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Western Animation / Solar Opposites

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You thought your neighbors were weird.note 

Solar Opposites is an American adult animated science-fiction comedy web television series created by Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan. It premiered on May 8, 2020 on Hulu.

One day, the utopian planet Shlorp was destroyed by an asteroid. Before this, 100 adult Shlorpians and their "replicants" were given living supercomputers called Pupae and escaped into space searching for uninhabited worlds to take refuge. One group (consisting of Korvo, Terry, Jesse, and Yumyulack) lands, of course, on Earth in a suburban area somewhere in America. After settling in, they disagree on whether this is awful or awesome while trying to outwardly fit in as your regular garden-variety nuclear family.

What's the worst that could happen?

A second eight-episode season was released on March 26, 2021, with a Christmas special being released in November of the same year. The show was also renewed for a twelve-episode third season in June 2020.


Tropes associated with this series

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Yumyulack's suit releases spikes when under threat.
  • Ac CENT Upon The Wrong Syl LA Ble: Korvo and Terry mishear the word man cave as "Manc Ave".
  • Accidental Murder: Pretty much the norm for the Shlorpians, and every other unfortunate human that comes across them.
  • Actor Allusion: At one point, Terry says one of his goals on Earth is to pet a dolphin. This isn't the first time Thomas Middleditch voiced a character who really likes dolphins.
  • Aerith and Bob: The aliens consist of two Aeriths (Korvo and Yumyulack) and two Bobs (Terry and Jesse). Interestingly, the trope seems to be in effect for the sake of further conveying that the former two dislike being on Earth, while the latter two enjoy it.
  • Alien Abduction: According to Yumyulack, the Shlorpians had been examining humans for thousands of years. As evident by the fact that he didn't know what a brain was or how it worked, not much progress had been made.
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  • Alien Blood: The Shlorpians blood is blue.
  • Aliens Are Bastards: Korvo discusses this, writing off their unintentional destruction of the town in order to give life to a fictional character as a case as them being aliens with a different set of morals that humans couldn't understand. Except that he says this to avoid responsibility in for said destruction.
  • An Alien Named "Bob": Two of the Shlorpians are named Terry and Jesse.
  • An Aesop:
    • Yumyulack delivers it to Jesse in the second episode; sometimes there is no Freudian Excuse for why a person decides to be mean and violent. People can choose to be assholes for no reason just as they can choose to be good. To drive the point home, he sets a murderous suit on autopilot and wipes out the Neo-Nazis threatening to kill them for crashing their bar.
    • The ending of episode 7 gives a lesson about rebellions; when The Duke is finally overthrown, Tim betrays Cherie so he can become the next leader. This shows how rebellions can just as easily install new dictators when it lacks an end goal or a plan to create a long-lasting diplomatic structure. Stephen's character arc also shows how anyone can become a soldier of a tyrant if they suffer enough tragedies without the means of processing those tragedies healthily. The soldiers of a tyrant aren't born evil or just suddenly decide to do evil for the rest of their lives, they can just be regular people who are suffering the same thing as you.
    • Episode 6 gives a few on gender politics:
      • Feminism is about what women can choose to be and the stereotype about feminists being controlling and misandristic is just a small statistic that was exaggerated by the media for profit and attention. At the same time, men should take responsibility and treat women as equals.
      • Anyone can be sexist without realising; Korvo and Terry didn't know or understand what a man cave is and were just following a trend. While Jesse was just looking for something patriarchal to fight against because she was trying to finish an assignment that had expectations that were too high for her to complete.
      • Being a feminist doesn't require you to make constant political statements for women's rights or for you to be the next feminist icon for the new generation. You just need to be responsible, to respect and support the cause and to influence others so they can follow in your footsteps. Don't put so much pressure on yourself and do what is right for you.
    • The Rad Awesome Terrific Ray: Korvo provides one in the ending monologue of the episode, "Not every media product or TV show needs to provide a lesson of some kind, a show can just be a show."
  • Artistic License: Mice can hold their breath for several minutes rather than several seconds, and swim for days. Unless Molly deliberately drowned rather than find a way out, she shouldn't have died after forcing the hatch closed.
  • Artistic License – Law: A judge can't actually sentence someone to death in the United States. Only a death-qualified jury can.
  • Bizarre Alien Biology: Gooblering. Or the Shlorpian equivalent to sweating where they pop out small creatures called Gooblers when under extreme stress. Apparently, too much Gooblering will cause Shlorpians to overheat and die. Before that, they might cough up a rare red goobler, which is larger and is driven to torment the parent shlorpian until the stress turns their brain into a baby, killing them.
    • They don't have puberty. Replicants grow to the size of adult Shlorpian's then eventually turn into trees that someone might build a house out of.
    • They can also taste with their feet. They like to flavor their sidewalks back on Shlorp.
    • The children got to choose which gender they would become at a certain point.
    • At one point Terry sprouts several finger-appendages from his wrists to count percentages.
    Korvo: Are you using your abraca-dactals like a baby? What-What are you, 80?
    Terry: Ah! Now I have to start over.
  • Black Comedy Rape: Implied in episode 5, "The Lavitic Reactor". Yumyulack and Jesse are threatened with the military school if they get expelled, and the bullies raping them (or fucking them, as the show describes it) is named as one of the negatives. This gets no reaction from them.
  • Blue-and-Orange Morality: The family (except Terry) are aware that humans hate them. So they perform experiments on them, which is why they hate them.
    • Korvo, insincerely discusses this after the events of episode one.
    Terry: Do you feel like maybe we're the bad people in all of this?
    Korvo: We're aliens. Our ways are mysterious. We can't be judged by human standards. Now let's get out of here before we get arrested for all this shit.
  • Black Comedy: The man who made Rick and Morty pulls no punches here, although not to the extent that the other show went to.
  • Bloodier and Gorier: Rick and Morty is already a violent cartoon to begin with, but this show has much more gore and detailed violence, with nearly every single death either having very detailed Body Horror and Ludicrous Gibs, and unlike Rick and Morty, nearly all of the on-screen deaths involves human beings killed this time around.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Terry is the only one who doesn't see that humans have a problem with them at first.
  • Couch Gag: Korvo narrates the intro, but he ends each episode intro with a different reason on why he hates Earth.
  • Discount Lesbians: Korvo and Terry’s relationship is from first glance that of a gay couple but it was explained that as shlorpians they technically have no gender and that they choose their genders they want to be perceived as in their lives.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Why some (implied to be most) of the people in the Wall are put there by Yumyulack. Cherie, the Benihana chef, is punished for serving Yumyulack unwanted shrimp (he justifies this to Jesse by stating he could have died if he had allergies). The (mouse) milk man was the CEO of AT&T, before he farted in an elevator and blamed "the small blue alien boy". Tim, shrunk at the end of episode 2, was taken because he was wearing a red shirt (Yumyulack claims he needs a red shirt to complete his collection of every color).
    • Ironically, Yumulack was on the receiving end of this trope in “The Lake House Effect” when he was put in two weeks of detention just because he decorated his locker with a Sigourney Weaver poster.
  • Easily Forgiven: Averted. Tim pretend to forgive Ethan for the murders in the Wall, and Sonny and Enrique for covering up Ethan's crimes, before trapping them in a bottle and covering them in Magic Shell.
  • Face Death with Dignity: When Stephen returns to the farm to save Molly the mouse, he tragically learns that Molly can't fit and must stay behind so everyone else can survive. Molly appears to accept this by moving away from the hatch and leaving her bow for Stephen to remember her. She swims over to see him one last time before kissing the glass reassuringly and drowning peacefully.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble:
    • Korvo: Melancholic
    • Terry: Sanguine
    • Yumyulack: Choleric
    • Jesse: Phlegmatic
  • Gorn: Like its sister series, lots of graphic violence and gruesome deaths occur in this series.
  • Healing Shiv: The Shlorpians have access to medical weapons that inject a serum that heals both the wounds they create and the Hate Plague infecting their targets. Terry lampshades the fact that they're melee weapons instead of guns entirely because of Rule of Cool.
  • Face/Heel Double-Turn: Between Tim and The Duke. Tim started off as a Nice Guy who led a La Résistance against The Duke who was a selfish Evil Overlord of The Wall who many have suffered and died under his rule. Once Tim drives The Duke out of The Wall however, Tim betrays Cherie and leaves her to die before he takes over The Wall, while The Duke and Cherie work together to survive outside The Wall where The Duke saves Cherie's life and dies regretting having been a tyrant.
  • Fiction Fivehundred: Technically the family has infinite money due to having a machine that makes gold.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Yumyulack opted out of the gender-based plots in "The P.A.T.R.I.C.I.A. Device" and ended up having to return a bunch of koalas to the zoo after accidentally freeing them.
    • In "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear", we only see brief glimpses of the family's adventure, as the focus is mainly on the residents of the Wall.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Zig-zagged. The show always dances around the nature of Korvo and Terry’s relationship. The two bicker like a couple, own a house with kids, share a bed, and even kissed in one episode. Their relationship with touched upon in a couple of episodes including the season 1 finale. In addition both Korvo and Terry were revealed to be bisexual but their sexualities were revealed outside of their relationship due to inviting other partners into bed with them.
  • Humanity Is Infectious: Subverted, Korvo wants to get off Earth as quickly as possible while Terry at least tries to assimilate with humanity. Both are still learning and are quick to misunderstand basic human mannerisms or use their technology in the wrong way. In season 2, he's mocked by another group of Shlorpians and it makes him notice how he's "gone native" as well without even realizing it.
  • Idiosyncratic Episode Naming: Each episode is named after an invention in the episode (usually beginning with a "The"). The only exception is the season's penultimate episode "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear" which is actually referring to a vague sub-plot in the episode while nearly the entirety of the episode is about the people in the Wall.
  • Imperiled in Pregnancy: Cherie is forced to give birth by herself with nobody around to help her, then forces herself to return to the wall knowing that she can get access to supplies outside like she can in the wall to help her daughter survive.
  • In Medias Res: The series takes place about a year after the aliens crashed on Earth.
  • Kafka Komedy: The alien family suffers from this periodically. While it is understandable to why a lot of humans hate them due to all of the aliens destructive and reckless shenanigans (especially the things Yumulack does), there are moments where the aliens just want to blend in with society and just want to socialize with others, yet some humans take advantage of this to inflict further torment on them. Some of these attempts even backfire on the aliens. Terry in particular receives the worst of this as in one episode, he tries to help an old lady cross the street only to be beaten up by said lady cause he was having her cross the wrong side by mistake. “The Apple Pencil Pro” is where such comedy is at its most blatant due to the amount of torment inflicted on Korvo and Terry when they have done absolutely nothing wrong in the episode.
  • Karma Houdini: Jesse and Yumyulack have imprisoned a bunch of humans in their closet full of terrariums called the Wall, with the only food being candy and leftover takeout. At first it's just mean adults, but then Yumyulack starts doing it for petty crimes. He's never punished for this. Yumulack and the other aliens were arrested and sent to prison in one episode but it was for a crime they “didn’t” do.
    • Miss Frankie on the other hand gets away with committing crimes such as animal cruelty and framing the aliens in “The Apple Pencil Pro”.
  • Kids Are Cruel: many of the children in the school that Yumulack and Jesse attend are just bullies who love tormenting and harassing them at any given opportunity. There are apparently kids who also like to harass Korvo and Terry a lot as there was an incident where a bunch of kids threw a cup of urine at Korvo for seemingly no reason. Yumulack on the other hand can be a mean kid too but most of it is displayed towards his own sister.
  • Killer Robot: P.A.T.R.I.C.I.A. ...unintentionally. Korvo created her just so that he and Terry could have a wife to complain about their new Man cave. The reason she has freaking rocket launchers and a bunch of other weapons is because robots are apparently hard to make without them.
    • Also, she was made from recycled parts from another robot Korvo made to exact vengeance on some kids who threw a cup of pee at him.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Yumyulack's idea of integrating with the cool crowd involves him sitting with them and hoping that they will notice him. Jesse's response - "Like Hulu?"
  • Lighter and Softer: Despite all the violence and depravity, the show's humor and themes are far less dark than that of Roland's other show Rick and Morty, and it doesn't have that show's notoriously nihilistic tone.
  • Like an Old Married Couple: Korvo and Terry’s friendship has a lot of dynamics similar to that of a married couple with the bickering included.
  • Narrator All Along: Played for Laughs in the intro. As if it wasn't obvious by the time the intro happens Korvo is the one narrating. He even lampshades it just before the Couch Gag.
    Korvo: We crashed on Earth, stranding us, on an already overpopulated planet. That's right, I've been talking this whole time! I'm the one holding the Pupa. My name's Korvo. This is-this is my show. I just dropped the Pupa. Do you see me?
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: In "The Quantum Ring", two of the magicians who came to visit the family were non-speaking caricatures of Penn and Teller. They later get killed for trying to kill Korvo.
  • No Periods, Period: Averted. In Season 2, Cherie's lack of periods is the main reason The Duke figures out she is pregnant. She's offended, but given they are living in a small space, it would be hard for him not to notice. When she gives birth to her daughter Pezlie, the blood and fluids of child birth are shown in all of its glory.
  • Not So Above It All: Korvo hates Earth, and pretty much wants to get their mission over with and leave. Despite that, he and Terry cook up convoluted schemes to fit in with the population.
  • Oblivious to Hatred: Terry.
    Korvo: You know Terry this is why everyone hates us.
    Terry Oh speak for yourself man - I am extremely likable. I mean, why do you think everybody gives me more room when I'm walking down the street?
    Korvo: They're avoiding us!
  • Once a Season: There is one episode that focusses exclusively on the events of the Wall instead of the aliens, which also serves as a kind of season finale for the subplot with the actual season finale airing right after it.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted with the Stacys being the popular girls at school.
  • Out of Focus: Despite the title, "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear" is actually about the people living in the Wall, and how they are planning to take down The Duke once and for all.
  • Pink Is Erotic: In "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear", Tim and Cherry exchange the stories about their scars and they decide to have sex in a room that's lit up with pink lighting.
  • Pink Is Feminine: Jesse wears a bowtie on her head and a pink dress with white polka dots.
  • Resurrective Immortality: When Schlorpians die they come back to life as sentient trees that they quickly regenerate from. The reason they were so nonchalant about all the death they've caused is because they didn't know human death doesn't work the same way and thought that was where all the trees on the planet came from.
  • Ruder and Cruder: Zig-Zagged. While no more profane and vulgar that Rick and Morty, all the explicit language is permanently uncensored from the start due to being on Hulu and having a TV-MA rating in mind rating than having to be edited to obtain a TV-14 rating. Also there is actual sexual content shown in this series, such as Principal Cooke performing anilingus on Mrs. Frankie and Tim and Cherie having sex, both of with are shown onscreen, although the latter was only visible via a silhouette.
  • Sadist Show: Despite being light in tone, the show has a lot of its humor focus on whatever misfortune and/or abuse the human and alien characters fall prey to with usually gory results. Not even the shlorpian family is exempt from being victims of mutilation and severe pain and some of these kinds of sadism are inflicted on each other.
  • Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale: It takes 3 months for Cherie to traverse a backyard as a shrunken person. Doing so would take several hours at most. It also doesn't help that the size of the shrunken people changes routinely from being a few inches to smaller than a pez.
  • Shout-Out: Yumyulack's name is likely a reference to the name of the Coneheads' home planet of Remulak.
  • Shrink Ray: Yumyulack uses one of these on people they think are bad so he and Jesse can keep them as pets.
  • The Smurfette Principle: Jesse is the only female member of the Shlorpian family.
  • The Stinger: Averted, unlike Justin's other show the episodes don't have post credits scenes.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome:
    • The aliens try to adjust to the neighborhood and fit into Earth culture. This means that they are subject to realistic consequences; Korvo in the pilot says they need to flee before the cops realize they were responsible for Funbucket's rampage, while Jesse and Yumyulack are threatened with expulsion due to Yumyulack conducting scientific experiments at school and sometimes terrorizing their classmates. They find out that shrinking kids their age is no good; Linda points out they'll get arrested if he goes to the police, so Yumyulack switches to shrinking adults.
    • Cherie and Tim find out that there's a way out of The Wall, meaning they can escape, get help, and maybe try to regain their normal life. Season 2 puts the kibosh on that with Cherie and the Duke. It turns out that when Tim accidentally left Cherie to fend for herself and their baby in his attempt to murder her and make sure no one knows about the exit, she has to spend weeks if not months stuck in the backyard. This ironically lets her bond with the Duke, who ends up in the same boat and they work together to survive but can't leave the area. Don't forget only being an inch tall means that a few feet become a long distance, especially with predators and hazards.
  • Title Drop: In the Season 2 premiere, Terry calls the family "the Solar Opposites". It's brought up a few times throughout the season.
  • Tyke Bomb: The Pupa. His purpose is to evolve into a form that will terraform the planet into the image of planet Shlorp using data stored in his DNA by consuming everything.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: While everyone else wears the same clothes every episode, Terry always appears with a different nerdy shirt.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Much like its sister series, no human is shocked at all the crazy sci-fi rigmarole, only that they cause nothing but trouble on Earth.
  • Villain Protagonist: The entire family, since they generally use their sci-fi tech for selfish reasons, kill, maim, and/or torment the people around them (sometimes on purpose, sometimes through sheer stupidity), and generally cause all sorts of mayhem wherever they go. The Pupa's main purpose is to eventually destroy the earth and recreate it as a new Planet Schlorp, though it remains to be seen if it'll actually do it. Also their nonchalance at the death they cause is due to not realizing that humans don't regenerate upon death as their species does.
  • Wham Episode:
    • "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear": The Duke escapes the Wall via a secret tunnel leading to the outside world. When Cherie suggests using the tunnel to get everyone else out, Tim kills her and becomes the new ruler.
    • Subverted in "Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer", where, right at the end, Terry acknowledges that the events of the episode are so extreme and alarming that they can't be really happening, and he turns out to be right.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: The Schlorpians are able to live comfortable lives in middle America thanks to a machine that prints gold from nothing for them.
  • World of Jerkass: The setting of the show is already overpopulated with jerks in every corner. To start, most of the human characters are shown to be very rude and unkind to the shlorpian family and each other. The city the family lives in apparently allows public torture and humiliation and even the kids do mean stuff like throw urine at an alien for no reason. The wall too is littered with jerks and sadists who kill each other and are in the wall because they angered Yumulack in various ways. The shlorpians on the other hand vary greatly in jerkishness with Yumulack being the most egregious offender. Korvo is also somewhat arrogant and antisocial with a pessimistic view of earth. While Terry and Jesse are shown to be the nicest of the shlorpian family, they too have moments where they hold the Jerkass Ball. Plus when the shlorpian family is not on mischievous antics that ravage people, they are shown to be jerks to each other.