I admit that I was wary of this show. I’ve seen positive reviews and the premise seemed really cool, but I treat every “kid targeted” show with a fair share of skepticism. The way I see it, way too many TV shows for kids fall into one of the two categories: educational & obnoxious or totally bizarre, random that leave a bloody pulp where once there was a functioning brain. Still, I decided to give Gravity Falls a shot. At first I was intrigued. The show seemed like a funny, kid friendly version of Supernatural. On the other hand I was afraid that it’d turn into a messy “Dipper’s coming of age” drama with additional obnoxious gag characters. So yeah, kinda like Supernatural right now.
Fortunately I was wrong and couldn’t be happier about it. The plot is great. Two kids are sent on summer vacation in the Mystery Shack — a tourist trap run by their con-artist grunkle (great uncle) in the small town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. What they expect to be a boring summer, turns out being the adventure of their lives when they discover a mysterious journal describing all the supernatural creatures that inhabit the nearby woods. It might seem like a handful, but already in the first episode we clearly see that those creatures are just the tip of the iceberg and some of the town inhabitants hold secrets even more mysterious than what the journal describes. From the season one finale the plot only seems to thicken, introducing even more intrigue and mysteries in the show’s second season. I have to say that Gravity Falls is surprisingly dark for a kid’s show. Some of the shorts aired in between seasons were especially disturbing.
At first I had serious issues with the main characters. Mabel’s goofiness, Dipper’s occasional egoism and his crush on Wendy, Stan’s obnoxious behaviour or Wendy’s somewhat reckless, disrespectful attitude (she’s a teen, duh) felt like a recipe for disaster, but I was surprised that as the show progressed I found redeeming and endearing qualities in each and everyone of them. Stan especially stands out for me. The man is literally the worst role model a child could have. He’s a con artist and a thief, who’s rude and bosses everyone around — especially his employees and family. He’s a difficult person to like, but once we learn why he acts like he does, it’s a whole different story. In some of the episodes we see that Stan does have a conscience, cares for his nephew and niece and would risk his life to save them from harm. Also I think Stan Pines might be the biggest mystery in Gravity Falls, which only makes him even more interesting. And as for the others? Well, Dipper manages to mature a bit throughout the show and even his crush on the older girl Wendy is handled in a very reasonable way. Mabel is still the main goof of the whole show but seeing her interaction with her brother is really heart warming. Since season two Wendy got a bit more development — she’s still a rebellious teen, but we see also her courageous and reasonable side. Also, there’s Soos, but dude! He’s awesome from the start, dude!
Gravity Falls sometimes falls into the educational category, teaching us important lessons about family, sharing, sacrificing our own needs for the good of another person, standing up for yourself or being honest with others, yet it does so with style, without any awkward laughter and obvious “The moral of the story is HERE kids!” signs.
So what’s the score? Gravity Falls is amazing. It’s dark, yet funny with some adult jokes sneaked by. It’s characters are really well developed — they’re interesting, multidimensional and the script writers were not afraid to make them fail and show flaws from time to time. The plot only seems to get better with each episode so I can’t wait to see what’s next. If You have some time, want to watch something and You don’t reject kid shows then I whole heartedly recommend Gravity Falls to You. Remember, even The Duchess Approves!
Originally published at oddsphere.pl on January 6, 2015.