Gravity Falls isn’t just one of the best animated shows around, it’s one of the best television shows
around WE HAVE EVER SEEN.
If you haven’t watched Gravity Falls, it’s like your childhood mashed up with the X-Files, old zombie movies, unicorn spit, fairy dust, dinosaur dreams, instant pancakes, the smell of fresh pine needles, and all your old video game cartridges that you travelled through time to purchase brand new just for this description. It is a perfect blend of family comedy, science fiction, fantasy, and horror. So everything you love, all animated and adorable. Plus, there’s a pig.
And this week, Season Two Episode 11 “Not What He Seems” bammed it up a notch.
Speculations have been running wild all over the internet about what Stan’s big secret really is. Did he write the journals? What does the mystery device hidden in the basement of the shack really do? Who is the six-fingered weirdo?
But hold on! The men in black government types crash in to arrest Stan! Can the twins really trust their Grunkle?
When the device activates, a portal opens in the mystery shack and we finally find out.
YOUR QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED (sort of)
Let’s ask Anais, our resident animation expert, about her thoughts on the episode.
Plot Bunnies: What did your face look like when the fuzz showed up to arrest Stan?
Anais L: Probably something like this.
PB: How much do you love Soos?
AL: Soos is the pineapple on the delicious Gravity Falls pizza. He makes everything juicy and sweet, and anybody who doesn’t like him probably doesn’t have a soul.
PB: Did you suspect who the author might be?
AL: I didn’t go so far as guessing his actual identity, but I guessed it was someone Stan knew. At first, I thought it was old man McGucket, but the “Society of the Blind Eye” episode definitely put him down as a no. Then, I was really big on the whole “Stan is actually the author” thing. Looking back though, it didn’t quite add up. He could have lost his memories of being the author, which I guess was kind of the basis of the theory to explain why the journals were all over the place, but then how would he even have known about the journals? This theory only made for an extremely convoluted plot. Plus, I thought the author might have had six fingers, because that is such a specific thing to draw on the cover of your journal. So in the end, I settled for someone whom Stan knew, whose work he probably was trying to continue. I guess I wasn’t that far off after all!
PB: How do you think Mabel will commemorate these events in her scrapbook?
AL: I could see her taking selfies with everything – including the author and the button. And then they would make a Gravity Falls short where Dipper would ask her when she had time to take selfies and she would just splash glitter everywhere and giggle. Did you notice that she had a key sweater on during most of the episode? Like, “this episode holds the key to the mystery of the author’s identity” kind of thing? Of course, the reveal of this episode only brings more questions to the table, but I still thought it was neat.
PB: How does Gravity Falls manage to be so wonderfully silly and yet so intensely thrilling in the same episode?
AL: You mean, beside the design, colour-pallet, brilliant animation, and some great voice acting? The writers know their shit. I know it sounds like a really broad answer, but a lot of it comes down to that. They know that kids, like all of us, want to see good stuff, but they also know that they’re not only talking to kids, and that this other audience is very savvy, as well as fond of their old classics. They know that avoiding clichés is impossible, so they play around with it and embrace them. A lot of the time, writing is less about finding completely original ideas than trying to look at old concepts in a new light. How many family comedies, horror shows, fantasy cartoon series, and sci-fi shows do you know? How many shows do you know that combine all four, plus animation?
I think a very representative moment in “Not What He Seems” is the moment when Dipper, Mabel, and Soos finally reach Stan’s secret lab. Their trust in Stan – a character we know for a fact is a loving crook who keeps pictures of Dipper and Mabel in his secret lab, for god’s sake, has just been shaken, if not broken. They all try to deal with it in their own way – Dipper gets angry, Mabel wants to trust her beloved grunkle, and Soos is confused – that’s character. Then, the three journals are finally reunited and Dipper reads the hidden message – that’s the pay off of all those episodes playing around with the idea of something big hidden inside them. Then, on top of having watched gravity anomalies occur all throughout the ep, we learn that the machine Stan built, if the same one the journal talks about, could destroy the world if the clock reaches zero. Cut to the clock and there’s a minute and a half left before total annihilation. Then Soos gasps and exclaims, “It’s the final countdown, just like they always sang about!” and you piss your pants laughing. This, right there, is what I call a writingasm.
Yeah. Gravity Falls. Watch it. You’re welcome.