Saturday, March 9, 2013

Gravity Falls Review: Bottomless Pit!

With "Bottomless Pit!",( much like Jeopardy, we mustn't forget the exclamation point), we get the first anthology episode of the series. I had never associated the show strongly with the Simpsons. Sure, it's an animated comedy series with a brother and sister and an overweight man-child but it's had a distinct enough identity to avoid such comparisons up until now. But the Simpsons is also renowned for its Treehouse of Horror anthology episodes, the fifth of which, the one with "The Shinning", Homer changing the future and kids being eaten in the cafeteria, is, in my opinion, one of the very best episodes of the series that has spanned twenty years.

This is by no means, a bad episode, mind you; it's very funny in parts,just not as consistently riotous as, say, the Time Traveler's Pig or Fight Fighters. It's a bit lackluster in parts, is all, and coupled with the fact that the format reminds me of funnier episodes from another series, probably makes me less charitable than it deserves.

The episode begins with Dipper, Mabel, Soos and Stan chucking items into a nearby bottomless pit, but the wind picks up and "an invisible pushing force" knocks them in.

As they're falling, Soos suggests they tell stories to pass the time. Dipper says "I've got a story! It's called the time Grunkle Stan got us thrown in a bottomless pit where we spent the rest of our natural lives!" and Soos strokes his chin and exhorts Dipper to "go on" in a such a way that does nothing to disabuse the viewer of Simpsons parallels. 

Dipper is up first and his story is called "Voice over," and is probably the weakest of the lot. After Wendy, Soos and Mabel put together a techno remix of Dipper's squeaky-voiced exclamations, Dipper resolves to change his voice. I do appreciate the absurdity of Kristen Schaal making fun of someone else's voice, however.

He runs into Old Man McGucket, who happens to be working on a voice changing potion. Dipper drinks it and his voice changes to a deep, resonant radio announcer's voice when he wakes up. There's a running gag where his friends beat him with blunt objects because they don't recognize his voice, but it's mostly a pretty flat installment.

I really liked the next one, though. 

"Soos' Really Great Pinball Story" (Told by Soos) Is That a Good Title? Do They Have to Be Puns or Whatever?

Soos is playing pinball on Stan's creepy old pinball machine, Tumbleweed Terror, and hopes to knock "POO" off the high score list. 

 When he can't do it, the twins recommend that he tilt the machine to give himself an edge. He gets the high score, but the vengeful talking skull inside the machine shrinks them down and traps them inside.

Dipper: Guys, there's an awful lot of green lightning coming out of that game.
Soos: Naw, that's a normal amount of green lightning.

At first they're excited, ("Hushed exclamation of wonder!"), but when they realize that the machine brought them inside to punish, the bloom some comes off this particular rose.

Soos knows where there is a manual reset, so after a brief flirtation with the pinball wench, he has Mabel arrange a distraction, ("Are either of you good at jumping up and down and making annoying noises?") so he could trigger it.

"My time has come."

He balks when he realizes that he'll erase his high score, but finally does the right thing when the twins are in trouble and resets the game.

Grunkle Stan has a very brief installment where he talks about how he won "The Football Bowl", which is self-aggrandizing and dissatisfying to the other listeners. I liked it, though.

Dig that Pitt Cola sign!

Mabel finished off the episode with the strongest story, "Truth Ache", where after Stan lies his way out of a ticket by claiming he has a doctor's note for a seeing eye bear after he's pulled over for trying to teach a bear to drive.

What seems to be the problem, officers?

Why, it's right here inside my jacket.

This offends Mabel's sense of justice, so she seeks out some magical teeth that force Stan to tell the truth all the time. Of course, telling the truth all the time when you have little or no concern for other people's possessions or emotions is a pretty bad idea, and Mabel and Dipper tackle him while he's in the process of calling the police station to admit his massive tax fraud.

At the end of the episode the pit spits them out right where they fell in, right in front of Gravity Falls' ubiquitous goat.

In this land of ours, there are many great pits, but none so bottomless as the the bottomless pit.

I enjoyed it. It was a nice change of pace and pretty funny in parts.

1 comment:

  1. Yeah, dude that was 100% awesome, especially Mabel whacking Dipper. That part was SO COOL!!!

    -from Lily
    -to anyone who sees this message

    bye bye