ReRuns

ReRuns: An Ode to ‘Gravity Falls,’ the Show That Ended Too Soon

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“Gravity Falls” is the greatest animated show of all time, and no one can convince me otherwise. This comedy-mystery has it all: relatable characters, genuinely engaging plots and an adorable pet pig.

I was introduced to “Gravity Falls” at 10 years old by two of my cousins who insisted my brothers and I see it. Watching the show together became a bonding experience, and to this day, my brothers, cousins and I still watch it when we’re all together.

The show follows 12-year-old twins Dipper (Jason Ritter) and Mabel Pines (Kristen Schaal) as they’re sent to live in the strange town of Gravity Falls for the summer with their eccentric, grumpy uncle, “Grunkle” Stan (creator Alex Hirsch). As the twins uncover the town’s secrets, they come face-to-face with a mind demon and an evil child psychic, among other oddities.

Each episode either features Stan’s attempts to draw people into his tourist trap dubbed “The Mystery Shack,” Mabel’s interactions with the latest object of her affections or Dipper’s investigation into who wrote the mysterious journals detailing weird creatures and happenings within Gravity Falls.

As if the plot isn’t enough, the show features an incredibly star-studded cast. Regulars include Linda Cardellini as cool-girl Wendy, J.K. Simmons as the mysterious Ford and Jennifer Coolidge as quirky diner-owner Lazy Susan, to name a few.

What makes the show so amazing is how it addresses heavier topics — such as reconciling with estranged family members, dealing with loneliness and, at one point, the literal end of the world — while maintaining its signature humor. There’s nowhere else we would get quotes like, “Sometimes, a man has to steal an animatronic badger to stay in this crazy game called life.” 

My brothers and I regularly speak in “Gravity Falls” quotes — much to my mother’s dismay — which is no surprise, because we’ve seen each episode probably 30 times. We can’t go a week without one of us yelling “Fifty percent? FIFTY PERCENT?” like disgraced reporter Toby Determined after receiving a coupon for half off a used car.

Courtesy of Disney Television Animation “Gravity Falls” aired two seasons on Disney Channel.

As I’ve gotten older, “Gravity Falls” has become my comfort show. It still tugs at my heartstrings and makes me laugh. One episode in particular I can almost entirely recite from memory is season two’s “Sock Opera.”

Mabel falls for ponytail-wearing puppeteer Gabe and sets out to create the world’s greatest puppet show to impress him. At the same time, Dipper makes a deal with Bill, an evil mind demon, who turns on Dipper and takes over his body. A chaotic series of events unfolds as Mabel attempts to reunite Dipper with his body while performing the puppet show for the whole town.

Other notable episodes include “The Deep End,” in which Mabel befriends a merman living in the town pool, “Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons,” where Dipper and Ford become trapped in a board game and “Bottomless Pit!” which is exactly how it sounds.

In addition, the lesser-known “Gravity Falls Shorts” are also available to stream, and are just as hilarious as any full-length episode. The shorts feature everything from Dipper’s investigation of a supernatural mailbox to Mabel’s interactions with an eight-legged cow at a petting zoo.

It should be a crime that “Gravity Falls” ran for only two seasons. With a mere 41 episodes and various storylines that could’ve been further developed, the show had the potential to run for so much longer. After all, the 189 episodes of “Phineas and Ferb” proved one summer can last years.

But despite the show’s immense popularity, Alex Hirsch chose to end the show after two seasons to reflect the brevity of childhood and ensure the story had a concrete climax and conclusion, according to screenrant.com. Dipper and Mabel came to Gravity Falls as naive kids on the hunt for adventure and left as teens who had grown and matured. Ultimately, their transition out of childhood mirrored my own.

I was in fifth grade when the show started, just as naive as Dipper and Mabel. By the time the last episode aired, I was nearing the end of my freshman year of high school and had learned and experienced so much. I watched the series finale on my living room couch, my brothers beside me, and cried knowing a pivotal part of my childhood was ending.

Until the day comes when I’m able to process that “Gravity Falls” ended six years ago, I’ll be rewatching the same episodes I’ve seen a million times and wishing Hirsch had planned for just one more season.

Both seasons of “Gravity Falls” are available to stream on Disney Plus.

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