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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" note 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. New episodes now premiere on Disney XD first and Disney Channel later on.
This show contains examples of the following tropes:
- Agent Mulder: Dipper is shaping up to be one of these, as seen in the early trailers.
- Badass Grunkle: Stan Pines. While he has no biological children or grandchildren, Stan fits every other aspect of the Badass Grandpa to a T. As early as the pilot, he is shown to be keeping big secrets, punches a pterodactyl in the eye in Land Before Swine (as well as a certain other creature, as we see in Weirdmageddon part 3), and is at his most badass in Scary-oke and Not What He seems, which are also the episodes where he has big reveals. He protected Dipper and Mabel by fighting off swarms of zombies single-handedly, with a baseball bat, brass knuckles, and the grandfather clock. He trained himself to be self-sufficient, and to go from barely graduating high school to being capable of fixing the inter-dimensional transporter in the basement lab to bring back the other Badass Grunkle of the series: Ford Pines, an exceptionally intelligent man where Stan excels physically. Both men are in their 60s or 70s.
- Brother-Sister Team: Obviously
- Chekov's Gun: Mabel's grappling hook was introduced in the pilot episode but did not make a second appearance until the season one finale, during which it was used to save Dipper's and Mabel's lives.
- Chekov's Army: The Gnomes, as featured in the pilot, became Dipper's and Mabel's army during their attempt to steal back the Mystery Shack.
- Deal with the Devil: A favorite tactic of Bill's that he uses to get what he wants from humans for as long as they have existed. He has made deals with Gideon Gleeful, Blendin Blandin, Dipper Pines, and other Pines family members unspecified for spoilers' sake.
- Great Big Book of Everything: Journal #3. Considering that the premise of the show is built on exploring the weird stuff Journal 3 gives information on AND discovering the author is one of the main story-arcs, it's kind of ridiculous that it wasn't listed here until November 2016.
- Somethings are subverted. Examples are: the author of Journal 3 appears in person for a decent portion of the show, the book can fail in some instances (e.g. weaknesses of gnomes unknown, "IF HE GAINS A PHYSICAL FORM ALL IS LOST")
- Half-Identical Twins: Dipper and Mabel.
- Hey, It's That Voice!: Kristen Schaal (Mel in Flight of the Conchords and Louise in Bob's Burgers) voices Mabel. Blendin Blandin is voiced by Justin Roiland of Rick and Morty fame, and he sounds EXACTLY like Morty, minus the voice cracks.
- Genki Girl: Mabel.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: "Who wants to put on some blindfolds and get into my car?!"
- In Summerween, Alex Hirsch wanted the phrase "Bottles will be spun" on Tambry's party invitation. When Disney's Standards and Practices wouldn't allow it, he changed it to "Not S & P Approved" to be a smartass. Oddly enough, the much more obvious reference (demons actually shown playing "Spin the Human" and eating whoever it landed on) in Weirdmageddon was kept in the episode.
- Homemade Sweater From Hell: Mabel's sweaters. Subverted in that she likes them and wears them proudly.
- Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Mabel's sweaters can sometimes go into this.
- Large Ham: Several characters, such as Mabel and Stan (mainly when he is acting as Mr. Mystery) tend to delve into this, but the paragon of hammy evil is clearly Bill in both words and behavior, from start to finish.
- Bill first introduces himself to the audience when Lil' Gideon summons him via evil cackling, presenting his summoner with a full set of deer teeth, and proudly agreeing when the young "psychic" declares him to be insane. And that's only the beginning. Probably his weirdest entrance was when he played the piano...
- Limited Wardrobe: Averted with both Dipper's hats and Mabel's sweaters.
- Man Child: Soos. Disney even uses that exact word to describe him.
- Magnificent Bastard/Complete Monster/Crazy Awesome: As horrible a person as he is, Bill Cipher is definitely one of the most beloved and memorable things about Gravity Falls.
- Nice Hat: Grunkle Stan really seems to like his fez.
- Precocious Crush: Dipper has one on Wendy, the 15-year old girl who works at The Mystery Shack.
- Slasher Smile: In Sock Opera (S2E4), "Bipper" does this for almost all of his screen time up until his confrontation and ensuing fight with Mabel. It's especially prominent when he asks how Dipper could possibly hope to defeat him and when he pulls the cake (with Mabel and the journal on it) back up to the rafters after she falls.
- Write What You Know: Alex Hirsch based the series on the childhood summers he and his twin sister spent camping with their grandpa Stan.
- Write Who You Know: Mabel was heavily inspired by Hirsch's sister. One example is that Ariel Hirsch wanted a pet pig when she was a kid, so Alex gave Mabel a pet pig in the show.