Every once in a while, an adult animated series comes along that cuts deep into the pop-culture vernacular. Like THE SIMPSONS, SOUTH PARK, or FAMILY GUY. Justin Roiland, one of the creators of SOLAR OPPOSITES, also co-created RICK & MORTY, which might be destined to join the hit-shows above.
A few years ago, a “Pickle Rick” joke (from RICK & MORTY’S most popular episode) was as almost as common as “Cowabunga” from THE SIMPSONS was 30 years prior. SOLAR OPPOSITES seems hell-bent on re-creating the lightning-in-a-bottle that have led all of these other series to become classics, but that’s exactly why it fails. It just feels like it’s just trying too hard sometimes.
To be fair, when Seth McFarlane first came on the scene, this was a common criticism of FAMILY GUY too. And yet, here we are, with season 20 about to premiere in a few weeks. Too often, SOLAR OPPOSITES feels like the less-funny cousin to RICK & MORTY, much like AMERICAN DAD (about to air its 16th season) does to FAMILY GUY.
Season 2 picks up where we left off in Season 1, Korvo, Terry, Yumyulack, Jesse, and their Pupa are stranded on earth, a place they equally hate and love, still getting into lots of trouble with every bad decision they make. The aliens-in-a-strange-land trope feels stale here as many of the gags seem like we’ve heard them before in Season 1.
Ironically, the most enduring gag of the series, “the wall” is where the show absolutely shines. The story of the people in Yumyulack’s wall was far more interesting to me than the aliens themselves. Continuing along after the revolution from last year and diving right into a season-long mystery that features a lot of fantastic guest stars. Perhaps because this ecosystem doesn’t need to rely on the constant fish-out-of-water jokes is why it feels the freshest. For me as a viewer, I want someone to cheer for and the wall story gives us complicated but clear heroes and villains. The family aliens are all mostly terrible save for their pet Pupa.
SOLAR OPPOSITES Season 2 is streaming on HULU.