Gravity Falls review, Season 1, Episode 5: The Inconviencing.

Airdate: July 13th, 2012.

Synopsis: After a brief pinecone-chucking contest, Dipper realizes that he is in love with Wendy. He decides to lie about his age (13 instead of 12) to hang out with her and a group of teenagers one night. They go to the local 7-11 knockoff, Dusk 2 Dawn. Dipper tries to prove his maturity to Wendy, and get in with the cool crowd. However, supernatural events take over the Dusk 2 Dawn, and the teens wind up in peril. Ghosts take over Mabel, who tripped on sugar. Dipper has to confess his age to save the teens, and preforms an embarrassing dance to appease the ghosts, who are just a sweet, elderly couple who hate teens. The teens are saved, and Wendy decides to hang out with Dipper more.

Review: This was the first Gravity Falls episode I EVER watched. Unlike Red Dwarf, which took me a few video clips to get into, it was love at first sight. The character development is actually pretty decent. We get our first episode focused on Wendy, showing her more Dave Lister-esque traits (lazy, yet also carefree and friendly). This episode shows that Dipper is not above it all, and that he can be selfish, although he still is rather likable. The use of the Chekov’s Gun trope is hilarious, with a rather embarrassing moment mentioned by Mabel used to save the gang. And, Mabel on Smile Dip. Just, Mabel on Smile Dip. I love my sentence fragments!

Favorite Scene: Just watch. This is after Mabel ate packets of Smile Dip.

Gravity Falls writers, please give us more Aoshima!

Final Score: 9. ONWARD AOSHIMA!

Red Dwarf Review, Series II Episode 4: Stasis Leak

Airdate: 27th September, 1988

Synopsis: The episode begins with a prequel, set before the crew was wiped out, where Rimmer is placed on 8 weeks paint duty for being a smeghead. While going back to his cabin, he finds himself as a hologram poking through the table.

In the present (3 million years in the future), while going through Kochanski’s personal things, Lister finds a photograph of the two of them getting married. Remembering something from the past, he reads Rimmer’s diary and finds an entry describing the table incident which Rimmer himself (in the diary entry) took to be an hallucination. Following directions from the diary, the gang head down to floor 16 and find a hidden stasis leak which transports them back to the past, a few month’s before the crew all died.

Because they can’t bring anybody back to their time (unless they want them turned into powder), Lister and Rimmer fight over who they should convince to go into one of the two stasis booths (Lister himself being sent into the other). Lister wants to save Kochanski and Rimmer obviously wants himself. (“One for the week, and one for Sunday best!”) While Rimmer goes back to convince himself, Lister and Cat find Kochanski at a hotel, but she is already married. Kochanski invites them in and Lister discovers… himself! Five years in the future (sorta), Lister found a way to go back into the past and marry Kochanski.

Rimmer attempts to convince himself to go into stasis, but his former self acts the same as he did before and believes it to be nothing more than a hallucination, ending up attacking Captain Hollister The present Lister and Cat return tho their past quarters to collect the present Rimmer and meet up with their future selves. Overwhelmed by the arrival of these duplicates, the past Rimmer snaps and yells for them to go away.

Review: Two reviews in one day? It’s a wonderful Friday!

After two brilliant episodes, we get a rather mild one. While Rimmer gets some character development (the Lemming Story), this episode relies more on, to quote Doctor Who, “Wibbly Wobbly Timey Wimey stuff”. The humor in this episode is rather weaker than “Better Than Life”, although it is by far not the lowest the humor goes ever. The ending provides something that could be interpreted as an ending (“GO AWAY!”), but it is rather open ended.

It is also worth noting that Future Lister is a complete jerk to himself. He makes RIMMER look comparable. Seeing Lister as he is in this series being quite kind (comforting Rimmer in “Better than Life” and giving him eight months of his memory in “Thanks for the Memory”), this comes as a shock. On the flipside, the show also reminds us, after the sympathy inducing stories in BTL and TFTM, that Rimmer is still a jerk.

Not a bad episode. But still, not the best of the season.

Favorite Scene
: Lister reads Rimmer’s diary.

Score: 7.5

Red Dwarf review: Series II Episode 3: Thanks for the Memory

Airdate: 20 September 1988

Synopsis: After finding a planetoid with a breathable atmosphere, the crew decide to celebrate Rimmer’s Death-day. Completely inebriated from the party, back on the ship, Rimmer tells Lister about his single sexual experience, with the ship’s female boxing champion Yvonne McGruder. He regrets putting his career first, because it cost him a love life. When they wake up, the crew find out the following:

  • Four days have passed;
  • The legs of Cat and Lister are broken;
  • The star charts have changed;
  • The puzzle that Lister was solving had mysteriously been solved;
  • Four pages are not in Lister’s diary;
  • The ships black box is missing.

They trace the black box’s signal to a barren airless moon, where they first find what appears to be a giant footprint and then come across a gravestone reading “To the memory of the memory of Lise Yates” – Lister reveals that Lise Yates was one of his ex-girlfriends back on Earth. The black box is buried in the shallow grave marked by the headstone — the rest of the episode consists of them watching the videos of what happened over the missing days.

The black box shows that after Rimmer confided in Lister, Lister felt sorry for Rimmer and decided to do something about it. Lister and Cat went to the hologram simulation suite — where Rimmer’s hologram is generated — and Lister uploaded his own memory of the eight months he was going out with Lise Yates into Rimmer’s memory. Rimmer woke in a jubilant mood from what he thought was a magical eight months of his life, but he found a number of things confusing. For instance, why did he suddenly move to Liverpool and become a total slob? Why did he need his Appendix removed — twice?! And most of all, why did he leave Lise to “play the field” and resist her urgings for him to get a career and settle down, when that is what Rimmer wanted all his life? Altogether, Rimmer seemed to appreciate his apparent relationship with Lise much more than Lister ever did, and Lister came to realize how foolish he actually was in breaking up with her.

Rimmer’s happiness was short-lived as he discovered the letters that Lise wrote to Lister during those eight months. Lister told him that he didn’t go out with Lise and that it was just an implanted memory. Rimmer was distraught at the knowledge that the only woman he ever loved actually loved Lister, and is unwilling to cope with his pain any more, despite Lister’s urging that he shouldn’t go through life without experiencing love. Eventually Lister agreed to erase all their memories of the past four days, which would eliminate Rimmer’s memory of Lise. They buried the black box on the barren moon underneath the gravestone, and in the process Cat and Lister drop the gravestone on the ground — leaving a large footprint-like indent — and then drop it again onto their feet. Back on Red Dwarf with their broken legs in plaster casts, Lister ripped the pages out of his diary for the last 4 days, and as they left the sleeping quarters to erase their memories he put in the final piece of the jigsaw puzzle.

Review: The first time this aired, viewers held this in a low light, ranking it 19th out of 30 available episodes. In the 2012 survey, this episode got 5th place out of 61 episodes. The same thing happened with me. The first time I watched this episode, I thought that the comedy was too light. Then, I watched it again. The comedy is still light, but there is more than enough drama to make up for it.

This episode takes some time out to develop Lister for a change. We learn that he once had a girlfriend that he never appreciated. He realizes that he should have treated Lise better and not taken his relationship for granted. Lister is developed out from being just a slob (like we saw in previous episodes), and becomes much more of a human being.

Naturally, Rimmer gets TONS of development. While “Better Than Life” made him more sympathetic, this episode makes him completely sympathetic. In fact, there is little trace of his jerkassery in this episode. This episode makes you feel bad for him. “Stasis Leak” will pull viewers in to remind us that he is still a selfish coward, but this episode is still brilliant for developing Rimmer.

Again, the humor is light, but that is a minor criticism.

Favorite Scene: The initial reveal that four days had been skipped. Hysterical.

Score: 9.

Red Dwarf Review: Series II, Episode 2: "Better Than Life"

Airdate: 13 September 1988

Take THAT, Kinect and PSMove!


Synopsis: The post pod reaches Red Dwarf. In it, Rimmer receives a large tax bill from Outland Revenue, along with a letter from his mother (through her poor handwriting) informing him that his father is dad-uh, dead, and that he passed away peacefully in his jeep-uh, sleep. Although he knew his father is already long dead, seeing the news in writing upsets him, mentioning that he looked up to his father and wanted him to say “well done”. However, Rimmer also states that he loathed his dad, due to his strict requirements for his kids to get into the space corps to make up for his failure to get on the corps. To cheer him up, Lister and the Cat invite Rimmer to play “Better Than Life”, a total immersion video game where everyone’s deepest desires come true.

At first, everything goes well. The Cat has two girlfriends (Marilyn Monroe and a reversed mermaid). Lister is rich enough to eat caviar-covered vindaloos and play golf. Rimmer, who has a physical form in the game, leads an admiral’s life with drinks and parties. Rimmer meets his dad, whom, although Rimmer is expecting him to say “well done”, says that he is a “total smeghead” (as it turns out, Rimmer’s father was imagined by the Cat). Rimmer’s neurotic mind, subconsciously unable to accept nice things are happening to him, rebels against him, and he cannot control his negative imagination. He soon ends up with a wife, seven kids, a mortgage and being chased by an outright psychotic tax collector (who demands ₤18,000 and threatens to break his legs and thumbs). Eventually, the others find themselves caught up in his nightmare, buried up to their necks in sand and about to be eaten by ants. The game ends, and as Lister and the Cat call Rimmer out for his “messed up brain”, Rimmer gets a letter informing him that he passed the astro-navigation examination, causing Rimmer to believe his life is turning around. When they get back to their quarters, the tax collector emerges from a locker, causing the crew to realize that the game is not over. The tax collector then proceeds to break Rimmer’s thumbs.

Review: This episode holds a very special place in my heart. It was Christmas 2012. I had gotten some iTunes cash for Christmas. I had already seen some Red Dwarf clips online. I decided to buy a couple of episodes from Series II. After buying and watching “Parallel Universe”, I brought “Better than Life”. Needless to say, by the end of the episode, I was barely breathing from all of the laughter. The episode had sent me on an emotional roller coaster, from depression at the news of Rimmer’s father, sympathy for Rimmer, and laughter at the end with the tax collector. It may seem strange, but this episode cemented my feelings: Red Dwarf was possibly going to be my all time favorite show.

And I was right. As of this writing, it is my all time favorite show.

This episode is simply a brilliant episode. Rimmer gets developed more in this episode then ever before. For the first time ever, we get to see why Rimmer blamed everything on his parents: his father was an absolute jerk ass to him and his brothers, stretching them to put them into the Space Corps and failing to feed them if they got Astro-Nav questions wrong (Rimmer almost starved to death.) Then, we get his one shot at happiness crushed, just to give the Cat a laugh, causing Rimmer to break down. It really humanises Rimmer in a way that the show never did before, and is the first episode where he is truly sympathetic.

However, the episode still takes time out to remind us that, no matter how sympathetic he might be, Rimmer is still a pathetic slime ball who takes down everybody with him. His negative fantasies wind up almost killing the others. Lister puts it best: “You’re a total dinglebat, are you?”

The rest of the episode is just pure comedy. Lister’s role in the fantasy just makes him into himself WITH MONEY (caviar vindaloos, golf, and slobbish drinking). The Cat gets to take the Jerk ass role from Rimmer for once, interrupting his moment, not caring if Rimmer’s dad has died, ignoring Marylin Monroe, AND killing Rimmer’s fantasy for a quick laugh (although he gets his comeuppance in the end by almost dying). The tax collector is just so overtly psychotic that he becomes hilarious.

If I had to find one problem with this episode, it is that the scene with Gordon and Holly was unnecessary (although still funny). That, and the first few minutes of the episode seem to be too loose to the plot.

Favorite Scene: God, it’s hard to pick. If I HAD to pick one, it would have to be the Rimmer on the Observation Deck scene. It gives in 4 minutes what other shows can’t do in an entire episode: develop a character. There is a reason why many people consider Rimmer to be the center focus of the show. He get more development than any other character.

Score: 9.

Red Dwarf Review, Series II Episode 1: Kryten

Airdate: 6 September 1988

Synopsis: While Rimmer is trying to learn Esperanto, Red Dwarf receives a distress call from the wreck of the Nova 5, sent by the service android Kryten (played by David Ross). The crew are lured to rescue the crew due to the three girls aboard the ship. Kryten, however, does not realize that the three girls are dead, and have been for centuries. Rimmer takes Kryten aboard and makes him do menial tasks. Lister tries to convince Kryten to rebel, but initially seems doomed to failure. However, apparently, Lister’s attempts at rebellion against Rimmer work, as Kryten messes up Rimmer’s portrait, throws soup on the bed that Kryten made, and calls him nicknames as he takes off in a space bike.

Review: This episode is really the first sign that Series II had evolved from the flaws in Series I. The pacing in this episode is better then in series I. This episode is chock FULL of character development between Rimmer and Lister. The twist on the “saving the ladies from the spaceship” into making them all dead is brilliant. And the ending. Oh, god, the ending! That is how you do a rebellion! It’s amazing how Red Dwarf can be intelligent enough to quote one of the best movies of the 50s, yet also mix in the perfect amount of sophomoric humor. The comedy was brilliant, with characters driving a good 90% of the humor.

The scene with Esperanto did drag on a bit, as well as the “Lister is a slob” scene and the scene where we first learn that the ladies are dead. That drags the episode a bit. Also, Kryten did seem a bit too similar to C3PO. And, this is minor, but I just can’t get used to David Ross playing the role. He did a good job, but he just does not fit perfectly into the role. To me, Kryten will ALWAYS be Robert Llewellyn.

Favorite Scene: The ending. Just the ending. Especially the “Wham Lines”.

Rimmer: “What are you rebelling against?”

Kryten: “….what d’ya got?”

Score: 8

Gravity Falls Review: Season 1, Episode 4: “The Hand that Rocks the Mabel”.

Airdate: July 6th, 2012

Synopsis: Dipper and Mabel see an advertisement for the “Tent of Telepathy”, containing a mysterious psychic called Gideon. Against Grunkle Stan’s wishes, the twins go, and realize that Gideon is about the same age as the twins. Gideon falls head over heels for Mabel, and asks her out on various dates. Despite this, Mabel feels like she can not date Gideon, viewing him as more of a little sister-type character. Making matters worse is that Grunkle Stan and Gideon’s father make a business arrangement around the two. Dipper manages to put a stop to Mabel’s relationship with Gideon, but thanks to an amulet that Gideon has, Dipper winds up being captured. Mabel sees this, and winds up taking the amulet from Gideon, and prevents the two from dying, before she destroys the amulet. An outraged Gideon vows revenge, with the last scene of the episode revealing something about Gideon that changes the course of the entire series.

Review: While the previous two episodes were good in their own right, this episode is flat-out wonderful. Introducing an arch nemesis that may know more than initially seemed, but still keeping a good amount of his quirkiness, works perfectly. Gideon is the perfect enemy: he has the knowledge of Dipper, the quirkiness of Mabel, and the arrogance of Stan. In later episodes, a plot-line is developed where Gideon is looking for something in the shack. While individual character development is largely limited, developments between the characters is perfect. Gideon’s obsession with Mabel leads him to total insanity against the twins. Dipper and Soos are shown to be the perfect companions, with Dipper’s more masculine side coming out whenever Soos is around. Bud Gleeful and Stan managed to be more amicable, with Bud actually being a better businessman then Stan. Mabel gets one scene where she is talking to Wendy about how to break up with Gideon, and it shows that the two have a decent (yet not really close yet) sisterly relationship. The humor in this episode is damn near perfect.

The only part of this episode that I did not really like as much was the “Lil’ Old Me” scene. I just found the scene more pointless then anything.

Favorite Scene: The scene at the factory really shows just how much of an awesome character Mabel is. Silver award goes to the design in the Cafe Scene. Does this cafe remind you of anything?

That’s right: the Black Lodge from Twin Peaks. Gravity Falls shares some vague similarities (small northwestern town with big secret) with Twin Peaks.

Score: 9