Monday, August 31, 2015

Recap: Gravity Falls "The Hand that Rocks the Mabel"

Back to Gravity Falls today with an episode that features surprisingly little Mabel-rocking. In any way, shape, or form, whether it be rocking her to sleep or rocking out. Luckily, Mabel will be rocking out by herself in a few episode's time, if that's what you wanted to see.

But for now, let's see what happens when somebody has a crush on Mabel instead of the other way around.

The hand that rocks the Mabel is the hand that rules the world.
The episode opens with Grunkle Stan doing what he does best, fleecing rubes. And let me just say that the Mystery Shack guests have hit a new low.

Grunkle Stan: "For tonight's final illusion, we have the incredible Sack of Mystery. When you put your money in, it mysteriously disappears!"

And somehow, they all fall for it harder than the time my sister actually fell for the old "I'm over there" gag. She's currently working on her doctorate, so I guess anybody can have a brainfart.

In the Shack itself, Soos and the twins are watching Tiger Fist, a show about a tiger with a human fist that presumably fights crime. But because Grunkle Stan is apparently too cheap to shill for a DVR, they're stuck watching the commercials, including a really weird one that Soos points out to the twins. While mentioning few actual details, the ad hypes up a show from mysterious psychic named "Gideon" currently operating in the Gravity Falls area in his "Tent of Telepathy." And if I were the people of Gravity Falls, I’d be a bit worried by all the legal mumbo-jumbo at the end of the commercial.

Commercial Fine Print: "Void where prohibited, no C.O.D.'s accepted, the letter "p" in the word psychic is silent and used for entertainment purposes only. If unsatisfied, please return unused portion for a full refund. Side effects may include but are not limited to: prosperity, wads of cash, fun at parties, tight pants, 6.2% APR, no money down! Psychic readings may cause a warming sensation in the abdomen. If pain persists, consult your physicist immediately. Carla, I've always loved you but I've never had the guts to say it."

Not sure who Carla is, but at least the announcer finally got that out in the open.

The ad makes Mabel "all curiousy inside," but Grunkle Stan comes in to tell her to forget it. He's holding a grudge after Gideon's tour bus robbed him of a premium parking space at the store.

Grunkle Stan: "You're forbidden from patronizing the competition. No one that lives under my roof is allowed under that Gideon's roof."
Dipper: "Do tents have roofs?"
Mabel: "I think we just found our loophole. Literally. Whomp, whomp!"

I wonder how long she was carrying that string around, waiting to use that line.
After the titles, we cut to the Tent of Telepathy itself. As the large crowd packs in, a man named "Bud" (Stephen Root) takes admission. Much like at the Mystery Shack, people are putting their money into the sack. But unlike at the Mystery Shack, there’s no hucksterism going on. Well, at least, the hucksterism is far less blatant. People are willingly lining up just to see what this tent has to offer instead of responding to, say, an advertisement promising free pizza.

If the place had free pizza, than that big guy would be wearing his free pizza shirt. Logic!
 Once inside the tent, Dipper takes note of the place.

Dipper: "This is like a Bizarro version of the Mystery Shack. They even have their own Soos!"

It's a well-documented fact that Sooses are very territorial.
But for now, the show begins with ballyhoo, fanfare, and the big reveal of Gideon himself....

Huh. Thought he'd be taller.
Gideon: "Hello, America! My name is Lil' Gideon."

The Southern-accented little boy (played by Thurop Van Orman) claps his hands, and doves fly out of his hair as he begins his show.

Gideon: "I have... a vision. I predict that you'l soon all say, 'Awwww'."

Um, no.
Crowd: "Awwwwww..."
Mabel: "It came true...."
Dipper: "What? I'm not impressed."
Mabel: "You're impressed."

Bud, Gideon's dad, starts playing the organ in the corner, starting the main portion of the show. Gideon calls for the crowd to stand up and clap, and they do. Even Dipper stands up.... despite not meaning to. But enough of that, it’s time for Gideon to use actual tricks used by actual fake psychics. In song!

Gideon: "You wish your son would call you more!"
Cat Lady: "I'm leaving everything to my cats!"

And what do you call a financial decision like that? The Aristocats!
A bit of a shot in the dark, but a fairly safe one that looks very impressive when it works. And judging from her willingness to bring her cats to a show like this, she clearly doesn't have anyone else to go with and is probably lonely. The question hinged on her having a son, but it's still a fair guess.

Gideon: "I sense that you've been here before!"
Sheriff Blubs: "What gave it away?"

Gideon: "I'll read your mind if I am able...."

Impress me.

Gideon: "Something tells me you're named 'Mabel.'"
Mabel: "How'd he do that?"

How about you worry over where the rest of your teeth are?
The song ends in a big finish, and the twins leave with Soos, utterly convinced that Gideon is just a showy fraud. The next day, Mabel shows off how she's bezazzled her own face.

Sometimes, you have to suffer for your art.
Dipper: "Is that permanent?"

Yes, apparently.
As the doorbells rings, she quickly wipes them all off before answering. It's Lil' Gideon himself. It seems as though he noticed Mabel leaving the performance and wanted to get to know her personally.

Gideon: "When I saw you in the audience, I said to myself, 'Now, there's a kindred spirit. Someone who appreciates the.... sparklier things in life."
Mabel: "That's totally me!"

To punctuate this, she coughs up some bezazzle jewels onto his suit.

Gideon: "Enchanting, utterly enchanting."

Stan yells out, asking who's at the door. Mabel tells him not to worry about it, leading Gideon to thank her, understanding full well that he's not exactly appreciated by Stan.

Gideon: "I don't know how a lemon so sour can be related to a peach so sweet."

Smooth line.

Gideon invites her to his dressing room with promises of makeup and makeovers, and Mabel's instantly taken with the place.

Gideon: "You see something you like? 'Cause I do."
Mabel: "Ah, haha, what...?"

Sometime later, Mabel returns home, decked out in the finest 80's makeup stylings.

Dipper: "Where've you been? And what's going on with those fingernails, you look like a wolverine."

More like Lady Deathstrike.
She explains that she was hanging out with Gideon, which Dipper disapproves of. Mabel counters that hanging out with Gideon gives her an opportunity to do girl stuff, like how Soos and Dipper go off and do boy stuff.

Soos: "Hey, dude, you ready to blow up these hot dogs in the microwave one by one?"
Dipper: "Am I?"

Yeah, like that.

Later, Gideon and Mabel share some time on the top of Gideon's family's factory looking at the town through their opera glasses.

Gideon: "Mabel, when I'm up her looking down on all them little ol' people, I feel like I'm king of all I survey."

Red flag, Mabel, red flag! Have you never read Yertle the Turtle?

Gideon: "I guess that makes you my queen!"

The shared moment inspires Gideon to reveal his true feelings.

Gideon: "I'm speaking from the heart."
Mabel: "From the where, now?"
Gideon: "Mabel, I've never felt this close with anyone before. So, so close."

And he breathes funny while reaching out to stroke her hair, which is an even bigger red flag if you ask me.

Mabel: "I like you a lot, but let's just be friends."

Desperate to escape the gravitational pull of the friend zone, Gideon asks her for one date before she makes up her mind. And when he gives her the puppy eyes, she agrees out of pity. You know, Mabel, pity is what made Bilbo spare Gollum's life. And because of that, Frodo ended up getting a finger bitten off. Just saying.

Anyway, this makes him so happy that he gives her a big ol' hug.

Mabel: "Are you sniffing my hair?"

Boy, this is getting legitimately creepy.

Once back home, Mabel and Dipper play their Atari while Mabel explains that she'll give him a single date out of pity, then break it off.

Dipper: "Mabel, guys don't work that way. He's gonna fall in love with you."

Mabel claims that she's not that lovable, which Dipper agrees on when she beats him at their video game. The doorbell rings, and Gideon sits upon a white horse, ready to take Mabel to yonder date.

Gideon: "A land of enchantment awaits, m'lady!"
Mabel: "Ohh, boy...."

So... guys. I know some of you are probably single. There's a lot of BS out there about "tricks to get out of the friend zone," or other instant ways to woo a lady. (Or another guy, if that’s what floats your boat.) Let me say this right now. Don't force it. The world is full of attractive, funny, smart, wonderful people. And most of them aren't going to want to date you. You just need to wait for that one person who will. And when the right person comes along, it's all too easy to screw it up, despite the best of intentions. So I’m going to dispense some free romantic advice by telling you all what Gideon does absolutely wrong.

1: Seriously, don't call girls "m'lady."
You're not an Arthurian knight, so don't pretend to be one. Girls will most likely find it creepy rather than charming because it looks like you're putting on this weird persona and they won't know how to react to that. In the end, it will most likely make the other person less interested in you. As a corollary, slapping on a fedora and acting unnaturally chivalrous like you're in a fancy beer commercial usually elicits the same result. (But that's not to say "Don't wear fedoras." I love fedoras.)

Moral: Be yourself. It's less creepy, and you can't play a persona forever.

Anyway, back in the episode, Gideon and Mabel find themselves at a fancy-schmancy restaurant, where the establishment's best toady waits on their table.

Waiter: "Ahhh! Meester Gideon! Ze feet on ze table! An excellent choice!"
Gideon: "Jean-Luc, what did we discuss about eye contact?"

"ArrĂȘtez votre visage, vous petit morceau de merde."
Mabel: "I've never seen so many forks! And water with bubbles in it? Ooohh, la la, oui oui!"
Gideon: "Ah, parlez vous francais?"
Mabel: "...I have no idea what you're saying."

"Don't worry, he understood what I said."
Over at the Mystery Shack, Grunkle Stan demands to know what's up with this news story he read in the paper about Mabel and Gideon. Wendy confirms that everybody's talking about their big date tonight.

Soos: "I wonder what the new name will be for the power couple! Mabideon? Gideabel? Magidbeleon!"

Sounds like an anime. Neon Genesis Magidbeleon.

Grunkle Stan is rightly ticked off, so Dipper tries to pull his own fat out of the fire.

Dipper: "I didn't know; I didn't hear about it! Plus, I told her not to!"

Grunkle Stan, full of righteous fury, gets dressed and heads right over to Gideon's house to put an end to this, slamming the door on his way out.

Soos: "Dudes, wouldn't it be funny if that was a closet? And he had to come back out again and walk out the real door?"

Just in case, he checks it.

Soos: "Nope. Real door."

Technically speaking, none of that was in and of itself a joke. But dang it, Soos, you always bring a smile to my face.

Soon enough, the angry-as-all-get-out Stan arrives at the home of Gideon Gleeful. He's in such a foul mood that he takes it out on the "Pardon this Garden" sign in their door.

Grunkle Stan: "I will pardon nothing!"

Gideon's dad, Bud Gleeful, opens the door and warmly greets him with that Southern hospitality.

Bud: "But since you're here, you simply must come in for coffee."
Grunkle Stan: "But- but I came-"
Bud: "It's imported! All the way from Co-lumbia!"
Grunkle Stan: "Wow! I went to jail there once!"

Ladies and gentlemen, that was a reference to Grunkle Stan's likely past as a cocaine smuggler. The magic of Disney, everybody!

Grunkle Stan checks out the place, specifically admiring a sad clown painting on the wall.

"Poetry! I should have sent a poet to swipe this! So beautiful."
Over coffee, Bud tells Stan that he sees Gideon and Mabel's relationship as a business opportunity. After quickly clearing a dartboard with Stan's face off the wall, he offers and olive branch and a very lucrative partnership offer.

Grunkle Stan: "I'm listening...."

Over with Gideon and Mabel....

Gideon: "And so I said, 'Autograph your own headshot, lady.'"

But unlike Stan Mabel isn't listening, mainly because the kitchen apparently screwed up and gave her a live lobster that's still snapping at her fork.

Gideon: "Mabel, tonight's date was a complete success."

Isn't that up to her to decide?

Gideon: "And tomorrow's date promises to top this one in every way!"

Mabel protests, saying that she only promised one date. So in order to sway her, Gideon summons a pre-prepared Red-Crested South American Rainbow Macaw which he trained to ask her on another date.

2: Don't overdo your grand gestures.
Why, yes, it does show that you took the time and effort to organize a parade down the middle of the street in her honor while skywriters write her name in the sky. But much like putting on a persona, too much of a grand gesture can sort of ruin the moment by putting her on the spot, making her feel awkward and unprepared. I mean, if all you promised her was dinner and a movie, then she's expecting dinner and a movie. How 'bout you focus on that?

Moral: Keep it simple, but fully deliver.

The grand gesture draws the attention of all the other restaurant patrons, putting Mabel on the spot.

Old Lady: "If she says no, I'll die from sadness!"
Doctor: "I can verify that that will indeed happen."

3: Don't rely on societal pressure to achieve your relationship goals.
Everybody's seen the YouTube videos of the girl rejecting the guy's proposal on the big screen at a sporting event, or in the middle of Central Park, or what have you. Again, the problem is that you're putting the woman on the spot and forcing them to play to a crowd when all they wanted was a night with you. Heck, maybe they didn't really want that night with you in the first place. This sort of thing can be romantic if done right, but if you're relying on a crowd forcing her to say 'Yes,' then you shouldn't even try.

Moral: Let her make her own decisions without the world watching.

And so, Mabel returns to the Shack, unusually sad.

Dipper: "Hey, how'd it go?"
Mabel: "I don't know... I have a lobster now."

This lobster will never be seen again. My theory? Grunkle Stan. In the kitchen. With the butter.
Mabel reveals that she cracked under pressure, and said "yes" to another date, even though she doesn't want to go.

Mabel: "He asked me out again and I didn't know how to say 'no'!"
Dipper: "Like this. No."
Mabel: "It's not that easy, Dipper! And I do like Gideon! As a friend/little sister. So I didn't want to hurt his feelings!"

She tells Dipper that she just wants to be friends with Gideon again, so on their next date, a gondola ride courtesy of Old Man McGucket, she tries to get the point across.

Mabel: "I mean, I'm always happy to hang out with a friend, buddy, pal, chum, other word for friend...."
Old Man McGucket: "Pal?"
Mabel: "I already said 'Pal.' Uh, mate?"
Gideon: "How about… soulmate?"

4: Know when to fold 'em.
There are over 7 billion people in this world. Over 99.9 percent of them are not interested in you. So if she acts like she's not one of them, then odds are, she's really not one of them. There's a fine line between "persistence" and "stalking."

Moral: Respect the other person's wishes, even when they don’t line up with your own.

Back at the Shack, Dipper finds Mabel freaking out about the situation. Dipper assures her that everything will work out.

Dipper: "I mean, it's not like you're going to have to marry Gideon."
Grunkle Stan: "Great news, Mabel! You have to marry Gideon!"

Grunkle Stan comes in and talks about his deal with the Gleefuls while showing off his new "Team Gideon" T-shirt, to Mabel's horror. She runs off and hides in her room with her sweater over her head. Dipper vows to go tell Gideon how Mabel feels to put a stop to this once and for all, earning himself a hug. Dipper finds Gideon at the club called "the Club," designed to look like that place from Twin Peaks.

Simpsons did it.
In no time at all, Dipper tells the chubby little boy what's what.

Dipper: "She's kind of weirded out by you. No offense."
Gideon: "So... what you're saying is... you've come between us."

Gideon's eye starts twitching, but he insists that if that's the way it has to be, then that's how it'll be.

Dipper: "Sorry man, but, uh, hey, thumbs up, right?"
Gideon: "Thumbs up indeed, my friend."

It’s theorized that back in the day, Roman emperors would actually use a thumbs-up sign to give the signal for one gladiator to execute another, and not the thumbs-down that's common in the media. Just thought I’d bring that up for no particular reason.

Dipper meets his sister outside. She's a bit paranoid about Gideon using his psychic powers for revenge, but Dipper reminds her that the kid's a fraud. But once home, Gideon goes to his room and angrily looks into his mirror. Grabbing his bolo tie, it glows green as he vows terrible revenge, causing the lightbulbs to break and the furniture to float.

"Darrell Peart shall be the first to feel my wrath!"
Bud comes in to tell his son to clean up the mess he's caused, and gets put in his place.

Gideon: "I can buy and sell you, old man!"
Bud: "Fair enough."

The next day, Mabel’s feeling much better as she and Dipper run into Soos's stomach while he wears a pillow under his shirt. Suddenly, Toby Determined calls the Mystery Shack to talk to Dipper. He's completely forgiven the whole "accusing him of murder" thing, and is wondering if Dipper knows of any strange occurrences lately. Dipper, excited for his chance to reveal his notes and theories, eagerly runs off to the address where Toby wants to meet. After they hang up, an unknown individual gives Toby Shandra Jimenez's phone number as payment for luring Dipper to his doom.

Toby: "Bless you, Lil' Gideon!"

Well, so much for "unknown."

Dipper arrives at the Gleefuls’ factory that night, coming face to face with the tiny menace. He's petting a plush toy of himself. Clearly, he's not well.

I wonder how many times Bud has had to say "I didn't see you playing with your dolls again, sir!"
Gideon: "Listen carefully, boy. This town has secrets you couldn't begin to comprehend."
Dipper: "Is this about Mabel?"

Gideon insists that Mabel was his "peach dumpling," and starts using his magic amulet to knock Dipper around. Meanwhile, Mabel is chewing on her hair as Wendy arrives to give her big sisterly advice in a scene that I absolutely love.

Wendy: "How's that hair tasting, buddy?"
Mabel: "Wendy, I need some advice. You've broken up with guys, right?"
Wendy: "Oh, yeah. Russ Durham, Eli Hall, Stony Davidson...."
Mabel: "I don't knw what's wrong with me. I though everything was back to normal, but I still feel all gross."
Wendy: "Mike Worley, Nate Holts, that guy with the tattoos...."

True story, these are the scrambled-up names of real people Alex Hirsch’s sister had crushes on.

Mabel: "Maybe letting Dipper do it for me was a mistake. Gideon deserves an honest breakup."
Wendy: "Danny Feldman, Mark Epstein... Oh, man. I'm not sure I actually broke up with him. No wonder he keeps calling me."

Mabel bikes off to meet with Gideon as Wendy hits the Ignore button on her phone. Speaking of Gideon, he's still tossing things around at Dipper with his telekinesis. But when Dipper tries to use a baseball bat against him, he whips out the Lil Gideon-brand Lamb Shears to gut him once and for all. Again, the magic of Disney, everybody. Luckily, Mabel runs in at that moment to explain that she can't see him anymore.

Mabel: "Hey, but we can still be makeover buddies, right?"

But this is revealed to be a trick when, in Gideon's moment of weakness, she rips off his tie.

Mabel: "No, not really! You were attacking my brother, what the heck?"

5: Don't assault the family of the person you want to start dating.
I figured this was a no-brainer, but... you know. Better safe than sorry.

Moral: Seriously, how about you don't assault anybody?

Dipper and Mabel play keep away with the amulet, but Gideon knocks Dipper out a window in his rage. Luckily, Mabel uses the tie to save them both and float to the ground before smashing the relic for good. Gideon slinks off, vowing more vengeance, and returns home to yell at Stan Pines to get out of his house.

Gideon: "Stan Pines, I rebuke thee! I rebuke thee!"
Grunkle Stan: "Rebuke. that a word?"

The partnership may be shot down, but at least Stan makes off with that sad clown painting. He later laments the loss of the deal while hanging it up in his own home. To cheer himself up, he and the twins bond over their shared loathing of Gideon and have a good laugh about his vow for vengeance.

Dipper: "How's he gonna try to destroy us now, huh? Try to guess what number we're thinking of?"
Mabel: "He'll never guess what number I'm thinking of. Negative eight! No one would guess a negative number!"

I don't know, Dr. Strange correctly guessed "flapjacks."
They all have a good laugh, blissfully unaware that Gideon is very busy with his creepy wooden model of the town, making future plans. After all, the amulet wasn't the only thing up his sleeve. There's more magic out there to be used against the Pines. And he has the means to find it.

Well, then. This should be interesting.
But enough setting up a myth arc, focus on what’s really important during the credits.

Disco Soos!
And with a final cryptogram of "FDUOD, ZKB ZROW BRY FDOO PH?" (Carla, why won’t you call me?), the episode ends. So let's take a look at the first outing of Gideon and see if this show read my mind and granted my wishes.


  1. Tune in next time on Neon Genesis Magidbeleon, where Dipper still won't get in the dang robot.

    - That One Anon

  2. your red flags mention makes me think of this quote from Bojack Horseman's second season;
    "when you look at someone through rose-colored glasses, all the red flags just look like flags"

    1. That... works perfectly with this episode.

  3. Those are pretty good tips actually. Probably the first time I saw someone mention fedora in something like this without being insulting. Though TV and Internet by now convinced me that maybe its easier to just become asexual.

    And I don't even think asexuality is a choice.

    1. Hey, I love fedoras. You can't NOT feel cool wearing a fedora. But no mater what you're wearing, you're still you.