Ten years of ‘Gravity Falls,’ an animated phenomenon


Photo courtesy of IMDb

“Gravity Falls” aired on Disney channel in June of 2022.

It’s official — we’re all getting old. We’re fastly approaching the 10th anniversary of an iconic, revolutionary animated show, “Gravity Falls.” 

Premiering in June of 2012, Gravity Falls, written by Alex Hirsch, was a comedy show that aired on Disney. Its run lasted for two seasons, the final episode airing in February of 2016.

The premise of the show followed twelve year old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines. They are sent to live with their great-uncle Stan in a mysterious town called Gravity Falls for the summer before they turn thirteen. 

The show was a comedy, but also had very dark elements and imagery. It pushed the boundaries of what could be shown and discussed in a children’s Disney show. With bloody, haunting imagery, dark plotlines and anomalies, the show touched on many different themes in its short, two-season run. 

Season one sets up a perfect episodic structure for the series, along with advancing characters. Most of the season operates with Dipper trying to solve a mystery surrounding some creature from the journal he finds in the woods. Mabel’s plot usually focuses on her latest summer crush. The twins go around the town, interacting with characters like Soos, Wendy and Stan, then there’s an action scene. 

There are some episodes where the primary villain, Bill Cypher, appears to cause tension and break the formulaic status quo. This is how to write a villain. Someone who manipulates the other characters, breaking the episodic format. Funny. Inquisitive. Charming. He’s easily believable as a villain because of his skills to manipulate characters using their deepest desires and fears (not to mention switching the orifices of someone’s entire face!) 

The finale of season one ends with the Pines family winning back the Mystery Shack — their home for the summer — from child mastermind Gideon Gleeful, who’s way too gleeful for his own good. Just when you think Gideon’s arc is closed as the second villain of the season, he comes back for season two.

Season two! Where do I start? For one, the arcs of so many characters besides Stan and the twins are explored. Soos’ depressing backstory with his father, Wendy’s insecurity, the love triangle? It’s so much expanded on for such a short season! 

The mid-season finale changed the course of the show. Breaking the status quo, the story takes the characters on a wild ride with sad moments, shocking discoveries and mysteries revealed. The episode ends with a shocking plot twist that blends all of the mysteries of season one and leads into the mayhem that is the rest of the season.

The show ended with a bang. This series finale was one of Disney’s most well done finales. It perfectly wraps up the arcs of just about every character, even the recurring comedic ones. With the end of summer, and an epic final battle, our heroes are faced with several external and internal conflicts.  

In just two short seasons, “Gravity Falls” managed to do a lot with its airtime — the perfect blend of freaky weirdness and heartfelt journeys about growing up. 

Rating: 4.5/5