Thursday, July 2, 2015

Review: Gravity Falls "The Legend of the Gobblewonker"

As much as I love Dipper and Mabel, they were totally out of their element this episode. Who ya gonna call?

Jeremy Wade, of course.
When a show’s premise is about finding ghosts and goblins and whatnots that actually do exist, there’s usually going to be a Scooby-Doo-homage plot thrown in there somewhere. This was Gravity Falls’s Scooby-Doo-homage plot.

Hunt a monster, find out it’s just an old man with an impractical getup trying to scare people for selfish reasons.

In a show that has actual paranormal thingums running around, having the monster be no more than a hoax can actually be a little bit of a letdown. But this is mitigated by the fact that Old Man McGucket’s motivations reinforce the moral of the story.

Old people are human beings, too. I think it’s something people are guilty of as a whole, whether it be the kids who won’t stop playing their Game Boy at Grandma’s house, or the boy who grew up just like his dad because the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon.

Or if you want to make the moral more generalized, you could say that the lesson was that you shouldn’t just ditch people to go do something selfish. Either way, it’s a bit more than your standard morals of “don’t lie,” or “don’t talk to strangers.”

Of course, we might want to remind the kids that they shouldn't build giant death machines.
If there’s one thing that Gravity Falls does very well (aside from the writing, jokes, characters, continuity, foreshadowing, and pretty much everything else), it’s integrate the moral into the story in a way that doesn’t seem as preachy as other shows. Of course, sometimes the moral does end up a bit preachy, and you could certainly make the argument that this episode in particular is a bit heavy-handed, but that’s the risk you run when you’re trying to teach stuff to kids. 

Old Man McGucket
Alex Hirsch, are you just a frustrated voice actor?

This time, he’s playing the lovable old kook with a band-aid on his beard. His backstory about being ignored by his son distracts from the larger questions, but they’re still there.

Why does nobody seem to remember that this guy keeps building giant robots?

How did this crazy old man get the knowledge to build giant robots?

What's with the cast on his arm?

And why does he have a band-aid on his beard?

I can guarantee that all these questions and more will be answered. Yes, even the one about the band-aid.

Grunkle Stan
Grunkle Stan is a lonely old man who doesn’t want to be alone. That was made pretty darn evident in the very end of “Tourist Trapped,” and his desire to go fishing with the twins reinforces that further. Even his line last episode, “I’d fire all of you if I could,” could be taken as an admission that he simply doesn’t want to be alone.

Even if his idea of "family bonding" is very illegal.
Makes you wonder what kind of past Stan had to make him such an anti-social miser, but one who secretly values the people who can put up with his crap…. 

Standard beautiful stuff for Gravity Falls. And no Slender Man to be found, unfortunately.

Final Thoughts
This was a good episode, but as with “Tourist Trapped,” it has since been surpassed by later episodes. I think it really says something about how forgettable this episode is when the most-remembered part of it was somebody photoshopping Slender Man into it.

Next time, we're going headhunting. See you then.

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