Gravity Falls is an American animated television series, created by Alex Hirsch (writer for Cartoon Network's The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack and Disney Channel's Fish Hooks). The first episode aired as a preview on June 15, 2012, with the official premiere on June 29th.
Fraternal twins Dipper and Mabel Pines, are in for an unexpected adventure when they're sent off to spend the summer with their great uncle in the mysterious town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Upon their arrival, Dipper and Mabel's huckster great uncle, Grunkle Stan, enlists the siblings' help in running The Mystery Shack, a tourist trap he owns that overcharges unsuspecting customers. Although Dipper and Mabel quickly discover that the Mystery Shack itself is a hoax, they soon discover that there is something truly strange about their new town, and together they begin to unlock the real secrets of Gravity Falls.
Thrust into their new summer home, the twins try to adapt to their weird surroundings, and especially to their Grunkle (great uncle) Stan, whose insatiable appetite for money drives him to spin every opportunity into a financial advantage. While Dipper grumbles about the prospect of the same boring routine of working at Grunkle Stan's hokey tchotchke shop, his extremely optimistic sister seizes the chance to seek out an epic summer romance.
However, summer becomes much more interesting for the siblings after Dipper inadvertently uncovers a cryptic journal in the woods that offers insight into the strange and wondrous mysteries of Gravity Falls. Before long, Dipper begins to notice the town's idiosyncrasies, and with the book in tow and his enthusiastic desire to vanquish evil, he sets out to investigate the village secrets. Trapped together in the small isolated town, the siblings quickly realize they need each other to battle the imminent mysteries lurking in Gravity Falls. Meanwhile, when he isn't busy trying to make a quick buck from his unsuspecting customers, Grunkle Stan guards his own secret that might hold the key to unlocking the mystery of Gravity Falls.
The series, created, directed and executive-produced by 2007 California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) graduate Alex Hirsch (Fish Hooks, The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack), is a production of Disney Television Animation. Set in the Pacific Northwest woods, the animated series features supernatural elements of adventure and mystery, inspired by the real-life summer trips shared by Hirsch and his twin sister while visiting relatives as kids.
"Mabel is going to be one of the breakout characters of the show. I really owe it to my sister and her many quirks. When we were growing up, my sister was obsessed with the boy band ’N Sync. She even broke her toe jumping up and down during one of their concerts. So, we did a show about a boy band, and of course, I had to get Lance Bass to do the voice of the singer. I had my sister fly down to meet him. She also always wanted to have a pet pig when we were kids, so I gave Mabel a pet pig on the show, and she can live vicariously through her. She owes me big!"
The town of Gravity Falls was inspired by various towns and national parks Alex Hirsch has spent time in, but particularly one town, Boring, Oregon. As Hirsch has commented "We passed a sign for Boring, Oregon. We never went there, but I was positively enchanted with the idea that there was a town called Boring; Gravity Falls is partially from what I imagine Boring might be like. Or maybe the opposite of Boring, Oregon, would be Gravity Falls."
- Dipper Pines (Jason Ritter), the 12-year old twin brother of Mabel Pines. Intelligent, he is armed with the book marked "3" he found which helps him with the mystery of the day. An adventurer, Dipper has trouble sitting still and is always looking for the next riddle to solve. His attention to detail seems to be helpful when solving mysteries, but others question his credibility because of his jealousy. He is considered to be intelligent beyond his years and cannot wait to grow up and become a man. His refusal to sit still when there are puzzles to be solved leaves him restless in everyday situations. As someone who is portrayed as goal-oriented and rooted in the details, he sometimes over thinks situations and obsessively makes lists. It is revealed in one of the episodes that Dipper has a crush on Wendy; it is also revealed that he likes bubblegum pop music. He got his name from a birthmark on his forehead that is shaped like the Big Dipper (the constellation). He secretly wishes he had the name "Tyrone."
- Mabel Pines (Kristen Schaal), the 12-year old twin sister of Dipper Pines. Mabel is an eccentric, buoyant and energetic optimist, who expresses herself through an assortment of extremely colorful knitted sweaters. Her outgoing, curious personality often helps Dipper solve mysteries, though her acts of silliness are often seen as a burden. Mabel enjoys pre-teen novels and seeks romance (especially in vampires). Despite what she sees as obscurity in Gravity Falls, Mabel stays optimistic. She once went out on a date with Lil' Gideon. It is revealed in "Headhunters" that Mabel has a hobby of doing arts and crafts, and is actually very good at it. In the episode "Irrational Treasure" she is made an official U.S. congresswoman by the 8 1/2 president, her political platform being "legalizing everything." She acquires a pet pig in the episode "The Time Traveler's Pig," and calls it Waddles. In a song she made up, she states that her name rhymes with "table".
- Grunkle Stan (Alex Hirsch), the great uncle of Dipper and Mabel Pines. He runs and lives in The Mystery Shack which is the world's most bizarre museum. Grunkle Stan is a gruff and miserly salesman who has finally managed to set up shop in a town with enough unsuspecting customers to sell his worthless knickknacks. His flair for showmanship is oddly hypnotizing, and thus he is able to make money by peddling the bogus trinkets and baubles in his store. His work ethic is mainly driven by his desire to make money, so when he's not generating an income, he's usually at home watching television, although he has sometimes counterfeited and stole money. Stan almost always wears a fez similar to that worn by Shriners and often speaks of the "boys from the lodge", who he claims "mistrust" him. Even though he sends the twins on unpredictable and outrageous errands, he always has their best interests at heart and loves them unconditionally. Despite his apparent 'Used car salesman' demeanor, he appears to have a few secrets of his own, including a hidden staircase to an unknown location hidden behind his vending machine. In the episode Dreamscapers we discover Grunkle Stans back story that as a kid he was always bullied so his father brought him to learn boxing to defend himself. After that he realized his dad was helping him to fight back, so the reason he picks on Dipper a lot is because he wants him to fight back. At the end of "Gideon Rises" behind the vending machine in the shack he has a secret laboratory and when he took Dipper's and Gideon's Journals it made a triangular prism that vaguely resembles like Bill Cipher.
- Soos (Alex Hirsch), the handyman at the Mystery Shack. A friend of Dipper and Mabel Pines, Soos is a portly and lovable man-child whose desire to be where the action is makes him an excellent resource for the twins when they need a ride about town. He seems to have a wide variety of talents, specifically DJing, and enjoys bonding with Dipper, doing "boy stuff" such as heating hot dogs in a microwave until they explode. He says "dude" after almost every sentence.
- Wendy Corduroy (Linda Cardellini), a mellow, "cool" 15-year old girl who is a part-time employee at The Mystery Shack. She is also Dipper's crush, who tries to impress Wendy in several of the episodes. It was revealed that Wendy has had many boyfriends in the past. She has had so many that there is one ex-boyfriend she can not remember if she even broke up with or not. Wendy is the tallest child in her family, and her father is Manly Dan, the lumberjack of Gravity Falls. She is sociable, with many friends who are around her age, and is somewhat tomboyish. Her ex-boyfriend is Robbie, whom Dipper despises for his pursuit of Wendy. She almost always stands up for Dipper in front of Robbie, and sometimes talks with Mabel about her problems.
- Waddles (Dee Bradley Baker), is Mabel's pet pig. She won Waddles at the fair and ever since then, the two are inseparable. It is shown that Waddles enjoys spending time with Mabel just as much as she enjoys spending time with him.
- Old Man McGucket (Alex Hirsch), the "local kook" of Gravity Falls who lives in the dump and tells werid personal stories. Despite his apparent insanity and stereotypical hill-billy demeanor, Old Man McGucket is a technical mastermind, capable of creating massive, complex animatronics. His son works at the lake, but the two seem to have a strained relationship, adding to McGucket's insanity and need for attention.
- Robbie (T.J. Miller), a local teenage emo boy, who is Dipper's primary rival for Wendy's affections. He has a bad attitude and it is not unusual for him to mock others, especially Dipper. He has been shown to be skilled guitar player and singer, a quality that Wendy finds attractive. Despite his hostile attitude toward most characters, he has been shown to be genuinely caring for Wendy. Robbie and Wendy were dating, prior to the events of Boyz Crazy.
- Li'l Gideon (Thurop Van Orman), a young boy who owns the "Tent of Telepathy", a successful competitor of the Mystery Shack. He has an unhealthy obsession with Mabel, and thinks Dipper and Grunkle Stan are the only things keeping them apart, when in actuality she has no interest in him. He previously had an amulet that gave him telekinesis, but it was destroyed by Mabel after he attempted to use it to kill Dipper. It is shown that he owns the book marked 2, the previous volume of the book Dipper owns marked 3. His new mission is to gain possession of the Mystery Shack. Because he wants Grunkle Stan's secret. And by the end of "Gideon Rises" gideon was sent to jail.
- Sheriff Blubs (Kevin Michael Richardson), the Gravity Falls sheriff. He is shown to be rather lazy, often choosing to sit around and drink coffee instead of pursuing a case. Despite his apparent lack of police skills, he has a superiority complex, and often looks down on Dipper and Mabel, undermining their mystery solving abilities. This lazy personality seems to stem from the extremely low amount of crime in Gravity Falls, which is evidenced when Deputy Durland once comments on how unused their equipment is.
- Deputy Durland (Keith Ferguson), a policeman who is also Sheriff Blubs' partner and right-hand man. He is shown to be very unsmart and childlike, shown when Mabel comments that she doesn't even think he can read. Sheriff Blubs seems to find these qualities endearing, and refers to him as a "diamond in the rough".
- Pacifica Northwest (Jackie Buscarino), the most popular girl in Gravity Falls. She comes from a wealthy family, and is the great-great-granddaughter of the supposed founder of Gravity Falls, Nathaniel Northwest (the real founder of Gravity Falls is Quentin Trembly). Pacifica is an unfriendly, spoiled school diva and is Mabel's primary antagonist. Pacifica looks down on Mabel and thinks her eccentric personality is annoying and immature. She uses people's insecurities to manipulate them into doing whatever she wants and despises Mabel for standing up to her. Her name is a pun on Pacific Northwest, the region of the United States, comprised mostly of Washington, Northern California, and Oregon, where the town of Gravity Falls is located.
- Toby Determined (Gregg Turkington), a journalist for the Gravity Falls Gossiper. He is a stereotypical, hard-hitting journalist, but is shown to be terrible at his job. He has a huge crush on local news reporter Shandra Jimenez to the extent that he has a cardboard-cutout of her in his closet and flirts with it when alone.
- Lazy Susan (Jennifer Coolidge), the sluggish woman who works as a waitress in the local diner. She is shown to love fixing things, despite not being very good at it. She has a lazy eye, and has at least three cats, which are named Donald, Sandy, and Mr. Cat-Face. Grunkle Stan had a crush on her and later gets the guts to win her over, although he later regrets it after she calls him repeatedly, leaving unusual voice messages and when they were secretly on a date and thought she looked weird up close and made a non-specific excuse to leave the table. Her name is a pun on her lazy eye, as well as the Lazy Susan kitchen device.
- Manly Dan (John DiMaggio), the strong lumberjack and Wendy's father. He also has three sons. Manly Dan is unstable and has serious anger issues, often punching or destroying random things when angry. He is also very strong and manly and punches test your strengh games.
- Tyler, A.K.A. Cute Biker (Will Forte), a scatterbrained biker who always seems to follow Manly Dan. The biker acts in a rather unusual, feminine way, and could be seen as a nuisance to other people. And sometimes when he sees people fight in Gravity falls he says "get'em , get'em"
- Gompers the Goat (Frank Welker), a goat who lives in a forest near the Mystery Shack. Gompers frequently enters the Mystery Shack and once ate all of the household's tin cans, as well as Grunkle Stan's fez, Ergman Brassman's back license plate, and grass outside the shack.
- Candy Chiu (Niki Yang) and Grenda (Carl Faruolo), Mabel's best friends whom she first met during a party at the Mystery Shack. Candy and Grenda are both considered unpopular by Pacifica Northwest and the more social kids, but they have flaws that Mabel overlooks; Candy is shy and insecure, and Grenda has a deep, masculine voice. The two are big fans of Waddles, taking pictures of him on Candy's phone, as seen in Summerween.
- Bud Gleeful (Stephen Root), Lil' Gideon's polite and well-meaning father. Despite having a neurotic wife and a manipulative child, Bud seems to always look at the brighter side of things, even getting to the point of becoming allies with Grunkle Stan, Gideon's mortal enemy. Besides working at Gideon's "Tent of Telepathy", Bud also sells used cars.
- Coolio as Wax Coolio
- Larry King as Wax Larry King
- April Winchell as Ma
- John Oliver as Wax Sherlock Holmes
- Ken Jenkins as Pa
- Jessica DiCicco as Tambry
- Fred Tatasciore as Pituitaur
- Michael Rianda as Lee, Thompson and Mr. Poolcheck
- Alfred Molina as Multi-Bear
- Grey DeLisle as Woman
- Carl Faruolo as Grenda
- Niki Yang as Candy Chiu
- Greg Ellis as William Shakespeare
- Stephen Root as Bud Gleeful
- Scott Menville as Nate
- Justin Roiland as Blendin Blandin and Bobbi Renzobbi
- Brian Bloom as Rumble McSkirmish
- Jeff Bennett as the Summerween Trickster
- Will Friedle as Reginald (in "The Legend of the Gobblewonker")
- Horatio Sanz as Blonde mustached man (in "The Legend of the Gobblewonker")
- Chris Parnell
- Eric Bauza as Reginald (in "The Hand That Rocks the Mabel"), Jean-Luc
- Kari Wahlgren as Shandra Jimenez
- Mikey Kelley as Dancy Pants Revolution Announcer
- Tara Strong
- Andrew Pifko
- Diedrich Bader as Dundgren
- Dave Wittenberg as Lolph
- Matt Chapman as Mermando
- Corey Burton as the lawyer
Secrets of the Show
Within the end credits of each episode is a cryptogram that can be solved based on a hint given at the end of the show's opening theme. During the last few seconds, a whisper can be heard that, when reversed, says "Three Letters Back". This is a Caesar cipher, which, in this case, uses a letter three places back from the letter it represents (e.g., A=X, Z=W, etc.) and is used from episode 101 ("Tourist Trapped") to episode 106 ("Dipper vs. Manliness").
Starting with episode 107 ("Double Dipper"), the cryptogram must be solved using the Atbash substitution cypher, which reverses the alphabet (meaning that A=Z, B=Y, and so on). This is signaled by the message at the end of Dipper vs. Manliness, which states "MR. CAESARIAN WILL BE OUT NEXT WEEK. MR. ATBASH WILL SUBSTITUTE," and the whisper was changed accordingly. After the song ends, a creature similar to the Eye of Providence is flashed. In some episodes, it is surrounded by symbols that appear in the show and various messages, including a matrix, the Konami Code, an the encoded words "Stan is not what he seems". Earlier in the opening, Bigfoot passes the camera, and performs the pose made famous by the Patterson film. A mysterious man that showed up in the background was shown to be a time traveler in the episode "The Time Traveler's Pig".
Every episode has a unique, non-repeating "secret message" at the end of its credit scene. The key for decoding the secret message is always incorporated in the opening theme-song scene. In order to deduce the decoder, one must first listen to the theme song backwards. Consequently, the theme song changes across some episodes. The latest decoder, for example, for episode 14 says "26 letters," and the code in the credits are a series of numbers (which, in this case, corresponds to the letter in that position in the alphabet (hence the "26 letters" in the opening theme). And at the end of the theme song the whispering sounds at the end are played backwards in three letters. If you forward the whispering it sounds like "I'm still here". Bill Cipher is also seen on many things in Gravity Falls.
- Unlike recent Disney Channel/Disney XD cartoons, such as Phineas and Ferb, Wander Over Yonder and Fish Hooks, Gravity Falls does not have two episodes in one 30-minute time slot, instead using the entire 30-minute time slot for one episode, like the live-action shows.
- Additionally, rather than starting with an opening theme, Gravity Falls starts with a cold open and then has the opening theme song, similar to other Disney Channel live-action shows and older Disney Channel cartoons.
- Dipper and Mabel are based on the show's creator, Alex Hirsch, and his twin sister, Ariel Hirsch.
- Gravity Falls is animated in Korea by Digital eMation, Inc. and Rough Draft Studios Korea Co., Ltd.
- The first episode, "Tourist Trapped", was available as a free HD/SD download off the US iTunes Store, for a limited time.
- Gravity Falls was mentioned on the Cartoon Network series MAD.
- This is the only Disney Channel (2012-2014) show with a TV-Y7 rating currently, with the exception of Wander Over Yonder.
- In the opening theme when it show the trees, if you look closely you can see a quick glimpse of Bigfoot.
- The reason why some characters have four fingers and others have five was an aesthetic choice. In the character designing phase it was decided some characters simply looked better with five fingers over four. Michael Rianda has stated that for various reasons they should have kept it consistent, so the audience should just pretend everyone has five fingers.
- In the early promotional material of Dipper's postcard home has a few strands of Joe Pitt's real hair.
- Disney had originally planned for an eight month long hiatus in between "Summerween" and "Boss Mabel" instead of the four month long one that it had.
A special preview of the series following the Disney Channel Original Movie Let It Shine, was watched by 3.4 million viewers. The series garnered high views on its fifth episode, which aired on July 13, 2012, and attracted 3.6 million viewers. On August 10, 2012, the episode "Double Dipper" was watched by 4.18 million viewers and recorded Disney Channel’s best ratings with regular programming in more than 6 months in Total Viewers, Kids 2-11 and Kids 6-11, and in more than 7 months in children and teens 9-14 – since 2/3/12 and 1/6/12, respectively. Gravity Falls became the highest-rated program in the ‘Night of Premieres’ lineup that night, finishing with a higher rating than Jessie, A.N.T. Farm, My Babysitter's a Vampire, and Code: 9. The episode, "Little Dipper", is the least watched episode in the series with only 2.6 million viewers.
The series has received universal acclaim. It currently holds a 8.9 rating on TV.com, and 8.7 rating from 5,296 users on IMDb.com. From critics, the show has received generally positive reviews. Brian Lowry of Variety stated, "The show has a breezy quality that should play to kids, and tickle some twinges of nostalgia among their parents." While the Los Angeles Times Robert Lloyd referred to the program as "..gently twisted, with some Disneyfied action and heart-warming folded in". In his review, David Hinckley of New York Daily News called Gravity Falls, "quirky and endearing", and offered praise for the character of Mabel Pines. Matt Blum, writing for Wired, favorably compared the show to Cartoon Network's animated program Regular Show and Disney Channel's animated program Phineas and Ferb, hailing Gravity Falls as "clever, strange, and somewhat poignant".
Despite the fact that the series is relatively new, a primarily online-centered fanbase calling themselves "Fallers" has arisen--posting content on sites such as Tumblr, deviantArt, and various forums. Many fans have stated that they were recommended to the show through other fandoms such as My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic and Adventure Time.
According to knowyourmeme.com, "shortly after the first episode’s premiere, /co/ began to make threads about it, Although originally the reason for these threads was an excuse to avoid other threads related to The Legend of Korra, which also had a large peak in popularity at the time, Gravity Falls threads eventually grew to become a daily occurrence. On Tumblr, many blogs were made dedicated to the show hours after the sneak preview."
Awards and Nominations
|40th Annual Annie Awards||
Production Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production
|Voice Acting in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production||Won||Kristen Schaal as Mabel Pines|
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