This week saw the release of the new Solar Opposites Valentine’s Day Special on Hulu, which serves as a follow-up to similar Christmas and Halloween specials from the animated sitcom about a family of aliens sent from their planet to terraform Earth. Below are my brief recap and thoughts on this installment.
The Solar Opposites Valentine’s Day Special (full title– “An Earth Shatteringly Romantic Solar Valentine's Day Opposites Special”) begins with Korvo (voiced by Dan Stevens, who replaced series co-creator Justin Roiland at the beginning of season four), Terry (Thomas Middleditch), Yumulack (Sean Giambrone), and Jesse (Mary Mack) going out to dinner at their favorite restaurant, only to find the entree they wanted to order unavailable due to a special Valentine’s Day menu. This sets off a series of events in which the aliens decide to eliminate all love from Earth by utilizing the cauldron left over from the Halloween episode– and yes, there are callbacks to both of the show’s previous holiday specials. Jesse– who happens to like Valentine’s Day– is the only holdout, not contributing anything to the compound required to operate the sci-fi device that they fire at the planet.
At first the aliens are happy that they got what they wanted, returning to the restaurant to find it bereft of human romantics, but then they start to notice a strange phenomenon taking over Earth in love’s absence. Their ship’s artificial intelligence Aisha (Tiffany Haddish) explains that the only thing that could take love’s place is an unfettered embrace of tiki culture– a pretty hilarious twist that had me chuckling throughout the rest of the special. So now, instead of amorous couplings populating the planet, it’s now overflowing with Tommy Bahamas, Margaritavilles, and Jimmy Buffett-loving Parrotheads. Everyone is wearing Hawaiian shirts and mostly just taking it easy, which doesn’t sound too bad until we start to learn the chain-reaction ramifications: the Earth’s salt supply is running low, there’s no more limes, and its molten core is now composed entirely of rum.
If you think that’s silly (it is, but still quite funny), just wait until the final turn in this apocalyptic scenario– which Korvo promises in an extremely fourth-wall-breaking kind of way is nothing like the zombie outbreak in the Christmas special. So it turns out that Yumyulack is using the tiki-pocalypse to operate his own parrot husbandry business out of Florida. He doesn’t want the incident to come to an end, so it’s up to the rest of the family (but especially Jesse) to stop him. For us Disney-loving fans, there’s a fun joke here about Korvo sending the Pupa off to EPCOT with $700 to spend as a reward for tracking Yumyulack down– and warning him not to visit Magic Kingdom– but the rest of the episode is spent dealing with the parrot situation. And who else do you bring in to eliminate birds other than former Major League Baseball pitcher Randy Johnson and retired heroic airline pilot Sully Sullenberger?
Those are the kinds of rapid-fire, referential jokes you can expect in this special, and of course throughout the rest of Solar Opposites as a series. I can definitely see this brand of humor not working for everyone, but I enjoy it quite a bit although the rate of delivery is often so fast that I tend to miss many of the gags on my first viewing of each episode. I suppose that encourages and rewards multiple watches, which can be a good thing as well, although I haven’t yet made time to revisit seasons 1-4. Regardless, it’s pretty undeniable that Solar Opposites is an entertaining and absurdly uproarious show (that’s definitely for fans of adult-oriented comedy) and that standard of humor and narrative carries over perfectly to this Valentine’s Day special. I won’t spoil here how exactly the aliens get out of this particular tiki-based mess, but I will say that the special ends on an unusually touching (although very characteristically raunchy) note– one that makes Jesse cover the Pupa’s eyes, and older viewers may want to do the same for their offspring as well.
The Solar Opposites Valentine’s Day Special is available to stream right now via Hulu.