Hey, everyone! Kyle from Blue Turnip, here (the Fat One). Since we are all cooped up and watching tons of TV and movies and listening to our favorite music, I decided to do something I have always wanted to do and start a ranking blog called “Top Ten Percent.” In this blog, I will rank the Top Ten Percent of my favorite TV shows, filmmakers, and music artists. I’ll provide an introduction, describe my selection method, then hit you with the list as well as clips, songs, and other goodies. If you would like me to do a post on a particular show, filmmaker, or music artist, let me know in the comments or email me. Also, if you have any questions about our band Blue Turnip, feel free to ask (spoiler alert, we rule).
At the end of last summer, I got really sick and was basically an unwilling couch potato for three weeks. Thankfully, my wife and I had just gotten YouTube TV, so I at least had the novelty of a “new” entertainment service to occupy my time. I was scrolling through the channels one day when I saw that Disney XD was playing episodes of the DuckTales reboot (which is truly delightful). After DuckTales, I was hit with…
Needless to say, I was intrigued. I spent the next 30 minutes being completely swept off my feet with the characters, comedy, and tone of the show. It was clever, goofy, and heartfelt with a touch of the supernatural. I texted my wife to ask if she had ever heard of this show Gravity Falls? She had not, and I said I wouldn’t watch any more of it without her because she would really like it.
Somehow, neither of us knew a single thing about this amazing show, so we were able to experience it years after its finale without knowing any of the plot–which, if you have seen the show, you know know is a gift. We laughed our way hysterically through season one. A few weird things happened in the background or toward the end of an episode now and then, and we couldn’t 100% tell what was going on with this Grunkle Stan guy. But animated shows and movies are often a little weird and filled with inside jokes and Easter eggs from the creators, so we just chalked it up to that. Little did we know that we were in for some of the most well-crafted and meaningful storytelling we had ever experienced. After we watched the finale, we almost immediately went back to the beginning and watched the entire show again. We were even more taken by the genius, creativity, and emotion of the show. Since then we have continued to watch and watch this beautiful show. We still laugh hard, we still tear up, and we still shake our heads wondering how we didn’t see the clues along the way.
If you have never seen the show, I am attempting to write this post spoiler-free, so that you, like me, can experience the show as it was intended to be experienced. If the episode descriptions below seem vague, know that I am only being ambiguous because I care! I know it probably sounds hyperbolic to call a 2 season animated Disney kids show “exceptionally beautiful,” but I promise you, the show lives up to an awful lot of positive adjectives.
Gravity Falls is a small town in the forests of Oregon that is nearly constantly bombarded by the supernatural–although if you asked one of the many charismatic townspeople about it, they may tell you they have never noticed. Dipper and Mabel Pines are 12 year old twins (technically not teens) from Piedmont who have come to Gravity Falls to spend the summer with their Great Uncle Stan (Grunkle Stan) who runs a tourist trap “museum” of sorts called The Mystery Shack. Dipper is an academic rule-follower who tends on the side of neurotic. Mabel is a joyous free spirit who tends on the side of hopelessly romantic. The three Pines, along with Mystery Shack employees Soos (clueless but lovable handyman) and Wendy (the coolest teen lumberjack you’ll ever meet), spend their summer solving the mysteries of Gravity Falls.
The Top Ten Percent of Gravity Falls is only 4 episodes. I thought fewer episodes would make choosing the best ones easier, but it is incredibly difficult to narrow 40 excellent episodes down to 4. I included 1 honorable mention to round it out to a nice Top 5. I didn’t have much of a method to choosing these episodes. I re-watched the show, then just basically went with my gut. Without further ado, on to the Top Ten Percent of Gravity Falls.
5. Season 2, Episode 19: Weirdmageddon Part 2: Escape from Reality
Mabel is forced to choose between fantasy and reality. This episode, maybe better than any other, captures the bond between Dipper and Mabel. Also, it’s always good to have Craz and Xyler around.
Top Ten Percent
4. Season 2, Episode 8: Blendin’s Game
Dipper and Mabel try to give Soos the best birthday he has ever had, but end up competing in Globnar–futuristic gladiatorial time combat–against their apparent archenemy Blendin Blandin. This is one of my favorite episodes not only because it is hilarious, but also because it highlights how meaningful the twins’ friendship with Soos has become over the course of the summer.
3. Season 1, Episode 16: Carpet Diem
In what could be the funniest episode of Gravity Falls, Dipper and Mabel compete to move into a secret room Soos discovered inside the Mystery Shack. This is another episode that shows how much Dipper and Mabel mean to each other.
2. Season 2, Episode 7: Society of the Blind Eye
The Mystery Shack crew goes on an adventure with the town’s crazy old man, Fiddleford McGucket, in an attempt to figure out the answer to an important mystery. This episode highlights the strengths of nearly every aspect of Gravity Falls.
1. Season 1, Episode 7: Double Dipper
Grunkle Stan throws a free(?) party for kids and teenagers. Dipper clones himself using a magic photocopier to help himself execute the perfect plan to ask Wendy to dance. Mabel meets Grenda and Candy for the first time and competes against Pacifica Northwest for the party crown. Soos puts his amateur DJ skills on display.
This is my favorite episode of Gravity Falls for so many reasons, but one of those reasons is that every character is so well-represented in their own element. Dipper’s heartfelt over-planning, Mabel’s kindness and fun spirit, Grunkle Stan’s scheming in a way that also brings people joy, Wendy’s general coolness, and Soos’ general un-coolness all shine through. And we get introduced to three hilarious and important characters: Pacifica, Grenda, and Candy. This episode may also have the show’s best supernatural element in the magic photocopier–fully embracing and fully subverting all cloning tropes in one 22 minute episode.
Since this is my favorite, I think it deserves… THREE CLIPS!
Thank you for reading! You can also check out my other Top Ten Percent rankings here!