Gravity Falls Review: Season 1, Episode 15: The Deep End

Airdate: March 15th, 2013

Just something you see everyday at the public pool.

Synopsis: On a very, very hot day (Authors note: this review was written just after a cold snap on Long Island, where I live. Stop tempting me, comedies!), the Shack gang go to the public pool. Mabel meets (and falls head over heels for) Mermando (Matt Chapman), who explains (in song) that he is… a merman who wants to get back to his family in the sea. Meanwhile, Dipper becomes a lifeguard to try and get to Wendy, yet has to deal with the stern Mr. Poolcheck.

SPOILERS: Both end in tragicomedy. Mabel’s ends in the “heartwarming” sense, while Dipper’s ends in the Red Dwarf sense.

Review: Let’s cut to the chase with the main problem with this episode: the subplot. It’s another “Dipper has the hots for Wendy” plot. Every subplot like this goes the same way: Dipper acts like a smeghead to try and get to first base with Wendy, fails spectacularly, and learns something. Not that it’s totally bad- it keeps Dipper from being an “Einstein Sue” who controls the town’s powers, and grounds him in reality. But the basics of the plot are still the same as in “Fight Fighters”, “Summerween”, and “Time Travellers Pig”. The difference here is that it is limited to but a mere subplot, instead of the main plot. Plus, Dipper is still quite a bit likable here. Further, Mabel outright tells him that Dipper is reaching for Romulus here:

Dipper? Don’t you know what it’s like to fall in love with someone, even though it will probably never work out… but you’d do anything for that person?

Besides, the rest of the episode is pretty good. There’s nothing very illusion shattering or science-fiction style here, though, which is a bit depressing. Gideon arrives for a brief C-plot, which while somewhat pointless, also shows that Stan is perfectly willing to harm a child. Granted, said child is a sociopath who borders on insanity, but still. Grey and grey morality, much? Gamers, think Michael vs. Trevor in Grand Theft Auto 5.  One person is more insane than the other, but in the end, both are not people you would like to meet in real life.

The episode’s main strength is the main plot, where Mabel falls for Mermando, played by Matt Chapman (Homestar Runner). It brings Mabel into a unique variation of the “personal happiness or lover’s happiness” cliche… with a fairly normal merman. His character is sympathetic, yet does not have a whole lot of depth to it. Chapman, however, delivers Mermando’s lines in a way that is utterly brilliant. Plus, Mabel’s relationship with him feels quite natural, and is something of a comedic play on the desires of the target audience. It also reinforces that Mabel might be the best person in the Shack, and in the show.

This episode is also very much humor driven. Some jokes miss, but most jokes hit.

Overall, a decent, if not spectacular episode.

Favorite Scene: Admittedly, I loved the first scene, with the town being so hot, a squirrel burst into flames.

Least Favorite Scene: Most of the “Wendip” subplot is subpar.

Score: 7.5.

Authors Note: I think that I have been scoring a bit too leniently for Gravity Falls and Red Dwarf. Therefore, some episodes that I’ve reviewed in the past might have their scores knocked down a bit. Remember, a 4 or below is failure, 5 is passing, a 6 is decent, a 7 is good, 8 is great, 9 is excellent. and a 10 is a series best. Granted, most episodes of GF and RD generally fit in the 7-9 Range, and the score change will be minimal, but I am going to try and avoid the 4 point scale.

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