Gravity Falls Review: Season 1, Episode 13: "Boss Mabel"

Airdate: February 15th, 2013

I believe Mabel’s prior experience was in the Department of Redundancy Department.

Synopsis (SPOILERS!): Grunkle Stan has been a callous and largely ineffective boss over the summer. From scamming people, to rejecting ideas for the shack, to overall being a smeghead, the crew are fed up with him. Mabel tries to add a positive aura to the establishment, but Stan refuses. Therefore, they come to a bet: whoever can make more money in 3 days wins control of the shack. If Stan loses, he has to perform an embarrassing song conceding defeat. If Mabel Loses, she has to replace her flamboyant sweaters with a t-shirt saying “Loser”. Stan tries his hand by going on a show called “Cash Wheel”. Mabel is in total control of the Shack, and rules on some new-age management that she picked up from a book from 1983.

Stan manages to rack up dollar after dollar on Cash Wheel, largely by being a complete and utter obnoxious jerk. Mabel, however, has to deal with Wendy’s laziness, Soos’s costume, Dipper’s decision to bring in supernatural aspects into the shack, and the end result of mass property damage. The stress eventually breaks her spirit, and she turns into a cynical, hard boss. Ergo, she turns into Stan. They manage to make $1 (after repairs and fees). Stan comes home, and admits that during his tenure on Cash Wheel, he went overboard and lost it all. Mabel, however, concedes that Stan should run the shack over the summer.

Review: This episode aired after months of waiting. Fans were expecting something sort-of awesome as a return to the show we all loved. I was excited…. and then a tad bit disappointed at the end result.

This episode overall was a slightly dry entry back into the show. Granted, it was in the middle of the season, and it was still a good episode, but still, it wasn’t my favorite by far. The plot line was somewhat cliché, with a rather predictable ending. The idea behind Dipper’s capture of the monster could have made for an episode in itself, but it is regulated to an extension of a plot. Wendy’s character is made into more of a callous, insensitive jerk compared to previous episodes. Granted, that fits into her characterisation of a snarky, lazy teenager, but I would not really expect that behavior from her to her best friend. Soos does not really get any overtly funny lines, but the scene with him wearing the question mark suit is good for a visual pun.

However, this episode does have a great philosophical question, which picks up the episode’s score. Is there a fine line between being a light boss and being a bad boss? Do we need stern-ness, and how much before it goes into abuse of employees? Stan toes the latter line, while Mabel goes over the former. We all know Stan is not the best boss, but maybe he knows that his employees are lazy and need more control. Therefore, he thinks he is being strict. Does he go over the line? Quite often, but still.

Speaking of Stan, he gets brilliant lines during his Cash Wheel plot, and manages to be so audacious in his behavior, you feel bad for laughing. The ending is a bit cliche, but it is perfectly in character for Stan. The subplot, otherwise, is just a laugh riot all around!

Still, this show works better when the Paranormal aspects of the show are brought into light. This episode contains very little in the way of paranormal, and is more of a slice-of-life episode. That is this episode’s biggest letdown. Granted, from the next episode out, this show goes back into science fiction/paranormal territory.

Overall, a bit of a weaker-than-expected way back into a brilliant show, but still good.

Favorite Scene: Let’s just go ahead and give the award to the entire Cash Wheel subplot, as picking one scene from that subplot is quite an affront to every other scene from that subplot.

Least Favorite Scene: Wendy’s manipulation of one of her best friends. Makes you wonder what Dipper sees in her. Then again, Dipper is quite manipulative himself, so that makes two.

Score: 7.25.

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