Let the debates begin.
Let the debates begin.
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 with their Grunkle Stan, who runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack. Dipper finds a journal in which the enigmatic Author has chronicled some of the unusual happenings and inhabitants of the town, and he vows to follow in his (or her) footsteps to unravel Gravity Falls’ mysteries while bonding with his wild sister and cranky Grunkle.
The episode starts with Dipper and Mabel playing mini-golf on a homemade course in their room, which looks awesome. I had my own creative ways of having fun when I was a kid, but I wish I thought of utilizing everything in my room to play the game like they did. Unfortunately, their fun is interrupted by the arrival of Candy and Grenda for their extra-glittery extra-girly sleepover with Mabel. Dipper is forced to spend the night outside to keep his sanity in tact.
The next morning Dipper tells her that her constant sleepovers and messes are becoming impossible to live with. Seeing their golf course wrecked by the party the previous night is the last straw. He and Mabel try to lay down some rules about what they can and can’t do, which escalates into them complaining about the others’ habits and then deciding not to share the room anymore. They both go to Grunkle Stan demanding they each have a separate room, since he’s clearly a fair guy who can’t stand any fighting.
Hi everyone, thanks for sticking with me during my absence. I realize that by springing a movie review out of the blue like that I didn’t give you the chance to vote for what comes next month. So let’s rectify that.
Having written a review of an older film, I’m in the mood to let my love for the classics show for a bit longer…
• The African Queen
• City Lights
• A Day at the Races
• The Great Dictator
• A Night at the Opera
• March of the Wooden Soldiers (Babes in Toyland, 1934)
• Singin’ in the Rain
• The Taming of the Shrew
• The Wizard of Oz
Keep in mind that these are just suggestions. Any and all film titles that you would like to vote for can be viewed at What’s On The Shelf. In fact, thanks to a small raise and a slightly bigger shelf I’ve been able to fit more movies on there than before, so I recommend you check it out.
Normally I’d re-post the rule stating that you can only vote once a month through email or the comments, but regarding the climate my country, and by extension the entire world is in (seriously, does the job of President make whoever takes it on a fisher king?), I’m amending that rule: anyone who makes a donation to any one of the following charities will get a few voting perks that are listed below.
Here are the charities:
American Civil Liberties Union: This organization has been defending the rights and freedoms of all American citizens, regardless of race, religion, class, and sexuality for nearly 100 years, but their forward thinking and open defiance of Trump’s hatefulness have put them in the spotlight recently. They donate all their time and research in overturning injustices perpetuated by those who stand for backwards racism, discrimination and homophobia – even in our own government – and protecting those who have no voice to speak up. Considering the times we are in now, they need all the voices they can.
Amnesty International: This organization works towards exposing and stopping all human rights abuses worldwide that are often ignored or covered up.
Covenant House: Covenant House provides a home for thousands of homeless youth and teenagers. They are welcomed with no discrimination and given warm food, care, and the support they need to make it off the streets. This charity has spread to all corners of the US, but seeing how it got its start in New York, which I know from firsthand experience how bad its the homeless problem is, it could use a little more love.
Cycle for Survival: This is a fundraiser that I am personally involved in. Every year people around the country come together in a cycle-a-thon that goes towards cancer research and treatment. My cousin has been fighting bladder cancer for the better part of a decade and one of the reasons why he’s still here is thanks to this organization. As his way of giving back, he has put together a team of his friends and family (including me) to cycle closer to eliminating cancer.
Human Rights Campaign: One of the leading nonprofit organizations in the country that works tirelessly to defend LGBT equality.
Ocean Conservancy: An organization that aims to preserve our planet’s oceans and underwater wildlife, from partnering with scientists to educate the public to the annual International Coast Clean-up.
Wildlife Conservation Film Festival: A wonderful group I’m proud to have done design work for since last year, the Wildlife Conservation Film Festival is a week of film screenings and conferences held annually in New York, where filmmakers from around the world show works that educate, entertain, and inspire to preserve wildlife. It is a volunteer-only non-profit organization and any funds go to sponsoring the big conference as well as free screenings for the public held sporadically throughout the year. If we don’t get enough funding this year, it may very well close up for good.
And now, for the perks:
If you pledge $1 or more, you get my heartfelt thanks and a sincere virtual thumbs up.
If you pledge $5 or more, you can vote twice.
For $20 or more, you can tell me what movie you’d like to see on the Shelf and I will add it there.
And finally, for $50 or more, I will write a full review of a movie of your choice.
Make sure you send a receipt or proof of your donation so I know it’s legitimate. Seriously, lying about donating to charity for the sake of a review blog is not cool. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to share it along with your vote. Thanks, and have a great day.
Well, this has been an…interesting few months hasn’t it? 2016 refused to leave without taking a few more beloved stars with it, we saw a changing of the guard that has everyone either flocking to the church or the streets, heck, the last few weeks alone has thrown the world into such uncertainty and madness that I just want to lose myself in a bit of escapism that has nothing to do with what’s going on outside right now.
I’ve got it! Harry Potter! I love those movies. There’s nothing more magical and escapist than the tale of a boy who discovers he’s a wizard and goes to school and fights an evil power-mad sorcerer whose followers share his outspoken racism and Nazi-like methods of suppression…
Maybe a comedy is what I need. Something timeless and hilarious, like the Marx Brothers. Those guys are great! Their best movie is this one called Duck Soup where Groucho suddenly becomes president of an entire nation, puts a bunch of his crazy inept friends on his cabinet, and his loud mouth and ego plunges his country into a giant war…
You know, there’s a number of unappreciated animated gems I have on my Shelf, and one of them is Twice Upon a Time. Only recently released to DVD after years of petitioning from fans, it tells the tale of a mime and an Animorph with the voice of Garfield trying to stop a foulmouthed despotic little madman from turning the world into an inescapable bomb-ridden nightmare and OKAY THIS JOKE IS DONE.
The point is it’s been bloody difficult to find almost any form of entertainment that doesn’t feel touched by current events in any way. Many films that I usually enjoy in times of crisis have served as reminders of the world we’re living in now. Indiana Jones? Makes me wish that dealing with meddlesome Nazis was as simple as finding and opening the Ark of the Covenant. Star Wars? Hard to look at objectively now that my country has officially become the Empire. Disney? Bob Iger is on the council of a certain Oompa Loompa reject and is too afraid of losing profits if he stands up to his tangerine overlord. I just…I just want something that can raise my spirits. Something other people in the film community and the public can get behind. A symbol.
Something that appeals to the best of us.
Huh. Good thing I already put the film’s name in the title.
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 with their Grunkle Stan, who runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack along with loyal goofball Soos and the ever-cool Wendy. Dipper finds a journal chronicling some of the unusual happenings and inhabitants of the town, and he vows to unravel Gravity Falls’ mysteries while bonding with his wild sister and cranky Grunkle and crushing hard on Wendy. Mabel, meanwhile, has her heart set on finding love before the summer is over and isn’t picky as long as it’s not the nefarious Gideon Gleeful.
It’s the hottest day of summer, and what better way to spend it than at the public swimming pool… as someone who’s been a summer camp counselor, I can think of a few good places. Yeah, I’m with Grunkle Stan on this one; “Nothing like sitting in a moist tub with strangers. It’s like the bus but wet.” Mabel’s attention is immediately drawn to a handsome teen stranger with flowing locks hanging out by an inflatable raft. Soos tells her he’s never seen him actually leave the pool, which adds to his intrigue. Since Mabel can’t go a week without having a new crush, she sets out to make him hers. Dipper reveals to Soos and Grunkle Stan that for all her boy craziness, she’s never actually had her first kiss yet.
Grunkle Stan gets pelted by water balloons from the lifeguard tower, and it turns out Wendy is the one who’s throwing them. She signed up to be a lifeguard for the privileges and recommends Dipper interview to be an assistant. Dipper, who would do anything to hang out with Wendy in a bathing suit, agrees, but he has to be approved by her boss Mr. Poolcheck first.
Emotionally unstable doesn’t even begin to describe this guy. He feels like he came out of an episode of Ren and Stimpy. The outrageous animation, the hair-trigger temper, the obsession with pool rules, Poolcheck is a character that, ticked off or not, is terrifying and die-hard hilarious.
Grunkle Stan finds the perfect lawn chair to relax in, unfortunately Lil’ Gideon takes it and begins a war of minute proportions between the two. For manhandling Gideon, Wendy locks up Stan in pool jail while she and Dipper go abuse their power. Stan realizes he’s going to have to get tricky if he doesn’t want to end up in solitary.
Mabel begins putting the moves on her crush and he is quickly taken with her as well. When she suggests they go to the snack bar, however, he dramatically tells her he has a terrible secret and she must stay away. This doesn’t stop her from trying to uncover the truth about him, all while being as unsubtle about it as possible. Finally, he reveals it to her.
His name is Mermando, and he is a merman from the Gulf of Mexico. While swimming with the dolphins he was caught in a fisherman’s net and taken to Gravity Falls to be feasted on. He escaped his captivity but his attempts to swim upstream back home failed and he wound up stuck in the pool. He thinks this will scare Mabel away, but this makes her even more enamored with him.
Mabel promises to return that night after the pool closes to spend more time with Mermando. She brings her scrapbook and shows him pictures of her and her family and all the wonderful things they can do with their legs, which Mermando asks if they can skip.
Seeing pictures of the Pines’ together makes Mermando feel homesick for his family. He tried escaping once, but it was as short-lived as it was hilariously painful. He’s not too despondent over being trapped in the pool because he met Mabel, though he’s clueless when it comes to her attempts to kiss him.
The next day Poolcheck pulls Dipper aside after he catches him and Wendy using Blubs and Derland as ring toss targets with the life preservers. He is furious that someone broke in last night and broke the pool skimmer, and he puts Dipper in charge of catching the culprit. Mermando, meanwhile, can’t stop thinking about his family, and Mabel decides that she’s going to break him out that night and get him home.
Dipper goes on a stakeout and he catches who he thinks is the perpetrator – Stan. Turns out he’s only there to get the perfect seat hours before Gideon can steal it, though the idea of messing with pool supplies is one he’ll come back to later. Soos also appears to liberate the inflatable ducky floats (yeah, Wendy and Dipper trick him into thinking they’re alive and he spends the entire episode trying to rescue them. Yes, it’s as funny as it sounds.) While Dipper chases Stan away, Mabel pulls in with the golf cart and a cooler full of water to transport Mermando in since her idea of making a pair of legs out of fish sticks didn’t go as planned.
When Dipper questions her for stealing pool supplies and she refuses to reveal Mermando’s existence, they embark on a high-speed chase to Gravity Falls Lake. Dipper throws water balloons to slow her down and one of them hits the spigot on the cooler, draining the water from it and causing Mermando to start suffocating. Mabel is forced to introduce Dipper and Mermando to each other. She begs him to save Mermando by giving him “reverse-CPR” from his lifeguard training. Dipper gargles water down Mermando’s throat until he’s able to breathe. He thanks Dipper for saving him…but mentions he could have just rolled him into the lake.
Mermando’s throat is too sore from coughing to call out to his family. Mabel wants to give him the pool megaphone but Dipper says that if he loses any more supplies he’ll be fired. Mabel replies with a sentiment that hits very close to home – “Don’t you know what it’s like to fall for someone, even though you know in your heart that probably it’ll never work out, yet you’d do anything for them?” Dipper reluctantly gives it up for love. It’s goodbye for Mabel and Mermando, but he leaves her a couple of things to remember him by: their first kiss, and also this –
They return to find Poolcheck in an even greater rage on seeing the mess the pool area is in. Dipper takes the blame and hands over his whistle. He’s sad about it at first, but Wendy also got fired for taking too many snacks, so they decide to go have fun together elsewhere. Gideon finds Stan on his chair and is willing to concede defeat, but when Stan goes to shake his hand, he can’t move. Gideon gloats that he foresaw his plan and coated the chair in glue before Stan arrived. Mabel, meanwhile, receives the first of several messages in bottles from Mermando, hinting at the beginning of a beautiful long-distance relationship.
This is a fun episode, one of the rare ones in this show that could count as “slice-of-life” in my opinion. Sometimes, if you have the right characters, all you need is to see how they would spend a day by the pool in order to make an entertaining 20 minutes. Gideon and Stan’s escalating rivalry reaches new levels of pettiness, Dipper and Wendy grow closer and raises the question as to how aware she is of his crush on her, and Mabel and Mermando are so over-the-top romantic and goofy that they feel perfectly made for each other. Speaking of, Mermando is voiced by Matt Chapman, a writer on the show who does other miscellaneous voices, though his biggest claim to fame is that he’s one of the creators of Homestar Runner. He lends his voice to Homestar, Strong Bad, and nearly all the characters of Free Country USA, and working with him was a dream come true for Alex Hirsch because he’s a major fan (as evidenced here). I too enjoyed Homestar back when the site was something of an underground viral favorite, and learning that one of the men behind it was one of Gravity Fall’s top writers made me love this series even more. It also explains some of the really bizarre fast moments of comedy that appear every now and then that I can’t cover in reviews because they’re best enjoyed when they play out in front of you.
Also, a word to the wise if you plan on watching this episode: shortly after it aired, the Disney Channel demanded a line change from Grunkle Stan. When he tries to reflect some light on to Gideon to get him off of his chair, he says “Yes, burn the child…” It was revised to “Blind the child”, which makes more sense, but I find the previous line is funnier and more in line with Grunkle Stan’s character. Some online versions of the episode still keep the line. It’s a minor change, but one I felt worth mentioning.
And the Internet Went:
Another fun romp with the Pines family. What more could you ask for?
End Credits Craziness:
Keep strong, little guy in solitary. Keep strong.
Callbacks: Wax Grunkle Stan makes an appearance in the opening stinger to prove how hot it is by melting. Mabel mentions Norman in both “zombie” and gnome form when listing off potential weird boyfriends she already had before meeting Mermando (though the “cute vampires” she didn’t tell Dipper about have yet to make an appearance). Also, after a long absence, Tyler “Get ‘im!” Cutebiker is back!
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: The capper to Mermando describing his humiliating escape attempt: “…And then the wolves came.”
Mabel SWatch (Sweater Watch): She’s in a bathing suit for most of the episode, but in the last act she’s in a blue sweater with bubbles and a sea horse on it. Appropriate for this episode.
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: I learned…ah, I got nothing for this one. I’m gonna go count down the minutes until summer is here.
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Next time on Gravity Falls, seize the rug! It’s “Carpet Diem”. See you then!
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