Since Gravity Falls is about to end, I figured that it was a nice moment to take a look back and re-visit some of its highlights. After all, this was the show that helped me to re-gain my faith on animation after over a decade of hits and misses (mostly misses, sadly). So, without further overdue, here are my 39 picks -one for each of the episodes aired to date-:
"I guess I'm just IRRESISTIWBLE" - "Tourist Trapped":
This image (alongside the Barfing Gnome -who just HAS to be an honorable mention-) is probably the first to come to mind whenever you think about this episode... and for good reasons! Establishing your characters is important and doing it in the very first entry of the series is essential for the show, since a bad introduction can doom the whole idea to failure (despite of how good or bad it actually is). So, having Mabel just being herself in such an adorable -yet absolutely hilarious- way was a solid first step for the series, and the image itself has become a true staple of the character.
But is it really that good? Well, let me put it this way... not even two days after the show's premiere on Disney, a whole avalanche of icons, GIFs and Fan-art featuring the scene rained over DeviantART, making it almost impossible to avoid contact with the series. Success.
"You call that Ben Franklin? He looks like a woman" - "The Legend of the Gobblewonker":
If the previous image did a fantastic job introducing Mabel, this one works marvels for Grunkle Stan (who didn't actually get much screentime nor dialogue on the first episode). The sole idea of having him not only making the twins actively counterfeit money but also criticizing their work is just amazing and, even though it doesn't last much or nor are we given many details to work with, it pretty much guarantees a good laugh out of absurdity. And this episode would have a ton of that scattered throughout its runtime, so it was actually a pretty fitting joke to start with.
"Boy, I'd be pretty embarrassed if I was you two!" - "Headhunters":
This one is really simple, but I like it a lot for one basic reason: It is one of the first jokes on the show to rely on the secondary -or maybe tertiary?- cast to deliver the goods. We all know that Toby Determined is a pretty hopeless situation, but having him actually enjoying his "victory" without realizing what's happening around -or, more accurately, behind- him is a sweet experience and opens the way for a nice rainbow of possibilities with his character. And remember, this guy is the town's main source of information -and no, Shandra Jimenez doesn't count-.
Gideon plotting his revenge - "The Hand that Rocks the Mabel":
This is a really great "illusion". Coming to this episode, all we really know about Gideon is that he's Stan's biggest competitor for the easily-impressionable townsfolk's money and that he host an act that's actually very well-received there. Nothing very interesting nor important to the series... until later on the episode when we find out that he's not only not a fraud, but is also in possession of one of the journals. That alone would have made for a very interesting plot, but the fact that he's now fanatically obsessed over Mabel just serves as a great way for him to keep his motivation intact.
Gideon would only be making sporadic appearances on the series during the first part of the Starter Season, but every time he showed up was a delight.
"Well, I'm probably scarred for life. I think I'm gonna go staring at a wall for a while and rethink EVERYTHING" - "The Inconveniencing":
Up to this point, Wendy had been nothing more than a glorified background character with just a few lines and pretty much no screentime devoted to her. For that reason, her reputation amongst the fans wasn't precisely the best. So, having an entire episode focused on not only her, but her "group" (while also involving the twins and having a nice subplot with Stan going on) was a very nice way to bring her back to the game.
There's little room for doubt in my mind when it comes to think that the whole point of the episode was to show off not only this character, but Robbie as well... and this seems to be supported by the fact that they both appear in the vast majority of the shots, with quite a few lines of dialogue. I'm not complaining, I was among the crowd of people who wanted to know more about her, but revisiting this episode now, it's become quite clear that they tried to make up for her absence on previous entries of the series. Still, what they did here is very much on the spirit of Gravity Falls and it is for that reason that one of her lines of dialogue has become the flagship of the episode in this list.
Fixing up Stan - "Dipper vs Manliness":
This is not a particularly bright entry of the series (in fact, it was one of the very few that I actually disliked). Buuuut it is really hard to say "no" to one of those Mabel moments -specially one that goes so wrong-. The idea of fixing up Stan just to hook him with Lazy Susan was random AND hilarious, two of the most well-defined character traits of Mabel and the episode really knows how to take advantage of it.
Obviously, it takes more than good intentions and wit to "fix" Stan, but that's precisely why this is such a hilarious thing to do. Mabel's reaction to the impending failure of her experiment also makes for a great comedic result (thus, it makes the list).
Paper Jam Dipper - "Double Dipper":
I know that some people have a problem with this character, finding it offensive and the like... and I can see their point, really. But when you take that away and just look at him the way he is SUPPOSED to be (a paper jammed because of a faulty printer -and we have all had the experience at some point... darn printers-) he's a really funny, unexpected character. I didn't mind his presence at all, after having to "suffer" thru Paper Dipper 2 thru 9 (was it nine?).
It is funny how it works, really... since he gives a ton of color to the episode. If you watch this episode, try to imagine how awesome it would have been to have him dating Wendy instead of any of other Dippers (man, I don't think Wendy got to see him at all... now, I'm sad. So much wasted potential there; there's a ton of jokes that they could have made with that setting).
Tomato Shelling - "Irrational Treasure":
There's actually a ton of Mabel-related material to fill up this entry, but this shot of Pacifica telling the townspeople to bombard Stan with tomatoes -and his reaction to this- it's just too great to let it pass. Try looking at the picture and not coming with a lot of captions for it... hard, right? That's how you know that that's an outstanding moment.
Stan turning Mabel into an attraction - "The Time Traveler's Pig":
This is funny for the wrong reasons. You know that Stan is a shark and he wouldn't let an opportunity to take money from people pass, but you would think that he would draw a line when it comes to his own hearth-broken niece... nope. The fact that she can stand there, just banging her head on the totem pole for a whole month is also pretty fantastic, but look at the image! Not even Soos gives a flying darn about Mabel in this. I just love the concept.
Robbie fleeing in terror - "Fight Fighters":
This is something we have all been wanting to see since the moment we met this guy, but I like how completely overboard it all goes. I mean, Rumble is not going to "scare" Robbie or to teach him a lesson, he's going for the killing here and the best part is that it is all Dipper's fault -and he's going to pay for it too, making it all pointless. It is a delightful concept for the episode-.
The nice tribute to Street Fighter and how well it all blends together give the episode a nicer tone than some of the previous entries in my opinion... too bad that there's nothing too spectacular happening as a result of the weird set-up, but it is still an entertaining cartoon to watch.
Gideon has troubles - "Little Dipper":
Backed against a corner and at risk to lose everything to Gideon, Stan is saved by a tickle-torture provided by the still-microscopic twins. Unaware of this, the old Grunkle believes that Gideon has finally broken his mind and talks easy to him while the latter can't stop laughing and rolling on the floor. The irony of the scene and how frustrating it all must have been for the kid makes for one of the funniest scenes on the Starting Season.
Scared Stan - "Summerween":
There's really not much to say about this one, except that many of us share his pain when it comes those tricky videos. But if you really wanted to see him scared and defeated, this is your chance to laugh at that.
Mabel's in charge - "Boss Mabel":
This is another one that's really hard to comment on... and in fact, it shouldn't be necessary to write a comment for it. I mean, it is Mabel running the Shack with integrity and the like. What more could you ask for? The "#2 Boss" Mug and her shoulder paths only enhance the mood of the episode while she does her best to pretend that she knows what she's doing.
"What seems to be the problem, Officer?" - "Bottomless Pit!":
This must have been Stan's catchphrase at some point during his life, but hearing him actually saying it out loud on the show -not to mention, in such a naive, kinda like "I've got this covered" tone- it's actually refreshing. Also, that bear is a darn responsible driver by the looks of things... he even has the safety belt on! I wonder what Dr Medicine would have said about the whole thing.
"Solitary Pool Prison" - "The Deep End":
This is an episode that has enough good jokes as it is, but, somehow, this is the one that stands out for me. I don't know what crime has this kid committed, but it seems to be enough to not only put him in solitary confinement but also to have him there for ages (literally throughout the year). The Gravity Falls Pool is not an easy place, mate.
"Goodbye, Childhood" - "Carpet Diem":
A great joke to a great plot. In this one, Mabel and Dipper are fighting over the right to get a new room on the Shack for themselves, so Stan sets up a competition -that of course includes a ton of slave-labor- in which whoever pleases him the most, gets the room. Things go nuts when they find a carpet that swaps the minds of the people who stand and "shock" each other while standing on it. So, now that their minds are swapped, they go around trying to sabotage each other's efforts... of course, this leads to an unexpected result that I won't be spoiling in here, but that includes Mabel -in Dipper's body- being taught about her body.
"Hey guys, what's in the bag? Money. Money we stole. We are criminals!" - "Boyz Crazy":
The girls reacting marvelously well under pressure.
Mabel finds out what really happened to Waddles - "Land Before Swine":
A true turning point in Mabel and Stan's relationship. After being lied about the whereabouts of her dear pig-pet, Mabel finds out the truth and is unable to hide her sheer rage towards her Grunkle. Of course, this won't stay that way for long, but you can really feel the tension on the air while it lasts.
"The kid's weak, he's a loser. I just want to get rid of him" - "Dreamscaperers":
A really poignant moment. After having gotten lost in Stan's mind, Dipper overhears an older conversation between his Grunkle and Soos, in which the old man says that he has no respect, patience nor hope for Dipper and that he just wants to get rid of him. Deeply hurt, the kid just wants to abandon his Grunkle to his luck.
The kids leaving town - "Gideon Rises":
Of course it's now silly, looking back, to think that the show was going to end in such a low note. But back when this first aired, we actually thought that this was going to be it for the series, with Gideon winning, the Shack destroyed and the twins back to home. The moment doesn't last enough for us to end on a cliffhanger, but it definitely has its fair share of screentime and that helped to establishing the feeling. A very nice trick that the show pulled off on us.
Love Patrol Alpha - "Scary-Oke":
This episode is not only the kick-off of a new -and heavily awaited- Season, but also has zombies in it... so, why am I highlighting something as silly as Mabel's idea of a Karaoke band with her relatives? Because it is a HILARIOUS thing to see and the fact that it actually ends up happening only adds to the flavor. Would you have been happier with only the zombies? I wouldn't.
Wendy vs the ShapeShifter - "Into the Bunker":
If there's something to blame on the First Season, is that both Soos and Wendy were super underdeveloped during the majority of it. You could easily spot them chilling out on the background and/or making some funny jokes, but that was pretty much it. This episode takes the first step in the right direction by shifting the limelight to Wendy for the first time since Episode 5. And she didn't waste her chance here (in fact this was the episode that changed many opinions regarding her character and role on the series).
Big Henry's sacrifice - "The Golf War":
The question "what am I looking at?" is not foreign for watchers of this show, but this takes it to a whole new level. One minute we are watching a rigged Mini-Golf competition and the very next one we are witnessing this guy's unnecessary death. It is all poignant, but it is hard not to laugh out hard at the scene once you have seen it. It's very grotesquely amusing.
Dipper and Bill's deal - "Sock Opera":
This is one of my favorites. Being completely obsessed over the laptop found on The Bunker, but at risk to lose everything because of how many times he has inputted the wrong password, Dipper makes a deal with Bill in order to learn the real password to the computer. All Bill wants in return is a puppet (to which Dipper has plenty lying around) so he accepts... only to find out the demon's real intentions behind the deal. A classic moment of the series.
"Game Over!" - "Soos and the Real Girl":
Having a whole Soos-centered episode was a long overdue at this point, so it is nice to see that they went headfirst in order to make it. In this one, Soos tries to get a date for his cousin's engagement party and, since he's not all that good at it, he decides to buy a dating simulator that hopefully will help him learn what he needs to learn in order to succeed at that task. Of course, things CAN go wrong with this plan... and when they do, it is an epic and pixelated mayhem.
Waddles the Genius - "Little Gift Shop of Horrors":
While trying to test his intelligence, Dipper gets an over-complicated puzzle-sphere that he can't solve no matter how hard the tries, so he consults the journals and finds out about a mushroom that can grant him superior mental powers if applied overnight and while sleeping. Attracted by the scent of the mushroom, Waddles jumps out of the bed and eats the whole thing, which grants him enough intelligence to not only being able to speak human, but to surpass their knowledge in every possible way (he even got to built a vehicle for his personal use, that has a built-in rocket launcher!). This causes Waddles and Dipper to become close on their search for answers, but also causes Mabel to miss her piggy friend.
It's the kind of conflict that we are used to on the series, but having Waddles on the starring role is what gives it an extra boost. It was all very cleverly done.
McGucket's Memories - "The Society of the Blind Eye":
Season Two started really easy on the viewers, with most of the episodes focusing on comedy or character development, so having this one actually answering some of the major questions felt like a golden prize given to us. And what a way to do it too... we know that Old Man McGucket was a very interesting character -just look at the stuff he did in previous episodes- but we were never given a clue about his story. This episode put an end to that and while also creating far more questions than it answers, in classic GF fashion.
Soss's Decision - "Blendin's Game":
"Soos and the Real Girl" was a nice attempt at having the character more developed without going out the borderlines of a traditional storyline for this series. Definitely something nice and welcomed to see... but trust me when I say that that episode -as good as it was- was NOTHING compared to "Blendin's Game" in terms of character development for our beloved handyman. In this one, Soos is given a very nice and relatable story to him (that I won't be spoiling here) and once that comes into play, you can't do much than loving him ever more for what he does.
His final decision during the episode is also worth a sincere clapping, just because of how he comes to the realization that has him neglecting his deeper wishes just because of what he learned. And of course, there's a laugh at the end of that too.
Mabel's Temptations - "The Love God":
Mabel has done a lot of good in the past, but messing with Robbie's romantic life -thus, breaking the balance on Wendy's group of friends- wasn't one of her brightest ideas. So, as a punishment, The Love God projects all her past relationships in an attempt to retrieve the powder that would put an end to all that mayhem. It is truly fantastic to see how she can't distinguish between fantasy and reality and it is just there enjoying all he praising she's getting from her "boyfriends", while everything around her falls apart (a tactic that would be later be re-used on a much bigger scale).
She truly inhabits her own little world and the whole show gains a lot because of it.
Pacifica's Redemption - "Northwest Mansion Noir":
Pacifica is such a complex character, man. At first she was introduced as the classic example of a spoiled rich girl, but then -MUCH later- there was a shadow of redemption being cast over her that awoke a lot of curiosity and theories amongst fans but that was put aside in favor of other stories and was quickly forgotten about... until this very episode, that is.
Her case is very similar to Soos's, and once you have learned what she has gone thru, it becomes really hard not to gain an appreciation for her character. What she does in this episode is one of the reasons for which I love this show so much... nothing is definitive with a character and even the most defined "villains" would surprise you at some point.
Ford's Arrival - "Not What He Seems":
Definitely one of the most iconic moments on the series. After having put the entire universe at risk with his machine, Stan is finally able to activate the device that would bring his brother back from another dimension, but he needs to convince the twins to trust him and let him continue with the process despite of the catastrophic risks (something that it's not easy to accomplish because they have found out that he's been lying about a bunch of stuff, even his own identity).
Of course, Mabel decides to trust him and we are introduced with the true author of the journals: Grunkle Ford. Soos's reaction to this (passing out) was definitely accurate to the moment.
The Origins of the Shack - "A tale of two Stans":
After such a big revelation on the previous episode, we naturally had a ton of questions that couldn't remind unanswered... and this episode did a great job at giving us not only all the answers we wanted, but also some that I personally didn't think of asking. We literally saw everything, from Stan and Ford's childhood to the moment in which he's sucked into the other dimension, and Stan's efforts to bring him back during years on end.
Like many other thing on life, the Shack was part of something bigger and not necessarily planned. Definitely a must-see.
Battle Royal - "Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons":
Granted, Stan and Mabel are probably the last two persons you would think would be playing something as nerdy as "Dungeons, Dungeons and More Dungeons", but when the situation calls for it, it's game on! The funny thing about the episode is that both of them are surprisingly skilled at this, despite having never played it before (much to the Evil Wizard's frustration).
Mabel's Mind Control - "The Stanchurian Candidate":
When the kids find out that Gideon's dad is running for Mayor of Gravity Falls (thus, making it easy for him to release Gideon from prison) they convince Stan to run as well, but things go wrong when the old Grunkle insist in speaks his mind like he normally does (that is, insulting and searching for defects in everyone he sees). To prevent him from being crushed by the competition, Ford gives the kids a tie that allows them to take control of Stan's mind and do the talking for him. Everything seems to be running smoothly until he decides that he doesn't need his "lucky tie" anymore.
The things Dipper and Mabel make Stan do are mostly ok, but when they argue for controlling their Grunkle (or when they are testing the device on Soos) everything turns into a complete riot. Giving these two the power to mess with other's people minds is just as smart as, let's say, giving Bill a machinegun and it plays out exactly the same. In other words, it is a fantastically frenetic experience.
Fight, Fight, Fight! - "The Last Mabelcorn":
Bill's powers are growing stronger and Ford decides that they need to try their best to protect the Shack from his influences (since Bill is now able to posses anyone he wants). He has already devised a way to keep the evil triangle out, but sends Mabel and her friends in a secondary quest to get unicorn hair as a back-up plan. Things go out of hand when the unicorn deems Mabel as "impure of heart" and refuses to collaborate to her. This has a devastator effect on the kid that goes around trying to improve in every way possible to pass the unicorn's trial... just to find out that it was all a scam pulled by the mythical creature just to tick them off.
Naturally, Mabel and the girls took it the wrong way (or should I say the ONLY REASONABLE WAY?) and beat the living crap out of it in order to get the hair -and, even though this all happens off-screen, it is as exciting as it sounds-.
Dipper's Game Uncovered - "Roadside Attraction":
I'm not a big fan of this episode in any way, shape nor form, but the subplot with Grunkle Stan teaching Dipper how to talk to girls is actually pretty entertaining. Too bad that he forgot to tell him how it would all end if he tries to get more than one girl (let alone freaking four). Spoiling too much about the strongest part of the episode would be a bad thing to do, so I will just let the image speaks for itself.
The End of the World - "Mabel and Dipper VS The Future":
This one has opened a lot of debate between the fans of the series, who said that it all happened because Dipper wasn't keeping Mabel up-to-date with Bill's schemes, increasing power and new-found abilities. And I certainly agree with the theory... to a certain extent, because the last time the topic was seriously discussed between the two was a bunch of episode back, in "Sock Opera".
Another thing that was seriously discussed by fans is the fact that Mabel wasn't at top-form when this all happened, being deeply hurt by the fact that the summer was almost over and that Dipper might not be returning home with her at the end of it.
Whatever the case, the thing is that Mabel -unwarily- hands Bill -who's disguised as Blendin- the devise that prevents him from taking over world, opening the gate between worlds and effectively starting the Weirdmageddon.
Gideon's Redemption - "Weirdmageddon Part 1":
Now, this is something that I have been waiting for ever-since Pacifica got her chance at redemption. Gideon might have been one of the show's strongest antagonists, but that doesn't mean that he couldn't have a change of heart in the end; and when it all happens, it's one of the sweetest experiences on the show.
The way he goes out to battle against his former ally pretty much makes up for everything else done by him up to that point. And it is hard not to root for him as he does it.
The Trial - "Weirdmageddon Part 2: Escape from Reality":
The Trial works in many ways, but its biggest accomplishment is being a remainder of just how much heart this series can have (and after two or three episodes of pure chaos, this is more than welcomed). I can't make it justice, you just need to sit down and watch if by yourself in order to understand not only the setting but also the meaning -and the sheer strength- of the things shown during it.