Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Gravity Falls Episode Review: Boss Mabel - P-ABRACABABRA!

The triumphant return of Gravity Falls!

I enjoy the fake tv shows on Gravity Falls. My daughter and my adult friends have integrated "Girrrrrrrrrrrrrlllll, why you ackin' so cray-cray?" into our conversations.

This episode opens with Stan and the kids watching a Wheel of Fortune parody called Cash Wheel.

But then a bus full of tourists shows up and Stan puts the staff to work fleecing them. Dipper claims Stan just sees tourists as wallets with legs, an accusation he denies.

However, look at this carsick little boy. 


Vomiting gnomes are still funnier than vomiting wallets.

Mabel gives away a free bumper sticker, precipitating a confrontation between her and Stan. He says you can't make money being nice and Mabel insists you can. So they make a bet. Mabel will run the Mystery Shack for three days and Stan will go on vacation. If he makes more money, then she has to wear a loser shirt all summer. If Mabel wins, she gets to be boss all summer and Stan will have to do an apology song and dance number. 

So Stan leaves on vacation and weasels his way on to Cash Wheel.

"That man is a self-centered attention hog with no regard for human decency.  Get him on TV!"
Meanwhile, Mabel is running the Mystery Shack in her inimitable style.

She encounters early success, but soon her easy-going management starts costing the Shack money.

Dipper is frustrated. He's captured a real supernatural monster to exhibit at the Mystery Shack, but it fails to be as popular with the punters as are Grunkle Stan's fakes.("Real magic just freaks people out!")

"When fighting a Gremloblin, use water-"

*turns pages* "-only as a last resort, as water will make him much, much scarier!"
AH! Who writes sentences like that?!
Frustrated by this turn of events, Mabel embraces Stan's methods and starts barking out orders and bilking tourists.

 Why's that fez featured so prominently?

That was subtle.

So when Mable shifts into Grunkle Stan mode, so does Dipper, and I like this part a lot, if I read it correctly.

I wasn't thrilled with the characterization in this episode up until now. I'm more a fan of one-off one-liners and Mabel's enraptured "It's beaaaautiful..." seems well on its way to becoming a full-blown pull-the-cord-to-make-the-doll-talk catch phrase and the bit with the fez could hardly have been less subtle had it been discolored like the bit of cliff that was slated to fall off in the old Roadrunner cartoons. 

However, Dipper's remarks, coupled with the fact that he dressed up like a mini-Stan for this sequence, got me thinking. The end of the first episode almost comes right out and says that Stan knows more about the town than he lets on. The bits with Blendon Blandon appearing in the background before he gets a proper introduction show that the show is tightly plotted. Something about the way the sequence was framed, suggested that Stan himself was somehow transformed from an idealistic Dipper-esque young man to the curmudgeonly shyster he is now. 

The team pulls together, but after costs and expenses, they've only netted a profit of one dollar. Stan returns, apparently triumphant, but he reveals that he lost all of his winnings when he was unable to guess a six letter word used to ask for something politely.

Host: "For example, 'may I ______ have that?'"
Stan: "Do I look like an idiot, folks? The word is 'gimee', two e's!"
Host: Ooh, you know, because you've gone this far, we're going to give you one more chance. Let's try again. It's a "P" word. Some might even say it's the "magic" word.
Stan: P-ABRACABABRA! Final Answer!

The credits sequence is Stan performing his apology dance, and I was certain that this was what it would be from the moment the bet was made.

Do the kick! Jazzier!

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