By: Nick Manduley
WARNING: POTENTIAL SPOILERS FOR SOLAR OPPOSITES AND MAYBE RICK AND MORTY LAY AHEAD.
If you’re reading this, chances are you’ve seen the social media ads for Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland’s new animated series, Solar Opposites; and if you have indeed seen these ads, the first thing you probably noticed is that the animation is exactly similar to Rick and Morty. Not that this is uncommon for animated series who share the same creator- just look at every animated show Seth MacFarlane has done, or Regular Show creator J.G. Quintel’s long-awaited upcoming HBO Max series, Close Enough.
The premise of Solar Opposites is rather simplistic; a family of aliens from an advanced society search for a new planet after an asteroid destroys their homeworld, but they (unfortunately) land on the already over-populated Earth. Stranded until they can repair their spaceship, they try and make the most of their time in middle America.
Much like the aforementioned series, Solar Opposites bears a striking degree of resemblance to the Adult Swim monolith Rick and Morty, in terms of animation style, humor, and voice acting. The blue alien scientist Korvo, voiced by Roiland, sounds strikingly similar to Rick Sanchez. The Rick and Morty-esque brand of surreal, nihilistic humor is also present to a certain degree in Solar Opposites.
However, there is one major quality that sets Solar Opposites apart from its sibling-series: the script. Rick and Morty is a semi-improvised anti-sitcom with very little regard for the fourth wall, while Solar Opposites isn’t improvised at all (or at least it doesn’t sound improvised). It doesn’t even break the fourth wall as much; definitely no more than cartoons like Adventure Time or Ed, Edd, ‘n’ Eddy have in years past. Solar Opposites is a genuine, honest-to-god sitcom. It even sneaks in some classic tropes, like when the parents and children both hide something from the other party for fear of upsetting them.
The same-sex parenting dynamic of “evacuation partners” Terry and Korvo also adds some positive LGBT+ representation; this is consistent with Rick and Morty (re: Rick dating a hivemind, Jerry and Sleepy Gary’s vacation, Jerry’s polyamorous parents, the “Trunk People” bit), but Terry and Korvo’s relationship is more plot-central. The Rick and Morty examples I just listed are, for the most part, plot points or thinly-veiled commentaries contained to single episodes. However, some fans have theorized that Rick is pansexual, and if you ask me, the evidence adds up.
Solar Opposites also has a genuinely interesting B-plot that develops over the course of the first season, whereas dramatic plot developments in Rick and Morty (re: Tammy’s betrayal, Evil Morty becoming president of the Citadel) are tossed aside, because in the words of Morty, “nobody belongs anywhere, nobody exists on purpose, [and] everybody’s going to die.” The B-plot in Solar Opposites, however, is very captivating and Roiland-ian; whenever Yumyulack and Jesse (the two alien children) encounter a human that angers (i.e. mildly inconveniences) them, they shrink them down with a ray-gun and put them in the Wall. The Wall is a roughly 10-foot-by-10-foot series of what appears to be interconnected hamster cages. The humans placed inside the wall form their own society, complete with a class system, a corrupt leader that definitely is not a metaphor for Trump (okay, now I’m being sarcastic), a religion based around their alien captors, and one man who leads a working class revolution.
Overall, I suggest that people should try and not view Solar Opposites as some type of diet Rick and Morty; but rather as its more calculated and tame (and I use that term very loosely) sibling in the realm of Justin Roiland’s creative sphere. At the end of the day, Solar Opposites is an enjoyable show; it probably won’t rise up to the cult success of Rick and Morty, but it’s great for casual viewing. The whole first season dropped May 8th via Hulu, and since we’re all stuck at home, you might as well give it a shot.