A Confession

Okay, this isn’t easy to say, but I have a confession to make.

This isn’t easy.

I…I…

I’m a big fan of the cartoon Gravity Falls.

Yes! That’s right! I admit it, and I’m not ashamed! It’s a really fantastic cartoon, channeling the weird humor of the cult classic “Courage the Cowardly Dog”, but smarter and, yes, funnier. “Courage” relied on essentially the same plot week after week. “Gravity Falls” is, by contrast, really a wild card in terms of what to expect. It has character development, great characters, an interesting story, and terrific animation and voice acting (the voice actress who plays Mabel is especially a treat to listen to).

Also, the AV Club reviewer for the show is the same guy who reviews “Justified”, and he’s great, so that’s cool too.

If you want to get your best introduction to the show, watch the pilot episode, “Tourist Trapped”. The big twist of the episode is an absolutely perfect set up for the show. Throughout the episode it seems as if you’re watching a typical kids cartoon – kind of cute but nothing you’d show anybody over ten, maybe 12, or so. But the twist is HILARIOUS, unexpected, and completely logical given what we know of the episode up to that point, and it sets up the template for the show to come in spectacularly funny fashion.

The reason I bring this up now is because a new episode just aired, and it was a complete game-changer for the plot. I just wanted to say that the end of the episode, where Mabel is challenged to either make the logical choice or trust Grunkle Stan, was the best type of dramatic moment, because I honestly didn’t know what Mabel would do. And THAT is good storytelling.

Whew. Got that off my chest.

I don’t expect to talk about this show a lot, but for what it’s worth if you’re any fan of cartoons I whole-heartedly recommend it.

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19 Responses to A Confession

  1. zodak says:

    i was going to start watching it, until i found out that gravity falls is a feminst cartoon, even the bitches at the mary stupid like it.
    http://gaychristiangeek.blogspot.com/2012/09/gravity-falls-manliness-silliness-and.html

    • I will tell you what that article is: Utter bullshit written by a dude looking for a show to mean what he wants it to mean. The Dipper manliness episode was hilarious.

      Look at what he even says:

      Although the episode puts a neat bow on Dipper’s arc by offering a pat moral – “You did what was right even though no one agreed with you. Sounds pretty manly to me”…

      In other words: His whole theory about how it’s really all about subversive gender roles or some shit is wish-fulfillment nonsense.

      • John says:

        I know this subject is probably a bit redundant now, but after searching around a bit recently and analyzing some things personally, I simply gotta ask you one more thing.
        Namely, are you really sure there isn’t any subversiveness in Gravity Falls?

        I mean, look at Wendy.

        Wendy seems like she is a classic feminist figure with her independence from other men and willingness to fight and fend for herself in the end, and especially how she tries not to make her relationships too serious to the point that some members of the fanbase think she’s aromantic or asexual, and tries to help Mabel not worry about boys.

        Doesn’t this seem like the writers are trying to send a message with her character? Or is this just par for the course and not really anything to worry about? What do you think?

      • Sure, I think there’s definitely some. But I think the majority of the connections are forced and that for the most part the show is trying to send completely different, generally unrelated messages.

        Real subversion is Stephen Universe.

    • I’ll put it this way: I don’t actually think the show HAS a bad episode. Seriously, none.

  2. John says:

    About the two gay characters:

    The creator himself stated in his Reddit AMA that he would have added LGBT characters if given permission but he couldn’t because of the censors.

    But he did not mention the two side characters specifically.

    But when he did talk about them:

    http://www.craveonline.com/entertainment/916253-b-movies-podcast-secrets-gravity-falls-alex-hirsch

    He stated (My emphasis added):

    ”That’s something that we do a lot in the show is, we take relationships that maybe should be fraught with annoyance and we try to put love in there BECAUSE IT’S FUNNIER. I’ll give you an example, and this is something that has been interpreted in many different ways, but when we came up with the cops in town, Blubs and Durland, it was this thought of: okay, everybody knows the trope of, you’ve got an old hardass sheriff and his idiot rookie and he’s always saying ‘Damn it, rookie, get your head in the game.’ And we thought, ‘What if every time the rookie screwed up, instead he said, “Well, you are a delight” and threw him a piece of candy?’ Like, what if the sheriff was just…endlessly just overjoyed every time his subordinate was inept? That is such a weird way to play it. So sort of similarly for us, it was like, ‘Okay, what if Soos sees the world’s worst boss as the world’s most perfect man?’ You know, sometimes being kind and sweet is a MUCH MORE UNEXPECTED PUNCHLINE.”

    So it seems he’s admitting that he potrays them like this simply for comedy.

    Even the joke in the finale where they say they are mad with power and with love might be interpreted as a joke, especially if you consider ”love” to mean willing the greater good and not sexual/romantic/emotional mushy feelings.

    So yeah, I think you’re right when you say the situation is like Dumbledore.

    The never-ending liberal screaming and pointing of ”THEY’RE OBVIOUSLY GAY THEY SAY SUGGESTIVE STUFF TO EACH OTHER” not withstanding due to the fact they’re agenda-driven as heck.

    • The line in the finale didn’t seem any more suggestive than anything else they’d ever said.

      Anyway, there are probably some messages I could quibble at here and there. Manotaurs is indeed one, and another might be the episode when they go on the road trip where Dipper tries to learn how to pick up girls. But calling thesm subversive seems like a stretch and a half to me.

  3. John says:

    Correction/Further notification:

    Not to get confused, I think I need to clarify something further about the creator.

    I forgot to bring up that Hirshc (the creator) stated in his AMA:

    that he would have loved to include CANON LGBT characters.

    Which might leave the possibility open that he uses love as a motive for innocent comedy as a compromise between the censors and his desire to include some canon LGBT chars.

    Not that this is a problem because this neuters anything that could possibly be problematic seeing as it is so vague that a majority of people won’t notice it (if they haven’t made contact with liberal fans that is)

    Hirsch is known to have celebrated the June 2015 declaration on same-sex marriage,but beyond that there is nothing much to worry about (unless you’re a Trump supporter because he also tweeted criticisms of Trump and harshly criticised Trump himself as well)

    There is also the fact that the original storyboards for ”Love God” were leaked showing an attempt by the writers to leak LGBT symbolism, but that was censored completely making it a non-issue.

    But other then that, the show seems to be perfectly then I suppose.

    • John says:

      Correction:

      The final sentece was supposed to read:

      ”But other then that, the show seems to be perfectly fine then I suppose.”

      Not: ”But other then that, the show seems to be perfectly then I suppose.”

      BTW Sorry for dragging this out too much if that bothers you.

  4. I actually share your love with the show, I adored it myself. Personally one of the few problems I did have with the show was Mabel’s unending selfishness and how she never seemed to get punished for any of the shit she pulled. Like ever. It reminds me of another current cartoon, Star vrs the Forces of Evil wherein the titular character literally suffers no drawback for her selfishness and stupidity even if it hurts or inconveniences others except for a few episode morals, and who the sidekick Character Marco, who nearly always suffers because of her, doesn’t complain. It was annoying but not deal breaking.

    As for the homosexuality implications, I though the cops were probably being portrayed as PG gay, but I ignored it because it was easy to dismiss until the final episode line.

    • John says:

      ”As for the homosexuality implications, I though the cops were probably being portrayed as PG gay, but I ignored it because it was easy to dismiss until the final episode line.”

      Actually, the creator of the show said himself that he would have loved to include canon LGBT chars in the show, but couldn’t because of the censors.

      And an interview I cited above, the creator explicitly states that he adds love to certain usually annoying relationships in order to make them funnier, while admitting there are many interpretations of this, but primarily saying that when he came up with them, he came up with their potrayal as a comedic thing, not a serious potrayal of gay characters.

      Sure the last line is more suggestive, but it’s also most likely a joke as it functions in context like it.

      The creator might have desired to push through his beliefs later on, but it’s vague enough in the end that it can easily be interpreted differently.

    • I’m drawing a blank on selfish things Mabel did that she was never punished for.

      I’m also still confused as to how that line from the last episode is any more suggestive than anything else they said over the course of the show.

      • John says:

        Well, there were many articles popping up here and there that say stuff such as “Gravity Falls Confirms Gay Couple” which made many liberal fans gleefully scream as if this was canon from the mouth of the creator (it’s not actually canon because Hirsch never confirmed it).

        But I remember some liberals talking about the relationship between Dipper and Pacifica and saying that if you easily see these two as a couple or think it’s likely the above two could be a couple then you cannot reject the idea that the alleged gay chars are also a couple too.

        I personally think that is a non-sequitor but then again I don’t know how to reject this reasoning fully so I would like to know your thoughts on this argument.

        And I would also just ask you to clarify what you meant in your first answer of “Not really.”

        Did you mean to negate the idea that you have no objections about the show by pointing to the alleged gay couple as a problem?

        Or was your answer meant to clarify that the alleged gay couple isn’t really problematic and it’s as much of a problem for you as Dumbledore’s gayness in Harry Potter is a problem for you (in other words small enough that it practically doesn’t exist)?

      • I personally think that is a non-sequitor but then again I don’t know how to reject this reasoning fully so I would like to know your thoughts on this argument.

        There’s no response if you consider male/female relationships and same-sex relationships equal, but I don’t, so the argument doesn’t move me.

        And I would also just ask you to clarify what you meant in your first answer of “Not really.”

        I mean I don’t really have any problem with the show.

  5. John says:

    So wait, that means some of Wendy’s characteristics are in fact subversive to some extent?

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