I’m sure you’ve heard the news. Gravity Falls is ending after two seasons on the Disney Channel. The decision was made by creator Alex Hirsch, who always had a concrete ending in mind for the series, which was always meant to be about one crazy summer that two kids had.
I wish I could say that I was blindsided, but I had already known. Series writer Matt Chapman let that fact slip to me and a friend at HeroesCon back in June. It bummed me out, but I wasn’t too surprised. The show’s concept and mythology doesn’t lend itself well to an endless summer the way a show like Phineas and Ferb does. Which is fine. Both shows are great in their own ways.
Still, before Dipper and Mabel get the last ride out after Weirdmageddon, I want to talk about what a show aimed towards kids means to a 25 year old woman like me.
Back when Gravity Falls debuted in 2012, I was fresh out of college and living with my mom in a tiny apartment in Sandy Springs. It was a bit of a rough situation because I felt stuck. No jobs I applied for were calling me back. My mom was treating me like a kid still when I wanted to be treated like a roommate. Before I knew it, it sort of progressed into a depression.
While this was happening, I had begun hearing about this show Gravity Falls. My friend Sam, who is a huge Twin Peaks enthusiast, suggested it to me, drawing comparisons to the 1990 cult classic TV show. I figured I’d give it a shot since I had way more time to watch TV and I was a huge Adventure Time fan at the time.
From that first episode involving Mabel and the Gnomes, I was hooked. The show was only three or four episodes in by then, but I loved it. It was the right amount of colorful and irreverent, but it was easy to see the deeper roots that existed. I watched those episodes over and over again on my Mom’s OnDemand cable, especially during the long hiatus after ‘Summerween’ aired. I’m fairly certain I could have recited ‘Dipper vs. Manliness’ and ‘Double Dipper’ in my sleep based on how often I watched those episodes. I even cosplayed Mabel at Dragon Con that year and had one of the Dippers screaming “CLONE FIGHT” as my text tone for ages, which was especially awkward because no one else I knew was watching the show at the time.
I don’t say this to be hipstery. In fact, I love how much the show grew in popularity as it went on. It made me so happy to see people sharing in how fun and smart the show was, especially when my circle of friends started to catch on. Gravity Falls was one of my outlets when I was depressed during that time. Because I knew no matter how sad or lethargic I was that day, I could turn on Mabel and Dipper hanging out in a haunted convenience store or Mabel’s silliness discovering the 8½th president Quentin Trembley. It made me a little frustrated that no one else knew what the show was yet, but that was only because I wanted to share this one thing that made me so happy.
Watching the first two parts of the final arc were a bit strange just because of how dark it got, but it really is tying everything together wonderfully. Seeing how Dipper and Mabel have grown and changed over the course of one summer is lovely and really speaks to the show’s central theme. It’s embracing weirdness, family and being on the cusp of really growing up. Maybe I didn’t know it back in 2012, but perhaps there was part of me that latched to the characters because I could see myself in them then and now.
The last episode is coming early next year, but for now, so long and thanks for all gnomes.