Jell-O Was A Villain In This '90s Sitcom

Not everything about the '90s made sense (we're looking at you, ramen noodle hair), but it's arguably logical that the perennially divisive dessert that wobbles and jiggles stood out to one group of '90s showrunners as an exemplary candidate for a TV villain. Yes, we're talking about Jell-O.

Let's break it down: After enjoying decades of success that stemmed from a 1902 ad (via Chemical Heritage Foundation) lauding it as "America's Most Famous Dessert," Pearle Bixby Wait's creation traded in its reputation as a family-friendly dinner-table centerpiece — and a key ingredient to some pretty iconic recipes — for that of the oft-NSFW world of Jell-O wrestling in 1987.

When the company was acquired by Kraft Heinz in 1990 and adopted a slew of new flavors (like margarita and piña colada) that strayed from its wholesome fruity origins, it was only a matter of time before the stuff became synonymous with its most infamous adults-only application: Jell-O shots. All this attention made Jell-O even more of a household name, and like anything with a massive audience, Jell-O has garnered its lovers and its haters — and even those who claim it helped "destroy the moral fabric of America" (via The Takeout).

History and personal opinions aside, even those who stan the gelatinous substance in all its variations can't deny its likeness to otherworldly monsters, which leads us to Jell-O's maybe-not-so-unlikely sitcom role.

Aliens don't have room for Jell-O

Those who grew up on 1990s TV probably recall the humanoid baddies that prowled their screens, from Bob of "Twin Peaks" to the Cigarette Smoking Man of "The X-Files." But on "3rd Rock from the Sun," the otherworldly villain is about as far from human-shaped as can be.

The sitcom, which ran on NBC from 1996 to 2001, follows four extraterrestrials on a research mission to Earth, where they're tasked with posing as a human family — the Solomons — in order to covertly observe the strange ways of the planet's denizens. What they don't realize is that "America's Most Famous Dessert," despite its appearance, is not a scary sentient blob like the ones they may have encountered on their travels.

One scene sees the family's matriarch, Sally (Kristen Johnston), and son, Tommy (a wee Joseph Gordon-Levitt), huddled cautiously around a plate of the jiggly green substance. "What do you think it wants?" asks Sally. "What is it trying to tell us?!" chimes Tommy. Sally's paranoia continues: "The thing that scares me the most are the little oranges in its stomach!"

While the dessert's slogan would like the Solomons to believe that "there's always room for Jell-O," the family is convinced that it might eat them, not the other way around. Who can blame them? As a species whose natural form is similar to Jell-O, it's understandable that they associate it with interstellar creatures that want to cause them harm; perhaps they've faced threats similar to the titular villain in the sci-fi horror film "The Blob," to whom an innocent plate of Jell-O bears a striking resemblance.