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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, a hundred 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 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. A fourth season is in development as well, along with a Halloween special scheduled for October 3, 2022.

As the case was with the [adult swim] show Rick and Morty, it was announced by Hulu in 2023 that Justin Roiland will not be involved with the show for season four and onward in light of his abuse allegations and that Korvo's voice would be recast. That June 20th, a short video was released revealing Dan Stevens as the new Korvo in a skit with a Voice Fixing Ray.

Tropes associated with this series

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: Yumyulack's suit releases spikes when under threat.
  • AcCENT upon the Wrong SylLABle: 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.
  • 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.
    • 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 realizing; 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.
    • Korvo at the end of "The Rad Awesome Terrific Ray" flat out says that a TV show, or any kind of media for that matter, doesn't need to teach lessons in order to be good.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • "Anger Is Healthy" Aesop: "The Super Gooblers" has Jesse cough up a large white Goobler after Korvo mocks her during a board game. While every other "Super Goobler" has a clear function, hers is too quiet to be identified, though it slowly grows throughout the episode. Eventually it gets colossal and eats every other Goobler and living creature in its path. It turns out to be an "anger repression Goobler," and the only way to kill it is for Jesse to express her anger towards Korvo for constantly belittling her.
  • Aliens Speaking English: Shlorpians seem to primarily speak English. In the Silvercops storyline, the cops have translation equipment that allows them to speak English to Glenn.
  • Anyone Can Die: The Wall arc has a habit of killing off major (and minor) recurring characters, in hilarious (and sometimes gruesome) ways, with Pedro, Enrique, Ethan, The Duke, Steven and Halk all confirmed dead by the end of its third season.
  • Arc Villain: The Wall has one antagonist per season; The Duke for season one, Ethan for season two, Steven for season three, and Sister Sisto for season four.
  • 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.
  • Birthday Episode: Parodied in "The Birth-A-Day Present." Yumyulack receives his "birth-a-day" gift, which in Shlorpian culture grants the user either infinite wisdom or ultimate destructive power for the entire day. Knowing Yumyulack would use the power to kill them all, the Solars spend the day trying to keep him from finding out. It turns out to actually be Korvo's present, and he opens it with the intent to kill his family for lying to him. However, the power runs out before he can do so. Two months later, they try to pull the same charade on Jesse's birth-a-day.
  • 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.
  • Cerebus Retcon: "99 Ships" does this to the series' main setup. Aisha reveals that the Shlorp that exploded was only one of many formed from the original Shlorpian Homeworld. The Shlorpians are not refugees from an extinct planet, but a race of Planetary Parasites that aggressively terraform planets all across the universe. When one Shlorp becomes uninhabitable, they send out 100 ships to restart the cycle.
  • 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.
  • Cruel to Be Kind: Cronus acts as a typical Grumpy Veteran Cop towards Glen in order to get him to leave the Silvercops. Turns out it’s because they’re corrupt cops who were planning on framing him for a crime then leaving him for dead. Glen only figures this out once Cronus gets killed by them.
    • Montez acts hostile and threatens Garth to not tell Sister Sisto about the lowering temperature in The Wall. This is because he knew that she would have him murdered if he revealed to her he found out about it, which is exactly what happens.
  • Darkest Hour: Season 3 ends this way for both the wall residents and the Solar Opposites.
    • In the wall, Pezlie has been kidnapped and branded by a sadistic nun.
    • The Solar Opposites are forced to get regular jobs (in Terry and Korvo’s case) and start applying themselves in school (in Jesse and Yumyulack’s case). This is so that The Pupa can have some structure. It’s somewhat Played for Laughs, but they’re clearly miserable.
  • Died in Ignorance: Tim attempts to kill Cherie at the end of season one before taking over the Wall. Unbeknownst to him, Cherie not only survives out in the backyard but gives birth to Tim's daughter, which serves as her core motivation going forward for bringing justice to the Wall. By the time Cherie finally makes it back to the Wall, Tim is dying of lead poisoning and deliriously thinks Cherie is just a ghost haunting him for his past misdeeds. He succumbs to the poisoning not even registering that Cherie survived and without being told he has a daughter at all.
  • 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.
  • Dream Intro: "The Ping Pong Table" begins with the Solar Opposites preparing to leave Earth once again. Then it turns out that it's just one of their dreams and the new status quo established at the end of "The Fog of Pupa", boring jobs and all, is still in effect.
  • 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.
  • Eaten Alive: Of the 100 Shlorpian crews sent out to find a new homeworld, approximately forty were eaten by T. rexes. Another crew was eaten by a Stegosaurus. Another was killed by a giant, flightless bird that Yumyulack angrily points out is basically just a T. rex.
  • Evil vs. Evil: Revealed to be the case between the Shlorpians and Silver Cops. While the Shlorpians are Planetary Parasites that destroy whole worlds to make copies of their Homeworld, the Silver Cops are a corrupt law enforcement agency that uses the very drugs they attempt to stamp out; and are more than willing to frame innocents to keep their pure image.
  • 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.
    • In "The Pupa's Big Day," which is about Terry and Korvo recreationally standing in line, we only get occasional looks at the titular event, in which the Pupa does battle with several kaiju. Even then, what we do see is obscured by several skyscrapers.
  • Hide Your Lesbians: Zig-zagged. In the first two seasons, 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. Season 3 onward goes all in, with the pair explicitly acknowledging that they're a romantic couple.
  • 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: Most episodes are named after an invention in the episode (usually beginning with a "The"). The first exception was "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. While the series has mostly maintained the convention, from Season 2 onward, there are a handful of episodes with unique names.
  • I Am Not Shazam: Averted; at first, the title of the show doesn’t seem to indicate the aliens’ names, so much as a sci-fi twisted pun on “Polar Opposites”. Yet, they continually refer to themselves as “The Solar Opposites”, with Terry even using “Opposites as a Surname for himself.
  • 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.
  • Incest Subtext: Even though they are often at odds, there've been some small moments that suggest that Jesse and Yumyulack (who are as close to siblings as their species can get) may be interested in each other.
    • Jesse's personally idealized virtual copy of Yumyulack expresses a desire to marry her, though the real Yumyulack is put off by it.
    • Upon seeing footage of two other Shlorpian replicants murdering their elders before passionately making out and feeling each other up, Yumyulack awkwardly insists that he and Jesse would never do that while the two exchange a nervous glance.
    • "The Ping Pong Table" outright has other students mistake Jesse and Yumyulack for dating because they're linking arms. When Jesse clarifies they're just exchanging information through their elbows, the other students just laugh at them for "elbow fucking." This starts a subplot where they take distance from each other to figure out how to have a real sibling relationship works.
  • 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.
  • Law of Inverse Fertility: Cherie unintentionally becomes pregnant after having sex with Tim, which is quite distressing given that Tim betrayed her, attempting to kill her before leaving her to die in the backyard, though she does end up becoming a Mama Bear. By contrast, Nova and Halk actively try to conceive a child, with Nova hoping they'll have the first baby born in the Wall (as she, like most of the Wall, is unaware of Cherie's own daughter at the time). This never comes to fruition as Halk dies before they can start a family. Justified since Halk turns out to be infertile, but hides it from Nova until Cherie tells her after his death.
  • 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?
  • Nobody Poops: Played with in that while Shlorpians are stated to not have anuses, they are fully capable of defecation via vomiting.
  • 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.
  • Noodle Incident: Something of a running gag:
    • The Solar Opposites once teamed up with The Simpsons to play basketball against the Monstars. ("Retrace-Your-Step-Alizer")
    • Korvo and the rest of the family once had an adventure in Narnia, but swore they'd never go back. ("The Solar Opposites Almost Get an Xbox")
    • The family had some kind of Veteran's Day misadventure that robbed them of their spirit and left them incapable of supporting the troops ("A Very Solar Holiday Opposites Special")
    • Superman somehow wound up killing one of the 100 Shlorpian crews sent to search for new worlds. Aisha points out that, due to legal reasons, they can't actually show what happened. ("99 Ships")
    • Korvo owes money to the Writer's Guild of America after a fiasco involving his unproduced script for Ted 3D. This may also be why Mark Wahlberg put out a restraining order against the Solar Opposites. ("The Fog of Pupa")
    • The Solars have been caught in a variety of alternate universes, including an Atari verse, a 90's sitcom character verse, and a flower verse. ("The Stockiverse Ray")
  • 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 focuses exclusively on the events of the Wall instead of the aliens, which usually serves as a kind of season finale for the subplot with the actual season finale airing right after it. The fourth season's Wall episode, "The Cardboard Dead Drop," breaks the latter trend as it's in the middle of the season and thus doesn't wrap up the subplot yet.
    • Ever since Season 2, every season begins with the Solars having finally repaired the ship and trying to leave Earth, only to fail for one reason or another.
  • One-Steve Limit: Averted with the Stacys being the popular girls at school.
  • Out of Focus: A running joke of the show.
    • 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. This sets a precedence Once a Season for a penultimate episode that is exclusively about a non-Solar subplot, titled after the extremely small scenes in which the Solars do appear.
    • Similarly, "The Pupa's Big Day" is about Korvo joining Terry as a recreational line-stander and coming into conflict with a heretofore unseen friend of Terry's. We get occasional glimpses from Korvo's POV of the Pupa fighting a series of kaiju, but never learn the story behind it, how it began, or how it resolves.
  • Parental Sexuality Squick: Jesse and Yumyulack leave the room disgusted when Terry and Korvo start making out at the end of "The Stockiverse Ray."
  • 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.
  • Plant Aliens: The Shlorpians are plant-based lifeforms that reproduce asexually and grow into trees as they age.
  • 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. Highlighted in Season 3 when in the space of a few episodes the Bowinian nuns present Cherie with a suit of armor whose chest piece is made out of a quarter, only for her to be shown as tiny in comparison to mosquitoes.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: In Season 4, everyone on the "heathen" side of the Wall (including Cherie) ultimately decide to leave the Wall and live in the backyard after Cherie destroys the Game Boy that is keeping the Wall warm.
  • 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.
  • Special Edition Title:
    • The holiday episodes dress the normal title sequence with holiday-themed decorations, even the flashback scenes and the planet of Shlorp itself.
    • Whenever an episode exclusively focuses on the events of the Wall, the title sequence is replaced by a more dramatic series of slides just depicting the company names and show's name in white text on a black background.
    • Episodes about the Silvercop subplot use a retro title screen with silver lettering.
  • The Stinger: Averted, unlike Justin's other show the episodes don't have post credits scenes.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Various episodes have implied that the evacuation of Shlorp was thrown together relatively quickly, and "99 Ships" shows what happened to the Shlorpian crews who left their homeworld with little to no knowledge of the wider galaxy: many of them die from environmental hazards like volcanoes and supernovas, others have unpleasant encounters with alien beings they would have no way of knowing about, still others die as a result of the crews themselves going stir-crazy and turning on each other, and many simply died in space because they never found a suitable planet to terraform. In the end, out of one hundred ships, only one successfully completes their mission; the final exchange with Aisha, however, suggests that this was just a particularly unlucky colonization cycle, and that previous ballochories have been more successful.
  • Title Drop: In the Season 2 premiere, Terry calls the family "the Solar Opposites". It's brought up a few times throughout the season.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: Multiple Season 4 trailers showed Nova meeting Jesse, which is the conclusion of her Season 3 arc and one of the last scenes of the Wall subplot.
  • 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.
  • Unspoken Plan Guarantee: "The Cardboard Dead Drop" has the narration of Cherie, Lynette, and Jimmy going over their infiltration plan played over their actual troubled attempt at the infiltration. As the narration insists they won't have trouble in a gum-filled tunnel or that the bat living by the stairs is just a rumor, we see that this isn't quite the case.
  • 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.
    • In “Hululand”: Tim and Cherie escape The Wall, rekindle their love, and return to both save the other inhabitants of The Wall and enact their revenge against the Solar Opposites. At least, that’s what it seems like at first. Turns out it’s Tim’s Dying Dream.
    • "99 Ships": The Shlorpians aren't refugees fleeing the destruction of their home, but a race of Planetary Parasites who spread across the galaxy by aggressively terraforming planets into copies of their original homeworld. Whenever one Shlorp copy becomes uninhabitable, one hundred ships leave to begin the cycle all over again, creating an exponential threat to the rest of the galaxy.
  • 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 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 the 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 engaging in mischievous antics that ravage people, they are shown to be jerks to each other.
    • The episode "The Rays That Turn People Into Various Things" reveals that without the Solar Opposites, the town would be free to be as jerkish as possible. The worst part is that they know they're jerks and just don't care.


Pretty Fucking Exponential

The Solar Opposites discover the history of their species.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

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Main / PlanetaryParasite

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