Gravity Falls…It’s Already A Pun

The End of the World is Surprisingly Entertaining

One of the end cards of season 2, featuring Bill Cipher (and a vigenere cipher)

One of the end cards of season 2, featuring Bill Cipher (and a vigenere cipher)

Helena Jenkins, Staff Writer

Earlier this month, we bid goodbye to one of the last remaining bastions of intelligent children’s television: Gravity Falls. Airing on Disney XD, the show distinguished itself from the first episode with its quality animation, witty dialogue, and a beautiful representation of childhood during the summer. The main characters, Mabel and Dipper Pines,are twins sent to live with their Grunkle (Great Uncle) Stan. The Pines twins gradually uncover mysteries around the town of Gravity Falls.  The show’s instigating event is Dipper discovering a Journal labeled #3, which details many fantastical creatures and spells, and also warns of their dangers, written by a mysterious Author who has apparently disappeared. Dipper’s quest to discover the Author’s identity serves as the core of the show, and a frequent catalyst for clashes with monsters and magic.

Dipper and Mabel are empathetic protagonists who manage to both embody childlike innocence, and display the problems with morality we all face. Both twelve, Dipper’s serious, intellectual nature frequently clashes with Mabel’s carefree “boy-crazy” personality, yet they maintain the strong bond many twins possess. Stan provides subtle adult levity to many situations, and despite his gruff nature, demonstrates the strong love he has for his family time and again.

The major antagonist of the first season was mostly ‘Lil Gideon, another child within the town who builds up a cult of personality and has a vendetta against the Pines. He is an unsettling character, given the amount of evil he is willing to undertake despite his age. Another mysterious antagonist (and the major antagonist of season two) was Bill Cipher, a yellow single-eyed triangle that is gradually unshrouded from mystery only to be revealed as a terrifying dream demon and eventual instigator of the apocalypse. As a character, Bill is fascinating, and he is without a doubt the single most terrifying villain Disney has ever created. Voiced by Alex Hirsch (the creative genius behind the show), Bill embodies chaos and his motivations seem to be entirely focused on the destruction of the earth. He is the progenitor of quotes and scenes that I’m honestly not sure how they got past the censors, but are deliciously terrifying. “I have some children I need to turn into corpses,” is his most unsettling quote by far.

The mysteries of the show are legion, and viewers were more than encouraged to try and solve them. All episodes ended with a secret code in various ciphers that had to be cracked, and season two episodes end with images with codes on them, that when put together form a huge picture. Every event in the show is foreshadowed, but so subtly that many of the big twists in the story were complete surprises (or predicted by a few devoted fans and ignored by the rest). Even with the show concluded, many secrets remain unanswered, and it has been stated that some of these will stay secret. At the very end of the show, a real image of a statue of Bill Cipher is shown, and several clues to its location have been released. It still hasn’t been found, and fans are still happily solving this one last mystery provided as a parting gift.

The season finale was phenomenal. It was everything fans-amazing, dedicated fans, who have been solving the secret codes and theorizing since episode one four years ago-had ever dreamed of, and more. The story of this small band of preteens and magic creatures and the townspeople caught in the middle, fighting a being of unimaginable power and evil, is undoubtedly my favorite story of the entire show. It was hilarious and heartbreaking, and I sincerely recommend it.

As a personal recommendation, my twin sister and I watched the entire series together, and it brought us even closer as siblings and twins (a feat I wasn’t sure was possible; we’re already very close). If you choose to watch this, grab a family member to watch with. The issues and love shown between the Pines acted as a real learning experience for us, and absolutely could for you as well. Mystery, comedy, tragedy, heartfelt drama; Gravity Falls is and will remain my suggestion for all of the above.