.
    • When Tommy takes over cooking:
      Dick: Tommy, you have reinvented the sandwich.
      Tommy: Uh, actually, it's a panini.
      Harry: Tommy, you have reinvented the panini sandwich.
      Tommy: No, no, no. Panini is Italian for sandwich.
      Dick: Tommy, you have invented the Italian panini sandwich.
  • "Die Hard" on an X: The screenplay Professor Suter's been working on for the last four years is described as "Die Hard, but in an office building." Dick remarks that they already made that film. Suter replies: "...Up yours."
  • Diet Episode: In "Moby Dick," Dick goes on a diet after he starts overeating to deal with the stress of his break-up from Mary. Later we find out Mary is also stress eating.
  • Disappointed in You: Parodied when Tommy has to pretend to be a juvenile delinquent to keep up the Masquerade.
  • Disguised in Drag: Dick crossdresses to infiltrate a women's discussion group. Possibly another Actor Allusion, as John Lithgow played a trans woman in The World According to Garp (and got an Academy Award nomination for it).
    • Harry posed as Ms. Dubcek in "Romeo & Juliet & Dick."
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Frank upstages Dick. Dick's response:
    Dick: I have a plan.
    Sally: Remember we're not allowed to liquefy humans.
    Dick: Ok, I have another plan.
  • Distinction Without a Difference: In "Dick and the Other Guy," Ms. Dubcek suggests that if Sally wants to know what's going on with Don, to spy on him.
    Sally: You mean stalk him?
    Ms. Dubcek: No, no..... disguise yourself and follow him around.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Another group of aliens who all look like attractive women use the characters' hometown to test how effective their beauty is at distracting men as part of their bid to conquer Earth. It's pretty effective.
    • Sally is pretty good at this herself, finding her ability to cloud men's minds an upside to being the only woman of the group. Indeed, she later gets recruited by the above mentioned aliens, who mention she has potential, but is unrefined.
  • Distracted by the Shiny: Harry promises to carry out a mission dutifully "unless I'm distracted by something shiny." He then spends several seconds watching the light reflect off his watch band.
  • Documentary Episode: "The Loud Solomon Family: A Dickumentary."
  • Does Not Understand Sarcasm: All the Solomons, but particularly Dick:
    Dick: Nina, how did you get this job?
    Nina: I found a magic lamp on a beach, and ''this'' was my first wish!
    Dick: Wonderful! How can Harry get ahold of a magic lamp?
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: "Collect Call For Dick" where Dick gets obsessed with collecting tiny stuffed animals called "Fuzzy Buddies" at the cost of his finances, health, and self-respect. The "intervention" at the end of the episode absolutely reeks of this trope.
  • Dog Food Diet: A variant occurs in "Proud Dick." Sally brings home cat food for dinner. She doesn't realize it's food for cats, though, and Mary is appalled when she comes over and sees that the Solomons are so poor that they're reduced to eating cat food (Dick had quit his job in the episode).
  • "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune: During The Stinger to one episode, Harry and Mrs. Dubcek are watching final Jeopardy and mentally making up words to the tune.
    Harry: Thinking thinking, thinking hard! I know what the answer is, I got it! No that can't be I'm so wrong! I'd guess B.D Wong.
    Mrs. Dubcek: Thinking thinking thinking hard. What's the use, I've burned too many brain cells, maybe I'll just fantasize - think of Alex and close my eyes.
  • Dream Sequence: "A Nightmare on Dick Street". In a subversion of this trope, Dick, Tommy, Harry, and Sally don't realize dreams are normal and think they're all going crazy.
  • Drunk with Power: Dick and Sally use every opportunity to acquire and abuse power over others: a protest, a bake sale committee, a labor union, a fraternity - the list goes on. While Dick eventually sees the error of his ways by the end of the episode, Sally doesn't.
  • Dysfunctional Family: Mary's family. Her parents both had affairs while she was growing up (including one that draws doubt to Mary's paternity). She's the eldest of three children, all twisted in their own ways. Her brother Roy sells aluminum siding and tells women he was abducted by aliens as an attempt to get laid. Her sister Renata is an affected, wealthy woman who has a personal vendetta against Mary and does everything in her power to destroy Mary's life (including trying to steal Dick). Their whole family seems fond of alcohol, and Mary has apparently followed in her mother's footsteps to become a borderline Lady Drunk.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first episode has the same set for the attic as the rest of the series, except without the stairs. They also push Mrs. Dubcek to leave through the door that leads to their bedroom. Also, Dick and Mary's office is completely different than the rest of the series.
    • The first season had more emphasis on the military-esque chain of command; for example, the characters often ask Dick "Permission to speak freely", when they wouldn't bother with that formality as the series progressed.
    • In the earlier episodes, it was mentioned that their identities on Earth were simply a cover for their true selves. Later episodes seem to imply that Dick, Harry et al. are their real names on whatever planet they're from.
  • Easily-Overheard Conversation: In "Dick: Smoker," Sally, Tommy, and Harry are informed by Nina that Dick didn't show up for work today. They are freaked out and move only a few feet away to talk in "private". Nina quickly informs them: "I can still hear you."
  • Emotional Maturity Is Physical Maturity: Averted. The actual ages of the aliens don't correspond with the ages of their human bodies, and it shows. Tommy, the oldest of the group, is easily the most level-headed member of the group even though he's physically a teenager.
    • Partially enforced by hormones though. Tommy's worst moments usually come regarding his girlfriends.
  • End-of-Series Awareness: It happens at the end of the second to last episode "The Thing That Wouldn't Die Part 1" where the big giant head communicates to the Solomon’s that their mission is cancelled and that they will return to their home planet in their original bodies.
    Harry: (After the Big Giant Head finishes his call) What happened?
    Sally: (shocked) We have to go home.
  • Escalating War: Or prank war, in "Tricky Dick". It finally ends when Mary tricks Dick into sticking his face on his glue-filled desk.
  • Ethical Slut: Dick. He has an active sex life with Mary, and is very open to chat about it, but he won't turn down an offer from someone else if the opportunity arises. A good example of this is in Auto Eurodicka. Dick and Mary are broken up, and after having sex with a woman he met in line at the movies (who later turns out to be Bug's mother), Dick honestly can't understand why Mary and Bug are upset about it. To him, it's all the same.
  • Euphemism Buster:
    Sally: He said he wanted to sleep with me. I wanted sex, but seeing as he was tired I decided to just go home.
  • Everyone Looks Sexier if French: French Immigrant Michele appears in the second season as Sally's love interest. So great is his French accent that he can make the entire office swoon with the line, "On my foot I have a big painful oozing bleester!"
    • One episode had the family trying to decide what ethnicity to be. Dick asked Mary, an anthropologist, what the best ethnic group was. She claimed it was all subjective, but when he asked which ethnicity was sexiest, she immediately responded, "Italians. Smokey, swarthy, gotta have 'em."
    • And Harry isn't bad looking either!
  • Evil Twin: New Dick. He plans to use alien technology to impregnate all the women on Earth with his private army, then take over the world. Less inconsiderate than regular Dick on a day-to-day basis, though.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "Dick and Harry Fall in a Hole"
  • Exact Words: One episode reveals that, shortly after arriving on Earth, Sally filed a protest and asked to be given a male body. Several years later, the Big Giant Head complies... by making Dick and Sally swap bodies.
  • Fake Identity Baggage: In "Dick Solomon of the Indiana Solomons", Dick gets an invitation to a family reunion meant for a different Richard Solomon. Dick decides to attend because the family hasn't seen Richard since he was a child. Dick is overjoyed to experience what it's like to have an extended family, but Richard's cousin Jacob is instantly hostile towards him. Dick soon learns that Richard's father was ousted from the family furniture business by Jacob's father, and Jacob assumes that Dick has only returned to stake a claim on the family's money since the business has been doing so well.
  • Fanservice: Sally whenever she dresses up. When the Venusian invaders turn up at the end of season 3 they are played by some of the most beautiful women of the 90s all dolled up, including Cindy Crawford and Angie Everhart. Harry spends all of "Indecent Dick" naked after deciding to become a nudist.
  • Fantastic Anthropologist: The Solomons are this to humanity, while Dick's girlfriend Mary is the more conventional kind.
  • Fantastic Comedy: Of the Sci-Fi variety.
  • Fake-Out Fade-Out: In the episode "Dick For Tat," it appears that the episode is going to end in the traditional manner, with all four of them on the roof, after Dick says he just needs to "move on" with his life. Of course, he's kidding himself.
  • Fake Pregnancy: When Sally visits a gyneacologist for the first time all the other women there are pregnant, and in order to fit in she claims she's pregnant too - which comes as a shock to her boyfriend since they've never had sex.
  • 15 Minutes of Fame: This happens to Sally after she punches out Mark Hamill in a restaurant. When Mary tells a jealous Dick that this is Sally's "fifteen minutes of fame," he interprets it literally and is maddened by her "fifteen minutes" lasting considerably longer than that. It ends after a few days, however, causing Sally to start acting like a White-Dwarf Starlet.
  • Flanderization: The show itself was this by season 6, in which the goofiness of the plots was turned up to eleven, including a two-parter wherein the four could just randomly transport to a parallel universe (set in New York City).
    • Dick was a bumbling egotist at the beginning, but only became more of a selfish drama queen as the series progressed.
  • Foot Bath Treatment: Parodied in "Post Nasal Dick," in which the whole family gets sick. Sally made chicken soup because she heard it would make them feel better. Then she places the soup on the floor, and Harry starts using it as a foot bath.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: Gender Bender episode between Dick and Sally, "Two-Faced Dick." Oh noes! Double date tonight!
  • Freudian Couch: Dick lies down on one during therapy in "A Nightmare on Dick Street."
  • Gag Nose: In "Superstitious Dick," Mary tries to explain to Dick that superstitions are pointless, and shows him a long wooden horn, which was worn by a tribe ages ago; they thought the horn would protect them from danger. It didn't work, and the tribe was wiped out. Dick grabs the horn and puts it over his nose, not realizing it's meant to be worn over the genitals. After Mary asks him to take it off...
    Dick: Oh, fine. Smells like hell anyway.
  • Gag Penis: Dick poses for a nude painting class in one episode. Apparently, he really lives up to his name.
    • In the next scene Mary and Nina are gawking at Mary's painting.
      Nina: You're telling me Dr. Solomon posed for this? [cocking, pun unintended, her head to the side to look at the painting.]
      Mary: Yes
      Nina: Well, hellooo Dr. Solomon.
      (Dick hears her as he walks in)
      Dick: Well, hellooo Nina.
      Nina: I'll leave you three alone.
    • And again when Dick sends Mary a photo album of naked pictures of himself after she has broken up with him, in an attempt to win her back. Even though she had just told him she never wanted to see him again, she is clearly tempted.
    • Apparently, Harry doesn't have a problem in this area either.
  • Gaslighting: In "Eleven Angry Men and One Dick":
    Dick: It's reasonable to assume that Foster used the money to pay for his sick daughter's life-threatening operation.
    Juror: No it's not. He doesn't have a daughter.
    Juror: It's not "reasonable doubt" if you just make things up.
  • Gender Bender: Sally Solomon wasn't female before coming to Earth (whether the aliens have genders, and what they're like is not elaborated on), and initially wasn't pleased at the change.
    Sally: Why do I have to be the woman?
    Dick: Because you lost!
    • Dick has his share of a feminine side, too, especially in the emotions he expresses, including but not limited to, his mood swings. He or Sally equally could play a woman. Perhaps the reason the Big Giant Head chose Dick for the temporary switch with Sally?
  • Genius Ditz: Harry. He's described as only filling a seat and it's considered normal for his mind to be a complete blank, but on the other hand, he's a talented painter and he cracked the bar code.
  • Genre Shift: A common B story was to have Sally and either Harry or Tommy engage in sudden behavior change. For example, after Sally starts dating a man named Tony The Butcher, Sally starts acting like an Italian mob girlfriend, and Tommy starts behaving like a Goodfella. In addition, most early Sally/Don scenes all were taken straight out of Film Noir.
  • Good Cop/Bad Cop:
    • Tommy and Sally do this respectively in order to find out who egged Mary's house on Halloween.
    • Dick and Don do this to a perp in "The Physics of Being Dick," despite that Dick's not actually a cop. Amusingly, both can never settle on who will be the good cop and who will be the bad cop.
      Don: (to Dick, who's supposed to be good cop but ends up shouting at the suspect) You're setting the bar too high! Do you know how bad I have to be in order to be bad cop? Real bad!
    • A few scenes later they are shown having tried out all the variations they could think of. Good Cop/Good Cop is particularly ineffective.
  • Good News, Bad News: Dick once used this phrase when there was no good news.
  • Grand Finale: "The Thing That Wouldn't Die" two-parter.
  • G-Rated Drug: Dick becomes addicted to collecting Fuzzy Buddies in "Collect Call For Dick." All the classic tropes associated with this genre are spoofed.
  • Groin Attack:
    • When a car mechanic who is fixing Sally's car keeps talking to Harry about it instead of Sally, Sally eventually gets the guy's attention by giving him one of these. With a pair of pliers. Which she then forgets to remove. Until she eventually does so with an apologetic little giggle.
    • Sally accidentally does this to herself during the "Freaky Friday" Flip. The first time she sits down while in Dick's body she instinctively crosses her legs only to yelp in pain because she crushed the "goods". Harry advises her to wear a sports cup until she gets used to the different anatomy.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Pretty much any time the aliens have a disagreement it quickly becomes this.
  • Hand Puppet: Dick uses two of them for therapy in "Sensitive Dick".
  • Hand Wave: Mary's affair with Dr. Liam Neesan is treated as minor as a faux pas and never bought up again.
  • Hate at First Sight: One episode involved Dick getting upset that a cafeteria lady hated him. This is pretty bizarre when you consider how Dick is usually apparently okay with several regular and recurring characters disliking him. In fact, when he got angry that she didn't even hate him for an actual reason, Nina replied "Does she need a reason? 'Cause I can give her reasons."
  • Hilarious Outtakes: Included in each season's DVD release.
    Harry: I have no idea what I'm supposed to say!
  • Historical Longevity Joke:
    Dick: Wait a second, you had a youth, too?!
    Mary: Yes, Dick.
    Dick: Well, what was it like, or can you still remember?
    Mary: It was wonderful. We lived in log cabins we built ourselves. Oh, and when Mr. Lincoln came to town, we were all aflutter!
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In "The Physics of Being Dick," if Mary wasn't unable to handle criticism, Sally wouldn't have felt the need to blindly kiss her ass and lie that her introduction speech was perfect which meant Mary wouldn't have totally humiliated herself.
  • Hollywood Mid-Life Crisis: Parodied in "Dick's First Birthday", where Dick, after celebrating the "birthday" he's designated for himself, becomes increasingly insecure with how humans put such emphasis on youth and beauty in their culture, and how he's the oldest-looking among the Solomons; as a result, he starts to experiment with outlandish stuff like jet-black hair dye and audibly squeaky leather pants, and gets insulted when Mary gives him a teasing birthday card.
  • Hostility on the Set: Invoked in the episode "There's No Business Like Dick Business", where Dick becomes a magician and Sally is his assistant. The clash of egos leads to some bitter backstage bickering.
  • Human Aliens: They have to be, to disguise themselves from humanity. Apparently, any life-form that gets to Earth through alien technology is turned into human shape, even if originally it was more like a dog in behavior.
  • Humans Are Special: Central to the plot of the series, the Aliens have never had to deal with anything close to human feelings before - despite being on "dozens" of missions together on various planets - which accounts for much of their behavior and humor of the series.
  • I Can't Dance: Demonstrated by Sally in "Dick Like Me," and callously mocked by Harry.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Generally involving some iteration of "Dick."
  • Idiosyncratic Wipes: Generally a colorful graphic involving planets, stars and galaxies, in case you forgot this is a show about aliens.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Sally has demonstrated many times that men will do whatever she asks, just because of her looks.
    Sally: Dick, have you forgotten how hot I am? Beautiful women are accepted at more places than American Express. I could burp the alphabet, and men with PhDs would be asking me to tutor their kids.
  • I Have No Son!: Said by Dick about Tommy in "World's Greatest Dick."
  • I'll Kill You!: When the Big Giant Head first arrives on Earth and begins hitting on Vickie, Harry's first reaction is to smash a beer bottle and lunge at him, while screaming this trope.
  • I'll Pretend I Didn't Hear That: In "The Fifth Solomon," Harry becomes friends with an insurance salesman, who wants to sign him up for insurance. One of the questions he asks is if Harry smokes.
    Harry: Yes.
    Salesman: No you haven't.
    Harry: Yes, I have.
    Salesman: No, you really haven't.
    Harry: Yes, I really have.
    Salesman: Oops, I already marked "no."
    Harry: Well, that's unfortunate, 'cause I enjoy the occasional cigar.
    Salesman: I didn't hear that.
    Harry: (shouting) I said I enjoy the occasional cigar!
    Salesman: You don't smoke.
    Harry: Hell, I'll smoke that banana right there.
    Salesman: (agitated) YOU DON'T SMOKE.
    Harry: Ok. I don't smoke. (Beat) You know, I really do smoke.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: A dish that Dr. Neesam makes for Mary, which causes a Double Entendre:
    Mary: Mmm!!! This is the best thing I have ever put in my mouth!
    Dick: (forlorn) Once again, I come in second...
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Parodied in "Romeo & Juliet and Dick" when Dick learns that he'll be directing the school production of Romeo and Juliet:
    Dick: I can see it now on the marquee: "Dick Solomon presents a Dick Solomon production of Dick Solomon's Romeo & Juliet"!
  • Incoming Ham: "BEHOLD THE GLORY THAT IS ME!"
  • Incredibly Lame Fun: A Running Gag is that the aliens find trite, shallow, and downright lame things hilarious and wildly entertaining.
  • Inflationary Dialogue: Dick's attempts to "subtly" convince Mary that they've known each other for more than three years — triggered by an IRS audit — turn out this way.
  • Informed Judaism: The "Solomon" family spends an episode desperately trying to decide what ethnicity they should be; until their landlady mentions offhand that based on their last name she had just assumed they were Jewish and they decide to run with it (never comes up again). Apparently, they just took it off the side of the first truck they saw.
    Dick: Who knew Solomon was a Jewish name when we took it off the side of that truck?
    Harry: Go figure. We could've been the Wal-Marts.
    • It does come up again once, when the family tries to kidnap Dick (by putting a bag over his head) just after he has proposed to Mary. He tries to reassure her that the "sacking of the groom" is traditional.
      Mary: What tradition?
      Harry: I'm going with Jewish.
    • In one episode they go to a family reunion of Solomons from Indiana. These Solomons have a family run furniture business which would involve a lot of trucks. So it is possible that these people are their namesake.
    • The Solomons also celebrate Christmas, and never give any indication that they're even aware of Hanukkah. While it makes sense that pop culture osmosis would cause them to only be aware of Christmas, the fact that others who believe them to be Jewish never question it is a bit unusual.
  • Innocent Aliens: The Solomons.
  • Innocently Insensitive: All the Solomons are guilty of this, most commonly Dick and Tommy.
  • Insane Troll Logic: After Dick forbids all animal-related products in "I Brake For Dick," Sally reasons that eggs are meat when used to make mayonnaise.
    • In "Eleven Angry Men and One Dick", when Dick discovers that the defendant supported another family with stolen money:
      Dick: Listen to you! In an age when a man can't even support his family, this man supported TWO. Send him to jail?! Let's send him to Congress!
    • In "Why Dickie Can't Teach": Dick wants Tommy to go to Pendleton, while Tommy is more interested in the major universities like Princeton. Dick argues that, at the end of the day, both Princeton and Pendleton serve fishsticks on Friday. He takes it a step further when it's discovered that Princeton has eight Nobel prize winner faculty members:
      Dick: Let me tell you something about Nobel Prize winners, Tommy. They eat fish sticks, and we eat fish sticks.
  • Instant Seduction: In "Dick's Ark," Harry is at the check-out lane of the grocery store and asks the clerk if she wants to join him for a party. The clerk is interested and says that she gets off at eight. Harry replies, "No no, the party's at eight. You get off at nine."
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: A Surf Rock-inspired theme, to be exact, though they tried a more swing-oriented version in season 5, which didn't stick.
  • Insufferable Genius: Dick Solomon.
  • Insult Backfire: In "Dickmalion," when Mary decides to leave the elite party:
    Mary: You may have your little clubhouse, but none of you are truly happy.
    Mr. St. Clair: Actually, we are.
    Mary: (thrown for a loop) Oh. Well... some of you are... fat. (leaves)
  • I Resemble That Remark!: In "Sensitive Dick":
    Dick: I've just heard the most upsetting thing. Someone has accused me of insensitivity. (notices Vicki sitting in a chair) You're not family; GET OUT!!
    • When Dr. Neesam introduces himself to Sally:
      Dick: This is my sister Sally. You're in luck. She's available.
      Neesam: Really? A woman as beautiful as you, available? You must have a severe personality disorder.
      (after Dick and Neesam step aside)
      Sally: Personality disorder. I'm gonna go kick his ass!
  • Irony: In "Dick and the Other Guy," Dick managed to save the Earth from Dr. Neesam, who claimed he spared his kind because of how impressed he was with Dick's intelligence, despite that Dick's an alien.
    Tommy: Yeah, Dick, we get the irony. It's really pretty obvious.
  • It Makes Sense in Context:
    • During "Dick Puts The Id In Cupid," Don sends Sally Valentine's cards signed "Your secret admirer." Unfortunately, Sally completely misunderstands and assumes she's being stalked by someone who wants to cut her open after reading "Your heart will be mine." It's only after she finds out Don sent the card (after he spent the episode too embarrassed to admit it after Sally freaked out) that she finally reads the card within the proper context and is touched.
    • By the series finale, after Dick reveals the truth about himself and the others to Mary he asks her to look back on everything she knows about him from the past six years. As Mary goes through an entire gamut of emotions reminiscing on everything Dick's ever done to and with her, she realizes him being an alien makes sense. Given the proper context of who and what Dick is, their relationship suddenly becomes much more healthier.
  • Intimidating Revenue Service: In "Dick & Taxes" the Solomons have avoided filing for their three years on Earth. After Mary calculates that they owe over $9,000 they decide to lie about their finances which just gets them audited instead.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Mary, twenty years ago. Dick gets ahold of her nude photos from back then and shows them to her.
    Mary: Boy, I was a hottie, wasn't I?
  • Jerkass: Harry pretends to be a tough guy in "A Friend in Dick" when he attends night school (under advice from Tommy), despite that he really doesn't need to.
    Harry: (to a student that he accidentally bumped into) What's your problem?
    Adult student: I'm sorry.
    Harry: Save it. Don't ever let it happen again.
    Adult student: You bumped into me.
    Harry: I think I KNOW that!
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Dick on more than one occasion.
  • Jury Duty: One of the plots in "Eleven Angry Men and One Dick" is Dick being summoned for jury duty. It takes him forever to qualify for the jury, as he always has an opinion on a case that excludes him from being impartial. Finally he's allowed on when he's asked a question and bursts into tears.
  • Just Friends: Sally and Don try this in "Dick vs. Strudwick." It doesn't work too well.
  • Karma Houdini: Vicki's ex-boyfriend Randy never appears again after Eat, Drink, Dick, Mary, which ended with him kidnapping Harry. His actor's death caused him to no longer appear so Harry was sold to a freak show and Randy was never brought to justice for kidnapping.
  • Kavorka Man: Don. With Sally it's understandable, as she's an alien with no knowledge of local standards of beauty (she's actually just attracted to the fact that he's a cop). However, it's played straight as Don has several good-looking ex-girlfriends as well as quite a few karaoke fangirls.
  • Kissing Cousins: In the third season premiere, the Big Giant Head tries to make Dick adopt Janet (the BGH's own niece) as his Earth wife. Later on, the Big Giant Head turns out to be Dick's father, making Dick and Janet...
    • Also played with in the first episode. Dick expresses frustration at his inability to obtain the sex from Mary (with Mary in earshot) so Sally offers to experience it with him to get it over with (though they aren't actually related, they're supposed to be and it weirds Mary out).
    • In "Dick Solomon of the Indiana Solomons," Tommy wants to kiss a girl he meets at the Solomon family reunion, unaware that kissing your cousin is a taboo in America. However, Tommy finds out that she's adopted and uses that as an excuse. Of course, this backfires when the girl is too upset to kiss him, as she was unaware she was adopted.
      Tommy: You have no idea how distant we are!
  • Knight of Cerebus: Charlotte from "Alien Hunter" makes the episode darker than most of the ones that preceded it, even more than Liam's original plan to blow up the Earth or Vicki's attempts to kill Janice and Sally. She gets Dick completely at her mercy and plans to cut his head open, and we later discover she's murdered at least several people whom she mistakenly thought were aliens too. Up until her appearance, the show's previous antagonists were just assholes (Strudwick, Lucy) or comically grandiose supervillains (Liam, Evil Dick), not actual murderers.
  • Known by the Postal Address: Subverted: the planet Earth is named in the title after its location in the Solar System.
  • Lady Drunk: Mary. This actually works to her advantage in "Alien Hunter"... until the two decide to physically knock her out.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Characters in late seasons discuss some of the show's oddities. For example, why do the same college students study under Dick for six years? Because they never pass his course.
  • Large Ham: This show borders on World of Ham!
    • Brash and flamboyant at all times, Dick makes some Batman villains look modest.
    • Also, the Big Giant Head, played by none other than William Shatner.
    • Harry was this show's equivalent to Cosmo Kramer when it came to combining physical comedy with hamminess.
    • John Lithgow routinely hams it up, but then is upstaged by his replacement in the first season finale - a role played by...himself.
    • Vicki, when she shows up, usually spends a lot of time mugging and making a four-course meal of the scenery.
    • Randy, played by Phil Hartman ("OH YEAHHHH!!!"). Unfortunately, Hartman only got to show this off as a One-Shot Character before he was murdered.
  • Large-Ham Announcer: Harry, whenever receiving a broadcast from the Big Giant Head. He makes this... weird gurgling sound, sticks his arms up (similar to The Great Cornholio, oddly enough), and begins speaking in a loud, booming voice. This "transmission" is usually just a brief statement, but one time Harry actually hummed Muzak while on hold.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Of course, Dick and Sally are posing as siblings, but they're actually not. They also display no sexual attraction to one another (and in fact are both repulsed by the idea). However, they seem to have an especially close relationship compared to the other members of the family. In closing scenes Sally can often be seen sitting with her legs over Dick's, in the same chair or in otherwise snuggly fashion on the roof, and their emotional bond seems much stronger than the relationships they have with Harry or Tommy.
  • Literal Metaphor: In one episode, Dick is trying to figure out what happens "when the spit hits the fan" by spewing sips of water into a desk fan.
  • Locked in a Room: "Stuck With Dick." Dick and Mary are trapped in the school library all weekend with only a bottle of wine and some cheese.
    • Harry and Dick get stuck in a hole in "Dick and Harry Fall in a Hole," and in "Dick: Smoker," they also get locked in to a stairwell but is not part of the show but rather a joke.
  • Love Triangle: Between Mary, Dick, and Sonja in "Dick and the Single Girl."
    • Also seen in "D3: Judgement Day" between Mary, Dick, and Jennifer. Dick realizes that the more lovey-dubby he is with Jennifer, the more Mary wants him back, so he deliberately rides it out with Jennifer, despite the fact that he can't stand her.
  • Luke, I Am Your Father: The Big Giant Head reveals that he is Dick's father.
    Dick: I don't know who I am anymore!
    Harry: Well, your first name is Dick, and your last name is Head...
  • The Mafia: As stated in Attack of the Political Ad above, Frank Gansmiller thought Harry Solomon was in the mob after some comments taken out of context:
    Frank: What will it take you to drop out of this race?
    Harry: Well, don't ask me. I'm not the one who makes the decisions.
    Frank: You aren't?
    Harry: No, never have, never will. I just sort of follow orders.
    Frank: Whose?
    Harry: Well, we sort of have a leader.
    Frank: "We"?
    Harry: The family.
    Frank: "The family." Thank you, Solomon. Thank you very much.
    • In a later episode, the Solomons believed that Sally's new Italian boyfriend, Sammy "The Butcher" Marchetti, was in the mob. Naturally, Sally is thrilled and spends the whole episode LARPing as a stereotypical Mafia Princess. It turns out he's a literal butcher working at the local Italian restaurant.
  • Manchild: Dick Solomon: How someone this immature is High Commander is dumbfounding.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman: During the "Freaky Friday" Flip episode Tommy and Harry ask Dick-in-Sally's-body if they can touch "his" boobs. Dick is happy to let them ("be my guest, they're not mine") but Sally-in-Dick's-body threatens them with death if they try it.
    Sally: So help me god, if you touch those you will die!
  • Meaningful Name: As Don notices in one episode, the three male Solomons are named "Tom, Dick, and Harry."
    • In addition, Dick is both a self-absorbed asshole and very ... well-endowed. Fits both definitions of "dick" pretty well, no?
    • There's also a Harry and a Sally, which might just be a Shout-Out to a certain movie.
    • It's only a nickname, but Sally often calls Mrs. Dubcek "Doobie." In addition to her sordid past and present, we see her in one episode rolling a joint out of Tommy's cilantro only to be disappointed that it's not marijuana. However, she still says it "beats the hell out of basil."
      • Also, can't forget her "Do It Yourself" Theme Tune:
        Mrs. Dubcek: Thinking thinking thinking hard. What's the use I've burned too many brain cells maybe I'll just fantasize - think of Alex and close my eyes.
  • Mama Bear: Sally occasionally treats Tommy this way, despite: A) being younger than him, technically; and B) his embarrassment.
    Sally: I broke up with Alyssa for you.
    Tommy: Why would you do that?!
    Sally: She was going to dump you first. I didn't want to see my baby get hurt!
    Tommy: I am not your baby!
  • Metaphorgotten:
    Harry: (to Dick) When life gives you lemons, you shut up and eat the damn lemons.
    • In another episode:
      Dick: (to Mary) Before yesterday, the thought of another woman held about as much appeal for me as a plate of boiled eggs: Nutritious, yes, but ultimately way too gassy. (Mary looks confused.)
  • Metaphorically True: In "When Aliens Camp", Dick wants to have a weekend with just the family: Himself, Harry, Sally, and Tommy. But when Mary waxes nostalgic about camping, he invites her along too. Realizing he will look like a hypocrite if he tells the family he invited Mary on a family-only weekend:
    Dick: When I say "family only", I'm speaking in the larger sense, uh, the family of man. Which could include, say, uh, Mary, if you think about it.
    Sally: ("you've gotta be kidding me" tone) ...What.
  • Mildly Military: The aliens are very mildly military. Sally, Tommy, and Harry are extremely insubordinate to their High Commander right from the start of the show. They are apparently bound to obey Dick when he says "That's an order!", but they'll still be openly disrespectful if they think the order is stupid (it often is).
  • Minor with Fake I.D.: Tommy and his friends make fake I.D.'s to get into a hot new nightclub. The other guys get in, but Tommy is stopped at the door because Don is the bouncer and knows perfectly well that Tommy is underage.
  • Mistaken For Destitute: Due to his mismatched clothing, Harry is mistaken for a beggar by a passerby who puts change in his coffee cup. At first indignant that they put money in his drink, Harry decides to continue panhandling, until he's confronted by real panhandlers.
  • Mistaken for Gay / Unsettling Gender-Reveal: In one episode, Sally unknowingly dates a gay man who thinks she's a gay, male crossdresser, if not Transgender, and breaks up with her when he notices she's not entirely what he expected.
    • Dick is also mistaken for gay by one of Mary's former students. Dick misreads his innuendos and thinks that he's found a fellow alien, after visiting a gay bar with him Dick declares "Half of Broadway are aliens!".
  • Mistaken for Pedophile: "So suddenly it's a crime for a grown man to hang around the high school taking pictures of young girls." (Harry was trailing August for Tommy as part of a Private Detective parody.)
  • Mistaken for Profound: In one episode Harry tries to chain his bike to a tree and ended up chaining himself. Since the park was about to be bulldozed, he is mistaken for an activist, and eventually asked to run for city council where his campaign pretty much runs on this.
  • Mistaken for Racist: When Dick learns about Nina's attendance of a black student union, he decides to attend to white power rally. He concludes that he doesn't like it because he doesn't have anything against the lower case letter t.
  • Mistaken for Servant: Harry is mistaken for an employee of a hardware store, due to his shirt. He goes along with it. At the end of the episode, Harry announces he's going shopping at Foot Locker, while wearing a striped shirt.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Invoked in "Dickmalion" when Dick recounts his night of schmoozing with the upper class:
    Dick: It was awful. I spent two hours talking to someone about Cornish gay men.
    Nina: Don't you mean "Cornish game hen"?
    Dick: That's what I said: "Cornish gay men"; aren't you listening?!
  • Mood-Swinger:
    • Dick's confident exterior will crumble at the slightest scrutiny.
    • Also Sally in "Sex and the Sally," after she gets on the birth control pill.
  • Mystery Episode: An unusual application. Mary and the Solomons attend a Mystery Dinner Party, but the Solomons (being aliens) are unfamiliar with the concept and assume the murder was real. Dick conducts his own investigation which really throws the game off the rails.
  • Naked Apron: First referenced by Sally and Ms. Dubcek, then later performed by Harry in "Dick and the Other Guy". Ms. Dubcek gives Sally a piece of advice to woo Don: Make some eggs for breakfast while in the buff.
    Sally: Doesn't the grease splatter all over your boobs??
    • In "Indecent Dick", Harry decides that clothes are a scam and stops wearing them but does make sure to put an apron on when cooking BLTs. He then makes the mistake of turning around so his back is to the oven allowing the grease to hit his back. Cue yelping and hurriedly turning around again.
  • Near-Death Experience: Sally, Tommy, and Harry experience this in "Near Dick Experience" when a chandelier falls on a table that they would've been sitting at had the waiter not relocated them. Dick becomes jealous that the three are now seeing life through awakened eyes (that is, they're not taking things for granted), and becomes desperate to have his own near death experience.
  • Neural Implanting: "Incoming message from the Big Giant Head..."
  • New Technology Is Evil: Tommy calls Dick out this fallacy at the end of Y2Dick:
    Dick: Technology is evil!
    Tommy: Dick, just because you went nuts, that doesn't mean that all technology is evil.
    Dick: Of course it does.
    Sally: What about, uh medical technology?
    Dick: ...Medical technology is okay.
    Tommy: Okay, uh, what about the computers that make sure airplanes don't crash?
    Dick: Those I like. But that's IT!
    Harry: Well, what about the machine that puts the creamy filling in the cupcakes?
    Dick: Harry, no! I've already drawn the line.....Oh, who am I kidding? I'm not gonna manually inject cream into my own cupcakes.
  • New Year Has Come: "Happy New Dick!"
  • Noodle Implements:
    • The Big Giant Head once threatened to have Dick sent to Mars. Dick's not so worried before the Big Giant Head clarifies "Not THAT Mars!"
    • An earlier episode had Dick order Sally to "assemble the giant robot," to which Sally responds they didn't bring it because they had to make room for his exercise equipment. There's also mention that they've got human body parts stored in the freezer in case of an emergency.
    • There's a running gag that somewhere in the galaxy, Jell-o's are incredibly dangerous creatures; occasionally they recieve molds as gifts or see them at parties, and they usually cower behind something until Sally, as security officer, kills it, usually by stabbing it. In Dick's nightmare in "A Nightmare on Dick Street," he is attacked by a massive wall-sized one, which may be what they're afraid of—although as malicious as it is, it still has bits of orange and pineapple imbedded in it.
    • A lot of what happens on the aliens' homeworld is mentioned through this trope. They have a holiday called "Big Giant Head Day" that's similar to Thanksgiving except it involves someone getting thrown into the sun, and people get elected by outrunning a giant fireball.
  • Noodle Incident:
    • When reminiscing, the aliens talk about a rather humorous memory that is never elaborated upon, which also provides the title for the two-part ending episode:
      Dick *Very cheerful*: And we hit it, and hit it, and hit it
      Everyone: AND IT JUST WOULDN'T DIE! Ahahaha... ah...
    • Most of what Ms. Dubceck says is a reference to some past sexual escapade. Thankfully, the other characters don't pry.
    • Judith once entered an episode finishing a story about how somebody had been devoured by woodland creatures.
    • During "Dick and Harry Fall Down A Hole," the hole expert mentions an incident in Manchester where ten people went into a hole. He still has no idea how twelve people came out.
    • Vicki once freaked out and got very nervous when she encountered two midgets who seemed to know her very well, but whatever it was that happened between them doesn't get explained.
  • No Sympathy: Tommy in "Dick Solomon of the Indiana Solomons". After Janine learns that she's adopted, Tommy (who is excited she's not actually "related" to him) calls her up for a date:
    Tommy: Janine, hi. It's Tommy. (...) Uh, from the reunion? (...) Right, yeah, the one who told you you were adopted, right. Anyway. Say, uh, you wanna go out on Sunday? (...) Oh, meeting your birth mother, huh? Well, listen, can it wait? You know, it's been 16 years. What's another day, right? (...) Uh, well, maybe I could come, you know? We could catch a movie, swing by your birth mom's. (...) Hello? Hello? Hel- oh, man. Got cut off.
  • Not Blood Siblings: The other male Solomons sometimes show sexual interest in Sally. Thankfully, nothing ever comes of it.
  • Not Helping Your Case: In "Dick "The Mouth" Solomon", when Don thinks Tommy's working for the mob:
    Don: Let me lay out the cold, hard facts for you, Tommy. If you're involved in something criminal, there's a 1-in-5 chance you'll be caught. If you're prosecuted, there's a 2% chance you'll be convicted! So... don't play with fire.
  • Of Corpse He's Alive: In "Romeo & Juliet & Dick," Ms. Dubcek unknowingly drinks a potion that Tommy made for the school play of Romeo and Juliet which causes the person to pass out and appear dead. In one scene, the Solomons hang Dubcek's body out the window, moving her limbs and providing her voice. Eventually, they ditch that and just decide to dress Harry up as Dubcek, since people will be seeing her up close.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: This gem from "Portrait Of Tommy As An Old Man," the catalyst of Tommy getting fed up with the mission and going on a 10-Minute Retirement:
    Tommy: [flopping down in the armchair] I have to write a 20 page history paper by tomorrow.
    Harry: Oh, that's tough.
    Tommy: Oh, and on top of that, George Capisorros was waiting for me after school to beat me up 'cause I wouldn't let him cheat off my algebra test.
    Harry: Whoa, so what'd you do; hop the fence and go home?
    Tommy: Well, no, I kicked his ass, but I mean, that's not the point! I shouldn't have to do that!
  • Older Than They Look: Tommy is the oldest alien, and acts Alter Kocker when he decides to retire and give up on acting his human age in "Portrait Of Tommy As An Old Man."
    • He also hams up the Alter Kocker when, in the final season, they learn that their mission is at an end. The others point out that he always 'acts old' when they reach the end of the mission, but he actually takes the end of the mission much harder than initially suggested, breaking down during their going away party, a reaction he apparently hasn't had before.
  • Omniglot: The Solomons seem to have learned every Earth language in preparation for their trip, or at least a couple dozen. Dick reads a newspaper in a different language almost every episode. When they got cable, they switched to a Spanish-speaking channel and all started speaking Spanish — until they realized what they were doing.
    • They can also speak (at least some) animal languages. For instance, in the second season episode about thanksgiving, Dick hears turkeys on television. He later tells the others that the turkeys were talking about an apocalypse (What made this more hilarious was the reporter on tv earlier jokingly saying that the turkeys seemed to know what was headed their way). In a season one episode, Harry has a conversation with a dog.
    • This may be an unidentified form of Neural Implanting: in one episode Harry and Dick are locked in a stairwell together for over a day, during which Dick begins talking to his 'inner voice'. In a throw-away line, Harry says his inner voice began speaking to him too, but he didn't know what it said because he doesn't speak French. Obviously it was just intended as a one-line joke, but if one ponders it, it probably means that Harry has the French language stored somewhere in his brain, he just can't access it.
      • However, this theory is also somewhat damaged by the fact that in a Battle of Wits between Dick and Tommy, they show off using their language skills. (Tommy wins, apparently having mastered all the languages Dick challenges him with, and correcting Dick's faulty grammar.)
      • It's also an Actor Allusion, given that Harry is played by French Stewart.
  • Once an Episode: Sitting on the rooftop to close out the episode.
    • Not quite once an episode, but Harry does receive a message from the Big Giant Head fairly frequently. It's regularly used as a plot device to kick off the episode's hijinks.
  • Once a Season: The Solomons' identity as aliens is revealed to somebody about once every season, but the context makes the reveal incredulous, and later ignored.
  • Once Killed a Man with a Noodle Implement: "I should warn you that I have killed men with everything from a steak knife, to a penny dropped from a skyscraper!"
  • One Dialogue, Two Conversations
    Dick: Tommy, do you doodle?
    Tommy: [looking nervous] Why, was I in the bathroom too long?
    Dick: I can't doodle!
    Tommy: Well, Dick, you're kind of old!
    Dick: Old?! Picasso doodled on tablecloths well into his sixties!
    Tommy: ...that's disgusting!
    • All of Sammy Marchetti's dialogue in "Dick the Mouth Solomon". Everyone mistakes it for mobster talk, not realizing he's merely a butcher. Just one example: "Respect. People are good to me. I'm good to them. People are bad to me. Well, they're not going to be happy with what I give them, you know." No, he's not going to bump you off, he's just going to give you a substandard piece of meat.
    • The entire episode "Frankie Goes to Rutherford", where Dick meets Frank, a man who he thinks is an alien just like him, but is merely a gay human. This leads to things like Dick going to an "alien bar" and Frank telling Dick that he has to come out to Mary.
    • In "Dr. Solomon's Traveling Alien Show", Dick's brain is slowly deteriorating due to their status report to the Big Giant Head being late. But Harry doesn't know that when Dick finds him at the circus, resulting in this.
      Harry: Look, Dick, you can just save your breath, okay? I can't answer the Big Giant Head. 'Cause if I do, then he'll stop contacting me. And then my act is over. I'm finished. No. I'm lookin' out for me.
      Dick: Who are you?
      Harry: Oh, don't give me that! Come on. I'm just the same guy I always was, only smarter.
      Dick: I don't know who you are.
      Harry: Why, because I'm living for myself for a change?
      Dick: Who the hell are you?
      Harry: You want to know who I am? I'll tell ya who I am! I don't know anymore, Dick! I don't know!
  • The Oner: The opening shot of Harry's dream is one minute and 39 seconds of elaborate choreography.
  • One-Steve Limit: In "See Dick Run," Evil Dick re-names Harry, Sally, and Tommy to all being named Tommy. They immediately point out how confusing that will be but Evil Dick doesn't care.
  • Only Sane Man: As the core cast is so insane, an outsider is often needed for the job. Initially, it was Mary - until she was developed as pretty quirky herself. Then it was August, Tommy's first girlfriend, during her run with the show. Later, Don often played the part, especially in conversations with Sally where she takes up some ludicrous position about their relationship. He doesn't tell her she's wrong when it plays to his advantage.
    • Of all people, Harry is this in "Collect Call for Dick". When Dick first begins to get obsessed with collecting every Fuzzy Buddy in existence, Harry puts it into perspective by saying they already have a bunch of them. Then later, when there's an ultra rare Fuzzy Buddy of which only thirty were made due to a manufacturing error:
      Harry: It's worth more because it's defective?
      Dick: It's worth more because it's rare.
      Harry: But it's rare because it's defective and crappy?
      Dick: Exactly. What I wouldn't give to have one.
      Harry: Hey, I got an idea: How about, instead of buying a bunch of screwed-up dolls, we buy some food? Pay the rent?
  • Opening Narration: The first season only.
    Narrator: As many intelligent people know, aliens are all around us. This is the story of four such explorers. To blend in, they've assumed human form. This is the High Commander. He has assembled an elite team of experts; a decorated military officer, a seasoned intelligence specialist, and, well, they had an extra seat. (what follows is a Couch Gag comment)
  • ...Or So I Heard: In "Much Ado About Dick," the priest says, "Women." Dick and Suter stare at him, and the priest adds, "...Or so I heard."
    • In "Indecent Dick", Don is against Sally posing for Playpen Magazine:
      Don: Listen, Sally, I know what kind of people read these things and what they're thinking when I do!
  • Our Product Sucks: In "The Tooth Hairy", Pittman is making a promotional film for Pendleton. Dick is reluctant to read the script as written because he doesn't want to lie ("What's tripping me up is the word "excellence"; if I could say "tradition of adequacy"."). The final take:
    Dick: A fine university it is, Mary. It's fine. It's not great, but it's not the worst.
    Mary: At Pendleton, our students come first.
    Dick: Our priority is to get you out of your parents' home and into a classroom-like environment. A's are easy to come by here at Pendleton, as is delicious thin crust pizza.
    Mary: Our lab facilities are state of the art.
    Dick: Or at least, they used to be, Mary. (shares a fake laugh with Mary) But let's be realistic: If you got into a quality school, you would only feel stupid there. But you can be a genius here at Pendelton, the Harvard of mediocrity. Not affiliated with Harvard University.
  • Ping Pong Naïveté: The aliens' understanding of Earth frequently changes according to the Rule of Funny.
  • The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything: Sally, as the mission's no-nonsense, militaristic, security officer frequently discusses needing to kill anyone who may expose their secret, but never actually hurts or threatens anyone on these grounds. Admittedly, that would be very wrong for the show's light tone.
    • A season one episode has Sally lure Mary's brother into a field for the express purpose of murdering him after he tells them about an alien abduction he experienced. Dick manages to stop her, and in the process they discover he was simply lying to get attention.
  • Plank Gag: Happens no less than five times in succession in a scene. To Harry, of course.
  • Playboy Parody: "Playpen" magazine, which Officer Don has a Porn Stash of. His girlfriend Sally considers posing to it, leading to him replacing his lifetime subscription in favor of a year-by-year one in response.
  • Please Dump Me: Dick can't tell Janet, who's been assigned as his wife, to leave because she's the niece of the Big Giant Head. He instead decides to try and drive her away by acting like a "repulsive creep", but only lasts a few minutes before apologising to her for being so mean. Janet eventually leaves after Dick explains to her that they don't have to be together just because her uncle said so.
  • Practical Joke: "Tricky Dick" had Dick and Mary playing pranks on each other throughout the episode.
  • Practically Different Generations: Despite not actually being siblings. As part of their charade as the Solomon family, Harry and Sally are Dick's brother and sister, even though there's a significant age gap in their Earthling formsnote ; if they'd posed as his children along with Tommy, it would've been slightly more plausible.
  • Prima Donna Director: Dick becomes one almost immediately in "Romeo and Juliet and Dick" when he directs the high school version of the play.
  • Prison Changes People: Parodied when Dick tries to prove that he can reform a "hardened" criminal through compassion and understanding. His chosen ex-convict was a relatively minor criminal who was only in jail for a short time, but Dick quickly starts treating him as though he's a hardened criminal.
  • Professional Butt-Kisser: Sally becomes one to Mary in "The Physics of Being Dick," at the advice of Nina, who says that correcting Mary will only make Mary upset. The butt-kissing backfires when Sally doesn't catch numerous mistakes in one of Mary's speeches and she makes a fool of herself.
    Sally: It's just so intimidating to work for-
    Mary: Say it. A BITCH?!
    Sally: No, a genius! (Mary is flattered once again.)
  • Promotion to Opening Titles: Elmarie Wendel (Mrs. Dubcek), Simba Khali (Nina), and Wayne Knight (Don Orville) got added to the opening titles by season 4.
  • Protest by Obstruction: Played with. Harry accidentally chains himself to a tree without knowing they were going to cut it down.
  • Psycho Ex Boyfriend: Vicky Dubcek's jealous ex, Randy (The late Phil Hartman), abducts Harry and sells him to a Circus.
    • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend applies also to Sally, especially with the early men she dates. She's aggressive, domineering and obsessive, which drives a few men away before she meets Don.
  • Raging Stiffie: It's insinuated that Tommy got one from the music teacher in "Fourth and Dick," since he's reluctant to stand up when she calls on him.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: The Solomons, to a tee.
    • True Companions: They gradually care for each other like a real family, underneath the egos and frequent antagonizing.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Harry delivers a hilarious one in "Tom, Dick and Mary":
    Dick: Harry, what are you doing?
    Harry: Thinking. Learning. Observing the world outside the TV. And you know what I've observed? You. And you know what? You're not very good at your job.
    Dick: I! BEG! YOUR! PARDON!
    Harry: Let's review! What have you accomplished since we got here? Well, you got a rathole apartment, a used car, and you got lucky a few times.
    Dick: ...Seventeen!
    Harry: Seventeen! Well, the Big Giant Head's got to have a merit badge for that.
    Sally: Got you there, Dick.
    Harry: And YOU! You call yourself a security officer. Look at you! Since we got here, we've been robbed, mugged, threatened, and now some mental midget is making you feel all "uncomfortable in the workplace"! And all you can do about it is yak, yak, yaaaaak! (to Dick) You want your woman back, you go get her! (to Sally) Your boss is a moron, put your foot in his butt! We're an interstellar squad of superior beings, for God's sakes! Now quit your bitchin' and get out of the kitchen!
    • Subverted in that Harry's advice ends up being terrible. Dick and Sally both go on to follow it, and it only further wrecks their respective situations.
  • Re-Cut: The series finale originally included a scene where Dick bids farewell to his students and finally gives them the grades they need to graduate (albeit by pointing to one half of the room and arbitrarily telling them they passed). The scene was cut from reruns and home media releases.
  • Reset Button: Almost anything other than couples breaking up or getting back together that comes up in a plot is ignored the very next episode. In particular, in The Loud Solomon Family: A Dickumentary, life-changing lies and real secrets about the Solomons are revealed to everyone who knows them, and nobody mentions any of it afterward.
  • Rearrange the Song: A new, horn-driven version of the theme debuted for season 5, but it didn't pan out, so the original theme was restored for season 6. The theme was also remixed in the two-parter "Dick'll Take Manhattan."
  • A Riddle Wrapped in a Mystery Inside an Enigma: Dick describes an imagined conspiracy as "a riddle wrapped around an enigma fried up in a conundrum with Chinese mustard dipping sauce."
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: When Sally tries to explain to Don who she is without revealing she's an alien, he assumes she's with the feds or CIA, citing her incredible combat abilities, inability to talk about her past, and why she's now saying she has to leave and never contact him again. In many ways, he's right on the money.
  • Rogue Juror: "Eleven Angry Men and One Dick."
  • Romantic Rain: Sally and Don go for what he really hopes will be a romantic walk in the rain. Subverted, because she just finds it boring, tedious, wet and uncomfortable, and gets annoyed with him.
  • Rule of Three: In "Sensitive Dick," Nina telling the disciplinary committee three times that Dick's "warm, kind, and a credit to Pendleton State," no matter the question asked.
    • In "Why Dickie Can't Teach," Tommy hugs Mary and then tries to grab her ass, which she doesn't allow. Later, Dick tries the same technique on Mary. Finally, at the end of the episode, Dick hugs Tommy and both try the same thing on each other.
  • Running Gag:
    • In "Dick Solomon of the Indiana Solomons," either Uncle Abe or Harry starting a sentence with, "Don't get me started on..."
    • In "Y2dick", Tommy and Sally declaring "Pack it up! This piece of crap's going back!" when they're dissatisfied with their home theater system.
    • The aliens don't like Jell-O: they think it's a vicious alien they encountered on another planet. Whenever they see it, they go into a screaming fit and either cower in fear or try to destroy it.
    • Up until he got his haircut, the other Solomons would constantly point out how Tommy looked like a girl.
  • Sarcastic Confession: After it's become obvious that the family is hiding some big secret in the Documentary episode, Tommy snaps and reveals the truth: Dick isn't really his father.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Nina's raison d'être.
  • Sassy Secretary: Nina can always be counted on to sum up the weirdness around her with her usual sharp wit.
  • Scenery Censor: Played with in an episode where Harry walks around naked in the kitchen, while people in the foreground "coincidentally" move objects in the line of view of his crotch in perfect synchronization with his movements.
  • Season Fluidity: More towards the "fluid" category, due to most every episode being a stand-alone plot that can be watched independently, but there is continuity, especially in the romantic relationships. Example: Dick and Mary are broken up? You're watching a season 3 episode. Sally and Don are broken up? You're watching a season 4 episode.
  • Secret Identity: At various times, Mary and the university staff have interpreted Dick's elusiveness about his past as him being either a political activist on the run from the feds, a secret agent, or a serial killer/terrorist.
  • Serious Business: Fuzzy Buddies, lampooning the Beanie Babies craze at the time.
    • Really everything the Solomons get into they do so with gusto, having zero social boundaries and self control.
  • Sex for Solace: Sally and Don have sex (repeatedly) in "Dick vs. Strudwick," despite being technically broken up.
  • Sex Sells: In "The Physics of Being Dick", Dick tries to lure teenagers to his booth at the high school fair by displaying posters of bikini-clad women.
    Dick: Step right up, kids, and meet the girls of physics! Each and every one of them a bundle of mass and energy!
  • Shaped Like Itself:
    • In "Sensitive Dick":
      Judith: After much deliberating, this court has decided to admonish Dr. Solomon.
      Dick: What does that mean?
      Judith: You're officially admonished.
    • In "Dick Behaving Badly", Sally chooses to be the boot in Monopoly because it reminds her of a boot.
  • Ship Tease: Harry and Nina got some adorable moments together.
  • Shout-Out: Numerous ones over the seasons.
    • There are a few relating to Jane Curtin's role as Primat in Coneheads, the most obvious one being when they ran into Coneheads cosplayers at a sci-fi convention.
      • As well as an episode where she makes everyone watch a tabloid show about Susan Saint James.
    • When the Big Giant Head first appears on Earth, he tells the Solomons that he saw a creature on the wing of the airplane but nobody believed him; Dick responds "The same thing happened to me!" This refers to the fact that William Shatner starred in the classic The Twilight Zone (1959) episode "Nightmare At 20,000 Feet", while John Lithgow starred in the segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie based off of that episode.
    • The Solomons all know Dennis Rodman, a fellow alien. When he shows up, they share their disbelief that Earth hasn't figured it out.
    • In Tricky Dick Dick, annoyed by the loud music Tommy's band is playing, delivers a fire-and-brimstone sermon about the dangers of Rock & Roll. This is a shout-out to John Lithgow's character in Footloose.
    • Shall We Dick has a shout out to "Cinderella." Harry wishes he could go to the big dance contest, only he can't find his shoes and he's covered in soot from looking for them. The other three start uproariously mocking him for wanting to go because he's "dressed in rags" and dirty. Mrs. Dubcek, conveniently dressed in an all white, sequined number and waving around a cigarette holder, tells Harry he can still go to the dance if he really wants too. Harry mentions he doesn't have a car or clothes, and then Dubcek says "well Harry... I guess you're screwed."
      • There's also an accidental shout out, in that Harry's covered in soot, making him "Dirty Harry."
    • "Fifteen Minutes of Dick" becomes a parody of Sunset Boulevard, complete with "It's the pictures that got small!" reference.
    • "Stuck With Dick" features a parody of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
    • "Citizen Solomon" contains, surprisingly enough, a Whole-Plot Reference to Citizen Kane. Tommy is Kane himself, Alissa is Susan Alexander, August is Jedediah Leland, and the principal is Mr. Thatcher. The parody isn't evident unless you've seen the film as it's based on a portion of the movie which is not often parodied and is thus outside the Popcultural Osmosis of the film's more famous scenes.
    • "Gwen, Larry, Dick & Mary"'s subplot eventually becomes a parody of Judge Judy.
    • "Land... it's the only thing that matters.", "Dick, that's just dirt from the backyard."
    • The episode The Loud Solomon Family: A Dickumentary could possibly be a reference to the 1970's PBS documentary "An American Family," starring a family whose last name was in fact "Loud."
    • A lot of shoutouts to Rebel Without a Cause in Father Knows Best, in which Harry shouts "You're tearing me apart!" followed by his search for self (which ends in an agreement to a drag race with the boyfriend of a girl he meets at the bar).
    • "A Nightmare on Dick Street Part 1" featured a parody of Chinatown.
    • "The Physics of Being Dick" features a parody of The Music Man:
      Dick: And you know what's got me standing here instead of floating out the window like a puff of smoke? Inertia, with a capital "I." That rhymes with "pi" and that starts with "p," and that stands for physics!
  • Sick Episode: The second episode of the show, "Post Nasal Dick", features the entire Solomon family getting a cold. Dick fights it, though, so he can attend a wedding with Mary.
  • Silly Simian: Another alien attempts to turn Earth into Super Monkey World as a tourist attraction.
  • Single-Issue Psychology: Dick isn’t racist or sexist or bigoted in any way; he’s just a massive narcissist who can’t accept when he’s not a part of something.
  • Single-Target Sexuality: Despite some hitches, Dick is really only attracted to Mary. When Mary asks Dick if he had sex with another woman, he answers: "No! I only do that with you!"
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Dick has one in Dr. Vincent Strudwick. Oddly enough, Strudwick appeared a few times earlier in the show, and during those episodes, he wasn't portrayed in such a manner.
    • Season 4 had Lucy, the lunch lady who charged Dick, and only Dick, extra for crackers. Lucy later became Mary's assistant, much to Dick's dismay.
  • Sitting on the Roof: Every episode ends this way, and it happens during the episode on occasion too. This is usually for a semi-philosophical discussion of what the Solomons learned in each episode about Earth culture.
  • 6 Is 9: Parodied.
    Harry: "Dick, I've lost all feeling in the left side of my body. [looks at can upside down] Could somebody please call "1-1-6"?
  • Skewed Priorities: In "A Friend in Dick", when Tommy asks for some money:
    Dick: No, Tommy, you'll have to get your own money. I'm stretched thin just covering the bare essentials: Food, clothing, shelter, and theater tickets.
  • Slap-Slap-Kiss: A sequence in the first episode between Dick and Mary.
  • Slapstick: Occasionally features on the show, with one scene involving hitting Harry on the head with a pan half a dozen times. The women in this show aren't exempt from physical comedy. Sally gets the brunt of it, being punched, shoved over, thrown down the stairs, and much more, but Mary also gets her share.
  • The Sleepless: Don in "Charitable Dick"; Sally shares his bed and her snoring keeps him up at night. However, even the solution of Sally staying awake all night doesn't work, as she keeps inadvertently making noise.
  • The Snark Knight: Tommy. He even dated another one; August Leffler.
  • Snowed-In: "Frozen Dick"
  • Something Something Leonard Bernstein: Attempts to sing the mission song usually end up as this. Best demonstrated in the series finale where they get the first two lines and the second verse right, but everything in-between is a bit more vague.
    Across the void we come a warping
    Across the fields of stars we ... soar!
    We pledge to land and... something something
    Dum da da da dum da da da SPACESHIP!
  • Speed Sex: Demonstrated when Dick loses his virginity to Mary in "See Dick Run":
    Dick: (after sex) Ohhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!...Oh Dr. Albright, that was the greatest thirty seconds of my life.
  • Springtime for Hitler: Looking to punk Tommy, Dick suggests he play a prank on the dean, claiming it's a Rutherford tradition. Tommy glues the Dean's furniture to the ceiling. To Dick's frustration, the Dean gives kudos and reminisces about his own past pranks.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers:
    • Tommy and Alissa become this when it's revealed that Alissa's last name is Strudwick (see Sitcom Arch-Nemesis above). Although it doesn't actually stop them from dating.
      Dick: (walking by as Tommy and Alissa are about to kiss) Get your lips off that Strudwick.
    • In the end, Mary and Dick. She's a human, he's an alien, and he always knew that one day, his mission would end. Mary can't leave Earth with them, so he winds up wiping her memory to spare her the pain, and leaving her forever.
    • The same can also be said for Sally and Don, though he never found out the truth, and assumes Sally's with the CIA or something similar, which would explain her abilities and why she suddenly has to vanish from his life.
  • Starfish Aliens: We never get to see the Solomons' true forms, but what little we hear about them sounds positively Lovecraftian.
    • The only consistent detail is that they are purple tubes. Or at least a major part of them is a purple tube. Presumably, they must have some kind of head, as their ruler has (Or is) a Big Giant one.
      • Or he could be the Big Giant Head of the organization, not literally have a big head.
  • Stepford Smiler:
    • In one episode, the Solomons decide they need to be more "normal" and so they strive to become as average as possible. They end up being this trope, especially Sally.
    • Sally also tries to do this to please a boyfriend, but breaks down quickly, going from pleasantly saying, "I don't know, you decide," to screaming it in his face.
  • Strange Salute: The family's salute is smacking one's face before placing the palm on the back of the head and moving it forward over the scalp.
  • Straw Affiliation: The episode "Dick the Vote" included this subversion:
    Mary: Hecky Mulligan! How can you vote for Hecky Mulligan? Nina, can you believe that?
    Nina: How do you know I'm not voting for Mulligan?
    Mary: I thought you were a Democrat.
    Nina: And why do you think I'm a Democrat, because I'm black?
    Mary: Go ahead, vote for Mulligan!
    Nina: I'm not voting for Mulligan!
  • Straw Vegetarian: Dick Solomon becomes one of these as a Compressed Vice, reverting to his normal meat-eating ways at the end of the episode.
  • Subverted Suspicion Aesop: In "Two-Faced Dick", Harry and Tommy are suspicious of a tough-looking gang who keeps ordering drinks. Ms. Dubcek tells them that they shouldn't judge people by how they look, and Harry and Tommy decide to apologize to the gang for it. Immediately after they apologize, the gang tells them to open up the cash register. Amusingly, instead of being terrified, Harry and Tommy are overjoyed that they were right all along about their first impression.
  • Suddenly Shouting: Dick, frequently, usually part way through a sarcastic response to what he deems to be a stupid question.
    Mary: The ramp is on the south side!
    Dick (in a wheelchair): Oh. *Beat* It might as well be in Portugal.
    Nina: Because it's so far away?
    Dick: No, Nina, because Portugal is an ancient land of fascinating maritime cultu-YES IT'S SO FAR AWAY!
  • Surrounded by Idiots: Dick often gives this vibe to Tommy, Sally and Harry, but less as time goes on. Nina, however, gives this vibe to practically everyone for the entire show's run.
  • Suspiciously Clean Criminal Record: When Harry runs for mayor in one episode, his shady political opponent tries to dig up dirt on him and hires Don to investigate. Of course they find nothing since he's an alien that's only been on Earth a couple years. As Don puts it: "It's like he just fell out of the sky."
  • Sustained Misunderstanding: From "Superstitious Dick," when Dick inquires about throwing out a chain letter:
    Dick: Can any of you come up with a reasonable scenario in which throwing out a piece of mail would result in having your ribs broken by a floor waxer?
    Harry: Absolutely: Guy who was waxing the floor thought that you were throwing out his paycheck.
    Dick: No, the guy with the waxer knew nothing about it.
    Tommy: Well then why are we throwing out his paycheck?
    Dick: No, there was no paycheck.
    Sally: No paycheck?! Well no wonder the waxer dude went psycho on you.
  • Swapped Roles:
    • Harry and Sally switch jobs in "Same Old Song and Old Dick." It ends once Harry realizes he can't bring himself to kill a spider.
    • A crazier example: "Two-Faced Dick." Dick and Sally end up switching bodies (due to a delayed answer to a request Sally gave, when she first arrived on the planet, that she wanted to be a man), which forces them to adjust their personalities so they don't lose Mary and Don, respectively.
  • The Tag: Starting with season 2, there was an additional scene over the closing credits. It more or less stopped starting in season 5, though, likely due to network promos being run over the credits instead.
  • Take That!: In "Ab-Dick-ted":
    Sally: Dick, he [Roy] could turn us in. Do you really want to be the subject of some alien autopsy show on the Fox Network?
    Dick: You're jumping to conclusions.
    Harry: And Fox is not a network.
    • In "Proud Dick":
      Tommy: Dick, why don't you just apologize and get your job back?
      Dick: Apologize? Should the Venus de Milo apologize to the thug who broke its arms off? No! Should Art/Thesphinx apologize to the desert winds for eroding its nose? No! Should Jim Carrey apologize to America for The Cable Guy?... Perhaps.
  • Talk to the Hand: From Harry. He learned it from Nina, who encouraged him to do this if Dick (Harry's boss in that episode) got in his face with unreasonable demands.
  • Temporarily a Villain: Vicki is the antagonist for most of "The Big Giant Head Returns Again" when she gets jealous of Harry's girlfriend Janice and tries to kill her.
  • That Came Out Wrong: In "The Great Dickdater", Don and Dick go on a double date. Dick starts telling the two girls about models, to which the girls sarcastically ask why every guy wants to date models. Dick replies he was talking about model trains, after which the girls apologize. Dick then remarks: "If I had a model, why would I be here tonight?" He instantly realizes what he said could be taken the wrong way and apologizes.
  • Therapy Backfire: In one episode Mary takes Dick to a group couples retreat, fully expecting everyone there to praise her as a saint for putting up with Dick's insanity and enormous ego. To her shock everyone there takes pity on Dick and her growing frustration with them ends up making her seem more and more unsympathetic.
  • Those Two Guys: Surprisingly, in some episodes, Tommy and Harry have this dynamic.
  • Three-Dimensional Episode: "A Nightmare on Dick Street."
  • Too Dumb to Live: Harry. One of the earliest episodes of the series involves him taste-testing various house hold liquids to find out which are toxic. Guess what, he finds out, and asks the family to call poison control because the left side of his body is numb.
  • Took a Third Option: In the series finale, Sally takes it upon herself to turn Don into the ultimate policeman and forces him to choose between being a cop or making muffins. When she presents him with a gun and a muffin, she tells him to pick. After struggling, Don finally picks up the gun and exclaims he's a cop... and then points the gun at Sally exclaiming "I'm a cop who wants a muffin!" She's beyond proud.
  • Too Much Information: Dick provides this all too often. Examples:
    Dick: (to his class) Let's just say... I had sex with Dr. Albright.
    Dick: (to Mary) I'm not wearing any panties.
    • In "Power Mad Dick", Dick thinks it's only fair that Sally tell the family every detail of her sexual encounter with Don, since he did such a thing when he had sex with Mary, even after everyone begged him to stop.
  • Translation Train Wreck: Mary gives one to the Bolivians in "The Physics of Being Dick", due to Sally not bothering to fact check it beforehand.
    Sally: Hey, Dr. Albright, how did your talk go?
    Mary: How did my talk go? Let's see. First of all, the Bolivians were highly amused when I confused the name of their president with the word for kayak. But they stopped laughing when in their native tongue, I welcomed them to my... woman-y place... and told them I told them there was room for everyone!
    Judith: Tell her how you told them that their country was a shining example of goat death.
  • Troublesome Pet: When Dick gifts Mary a Golden Retriever, it quickly goes pear shaped, as the dog likes to dry hump. A lot. That's not even the worst of it's qualities either.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: From "Dick Solomon of the Indiana Solomons":
    Aunt Florence: (after Dick gets into a fight with Jacob) You're sounding just like your father!
    Dick: Damn straight, Aunt Florence! Damn straight!
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The usual format for the show.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Sally and Don. Played with in that Sally has no idea Don is supposed to be ugly (despite the fact that he's played by Wayne Knight), and finds his power as a police officer sexy (Despite the fact that he has almost no real power). This becomes even more hilarious in a later episode, where Sally convinces herself she's ugly while still seeing Don as the hottest man on the planet.
    • The first time she sees him without his uniform though, she doesn't recognize him. When he insists it's really him, she blows him off, but is instantly attracted to him again when he comes to confront her in-uniform. They both figure out what's going on and Don proposes a solution: he always wears his uniform around her.
      • This changes as time goes on; she begins to find other aspects of him sexy aside from the uniform (though generally situations in which he is "powerful" somehow - when he was a bouncer, or a karaoke star). She also comes to respect him more when he asserts himself over her shallowness at times, and in the end she cares about him even as she realizes he's an ineffectual coward, teaching him how to be a strong police officer before she leaves the planet.
  • Un-Confession: Used several times over the course of the series with the Solomons admitting they were aliens, though of course it never carried any consequences past the episode in question.
    • The end of the "Dickumentary" episode has all the False Confessions the family has made (Sally is a lesbian, Tommy is a bed-wetter, Harry is an alcoholic, etc) revealed as lies, making it obvious that they are actually trying to hide something. Fed up with the bickering and fighting, Tommy offers to reveal their big secret: Dick isn't his real father, they aren't even biologically related.
  • Under Strange Management: In one episode, Sally puts up a sign advertising her fake hair salon as an excuse to get a tax refund. Then the customers start showing up. She decides to actually try to run the hair salon because she enjoys the gossip, but the business quickly tanks when her customers realize that she gives lousy haircuts.
  • Unexpectedly Obscure Answer: Averted in "Dick Behaving Badly", the answer to Dick's charades is "Two celestial bodies of equal mass sharing a single gravitational field will exhibit identical rotational properties for as long as their inertial integrity is maintained." Dick's physics friends are able to correctly guess in very short order.
  • The Unfair Sex: When Dick Solomon (or other male character) screw something up in a relationship, they get their comeuppance most of the time and rightly so. On the other hand when Vicki, who not only was in a loving/(lusting?) relationship with Harry but were trying to have a child together, sleeps with, gets knocked up by and marries another man, nobody seems to be fazed by it (not even Harry). Possibly justified because the man who knocked her up was their leader, The Big Giant Head and nobody wanted to say anything and risk pissing him off.
  • The Unreveal: We never find out what the aliens' real forms look like, other then something about a purple tube. Any further descriptions only make it weirder. Further confused by the time Dick mentions they came to Earth in a spaceship that could fit in his pants-pocket.
    • And apparently they were disappointed that as humans they could no longer lick their backs. Harry was surprised to find that eyelids have to be operated manually, and initially they're all weirded out by how many holes they have in their heads.
  • Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist: Everyone, really, and increasingly so as the show goes along. Dick, Mary, and (mostly in the later seasons) Sally are the most obvious examples, but Harry and Tommy have had their Jerkass moments too. As John Lithgow points out, they could get away with really outrageous things under the pretense of "they're aliens, so they don't know any better." Note how Mary, who doesn't have that excuse, never really crosses the line of normal sitcom character behavior.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "I'm going to go in there... and put my feet... in her purse."
    • Explanation: Dick's evil replacement asked Sally to explain to him what the "it" Mary was referring to was. Rather than telling him about sex, she apparently told him that the above quote is what drives women crazy.
  • Variations on a Theme Song
    • The theme song was replace with a version by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy during season 5. In season 6, they returned to the original theme.
    • Alternate versions were used during Christmas episodes.
    • In Season 6, a alternate jazz version of the song was used for the two-part episode.
  • Villainous Mother-Son Duo: In the episode "Alien Hunter," Kathy Bates plays a vicious alien hunter named Charlotte. She's assisted by her Igor-like son Ned.
  • Vocal Evolution: Harry's voice in the first season (and part of the second) was originally more nasal, lower-pitched, and nebbish. Eventually, as he gained more range, his voice changed to more raspy and rough, which only made his lines funnier.
  • Voices Are Not Mental: When Dick and Sally go through their "Freaky Friday" Flip their voices don't switch. Their unique speech patterns and Lithgow and Johnston's performances make it clear who's in which body.
  • Wants a Prize for Basic Decency: One episode involved Harry and Tommy finding a wallet; when they returned the wallet to the person, they were irritated that they didn't get a reward. So they devised schemes to get the guy to pay up.
  • Waxing Lyrical: In one episode, Dick said: "Fame, I want to live forever! Light up the sky like a flame, FAME!"
  • Worthless Yellow Rocks:
    • The family apparently wins the lottery every time, but tears up the tickets and just enjoys the fun of playing the lottery. It's unknown whether this is because this qualifies as a 'global change' (Similar to blowing up the Earth), or they simply don't know that the lottery actually involves money. Likely the second.
    • Dick at one point looks into buying a diamond ring and is disgusted by the high price of them on Earth.
      Dick: Where I come from we use the big ones as doorstops!
  • Written-In Absence: Tommy wasn't around much in the final season since he had gone off to college. As had Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: In "Proud Dick", Dick quits his job at the university over a parking space dispute. Sally asks why Dick got "meshugenah" over something that petty.
    • Dick's "wife," Janet, spent her entire trip to Earth studying The Joy of Cooking, The Joy of Sex, and The Joy of Yiddish.
  • You Are the New Trend: Dick's Salute Dance, in a gay bar, no less.
  • You Can't Handle the Parody
    Dick: You want the truth? You want the TRUTH!? Well I can't handle the truth!
  • You Will Be Spared: As Dick's evil replacement was assessing Dick's class, he tells Leon that he will be spared and made to carry heavy loads.
  • Your Mime Makes It Real: Played with. An Evil Twin mimes a box around Dick Solomon, when he's actually activating an invisible forcefield. Just to lampshade the trope, Dick reacts with horror when he realises his efforts to subsequently escape look like a mime-impersonation.

Transmission ending in three! Two! One! [sneeze]


The Solomons' Bill

After discovering the cost of all the hotel services they've been using, the Solomons find a way to redirect the exorbitant bill to a certain famous actor staying at the same hotel.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / ShockinglyExpensiveBill

Media sources: