Beware the spoilers.
3rd Rock from the Sun is a TV show I watched as it aired; however, I didn’t watch all of it. Having recently watched it from beginning to end, I can say that it is my favorite of the 90s sitcoms, because unlike most 90s sitcoms, the main characters’ wholly inappropriate behavior is completely justified by the concept. In a lot of the 90s sitcoms, the characters are all assholes who really are unlikable and there is no in story reason for it. It’s a problem of poor writing, because there has to be conflict, but for there to be conflict someone has to be a dick. But 3rd Rock from the Sun sets up the idea that the four main characters have no idea about the world so if they do a social faux pas, it’s understandable. They’re just ignorant. I would often say with a smile on my face that Dick was such a dick, which indicates exactly how self-aware of the genre the show was. They all act like selfish children too, and considering their situation, that’s just funny. And Mary and Don, our main human characters, also commit inappropriate behavior, but the show either takes an ironic tone with it or they learn from their behavior too. Such as when Mary was the dean and had neglected her relationship with Dick. She realizes it and tries to mend things, but because Dick is an idiot, he conflates the whole situation.
The concept also allowed the show to tackle highly charged subjects in a hilarious way, such as racism, sexism and female sexuality, and elitism. The show often moved into the zany territory, sometimes well done, and sometimes not. The best being the dream TV movie they made, which I’ve seen so many times that watching it again, I could say the words to bits along with the actors.
The majority of the acting was amazing and fantastic, Lithgow and Curtain being the absolute best. However, the show is not without its flaws. It was obvious that the show writers often forgot elements of Harry’s character from episode to episode. Such as stating he didn’t have a job, when he actually worked at a bar as far as the audience knew, then in a following episode he works at the bar again. And then he doesn’t work there again and it wasn’t actually written out. He also was dating Janice, and she also disappeared without being written out.
The show had run out of steam by the sixth season. What with the Dick’ll Take Manhattan story-line, which was trite, boring, and over long at one episode, let alone the second episode they devoted to it. The ending of the series actually felt abrupt, especially considering that it was obvious several episodes from the end that they knew the show wasn’t continuing past that season. The show was still good for laughs by the end, which is why I’m glad they didn’t try to stretch it any further. It’s a show I would definitely recommend, but the final season is definitely skippable.