Monday, July 11, 2016

Recap: Gravity Falls "Fight Fighters"

 Will all Dipper's Wendy are belong to Robbie?
Episode shall make start with...

Okay, that's enough mistranslated English.

The episode opens with Soos taking the Pines family to his favorite place in Gravity Falls, the arcade.

Y'see kids, back in the day, video games were huge machines with a built-in TV that could be found in certain restaurants and buildings called "arcades." You could borrow the machine for a quarter and leave your initials on the high score screen if you did well.

So Soos... hey, look! A triangle man!

I bet this triangle character brings nothing but fun times.
Anyway, Soos runs them through all the life lessons he's learned at this '80s throwback.

Soos: "A frog taught me how to cross the street. When my house was haunted, I learned how to eat ghosts!"

So... Soos has consumed the unresting spirits of the deceased?

Do not mess with Soos. He will eat your soul.

Actually, that ghost-chomping Ms. Pac-Man pastiche Soos shows has one eye and a bow... just like that other character we saw on the other machine.

I wonder if they're part of the same series?
"Sure! Who do you think taught Soos the secret of consuming souls?"
They pass Old Man McGucket dancing a jig for the seventh day straight on an unplugged DDR knockoff, which Soos says taught him how to dance.

Grunkle Stan briefly warms up to a place when he wins at a game called "Insert Token" by inserting a token... only to get a little curmudgeonly when he realizes that he just got ripped off. That's his job, you know.

As Soos continues to show the wonders of the arcade to Mabel and Grunkle Stan, Dipper and Wendy are in a section of the building with more dust and cloth covering the arcade cabinets than the interior of Flynn's.

And yeah, I just referenced Tron: Legacy. I liked that movie. Don't judge me.

The two of them are playing Fight Fighters, a parody of Street Fighter, complete with ridiculous characters and poor translation.

Rumble McSkirmish: "Winners don't lose!"

That pretty much defines the word, yeah.

Dipper, as Rumble McSkirmish, manages to win against Wendy's character, Dr. Karate. The two are having a good time, which gets the attention of Wendy's new boyfriend, Robbie. He's not there to play video games, he's there to hang up posters for his band that prominently feature his made-up face.

Dipper: "Are you wearing mascara?"
Robbie: "Uh, it's eye paint for men."

But Robbie takes the opportunity to shoo Dipper away so he and Wendy can play Fight Fighters together, going so far as to play the boyfriend card when Dipper protests.

You know you're a little over protective when you're trying to keep a 12-year-old from stealing your girlfriend.
Wendy mentions that she's going camping tomorrow with her dad, and Robbie gives a noncommittal "Cool, cool." And when Robbie looks back at Dipper while making a show of pulling Wendy close, the Fight Fighters announcer vocalizes Dipper's thoughts.

Announcer: "Opponent sighted! Fight!"

The next day, Mabel demolishes the others at poker, despite having no idea how to play...

Mabel: "King me!"

...or even what they're playing.

Mabel: "Go Fish?"

Outside, some discordant guitar notes break out. Soos thinks he's picking up a radio station in his head. Mabel suggests that he should try blinking to change the channel. Like that kid from X-Men 2! But Dipper knows that it's Robbie, whom no one here can stand.

Soos: "He called me 'Big Dude' once. I mean, I know I'm a big dude, but it kinda hurt."

Mabel offers to have Waddles attack him like last time, but Dipper goes out to deal with the teenage guitarist calling out for Wendy.

Dipper: "You realize she's not here, right?"
Robbie: "Pshh. Yes. ...What?"
Dipper: "She's out camping with her family today. Maybe if you listened to her for once...."

That snide remark proves to be a mistake, since Robbie can tell Dipper has a crush on Wendy and threatens to phone her up and tell her in retaliation for that statement. 

Robbie: "Yeah, I bet she's just dying to ask out a twelve-year-old kid who wears the exact same shorts every day."

Says the guy with only one sweatshirt.

Dipper reflexively lashes out to keep him from talking to her, but knocks his phone onto the ground, where it shatters. It doesn't just break the screen, that thing is in pieces.

And that's why I always get an Otter Box for my iPhone.
Robbie, understandably mad, shoves Dipper into the outside trash, getting the attention of Grunkle Stan.

Grunkle Stan: "Hey, I know a fight when I see one! Stay right there!"

Not wanting to stick around to see how Grunkle Stan's going to get involved, Robbie challenges Dipper to a fight in the park at 3 before storming off... without the guitar or amp he was playing a minute ago. Continuity errors! They're not just for Ultimate Spider-Man anymore.

Grunkle Stan: "Aw, he's gone! I was just gonna call the boys over to place a few bets. The smart money's on skinny jeans."

Once back inside, Dipper starts freaking out, since his weakling physique will automatically translate "getting in a fight" to "getting beaten up."

Grunkle Stan: "Just bonk him over the head. It's nature's snooze button."
Mabel: "Boys. Why can't you learn to hate each other in secret? Like girls do!"
Grunkle Stan: "Sure, listen to your sister. Maybe you can share dresses too! Ah-ha-ha-ha! Boom!"

I've met a few transvestites who could easily beat me up, so I wouldn't be laughing if I were you, Stan.

Dipper hopes that things will cool over, but Soos isn't so sure.

Soos: "Teenagers are dangerous. Those hormones turn 'em into, like, killing machines."
Dipper: "Really?"
Soos: "Aw, yeah, dude. My cousin Reggie got in a fight with a teen once. The guy broke, like, all his arms, all his legs, and I think killed him or something, I dunno. Me and Reggie were just talkin' about it."

So... are you under the impression that your cousin's a ghost? For the love of Bob, don't eat him.

Dipper: "I can't stay here! What if Robbie comes back?"

Then... you call the cops on him?

Grunkle Stan: "Look, kid. Ya got yourself a choice here. You can either go face him like a man, or you can hide indoors like a wimp."

"Didn't you tell me that refusing to fight someone I didn't want to fight was manlier than giving into peer pressure?"
"Only when I'm not the one pressuring you. C'mon, kid.
The boys at the lodge need something to bet on after the roosters ran away."
Dipper decides to hide out at the arcade, because if he hid in the privacy of his Grunkle's house, we wouldn't have an episode.

Soos: "Wimp it is."

This... seems uncharacteristically jerkish for Soos. I mean, he obviously isn't teasing Dipper; he says the line with an air of "Welp, it's your decision. That's fine." But you'd think he'd understand Dipper's hesitance to fight Robbie after that horror story Soos told about Reggie.

Dipper just needs to hide out until 3 o'clock, because it's not like Robbie will still hold a grudge after 3 PM. But even so, it's only 11:29. And it's not like he can stop thinking about Robbie.

Geez, save some posters for the rest of town, Robbie.
Back at the Shack, Mabel watches the latest episode of the sassy talk show Why You Ackin' So Cray-Cray? while lamenting Dipper's inability to face his fears. 

Grunkle Stan: "Fears are for chumps. That's why I don't have any!"

As he says this, he reaches for some glue on a high shelf to finish crafting a jackalope, which is made difficult by the lack of ladders in the house.

Grunkle Stan: "You know, studies show that keeping a ladder inside the house is more dangerous than a loaded gun. That's why I own ten guns. In case some maniac tries to sneak in a ladder."

Boy, if it weren't for all those crimes on Grunkle Stan's record, the NRA would love him.

But Mabel's getting suspicious of her Grunkle, and asks him why he's ackin' so cray-cray. 

Grunkle Stan: "You're the one who's ackin' cray-cray!"

He quickly leaves as Mabel realizes that Stan must be afraid of heights, and decides to run some tests to make sure.

Mabel: "Or we can leave well enough alone. ...Nah!"

I mean, you've got to find something to do this episode, Mabel.

Meanwhile, back at the arcade, Soos is busy playing NORT: The game Based on the Movie: Based on the Game.

I would so play this 24/7.
As he crashes his lightsegway, he has a thought.

Soos: "Man. I wonder what it would be like to go inside a video game for real."

As he begins to take apart the back of the cabinet and climb in, Dipper drowns his sorrows in Fight Fighter. Dr. Karate whoops his butt, so he prepares to put another token into the machine to continue. But after wishing that a Fight Fighter character could fight Robbie in his place, he drops it on the ground. And when he bends down for it, he finds a cheat code scratched into the side of the machine, with a vague promise of "ultimate power."

Dipper: "I DO like things that are ultimate."

Personally, I prefer things that are spectacular over things that are ultimate.

He enters the code into the machine, which turns off before unleashing an otherworldly glow.

Dipper: "Uh... Rumble McSkirmish?"

And so, Rumble McSkirmish (Brian Bloom) himself jumps out of the machine into the real world. Dipper, realizing what miracle has just transpired, high-fives his new pal.

Dipper: "Oww, your pixels are really sharp, ahh."

This raises many questions as to what he's actually made of.
But Rumble McSkrimish isn't the brightest bulb on the Hannukah tree, and doesn't seem to grasp some of the differences between his world and the real world.


You know, I really do find it interesting how other countries envision Americans. Apparently, we're all a bunch of cowboy hat-wearing Texans wearing American flags while saying "Howdy!" and holding a cheeseburger.

Though to be fair, when characters like this are what our pop culture exports to the rest of the world....
When my girlfriend played host to some foreign exchange students from China, they always wanted to go out for burgers. After all, they were in America, and they said they wanted to eat America's favorite food: the cheeseburger. And they seemed to be under the impression that we Americans ate big, gigantic cheeseburgers literally every day, when everyone knows that we mostly fill up on multiple smaller burgers.

Anyway, Rumble whips out a couple moves, lightly grazing Dipper, though the kid couldn't me more ecstatic. Rumble has a brief encounter with a change machine where he fails to be changed in any way, and Dipper realizes that the punch-happy pixel person would make the perfect bodyguard. Ain't no way Robbie's getting to Dipper through this guy.

But Rumble flashes red and says that he needs power-ups. Dipper wants to show Soos his new pal before taking him back to the shack, but Soos is having... issues.

Soos: "Help! I'm trapped in the game! It was cool in theory, but in practice it was really boring."

In theory.
In practice.
But the guy Soos asked for help runs away, meaning that Soos needs to solve his own problem.

Soos: "It's not just a game anymore...."

Back at the shack, Mabel begins Operation: Get Stan Over His Fear of Heights by wishing him a happy Great-Uncle's Day!

Grunkle Stan: "There's a Great-Uncle's Day?"
Mabel: "Of course it's not a day I've made up!"

He's a bit confused by her gift of high heels, and Mabel starts prying and asking why these high heels might be making him uncomfortable.

"Mabel, someday I'll tell you what I had to do to survive in Columbia.
Then I'll tell you why high heels make me uncomfortable."
When he finds out about her scheme, he's naturally a bit disappointed in Mabel.

Grunkle Stan: "And on Great-Uncle's Day, no less!"

But when he turns on the TV to "World's Most Terrifying Skydiving" and freaks out, the jig is up. While Mabel plans her next move, Dipper takes Rumble into the Shack's kitchen. The big lug kills a fly with a hundred-hands-style move while Dipper looks past a glass of Mabel Juice, unable to find any traditional power-ups.

Dipper: "Turkey legs, pizza boxes, or gold rings."

C'mon, Dipper, I bet there's a few mushrooms growing in that old fridge.

But Dipper does find half a taco and places it on the floor, so Rumble can kneel down, press the action button to add it to his inventory, and then select his new item from the menu.

So.. this is a fighting game where you can use items between fights? How and why?
With Rumble's hunger sated, it's time for business.

Dipper: "That's gonna be tough. For a number of reasons."

But Dipper offers up a certain fighter from Gravity Falls named Robbie. Dipper's arch-enemy.

Dipper: "He's dating the girl I like and he posts a really annoying amount of status updates."

Dipper seems to be ignoring the most important part of Rumble's mindset and asks if Rumble would put the fear of Master Hand into Robbie for him.


Rumble then unleashes a new flurry of attacks; a combo of fireball, uppercut, downercut, and bowl of punch! Mmmm. Makes me want a can of Falcon Punch. The only drink with that Falcon Kick!

Rumble accepts Dipper's challenge and manifests a START button, which Dipper presses to make it all official. But before they can sneak out, Dipper needs to keep Grunkle Stan from overhearing or noticing Rumble. He tells the Fight Fighter to stay perfectly still... but Rumble keeps bobbing up and down.


Meanwhile, upstairs, Mabel tries to come up with a way to cure her Grunkle of his fears before Dipper comes up to introduce her to Rumble. She loves his voice, and writes some funny words for him to say.

Dipper: "Mabel, he's not a toy, he's a fighting machine."

You could make the argument that he's both.

Dipper explains that Rumble will be fighting Robbie for him, which Mabel calls cheating. Not that he cares, since he and Rumble go to leave the Shack and fight Robbie.


As they head for the park, Rumble wants to know Robbie's special moves, but Dipper says that one look at Rumble will send Robbie wetting his pants.


Rumble has a pipe now, and he's itching to use it.

Dipper: "Whoa! Where'd that come from?"

But Dipper manages to convince him that he shouldn't use the pipe. Rumble agrees.

He'll use a katana instead.
Dipper: "This street has really dangerous litter...."

Back at the Shack, Mabel has a question for her Grunkle.

Mabel: "How would you like to go take a walk nowhere in particular while wearing a blindfold?"

A question that would be much more alarming if their places were reversed.

Though not without precedent.
Grunkle Stan: "Beats just sitting around being old."

She promises that this isn't about curing his fear of heights, so he agrees to go.

Scout's honor!
Or not.
Over at the park, Dipper meets up with Robbie and tries to call the fight off. And when that doesn't work, Dipper introduces him to his new friend, Rumble. Robbie doesn't take the situation seriously, but that soon changes.

Robbie: "Wait, what?"

But even so, Robbie isn't backing down, so Rumble starts to do Bane's signature move.

When he slams Robbie on the ground, Dipper realizes that Rumble is either ignoring or not understanding the instruction to "scare" Robbie. As Robbie runs off, Rumble tosses out a fireball before chasing after the guy to kill him until he's dead. Robbie runs across the town, dodging Rumble's many video game references, including throwing barrels and unleashing an allyouken-eat punch at a buffet.

Wait, are they grilling pizzas?
Eventually, Soos appears in a pickup truck, still wearing part of the NORT cabinet.

Soos: "Dude, d'you see that video game guy destroying everything in sight? Heh heh. It was crazy."

Dipper admits to his mistake in bringing the guy to life and announces his intention to save Robbie.

Soos: "You need an amiable sidekick with a pickup truck?"
Dipper: "You know I do."

Back with Mabel, she's brought Grunkle Stan to the top of the water tower and tells him to take off his blindfold.

Grunkle Stan: "Yeah, that's pretty much what I was expecting."

But Mabel soon smells anger and hormones, and it turns out that Robbie has decided to join them in order to escape Rumble. But because Mabel loudly tells him to get his own water tower, Rumble quickly spots his challenger and begins destroying the water tower


As he starts smashing up the legs of the tower, to make Robbie drop down into his waiting grip, a new challenger approaches!

Black-border cutscene style!
Dipper admits that Robbie didn't kill his dad.

Dipper: "What? No one did. I... I lied to you."

In Rumble's skewed worldview, this can only mean that Dipper was a bad guy to trick him like this. And in a cutscene, he determines that the real final boss... is Dipper. The fight won't start unless Dipper presses the START button that appears, and Soos reminds him that he can still wuss out. But Dipper doesn't even hesitate when he presses the button.

Soos: "Fight like a man it is."

As you might imagine, the fight doesn't go well for Dipper.


Not even using the Z-axis to his advantage keeps Rumble down for long.

When Rumble begins charging his ultimate attack, Dipper just lets it happen, losing the last bit of his HP to Rumble's SUPER-POWER-NINJA-TURBO-NEO-ULTRA-HYPER-MEGA-MULTI-ALPHA-META-EXTRA-UBER-PREFIX-COMBO.

Rumble wins the fight... which means that the game is now over and Rumble disappears pixel by pixel.

Good thing Dipper didn't put in the Konami code. I mean, fighting Rumble with thirty lives?
Yeesh. That's a lot of broken bones.
Meanwhile, the business with Rumble attacking the water tower seems to have cured Grunkle Stan... but leaves Mabel with a fear of heights. Oh, the irony.

Robbie tries to instigate another fight with Dipper to teach him a lesson for all this, and Dipper just stands there to take his beating. Without Dipper even trying to fight back, Robbie decides that the fight isn't worth the effort. And not just because a stiff breze could take Dipper out.

Robbie: "I play lead guitar so I gotta save my hands."

Against all probability, Wendy shows up to see the destruction and wonder what happened. But when she sees Robbie and Dipper looking like crap, she asks if they've been fighting.

Wendy: "I hate it when guys fight."

So Robbie and Dipper work together to weave a story where they stopped two other guys from fighting, which pacifies her. As she walks over to do stuff with the rest of her family, Dipper decides to make a deal with Robbie. After all, if they get in each other's way, they'll both lose her.

Dipper: "We need to make a Cold War pact."
Robbie: "Okay. What's that?"

I'm sure Rumble could have taught you; he comes from the '80s.

Dipper: "We need to learn to just hate each other in silence."
Robbie: "You mean like... what girls do?"

And so, Robbie and Dipper hang out with Wendy later that day, laughing and having a nice time while she watches, but glaring at each other when she looks away. At least it's a start.

During the end credits, Soos has a dream where Dipper, Mabel, Grunkle Stan, and Wendy parody the character select screen of Super Mario Bros. 2 before he eats them like Pac-Man while the cypher "HLIIB, WRKKVI, YFG BLFI DVMWB RH RM ZMLGSVI XZHGOV." (Sorry, Dipper, but your Wendy is in another castle.) appears.

Soos: "Alas, 'twas naught but a dream."

Just like Super Mario Bros. 2.

Pick Grunkle Stan. He jumps higher.
And with that, the episode ends.

1 comment:

  1. Huh. Hirsch was right, green Bill really looks like a leaf.