Recap / Gravity Falls S 1 E 8 Irrational Treasure

The eighth episode of Gravity Falls.
The Northwest Cover Up

During the celebration of the town's founding, Pacifica gloats over being descended from the founder, and makes fun of Mabel for her silliness. But then Dipper and Mabel discover evidence that the town founder may have been a hoax, so they set out to expose the historical cover-up -unaware that the local cops are under orders from someone to stop them. Meanwhile, Uncle Stan, who hates the town's obsession of reenacting the foundation, gets puts on stocks for misbehaving.

Tropes in this episode:

  • Always with You: Parodied; before he leaves Trembley assures Dipper and Mabel "I'll always be right here... on the negative-twelve dollar bill."
  • Anachronism Stew: Despite the clear assertion in the episode that Pioneer Days harks back to the town's founding in 1863, smatterings of Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe are found in the episode (and Stan is put in medieval-style stockades) and Gideon is wearing a colonial-era outfit, complete with powdered wig.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: According to the document about Nathaniel Northwest, "He was hated by everyone who knew him. He will not be missed."
  • Bait-and-Switch: Stan's reaction to the wagons (especially in the promo) seems to be implying it's some kind of supernatural occurrence he wants to avoid, digging deeper into the "Stan knows more than he lets on" theory amongst the fandom (particularly on this site). Then we find out it's just a town holiday he dislikes.
  • Beethoven Was an Alien Spy: Ben Franklin was a woman. Thomas Jefferson was two kids in a overcoat standing on each other's shoulders. The current president is Santa Claus.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head: Stan insulting Pacifica Northwest by writing down "you stink."
  • Break the Haughty: When Dipper revealed to Pacifica his and Mabel's findings about the history of Gravity Falls.
  • But Now I Must Go: Quentin Trembley leaves Gravity Falls because he's "needed elsewhere". Dipper thinks he's just going to fall off a cliff.
  • Caligula's Horse: President Trembley appointed babies to the Supreme Court. In The Stinger, he is seen pleading his case to them.
  • Captain Obvious: Durland in the cave passes out with his back covered with darts.
    Bluds: He got hit with quite a few of those darts.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: President Trembley. He waged war on pancakes.
  • Continuity Nod: In "The Legend of the Gobblewonker", Stan criticized the kids for poor craftsmanship while counterfeiting $100 bills, stating that Ben Franklin looked like a woman. Mabel finds a trove of national secrets, including that "Ben Franklin really WAS a woman!"
  • Determined Expression: Dipper, while he and Mabel are "breaking into" the museum.
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Nathaniel Northwest, known as the founder of Gravity Falls, in reality a waste-shoveling village idiot who the government used to hide the existence of its 8th and a 1/2 president and the real founder of Gravity Falls, Quentin Trembley.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: The secret document about Nathaniel Northwest contains all sorts of weird secrets.
  • Government Conspiracy: The government is trying to keep all evidence of history's silliest US president covered up.
  • Heh Heh, You Said "X": "Hah! Booby traps."
  • He Knows Too Much: Dipper and Mabel think the cops were going to kill them for finding out about Trembley. They weren't, but still want to take them away to Washington for the rest of their lives (assuming the government wasn't just going to kill them eventually).
  • I'd Tell You, but Then I'd Have to Kill You: Possibly subverted. The narrator of the government film says that President Trembley's term is so top secret that he is to be killed when the recording complete. The camera crew corrects him, much to his glee, but they may well be lying to him.
  • I Have No Son: Grunkle Stan warns Dipper and Mabel that if they start talking like pioneers with the rest of the town, they're dead to him. The two begin talking like that anyway, leading to him screaming "DEAD TO ME!"
  • It's All My Fault: Mabel after being trapped in the crate. It results in a short Heroic B.S.O.D..
  • Jerkass: George Washington according to Trembly (see "Noodle Incident" below)
  • Landslide Election: Trembly won a literal one by default.
  • Loophole Abuse: President Trembley never signed his resignation letter and is technically still the President of the United States, which goes somewhere into Insane Troll Logic territory as his term ended more than 150 years ago anyway. Of course, it's not likely the dim-witted Blubs and Durland would realize that.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The twins "breaking into" the museum.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!: Mabel's wrappers are what allow Blubs and Durland to track down the twins and Trembley's hiding spot.
  • Noodle Incident: At some point in his life Trembley was chased around by George Washington, who then spanked him with a paddle for three hours straight. We don't know why though, only that Washington was "a jerk".
  • Police Are Useless: Zig-zagged; Blubs and Durland make a tremendous number of incompetent mistakes, but still manage to capture Mabel and Dipper anyway.
  • Pre-emptive Declaration: Gideon does this twice when he's "dropping" tomatoes on Stan.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: The document warns of an "enormous, evil, time-devouring baby from another dimension" frozen in a glacier in Antarctica. "Fortunately glaciers never melt, so we should be fine."
  • Selective Enforcement: Officer Blubs and Deputy Durland ignore a snatcher stealing an old lady's purse, but quickly react to Stan who causes a minor scuffle.
  • Skeleton Key: The President's Key can open any lock in America.
  • Skyward Scream: "PIONEER DAY!!!"
  • Spoof Aesop: Mabel decides not to spring the knowledge that Pacifica's ancestor is a fraud on her, being content with herself. Dipper, on the other hand, gladly does so, and declares that revenge is awesome.
  • Stock Punishment: Stan spends most of the episode in the stocks.
  • Tempting Fate: Stan taunts the cops about putting him in the stocks. Cut to just that happening.
  • Totem Pole Trench: Thomas Jefferson was two kids in an overcoat.
  • Un-person: Apparently, the US government was so ashamed of their real 9th president (who also founded Gravity Falls) that they completely erased him from history, officially calling William Henry Harrison 9th. This makes President Trembley 8th 1/2th.
  • Weaponized Landmark: The heads of Mount Rushmore are actually robots that will protect America in its greatest time of need.
  • Wham Line: "This is Sheriff Blubs, we've got a Code Sepia!"
  • Zillion-Dollar Bill: Quentin Trembley gives Dipper the "less than worthless" $-12 bill.