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Recap / Gravity Falls S1E2 "The Legend of the Gobblewonker"

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Grunkle Stan wants to bond with the twins by taking them out fishing. Dipper and Mabel are bored already by the mere prospect of sitting in a boat for hours...and they jump when they hear rumors of a dreadful monster living at the bottom of the lake. Dipper's thirst to investigate and categorize the paranormal (possibly winning fame and lucre along the way) takes hold, and armed with over a dozen cameras, a boat to Scuttlebutt Island, and Soos, he and Mabel set out to track down... the mystical Gobblewonker!

Meanwhile, Stan denies his disappointment and tries to have fun by himself—by telling awful jokes at inappropriate times.


Tropes in this episode:

  • Art Shift: The animation of the boys in Mabel's Imagine Spot is decidedly different from how the show is animated.
  • Attention Whore: Old Man McGucket made the monster to get attention.
  • Awkward Father-Son Bonding Activity: Grunkle Stan takes Dipper and Mabel fishing. Needless to say the twins are happy to ditch him to go monster hunting with Soos.
  • Brick Joke: Early in the episode, Dipper hides a camera under his hat as a backup. Later on, when he's frantically looking for a camera, Mabel simply takes his hat off.
  • Consolation Backfire: After Dipper loses a camera with a picture of the Gobblewonker, Soos tries to cheer him up by saying he got a ton of pictures of the beavers they saw.
    Dipper: Why would that make me feel any better?!
  • Continuity Nod: Dipper asks Mabel if they got any pictures of the gnomes they saw in the previous episode.
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  • Cool Boat: Averted with Grunkle Stan's dinghy, the Stan O War, but played straight with Soos' boat, the SS Cool Dude. Too bad it got wrecked when the Gobblewonker chased after Dipper, Mabel, and Soos.
  • Counterfeit Cash: During their last family bonding day, Stan used the kids to make counterfeit money.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Dipper brings 17 disposable cameras for a monster hunt. This is because he's smart enough to realize that cameras keep getting destroyed or lost during monster hunts.
  • Daylight Horror: The Gobblewonker is the show's first and probably biggest example (last episode's Gnomes being a borderline case, assembling at sunset and all). In a setting where most nasties (even Bill) prefer showing their faces at night, and the handful that don't verge more on Urban Fantasy than outright horror, this thing has absolutely no problem making our heroes run for their lives in mid-afternoon, through a crowded public area to boot.
  • Defensive "What?": Grunkle Stan lets out one of these after one of his jokes falls flat.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: Grunkle Stan tells a joke to a couple.
    Stan: My ex-wife still misses me... but her aim is gettin' better! ... Her aim is gettin' better! ... Y'see, it's funny because marriage is terrible.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: Li'l Gideon Gleeful from "The Hand That Rocks the Mabel" appears in an ad on the back cover of the tabloid Dipper is reading at breakfast.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: It's very hard to catch, but when the Gobblewonker chases Soos and the twins between Stan's boat and the loving pop-pop and his grandkids, you can see mechanical joint rings at the base of the creature's neck, giving an early hint about its mechanical nature. These are visible again once it chases them into the cave, but that's just before the reveal.
  • Gadgeteer Genius: Old Man McGucket. He's the one who made the mechanical Gobblewonker and it turns out it's not the first time he's built something like this to get attention from family members and friends.
  • I Just Want to Have Friends: While Dipper has good reason to be suspicious of Grunkle Stan in general, Stan had no ulterior motive in this episode. He just wanted someone to go fishing with him for once (the guys at the fishing lodge don't like or trust him).
  • Karma Houdini: Old Man McGucket is never punished for the numerous homicidal rampages he casually admits to having gone on.
  • Moment Killer: Grunkle Stan unwittingly interrupts a man who is about to propose to his girlfriend, and proceeds to tell a joke about how awful marriage is.
  • Prehensile Hair: Old Man McGucket can operate a stick-shift with his beard.
  • Real After All: At the end of the episode, we get a shot of the real Gobblewonker swimming beneath the lake as it eats one of Dipper's lost cameras.
  • Running Gag: This episode's end-of-credits cryptogram read "QHAW ZHHN: UHWXUQ WR EXWW LVODQG." Once decoded, it reads "NEXT WEEK: RETURN TO BUTT ISLAND." which refers to a joke earlier in the episode in which Soos covers the ‘scuttle’ in the Scuttlebutt Island sign with his hand, making it read Butt Island instead.
  • Secret Handshake: Mabel and Soos have one.
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: The Gobblewonker turns out to be a mechanical monster that Old Man McGucket built to get attention from his son... at least until the ending.
  • Sheet of Glass: Parodied when Soos, Dipper and Mabel crash through said glass in the middle of a lake, not unlike the trope's image.
  • So Unfunny, It's Funny: Stan, Soos and Mabel all have their moments of this. Which of course means that Dipper is the odd one out, being The Comically Serious.
  • Stock Ness Monster: The Gravity Falls Gobblewonker.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Gobblewonker appeared to be this at first, at least until it was revealed that it was a robot.
  • 13 Is Unlucky: Dipper breaks the 13th camera himself by accident.


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