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Recap / Gravity Falls S 2 E 3 The Golf War

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Nothing like a nice relaxing game of golf.

Soos: Besides the Bermuda's Triangle, how mini-golf works is the world's greatest mystery.

After the excitement of the past few episodes, the Mystery Shack is finally calm and quiet again. Mabel, disappointed her column about summer fashion for squirrels has been bumped from the Gravity Falls Gossiper by Pacifica Northwest, sees an ad for "Ye Royal Discount Putt Hutt", on TV. Dipper recommends they all go out and play, knowing Mabel's skill at mini-golf. At the course, Mabel sinks shot after shot until the eighteenth hole, when her ball heads into the inner workings of the decorative windmill and comes out veering into a mud patch. Pacifica, also at the course, gloats. Tired of Pacifica's insults, Mabel challenges her to a putt-off, but the course is closed due to rain. Undeterred, they pledge to return at midnight. Grunkle Stan enthusiastically supports the plan. He offers Mabel a sticker from her own book to cheer her up, a little golden trophy with the words "U DA BEST".


The twins arrive early, eager for Mabel to master the eighteen hole. After several unsuccessful shots, Dipper pries the cover off the windmill to reveal a Dutch village populated by sentient golf balls. They reveal each hole has its own ball person enclave who work the balls through the miniature castles and pirates ships and Eiffel Towers, and they all hate each other. The Lilliputtian leader, Franz (guest star Patton Oswalt), asks Mabel to choose which is the superior ball people by bestowing them with her trophy sticker, but Dipper connives a plan: get them all to help Mabel defeat Pacifica, and then reward the ones who helped the most. Meanwhile, Pacifica's parents drop her off and admonish her that she is a Northwest. "Don't lose," they tell her.

The ball people make sure it's smooth sailing for Mabel and rough weather for Pacifica on the course. But when Mabel congratulates the miners in hole 14, an observing Franz comes up with an alternate plan: kill Pacifica to earn Mabel's favor. Understandably, Mabel is not impressed. She takes the ball people to task for acting like jerks over a petty rivalry, and realizes the way to win a feud is not to sink to the lowest depths, but to be the bigger person and end it. She rips the sticker off and eats it. The ball people finally agree to overcome their rivalry by teaming up to tear the sticker out of Mabel's stomach.


Mabel leaps to Pacifica's rescue, and together they use their putters to send the ball people flying. In a rare display of kindness, Pacifica admits that Mabel isn't a bad golfer, merely a little rusty. Dipper hijacks the golf cart and they careen through the holes while dodging the rampaging ball people. Franz leaps atop the roof and insinuates Mabel can't win a mini-golf game without his help, but Mabel distracts him by asking what ten minus six is. He counts to himself as Mabel swings away and shouts, "FORE!" Franz goes sailing right into the bonus hole, and the golf cart crashes through the doors and out into the parking lot, where it promptly falls to pieces.

Mabel offers Pacifica a ride home and gives her a taco she found on the floor, but Pacifica, warned never to accept handouts, tries to back out, revealing she has never heard the word "sharing" before. Mabel cautions Dipper that Pacifica is a kid just like them, but when they drop her off at her palatial estate, they agree they should have charged her for the taco. As Stan's el Diablo drives away into the sunrise, Franz is revealed to be clutching their license plate and swearing his revenge. However, when the car hits a bump in the road he goes flying and lands head-first in a patch of sand, unable to move. "Sand trap!" he shouts, struggling to get free.

Tropes in this episode:

  • An Aesop: Rivalries only serve to hurt both parties. The only way to truly win is to bury the hatchet.
  • Affably Evil: Being voiced by Patton Oswalt naturally leads to Franz sounding quite friendly no matter what he's doing.
  • Apple of Discord: The "U Da Best" sticker that Mabel offers to the Liliputtians that do the best job of helping her cheat.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: "Victory! Honor! Destiny! Mutton!"
  • Art Shift: Once again, Mabel's Imagine Spot mimics New Kids on the Block.
  • Asshole Victim: Pacifica nearly becomes this at the hand of the Lilliputtians.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: Mabel and Pacifica use their putters to putt away the circle of ball people surrounding them, while the camera does a glorious 360-degree dolly.
  • Bilingual Bonus: The Mystery Shack gang goes to a Mexican restaurant called Hermanos Brothers. Hermanos means brothers in Spanish.
  • Black Comedy Burst: While Big Henry sacrifices his life for the honor of the Miner Lilliputtians, the Pines twins are cheerfully oblivious to the drama going on below, with Dipper wondering what "silly" things are happening underground.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: Might be due to how easily they can get killed or trapped by sand, but the Lilliputtians demonstrate this, thinking they should kill Pacifica to make Mabel happy, and fight each other because they "hate each other."
  • Breather Episode: After two episodes heavy on revelations and some of the scariest creatures yet seen on the show, we get this relatively light episode. Dipper even Lampshades it by mentioning how it's been a hectic couple of days and they could uses a relaxing game of mini golf.
  • Butt-Monkey: Sergei, Pacifica's trainer. He nearly drowns in "shallow water" while forced to Walk the Plank, falls off the golf cart as the kids make their escape, and ends up permanent prisoner to the Lilliputtians. Though the worst they do is make him watch their shows.
  • The Cameo: Nathan Fillion as Pacifica's father.
  • Cheaters Never Prosper: It was Dipper's idea to get the Lilliputtians to help Mabel cheat against Pacifica. This backfires on them horribly, because the Lilliputtians end up going too far.
  • Coincidental Broadcast:
    Mabel: I need something to get my mind off this.
    TV Announcer: Looking for a distraction from your horrible life?
    Mabel: Why, yes!
  • Complaining About Rescues They Don't Like: Pacifica, of course.
    Pacifica: Took you long enough! And watch the earrings, they cost more than your house.
    Mabel: You know, maybe I shouldn't untie you...
    Pacifica: Untie me! Untie me!
  • Conspicuous CG: Pacifica's limo and the golf cart. Also the lift inside the steam vent.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Conveyor Belt of Doom: Pacifica is tied to one that leads to the windmill, which is turned at full speed.
  • Cooking Duel: The kind that does not involve cooking.
  • Easily Forgiven: Played with, both Dipper and Mabel are still mad at Pacifica from season one, but Mabel eventually learns that grudges just lead to misery for all involved and begins to befriend Pacifica. Dipper, on the other hand, is not so easy to forgive Pacifica, and seems to resent the fact that they end up giving her a ride home.
  • Empathic Environment: Parodied; the sky becomes overcast as Mabel and Pacifica stare each other down... then it turns out an actual storm is brewing, and the mini-golf course is forced to close the rest of the day.
  • The End... Or Is It?: Subverted. It looks like Franz is going home with the Pines family, but then he falls of the car.
  • Flipping the Bird: Apparently, Robbie makes "lewd hand gestures" offscreen.
  • Freudian Excuse: Pacifica's parents are stage parents with little interest in helping their child develop or even supporting her in competitions.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: Mabel pours herself a glass of OJ, and then proceeds to down it awfully hard, after Pacifica steals the spotlight from her.
  • Funny Foreigner:
    • Sergei, Pacifica's Russian mini-golf coach.
      Sergei: The Sport-lympics had mini-golf once. I took GOLD!
    • Made perhaps even funnier by the fact that golf was virtually unknown in Russia until The '90s.
    • The French ball people, who wear berets, fight with baguettes, and condescendingly call out "Sacre-booo!"
  • Golf Clubbing: Mabel and Pacifica end up using their putters to beat back the hordes of Lilliputtians.
  • Gone Horribly Right: Mabel's plan to use her trophy sticker to get the Lilliputtians to work together and help her beat Pacifica goes wrong when they decide that if beating Pacifica makes her happy killing Pacifica would make her even happier. Then, she gives an impassioned speech on the pointlessness of rivalry and eats the trophy sticker to prove her point. The Lilliputtians agree to set aside their differences... starting with teaming up to cut Mabel open and get the sticker back.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: "Darn! Poop heck darn!"
  • Gratuitous French: "Je ne sais quoi, sacre bleu, au revoir!" note  which is even subtitled "I don't actually know French".
  • Gulliver Tie-Down: Fittingly enough, the Lilliputtians have Pacifica tied down this way on their windmill Death Trap.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: "Big Henry", one of the Miner Lilliputtians, carries Mabel's ball through a tunnel flooded with poisonous gas, all for the sake of his home hole's honor.
  • Humiliation Conga: Pacifica goes through one while competing with Mabel, thanks to the Lilliputtians helping Mabel win. The pirates even shoot Pacifica's golf ball back into her mouth.
  • Ignored Epiphany: After Mabel swallows the trophy sticker and gives an impassioned speech on the pointlessness of rivalry, the Lilliputtians agree to set aside their differences... starting with teaming up to cut Mabel open and get the sticker back.
  • Imagine Spot: Mabel imagines trouncing Pacifica with an insult, whereupon two cute paramedics rush in urgently saying, "We heard there's a little girl here who just got seriously burned!"
  • Inadvertent Entrance Cue: After Pacifica took away Mabel's newspaper column, Dipper reassures her that no one reads newspapers anymore. In comes Soos raving about Pacifica's article.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Dipper says it's okay to cheat at mini-golf against Pacifica because, as a rich person, she's cheating at life.
  • Karma Houdini: The Lilliputtians, save Franz, who is knocked into the volcano and later dropped into a sand pit.
  • Killer Rabbit: The Lilliputtians seem to be cute and innocent at first, but are quite dangerous when they finally put their differences aside and team up against the "hugelings".
  • Lampshade Hanging: Mabel insults Pacifica by calling her a "walking one-dimensional bleached-blonde Valley Girl stereotype". Pacifica doesn't take it well.
  • Lilliputians: The aptly named Lilliputtians.
  • Mini-Golf Episode: The episode is centered around a mini golf game between Mabel and Pacifica, and the complications that ensue when the Lillupttians get involved.
  • Musicalis Interruptus: The Dutch Lilliputtians offer to "elaborate through song" on how they run the mini-golf course, but are turned down by Dipper. As a Brick Joke, a variant of this song appears in The Stinger.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!:
    • Because Mabel "favored" the miners as Franz put it, the Dutch Lilliputtians get it in their head to kill Pacifica so as to obtain the sticker.
    • Mabel eating the sticker causes the Lilliputtians to unite so that they can cut it out of her stomach.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Zigzagged when Stan gives Mabel the golden medal sticker. On one hand, Dipper and Mabel use it to motivate the Lilliputtians to help Mabel cheat, which is good. But then Mabel eats the sticker, and the Lilliputtians unite to get it back . . .
  • Parental Neglect: Pacifica's parents would rather go to a party than stay and cheer on their daughter, and Mr. Northwest's idea of words of encouragement is "Don't lose."
  • Patriotic Fervor: The little ethnic enclaves of ball people come out of the woodwork (literally) to argue over which nation-hole is superior and to try to one-up each other for a (little gold sticker of a) trophy. Hmm, Summer 2012 was an Olympic year....
  • Pet the Dog: Pacifica admits she had fun with Mabel, and accepts her apology even though it would've been understandable if she didn't, considering the Lilliputtians almost killed her. She also tells her to tell her "servant" (Soos) that his W-neck looks good. Condescending, but certainly progress.
  • Pun: This episode has quite a lot from the titlenote  to most of Mabel's stickers.
  • Punny Name: The Lilliputtians. Franz states that it makes more sense when written down.
  • Radial Ass Kicking: Delivered by Mabel and Pacifica.
  • Reactive Continuous Scream: One of these occurs between Dipper and Mabel and the Lilliputtians.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Franz gives Mabel one at the very end, telling her she's not good enough at mini-golf to win without his help.
  • Rhetorical Question Blunder: When Mabel tries to argue for peace among the Lilliputtians:
    Mabel: Why can't you all just get along?
    Dutch Lilliputtian: Because we hate each other!
    Pirate Lilliputtian: That's kinda how rivalries work, lass.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: The machine that the Dutch Lilliputtians use to control the balls inside the windmill, which Dipper mentions as being needlessly complicated.
  • Running Gag: Soos cutting W-necks into his shirt. Pacifica even compliments him on those.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Pacifica apparently bribed her way into making the front page of the Gravity Falls Gossiper. Dipper cites this as an excuse to enlist the help of the Lilliputtians in Mabel's game with Pacifica.
    Dipper: Pacifica's rich, Mabel. She's cheating at life!
  • Serious Business: The Northwests are this about winning anything, including mini-golf. In all fairness, Dipper does the same, claiming that if Mabel beats Pacifica at mini-golf then the latter can never make fun of her again.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Second Place Is for Losers: Pacifica seems to have inherited this attitude from her parents, who remind her that "Winning is everything."
  • Senseless Sacrifice: Big Henry sacrifices his life to make sure The Miners are the winners of the trophy sticker, but Mabel decides no one deserves it and destroys it.
  • Tastes Like Friendship: Well...Sorta. Mabel offers Pacifica a taco as a friendly gesture, just suggesting the very beginnings of a tentative friendship, or at the very least, a firm end to their ill feelings toward each other.
  • Tempting Fate: Dipper on a couple occasions. First, when he states Pacifica will be fine right before its revealed the Lilliputtians have kidnapped her. Secondly, when he tells Sergei there is no possible way to drown in the shallow water around the pirate hole, right before Sergei falls face forward.
    Dipper: Seriously?
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Mabel responds to "The Reason You Suck" Speech by distracting Franz with the question "What's ten minus six?", then shouting "FORE!" and putting him straight into the bonus hole. From atop a speeding golf cart.
  • This Is Going to Be Huge: After reading Pacifica's article on V-neck shirts being the new fashion trend, Soos decides that W-neck shirts will be the next big thing and starts cutting Ws into his shirts.
  • Tsundere: Pacifica, when accepting an "I A-Paw-Logise" sticker from Mabel.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Subverted; Pacifica remains condescending but becomes nicer to Mabel and even compliments her golf-playing after the latter saves her from the Conveyor Belt of Doom windmill. She also accepts Mabel's apology and a sticker for the whole fiasco.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: When Mabel offers her a taco, Pacifica is baffled by the concept of "sharing".
  • Worst News Judgment Ever:
    • Pacifica's fashion article makes the front page of the Gravity Falls Gossiper. Possibly justified in that it's mentioned that the Northwest family paid for Pacifica's story to be on the cover.
    • Of course, Mabel's attempted contribution wasn't much better; Fashion tips for squirrels?
  • Would Hurt a Child:
    • Played for Laughs where, after Pacifica insults the Pines, Stan asks Soos if it would be wrong "to punch a child".
    • The Dutch Lilliputtians take Pacifica as a hostage and openly state their plan is to kill her, hoping it will earn enough of Mabel's favor to get the sticker, then when Mabel destroys the sticker by eating it, the entire Lilliputtian park decide they should set aside their rivalry and work together to cut open Mabel's belly to get the sticker back.


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