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Recap / Gravity Falls S1E14 "Bottomless Pit!"

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"I spy with my little eye something that is... black!"
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Grunkle Stan introduces Dipper, Mabel, and Soos to a bottomless pit, which he uses to dispose of things he no longer wants—namely, Mystery Shack suggestion cards. Mabel joins in by disposing of "creepy love letters from L'il Gideon" and a mysterious locked crate. When a strong wind picks up, the gang tries to get back to the shack, but Stan refuses to move until he gets rid of the rest of the paperwork. The others rush back to save him, and everyone ends up tumbling into the pit. To pass the time during their (seemingly) endless stay, Soos suggests that they all tell stories.

Voice Over: Dipper shares a story about his embarrassment when Stan, Mabel, Soos, and Wendy make fun of his "squeaky puberty voice." He heads into town and runs into Old Man McGucket, who happens to be working on tonics that can alter people's vocal tones and styles. Dipper eagerly tries one and wakes up with a deep, newscaster-esque voice. Though he's initially thrilled, the rest of the gang thinks it sounds fake and creepy, leaving him even more conflicted—and in danger when a prank call he makes angers the toughest men in Gravity Falls.

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Soos’ Really Great Pinball Story: Is That a Good Title? Do They Have to Be Puns or Whatever?: Soos tells the tale about his attempts to conquer "Tumbleweed Terror," a Wild West-styled pinball game in the Mystery Shack's attic. Dipper and Mabel encourage him to tilt the machine to win, and he reluctantly does. But the talking skull that runs the game doesn't take kindly to cheaters, and sucks all three of them into the machine to deal out some frontier justice. Now it's up to Soos to save the kids from their pinball prison.

Grunkle Stan Wins the Football Bowl: Stan, bored by Dipper and Soos's attempts at stories, recounts his own ludicrous adventure of his taking the field in the "football bowl" and scoring the winning touchdown, earning the respect of his Totally Radical college student teammates and Footbot, a robot he built as a surrogate son. The others quickly interrupt this ridiculous tale.

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Trooth Ache: Mabel reminisces about her efforts to get Stan to be more honest. Journal #3 leads her to a set of magical dentures called Truth-Telling Teeth, which compel whoever wears them to be totally candid. After switching Stan's own false teeth with the magical pair, Mabel's pleased when her Grunkle stops lying—but when Stan begins to go overboard in sharing his private thoughts and criminal history, she realizes that sometimes honesty isn't the best policy.

After Mabel finishes "Trooth Ache," Dipper points out that the events of that story didn't need to be told—they just happened that morning (the mysterious box she threw into the pit earlier actually contained the Truth-Telling Teeth). Stan judges all of the tales except his own as incredibly stupid, but his criticisms are interrupted when the group is swallowed up by a bright light that deposits them back outside of the (non)-Bottomless Pit, which Dipper classifies as a wormhole. Exhausted by their trip, the quartet heads back inside—or, at least, Dipper, Mabel, and Soos do, as Stan inadvertently tumbles back in.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Animation Bump: The parts where Dipper says "Now I have a new voice" and "sound awesome" after having his voice modified are more fluid than the rest of his movements.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Grunkle Stan states that everyone's stories are far-fetched, even though he is falling through a bottomless pit at this very moment and lived through one of the stories.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Aside from the whole list of crimes Grunkle Stan confessed to, the police were about to arrest him for calling Sheriff Blubs fat.
  • As You Know: Mabel tells a story that they all lived through. Lampshaded by Dipper at the end.
  • Be Yourself: The moral of "Voice Over." Dipper learns that while his voice may be pubescent and squeaky, it's his, and trying to change it to sound like someone he's not makes everyone uncomfortable.
  • Beware the Honest Ones: Turns out Stan is much harder to deal with when he can only tell the truth.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • The "seeing-eye bear" leaps to mind.
    • Grunkle Stan's story, "Grunkle Stan Wins the Football Bowl".
  • Bottomless Pits: The entire theme of the episode is the main characters falling through a bottomless pit.
  • Brutal Honesty: Grunkle Stan while under the influence of the Truth-telling Teeth, to the point he was ready to let himself get jailed for lying to the police about the driving bear, among other things.
  • Call-Back: Dipper first mentioned the Bottomless Pit in "The Time Traveler's Pig".
  • Cannot Tell a Lie: The Truth-telling Teeth have this effect.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Cowboy Episode: “Soos’ Really Great Pinball Story: Is That a Good Title? Do They Have to Be Puns or Whatever?”, somewhat.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Turns out that Mabel keeps glow sticks hidden in her sweater sleeves all the time. They prove useful for providing light during the fall in the Bottomless Pit.
  • Department of Redundancy Department:
    Stan: In this land of ours, there are many great pits. But none more bottomless than the bottomless pit. Which as you can see here is bottomless.
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Soos and the "Gorgeous Pinball Wench".
  • Dramatic Wind: How they ended up in the bottomless pit in the first place.
    • Also happens to Mabel's hair when she declares her time has come in Soos's story.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Mr. Poolchek is among the people chasing Dipper in his story.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: "Soos's Really Great Pinball Story" is...a story Soos tells about a great time he had playing pinball.
  • False Teeth Tomfoolery: What with switching Grunkle Stan's denture with magical truth-telling teeth.
  • Fish Eyes: Stan when he tells them that he's going to teach a bear to drive.
  • Framing Device: The episode is basically a set of stories told by the gang as they fall through the pit.
  • Friend or Idol Decision: In "Soos's Really Great Pinball Story," the only way to escape Tumbleweed Terror is to hit the manual reset switch inside the machine—but doing so will also erase the high scores, which Soos has worked tirelessly to get. He's forced to choose between "immortality" as the best pinball player or Dipper and Mabel's lives, and ultimately chooses the latter, as he realizes that his new greatest accomplishment is taking care of them.
  • Funny Background Event: Dipper is spiraling helplessly upside-down and screaming when Soos begins telling his own story.
  • Gold Tooth: The truth teeth are a whole set.
  • Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue": Stan in his story, "Grunkle Stan Wins the Football Bowl".
  • Here We Go Again!: The episode ends with Stan falling in the pit a second time.
    Stan: (After scowling through most of the credits)...This is stupid.
  • I Fell for Hours: At least enough time to tell four stories.
  • I Resemble That Remark!: Soos says that Dipper's new voice sounds like "some weird commercial dude". Dipper protests that Stan will like it and goes to find him, saying "I'll be right back after these messages!"
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Footbot in "Grunkle Stan Wins The Football Bowl".
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: Of the four stories, the first two are implied to not be true (or at least exaggerated), and the third is definitely not true. The final punchline of the fourth story, however, reveals that that one actually did happen — that morning.
  • Literal-Minded: Both Soos and Grunkle Stan's story titles ("Soos's Really Great Pinball Story" and "Grunkle Stan Wins the Football Bowl," respectively) tend toward this.
  • Locked in a Room: Or in this case, falling in a bottomless pit.
  • Long Title: "Soos' Really Great Pinball Story: Is That a Good Title? Do They Have to Be Puns or Whatever?"
  • Necessary Evil: Lying for the greater good in "Trooth Ache".
  • No Fair Cheating: The pinball machine makes it very clear that tilting the game is against the rules.
  • Nightmare Fuel: In-Universe, Old Man McGucket's "HORRIFYING VOICE!" is enough to make a small child burst into tears. McGucket promptly lampshades the trope: "You can run, BUT I'LL STILL BE IN YOUR NIGHTMARES!"
  • No Name Given: The skull head that runs Tumbleweed Terror doesn't have a name—Soos refers to him as the "skeleton guy," while the monster himself acts as if the entire game is an extension of his body.
  • Obstructive Vigilantism: Dipper and Mabel both eventually feel that lying to the police is "for the greater good."
  • Overly Long Gag: The Credits Gag, during which Stan has fallen down the Pit (again), consists almost entirely of him falling in annoyed, stony silence with the same expression on his face, until the very last second of the episode.
    Stan: ...This is stupid.
  • Overly Long Name: Soos’ story is called “Soos' Really Great Pinball Story: Is That A Good Title? Do They Have To Be Puns Or Whatever?”.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: A variation. Stan writes a "prescription" for his "seeing-eye bear" on a notepad he has in his jacket, and signs it "Dr. Medicine." The fact that Durland and Blubs fall for such an obvious ruse says a lot about their intelligence.
  • Pinball: The Tumbleweed Terror game.
  • Police are Useless: In this episode especially, Durland and Blubs are deceived with remarkable ease.
  • Pun-Based Title: "Voice Over" and "Trooth Ache". Lampshaded by Soos.
  • Sassy Black Woman: Grunkle Stan's new voice after unknowingly drinking a voice-altering tonic that Dipper poured into his coffee. Made all the more hilarious by the sassy head gesture he makes.
  • Saying Sound Effects Out Loud: "Hushed exclamation of wonder!"
  • Serious Business: In "Voice Over," Dipper makes a single prank phone call to Tats, the bouncer at the Skull Fracture biker bar. Turns out that the group hates prank callers, as Tats rallies all of the muscular tough guys in the bar to chase and beat up Dipper for the trick.
  • Something That Begins with "Boring": Mabel attempts to start a game of "I Spy" while in the bottomless pit.
  • Techno Babble: Lampshaded by Soos;
    Dipper: It must be some kind of wormhole.
    Soos: Yeah dude, that sounds science-y enough to be true.
  • Tempting Fate: Dipper claims that bottomless pits can't be real while Stan is pulling a seemingly limitless amount of pamphlets out of his clothes to throw into the pit.
  • Too Much Information: Grunkle Stan's truth telling reaches a point that Dipper and Mabel can't take it anymore.
  • Trapped in Pinball Land: "Soos's Really Great Pinball Story" in a nutshell.
  • Vignette Episode
  • Vocal Dissonance:
    • After Dipper magically modifies his voice, it doesn't match his appearance at all.
    • Also Stan's Sassy Black Woman voice at the end of Dipper's story.
  • We Need a Distraction: Played for Laughs and Up to Eleven. Soos needs to get inside Tumbleweed Terror to flip its manual reverse switch, which means that someone needs to distract the "Skull Guy" who controls the game.
    Soos: Are any of you really good at jumping up and down and making annoying noises?
    (Dramatic Wind blows as Mabel turns to the sky)
    Mabel: My time has come.
  • Whole Episode Flashback: Turns out Mabel's story happened before the events of the episode.
  • The Wild West: The theme of Tumbleweed Terror.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Dipper notices that hardly any time has passed once they escape the pit.


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