Solar Opposites





Paul Asay

TV Series Review

It’s hard to move to a new place. That’s especially true when the “new place” is a few parsecs from home, and its current inhabitants don’t regrow their limbs.

It’s not like Korvo and his little family wanted to move. No, they pretty much had to relocate when their home planet, Shlorp, blew up and all. While other Shlorpians theoretically found their ways to other uninhabited-but-life-sustaining planets, Korvo and his posse crash-landed on Earth, a modest dirt orb that already has plenty of residents, thanks.

So now, as they try to fix their spaceship and/or wait for their little Pupa to grow into a destructive, soul-sucking eater of worlds, they must try to live as best as they can in modern American suburbia—meeting the neighbors, going to school and learning about the culture through television, billboard ads and, of course, wanton destruction.

No wonder the HOA dues went up so much.

You Can’t Go Home Again. Really.

Of this Schlorpian family unit, leader Korvo is probably the least comfortable on Earth.

“I hate Earth!” he says. “It’s a horrible home! And one of these days I’m just going to blow it up and be done with the whole stupid thing, I swear to God!”

Again, just guessing.

Terry, Korvo’s … um, partner (more on that in just a bit) is far more accepting of Earth and its culture. He digs it, in fact. He likes the sitcoms. He likes the chips. He even wears human T-shirts, while Korvo insists on wearing his traditional Schlorpian ceremonial garb.

Their replicants/children suffer from the same sort of dynamic. Both are subject to, as you might imagine, some bullying at school. But while “boy” Yumyulack would prefer to deal with such problems via ray gun, “girl” Jesse would rather make friends, date boys and only shrink/lobotomize bullies that really deserve it.

Star Dreck?

If Solar Opposites seems to have the same sort of vibe as another popular MA-rated cartoon, Rick and Morty, that’s no accident. Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland teamed up with one of the show’s writing assistants (Mike McMahan) to make this one. Like its predecessor, Solar Opposites is stuffed with witty, rapid-fire dialogue, cultural observations and man, lots of violence. But while Rick and Morty sometimes leans heavily into a nihilistic mindset, this one seems—dare I say it—a bit more sensitive at times, even as it’s also a bit zanier, too.

So are these Schlorpians really a family? And would that make Korvo and Terry—both apparently male—the first animated gay co-starring couple on TV?

Listen, we’re talking about an alien species here, so jumping to conclusions about the physical, emotional and romantic habits of Schlorpians is probably just asking for trouble. But Korvo and Terry don’t seem to have a particularly romantic relationship; rather, their interactions feel more like a friend/roomie situation, or as one reviewer suggested, an intergalactic “Odd Couple.” And we know that the children/replicants aren’t natural offspring of the two (the “replicant” descriptor sort of gives that away). Is that typical in Schlorpian society? Can’t say. Perhaps this will all be fleshed out in subsequent seasons. Perhaps not.

But really, the exact nature of Korvo and Terry’s relationship seems to be the least of Solar Opposite’s problems.

Yes, the show is animated—and it pretty much had to be, because if all the blood and gore we saw here was dumped into a live-action sitcom, Solar Opposites would make Saw look like a My Little Pony special. People and aliens are killed and mutilated in a bevy of creatively disgusting ways. And the language? Yowza! Harsh profanity seems quite adept at making the jump to hyperspace.

Oh, and the show is weighted by plenty of sexual content and allusions—including of the same-sex variety—too. Just not between the two Schlorpian “adults” we meet. For all its wit and even occasional warmth, Solar Opposites is the sort of show where you’re likely to see a variety of limbs hacked off or eyeballs gouged out with little real warning. So when it comes to potential family viewing, Hulu’s latest should be excised from that list completely.

Episode Reviews

May 8, 2020: “The Matter Transfer Array”

Korvo, desperately out of sorts with the Earth, is thrilled to discover someone whom he thinks is another dissatisfied alien creature—the furry children’s character Funbucket Tadstalkings. Korvo and Terry go to visit Funbucket when he makes an appearance at a local mall and are seriously put out when they realize that he’s not real. So the two decide to make their own. Meanwhile, Yumyulack and Jesse deal with a school bully by shrinking her and forcing her to run through Lego mazes. But what to do with her after they finish with their experiments?

Korvo and Terry actually create two Funbuckets. When Korvo, Terry and Funbucket No. 1 go to a nightclub, the first Funbucket runs off with a couple of apparently gay men, necessitating the need to create another Funbucket who won’t reject them. The second Funbucket has a few organs hanging on the outside of his skin, and he vomits frequently. Eventually the two become one, monstrous Funbucket: He throws up on a DJ (leaving a smoldering skeleton in the vomit’s wake), stomps on others (blood and bones fly) and gruesomely kills many.

Yumyulack and Jesse are subject to bullying and hurtful stereotypes by both students and teachers. “Don’t be racist,” Jesse tells one. “We don’t zap people” (as her brother takes out a ray gun to zap somebody). The two nearly murder the student they shrunk, but opt instead to open up her skull and pour soda on the student’s exposed brain to make her dumber. (One mentions how much faster it would go if they were using Mountain Dew.)

On TV, Funbucket gorily garrotes someone. Korvo and Terry speculate about whether Funbucket has a penis or not. Korvo’s feet are eaten away by lava (but the grow back). Yumyulack purposefully severs his own hand, which one of his teachers holds in a bag. A teacher and a principal rip off each other’s clothes, apparently preparing for sex. A promotion at a shopping mall includes offering the chance to “win one of St. Peter’s finger bones.”

Pretty much an entire city is destroyed. (Terry wonders why the children’s hospital blew up as it did, speculating that someone was storing explosives there.) Korvo, Terry and Funbucket hack the heads off snakes and drink the reptiles’ blood. (A gang of hoodlums barges in and shoots at the trio as they run away.) An eye pops out of someone’s head. We see someone’s (animated) butt, with that someone seemingly preparing to defecate. Someone claims to have urinated in his pants.

Characters vomit several times. We hear a reference to a “kill the hooker in Vegas scenario.” Animated alcoholic drinks are consumed. Korvo and Terry speculate that Funbucket’s new, apparently gay friends (Travis and Avery) were able to love Funbucket in “a deeper and more sensual way than we ever could.” A bus stop shelter is hit with a shrink ray: The shrinking shelter crushes the people inside it to death with a shower of blood.

Characters say the f-word a dozen times. We also hear the s-word about eight times, along with “a–,” “crap,” “d–n,” “h—” and “p-ss.” God’s name is misused seven times, twice with “d–n.”

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Paul Asay

Paul Asay has been part of the Plugged In staff since 2007, watching and reviewing roughly 15 quintillion movies and television shows. He’s written for a number of other publications, too, including Time, The Washington Post and Christianity Today. The author of several books, Paul loves to find spirituality in unexpected places, including popular entertainment, and he loves all things superhero. His vices include James Bond films, Mountain Dew and terrible B-grade movies. He’s married, has two children and a neurotic dog, runs marathons on occasion and hopes to someday own his own tuxedo. Feel free to follow him on Twitter @AsayPaul.

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