Solar Opposites 2021 39;39; Review. Hulu Animated Alien Comedy Goes on .
Solar Opposites Solar Opposites Alien Animated Hulu … '' Comedy Review: on Goes
Sat, 27 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700
Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan bring back their alien comedy that might already be locked in its own odd comfort zone
Mar 26, 2021 6:45 pm
The reset button is a hallmark of animated family comedies.
Buildings get leveled, lives get imploded, communities get upended and then everyone mostly goes back to normal.
On that level, the Hulu series “Solar Opposites” knows exactly how to crack a crate of eggs and zap them back intact, all in a tight 20ish minutes.
It’s that skill for mayhem and resolution that’s intriguing and a tiny bit frustrating at the same time.
Unlike modest restauranteurs or frustrated suburban nuclear families, “Solar Opposites” has a quartet of Shlorpians at its heart.
Season 2 continues the trend of these four aliens settling into a comfortable existence despite making no reasonable attempts to fit in (or avoid murdering fellow residents with reckless abandon).
After an opening set of episodes that laid the groundwork for how all of them manage to fit in, Season 2 continues by straying as little as possible from that template.
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Korvo (voiced by series co-creator Justin Roiland) is the detail-oriented team leader.
Human culture enthusiast Terry (Thomas Middleditch) is the absent-minded slacker.
Disaffected teen Yumyulack (Sean Giambrone) is quickly becoming a terror to everyone at his otherwise-unassuming junior high school.
As inventive as “Solar Opposites” is in spurts, Season 2 shows how much the main four characters are relatively indistinguishable from each other.
When trouble inevitably comes to the group (almost surely through one of their own decisions/mistakes), equilibrium gets restored by everyone reacting pretty much the same way.
The main exception is Jesse (Mary Mack), who emerges as the main Season 2 bright spot.
Where her other three compatriots become increasingly defined by misanthropic grumpy rabbit holes, Jesse is the counterbalance keeping the show’s overall spirits up.
It’s Mack’s curveball energy and Roiland’s versatility (he also voices another character who returns after an opening season one-off) that help keep “Solar Opposites” from sagging in the alien corner.
This is a creative team that certainly sprinkles some gems here and there (that one of the local hangouts is called the “Gretchen-Darth Mall” is still blissfully good), but so many of these episodes feel like eating a meal made entirely of cake.
By the end of Season 2, the show is so locked into its winking, reference-saturated approach that anything straying from that ends up a respite.
“Jesse and Yumyulack try to explain BDE” is something that might work in a pitch session or even on paper, but in practice it just falls flat.
When the show reaches back to the ‘80s or ‘90s for parody fodder, there’s something about that process that never yields something as sharp as this team is capable of doing.
“Solar Opposites” goes to the “cameo from celebrity voiced by someone other than the celebrity” well enough times that it registers when the show does build around something more universally accessible.
So the biggest, most welcome diversion in this “Solar Opposites” world is The Wall, the terrifying self-contained society made from Yumyulack’s ongoing human-shrinking adventures.
This miniaturized world of scavenging and factional violence gave rise to one of 2020’s most memorable episodes of any show, the surprisingly emotional story of one unassuming newcomer’s dark revolution against the Wall’s existing power structure.
That operatic peak gets swapped out for a season-long serial killer arc that does one very smart thing: cast Sterling K.
As with last season, the nested Wall narrative is the show’s high point, particularly when it takes centerstage.
Chaos and destruction is baked into the greater “Rick & Morty”/“Solar Opposites” ethos at this point (as will almost certainly be the case for “Koala Man”).
So it’s not all that surprising to see so many of these Season 2 episodes devolve into the central figures just getting destroyed in matter-of-fact style.
Nothing against alien hell beasts ripping through city infrastructure with reckless abandon, but when it becomes the default, there’s less and less to latch onto with each passing adventure.
But even when it’s on autopilot, there’s still a reveling in visual detail that’s consistently a reason to keep watching.
The suburban color palette is the background against which all of these destructive quests play out, but any time a Shlorpian pulls out a weapon that anthropomorphizes inanimate objects or reorganizes the molecular structure of rats, all those consequences fly by in a hail of purples and oranges and blues that do really shine.
The sheer number of tiny component parts that make up life inside The Wall point to an incredible amount of effort of both design and execution that pay off in every frame.
One late episode in Season 2 flips through a group of people that the Shlorpians have wronged in their own ways.
That “Solar Opposites” keeps finding new ways for them to reduce other people’s existence to rubble is an achievement in itself, even with only 16 episodes gone by.
The more that becomes a cornerstone of the series, the more those tiny glimpses into those other lives become desirable.
Even the group’s largely-silent Pupa gets relative short shrift.
Their enigmatic terraforming pet stays out of the way, a shame considering how much their caretakers have managed to stay roughly the same.
“Solar Opposites” Season 2 is now available to stream on Hulu.
This Article is related to: Television and tagged Hulu, Justin Roiland, Solar Opposites, TV Reviews
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Solar Opposites Solar Opposites
Sat, 27 Mar 2021 00:00:00 -0700
The season premiere kicks off with a classic sitcom reset
Korvo (Roiland), Terry (Thomas Middleditch), Jesse (Mary Mack), Yumyulack (Sean Giambrone), and the
Great Pupas of fire! Less than a year after it first arrived on Earth (and by “Earth,” we mean Hulu), Solar Opposites is back for its second season.
Earlier this week, we provided you with a tantalizing teaser for the latest batch of eight episodes, but didn’t go into great detail.
Now, co-creators Mike McMahan and Justin Roiland (known for their work on Adult Swim’s Rick and Morty) can fully discuss the hilarious insanity that is Season 2.
**SPOILER WARNING: The following contains major plot spoilers for all of Solar Opposites Season 2.**
The season premiere kicks off with a classic sitcom reset.
Korvo (Roiland), Terry (Thomas Middleditch), Jesse (Mary Mack), Yumyulack (Sean Giambrone), and the Pupa are about to escape Earth on their repaired spaceship, but there’s too much extra weight and they remain stranded.
Since they’re stuck here, the story takes another classic sitcom turn as the Solars go on an international trip and meet another group of Shlorpians secretly living beneath the streets of London.
But these new Shlorpians aren’t anything like the aliens we know and love.
They’re super serious about their mission and are deathly afraid of humans discovering their true identities.
“Are you crazy? Where are your masks?!” inquires a hysterical Zelvod (Fred Tatasciore) when Korvo, Terry, and Jesse first enter the subterranean ship.
The U.K.-dwelling extraterrestrials hide their faces with cheesy, Halloween-style masks and while this may seem like a topical gag meant to reflect the coronavirus pandemic, it was just a happy accident.
“I don’t even know if it’s a happy accident.
I guess just a regular ass accident,” McMahan (also the mind behind Star Trek: Lower Decks) tells SYFY WIRE.
“[Animation] takes so f***in’ long.
At that point, we weren’t even in a pandemic, were we?” Roiland adds.
“No, we had launched,” McMahan answers. “That episode was being animated and we were like, ‘We’re going to South by Southwest!’ And then we’re like, ‘No, we’re not.’”
In actuality, the joke stemmed from the creators’ desire to move away from classic aliens-on-Earth tropes, which is something they talked about when SYFY WIRE caught up with them ahead of the show’s premiere last spring.
The main characters aren’t trying to hide from the government and the government isn’t all that interested in capturing them.
It immediately creates a fresh premise while opening the creative floodgates for all sorts of sci-fi scenarios that don’t revolve around the expected genre platitudes.
“It’s just funny that the Shlorpians we follow are just living amongst the humans and it’s not a big deal,” Roiland adds. “And then these guys are like almost a representation of what the show might’ve been in other hands.
But I just love those Ninja Turtle-style [masks]. Donatello in disguise is this big, floppy human turtle.”
“I love how dorky they are,” McMahan says. “They call people ‘Terrans’ and they eat garbage. It’s just so embarrassing when you meet them … Those aliens, to me… it’s not a commentary about the pandemic.
It’s a commentary on how bad our show would be if we cared that anybody knew our guys were aliens or if they had to Alf it up all the time.
That’s just not what our show is and I think that’s what that was.”
Season 2 also builds out the story of “the Wall,” a miniature society of tiny humans stuck within the ant farm tunnels etched into Yumyulack and Jesse’s bedroom.
With the Duke (Alfred Molina) no longer in power, the petite civilization is thriving under the leadership of revolutionary leader Tim (Andy Daly).
As McMahan has said before, the production really wanted to play around with different genres when it came to this peripheral narrative.
For most of the second season, the Wall arc follows Halk (Sterling K.
Brown), a haunted war hero trying to solve a string of grisly murders in peacetime.
Whereas Season 1 drew on Mad Max, Game of Thrones, Escape from New York, and the historical event known as the War of the Roses, Season 2 was mainly inspired by gritty and nihilistic crime dramas such as True Detective and David Fincher’s Seven.
Brown brought so much to the Wall and his portrayal of this Halk,” McMahan says.
“When I talk to Justin about, ‘What do we think [the] second season of the Wall should be?’ it was like, ‘We don’t want to lose all the fun stuff we had.
We just wanna tell more stories and build it out.’ First season was the rise of this rebellion, second season it’s like you start off and everything seems OK, but it’s got a dark underbelly.”
“Dude, just doing a serial killer thing is the f***ing best idea ever,” Roiland continues. “Like, what the f***? Just everything about it in a tiny [universe] — all the jokes we get to do about all the little tiny things.
With the crazy chase sequence over the f***in’ fortune cookie.
It’s just so f***in’ funny.
It’s like all of the weight that you would expect from an actual murder mystery/action-packed Richard Ramirez chase sequence, but they’re sliding through a f***in’ fortune cookie.
It’s like so good.
That’s what the Wall is at its best.
Those things coming together.”
McMahan knows a pitch “is really working for an episode” when his co-showrunner, Josh Bycel, says something to the effect of, “‘Did I see this plot on Modern Family?’ When we’re laughing that no other show could do this plot, that’s when we’re in the zone.”
The key to the Wall’s humor is playing things completely straight, even when the situations seem far-fetched to us regular-sized viewers.
Halk’s PTSD, for example, is the result of him pulling bodies out of an avalanche of Nerd candies.
“It’s funny because it’s absurd, but it’s important to them,” McMahan explains. “Like the scene where [Tim] kills people with Magic Shell [the quick-hardening ice cream syrup]. That’s f***in’ stupid, but it’s awesome.
It’s important to them, but it’s Magic Shell in a bong.
When you really parse it open, it’s like, ‘Oh yeah, that’s silly,’ but to them, it’s important.
Justin and I have said this before that the Wall is us cosplaying as drama writers.
We’re getting to feel like [that] for a little bit: ‘What does it get to feel like to be a drama writer?’ And the second it gets hard, we’re like, ‘Anyway…now the Solar Opposites are stuck in a grocery store!’ We get to pull the ripcord, it’s really funny.”
By the end of the season, the parallel storyline returns its focus to Tim’s betrayal of Cherie (Christina Hendricks), who returns to the Wall with her newborn child, Pezley (she was born inside of a Pez dispenser after all).
Now a martyr to the Wall’s citizens, Cherie reunites with Halk and plans to tear down Tim’s facade of normalcy.
“We mapped out three or four seasons of the Wall… The Cherie episode really feels like we’re back to business,” McMahan explains.
“It felt almost like we paused and then got back to it.
And then you see that in Season 3, the mix of Tim, Halk, and Cherie. That’s the true evolution of where the Wall story goes.
We had a blast pulling from all these tropes and all this fun stuff.
But the crown jewel — and I don’t think anybody will be surprised — is that seventh episode, where [we spend the entire runtime with the Wall characters).
That’s the real kicker, that’s the real fun.”
Last season, McMahan admitted that Korvo’s little monologues at the start of each episode’s opening titles were modeled after The Simpsons running tradition of couch gags.
In Season 2, Solar Opposites once again shows its debt of gratitude to Matt Groening’s long-running sitcom with a slew of self-aware and good natured jokes at Hulu’s expense.
“Hulu’s awesome,” Roiland says. “They sort of see them when the scripts go in.”
“They could take them out if they ever wanted,” McMahan reveals. “In fact, I think they’ve only ever taken one out and I don’t even remember what it was, but it was clearly bait to see if they would take it out.
But all those Hulu jokes — it’s partially Bart Simpson making fun of Fox.
We just loved that and …
then a part of it is like when you make fun of your best friend in a way.
You’re the best at tearing down your best friend because you know them [so well].
We love Hulu because we get to make Solar Opposites, so that’s the game we’re playing with them.
Hopefully, we didn’t do it too much.”
Season 2 of Solar Opposites is now streaming on Hulu.
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– March 27, 2021