(The Disneycember logo is shown, before showing clips from Gravity Falls)
Doug (vo): If you were to take X-Files, Twin Peaks, and mix it together with Adventure Time, you'd probably get something as awesome as Gravity Falls. It's no secret I absolutely love this show, I even dedicated part of a Disneycember to doing V-logs on it. But several years have passed, and I had time to think about it a little bit more, and I wanted to see if anything has changed upon revisiting it. I'm happy to say, not really. The shows that came out prior to Gravity Falls and the shows that came out after Gravity Falls, especially on the Disney Channel, shows the impact that it had. (Images of people dressed up as the show's characters, several pieces of merchandise, and posters of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Amphibia, and DuckTales (2017), are all shown) People still dress up like the characters, people still purchase the merchandise, and Disney, in one form or another, tries to replicate its success with children and adults. But let's be honest, there's only one Gravity Falls.
Premise[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): The show centers around a boy and girl named Dipper and Mabel, who are stuck with their greedy uncle Stan, or Grunkle Stan as they call him, who owns a mystery shack that's always trying to sucker tourists. He has two workers, a bumbling doofus named Soos, and a frat girl named Wendy. Together, they all try to figure out the mysteries and odd going-ons of Gravity Falls, particularly with the codes and documented stories from this mysterious book that has six fingers on it and the number three.
Review[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): I remember the first time I saw this show, somebody gave me a DVD at a convention.
(One of the show's DVDs, Gravity Falls: Six Strange Tales, is shown)
Doug (vo): She said it just seemed like something that was up my alley. Looking at the cover and the dark shadows and the weird animation, but yet how colorful it was, too, I kinda knew she would be right.
(Footage of the show's pilot episode is shown)
Doug (vo): I popped in the first episode, and I liked it okay. It made me laugh, and the characters seemed kind of cute. But what immediately hooked me was Grunkle Stan going down this secret passage in his mystery shack, and they never addressed what it was, not in the next episode, not in the episode after, it was just kind of a continuing mystery.
(Various footage of the show continues to be shown)
Doug (vo): And as I kept watching, more and more mysteries kept popping up like that. Sometimes, you got answers very quickly, sometimes, they took a really long time, sometimes, you wouldn't get all the answers until the very, very end. This is a type of show that had been done all the time in anime, but in TV, not a ton. I think the closest thing I could think of at the time was probably Lost, and that was a big hit. And I'm not gonna say that Gravity Falls was the first American kids show to do this, but it does feel like it was one of the bigger ones to go all the way with it. But the great thing is, let's say you're not really into long, drawn-out stories or mysteries. The show still works episodically, too. You can watch it as a comedy and get really good laughs, and a lot of them are very focused on adults, but not too much. It's something where kids can watch it and really enjoy the characters and how zany and over-the-top it is, but there's a lot of callback to grown-up movies, TV shows, pop culture, and just general grown-up awkward situations, like dating, socializing, keeping a job. So the show has a little something for everybody. If you're into figuring stuff out, every episode has a new code, a new puzzle, a new clue in the background or in the foreground or just somewhere in the show that connects to something larger. But if you're just in to having a good time, there's a lot of funny characters and funny situations and clever ideas. A lot of the episodes have, like, a Twilight Zone feel, but more with the 80s, 90s edge to it.
(Some clips focusing on episodes about video games ("Fight Fighters" and "Soos and the Real Girl") are shown among the various clips)
Doug (vo): Like, we've seen tons of episodes of some form of technology coming to life, but never with a game like Street Fighter or a dating game, stuff that takes the interaction of nowadays and combines it with the nostalgia of the past, but also while creating new characters, games and stories. If I had to say how much of the show was for adults and how much was for kids, I would definitely say about 80% of it is for adults. Like, this is Simpsons-style writing, just without the swear words. Now, with that said, there is still the 20% that's not only for kids, but it's very much for Disney kids. Every episode has a lesson, a moral, something that has to be really spelled out so the kids can be like, "Ooh, I learned something today." And they're...fine. I think a lot of adults would be more interested in the stories and mysteries without the little lessons thrown in, but again, it is a kids' show, it's on the Disney Channel, it's amazing we got this at all.
(A few clips of the show's series finale are shown among the various clips)
Doug (vo): So many show finales nowadays always blow their load at the end. They always make it too big, too small, or just don't give the people what they want. I don't know anyone who doesn't love the ending of Gravity Falls. Everything put together just seems to flow perfectly. If there's ever a goof-up or a lesser episode, it's just a goof-up or a lesser episode. It doesn't ruin anything. I feel like, years from now, people are still gonna be talking about this show, how beautifully animated it was, how clever the stories were, how funny the characters are. It's funny how it combines so many familiar things to make something that's so unique and new. And it's funny, and dramatic, and charming, and creative, and great in the short-term, but also great in the long-term. It's about growing up, but also about just going on goofy adventures. It's small, it's big, it's subtle, it's over-the-top, it's so much you want in a show. Any complaints I have are nitpicks, and honestly, when I look at it in the grand scheme of things, I find I actually like them a little more looking back.
(An image of Dipper and Wendy together from the episode "Into the Bunker" is shown)
Doug (vo): For example, I thought Dipper being in love with Wendy was kind of pointless, but now that I look back and see what it was doing, talking about growing up and awkward crushes and stuff, I actually kind of really like it. Sometimes, I thought the lessons they learned were a little much, but I also realize this was supposed to be a summer where they learn a lot, and again, they grow up, they learn stuff, so this does actually make a whole lot of sense.
Final thought[edit | edit source]
Doug (vo): It's just great. It reminds you of familiar shows you grew up with, but it also gives you new twists and turns that you can be really excited for. And at the heart of it are these great characters with great humor and great charm. It's unlikely we're gonna get anything as unique as Gravity Falls, but in my opinion, that's not such a bad thing. It's one of a kind, and it should stay that way. Check out one weird, fantastic summer you'll never forget.
(A scene from the final episode showing the main characters having a good laugh while reading a picture book is shown)