Told ya I had a New Years trick up my sleeve, didn’t I?
Greetings, everyone! We’re celebrating the new year by doing a bit of a countdown of every episode of one of the greatest TV shows of all time, Gravity Falls! I’m counting down all 20 episodes of Season One. Essentially, this is similar to what I did back in April, with the worst and best episodes of the season. However, this encompasses all of the episodes from Season 1. They go from my least favorite to my, well, favorite. As well, I’ll be giving a one-or-two sentence review on these episodes.
I must stress that there are no “bad” Gravity Falls episodes- just weak Gravity Falls episodes.
Alright, Fallers! Let’s not waste any time!
20. The Time Travellers Pig
Fandom actually ranks this in the higher rings when ranking episodes. I can’t say I agree, sadly. This was never my favorite episode- it’s last-place ranking is largely due to its questionable ending, plus the heaps of abuse placed on Blendin Blandin, and the simplification of its characters into mere shadows of themselves. Tragic, really- it had all the hallmarks of a top 10 episode.
19. Dipper Vs Manliness
The message here, that men don’t necessarily have to encompass masculine stereotypes to be “men”, was pretty damn good. There was just far too little comedy and B-plot character development here to save it from the second-worst spot on the list. At least there was nothing overtly annoying here.
The “Liar Revealed” cliche is on full effect here- thus damaging the first “holiday” episode in the short history of Gravity Falls. The antagonist was creative, though, and we got some development for Candy and Grenda. That’s enough to put it up two spots from the bottom of the list.
17. Boss Mabel
Another “comic relief” episode that sinks to the lower third, although this time, it’s due to the comedy in the A-plot not hitting as well, rather than anything awkward. Thank you, “Cash Wheel”, “Singing Salmon”, and “Questiony the Question Mark:”- you kept this from being closer to the “worst episode” spot.
16. Fight Fighters
Good news: the plot is creative and funny, and the animation is awesome. Bad news: Mabel is shunted to a weak plot, and Wendy is shunted to almost a mere object in the love triangle. More good news: I don’t complain too much from here on out. In fact, this is the last “weak” episode.
15. The Deep End
A lighter affair here, this episode still notes the tragicomedy of romance. Otherwise, it’s a pretty light affair- little mention of the supernatural aspects nor deep character development abound here. That, and it’s as close to a self-contained episode as Gravity Falls ever gets.
14. Little Dipper
This episode cements the realistic sibling relationship between Dipper and Mabel- it isn’t The Young Ones, but it isn’t Leave it to Beaver, either. Gideon’s madness is also exposed even further. It gets even better if you watch the season finale.
13. Double Dipper
Twisting around the “Evil Clone” cliche, this episode also establishes several relationships, platonic or otherwise, in an attempt to further construct the town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. It does a good job there, I might say.
12. Tourist Trapped
Yeah, I can’t really fault this particular pilot too much. It’s actually pretty damn good, in fact. The side characters get enough development to be likable right off the bat, to say nothing of our dynamic duo.
11. Legend of the Gobblewonker
“Gobblewonker” is the first episode to build onto the world of Gravity Falls, Oregon- confirming that this would not be a show confined to the actions of the center five, but the actions of this strange town.
10. The Land Before Swine
Go ahead- try and argue that Stan isn’t a likable character after watching this episode. I dare you. The power of him fighting a Pterodactyl just to save a pig he hates, just to make Mabel happy? Simply put, great.
9. Irrational Treasure
Quentin Trembly? Federal involvement in the town of Gravity Falls? Making Durland and Blubs loveable antagonists? There’s a reason why Gravity Falls is leaps beyond almost every other animated show in existence.
8. The Inconveniencing
The episode that got me into the series. Another “self-contained” episode, this episode focuses on the teens on Gravity Falls, by far the most normal inhabitants of the town. This episode showed Wendy as a relatable, loveable character… and the show proceeded to underwrite or under-use her for the next 13 episodes.
Another self-contained episode, what makes this episode stand out from the rest is its wicked comedy, it’s awesome twist, the fact they landed John Oliver AND Larry King. This is only the third episode. Obviously, the mouse had faith in this show.
6. Bottomless Pit
A “trilogy-type” episode, this outclasses the modern “Treehouse of Horror” episodes from The Simpsons by containing excellent character development, brilliant segments, and some hysterical wrap-around scenes.
5. The Hand That Rocks The Mabel
Gideon Gleeful is the show’s second-best antagonist (see below for the best)- exhibiting the dangers of power, the id, and unchecked relationships. Add in excellent Mabel character development? You got an awesome episode.
4. Carpet Diem
The last “pure comedy” episode of Season 1, this episode still explores the relationship between Dipper and Mabel, the tensions that can (and do) exist between the two, and the horrors within the “bodyswap” cliche in science fiction.
3. Gideon Rises
A predictable ending is more than made up for thanks to fantastic conflict, awesome plot development, epic character development, and some of the darkest scenes in the history of the young show. “Here we go”, indeed.
Bill Cipher is widely considered the best character in the show, let alone the best antagonist, and for good reason- his interactions are unambiguously insane, morally ambiguous, and hysterically frightening. That, plus a great character analysis for Stan, plus one of the most epic endings in the history of the show, plus awesome animation? What episode could possibly beat that?
1. Boyz Crazy
This could. Again, I go against the tide of fandom, which tends to rank this as a weaker episode. This episode shows the consequences of the characters behaviors- Mabel’s descent into borderline insanity is freaky, Dipper is finally called out on his own callous behavior toward Wendy, and Robbie’s actions drive him to ruin. That, plus the best friends of Dipper and Mabel (Wendy, Candy, and Grenda respectively) finally confronting our favorite characters? This episode is a brilliant piece of tragicomedy… and one of my favorites. I just can’t find anything really wrong with it.
Well, that’s how we close out 2014. I hope you have a safe, sane, fun New Years celebration, and I wish to see you in the New Year.