The otherworldly 3rd Rock from the Sun Trivia Quiz


By: Julie Medina

4 Min Quiz

Image: Youtube

About This Quiz

Alien quirks? The Big Giant Head? The fear of Jell-o? Which part of the 3rd Rock from the Sun did you like best? Remember it all when you take this otherworldly Trivia Quiz.

What do the extraterrestrials pose as, to observe the behavior of human beings?

The premise of the show revolves around an extraterrestrial research expedition attempting to live as a normal human family on Earth, which they consider to be a very insignificant planet. This show reflects human life from the perspective of aliens and many sources of humor are from the alien’s learning experiences.


Where does all this action take place on the 3rd Rock from the Sun?

All the action takes places in Rutherford, Ohio. That’s where the mythical Pendelton State University is as well as the house (attic) that the alien crew shares. The Solomons live at 417 Pensdale Road in Rutherford. The set design crew could have used some help on continuity because the house was shown to have three sets of washers and dryers. There is one seen in the attic off of the rooftop, one on the ground floor by the back door to the garage, and one in the basement where Dick was trapped in the end of the first season.


Dick Solomon has what ranking among his crew?

Dick Solomon is the High Commander and head of the expedition to Earth. Ironically he is the youngest of the crew, despite being the oldest family member (at least he appears to be the oldest due to his body). Much of the behavioral or societal-based troubles faced by the crew frequently arise from some juvenile act perpetrated by Dick.


What was Dick Solomon’s “cover” on earth?

Although he wasn’t brilliant for an alien, he was for a human. To make his intelligence believable, a physicist and a Columbia math and physics professor wrote some of Dick Solomon’s dialogue. Brian Greene, author of The Elegant Universe: Superstrings, Hidden Dimensions, and the Quest for the Ultimate Theory, helped with the “physics-speak” for Lithgow’s character.


What is the character’s name who is the Lieutenant, security officer and second in command?

Sally was chosen to be the woman because she apparently lost some sort of contest and was not too thrilled about it. It’s interesting because while the alien species is described as asexual, Sally seems to have a harder time trying to figure out womanhood than the others do manhood. She files a request to be made male early in the mission, though later decides she liked being a woman.


Of the crew members, which one was originally not part of the mission, but just happened to go for the ride because an extra seat was available?

It must be boring being an alien because Harry just went along for the ride. Later, it becomes known that a chip is in his head, and he becomes the Communicator or Transmitter. Occasionally, he gets a message from the Solomons' leader, the Big Giant Head, and shakes violently in the middle of a sentence and squats down, with his arms at 90° angles, declaring "Incoming message from the Big Giant Head!", before going through the motions of delivering the message, which always ends with a violent sneeze. The actor claimed he woke up with bruises and huge rug burns on his body on days following tapings, and that his chiropractic bills were “insane.”


Which of the characters continually reminds the others of his superior intelligence and greater age?

Poking fun at age and gender stereotypes is one of the delights of 3rd Rock from the Sun. Tommy, is the oldest member of the crew forced to take on a teenagers’ body and enroll in school. Talk about teen angst! Tommy, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt ,has done quite well in the show and after leaving the show. He starred in such box office hits as 500 Days of Summer, Inception, Hesher, 50/50, Premium Rush, The Dark Knight Rises, Brick, Looper, The Lookout, Manic, Lincoln, Mysterious Skin and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.


What abilities does Tommy have?

Tommy, although 14 years old at the show's beginning, is actually the oldest of the four and was assigned the role of teenager because it was felt he was the only one who could handle its stress. He has the ability of near-instant recall and has an encyclopedic knowledge about Earth society, which often seems useless to his colleagues, but ensures that he remains a straight-A student.


Besides Jonathan Lithgow, one of the biggest stars in the show was Jane Curtin, what was her occupation in 3rd Rock from the Sun?

Mary, portrayed by Jane Curtin, is a professor of Anthropology at the fictional Pendelton State University. Reference is often made to the insecurity caused by her family’s bad parenting skills, and the fact that before Dick arrived, she was known for sleeping around, and had even been nicknamed "Dr. Slutbunny".


What is Mary’s relationship with Dick during the series?

It took time for Mary to warm up to Dick. They were forced to share an office when Dick’s human “cover” had him working at Pendelton State University as a physics professor. While Dick was attracted to her almost instantly, Mary didn’t feel the same. After a successful date, Dick and Mary enjoyed an on-off relationship that led to an engagement. Reflecting on the show in 2005, Lithgow remarked "Jane was just perfect for it. She's a great comedy partner. She understands the role of a straight man; however, she also has a terrific streak of wildness herself so she creates this wonderful repressed character who occasionally spins out just as much as the aliens do."


In the episode, "Post Nasal Dick," Martha Stewart cured Harry's cold with her what?

Alien biology. In the 3rd Rock from the Sun, is not that much different from human biology. We use chicken soup to cure colds and Harry uses Martha Stewart’s apple cobbler. Martha Stewart has a cameo role on the show where Tommy's "make-out session" has unintended consequences: he catches a bug and the crew gets its first taste of human illness. Martha Stewart apple cobbler saves the day for Harry.


In the episode, "Frozen Dick," Dick becomes stranded with Mary during his very first snow storm. Where were they travelling to when this happened?

Dr. Albright and Dick are going to Chicago where they'll both be given an award, but it turns out Dick isn't very keen on flying, so they drive and get stranded during Dick’s very first snow storm. Are you snickering at the titles of these episodes? Out of 139 episodes, 109 have a title playing on the word "Dick". Keep laughing!


What is the name of Sally’s boyfriend?

Wayne Knight as Officer Don Leslie Orville is Sally's boyfriend. He plays an underachieving, spineless police officer, who has a talent for romanticizing his rather mundane job. Sally is completely enraptured by his stories, and is reduced to simpering and giggling around him. Although Sally looked happy, Kristen Johnston who portrayed Sally, suffered from depression throughout the show's run.


One other funny character was the landlady, what was her name?

Elmarie Wendel who portrayed Mrs. Mamie Dubcek, is a "blast from the past", namely the '60s. She is a wild and spirited woman who boasts of having danced naked with Jack Kerouac in a cage. In addition to being the landlady, she is a friend to the Solomon family. In the episode Dick Like Me, she describes her ethnicity as "a little Czech, a little Romanian; I'm your basic Slavic mutt.”


What happens with the landlady’s daughter, Vicki?

Mrs. Dubcek's daughter Vicki is introduced in the Thanksgiving episode, Gobble, Gobble, Dick, Dick. During this episode, Vicki (Jan Hooks) only has eyes for Harry, and as the series progresses, the pair consider having a baby together, before the Big Giant Head intervenes and impregnates Vicki himself. The amorous food scene between Jan Hooks and French Stewart could be a parody of a similar scene in the film Tom Jones.


Who said this when checking out his human form? “Can anyone get their head to swivel to the rear? (no) Then how are you supposed to lick your back!?"

Dick made this astute comment on the human body. Another clever observation comes from Harry: [eyes closed] “Sally, I can't see behind my eyelids.” Sally: “Open them.” Harry: [opens his eyes] “Ohhh, they're manual...”


Nina, is Mary and Dick’s professional administrative assistant, how would you describe her relationship with Dick.

Nina Campbell is played by Simbi Khali. In her role, Nina does not usually get on with Dick but eventually he grows on her. This example may be why she doesn’t get along with Dick. Dick Solomon: “Nina, take my car to the garage and rotate my tires.” Nina Campbell: “That's not in my job description.” Dick: “What is in your job description?” Nina: “Typing.” Dick: “Okay, well, type it into your job description and get my tires rotated.”


What two characters are observing the babies in the nursery after Vicki has a baby? Here’s the dialog: Alien 1: “Which one is it?” Alien 2: “It must be him - it's hideous.” Man: “Hey, that's my daughter!” Alien 2: “I'm so sorry. SHE'S hideous.”

The perfectly timed delivery and great lines made the character Dick Solomon number 24 in TV Guide's list of the "25 Greatest Sci-Fi Legends". Another great line from Dick is: “What's the point of having a democracy, if everybody's going to vote wrong?”


Who said this? “Not in the car not in the bar / Not in the house not up your blouse / I can not touch you here or there / I can not touch you anywhere."

When Dick reads “Fox in Sox” by Dr. Seuss, he says, “This man is a genius!” Maybe that’s why he came up with the rhyme to vent his frustration with Mary.


Catchphrases. Which of these does Dick always say?

Dick has plenty of catch phrases from “You’re not family, GET OUT” to “Prepare to be dazzled!” But why stop at catchphrases? There were great songs in the sitcom. During The Stinger episode, Harry and Mrs. Dubcek are watching final Jeopardy and mentally making up words to the tune. Harry: Thinking thinking, thinking hard! I know what the answer is, I got it! No that can't be I'm so wrong! I'd guess B.D Wong.” Mrs. Dubcek’s song was also very funny. Mrs. Dubcek: Thinking thinking thinking hard. What's the use, I've burned too many brain cells, maybe I'll just fantasize - think of Alex and close my eyes.


In the episode "Tricky Dick", Dick and Mary play pranks on each other. What ended the prank one-upmanship?

: Although Dick did in fact remove Mary’s desk from her office, it wasn’t the last practical joke the two played on each other. In "Tricky Dick", Dick tells a car repair guy, who only speaks Spanish, that Mary's car needs to be repaired. Then he adds that she wants it re-painted and to have huge speakers put in. Once back at the office, Dick states that it take a big women to admit that she is outmatched. And just to show her there are no hard feelings, he tries to extend his arm to shake her hand—and that’s when he finds out that Mary used thermal bond epoxy to glue his arms to his desk.


What is surprising about Dick’s anatomy?

Dick poses for a nude painting class in one episode. In the next scene Mary and Nina are gawking at Mary's painting. Nina: “You're telling me Dr. Solomon posed for this?” Mary: “Yes” Nina: “Well, hellooo Dr. Solomon.” <Dick hears her as he walks in> Dick: “Well, hellooo Nina.” Nina: “I'll leave you three alone.”


In “Proud Dick” Mary is floored to see Dick’s living conditions since he has quit his job, what is most upsetting?

In "Proud Dick," Mary is appalled to see the Solomons eating cat food. However, the Solomons' are appalled as well when they realize they're eating cat food. They seem to have thought they were eating food made from cats not for cats (which they were ok with).


What are the Solomons afraid of?

There's a running gag in the show that somewhere in the galaxy, Jello's are incredibly dangerous creatures. Occasionally the Solomons receive jello molds as gifts or see them at parties, and they usually cower behind something until Sally, as security officer, kills it, usually by stabbing it. In Dick's nightmare in "A Nightmare on Dick Street," he is attacked by a massive wall-sized one, which may be what they're afraid of—although as malicious as it is, it still has bits of orange and pineapple embedded in it.


What languages can the Solomons speak?

The correct answer is “A” and “B”. The Solomons seem to have learned every Earth language in preparation for their trip. Dick reads a newspaper in a different language almost every episode. They can also speak (at least some) animal languages. For instance, in the second season episode about thanksgiving, Dick hears turkeys on television. He later tells the others that the turkeys were talking about an apocalypse. In a season one episode, Harry has a conversation with a dog.


What is the MOST unusual thing about the first names of the male Solomons?

Similar to calling an average person a John Doe, "Tom, Dick and Harry" is another way to say people in general. When Sally’s boyfriend, Don, eventually notices this, they look uncomfortable and Tommy says, "Well, it's not like it's a deliberate attempt on our part to seem average," which is of course exactly what it is.


The 3rd Rock from the Sun poked fun at how the genders get along. Which of these quotes were in the series?

These wry observations are a great commentary on how the sexes get along. The confusion boded well for the viewers. This quote from the Body & Soul & Dick episode explains why. Tommy: “Dick, when are we gonna leave these bodies?” Dick: “When we've learned everything there is to know... About life.” Harry: “Wow... good thing we got cable.”


How do the Solomons feel about how aliens are depicted on TV shows?

The correct answer is A & B. In one episode the main characters are watching an episode of The X-Files, and groaning over how the show is laughably inaccurate. One scene, described by Tommy as an alien inserting a probe through someone's ear, is met with the derisive comment from Dick, "Everyone knows the proper place to insert an alien probe is the butt!" On several occasions Dick tries to let people know he’s an alien but no-one believes him (psychiatrist, IRS agent). At one point he's also trying to 'get to know' his students by asking them about their pasts. One of them asks him where he's from when the bell rings signaling the end of the class, he says "Long story... true story... I'm not human."


Several episodes feature send-ups of TV and films. When William Shatner, who plays the Big Giant Head, and Dick (John Lithgow) performed together, what show did they give a nod to?

Several episodes featured send-ups of TV and films. For example, in the episode "Dick's Big Giant Headache", both Dick and the William Shatner, who plays the Big Giant Head mention seeing something on the wing of the plane after having traveled by airline. That was a nod to both Lithgow and Shatner having played the same role of the passenger who sees a gremlin on the wing in The Twilight Zone (Shatner in the original story and Lithgow in a remake).


Looking at human behavior from a non-human perspective has been a theme used over and again in TV. Besides The 3rd Rock from the Sun, which of the following programs do that?

This theme is very popular on TV and in the movies. Humor is principally derived from the aliens' attempts to study human society and, because of their living as humans themselves while on Earth, to understand the human condition. Some other movies and cartoons that come to mind with this theme include The Neighbors, Invader Zim and Coneheads.


Do you know who came up with the title of series?

The series' title comes from country singer Joe Diffie's song of the same name. It depicted a simplistic way of looking at the earth, and maybe it’s a way that aliens describe where our planet is located. The chorus of the song works well describing the action in the TV series: “Cause and effect, chain of events. All of the chaos makes perfect sense. When we're spinnin' round, things come undone. Welcome to the earth, third rock from the sun.”


Why did Jane Curtin accept the role of Mary in the sitcom?

Curtin didn't even care what "3rd Rock" was about initially; she was just eager to work again with screenwriters Terry and Bonnie Turner who wrote the Coneheads movie. In the Coneheads, an alien couple with cone-shaped heads from the planet "Remulak" is mistakenly ditched on earth. Jane Curtin signed up for the first 7 episodes, and then enjoyed it so much she stayed. The show is lucky as was included on a 1986 list of the "Top Prime Time Actors and Actresses of All Time.".


When did the series air?

The episode ran from January 9, 1996 to May 22, 2001. It was a wonder that it could stay on TV for that long. During the show's sixth and final season, John Lithgow commented to several media outlets that "3rd Rock" had been moved to more than fifteen different time slots in six years, causing its ratings to decrease substantially. It’s hard for a TV show to find an audience, especially when it makes the audience work to find the show on TV.


In 1997, 3rd Rock won the most Emmy Awards for a television series, how many did it win in that one year? (it had 8 nominations)

In 1997, 3rd Rock won the most Emmy Awards (five from eight nominations) for a television series. This includes awards for Outstanding Lead Actor — Comedy Series — John Lithgow, Outstanding Supporting Actress — Comedy Series — Kristen Johnston, Outstanding Hairstyling for a Series, Outstanding Choreography and Outstanding Costume Design. John Lithgow received an Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series for each year the show was broadcast, winning the Emmy in 1996, 1997, and 1999. Accepting the 1999 award, he said, "Many wonderful things have happened to me in my life, but the two best are 3rd Rock and my dear family."


How many Golden Globe awards did the series win?

In 1997, John Lithgow received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy or Musical. 1997 was a very good year, as he also won the Screen Actors Guild Award the Best Male Actor, his second in a row. John Lithgow explained the reason that he took the sitcom role, was the ability to spend more time with his family. On The 3rd Rock from the Sun, Lithgow’s son Ian regularly appeared alongside him as Leon, one of his physics students.


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