Gravity Falls (2012–2016)
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Why do I make this cynical and cliché critique of the Disney Channel? Because I want to make sure every person who reads this understands how shocked and delighted I am by Gravity Falls.
Gravity Falls takes place in a remote Oregon town of the same name. It features Dipper and Mabel Pines (voiced by Jason Ritter and Kristen Schaal respectively), a pair of twins, staying with their Great Uncle (or Grunkle, a term I believe needs to be used more often) Stan (voiced by show creator Alex Hirsch), a sleazy con-artist that runs a tourist trap called the Mystery Shack. Stan rips off gullible vacationers and townies with "supernatural" attractions and a less than stellar gift shop, overseen by man-child Soos (also voiced by Hirsch) and a down-to-earth slacker teenager Wendy (voiced by Linda Cardellini). It looks like a dull summer for the twins, but they soon find out that there is quite a lot of strange goings on in the little town.
This show has that right mix of humor and adventure every family program ought to have. It's written in a way that can engage people of all ages without pandering to anyone.
The voice actors were chosen masterfully, especially in Mabel Pines. I can't imagine anyone else but Schaal (who also voiced Trixie in Toy Story 3 and plays Mel in Flight of the Conchords)playing the bubbly, effervescent Mabel.
This show also features DIY voice acting from Hirsch, a seemingly common occurrence in animated shows today (Regular Show creator JG Quintel voicing Mordecai and High Five Ghost and Adventure Time creator Pen Ward voicing Lumpy Space Princess as well as a myriad of side characters). Hirsch shows quite a bit of range voicing miserly Stan and obvious Soos.
Gravity Falls is also able juxtapose the supernatural and the normal growing pains of adolescence. On a nearly weekly basis, the observant and intelligent Dipper finds a way to crack a mystery involving gnomes and crystals that change an object's size, yet he can't muster the courage to ask his crush, Wendy, on a date.
There are a lot of TV shows and movies that try so hard to reach that sweet spot where they can appeal to kids, parents and young adults, but fall painfully short. Gravity Falls, though, hits that spot brilliantly.
Like his fellow CalArts alumni Quintel and Ward, Hirsch's product is one made out of love and care and it's made clear in every episode. Most impressively, though, is that it gives me a reason to watch the Disney Channel.
Gravity Falls is about two kids, Mabel and Dipper Pines, who are currently living in one of those "middle of nowhere" towns called Gravity Falls with their uncle Stan, who appears to have a very mysterious past. Plenty of other mysteries lurk in Gravity Falls, and you, as the viewer, look to figure them out along with Dipper and Mabel. Along with dealing with their eccentric uncle, the kids also encounter the extremely snarky Wendy as well as a host of other quirky residents.
The tone of Gravity Falls's humour is very similar to Adventure Time - very strange and mostly situational, but I feel that a lot of the time the dialogue is much more clever and mature than that of Adventure Time's. The voice acting, animation and art style are also great, and the theme song of the show especially is fantastic.
What I enjoy most about this show, however, is its tone. This show is a total mystery - there's clues hidden everywhere. I'm completely enthralled with finding everything out before it's addressed in the show - mainly Stan's past.
This show is great, check it out!
One of the things that I find really amazing about this show is the music. It's great, eerie, and enhances the mood of the scene.
The characters are all great, and are all very likable and funny. The dynamics between Dipper and Mabel is one of the best parts of the show if you ask me. The way they interact with each other is the way you would think a brother and sister would act towards each other.
Animation wise, it is pretty well animated. The intro's animation is impressive but the actual show isn't as amazing but still good.
The show has a eerie atmosphere, but still has the heart of most of Disney shows.
So overall, The show is great. The characters, eerie atmosphere, and charm make it a enjoyable watch for kids and adults.
Emerging from the ashes of the Marvellous Misadventures of Flapjack (another quality show, however not Disneys) where series creator Alex Hirsch served as writer and storyboard artist, Gravity Falls is perhaps the best instalment in a series of programs crafted by current Cal Arts Alumni since Adventure Time.
From a cartooning and animation standpoint the series feels refreshing. The character designs feel like some superb mixture of The Simpsons, Classic Disney animation with a bit of The Marvellous Misadventures of Flapjack thrown in. The Characters are drawn in a very fun way and they lend themselves to the quality character animation the series has produced. From a character animation standpoint the work is spirited. It is fluid and comedic exemplifying how much the character animation can be integral to the characters themselves.
Cartooning and Animation aside though I feel the true greatness of the show stems from its writing style, approach of comedy and characters. Alex Hirsch and his writing team have made a show that conjures to mind the character driven humour of the classic Simpsons with the weird and often creepy nature of a 90's kid show called Eerie Indiana. The end result is a show with unique and weird story lines and a level of humour that does what many of the 90's shows did best, transcend its target audience. This show produces jokes that will work for both kids and adults. The characters are also very likable. We have seen characters like Dipper, Mabel and Grunkle Stan before but on Gravity Falls they are crafted so believably that we can forgive that. These are not just funny characters, they are characters with defined personas, they are oddly relatable and they have even in these 9 episodes shown some semblance of character development something that is usually left out of many North American animated series.
So far this is a near perfect show its only misstep so far the episode entitled Dipper Vs. Manliness, which I won't spoil it for you, has a great concept but is too much build up and not enough pay off.
For me this is a show that makes the kid in me smile. Watching this now is like tuning into my childhood favourites (Hey Arnold, Ren and Stimpy, Courage the Cowardly Dog) only now I am old enough to appreciate it.
As my rage towards Disney's mediocre attempts at teen-comedy and music grew infinitely stronger, I held my breath and awaited the release of that which is Gravity Falls. (Keep in mind, only two cartoons made up Disney's regular schedule prior to the airing of this fantastic show. Disney brings to mind animation, not anorexic twelve-year-olds dancing in miniskirts. Shame on you. Walt would be appalled.) Anyways, I was thoroughly impressed by the pilot episode, "Tourist Trapped", which pulled you right into the action of the show and delivered its characters in a quick and convenient manner.
Gravity Falls is about twins, Dipper and Mabel, who are sent to the quirky woodland town of Gravity Falls, Oregon to their greedy Grunkle Stan over the summer. While helping their great uncle run his tourist attraction - the "Mystery Shack" - the twins also discover a secret book that sheds light on the many paranormal and otherworldly oddities found throughout their bizarre, new setting. The show also focuses on a number of other topics, including the struggles attained through youth.
Viewers are provided with a balanced amount of mystery, action, humor, and suspense within each of the episodes. The characters each serve their purpose and contribute their roles to the storyline, which many other cartoons fail to do. I like the animation and the art in general, as the style is very appealing.
Gravity Falls treats its viewers with respect and regard to their intelligence. The plots in each episode are complex enough to keep adults interested, all while providing enough laughs for the children. In other words, Gravity Falls is a show that can be enjoyed by any age. Most certainly recommended.