Tuesday, March 02, 2021

Overlooked TV: Gravity Falls (2012-2016)

I was vaguely aware of the animated TV series GRAVITY FALLS but didn't really know anything about it until Livia bought the whole series (there are only 40 half-hour episodes) on DVD and we watched it recently. It's the story of two 12-year-old twins, Dipper and Mabel Pines, who are sent to the small town of Gravity Falls, Oregon, to spend the summer with their Great-uncle Stan (or as he's known to the kids, Grunkle Stan).

Once they get there, they discover that all sorts of weird things happen in Gravity Falls. Grunkle Stan takes advantage of this to run a hokey tourist attraction called the Mystery Shack that consists of fake "oddities". Only some of them aren't so fake. Dipper finds a mysterious journal detailing some of the actual paranormal creatures and occurrences. Before you know it, the kids are battling bizarre menaces and also trying to navigate the pitfalls of adolescence, including making friends, Dipper's crush on 15-year-old Wendy, who works at the Mystery Shack, and Mabel's crush on practically every boy in sight. Meanwhile, the mysteries are deepening.

GRAVITY FALLS is a monster-of-the-week show, but like THE X-FILES and LOST, a couple of series it actually resembles, it has an overarching mythology, a little more of which is revealed episode by episode. Only unlike THE X-FILES and LOST, creator and writer or co-writer of every episode Alex Hirsch knew what he was doing and where he was going from the start, instead of just making it up as he went along. A lot of plot points and clues are planted early and don't really come to fruition until much later in the series, but when they do, the results are epic and apocalyptic.

This is one of the best TV series I've seen in a long time. It's smart, funny, well-written, and very good-hearted. The animation style took me a little while to get used to but never actually bothered me. The characters are great, including Soos, the lovable handyman who also works at the Mystery Shack, Old Man McGucket, the local hillbilly/eccentric who may be more than he seems, Mabel's friends Candy and Grenda, and Wendy, who, as a lumberjack's daughter, is something of a bad-ass. The voice cast is excellent: Jason Ritter as Dipper, Kristen Schaal as Mabel, Linda Cardellini as Wendy, and creator Alex Hirsch as dozens of the other characters, including Grunkle Stan, Soos, and Old Man McGucket.

I was really sad to see this one end. It's just a wonderful show, and if you haven't seen it, I give it my highest recommendation.

1 comment:

wayne d. dundee said...

I discovered this via my youngest grandson and, like you, found it totally captivating and smartly done. I don't watch much episodic TV, but this was one show I looked forward to (first just as a granddad spending time with a young 'un, but then also for my own enjoyment) and hated to see it end.