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Friday, May 14, 2021
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‘Solar Opposites’ returns as the best ‘Rick and Morty’ alternative

The series’ second season premiered on March 26

Don’t be fooled by the similar animation style or familiar voice actors; this show is not “just another” “Rick and Morty” clone.
Don’t be fooled by the similar animation style or familiar voice actors; this show is not “just another” “Rick and Morty” clone.

Since its premiere in May 2020, the Hulu-exclusive animated series “Solar Opposites” has made its mark as one of the funniest adult cartoons on television.

Created by “Rick and Morty” co-creator Justin Roiland and “Star Trek: Lower Decks” creator Mike McMahan, “Solar Opposites” was initially pitched for FOX, but ended up finding a much more fitting home exclusively on Hulu, where a lack of censorship allows for the show’s TV-MA rated raunchiness.

The show’s second season premiered Friday, March 26, and the show’s storylines are more outrageous than ever, as the characters do everything from traversing London to creating entire civilizations out of the forest. But don’t be fooled by the similar animation style or familiar voice actors; this show is not “just another” “Rick and Morty” clone.

Telling the story of the titular solar opposites, this series follows the adventures of a family of aliens stuck on Earth as they try to repair their ship in order to find a new home for their species. Blending the scientific references and plots of “Rick and Morty” with the family dynamic of “The Simpsons,” “Solar Opposites” sees a level of originality unfamiliar to today’s television.

The family consists of five uniquely hilarious characters. The team leader is Korvo, voiced by Rick and Morty’s Roiland, a grumpy genius scientist who wants nothing more than to leave the planet. Opposite to Korvo is Terry, Korvo’s lazy and careless partner, who will do anything but contribute to the team. Their “replicants,” or children, are Yumyulack and Jessie, two teenage aliens trying to navigate the challenges of human high school life. Finally, the baby of the group is the Pupa, an adorably cute creature whose purpose is to create a habitable planet for their species.

The jokes are hilariously offensive, poking fun at a wide variety of subjects, including religion, fulfillment before death and dinner parties. Much of the humor comes in the characters’ difficulty acclimating with humans in modern America. This typically leads to the group using their highly advanced alien technology, which almost always has catastrophic results.

Even with its envelope-pushing humor, the series’ writers still pack plenty of heart into the characters, who despite their destructive natures, genuinely love and care for one another. Many of the episodes revolve around Korvo and Terry’s up-and-down relationship, beautifully balancing out the series’ tone with its vulgarity.

While the central plot and character dynamics are different, “Solar Opposites'' is just similar enough to hold over any “Rick and Morty” fans who are patiently awaiting the upcoming season. Korvo’s character not only retains the voice of the titular Rick and Morty, but he even shares Rick’s sharp distaste for others, valuing science and information over almost everything. But, at the end of the day, he also shares Homer Simpson’s love for his family, which works to create an entirely new brand of the cartoon Dad-esque character.  

One of the strongest aspects of the series is its subplot, involving an ant farm-esque wall in Yumyulack’s bedroom, which consists of shrunken adults he has collected while traversing Earth. Much darker than the series’ main plot, “The Wall” features these adults and their violent power struggles to maintain traditional societal order inside the ant farm, filled with various twists and turns that keep viewers on their toes. Even with this storyline firmly in the shadow of the alien family, these characters provide enough engrossing story and lore to keep audiences coming back for more.

In its sophomore season, the animated series is just getting started, with the show already renewed for a 12-episode third season, as well as a holiday special. A release date has not been set yet. With only 16 episodes currently released, there is no better time to get into this short binge before the next batch of episodes arrive.

Alex Falter is the assistant arts editor and can be reached at alex.falter@ubspectrum.com

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