Storyline and Premise

Third Rock from the Sun (aka 3rd Rock) follows the exploits of four intrepid, extra-terrestrial explorers who, in order to gain a closer understanding of intelligent life on Earth, assume human form and pass themselves off as an 'ordinary' family.

Despite their bizarre, frequently outrageous behaviour, the aliens do actually manage to 'blend in' and it is from this that much of the show's humour is derived. Trying to 'act normal' seems to bring the absurdity of certain everyday situations to the surface.

The inhabitants of Earth (as represented by the town of Rutherford, Ohio), while clearly unsettled and disturbed by their close encounters of a strange kind, nevertheless display levels of tolerance, forgiveness even that is credible only because they are conditioned to act and think 'human'. Through all their antics, their Earth friends never even remotely suspect the extra-terrestrial origin of 'the aliens next door.' Their rash, impulsive behaviour is invariably put down to 'human nature' of one sort or another.

This actually enables the Solomons to gain acceptance within human society. At times we even get a sense that the real humans are actually seeing something of themselves in the hapless and helpless carry-on of a group of 'people' who 'act like' they are learning everything for the first time. If, in the words of George Bernard Shaw, "It is dangerous to be sincere unless you are also an idiot," then the Solomons are the sincerest bunch of idiots that there is.

There is a subtext to the show's narrative that humans only see what they are conditioned to see. The mere notion of an alien presence is too preposterous. That is what makes the deception all the more complete.

As every intelligent person know, aliens are everywhere. Watch 3rd Rock often enough and you'll begin to believe it.

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