Gravity Falls Review, Season 1, Episode 6: Dipper vs. Manliness.

Airdate: July 20th, 2012

Synopsis: Dipper, Mabel, and Grunkle Stan are at a diner. With Stan refusing to fork up money for breakfast, Dipper tries to beat a manliness test machine, but fails. This, alongside Mabel and Stan considering him un-masculine, alongside Stan catching Dipper singing “Disco Girl” (from Icelandic pop group BABBA) a few nights ago, embarrasses Dipper. He runs out to the forest, where dipper meets a beast called a Manotaur. (“Half man, half… uh, taur!) Dipper follows this Manotaur back to his cave, where he meets a bunch of other Manotaurs. Manotaurs, as expected, do manly things. The manotaurs decide to train Dipper to be manly.

One of the last tasks Dipper must do is defeat and kill a Multi-bear, a bear with multiple heads. Dipper defeats the bear in a duel, but decides not to kill him when he realizes the Multi-bear’s last request…. dying to “Disco Girl”, his favorite song. Dipper realizes that masculinity does not mean being stereotypically masculine, and realizes that the Manotaurs are a bunch of jerks who want to kill a bear based on his taste in music. With the Manotaurs refusing to listen to him, Dipper leaves the Manotaurs.

Meanwhile, Stan wants to date a local waitress, Lazy Susan. Mabel tries to help Stan get in shape and look good, but it ultimately proves futile. Mabel realizes that Stan is imperfect and that he as himself would make a good partner. Stan asks Susan if he wants to give him her number, which she accepts.

Dipper arrives back at the Diner, and Stan commends Dipper for his bravery against the Manotaur’s callous behavior.

Review: Compared to what we got earlier from this show, it’s a pretty weak episode we have here.

The message in this episode, for one, is pretty cliche. The idea of “Be Yourself” is a damn good message, but it’s a common sitcom message. Other shows have done it. Granted, Gravity Falls took liberties in the setting, and with quite a bit of bullying over males taking feminine interests, this episode gets extra points for taking on something that’s pretty damn important nowadays. In fact, this episode comes off as a gender-flipped example of the sitcom plot “tomboy tries to act more feminine, but realizes that conforming to expected society norms is not right”, except with more fantasy.

Also on the negative side, Mabel. Got. Gypped. Out. Of. A. Good. Plot. The plot she got is incredibly cliche and just plain dull. Mabel works best when she is part of the insanity of the town, NOT trying to fix Stan. Therefore, this episode loses a good chunk of it’s points mainly on how weak this plot is.

Still, this episode has a damn good amount of humor to keep your interest. However, given the high standards this show demands, this episode was disappointing.

Favorite Scene: Dipper singing to “Disco Girl”. Funny, funny, funny! Must be funny! In a good show’s world!

Score: 6. Remember, 5 is a passing grade in this review column.

Bonus: ABBA TIME!

Red Dwarf Review: Series II, Episode 6: "Parallel Universe"

Airdate: 11 October, 1988

Synopsis: The Boys from the Dwarf have nothing better to do to start the episode (like most others). The Cat is using the dream recorder to try and find a dream which involved him, three girls, and a family sized tub of banana yogurt. Rimmer calls the Cat out on his chauvinism. This prompts Lister to call Rimmer out on HIS sexist behavior. Rimmer tries to justify his use of hypnotism on females, despite being told that this is akin to trying to conquer aliens by Lister. Also, Rimmer can not use pick up lines.

Their nothingness is broken by an announcement by Holly: he has invented the Holly Hop Drive, which can transfer any object to any other point in space. Thanks to a few mishaps, they do not go to their intended destination, which was Earth. Instead, they wind up in a parallel universe, where, as they board that universe’s Red Dwarf, there is one big difference. Not only are the genders of Rimmer, Lister, and Holly swapped (played by Suzanne Bertish, Angela Bruce, and Hattie Hayridge respectively), but so are the gender roles. Women landed on the moon, Wilma Shakespeare wrote the great plays of her era, and Men burned their jockstraps. Outside of the Cat’s counterpart being a slobbish, kind male dog (Matthew Devitt), the rest of the characters are the same as their counterparts. Deb Lister is a lager drinking, slobbish tomboy; Arlene Rimmer is uptight, with rather strange sexual morals; and Hilly is just about as loopy as Holly.

With the Holly Hop Drive needing 12 hours of repair (not helped by Holly and Hilly falling in love), the two go to the ship’s disco, where the characters have unique relationships with each other. Deb and Dave get along rather well, although Dave is put off by Deb’s attempts to impress him, which involve drinking a six-pack and belching the whole of “Yankee Doodle Dandy”. Arlene tries to come on to Arnold, with the same tactics that Arnold uses to get women. The Cat is not a fan of the Dog’s dance skills. The party goes on all night long for Deb and Dave, while Arnold belts toward the male’s ship.

The next morning, the two Lister’s wake up with hangovers… right next to each other. They eventually piece together that they had relations the previous night. As the two Rimmers come aboard to gloat, Arlene tells Dave that he hopes HE gets pregnant. Suddenly, the truth comes out…. in this universe, MEN get pregnant. As Dave grills Deb on her lack of concern, Deb goes on the defense, declaring that Dave should have used protection. Dave then learns that Holly fixed the hop drive, and that they have to go back to his universe. As he is reminded of a scene from their incident with the Future Echoes where Lister was seen with twins, his pregnancy test comes back… with hilarious results.

Review: Well, this episode was a weird way to end the series.

We get to see how far into the Jerkass zone the characters can go in this episode. Arnold Rimmer is probably as unlikeable as he gets in the show thus far, with his complete and utter disregard toward women. The alternate Rimmer manages to be even MORE unlikeable then Rimmer is (especially when she declares that she hopes Dave gets pregnant), which shows how far the characters can go. Deb also comes off as quite unlikeable when she tries to defend herself after being grilled by Dave. Since the two characters are supposed to be opposite sex clones of the male Dwarfers, it makes the episode quite disturbing. Then again, the episode did try and provide a commentary on the troubling sexual politics of our world, so that’s can be excused a bit.

Also, the actors that play the female counterparts are wonderful at what they did. They manage to capture each of their characters PERFECTLY. Even Hattie Hayridge does wonderfully in her role as Hilly.

The humor does age a tad bit, but it’s still decent. A scene that I like in particular is the Cat teaching the Dog how to dance, and the Dog’s reaction.

Normally, I would give this episode a 6, but there is one scene in particular that props up the entire thing to an 8 score.

The song appears at the very beginning of the episode. Much like the Conway Twitty gags in Family Guy (especially from the FG episode “The Juice is Loose”), it’s pointless and a time consumer. However, unlike Conway Twitty, effort was put in here, and it has a thin bearing on the plot. Also, it’s suddenness is just hysterical! Charles Augins (Queeg from “Queeg”) actually directed the video. How popular was the song? An R&B remix, sung by Danny John-Jules, was released in 1993, and it reached #17 in the UK.

Favorite Scene: Three guesses, no prizes.

Score: 8.

Gravity Falls review, Season 1, Episode 5: The Inconviencing.

Airdate: July 13th, 2012.

Synopsis: After a brief pinecone-chucking contest, Dipper realizes that he is in love with Wendy. He decides to lie about his age (13 instead of 12) to hang out with her and a group of teenagers one night. They go to the local 7-11 knockoff, Dusk 2 Dawn. Dipper tries to prove his maturity to Wendy, and get in with the cool crowd. However, supernatural events take over the Dusk 2 Dawn, and the teens wind up in peril. Ghosts take over Mabel, who tripped on sugar. Dipper has to confess his age to save the teens, and preforms an embarrassing dance to appease the ghosts, who are just a sweet, elderly couple who hate teens. The teens are saved, and Wendy decides to hang out with Dipper more.

Review: This was the first Gravity Falls episode I EVER watched. Unlike Red Dwarf, which took me a few video clips to get into, it was love at first sight. The character development is actually pretty decent. We get our first episode focused on Wendy, showing her more Dave Lister-esque traits (lazy, yet also carefree and friendly). This episode shows that Dipper is not above it all, and that he can be selfish, although he still is rather likable. The use of the Chekov’s Gun trope is hilarious, with a rather embarrassing moment mentioned by Mabel used to save the gang. And, Mabel on Smile Dip. Just, Mabel on Smile Dip. I love my sentence fragments!

Favorite Scene: Just watch. This is after Mabel ate packets of Smile Dip.

Gravity Falls writers, please give us more Aoshima!

Final Score: 9. ONWARD AOSHIMA!