Only a few hours ago I watched the much-anticipated finale to the Disney show Gravity Falls, titled “Weirdmageddon Part 3:Take Back The Falls”.
Gravity Falls was a show I was introduced to a little late in the game; I caught a two-minute preview of the episode “The Time Traveler’s Pig” once and forgot about it afterwards, then stumbled across the Season One finale “Gideon Rises” shortly after it aired and was determined to find out what this show was about. I marathoned the whole first season just in time for the premiere of its second (and ultimately last) one, and it almost immediately became one of my favorites shows of all time. Its humor, its complex characters, and its riveting mystery always kept me begging for more (and its many excruciating hiatuses between episodes didn’t help). Almost every episode was perfect. It filled the whole in my cartoon-loving heart that Avatar the Last Airbender left when it ended (not even Legend of Korra could do that).
What amazes me the most about Gravity Falls is how much creativity went uncensored. This is a show where humor and horror often go hand-in-hand and they got away with so many things it still boggles the mind. “Northwest Mansion Mystery” had a scene involving taxidermy animals straight out of the Evil Dead films. “Into the Bunker” features a monster that looks like an enraged reject from John Carpenter’s The Thing. “Boyz Crazy” took a big jab at boy bands and most teen idols in general by revealing that they’re all clones. I’m not even going to mention Grunkle Stan’s reference to a certain lewd gesture he wishes to make after a witch steals his hands (long story). Remember, this is a program made by the good folks at Disney. DISNEY. I’ve gushed over their films before but I’m not the first to say their channels hosts some of the finest garbage catered solely to dumb teenagers. This show was a rare creative oasis in a tween-age wasteland.
Still, it wasn’t just the comedy and artistry that kept me returning. The relationships between the characters and their arcs and subversions are some of the most fascinating I’ve seen on television in a long time. Most shows tend to fall in a pattern with their characters doing certain things after a while, but not here. Each decision they make has an impact on the story and the people around them. Dipper and Mabel are the best written siblings I’ve ever seen; separately they’re strong characters, but they’re at their best when they’re together. I relate to Mabel in particular with her lighthearted goofy ways and penchant for bright colors and anything cute, especially in the later episodes that dive deep into her fears of the future and growing up. Some of the most heart-rending episodes have revolved around that and how being reminded of what’s really her important – her family and friends – are what help her come around.
So I know what you’re thinking, how good was this finale? Well, to go into it too much would be to spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it or the show yet, so I’ve written a brief spoiler-free opinion immediately below. If you want to see my spoiler-iffic thoughts, just keep on scrolling down to the italicized text.