Review: Gravity Falls Season 1 (11-20)

Back at it to study the next quarter of Gravity Falls. Once again, episode by episode. Overall thoughts at end.

Little Dipper: A nice move towards more relatable themes as Dipper and Mabel’s insecurities give the episode its drive. I felt for both of them. But the real joy of this episode is underlining that Gideon is still a giant threat. He is just a wonderful villain and fitting for the tone. We see just how abusive he is to his family and parents of children like Gideon can definitely relate.

Summerween: OK I really am sick of Dipper’s crush being the center of the show. However it does fade from focus after this with only two more episodes this season where it’s a plot and I can excuse it here because it’s in a relatable form. As with the last episode, Dipper is in between kid and teenager and it’s awkward. I suffered violent depression for it myself. The episode itself is imaginative as the show breaks its back to cram a Halloween episode in. Great monster too.

Boss Mabel: Ah the good old fashioned who can be a better boss trope combined with the game show you can’t possibly win trope. Both enforced status quo tropes but hey, they’re fun. Sure there’s nothing at all unpredictable but it’s a fun 22 minutes.

Bottomless Pit: An anthology episode! And all the stories are fun. It’s mostly an excuse for some clever short stories as the characters fall through a wormhole. Good lessons though. Be patient growing up. Don’t cheat. Lying serves a purpose. I dig.

The Deep End: Mabel falls in love this time and it’s with a merman while Dipper tries to impress Wendy by working at the pool. This is great too. The physical comedy here is gold. The plots all cohere. Gideon is back but less harmful and more annoying.

Carpet Diem: The show ticks another classic plot off with a body swap episode. Aside from not having the actors switch roles, every joke is well exploited. A nice fun round. Nothing deep though there is a nice sibling theme.

Boyz Crazy: Aside from the way the show kind of kills the Wendy plot brilliantly to expose Dipper’s flaws, this is an atrocity. When your joke is dated and you have to note it, you’ve failed. And the joke about 90s boy bands is 20 years dated by the time this aired. It’s not at funny in the least and the idea that the clones are hopelessly unaware of reality so isn’t funny. The worst episode of season 1 and I’ll be floored if there’s one worse coming.

Land Before Swine: Pig Dance Party! Yeah this was my idea of fun. The message is still heavy handed here but the absurdity of a pterodactyl in a mine rules. I love that Waddles got some focus. That pig is cute. I like cute pigs. The dinosaur was great looking.

Dreamscaperers: There’s no ignoring this is an important episode. The show’s grand villain Bill Cipher debuts. Gideon is still a threat but this is Bill’s time. He’s great. There’s so much good here. Stylish animation. Fun humor. A good plot. I loved it.

Gideon Rises: The finale of the season. It’s a good note to end on. Gideon is defeated though I would argue not plausibly in 2021. The action is honestly awesome. The emotional stakes are high. And the hints of a larger mythology are harder increased. If this is the show to come I’m in.

So, I definitely liked this way more. I still feel like I like it and don’t love it exactly but I feel like it’s veering towards the show I want. The reason I don’t love it is simple. It’s very Twin Peaks and that’s not my energy. It’s great, if you love it then it’s completely your thing, but not for me.

I do still feel like there’s some weirdness. Mabel’s friends rub me wrong with their vaguely offensive natures. One is an Asian nerd while the other is a tomboy voiced by a man. Then there’s the Dipper crush which I’m long tired of. It’s a plot tumor. And I know Hirsch is a good, progressive man but most of his progressive material is couched in jokes. It’s badly handled.

But the good is so great. The animation sings. The plots are getting better. The voice work is stellar. It’s really developed into an intriguing show. I’m eager to follow it. I’m just not quite addicted.

Very good. Shot at great. We’ll see next week.

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