Gravity Falls — Rachel Cox

Yesterday, I made the ill-advised decision to start a new show, Gravity Falls. It’s now in its second season, so I had some serious catching up to do.

The core cast. From Left to right: Soos, Dipper, Grunkle Stan, Mabel, and Wendy.

The core cast. From Left to right: Soos, Dipper, Grunkle Stan, Mabel, and Wendy.

Gravity Falls  follows the adventures of twins Dipper and Mabel Pines while staying at their Gunkle (great uncle) Stan’s home/business, The Mystery Shack, in the strange town of Gravity Falls, Oregon, over the summer. Although the twins aren’t happy about this at first, it becomes immediately apparent that the small town is more than it seems. One day, Dipper finds a strange journal that chronicles a number of strange creatures and mysterious phenomena in the town and the surrounding forest. As it turns out, the journal is one of a set that, when brought together, holds the secret to unlocking some sort of ultimate power. The Pines twins must solve these mysteries before the summer ends and this power falls into the wrong hands.

This show, like Steven Universe, has become quite popular with viewers outside of its target audience, and for good reason. It’s really funny, the characters are all lovable, and the mysteries of the little town are utterly fascinating. Besides coming across mythical creatures/monsters, the twins have faced off against an all-knowing demon, a psychotic child psychic, and a secret society. At first, as I watched the show, I didn’t see the big deal. However, as the show went on and the characters were further developed,  I found that I couldn’t stop watching it. I just HAD to know what Grunkle Stan kept in the basement, how the twins were going to stop the child psychic, and who exactly wrote these journals.

In a bizarre case of life imitating art, some fans have become borderline obsessed with cracking the mysteries of this show, uncovering plot points before the show reveals them. The show shows us a number of pages and entries in the journal, and one page in particular is shown quite often:

This is always shown at the end of the opening sequence.

This is always shown at the end of the opening sequence.

A number of the symbols on the page correspond to characters or things we’ve already seen in the series, so a number of fans have dedicated a lot of time and energy to decoding this page, like Dipper himself. And the show intentionally feeds into this side of the fanbase. For example, at the end of each episode, a string of nonsense letters or numbers are shown after the credits. Most of these messages have been decoded, and they’re usually more silly jokes about the episode, but that doesn’t stop fans from solving them.

Overall, it’s a fantastic show with fun characters, a silly sense of humor, and intriguing mysteries that doesn’t take itself too seriously. I don’t think I can praise it as highly as I can Steven Universe in terms of being progressive, but it’s still a darn good show that’s really well-executed. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to find out what that time traveler from the future is up to in future space jail.

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