Comedy Begins At Home:
10 Reasons to watch 3rd Rock From The Sun
by William Paul Rutehrford
It's witty and amusing - rather than being dumb and stupid like the ghastly BBC
show, Red Dwarf
The story of four aliens hiding in human bodies on Earth, 3rd Rock... has
far more to say about the human condition than decades of Star Trek, etc. Creators
Bonnie and Terry Turner used to write scripts for Saturday Night Live. Was 3rd
Rock inspired by Dan Aykroyd's popular sketches concerning a weird family of aliens
called the Coneheads..?
Wonderful spoof of ET visitors, any similarities to Mork & Mindy, My Favourite
Martian aside. Where previous TV shows had only one this genre satire boasts a foursome!
Wisdom of (Dick) Solomon. Great acting by John Lithgow makes up for quiet moments. Jokes
at the expense of his self-obsessed High Commander character often furnish an episode highlight,
if not a moral lesson.
Big Giant Head. As with Mork's boss, the Solomons' superior is not seen but communicates
through mind control of Harry (French Stewart), an otherwise useless character who filled a
spare seat on the aliens' mission to Earth.
Single white female. "Decorated military officer" Sally (supposedly Dick's
sister!), is pure hard-boiled wickedly anti-stereotype attitude played by actress Kristen
Johnston. But still sex-on-legs in one gutsy/feisty and adorable, blonde package.
Dr Mary Albright Ph.D portrayed by talented Jane Curtin - a veteran of Saturday Night
Live. Even Dick Solomon has a girlfriend! Primarily the foil to Lithgow's fool, Curtin
has carved a niche for herself in 3rd Rock's regular supporting cast. Episodes without
her steady spirit are missing a vital ingredient.
Nina (Simbi Khali), Solomon's much put-upon secretary, brightens office hours considerably,
with her sharp comments on Dick's vanity.
Tommy (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) is older than the High Commander, bot condemned to the
role of Solomon's son. His impatience with schooling (as he's the mission's intelligence
gatherer) is matched only by a sheer inability to cope with the trials of human puberty
and teenage angst.
Mrs Dubcek/Dupeczech (different sources, different spellings) has a key role in the
Solomons' domestic affairs as their eccentric landlady (played by Elmarie Wendel). She
can solve social integration problems, unknowingly, for her alien tenants, but often
furthers their confusion.
Ask for 10 and you get 11! It's another number. (Gasp!) Aren't these writers amazing?
I must have one of my own - immediately! Tommy, Sally - go and get me a writer now.
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