THIRD ROCK FROM THE SUN
Dick Solomon -
Sally Solomon -
Tommy Solomon -
Joseph Gordon Levitt
Harry Solomon -
Mary Albright -
Nina Campbell -
OTHER 3rd ROCK SEASONS
OTHER SCI FI COMEDY
Brains and Eggs
Four mismatched aliens are sent to earth to observe humanity and carry out experiments. They take on human form in order to fit in. Dick is the leader of the group and takes a job in the university where he manages to annoy his secretary and fellow worker Sally Allbright all in the first day. The toughest of the team gets the job of being the woman, something he is eminently unsuited for. The eldest member of the team is cast as the school age youth and the fourth member remains the mental case that he always was.
In order to examine the human condition all you have to do is stick an alien in our midst and that'll give you all the scope that you need to make fun of daily human life. 3rd ROCK FROM THE SUN is nothing more than MORK AND MINDY times four. It's loud, it's brash and its rarely subtle in this opening episode, but it's played with gusto by the cast and there are enough jokes for a reasonable hit rate.Top
Post Nasal Dick
Illness strikes down the team in the shape of a cold and they react like the worst male suffering from 'man flu'.
Pretty much what you'd expect. The tone hasn't moderated from the excesses of the first episode. Let's face it, this bunch would have been locked away in the nearest asylum by now. Subtletly is definitely not what this show is about.Top
Dick's First Birthday
The matter of age arises when Dick is asked for his date of birth. Deciding that he is in mid-life, he immediately decides to have his crisis without delay. He flirts with a younger woman, dyes what little hair he possesses and has a disastrous encounter with leather pants.
It's still loud and raucous and has nothing new to say on the subject of the week, but there are so many one liners that some of them are bound to stick. Besides which a little of John Lithgow in leather trousers goes a long way.Top
Dick is From Mars, Sally is From Venus
Dating is a tricky subject as Sally finds out when she accepts her first invitation to dinner. The evening doesn't get physical, but he promises to call. When he doesn't, the tough soldier trapped in a woman's body falls to pieces. Dick turns Dr Albright (whom, rumour has it, is a woman) to cheer her up.
There is a higher strike rate of gags in this episode, but then the mating rituals of the earthbound human has always been an easy target. Kristen Johnson gets centre stage to herself and runs with it. Hers is the most interesting character, but there is something inherently funny about seeing a gorgeous blonde acting just like the worst kind of bloke (in this case pretending to be a woman) and she plays it tremendously well.Top
Sally is getting pretty upset about being overruled as the second in command, mainly because she is in the minority as the sole female. Dick deals with the resulting pressure by turning to tobacco.
By now you ought to have decided whether you like the Solomon clan or not. It's a fifty-fifty proposition and there will be those that hate them and those that love them. Most of all, they remind us of a live action version of The Simpsons. There's nothing new here, but there are some funny gags.Top
An ex-boyfriend of Mary's comes back into town on a tour to promote the book that he wrote dedicated to her. Dick (over)reacts in the way that only he can.
John Lithgow is having a whale of a time in this show. It's not often that an actor gets the chance to horribly overact and get away with it. How you react to that will decide whether or not you can carry on with this show.Top
Mary goes away for a week, causing Dick to go into paroxysms of grief, not to mention break into her house and snuggle with her sweater. Meanwhile, Tommy is finding that it's hard to have a relationship with a real girl and Sally falls into the evil grip of the cosmetics industry.
There are moments of sheer comic genius lunacy this week that raise this episode above the usual. Sally's encounter with the cosmetic counter is topped by Harry's unknowing encounter with homosexuality and both are topped off with the insanity of the faux-slo-mo moment when Dick and Mary come together once again. I mean what are these writers on?Top
Body & Soul Dick
The most hated man on campus dies suddenly and asks Dick to give an honest eulogy. Whilst he struggles with the challenge of being honest without being insulting, he ponders the fragility of all life. Tommy, meanwhile is finding that it's even harder having a relationship with two real women.
A step down from the inspired insanity of Lonely Dick, there are still enough good lines to keep you smiling, or gnashing your teeth whichever side of the fence you are on with these guys. Love 'em or loathe 'em, it's one or the other.Top
In order to study family interaction, Dick gets Mary to invite her brother to dinner. The group is appalled when the brother admits that he was once abducted by aliens. He is now a security risk, but solutions to the problem vary from member to member. Sally's is the most simple - kill him in a cornfield.
The usual quota of gags and lunacy, but nothing out of the norm. The sight of various people sucking on Mary's belly to get her to holler like a monkey is pretty disturbing though.Top
Truth or Dick
When Dick's honesty at a dull campus meeting gets both him and Mary into trouble, the group sets about learning all there is to know about lying. They are shocked by its power, but go ahead and use it anyway, to varying degrees of success.
You know the level of a show when it contains a line about how awful it would be if politicians ever learned about lying. Still, the pointed remark about the relative difficulties in getting a driving licence and a gun permit hits home.Top
The Art of Dick
When Dick learns that Mary is taking an art class he determines to learn all he can about human art. What he learns mostly is that he is rubbish at it whilst Harry shows a natural flair, leading Dick to be jealous. Then he hits on an inspiring idea.
There aren't that many ways to make fun of art. It is, after all, so subjective that anyone can make jokes about it and there are only so many ways that you can make 'your paintings are rubbish' funny. The finale, though, when Dick takes on the role of muse by taking off his clothes is pretty hilarious, though.Top
It turns out that the falling white stuff isn't alien brain sucking beasties after all, but snow. Dick and Mary are on their way to receiving awards in Chicago when the weather sends their plans awry and Sally realises that the only hope for the human race is to copulate as much as possible with Dick's least successful student.
Not much originality in the Dick/Mary strand of this episode, but the Sally scenario is very funny. That the student ends up drinking wine rather than sleeping with Sally tells you all you need to know about his initiative.Top
Dick makes friends with the neighbour, but then alienates said neighbour by visiting at three in the morning. The resulting bad feeling escalates into Dick feeling the emotion of anger and getting himself into a really short fight.
Friendship is the subject of the half hour and it's all pretty predictable, although there are the usual amounts of gags along the way. The show is already starting to seem very samey. At least it can be funny though.Top
The Dicks, They Are A-Changing
As intelligence officer, Tommy was supposed to ensure that the team's false identities were all furnished with background material, but he had a book report due, so didn't do it. Dick is caught out by a lack of records and Mary Albright mistakes him for a radical she met in the sixties at college. Dick plays along in the hope of getting some free love.
Humans have a link to their past that is intrinsic to their nature. Not exactly earth-shattering information. Seeing the sixties equivalents of Mary Albright and Dr Solomon's lookalike Manny, though, are definitely worth a few giggles.Top
I Enjoy Being a Dick
When Mary and Nina reveal that they're part of a woman's group, Dick feels excluded and takes drastic action to infiltrate the group. Sally, meanwhile, gets a job in order to validate herself as a woman (or pay for her shopping, at least).
Womanhood is a strange and wonderful thing. The point of this episode, though, is to see John Lithgow drag it up as a woman, and pretty scary it is too. Not to mention very funny.Top
Dick Like Me
Nina displays her African heritage and Mary admits to her own Irish roots, leaving Dick to wonder exactly what flavour of human the Solomons should be. Sally, is invited to a dance and finds that dancing doesn't come naturally to everyone.
There are some really good gags in this episode, but nothing tops the Solomon clan embracing their (momentary) Italian ancestry to serenade Mary under her window.Top
Assault With a Deadly Dick
The car's radio is stolen and Dick is mugged by an ATM. He immediately overreacts and starts installing the kind of security system that money can't buy. Sally is attracted to the local enforcement agents.
Something of a drop in quality with the subject of the week (crime) being forced rather than creating a steady, natural flow of gags. It does, however, have Dick getting covered in whipped cream.Top
Father Knows Dick
Sally meets her boyfriend's mother and this prompts Dick to explore the idea of being a parent. He tries to take Harry as his new fake son, but only manages to alienate him and send him off to do a bad James Dean impersonation.
The Sally meets mother in law strand of this episode is quite funny, but it is the James Dean pastiche that enlivens what is otherwise a very run of the mill episode.Top
Mary wangles her way into getting the prime office on campus. Dick, bereft without her, starts to plot her return, with unexpected results.
Plenty of funny lines, but nothing in the way of observation that's new. Kristen Johnston gets a moment of real acting, which whilst good is out of step with the rest of the show.Top
See Dick Run
Following an unfavourable report by Tommy, the Great Big Head sends orders that the mission is a failure and the team must return home.
Hard to see that a show as crass, vulgar and broad as this could actually be quite poignant. There's also a cliffhanger of sorts as the new commander arrives in a body that is the exact duplicate of Dick's.Top
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