Series Review: Gravity Falls

Mama Fisi
Mama Fisi's picture

I'm a recent convert to the fandom of the Disney series "Gravity Falls."  This is some of the loopiest, most creative writing to come along in a very long time.  The laughs are deep and the creepy bits are genuinely creepy, and the shows are stuffed with little sight gags, in-jokes, and homages to classic sci fi and horror movies of the past.  And getting Neil deGrasse Tyson to play a hyperintelligent pig is pretty awesome.

The show's in its third season now, and I've been playing catch-up with reruns and YouTube.  It follows the adventures of Mabel and her brother, Dipper Pines, a set of twelve-year-old twins sent to spend the summer with their eccentric Great Uncle Stan in Gravity Falls, Oregon, a backwater logging town where things aren't always what they seem to be.

Stan has converted his house into a tourist trap museum of the bizarre, but in his quest for the almighty dollar, he seems to be turning a blind eye to the genuinely spooky things going on in the woods outside his door.  Dipper, though, is convinced that there's something weird about Gravity Falls after he finds a mysterious journal hidden in a secret crypt under a tree.

The story follows Dipper's attempts to unlock the secrets of the journal, and not get himself and his family killed in the process.  Usually his partner in investigation is the irrepressible, boy-crazy Mabel, but sometimes it's Stan, or the simple-minded handyman Soos, or Dipper's older, tomboyish crush, Wendy, who works at the Mystery Shack as cashier.

I'm also foaming-at-the-chops jealous of series creator Alex Hirsch.  He sold the concept as a student film to Disney, and writes the scripts, produces the show, and voices several of the characters in "Gravity Falls."  And he was born the year after I graduated high school.

The quality of the animation is variable.  I don't care for the character designs (they look like ripoffs of The Simpsons) but the backgrounds are beautiful and the animation itself is very good.  The theme music is catchy.  The show is smart without being smart-assy, and there are very few lowbrow jokes.  Yes, there are obligatory fart and vomit jokes, but the show doesn't rely on them.  I mean, of course gnomes puke rainbows, right?

Here's two episodes that not only show why this series is so good, but they riff on themes near and dear to the Republibot community's heart.  (Unfortunately, some of the opening sequences have been cut off.  In "Little Gift Shop of Horrors," Stan greets a customer and starts to tell him a story about a disembodied hand he's trying to sell.  In "Soos and the Real Girl" Dipper wonders aloud what Soos does with his spare time when he's not helping out at the Shack.)


<edit> Fuelling my jealousy, here's a clip of the voice actors and their characters.  Alex Hirsch is like, two years old--!