Thursday, September 10, 2015

Recap: Gravity Falls "The Inconveniencing"

Well, I'm a year older today. It's already shaping up to be a better birthday than last year, seeing as how my computer isn't a lifeless husk this time. Still, I'm feeling old. I'm just about getting to that point in my life where I'm compelled to lie about my age. And I'm not even twenty-five yet. Which isn't a lie.

Or is it?

Either way, I'll be taking a look at an episode that sees Dipper lying about his own age.

Or does he?

Yes. Yes he does.
The episode begins with Gompers the Goat on top of the Mystery Shack while, inside, Dipper and Mabel are having a serious conversation.

Dipper: "Mabel, do you believe in ghosts?"
Mabel: "I believe you're a big dork!"

Grunkle Stan comes in to tell both of his employees, Soos and Wendy, that he's heading to town.

Grunkle Stan: "You two're gonna wash the bathrooms, right?"
Soos: "Yes, sir!"
Wendy: "Absolutely not."

As anyone who's ever worked at a gas station (including myself) can tell you, cleaning the bathrooms sucks. You would be amazed at just what can happen when you give random people free access to a private room where they can do who-knows-what with they're you-know-wheres. Which is why as soon as Grunkle Stan leaves, Wendy decides to leave the bathrooms for Soos and unveils a secret ladder to the roof, to the worriment of Soos. Also, I had no idea that "worriment" was a word until I just successfully used it without spellcheck yelling at me.

Anyway, Wendy leads the twins up to the roof, where she already has an umbrella, chairs, and a cooler set up.

Wendy: "I may or may not sneak up here during work all the time every day."

She also has a bucket of pine cones set up to throw at a bullseye taped onto the totem pole.

Now that I mention it, there's something up with that totem pole. Not only does it only have two parts, but the wrong character is at the top. Usually, totem poles have the Thunderbird at the top, separating the heavens and the Earth.

Like Atlas. But a bird.
But it's actually Kolus at the top of the Shack's pole. Kolus is the Thunderbird's brother. So what we have here is Kolus taking the place of his own brother, which he often does in Kwak'waka'wakw mythology. Kolus is a jealous younger brother who tries to mimic Thunderbird, and often flies too close to the sun in his attempts to prove his own worth.
Like Icarus. But a bird.
Now, if you watch Gravity Falls, then you already understand the symbolism. Heck, if you even just read the comments for a previous Gravity Falls Review, you understand the symbolism. But I ruined frequent commenter Azkaban Prisoner's childlike innocence regarding Dumbledore... um, "going to live on a farm" in that same Review, so I'm going to err on the side of caution and keep potential spoilers under my hat.

Anyway, back in the episode, Dipper misses Kolus, the beaver, and the mysteriously absent Thunderbird and hits a car instead. While Dipper is suitably worried about what he just did, Wendy thinks it's pretty awesome and holds up her hand for a high five. In that moment, Dipper... well, he's just discovered girls. And that girl is Wendy Blerble Corduroy.

No, seriously, her middle name is Blerble.

He's gone mad with power!
Wendy's friends drive up in a van, and she decides to skip work. She asks whether or not Dipper and Mabel can keep this a secret, and Dipper responds with the zip-his-mouth-and-throw-away-the-key gesture, which Wendy returns. With a cry of "Later, dorks," uses a couple pine trees to quickly get to the ground, and speeds off with her pals, cementing Wendy's status as the girl of Dipper's dreams. But he denies this when Mabel notices his obvious crush.

Dipper: "It's not like I lay awake at night thinking about her."

So, of course, we cut to him that night, lying awake in his bed, thinking about Wendy. Or perhaps he's pondering the futility of existence like I do at 2 AM. But probably Wendy.

...

Seriously, though, all matter will eventually decay into virtual nothingness, meaning that every accomplishment we ever make in our insignificant lives to distract ourselves from this fact will be erased from the universe and there's nothing we can do about it.

Anyway, back in the episode I'm recapping to postpone my own impending existential crisis, it's the next day. While Wendy and Mabel are enjoying a random dance party for no reason, Dipper is spying on Wendy by pretending to write something down.

Smooth.
Wendy invites Dipper to join in on the dance, but Dipper insists that he doesn't dance, which Mabel in turn insists isn't true. After all, their mom used to dress him up in a lamb costume so he could do "the Lamby Dance."

Dipper: "Now is not the time to talk about the Lamby Dance."

Before Mabel can spill too many secrets regarding Dipper's time masquerading as an ungulate, the clock strikes six, meaning that it's quittin' time for Wendy. She starts to head off to meet with her friends, but Dipper asks if he and Mabel can tag along. But while Wendy might be irresponsible at work, she knows that you shouldn't take kids along on some of the things teenagers do. When asked, Dipper insists that he and Mabel are thirteen.

Dipper: "So, technically a teen."

While Wendy gets her stuff, Mabel tries to figure out why she and Dipper are suddenly a whole year older. Dipper tells her to play it cool so they can hang out with Wendy the cool kids. Mabel sees right through this charade and starts making fun of Dipper's crush. Dipper responds in the same way that every kid with an annoying, long-haired sister did.

Myself included.
Outside, Wendy's friends are engaging in the same activity that nearly every group of high school-age friends engages in at some point, abusing the fat kid's need to be a part of the group. Specifically, they're holding him upside down and trying to throw jellybeans into his belly button. Because she's awesome, Wendy nails him in the navel as soon as she joins them. She introduces Mabel and Dipper to her friends, and the emo of the group asks here if she's babysitting them or what, cementing his status as the guy the audience should dislike.

"Who's got two thumbs and short pants? This guy!"
 Wendy introduces her friends to both the twins as well as the audience. The token bros, Lee and Nate (Michael Rianda and Scott Menville), the token phone-obsessed girl, Tambry (Jessica DiCicco), the token fat loser, Thompson (Michael Rianda), and the token emo, Robbie, played by TJ Miller, whose voice you might recognize as Fred in Big Hero 6.

Robbie: "Yeah, I'm the guy who spray painted the water tower."
Dipper: "Oh, you mean the big muffin!"
Robbie: "Uh, it's a giant explosion."

A giant, lemon poppy seed explosion.
The bros laugh over its resemblance to a muffin, cementing Robbie's rivalry with Dipper. They take off in Thompson's van, punching the roof against his mom's wishes. Mabel takes in all the backseat graffiti and decides to add some of her own.

Mabel, I don't think you quite get how this works.
While Dipper struggles to keep his cool with Mabel being... you know, Mabel, Grunkle Stan finds himself alone at the Shack with a bit of a problem.

Grunkle Stan: "Kids! I can't find the remote and I refuse to stand up!"
Announcer: "Stay tuned for the Friday Night Movie, The Duchess Approves, starring Sturly Stembleburgiss as the Duchess, and Grampton St. Rumpterfrabble as irascible coxswain Saunterblugget Hampterfuppinshire."

Poor fool.

Soon enough, the teens and twins find themselves at the condemned convenience store, the Dusk 2 Dawn. Apparently, some people died in there so they shut the place down. And rumors persist that the place is haunted.

Mabel: "This town has such a colorful history!"

They all hop the chain link fence, some easier than others, and approach the store. Dipper offers to take a crack at the locked door, setting off Robbie's sarcasm.

Wendy: "C'mon, leave him alone. He's just a little kid."

Which is the last thing Dipper wants to hear. After all, this is the woman of his dreams. He doesn't want to hear her call him a little kid, he wants her to beg to be held in his arms and also be kissed. A lot. On the face. So with a look of fierce determination, Dipper quickly heads up to the roof, climbs in the old air conditioning system, and unlocks the place from the inside, earning Robbie's ire and the nickname "Dr. Funtimes."

Once inside, they all take a look at the place. It's like a time capsule from the year 1995.

And yes, Pizza Hut did debut stuffed-crust pizza in 1995, so this episode gets bonus points.
When Wendy flips all the switches, the lights and various convenience store machines whir to life, giving them all free reign over the place. Naturally, this calls for a montage of eating expired snack cakes, putting mints in soda, and other such goofing off. Then Mabel finds Smile Dip, the candy that was banned in America long ago. Probably for being little more than a sugar stick that you dip in flavored sugar crystals. Like the real-life equivalent, Fun Dip.

As they eat ice cream on one of the shelves, Wendy tells Dipper that they haven't had this much fun in a long time. The boys are having fun being idiots, Tambry's actually looking up from her phone, and Mabel's chewing the candy paw of a giant dog.

In her mind.
Wendy: "You know, Dipper, I wasn't sure if you could hang with our crew at first, but you're surprisingly mature for your age."

Which is what a lot of people said about his Jason Ritter voice.

Dipper: "Yes. Yes, I am."

Careful, Dipper, or you'll be hearing from Phineas and Ferb's lawyers.

But the boys ran out of ice to shove down Thompson's pants, so Dipper goes to the freezer to find some more. What he finds is this.

Looks like Dr. Manhattan's having a little trouble putting himself back together.
Dipper slams the door on the apparition, and when he reopens the door, it's gone. Alex Hirsch has gone on record stating that the "Cooler Monster" will never be explained. But rest assured, it will haunt your nightmares.
The teens come over because they heard Dipper's scream of terror, so he distracts them by pointing out the Dancy Pants Revolution machine.

Dipper: "The game that tricks people into exercising!"

As they all watch Thompson suck at ti for a bit, Dipper starts seeing their skeletons reflected in the glass doors. A quick call at the payphone to Grunkle Stan is fruitless, seeing as how he's become irrevocably invested in the Duchess's rejection of antiquated societal norms.

Duchess: "I may be a Duchess, but I'm also a woman!"
Grunkle Stan: "Yes! Yes! In your face, Elizabeth! It's just like my life! ...in a way!"

So Dipper's in a real pickle. They're in a haunted convenience store, Grunkle Stan won't pick up, and if he warns the others, he'll look like a scared little kid. But Mabel's still quite high on Smile Dip.

Mabel: "The future! Is in the past. Onwards, Aoshima!"

Welcome to the internet.
Dipper: "Mabel! How many of those did you eat?"
Mabel: "Blevinteen...."

Over with Robbie, he finds the chalk outlines of the dead people while scratching off some old lottery tickets. Dares to lie down in the outlines are quickly made, so Dipper tries to keep anyone from disturbing the outlines. After all, the place might actually be haunted.

Robbie: "Just take it down a notch, Captain Buzzkill."

When he loses the respect of everybody but the still-hallucinating Mabel, he lies in the chalk outline himself, which begins to glow green. The lights flicker off. Tambry gets sucked inside her phone and deposited inside the security monitor. Thompson gets sucked inside Dancy Pants Revolution. The doors lock themselves.  Dipper, consulting the Journal, tells the others that ghosts always have a reason for what they do. They have a hard time taking Dipper seriously, but change their tune after Lee gets sucked into the artwork on the front of a cereal box.

Cereal Mascot: "I'm bonkers for eating you alive!"

Like Hannibal Lecter. But a bird.
Suddenly, Mabel starts glowing and floating around as the deep voice of Kevin Michael Richardson emanates from her throat.

Ghost: "Welcome to your graves, young trespassers."

The ghost tells them they can leave before pulling a j/k and turning Nate into a hot dog on the roller grill. And because we didn't have enough random floating last episode, they all end up on the ceiling as the various wares float around. Dipper and Wendy hide in a cabinet as they try to figure out exactly what they did to offend the ghost.

Dipper: "Tambry was texting, Thompson was playing a video game, Lee was being sarcastic. It doesn't make any sense!"
Wendy: "Yeah, I mean, those are all just normal teenage things."

But that's just it. So Dipper heads out into the chaos and reveals his secret.

Dipper: "I'm not a teenager!"

And the ghosts reveal their true forms while Dipper admits that he's only twelve. They're just the kindly old couple that ran the place, voiced by Ken Jenkins and Aprill Winchell.

So all I hear is Bob Kelso and Pepper Ann's mom.
As they explain, they've been holding a grudge against teenagers.

Pa: "Always sassy-frassin' customers with their 'boomy-boxes' and disrespectful short pants."

When they were alive, they straight-up banned teens from their store. So in rebellion, three teenagers stayed outside and danced to their newfangled "rap music."

Ma: "The lyrics... they were so hateful."

Whitest. Rap. Ever.
The shock was enough to give them both heart attacks, so they hate teenagers with a passion. But there is one way Dipper can save his new friends.
Pa: "Do you know any funny little dances?"
Dipper: "Uhhhhhhhhhhh... is there anything else I can do?"
Pa: "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!"

And with the help of a magically appearing lamb costume thanks to some supernatural whatsis, Dipper obliges, performing the song and dance.

D'awwww.
Dipper: "Who wants a lamby, lamby, lamby? I do! I do!/So go up and greet your mammy, mammy, mammy. Hi there! Hi there!"

There was actually a very minor controversy regarding this line. See, long story short, "mammy" can refer to a black housekeeper and is usually brought up in regards to "mammy sterotypes." Disney actually changed the name of the main character of The Princess and the Frog from "Maddie" to "Tiana" because people complained that "Maddie" sounded like "Mammy."

First of all, Maddie is short for Madeline, people. Second of all, Disney basically refused to acknowledge the very minor outcry against this line because... well, it's not racist. Not only is "Mammy" a nickname for "mother" that's used to this very day in a variety of English dialects, but it's only there because it rhymes with "lamby." It's like when you refer to the chink in someone's proverbial armor, you're not being anti-Chinese. Words can have more than one meaning.

So in short, screw you, racists of the world, for filling the English language with enough racial slurs that we even needed to have this conversation.

Actually, screw you, racists, for a lot of reasons.
Anyway, the dance placates the ghosts, so as the lamb costume disappears, the teens are returned unharmed. Well, relatively unharmed, seeing as how they all hit the floor when gravity reverts to normal. As Mabel starts nursing her stomachache, Wendy spins a yarn about how Dipper fought off the ghosts in the coolest and not at all dance-related way. The teens pile into the car, and Wendy admits that she's probably scarred for life.

As I said earlier, that's what I do at 2 AM.
She suggests that they should stay at the shack next time, and Dipper's just excited at the idea of a "next time." And as Mabel finds herself on the receiving end of her own graffiti, they all head home.

Grunkle Stan, having watched The Duchess Approves all night, finds himself aggravated by the return of Count Lionel.

Grunkle Stan: "You had your chance at the cotillion, you!"
Film Character: "You had your chance at the cotillion, you!"
Grunkle Stan: "That's what I'm sayin'!"

And after he tosses the TV out the window in front of the kids...

Grunkle Stan: "Uh.... couldn't find the remote."

...a final cryptogram of "RZDUGV DRVKLPD!" (Onwards, Aoshma!) heralds the end of the episode. So lets review and see exactly where this episode rates on a scale of "Dr. Funtimes" to "Captain Buzzkill."

4 comments:

  1. I am going to assume you meant the clock strikes 6, because i did not see any rosters about and while gravity falls may push the limits at times for children's television it probably would not go that far.

    Also don't feel too bad at your age, I just turned 29 for the third time last week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, it's fixed now.
      Huh. Makes me wonder, though, if there's a murder mystery porn out there called "The Cock Strikes Midnight."

      Delete
  2. "...But I ruined frequent commenter Azkaban Prisoner's childlike innocence regarding Dumbledore... um, "going to live on a farm" in that same Review, so I'm going to err on the side of caution and keep potential spoilers under my hat"

    I got to be mentioned in one of your reviews!!! This makes me so happy! Sorry I've deterred you from spoilers though, I was just trying to be funny.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Aw, don't worry about it. I wouldn't have mentioned the big Season 2 spoiler anyway. I mean, at the very least, it's not even relevant to this episode.

      And it's not like I'm living vicariously through you because my own inner child died as soon as Sirius Black stepped through that mysterious portal that was NEVER PROPERLY EXPLAINED, PAVING THE WAY FOR THE DEATHS OF EVERY CHARACTER I EVER LOVED AND CARED ABOUT.

      I mean, how is that last book in any way a happy ending, Rowling? What about Fred and Remus, Rowling? WHAT ABOUT FRED AND REMUS!?

      Wait, what was I talking about again?

      Delete