Warning! Spoilers below for Episode 7 of Solar Opposites' first season.
It's a magical time of year for fans of sci-fi comedy, with the return of Rick and Morty Season 4 lining up with the release of Hulu's Solar Opposites, which just so happens to come from R&M's Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan. On the surface, Solar Opposites takes a hilariously offbeat look at an alien family growing accustomed to an Earthly existence in suburbia, but the show's true genius lies in its world-within-a-world dubbed The Wall, in which society is rebuilt by a growing population of miniaturized rude people.
The Wall is first introduced in Solar Opposites' premiere within the bedroom of the younger aliens Jesse and Yumyulack, with the latter being its architect and supplier of shrunken residents. The ever-evolving side-plot hit an unexpected apex in Episode 7, "Terry and Korvo Steal a Bear," with the entire runtime dedicated to a reference-filled uprising inside The Wall. It will easily go down as one of my favorite TV experiences in 2020, so I was definitely excited to talk to Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan about how The Wall idea came together. Here's how Roiland started things off:
While it wasn't immediately clear just how well thought-out everything Wall-related would be, early episodes of Solar Opposites did offer lots of intriguing morsels of what life was like inside The Wall's myriad compartments. In particular, I loved seeing all the ways the characters repurposed trash and enlarged household items for primitive goods and weaponry. By the time Episode 7 came around, the humans' story was vast enough that it inarguably deserved to be meticulously explored through Tim/Lindsey leading the Resistance against The Duke.
Here's Justin Roiland talking about what fascinated him about bringing The Wall to life.
Considering Rick and Morty is the kind of show whose dense plotting inspires lengthy theorizing and hypothesizing, it's only fitting that Justin Roiland gave Solar Opposites its own obsession-fueled story elements, albeit with completely different style and substance. Of course, both Roiland and McMahan knew The Wall was a lofty concept that wouldn't be the easiest sell. Below, Roiland talked about putting the pieces in place, and how lucky they were to land at Hulu.
To Justin Roiland's point, one of the only traditional TV networks that might be into Solar Opposites' dual storylines would be Adult Swim, as guided by Roiland's successes with Rick and Morty. Thankfully, the duo landed at a streaming service that didn't balk at such an audacious plan for an animated comedy, though Mike McMahan notes that there was the slightest bit of hesitance whenever he and Roiland pitched their grand scheme.
Perhaps if the episode had been anything less than spectacular, Hulu might have delivered some constructive criticism from on high. But Solar Opposites reached transcendence with Episode 7, and it will hopefully pave the way for more shows (either animated or live-action) to take more storytelling risks.
How The Wall Was Inspired By The Wire And Others
Due to its creators' influences, Solar Opposites obviously shares some creative ground with Rick and Morty, but everything within The Wall truly felt like a mutually exclusive universe. What viewers might not have expected to learn is that the overall idea of parallel storylines was directly influenced by HBO's The Wire. Here's what Mike McMahan told me:
After hearing that, I can now only imagine that Michael K. Williams will get a cameo in Season 2 as The Wall's version of The Wire's Omar Little. Fingers so crossed.
The Wire might not have been the most obvious inspiration, but Solar Opposites did feature lots of more easily recognizable references to genre fiction. Below, Mike McMahan talks about some of those influences, including how The Wall's evil tyrant is a nod to the Escape from New York villain The Duke of New York.
I believe Solar Opposite fans would have rioted had the show returned for Season 2 without returning to the story of The Wall's inhabitants. And speaking of Season 2, we need more, Hulu!
Below, Mike McMahan talks about another reason why Episode 7 was such a special installment of Solar Opposites, or of any TV show.
The dramatic and sometimes enigmatic musical score was part of what made me first realize that Solar Opposites flipped the script in Episode 7, not to mention those stripped-down opening titles. It's excellent that the creative team didn't have to rely on licensed recordings to give the visuals further depth, as landing that orchestra definitely took everything up a notch.
Stay tuned for more from CinemaBlend's interview with Solar Opposites creators Justin Roiland and Mike McMahan. All eight episodes from Season 1 are currently available to stream on Hulu. While waiting to hear whether or not Season 2 will happen, head to our Summer 2020 TV premiere schedule to see what else is coming to Hulu and beyond.
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Nick is a Cajun Country native, and is often asked why he doesn't sound like that's the case. His love for his wife and daughters is almost equaled by his love of gasp-for-breath laughter and gasp-for-breath horror. A lifetime spent in the vicinity of a television screen led to his current dream job, as well as his knowledge of too many TV themes and ad jingles.