Gravity Falls

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Gravity Falls is an animated Disney Channel Original Series created by Alex Hirsch and produced by Rob Renzetti. It began airing on June 29, 2012 and has quickly developed a cult following with its paranormal theme, inventive writing, quirky yet lovable characters, thrilling escapades, and enough eyebrow-raising jokes to make one wonder how a kid-friendly channel like Disney picked it up in the first place. The show tells the story of twins Dipper and Mabel Pines, who have been sent to live for the summer with their "grunkle"[1] Stanford "Stan" Pines in the mountain town of Gravity Falls, Oregon, where he owns the Mystery Shack, "the world's most bizarre museum".

Dipper and Mabel's situation worsens (or, rather, betters) when Dipper finds a mysterious book, whose cover is only marked with the number "3" and a hand with six fingers. Upon opening it, Dipper finds a Great Big Book of Everything explaining the many strange beings, past events, and even federal cover-ups that exist within this town of secrecy — all cut through with an urgent warning: Trust No One!

Thus begins Mabel and Dipper's adventures as they interact with the supernatural world that surrounds them. After the first season finale, Alex Hirsch announced that the series would be going on a possibly year-long hiatus. Several Miniseries were released over the break to keep fans satisfied.

Such miniseries include:

  • Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained, where Dipper attempts to make documentaries explaining supposed mysteries around Gravity Falls
  • Mabel's Guide to Life, in which Mabel tries to give out handy tips to live every day life
  • Fixin' it with Soos, a short series of videos that has Soos trying to fix various things around the Mystery Shack
  • TV Shorts, which consist of a few sketches depicting Gravity Falls' TV programming
  • Mabel's Scrapbook, which follows the Pines family on vacation outings.

Season 2 premiered on August 1, 2014, 364 days after the season 1 finale, and wrapped up with a one hour series finale.

While the show has ended, the franchise has been kept alive through various graphic novels and supplementary books. The first adult-targeted entry, The Book of Bill is slated for a July 2024 release date.

WARNING! There are unmarked Spoilers ahead. Beware. Gravity Falls is Spoilered Rotten as a series and most of the supporting cast (and some of the main cast) are Walking Spoilers, so be warned.

Tropes used in Gravity Falls include:
  • Ambiguous Gender: In Soos and the Real Girl, Soos tries flirting with an Emo-looking person outside an Edgy on Purpose store.

Soos: So, you're probably a girl, right? Wrong? No, I was right the first time. ...Wrong?

  • Author Avatar: While not the series' writer, Kristen Schaal has claimed that Mabel is more like her than any other character she's voiced.
  • B-Movie: In Into the Bunker, all the low-budget movies featured on the Gravity Falls Bargain Movie Showcase. The movie shown at the start of the episode, aptly titled Nearly Almost Dead But Not Quite!, features copious amounts of Bad Bad Acting.

Announcer: Coming up next: The Widdlest Wampire, The Planet People of Planet Planet!, Help! My Mummy's a Werewolf!, Attack of the Exclamation Points!!!!!!!!, The Man with no Taste, Ghost Turtle, Help! My Mummy's a Werewolf! 2: This Again!
Dipper: You want to never watch this channel again?

  • Battle Discretion Shot: In Little Gift Shop of Horrors, at the end of the Clay Day short, the Mystery gang (and Claymation animator Claymore) watch a battle between clay figures rage on, while we the audience only see shadows.

Stan: "Stop-motion is pure evil!"
Soos: "And probably really expensive."
Claymore: "Incredibly expensive."
Soos: "This is an impressive fight, though. I'm glad I'm facing towards it."

  • Behind the Black: In Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained - Lefty, Dipper investigates a man who only shows his left side to people. And when we say 'only shows his left side', we don't mean that he wears special clothing to cover his right side; we mean he only appears from the left, moving in strange ways so as to never be viewed from any angle other than the left. An amusing gag, to be sure, but a bit of a headscratcher when you try to figure out how he could possibly avoid showing his right side in open spaces like a public park, or how he would deal with several people looking at him from different angles.
  • Brother-Sister Team: Dipper and Mabel.
  • Boke and Tsukkomi Routine: Mabel and Dipper respectively.
  • Bottle and Switch Episode: Had two anthology episodes that embody this trope:
    • "Bottomless Pit" has the cast tell stories while falling down said titular pit since Stan can't do card tricks, and Dipper doesn't want Mabel to spin him around. Dipper and Soos's stories have guest stars voicing Dipper and a pinball machine respectively.
    • "Little Gift Shop of Horrors" is about a series of tales that Stan narrates to the faceless protagonist to get them to buy merchandise. "Abaconings" has Neil DeGrasse Tyson as a Special Guest, while "Clay Day" features stop-motion animation, and was confirmed to be the most expensive one of the season.
    • "The Last Mabelcorn" after a tense Cold Open starts with Dipper and Mabel debating on playing a board game for the next "twenty minutes". Grunkle Ford then calls a family meeting, and prepares to lock down the Mystery Shack to protect it from Bill Cipher. He then takes Dipper to another level of his lab, while Mabel goes on a quest to prove herself worthy of earning unicorn hair.
  • Busman's Holiday: The whole series is this. It starts with Dipper and Mable's parents deciding the siblings could use "some fresh air" and ship them to Grunkle Stan's for the summer. Then the fun starts...
  • City of Adventure: The town of Gravity Falls.
  • Claymation: Mabel's phobia.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Both Mabel and Soos, to varying degrees.
  • Collectible Cloney Babies: An ad for Journal 3 in real life parodied this. Kristen Schaal, who plays Mabel, tried marketing customizable book sweaters for the journals. Jason Ritter, who plays Dipper, asks what kind of "creep" would buy them. Answer Cut to show creator Alex Hirsch saying, "I'll take ten" before upending a shelf of journals. Kristen grins and says there are a lot of creeps in the world, and she's counting on them.
  • Confusion Fu: In The Golf War.

Franz: You call yourself a golfer? Without us, that club is useless in your hands!
Mabel: Oh yeah? What's ten minus six?
Franz: Ten minu- what- hang on...
Mabel: FORE! (Sends the tiny Franz flying)

  • Dating Sim: In Soos and the Real Girl, Soos decides to brush up on his dating skills by naively renting a game called Romance Academy 7. Right from the moment he picks it up, the show mercilessly lampoons the genre.
  • Deliberately Cute Child: Lil' Gideon.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In Soos and the Real Girl, Giffany introduces herself as follows:

Oh, hi there! My name is Giffany. I'm a schoolgirl at School University.

  • Early Bird Cameo: While the first "official" appearance of Bill Cipher is in episode 19 (""Dreamscaperers") he appears briefly in the opening credits as far back as the first.
  • Early Teen Hero: The twelve year old Dipper.
  • Easter Egg: Quite a few references to Rick and Morty appear on this show, and many references to this one appear there, due to a long friendship between the creators of both.
  • Eldritch Abomination: Bill Cipher.
  • Eldritch Location: The entire town seems to be a magnet for supernatural activity for reasons not fully explained.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Lil' Gideon.
  • Generational Trauma: Stan clearly favors Mabel over Dipper as shown in "Dreamscaperers". He gives her more leeway while making Dipper do the nasty chores like shooing a bat out of the kitchen. We soon find out why: his father did the same to him, as a means to toughen him up so that Stan could face the world. Stan thinks that being hard on Dipper means that the world can't knock down his grand-nephew. It gets darker in "A Tale of Two Stans" and the graphic novel: Filbrick Pines was an emotionally abusive man who always picked on Stan for being the screwup goofball while planning to ride on Ford's coattails after the latter proved he was a genius in school. When Stan accidentally sabotaged Ford's project that would have earned him admission to this world's university of Stanford, Ford busted him and believed it was deliberate. Filbrick's response was to kick out his underage son before the latter even finished high school, and Ford never gave Stan a chance to explain himself out of belief that his brother betrayed him for a childhood dream. The implications are that Shermy, the twins' grandfather, was too little to pass on the trauma to the kids since he was a baby when Filbrick kicked Stan out of the house. It takes until the season 2 finale for both brothers to realize their selfishness will get Dipper and Mabel killed, and Ford starts regretting that he took his brother for granted when Stan pulls a Heroic Sacrifice and allows Ford to erase his mind to stop Bill.
  • Genius Ditz: Soos may be socially awkward, Book Dumb, and lacking in anything remotely resembling common sense, but damned if he isn't a mechanical prodigy.
  • Genki Girl: Mabel.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck: In The Golf War.

Mabel: Darn! Poop heck darn!

When the cherry petals of Romance Academy are in bloom... anthyding can hadplen.
Soos: That is so true.

Soos' Grandma: I do not want to pressure you, but you are a man now. In a way. It's time for you to start meeting girls. I would like to see you settled before I ascend to heaven and leave with the angels.
Soos: And with grandpa!
Soos' Grandma: [Beat] No, he is not there. [turns gaze downward]

  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Grunkle Stan.
  • Limited Wardrobe: Averted with both Dipper's hats and Mabel's sweaters. Played straight with Grunkle Stan for the most part, as he almost always wears a black tie, suit, and his fez.
  • Man Child: Soos. Disney even uses that exact word to describe him.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Lil' Gideon. Mabel goes on a pity date with him, and emotionally manipulates her into accepting two more.
  • Meet Cute: In Soos and the Real Girl, Soos hits it off with a real girl named Melody, who works at a restaurant called MeatCute.
  • Mutants: In Mabel's Scrapbook: Petting Zoo, animals mutate in bizarre ways when they drink the runoff from a nearby factory. A goat is shown instantaneously developing a second head. And the featured animal, Octavia, is a cow that grew four extra legs out of its back. It also has laser vision and a giant frog-like tongue to reel in prey.
  • Nice Hat: Grunkle Stan really seems to like his fez.
  • Never Say "Die": Defied. For a Disney cartoon, this show has quite a large kill-count, as this video shows.
  • No Pronunciation Guide: Parodied in Soos and the Real Girl. Giffany's name is alternately pronounced "Giffany" with a hard G, or "Jiffany". This is a reference to the .gif file type, and how people cannot agree on whether it's pronounced "Giff" or "Jiff".
  • Once Per Episode: Every episode has a scene where someone drinks Pitt Cola, a peach-flavored soft drink. This is a reference to director Joe Pitt.
  • One-Way Entrance: In "The Inconveniencing" episode, when the group attempts to leave, the doors slam shut.
  • Opposite Gender Protagonists: The Pine siblings Dipper and Mabel.
  • Precocious Crush: Dipper has one on Wendy, the 15-year old girl who works at The Mystery Shack.
  • Pungeon Master: Mabel.

Mabel: Hah! You're over Wendy?! Allow me to put on my 'skepticles'. (Makes circles around her eyes with her fingers) Whooop!

Soos: Isn't electric clothing kinda like a fire hazard?
Mabel: No. It's a fun hazard.

Mabel: Don't worry, bro! You're still... (slaps a sticker with a dinosaur on his cheek) ...Ext-roar-dinary!

  • Scattered Across Time and Space: Dipper and Mabel do this by accident in "The Time Traveler's Pig", accidentally spilling the objects in their pockets across time and space through a sibling squabble. Because they used Blendin's time belt, Blendin' is charged with picking up all the objects through time after the Time Police arrest him.
  • Self-Deprecation: In Little Gift Shop of Horrors, Grunkle Stan tries to help Mabel get over her phobia of Claymation.

Stan: "You see, Mabel, those monsters are just tiny clay figures moved around one frame at a time by an antisocial shut-in."
Soos: "Those people are called animators."

  • Special Effects Failure:
    • Copious amounts of terrible chroma-keying feature in Grunkle Stan's advertisement for the Mystery Shack, and in the Fixin' It With Soos shorts.
    • The Fixin' It With Soos shorts also have free-trial watermarks in the intro.
  • Sweet Tooth: This is Mabel's third most prominent idiosyncrasy (behind being a Genki Girl and Cloudcuckoolander. She's even shown consuming raw sugar packets.
  • Wham! Shot: Has enough Wham! Shots to make a drinking game out of them. Just to start with:
    • Episode 1
      • Norman decides to reveal his secret to Mabel. She hopes that he will be a vampire, and thinks it repeatedly. He then opens his coat...revealing himself to be a bunch of gnomes, who pop the question to her. Mabel understandably collapses in shock and disappointment because she's not ready for nonconsensual polyamory. As Dipper puts it when he finds out, "I was way off" because he thought Norman was a zombie.
      • The episode ends with Stan punching a code into the Mystery Shack vending machine. It opens a secret door, and he goes inside.
    • Episode 4 reveals that Gideon Gleeful has Journal 2.
    • In "The Deep End," Mermando decides to reveal his secret: he is a mermaid! Mabel gives a sigh of relief; she thought he had a girlfriend.
    • "Dreamscaperers" has one, when Gideon opens Journal 2 to reveal the mysterious figure who appears at the end of the opening credits. It ends with Gideon revealing he dynamited the safe holding the Mystery Shack deed, and sets his bulldozer on the Pines just as they wake up from fighting Bill Cipher.
    • The season one finale "Gideon Rises" show what's behind the vending machine: it's an elevator to underground levels of the Mystery Shack. Stan reveals he has Journal 1 and uses it, as well as Journal 2 which he stole from Gideon and 3 which Dipper lent to him, to activate a giant machine. The episode ends with Stan saying, "Here we go.".
    • An in-universe one in "Scaryoke" as zombies trap the Pines in the attic. Dipper frantically says that the Journal pages are blank... then Mabel reveals that blacklight unlocks invisible ink. They quickly find a counterattack to dispel the zombies and cure Soos after he gets bitten.
  • Write What You Know: Alex Hirsch based the series on the childhood summers he and his twin sister spent camping with their great-aunt.
  • Write Who You Know: Mabel was named after and heavily inspired by Hirsch's sister. One example is that Mabel Hirsch wanted a pet pig when she was a kid, so Alex gave Mabel a pet pig in the show.
  • Yandere: Giffany from Soos and the Real Girl is a stereotypical instance of one.
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