Gravity Falls Review: Season 1, Episode 16: "Carpet Diem"

Airdate: April 5th, 2013.

Synopsis: Dipper is frustrated by Mabel’s repeated sleepovers, which always force him to sleep in humiliating places (i.e. outside). Mabel, meanwhile, is fed up with Dipper’s irritating habits. The two realize they have to sleep elsewhere. When a bedroom is revealed, the two fight to win the room from Grunkle Stan. However, the shag carpeting in the bedroom causes a bodyswap to occur. Unlike other bodyswaps, nobody else can tell who’s controlling whom. Thus, Dipper and Mabel participate in the sincerest form of flattery… sabotage! The end result? A good amount of embarrassment! How? You don’t want to know. End result: one of them gets the room, yet reneges on his/her threat to move out after finding it lonely.

Meanwhile, Soos and Waddles swap places. They eventually get caught up in a bodyswap mix involving Dipper, Mabel, Candy, Grenda, Durland, and Blubs.

Review: The “Bodyswap” cliche is nothing original (Red Dwarf did it first). It’s the execution that determines if the episode is bad or good. You’re not looking for too much originality here; maybe a good amount of character development and comedy.

Honestly, this is my second-favourite bodyswap episode of all time. (I cite “The Prisoner of Benda” from Futurama as the gold standard of all bodyswap episodes). Why? Well, it’s simple; they took a cliche and made it into a fun romp.

The setup of the episode revolves around the brother-sister relationship between Dipper and Mabel. Honestly, the bond between these two is so realistic. We have siblings that we feel are on top of us, are pressing us down all the time. Yet, we just can’t live without them. They do what siblings would do when a bodyswap occurs; they mess around with the other’s lives! Oh, the prices they pay. We see both of them as imperfect, their reasons for moving out being just as selfish as they are justifiable. That’s what makes them fantastic characters.

The comedy in this episode can not be understated, either. This is some of the show’s funniest comedy to date. We have:

  • Grunkle Stan teaching Mabel about Puberty. “Goodbye, childhood” indeed.
  • Anything with the slumber parties. Especially at the end of the first one, where Mabel, Candy, and Grenda wake up with confusion on the previous night. The room is torn up.
  • The window gag. Ah, golf, you!
  • “Ten suck-up points for this lemonade!”
  • The foreshadowing of Several Timez.
  • The climax with the electron carpet, Candy, Grenda, Mabel, Dipper, Blubs, Durland, Waddles, and Soos.
Whereas the next episode will be a pure tragicomedy, this episode is clearly some fantastic comedy. Outside of some minor missed opportunities and some exposition, this is an otherwise fantastic episode. Zach Piez and Tim McKeon have a mixed-to-positive record in terms of writing. (For example, Piez wrote both the fantastic “Hand That Rocks The Mabel” and the mediocre “Summerween”). This is their writing at their finest.
Favorite Moment: Mabel and Dipper challenging each other for the room. Pure sibling comedy.
Least Favorite Moment: Wendy gets a two-second appearance. It feels like they just wanted to do some service to Wendy fans, and decided that it was worth giving Linda Cardellini a cheque. They need to do more with that character.
Rating: 9

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