It saddens me to say that the TV show GRAVITY FALLS has now ended with the final episode airing last night. Yet, I understand why creator Alex Hirsch would choose such an abrupt stopping point. As he has stated in many interviews, the magic of GRAVITY FALLS was how tightly constructed the mysteries, plots, references, and humor were. It is better to end on a perfect climax then allow the show to wane in quality even slightly. I applaud him for the choice, though I will deeply miss the characters I have come to know and love.
The show is an incredibly smart amalgam of everything fans loved about TWIN PEAKS, THE X-FILES, and EERIE INDIANA, all meticulously woven into one beautiful cartoon. It’s self-aware, referential of niche geek culture, and clearly crafted with care and love by someone who truly appreciates the horror/scifi genres.
So, what better way to celebrate the summation of such a fun adventure than by highlighting some of the best episodes, remembering the good times with the regular fans and also hopefully piquing the interest of a few more soon-to-be ones.
Season 1, episode 5
I deeply love most Robbie-heavy episodes, but this one gets major props for parodying several classic horror tropes. To prove how cool he is to his newfound friends, Dipper decides to break into the abandoned and supposedly haunted convenience store. After some teen debauchery and Mabel finding an illegal candy that causes her to sugar trip, the ghosts make themselves known and began picking off the group one-by-one.
Season 1, episode 10
Anyone who spent days playing STREET FIGHTER or MORTAL KOMBAT as an adolescent will love this episode. Dipper unlocks a secret level on a video game, bringing a fighter character to life to battle Dipper’s enemies. The video game character, named Rumble, adheres to the rules and codes of late 90s video games, not just in his animation but also in his dialogue, personality, and interaction with others. The result is a hilarious commentary on the one-on-one fighting style video games that mesmerized masses in the 90s and early 2000s.
Season 1, episode 12
I absolutely love the mythos behind this episode. In the town of Gravity Falls, there are two “halloween-ish” holidays- the regular one in October, but then another that falls around the end of June known as Summerween. The monster in the episode is a shape-shifting blob made out of all the discarded crap candy children have tossed in the garbage over the years. It’s a wonderfully spooky tale with some downright freaky moments!
Season 1, episode 13
While Stan takes a vacation to go on a game show, he puts Mabel in charge of managing the Mystery Spot. She brushes up on boss-dom via a 1980s management book, which gives both Mabel’s approach and the entire episode a fun 80s “SECRET OF MY SUCCESS” tone. Additionally, this episode introduces one of my fave monsters from the series- the Gremloblin. He is an adorably curious lil scamp who, if you look into his eyes, will show you your worst nightmares.
Into the Bunker
Season 2, episode 2
I love this one for the THING-esque shape shifter that Dipper and the gang meet in the vault. The scene where the head comes off, and it morphs into a twisted spider creature may be the scariest moment in the entire series.
Season 2, episode 4
Though not a horror genre heavy episode, this one goes on the list for the comedy alone. Mabel falls for a pretentious ponytail-clad adolescent who creates his own puppet shows. In an attempt to impress him, Mabel creates an entire opera entirely with sock puppets (including a Cthulhu sock monster). Her show gets derailed when Dipper uncovers some supernatural phenomena that quickly become part of the production.
The Little Gift Shop of Horrors
Season 2, episode 6
This episode is an anthology with three distinctly different, yet all wonderful stories. The first one focuses on a witch-obsessed with hands, but horror fans will likely take note of several MANOS HANDS OF FATE references therein. In the 2nd portion, Waddles (Mabel’s pet pig) eats a strange mushroom and grows incredibly smart. The smart version of Waddles is voiced by renowned astrophysicist and geek icon Neil Degrasse Tyson. And in the 3rd segment, Mabel professes her fear of old-timey claymation monsters. To show her that they are fictional, the gang travels the creator’s lair to find a Harryhausen-like artist (named Harry Claymore) whose claymation monsters have come to life and are taking over the house. This one is a must for any classic Harryhausen fans!
Northwest Mansion Mystery
Season 2, episode 10
It’s a classic haunted house tale complete with the gothic mansion. As the richest family in town prepares to throw a massive gala for their fellow upper-crusties, an old curse springs back to life in the form of a lumberjack ghost wielding an ax. In addition to the great plot, this episode makes my list because this was when I fell completely in love with the character Grenda.
Not What He Seems
Season 2, episode 11
This crucial episode is the first to really open up the vault of GRAVITY FALLS’ secrets, revealing that the twins’ own great uncle, Gruncle Stan, may be perpetrating many of the otherworldly, unnatural phenomena in the town.
Dungeons, Dungeons, and More Dungeons
Season 2, episode 13
Ford and Dipper discover a mutual love of the game “Dungeons, Dungeons, and more Dungeons”, a GRAVITY FALLS-ish parody of “Dungeons and Dragons”. While the rest of the group gathers for the premiere of the show “Duck-tective”, an argument ensues over who should have the TV room causing everyone to be magically zapped into a real-life version of the game. And just to make it super geeky, Weird All Yankovic is one of the guest voices.