Gravity Falls Review: Season 1, Episode 10: "Fight Fighters"

Airdate: September 14th, 2012

Synopsis (Spoilers Ahead): Robbie realizes that Dipper has the hots for Wendy, and is furious. (This is, despite Robbie not seeming to care about her feelings). After Dipper breaks Robbie’s phone to prevent the latter from divulging Dipper’s secret, Robbie challenges Dipper to a fight in town. Hiding out at the arcade as to not get beaten up, Dipper enters a code on a game which happens to be his and Wendy’s favorite, Fight Fighters. Once the code is entered, Dipper is able to select a character to appear in the main world. He chooses ultra-Macho Rumble McSkrmish and goes to town to fight Robbie.

To motivate Rumble, Dipper claims that Robbie killed his father. This sends Rumble into one goal: kill Robbie. After Rumble ALMOST kills Robbie at the water tower, Dipper reveals the truth, and Rumble turns his hatred to Dipper. Apparently, lying is a such a great offense to Rumble, it drove him onto the path of evil. Dipper decides to fight Rumble and take it like a man… and gets beaten up quite severely. Afraid of losing Wendy, Dipper and Robbie decide to continue their animosity in secret.

Meanwhile, despite his initial statements to the contrary, Stan has a phobia of heights. Mabel tries to get Stan to conquer them. They happen to get on the water tower at the same time that Rumble almost kills Robbie at the water tower (by beating on the stilts). Stan manages to overcome his fear, but now Mabel has a phobia.

Review: This episode leaves me conflicted in so many ways.

On one hand, the humor in the episode is pretty funny. There is some subtle visual comedy, the callbacks to retro video games (Street Fighter, Donkey Kong, Mario) and video game-esque media (The Wizard and Scott Pilgrim) are brilliant. The art done for Rumble McSkirmish is pretty good (thanks to the art of Paul Robertson, who also did Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: The Game.) This episode does have a bit of character development. Isn’t it weird that I can talk about the bad more than I can talk about the good?

On a more mixed note, there is Robbie.

This image was actually taken from “The Inconveniencing”.
  • On one hand, the character seems to come off as pretty one note at this point in the show. At first glance, he’s just there to give Dipper an arch-enemy, a jerkass who has the hots for the same girl as our protagonist. He gets worse later in the show: wait until we take a look at “Boyz Crazy” to see how much of a jerk he can be.
  • On a more positive note (in terms of writing, of course), Robbie manages to bring the absolute worst out of Dipper. Granted, he always tries to do the right thing at the end, but thanks to Robbie, Dipper has cloned himself, made SEVERAL alterations to the timeline, AND unleashed a macho video-game character to try and beat up said rival. Remember in the beginning of my Gravity Falls reviews, when I compared Dipper to Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf? Well, those things I just mentioned are among the things that I could see Rimmer do (although Rimmer was much more callous after he messed everything over in his show). This is not a really bad thing at all, as it shows that Dipper can be as immature as his age suggests.

There are two negative points that I would like to address, and both have to do with our leading females.

  1. Oh, smeg, Wendy, what have the writers done to ya? As much as I hate to admit it, by this point in the show, they do not seem to have a whole lot of ideas for her. Therefore, they have reduced her to something of an object for Dipper. That’s a shame, as she has the potential to be a wonderful character and a pretty damn good foil for Dipper. The best way to fix this? Simply put, the writers should take note of what happened at the beginning of the episode (with them hanging out), and make them very close friends with some tension. A second option would be to make them a brilliant Id/Superego pair in the supernatural aspects of the town. Alternatively, include Mabel, and Dipper, Mabel, and Wendy can try and work some of the old Id/Ego/Superego magic that Kirk, Spock, and McCoy brought to Star Trek: The Original Series. Also, get rid of Robbie. Dipper’s own selfish and neurotic tendencies brought on by his lust and organized personality can help create some friction between the two.
  2. Mabel, again, gets reduced to a bit plot here. Granted, here, she gets some funny lines, but the plot she gets here is still dull. Thankfully, the writers seemed to recognize this and made the character act closer to her potential with each successive episode from here until the season finale.

The main plot, however, is so hysterical that it manages to give the episode a good score. It’s not the best of Gravity Falls, but it’s still pretty funny.

Favorite Scene: Rumble demands transport to the Soviet Union. Given the age of the game, that is PERFECTLY in character for him. It’s also a brilliant reference to a flaw in Street Fighter II.

Least Favorite Scene: The entire Mabel Subplot. It’s just dull.

Score: 7.4.

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