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Solar Opposites Creators Talk Valentine’s Day Special

Solar Opposites executive producers Mike McMahan and Josh Bycel discuss new Valentine’s Day special and tease season 5 details.

Solar Opposites Valentine's Day Special

The Solar Opposites Valentine’s Day special is here and unlike other holiday specials, this one has implications that will carry on throughout Solar Opposites season 5 and the future of the show, rather than just being a one off. 

In this special, the Opposites are unhappy with a restaurant’s decision to provide a Valentine’s Day menu for their patrons and so they remove love from the world. Little did they know this would create people to fill that empty space with Jimmy Buffett music, which goes in a direction you would never expect.

Warning: There are spoilers ahead for the Solar Opposites Valentine’s Day special.

Solar Opposites Creators Talk Valentine’s Day Special

Solar Opposites Valentine's Day Special

Solar Opposites — “An Earth Shatteringly Romantic Solar Valentine’s Day Opposites Special” – Episode 412 — The Solar Opposites get romantic AF in their very first Valentine’s Day Special! (Courtesy of Hulu)

Tessa Smith: Did you ever expect The Wall to become such a major part of Solar Opposites?

Mike McMahan: We didn’t. You never expect anything but the wall was in the original pitch to Hulu. I remember being like, we’re gonna seed it in, and then it’s gonna be a big thing. And then we’re never gonna stop doing it. And then what we didn’t know from the original pitch is we accelerated the storytelling of the wall in the first season because I was like, I want it to get to a big battle. I want Tim to betray Sherry and then that led into what I didn’t know that I was gonna love about the wall is that the story would keep going every season but that it would also be a different genre each season. That it would be like War of the Roses political intrigue, and then it would be like a murder mystery survival story, and then it would be a creature feature, and then it would be a religious world war uprising secular, and this season five, that we have coming up has a whole new genre. Our executive Chris at Cascade 20 keeps saying this is his favorite year of the wall, because he says it feels like we’ve gotten back to four seasons heights again with it. And but it’s very, very different.

Josh Bycel: Mike always says this, for comedy writers to get to cosplay as drama writers, is so much fun, because we get to basically write a half our show, or one third, of our show as a drama every year. And that’s so much fun to do. So we were so happy that people have have come to super enjoy that.

Mike McMahan: It feels like the Co-leads of the show to us. It’s just a blast. We just tried to do things nobody’s seen before. We’re having a big serialized story plunked in the middle of an animated show. You’ve seen it a little bit in Gravity Falls, you’ve seen it a little bit in Adventure Time, but the way we’re doing it is so ludicrous. It’s almost like if Itchy and Scratchy took over entire episodes of The Simpsons, so you kind of get both and that’s why with the Valentine’s Day episode… when we sat down to write the Valentine’s Day episode, it’s like, Okay, what’s gonna make us laugh? That the characters are almost aware that they’re in a special. And go from there.

Tessa Smith: What meal for you would be like, okay, this is worth getting rid of love for.

Mike McMahan: Man. That’s a good question. I’ll tell you, my wife’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day, so anytime I tried to take her out to a meal. it’s always the Valentine’s Day prefix menu. We don’t want that. We don’t want a heart shaped deep dish pizza. Just give us the regular menu. So I’m very on the side of Korvo and Terry. It’s maybe a little unjust of them to go into a steak restaurant wanting fish. 

Josh Bycel: That’s a great question. That’s sort of how it all started, is Mike complaining about his wife’s birthday being on Valentine’s Day. That’s basically how the episode started. I would probably be some sort of carne asada taco with some great salsa on it.

Mike McMahan: Like, if you went to the movie theater and it was spaghetti instead of popcorn.

Solar Opposites Cast & Creators On Jimmy Buffett Homage

Solar Opposites — “An Earth Shatteringly Romantic Solar Valentine’s Day Opposites Special” – Episode 412 — The Solar Opposites get romantic AF in their very first Valentine’s Day Special! (Courtesy of Hulu)

Tessa Smith: Is there a holiday that you guys are excited to maybe tackle another special sometime?

Mike McMahan: I really love writing the Christmas specials. I love the Halloween special. But like the Christmas special flew out of my hands onto the keyboard. It was the thing I was born to write. And I had no idea that that was gonna be the most fun thing. I think I could write an entire show of Christmas specials. I just think they’re so funny. So I would be down to do another one of those. Is there a special we haven’t done yet, Josh, that you would want?

Josh Bycel: I mean, we talked about it a lot. One of the reasons we wanted to do Valentine’s Day is because it doesn’t seem like there’s a lot of those. And that doesn’t quite have the stakes of Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or Christmas. And so we thought it would be really fun. And plus, the other thing that we really wanted to do, what you don’t see a lot in specials is they’re usually standalone. I mean, our first two are standalone. We love the idea of it seems like we’re doing an insane standalone, Planet of the Apes with parrots inside of Valentine’s Day special that ends up with our two characters getting married. Arguably, besides from them landing on Earth, that is most important thing to happen to these characters, right? And it actually comes between, when you watch season five, the Valentine’s Day special actually slots between Episode One and Episode Two. We just love that idea of like, oh my god, wait a minute, they’re getting married at the end of this episode. 

Mike McMahan: It’s really sweet. It’s also fun that we got to write a season and going forward, now that they’re married, how does that change the stories. And it just got funnier, and the stakes got higher. And it just feels right. Like when you guys see it, you’re gonna be like, this should have been the whole time.

Tessa Smith: Was the plan with this episode always to be to end with them getting married?

Mike McMahan: Yes. We knew we wanted to do Valentine’s Day stuff in the beginning. We knew it needed to end with them being in love and getting married. And then in the middle, it was like, Well, it’s a sci-fi show. Right? So like Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. We have Linda Hamilton doing that really funny long Terminator 2 thing. The on screen text stuff. You’ve got Jesse leading the Demolition Man like people underground, the subterranean rebellion. All that stuff mixed together. We love it to be this. This potpourri of just conflicting and funny, but also stakesy for the characters within the world that they’re participating in all these weird things, so that you just can never predict it. And you’re just enjoying the ride the whole time. 

Tessa Smith: What do you think it is about Solar Opposites as a whole that makes people love it so much?

Mike McMahan: I think it’s because it’s so fun, right? 

Josh Bycel: I think there’s a hopefulness to it. Rick and Morty is an amazing show and obviously it’s the king and a worldwide global phenomenon. But I think there’s something about the Rick and Morty twists combined with the hopefulness that I think Mike and I and our writers have always tried to put in. There’s something about that when you watch this show, it looks like unbridled fun. They are getting away with whatever they want to get away with. It feels like you’re on a fun fun ride and I think like we need more and more

Mike McMahan: We celebrate stupidity. Our characters have heart but they’re also, they don’t know what the fuck they’re talking about. They like the stupid shit in the world. Like, if Terry had to be buried somewhere, he’d say, bury me at the mall. You know what I mean? I think there’s like a freeing, almost like Roseanne level of we’re so grounded in the things they love are so simple. The things that make them mad are so simple and so silly. You’ll see in season five, I love the previous season, where we did an episode where they saw a dinosaur on TV, and then they made themselves a Dino as a pet. And then the Dino turned on them and had a gun that shot asteroids at them. Like, it’s so stupid. It’s so stupid, but it makes sense. It’s almost like this shouldn’t work. It’s so fucking stupid. But it’s funny. And it does make sense, because a bunch of writers made sure it made sense, but just the fact that it was stupid didn’t mean it wasn’t fun. And as long as it’s fun and funny, it’s worth doing. Like the invisibility episode, the previous season too, was another one of those like, this is stupid, but it’s so good. And we do a lot of that in season five, as well. There’s a whole episode where the show, without even saying anything, just becomes another genre. Like that’s another comedy genre that I can’t wait for you guys to see. 

Josh Bycel: In all of the stupidity and all that stuff, we always make sure that the characters really want whatever they want. Right? And that gives them personal stakes. They wanted a Dino so bad. And remember, it’s all rooted in wanting to fit it on Earth, right? So it’s something people can relate to that. Not wanting to feeling like an outsider and wanting to fit in. Our neighbors have a dog. We can’t have a dog because we’re aliens and we may want to eat it. What else are we going to do? Let’s get a Dino. It always comes from that place. And I think that that is no matter how crazy you get, that’s relatable.

Tessa Smith: When I was talking to the cast earlier, Sean said he wants an Arbor Day special. 

Mike McMahan: God dammit, Sean, fine. 

Tessa Smith: Arbor Day and sibling day are the ones that came up. 

Josh Bycel: I think like we talked for a hot minute about sibling day. 

Mike McMahan: Sibling day seems a little loaded. I think the internet’s a little too into siblings. I think Korvo would hate Earth Day.

The Solar Opposites Valentine’s Day special is streaming on Hulu now.

NEXT: Solar Opposites Season 4 Review: Dan Stevens Fits Right In