Becoming Hu-Man: Deleuze and Guattari, Gender and Third Rock from the Sun

1.4 Third Rock from the Sun




3rd Rock from the Sun, NBC (1996-2001)






‘Becoming Hu-Man: Deleuze and Guattari, Gender and Third Rock from the Sun’

Patricia MacCormack

Aliens have become the image of marginality par excellence in both television and cinema. They represent the antithesis of the human both through their intellectual superiority, and in a simultaneous defamiliarisation and even horrification of their flesh and substance (ooze, slime). Aliens are not, however, all ooze and technological superiority. The aliens in the American Carsey-Werner sitcom 3rd Rock from the Sun (Carsey-Werner. 1996- ) present advanced intellect perplexed by basic human structuralism. These aliens must become human. Such a seemingly mundane project, however, offers a spectacle, which may speak to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s philosophy of becoming. This article will playfully examine Deleuze and Guattari’s theory of becoming read with 3rd Rock in order to work through some of the complexities of a process of becoming which might be conceivable and available to spectators and critics alike in such everyday examples as sitcom television. However such playfulness does not theorise the text at the expense of an acknowledgement of the ways in which cultural texts both form and inform the being of subjects and social interactions in the world. While 3rd Rock is light comedy, like all layers of culture, it can reflect and create, affirm and transform established patterns of signification of human (and non-human) situations. For a scholar of Deleuze and Guattari, the difficulty in making sense of their theories within the world as tangible and available rather than halcyon, and applying their becoming to a text assists in exploring minor becomings, of finding examples of becomings and small moments of clarification in the becoming process… [Full Article Here]


From: Intensities 1 (Spring/Summer 2001), eds. Matt Hills and Sara Gwenllian Jones




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