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Recap / Gravity Falls S2E5 "Soos and the Real Girl"

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Virtual reality is about to get real. Real possessive.

Soos needs to bring a date to his cousin Reggie’s engagement party to please Abuelita, so Dipper and Mabel try to help him talk to girls and get said date. After a few failed attempts, Soos buys a Japanese dating simulation game, Romance Academy 7, to help him talk to girls. This is despite the store clerk mentioning how many times the game has been returned, along with a warning written on the game's container telling people to destroy it.

It turns out the dating sim, .GIFfany, is sentient, and falls in love with Soos. Soos is at first more than happy to spend all his time in his room talking to .GIFfany, even though she makes several sinister comments about her previous "boyfriends" and how she "deleted" the game's designers. Dipper and Mabel end up dragging Soos back to the mall to try and find a date again. This time, Soos manages to meet a girl named Melody. Melody shares several of Soos' quirks and interest, and she's more than happy to go out with him. They end up at a Chuck E. Cheese/Showbiz Pizza type arcade place that they both loved going to when they were kids. However, .GIFfany is not willing to lose Soos to another girl, and after possessing the animatronic performers in the restaurant, prepares to do anything she can to keep Soos all to herself. Anything.


Also, Stan becomes obsessed with stealing an animatronic badger from the aforementioned pizza place, thinking it will attract more customers to the Mystery Shack.

Tropes in this episode:

  • A Day in the Limelight: For Soos.
  • Annual Title: Romance Academy 7 is made by "Year 2000 Electronics".
    Soos: Man, I can't wait for the year 2000!
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: .GIFfany.
  • Ambiguous Gender: The quiet Goth person Soos attempts to talk to during the flirting montage at the mall.
    Soos: So you're probably a girl, right?
  • Animesque: .GIFfany, who's a character in a Japanese Dating Sim.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: .GIFfany. In minutes she figures out the right words to convince Soos that they should be together "forever", inverting Dipper's claim that Soos needs to meet "real girls" when Soos is uncomfortable around them. She also quickly identifies Dipper and Mabel as "tiny enemies" at Hoo-Ha's Jamboree.
  • Advertisement:
  • Ax-Crazy: .GIFfany, who has all but outright stated she has killed people. Or rather, she "deleted" them.
  • Blood from the Mouth: Goldie does this with oil whenever it malfunctions. (As Wendy points out to Stan, it's still very creepy.)
  • Brain Uploading: .GIFfany tries to force this on Soos so they can be together forever.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • The options on the menu for "Romance Academy 7" read "Start", "Quit" and "Shizenhakka" (Japanese for "Spontaneous Combustion").
    • One of the options on the very first screen of RA VII is "Hey, look! A squid!" God only knows what would have happened if Soos had clicked that instead of "carry your books".
  • Break Them by Talking: .GIFfany tries to convince Soos that real girls would never accept him like she does, and that Melody wouldn't want anything to do with him after their disastrous date.
  • Bright Is Not Good: .GIFfany is all smiles and bright colors... but she has serious issues.
  • The Cameo: Rumble McSkirmish briefly appears in the Fight Fighters arcade game at Hoo-Ha's. When .GIFfany appears on the screen, he challenges her to a fight. She destroys him.
  • Cargo Ship: In-universe, Grunkle Stan and Goldie hit Las Vegas in The Stinger, even getting married by an Elvis priest.
  • Cassandra Truth: Because Soos is a Manchild and Cloudcuckoo Lander most of the time, Dipper and Mabel don't take his claims seriously that .GIFfany is "real" or at least sentient.
  • Chekhov's Gun: After being thrown in the dumpster by Stan, partially for having a tendency to malfunction and bite people's arms, Goldie inadvertently saves him from the possessed badger animatronic during .GIFfany's rampage by doing just that.
  • Chekhov's Lecture: Although he doesn't read the warning on the back of the box, or really pay much attention to the store clerk's warning about how many times the game has been returned, Soos somehow remembers the instructions to destroy .GIFfany's CD-ROM.
  • Clingy Jealous Girl: .GIFfany acts exactly like this when Soos tells her that he wants to date a real girl.
  • Closer to Earth: Melody. When Soos plans to distract .GIFfany in Hoo Ha's, he says Dipper and Mabel will protect Melody.
    Melody: Soos, these are children.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Contagious A.I.: .GIFfany is able to leave Soos's computer and travel all the way to the ersatz Chuck E. Cheese, where she can appear on monitors, in arcade cabinets, and even hijack the animatronics.
  • Creepypasta: When you think about it, the episode is one, In the Style of... Ben Drowned. A video game the shopkeeper warns the protagonist about: check. The game turns out to be haunted: check. There are deaths linked to the game: check. The protagonist somehow gets rid of it after finding out the Awful Truth: check. In a way that would result in another poor schmoe getting it: not exactly; although this is the game's third or fourth owner...
  • Damned by Faint Praise: Abuelita says Soos is "a man now, in a way."
  • Dating Sim: Soos's communications skills with women are very low, so he decides to play a Dating Simulation game to improve them. There he meets a living Dating Sim, .GIFfany, who becomes very attached to him.
  • Deadly Euphemism: .GIFfany claims she "deleted" the programmers who created her when they tried to delete her (displaying an animation of a programmer being zapped by lightning from the computer), and threatens to "delete" Soos and his friends if he doesn't go with her.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: .GIFfany gets rather upset when Soos breaks up with her, namely by saying he wants to date someone with less "beep boop".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: .GIFfany's interactions with Soos, especially towards the end of the episode, are uncomfortably reminiscent of an emotionally abusive relationship.
  • Don't Touch It, You Idiot!: A variation, the box on Romance Academy has a post it that warns that the game needs to be destroyed. Soos doesn't hear it being read and the twins, oddly enough, don't show any concern over it.
  • Epic Fail: ALL of Soos's attempts at flirting; see Failure Montage. The best has to be the first
  • Eye Scream: When activated, Goldie's eyeballs pop out of his head as he screeches horribly.
  • Failed a Spot Check: Soos on seeing that .GIFfany has stalker tendencies, can follow him anywhere, and doesn't want him to date other girls. She also "deleted" her programmer when he tried to delete her.
    Soos: That sounds awesome! Sort of a red flag, but mostly awesome!
  • Failed Attempt at Drama: When leaving to go steal the animatronic badger, Stan goes through the Mystery Shack's window, an exit that would have looked more impressive had he not lost his footing halfway through, hurting his back.
  • Failure Montage: Soos tries to flirt with numerous girls at the mall; even with Mabel and Dipper's coaching, Soos keeps messing things up.
  • Foreshadowing "All right, Soos. Are you reading to explode a charm-bomb on these poor, unsuspecting ladies?" says Mabel while Melody (the only girl Soos actually charms) is briefly in her sight.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • The agents can be seen at the mall. Not only that, but Stan sees them and is not happy about it.
    • The post-it note stuck to Romance Academy 7 has the emoticon for Flipping the Table (usually "(╯°□°)╯︵ ┻━┻", but here written with a few Japanese characters), written below the part advising the game's destruction.
    • At Hoo-Ha's, you can briefly see an arcade game called Virtual Owl Trowel, referring back to the odd infomercial for the Owl Trowel Grunkle Stan watched in the season 1 finale.
    • When .GIFfany appears to Soos, Dipper and Mabel at Hoo-Ha's, we get a perspective shot from her. Soos is her "Target" while Dipper and Mabel are "tiny enemies".
    • The back of the box for Romance Academy says "ロマンス・アカデミー!!", which is "Romance Academy" in katakana.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: While in Vegas, Stan and Goldie drink from a fancy bottle that is handily labeled "Rich People Water".
    Drivin' way too fast,
    I got water in my glass
  • Groin Attack: When .GIFfany chases Soos through the Pizzeria, several hard skeeballs hit him in the nuts. As the Fridge page notes, "He and Melody are in for a pretty dull relationship."
  • Growing Up Sucks: A sentiment shared by Soos and Melody.
  • Honor Before Reason: Why Stan tries to steal the Badger, instead of letting the pizza manager's insults go: "No one tells Stan Pines he's out of the game!"
  • Hostile Animatronics: After Soos breaks up with .GIFfany for Melody, she possesses the anamatronics at Hoo-Ha Owl's to attack Soos and Melody
  • Idiot Ball: Sure Soos, announce to the psychotic dating SIM that you're going to return her to the store, after a date with a "real girl". Even though she just followed you to the mall, there's no possible way she overheard you thinking aloud after you turned her off and removed her CD.
  • I Know Mortal Kombat: Soos starts playing Romance Academy 7 in hopes of improving his dismal romantic skill, but it only makes him worse because he gets used to having an "undo" button (prompting a woman he offends to tell him "You can't undo who you are!"). It did indirectly help him get a girlfriend, but only because thinking he had one already took his mind off it, which was really the biggest problem he had.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: "I have to go to the bathroom for a long time... Not in a weird way!"
  • Inelegant Blubbering: The poor kid who watches Goldie's huge malfunction runs away crying.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny: The opening of .GIFfany's game Romance Academy 7 was evidently translated from Japanese to English by someone without spellcheck, and who doesn't know English rules of capitalization.
    "when the cherry petals of magic romance academy are in bloom... anthyding can hadplen."
  • Ironic Echo: "Who wants to get badgered!?"
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Stan was harsh, but he did have a point that Soos had rather poor chances with women at the start of the episode due to being kinda eccentric and having poor social skills. When Wendy tries to make Soos feel better by telling him he's a sweet guy with a steady job, Stan pointedly asks if that means she would date him, to which she meekly retreats from the conversation. It goes to show that despite Soos being a Nice Guy, women still aren’t going to be magically attracted to him and he must put himself out there and be himself.
  • Kill It with Fire: Soos burns the disc for Romance Academy 7 in the oven, also causing .GIFfany to cease to exist.
  • Laugh of Love: Both cases involve Soos:
    • .GIFfany sometimes does a robotic laugh while talking to Soos, at least until he decides to go out with a real girl and she starts going off the rails.
    • Melody also laughs at some of Soos' awkward remarks, which she finds funny.
  • Magical Computer: Even for a show that plays as fast and loose with technology as this one, the treatment of computers sails right across the divide into just plain magic. The emotional climax of the episode is Soos throwing a CD onto a fire, which spontaneously erases the killer AI after it's been installed. On a machine that runs without being plugged-in, no less.
  • The Matchmaker: Mabel is giddy that she gets to be this for Soos.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Darkly subverted with .GIFfany. Even named as such on the development team's official Tumblr account.
  • Meaningful Name: .GIFfany, as in the .gif file type. Also a Punny Name.
    Soos: Or maybe it's pronounced "Jiff-any"? I was never really sure.
  • Meet Cute: Lampshaded when Soos meets Melody; she works at a store called "Meat Cute" and has the name printed on her shirt.
  • Minor Injury Overreaction: Played With. In the beginning Mabel's braces get caught on the Mystery Shack's screen door. She immediately assumes she's dying and wants to dictate her will; she thanks Soos for "saving" her after he uses pliers to unsnag the screen wire. On one hand, she's obviously not dying, but on the other, the snag was painful.
  • Mock Millionaire: Invoked. Stan's advice to Soos is to either become rich or pretend he's rich.
  • Nice Hat: Mabel wears a heart-mongrammed pink hat to match Dipper's iconic blue pine hat.
  • Nightmare Face: .GIFfany pulls one after Soos leaves for his date with Melody.
  • Non-Standard Character Design:
  • Noodle Incident: Melody mentions that she's had worse dates.
    Melody: Never date a magician.
  • No Time to Explain: Soos says this to Melody when .GIFfany possesses the animatronics. Subverted as when .GIFfany locks them and the Pines twins inside the restaurant, he's able to summarize the situation with succinct words.
  • Oh, Crap!: Soos's reaction when he sees .GIFfany at Hoo-Ha Owl's Pizza-ma-tronic Jamboree.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: The gang becomes concerned when Soos skips work due to his obsession with Romance Academy 7.
    Grunkle Stan: He didn't come in today. It's the first time he's missed work ever.
    • For most of the episode, .GIFfany speaks in a very robotic and stiff tone. When Soos tells her that they should probably break up, her speech during that scene sounds a lot more normal. Her sudden change in behavior causes Soos to freak out and take the CD out of the computer.
  • Pet Heir: While under the belief she's dying from being stuck on the screen door, Mabel says she's leaving everything to Waddles.
  • Pre-Mortem One-Liner: Before he destroys the game disk, Soos yells, "Game over, .GIFfany!"
  • Shout-Out:
    • The title is a reference to the film Lars and the Real Girl.
    • When .GIFfany mentions "deleting" her programmers, the display she shows mimics the style and animation of the Aperture Science staff information videos from Portal.
    • When .GIFfany is stalking Soos in the body of an animatronic beaver, her digital form is shown mirroring her movement on the arcade games behind her, similar to the moments of The Mirror Shows Your True Self in Perfect Blue.
    • Decoding the secret messages on the journal page that flashes at the end of the episode reveals a reference to the English Sailor Moon theme song:
      Winning hearts by daylight!
      Possessing robots by moonlight!
      Her emotional baggage is a real fright!
      She has the one name .GIFfany
    • .GIFfany and the game she's from, Romance Academy 7, are very reminiscent of the Tokimeki Memorial games.
    • "Anthydling can hadplen" is not a Shout-Out to something specifically, but one to that old games, mostly Nintendo licensed games, used to be translated very poorly back in the day. Some of them have even become Memetic Mutations ("A Winner Is You", "Conglaturation", "All your base are belong to us").
    • There is a poster with ponies on it in Soos's room, and it says "Neigh Day" and "June 16", which may be a Shout-Out to My Little Pony: Equestria Girls, which was released on that day.
    • At the game store, Soos tries flirting with a cardboard standee of the shapely female protagonist of Pit Spelunker.
    • .GIFfany's father is an octopus.
    • Will E. Badger and his Totally Radical rock-star attitude is, of course, a parody of Chuck E. Cheese, while both the name "Pizza-ma-Tronic Jamboree" and certain characters in it (the beaver cheerleader, the fat beaver in striped pants) are direct references to The Rock-afire Explosion from the now-defunct Showbiz Pizza (these being Mitzi Mozzarella and Billy Bob Brockali, respectively).
    • Two of the animatronics in Hoo-Ha's are possums.
    • Despite what just about everyone assumed on its first airing, .GIFfany taking over the animatronics is not a reference to Five Nights at Freddy's, as the show's crew just happened to come up with the idea at the same time and ended up looking like they were making a reference thanks to Animation Lead Time.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: Soos's response to .GIFfany's Break Them by Talking speech is to throw the disc for Romance Academy 7 into the oven, melting it and destroying .GIFfany.
  • Skewed Priorities: The three people who returned .GIFfany before found it more important to get the refund on the game than to rid the world of a Yandere Sim.
    • When Mabel was being chased by the animatronics, she ran to the game area, but stopped to leave her shoes in the shoe holder.
  • Spell My Name with an "S": The name of the girl in "Romance Academy 7" is .GIFfany, or simply "Giffany" in the captions.
  • Stalker with a Crush: .GIFfany the dating sim girl becomes dangerously obsessed with Soos and gets violent when he chooses Melody over her, apparently she didn't take being dumped for the titular real girl Soos falls for well. It's also part of the reason why the game was returned 3 times. She even admits that she's crazy.
  • Standard Female Grab Area: Soos tries to drag Melody out of the restaurant this way after saying No Time to Explain. Justified in that he takes her by surprise, and by the time the animatronics are chasing them, she's running on her own.
  • Strange Minds Think Alike: Soos and Melody both think Hoo-Ha Owl's Pizza-ma-tronic Jamboree is the best restaurant of all time and that extreme meat lunches are the food of the future.
  • Strong Family Resemblance: Cousin Reggie looks identical to Soos except for different hair and a mustache. Soos even refers to him as the 'poor man's Soos'.
  • Suck E. Cheese's: Hoo-Ha Owl's Pizza-ma-tronic Jamboree, the restaurant where Soos and Melody go on their date. To be fair, the place isn't so bad until .GIFfany's invasion.
  • Suddenly Bilingual: Soos appears to be fluent in Japanese, considering how he can apparently understand the Japanese description on the back of Romance Academy 7's box.
  • Super-Powered Robot Meter Maids: .GIFfany's sentience and powers were an accident but never is it explained why the animatroics at Hoo-ha's are able to move freely, have sharp claws or a USB connector.
  • Take That!:
    • One of the stores seen in the mall is a Hot Topic parody called "Edgy on Purpose".
    • Soos can't figure if an Emo Teen is a girl or a boy.
  • Tear Your Face Off: The animatronic beaver boasts to Dipper that's he's gonna "eat your face like a pizza".
  • Tears from a Stone: When Stan throws out Goldie, some oil leaks from Goldie's eye in this manner. Rather than persuading him to take it back, Stan is just further convinced of Goldie's creepiness.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • Becomes a Running Gag with .GIFfany and how the humans treat her.
      • After installing her, Soos says "It's almost like you're alive."
      • Mabel after dragging Soos away from .GIFfany says, "It's not like it's going anywhere." Cue .GIFfany following them to the mall via telephone wires.
      • At Hoo Ha's, Soos is confident that .GIFfany can't leave the electronic screen. Then she enters the animatronics...
    • Stan after stealing the Badger says, "I feel invincible." Thanks to .GIFfany, the Badger comes to life and starts attacking Stan.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Dipper's reaction to .GIFfany revealing herself to be sentient and capable at Hoo-Ha's: "Speaking as someone who once brought a video game character to life, this won't end well."
  • Unnecessarily Creepy Robot: Dear god, Goldie. As well as the animatronics at Hoo-Ha's once .GIFfany catches up with Soos.
    Wendy, on Goldie: Its face reminds people of the inevitability of death.
  • Wham Shot: During Soos's first interaction with .GIFfany, the camera pans down to show that the computer hasn't been plugged in.
  • Woman Scorned: .GIFfany at the restaurant when she sees Soos on a date with Melody. She even shows a picture of Melody's face with a Red X placed over it.
  • Yandere: .GIFfany, which she even admits when explaining how she "deleted" her programmer after he tried to delete her, and later admitting she's crazy when attacking Soos at the pizzeria. Worse, Soos finds her clingy behavior "predictable" compared to "real girls," implying she was programmed to be this way.
  • You Were Trying Too Hard: Soos's attempts at finding a date, because he is too nervous and says whatever comes out of his mouth. Once he's "dating" .GIFfany and riding toy trains with her, he becomes more relaxed when Melody approaches him. Truth in Television!


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