Karl Puschmann: Solar Opposites is a violently funny adult cartoon that shouldn’t be binged


There is no species on this planet more impatient than us humans. Crocodiles will lay perfectly still in murky gross water for hour upon hour waiting to ambush dinner. Tigers will patiently stalk a snack through dense leafy jungle. Stick insects’ whole existence is based upon being as fleet of foot as a branch.

Us? We never want to wait for anything; a bus, test results, dessert. It doesn’t matter what it is. Whatever it is we want it now. That’s why the saying, “why wait?” was invented. Question: Should I get this now or get it later? Answer: Why wait?

Why indeed. Even if something’s bad we don’t want to wait for it. That’s why we say, “let’s get this over with”, every time we go to the dentist.

We’re sitting in the waiting room – a whole room dedicated to the thing we dislike the most in this world! – knowing that a stranger will soon be scraping our teeth with sharp and pointy metal objects and we’re sitting there sighing, looking at our watches and moaning, “What’s taking so long? Hurry up already!”

Part of streaming’s success is based on immediately giving people what they want. After realising that people didn’t want to wait a whole week for the next episode in the series they were watching, streaming services just said “stuff it” and started dumping whole seasons on us at a time.

You want to see what happens next? Sure! Why wait?

We all became TV gluttons. Stuffing our eyeballs with episode after episode and getting through in a single weekend what once would have been eight to 10 weeks of television viewing. It was glorious and its popularity saw it become the streaming service standard.

Now, of course, they’re getting back to the old fashioned drip feed but for the most part season dumps still reign supreme on the streams.

But some shows just aren’t a good binge. I started watching Solar Opposites and found myself at a two-show limit before the relentless mayhem started to grate.

This show is on Star, the new adult hub on Disney+, and is an animated comedy about a family of aliens that are living in the ‘burbs after crashing on Earth after escaping their own destructing planet. Being from the co-creator of the cult hit cartoon series Rick and Morty, it had a galaxy of buzz behind it and was highlighted by Star as one of its big shows when it launched back in February as an enticement to sign up.

It’s funny enough. I’ve been entertained. I’ve laughed. But after two episodes I’m always ready to watch something else.

Being an animated show for adults, there’s a lot cussing and a lot of eyeball-popping, limb-tearing cartoon violence. Some of this is hilarious, like when a dear little old lady starts speaking her mind with an unexpected bombardment of F-bombs. Some of it is not, like the many times a blunt “f*** you” is the whole punch line.

Solar Opposites is a classic fish-out-of-water premise, only here the fish have shrink ray guns and don’t have much liking for humanity. The series is about them learning and growing which are two concepts that have been largely out of fashion in sitcoms, animated or otherwise, since Seinfeld famously instituted a “no hugging, no learning” rule back in the 90s.

The message is overt but also layered under relentless gags, escalating pandemonium and bloody and graphic human death.

“Do you feel like maybe we’re the bad people in all this?” Terry, the happy alien asks grumpy leader Korvo as the giant mutant they created rips people apart and rampages through the town destroying everything in its path in an early episode.

“We’re aliens. Our ways are mysterious. We can’t be judged by human standards,” he answers, before adding, “Now let’s get out of here before we get arrested for all this s***.”

Solar Opposites orbits earthly issues like racism, environmentalism, free will and the ethics around shrinking people with a ray gun but never falls victim to gravity to crash and burn. Even if things are constantly crashing and burning on screen.

Solar Opposites is anarchic, a little weird, pretty funny and incredibly dense when it gets going. It won’t be for everyone but I’ve been enjoying it. In short doses. Turns out I’m okay with waiting after all.

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