If you’re new to the blog or just want to revisit from the beginning, click HERE to read the review for “Tourist Trapped”.
Previously on Gravity Falls:
Dipper and Mabel Pines are spending the summer in the little town of Gravity Falls with their Grunkle Stan, who runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack. Thanks to the mysterious Journal Dipper discovered on his first day there, he and Mabel have fought off monsters, been haunted by convenience store ghosts, and uncovered a major conspiracy in the town’s past. Dipper has also developed a crush on Wendy, the coolest teenage girl in town, but must deal with her new jerk boyfriend Robbie.
Wow, ten episodes! Let’s see what’s in store for us.
Soos shows the Pines twins and Grunkle Stan around his favorite place in Gravity Falls that isn’t the Mystery Shack, the arcade. Dipper and Wendy spend their hard-earned quarters on a Street Fighter/Mortal Kombat knockoff, Fight Fighters until Robbie butts in to flirt with her and show off the posters for his band before kicking Dipper out of the game so he can play with Wendy.
Now let’s talk about Robbie for a second. Alex Hirsch all but set out to make a mix of the worst of teenage goth punks and the worst of toxic masculine stereotypes. In short, he’s a total jerk. When his bravado is up against Dipper’s brains, however, we’re shown not only how much of a bully and a coward he is, but just how plain pathetic he can be too. Beneath the grimaces and eyeliner he’s just another dumb self-centered teenager who thinks he knows better, no matter how tough he tries to act.
The next day, the Pines’ card game is interrupted by Robbie attempting to serenade Wendy outside with his guitar. Everyone debates who should go out to talk to him and Dipper doesn’t hesitate for a second. He tells Robbie that Wendy’s gone camping with her family that day, something he’d know if was actually paying attention to her instead of concentrating on kicking her butt in video games. Robbie catches on that Dipper also has a thing for Wendy, and despite the age gap feels very threatened by him (the sign of a true bully). He taunts Dipper by calling Wendy so he can ask her out himself but Dipper accidentally breaks his phone.
Dipper apologizes and even offers to pay for it, but Robbie is through messing around. Do anything to a teenager and their hormones make them invulnerable, but mess with their cell phone and YOU OPEN THE GATES OF HELL. He challenges Dipper to a fight that day at three o’clock. Dipper gets no helpful advice from Stan or Soos – on the contrary, Stan was gonna call up his pals to watch them fight – though Mabel suggests that he and Robbie shouldn’t duke it out; they should just keep hating each other in secret like women do (and who says Mabel isn’t the sensible one in the group?)
While Mabel is lamenting Dipper’s fate, she slowly discovers the “fearless” Gunkle Stan has a crippling fear of heights. It’s so bad he doesn’t even keep a ladder in the house, though he does keep ten guns in case some maniac tries to sneak a ladder inside. Mabel can either go about curing his fear in her own way or leave well enough alone. I think we know what she’ll end up doing.
Dipper decides to spend the day hiding in the arcade while Soos attempts to live out his dream of going inside a video game.
Dipper wastes time on Fight Fighters wishing he had the extra lives and fighting power the characters have. Then he finds a cheat code inscribed on the game cabinet that promises to unleash ultimate power. He tries it out and the game screen becomes a glowing white void. A voice tells him to choose his character and Dipper picks out American fighter Rumble McSkirmish.
Rumble McSkirmish is one of the most entertaining characters to appear in Gravity Falls. He looks and acts just like a character right out of an 80’s video game, and Brian Bloom’s over-the-top delivery sells the equally over-the-top cliches he espouses. Also, his 16-bit animation is done by famed pixel artist Paul Robertson, who was behind the sprite animation of the Scott Pilgrim vs. The World video game, and for purposefully limited animation it looks great. Rumble doesn’t just act like he does in the game, he brings many of the world-bending characteristics of the game out with him – he eats by putting food in a power-up menu, his “standing still” consists of his sprite shuffling back and forth, and health bars appear above him and his opponents throughout the episode.
Rumble is eager for a fight, and since his dream of taking on the best fighters in the Soviet Union isn’t exactly plausible, Dipper mentions that he’d like him to help deal with Robbie – which Rumble takes as a challenge to defend Dipper’s honor after Robbie killed his father because Rumble has a thing for villains killing his father on multiple occasions (Hey, I don’t question video game logic and neither should you). Dipper shrugs and goes “Yeah why not?” and takes Rumble to power up for the upcoming battle. Dipper introduces Mabel to Rumble and her first reaction is to get him to say some funny-sounding words in his overly enthusiastic voice.
Mabel brings up that having a “bodyguard” is kind of cheating, and she’s not wrong on that account. Dipper assures her that he has no intention of actually hurting Robbie, he just wants Rumble to scare him into chickening out and leaving him alone.
Dipper and Robbie meet at the park and Dipper gives Robbie the chance to call off the fight before he ends up regretting it. Robbie is intent on going through with it, however, and isn’t exactly impressed when Dipper brings out Rumble. Dipper sics Rumble on him, but Rumble pulls no punches and starts beating the snot out of Robbie. It turns out he will not stop until the one he considers his archenemy, Robbie, is utterly destroyed, and he will double punch, air kick, and HADOUKEN him into oblivion if he has to. Rumble chases him and we get some hilarious pastiches of games including Donkey Kong and Double Dragon as Rumble wreaks havoc all over town.
While this has been going on, Mabel has been trying to fix Stan by making him wear high heels and taking him for a walk blindfolded to nowhere in particular (I think Stan is starting to rub off on her). She takes him up the water tower to confront his phobia directly but Robbie is hiding from Rumble up there. The mad fighter catches him and nearly knocks down the tower in order to get Robbie. Mabel and Stan hang on for dear life while Robbie nearly falls to his death. Having faced death and lived, Grunkle Stan celebrates being cured, but there’s a little problem – now Mabel’s the one who’s afraid of heights.
Rumble is about to deliver the coup de grace when Dipper stands between them. He tells Rumble that he lied about Robbie being the more emo human version of Scar, which shakes Rumble to the core. He wants to fight Dipper to defend his honor and Dipper, in a noble but soon-to-be regretted move, chooses to take the Pacifist route and lets Rumble beat the everloving crap out of him instead of running away. Seriously, all over-the-top video game moves aside, it’s brutal if you remember this is happening to a twelve year-old kid. By the time it’s over it looks like every bone in his body is broken. Dipper has the last laugh, however, because once Rumble does his victory cutscene animation, he’s transported back into his game for good.
Robbie, thoroughly traumatized after everything that’s transpired asks just why the hell all the crazy stuff happens whenever Dipper’s around. Dipper doesn’t have an answer but he’s sure about one thing – he’s not going to run and hide from Robbie any more. Robbie is ready to let him have it but hesitates when Dipper refuses to even flinch. He backs off, saying that it wouldn’t be worth it anymore. Dipper recommends a Cold War truce – they keep on hating each other in silence, an idea that comes into play when Wendy immediately returns from camping and questions what happened. They both play it off as them just hanging out, which makes her happy. Once her back is turned, however…
“Fight Fighters” is an episode that, like “Dipper v. Manliness” I don’t return to often, but it has a number of hilarious moments that make it fun to watch, especially the ones centering on the character of Rumble McSkirmish. I don’t really care for most of the episodes that focus on Dipper and Robbie’s rivalry partly because we’ve seen it before in other stories and because they really make you hate Robbie, and unfortunately there’s quite a few more like this one before Season One is through. Alex Hirsch himself admitted that if he went back and did the show over again he’d have less episodes that did that. Still, it is worth it for all the fun nods and jabs at classic arcade games. Like with Wreck-It Ralph, the creators showed their homework and love for these games in a variety of unexpected ways. If you’re a video game nerd you will be thoroughly fanserviced.
Also, this is the episode that spawns one of the most oft-quoted lines in the series and has thankfully caught on outside it too – the Raven-Symone inspired, “Why you ackin’ so cray-cray?” It’s so ridiculous and in tune with how so many people on the internet today talk I love it. It would make the Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness except it keeps popping up in other episodes so I don’t think that would be entirely fair.
And the Internet Went:
Wendy-Dipper shippers are ready to fight for their OTP, and the crazy video game homages bring in more fans.
End Credits Craziness: We see 8-bit versions of Dipper, Mabel, Wendy and Grunkle Stan in a Choose Your Character screen…getting eaten by Pac-Man Soos. Turns out he’s just dreaming.
Callbacks: Robbie suddenly remembers the convenience store incident, and his “explosion muffin” appears in various places. Also, the episode was foreshadowed in the previous one when Blendin’s suit malfunctioned and showed an image of the arcade. Speaking of, Mabel offers to sic Waddles on Robbie again, which I would have loved to see.
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: A lot of good ones in this episode, but the crown goes to Rumble’s finishing move – (inhales) – “SUPER-POWER-NINJA-TURBO-NEO-ULTRA-HYPER-MEGA-MULTI-ALPHA-META-EXTRA-UBER-PREFIX…COMBOOOOO!!!!”
Mabel SWatch (Sweater Watch): White with clover; magenta with a “scout’s honor” salute in front and fingers crossed in the back for when she takes Stan out on his walk (smooth, Mabel.)
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: I’ve learned that winners don’t lose! I mean, uh, winners don’t run from a fight. They face their fears in a mature way that doesn’t always have to end in violence…usually.
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Next time, prepare all your short puns, it’s “Little Dipper”. See you then!
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