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 in the weird little town of Gravity Falls, where he runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack. While Dipper has to deal with his crush Wendy dating an emo jerk named Robbie, Mabel has already befriended oddballs Candy and Grenda and spends any time she’s not out uncovering mysteries with her brother doing girl stuff with them and dealing with her rival Pacifica Northwest.
Dipper and Wendy are wasting time doing funny dubs over the security camera footage (a field I am an expert in, if I do say so myself) when Mabel surprises them with some news; tonight she, Candy and Grenda are going to see their favorite boy band, Sev’ral Timez, live in concert. They’re blue-eyed blonde nonthreatening performers that look like they’re refugees from the cultural backwash that was the early 2000’s, but Mabel refuses to see them as anything other than dreamboats. She leaves Wendy and Dipper to their jokes about how all boy bands are all mass produced from the noise-polluting machine that is the American music industry and prepares for her perfect night.
Robbie enters the Shack to ask Wendy out on a date, but Wendy’s ready to tear him a new one after he’s stood her up one too many times without apologizing. She suggests they see other people to Dipper’s delight, but Robbie plays his trump card – music. He plays her a song he wrote and performed on a black CD from a very ominous case.
One listen and Wendy instantly changes her mind about Robbie. Dipper’s suspicions fall on deaf ears as the girls leave for their respective dates. Unfortunately the concert is sold out, and Mabel learns that Pacifica and her friends snagged the last tickets. Mabel, not one to give up over a little thing like that, sneaks her friends in through the back so they can meet their dream boys and prove Dipper wrong about boy bands being clones. They find the dressing room and when they get inside –
Yes, Sev’ral Timez are indeed clones. After the show the ones performing on stage are herded into a life-size hamster cage by their horrible producer and creator Mr. Brassman, who reminds them that they can be replaced any time by their test tube siblings. Candy, Grenda and Mabel come out of hiding once he’s gone and introduce themselves to the boys – Creggy G, Greggy C, Chubby Z, Leggy P, and Deep Chris – who all warm up to the girls in their own flashy boy band way. They reveal their one dream is to escape their cage and see the world, and Mabel helps them do just that.
At home Dipper talks over his girl woes with Stan, who also lost the love of his life to a hippy musician. He believes all music has subliminal messages and doesn’t try to talk Dipper out of his theory that Robbie is brainwashing Wendy with his song. In fact, he decides to help him prove that he’s right.
Mabel and her friends smuggle the band into her room via a very tightly packed duffle bag that Dipper is too preoccupied to dwell on and Stan is indifferent to. Due to the fact that Mr. Brassman is now looking for them, Mabel insists on keeping them here until it’s safe. The idea of having her own boy band is thrilling, but Candy and Grenda remind her that they can’t get too attached since they promised to let them go. Until then it’s braid trains and montages of her teaching them how to survive set to the boys’ tunes ultra-funky tunes. As fun as it is, the girls can’t help but notice Mabel’s becoming a teensy bit clingy when it comes to spending time with them.
After hours spent converting Robbie’s CD into a vinyl for Stan’s record player, Dipper and Stan play the song slowed down. It doesn’t reveal anything, however, and Robbie taunts Dipper some more as he picks up Wendy for their date at Lookout Point. Him calling “Catch you on the rewind!” as he leaves inspires Dipper to play the record backwards, and he’s thrilled to hear “You are now under my control, your mind is mine” as the song wraps up, and he and Stan race to catch Wendy before Robbie does any more damage.
Meanwhile, the girls catch Mr. Brassman on the news being sent to jail for driving without a license plate (which Gompers the goat ate). Grenda and Candy are overjoyed that the boys’ nightmares are over and move to tell them they are now free. Only Mabel is hesitant, and she refuses to let them into her room. She argues that they can stay with
her them forever, and she’s not ready to let another boy she’s loved this summer slip through her fingers again. Candy attacks her and Grenda tries to tell the boys the news, but they believe “their dawg” Mabel. Mabel has them kick her friends out with their aggressive dance moves and forces them on board another braid train without giving them time to chill, yo. Cold.
Oh god I think this episode is starting to have an effect on me. Let’s wrap this up quick.
Stan gets Dipper to Lookout Point, driving safety laws be damned. Dipper plays the song for Wendy and exposes Robbie for the controlling fraud he is. It’s not the subliminal messages that bother Wendy though, it’s that Robbie lied about writing the song for her when he admits he stole it from another band. Sick of his lies, she breaks up with him for good. Unfortunately Dipper’s victory is shortlived as he makes the mistake of asking Wendy to go bowling with him and Stan right away.
Back at the Shack, the band performs a thank you song for Mabel they wrote themselves. Mabel enjoys it until their innocent lyrics begin tripping off her guilt for abusing their trust and alienating her best friends. She ends their song in tears, telling them it’s time to let them go.
Grenda and Candy arrive at dawn to break the boys out, but Mabel comes out with them and apologizes. She introduces the boys to the wonders of nature and sends them on their way to a life of foraging through garbage cans, making out with trees and having stare-downs with the sun. Candy says what I know you’re all thinking: “They won’t last a week.”
“Boyz Crazy” is a brilliant episode. It’s a perfect commentary on the boy band craze and how many of the ones that are out there all the same, the best part being that this was ironically made for a channel that’s infamous for pushing the same type of entertainment. I’m not the first to say that the Disney Channel tween stars that pop out every couple of years only to wither away just as fast are clones, and I won’t be the last. Even The Onion has made jokes about Disney creating clones for their music and tv shows. I’m surprised Alex Hirsch got away with making this one if you look at it from that angle, but I think that’s because Sev’ral Timez is more heavily inspired by the Backstreet Boys and N*SYNC. I was growing up when those bands were popular and my older sister was all over them, so I know the trend when I see it. In fact, the clones are voiced by none other than Lance Bass, one of the members of N*SYNC, which is actually pretty cool. Alex Hirsch’s sister Ariel, who was the basis for Mabel, was a huge Lance fan so this was something of a present for her from her loving twin brother. Speaking of, this episode not only does a great job sending up boy bands, they also get a great jab at Les Grossman, the slimy producer behind N*SYNC and the Backstreet Boys among others, through the character of Brassman, who’s basically a caricature of him. Grossman not only scammed many of the bands he controlled out of a lot of their money, but he was also a filthy pedophile who died last year while serving his time in prison. I’m not one to speak ill of the dead, but fuck him.
Interesting enough, there are some clear parallels between Mabel and Brassman throughout the episode. When she first meets the boys and they say they want to leave, one of them points out that Brassman tells them that he loves them despite his abusive behavior. Mabel tells them that if someone loves them, they should set them free, advice which gets fed back to her by Candy when Mabel wants to keep the band to herself. By the end she too realizes the stranglehold she has on them isn’t too different from Brassman’s, albeit it’s out of an obsessive love than greed.
On a similar note, I like how though the A-plot and B-plot don’t intersect, they still have some of the same beats. Both involve music and love that’s lost, stolen, or let go. It’s nice to see Stan and Dipper working together on something and bonding by the end. Robbie’s CD does raise a lot of questions, mainly where he got it from and how aware he was of those subliminal messages. As of writing this review, however they have yet to be answered. Normally Alex Hirsch or one of the writers might come forward if a certain question other than “Who wrote the Journals” was asked enough or if the answer provided an interesting tidbit of info, but in regards to this one they’ve been oddly silent. I do enjoy the fact that Dipper trying to find something in the music was something pulled from Alex’s own childhood; he liked probing into the unknown and searching for hidden messages in songs and movies. If Ariel was Mabel, then he was undoubtedly Dipper.
And the Internet Went:
I know for a fact that this episode in particular was what got a few people interested in Gravity Falls, for its great sense of humor, heartfelt message, and overall strangeness.
End Credits Craziness: The band performing their hit song “Cray-Cray” to a deer, and one of the boys (I can’t tell them apart and I don’t care) kissing a tree.
Callbacks: When Mabel’s doing her happy dance at the start of the episode, Dipper exclaims that she’s gotten into the Smile Dip again from “The Inconveniencing”. Tyler Cutebiker eggs on the girls at the concert when they fight over who the boys are singing to. The phrase of the day that makes a return is “Why you ‘ackin so cray-cray?” Anytime someone says that today, scream real loud! Try it with your folks!
Crowning Line of Hilawesomeness: Grunkle Stan once again saying the things that only old men can get away with – “Finally, a good reason to punch a teenager in the face!”
Mabel SWatch (Sweater Watch): Blue with silver stars
Dear Princess Celestabelleabethabelle: If you love someone and they’re not happy, then you should let them go…unless they’re hanging from a tall building.
Where’s that wacky triangle at?
Next time on Gravity Falls, it’s time to roll back the rock to the “Land Before Swine”. See you then!