Gravity Falls may be one of the smartest shows on television, but it features a town with the main cast Surrounded by Idiots.
Spoilers are unmarked. Proceed with caution.
- Mabel wants to have a great summer romance. She's determined that she will meet The One. Her obsessive crushes tend to make Dipper a Butt-Monkey, however, and he often has to save her or help with her messes.
You'd Expect: For Mabel to have a more discerning taste in guys after a point, for hers and Dipper's sake. Norman was one thing since it was her first attempt at romance, and Mermando was a Nice Guy, but Gabe Benson?
Instead: Mabel falls for any guy that is hot, with Gideon being the exception. She doesn't change her standards and often Takes A Level In Jerkass to get what she wants. In "The Love God", this gets used against her when the Love God summons all of her ex-crushes to steal back an anti-love potion, and in "Northwest Mansion Mystery" she makes a random guy a higher priority than her friends.
The Hand That Rocks the Mabel
- Grunkle Stan makes a business deal with Bud Gleeful, which involves Mabel and Gideon getting married. When he announces this, Mabel has a Freak Out and runs to her room in Heroic BSoD.
You'd Expect: Stan would realize that she doesn't like the arrangement and try and talk to her, to see what's going on.
Instead: He thinks she's freaked out about how fat he's gotten and acts surprised when Gideon terminates the deal at the end of the episode.
- Gideon is putting a lot of pressure on Mabel to date him despite her wanting to be Just Friends, so much that she ends up in "Sweater Town". Dipper volunteers to tell Gideon that Mabel doesn't like him that way.
You'd Expect: If Gideon wanted to win over Mabel for real, he would give her space and wait for her to develop real feelings. He knows how to manipulate people and probably could court her in a better way than how he's been doing.
Instead: Gideon is Not Good with Rejection. He blames Dipper for coming between him and Mabel, and tries to kill the latter with lamb shears. Mabel witnesses this as she's coming to tell Gideon herself, and the Mystery Twins are protective of each other.
As A Result: Not only does Mabel sever all ties with Gideon, but she also smashes his magic amulet after using it to save the boys from a deadly fall.
Even worse: Gideon doesn't learn. He decides that he's going to get rid of the other Pines, and keep Mabel for himself.
- Dipper and Mabel have been shrunk by a magical flashlight, and captured by Gideon. After escaping, they find Gideon with the flashlight, and distract him.
You'd Think: The twins quickly enlarge each other using the flashlight, and then fight Gideon.
Instead: Dipper brings up his height rivalry from earlier, and then argues with Mabel, wasting a golden opportunity to stop Gideon.
As A Result: Gideon finds the twins, and captures them again.Gideon: I dare say you would have defeated me, if it wasn't for your sibling bickering!
- Dipper, Mabel, Candy, Grenda and Soos are forced by the Summerween Trickster to bring him 500 candies before the end of the night. They are told that they must do it while following the rules of "Trick-or-Treat". If they don't, the monster will eat them alive. However, Dipper doesn't want to Trick-or-Treat this year because he doesn't want Wendy to see him doing something so "childish".
You'd Expect: Dipper, being a smart kid who has already faced supernatural creatures before and knows they can be dangerous, would do what has been told to him by the scary-looking monster who ate a child before his eyes. Especially because not doing it would endanger not only his life, but also the lives of his sister, her friends and Soos.
Instead: He tries several times to avoid "Trick-or-Treating", arguing that he is sick, and is unhelpful during the first part of the night, while their lives are on the line. Even after he decides to help, he still tries to avoid letting Wendy see it and...
As A Result: He loses all their candies in the garbage dump.
- Mabel and Stan have made a bet: if she earns more money running the Mystery Shack her way than Stan does on vacation— which involves him going on a game show— then Mabel gets to run the Shack for the rest of the summer. While taking over, Mabel hopes that being Nice to the Waiter with Soos and Wendy will lead to profits and a better work experience.
You'd Expect: Given her Big Sister Instinct toward Mabel and seeing that it would be in her best interests to support a Benevolent Boss instead of a Mean Boss like Stan, Wendy would do the same amount of work that she does with Stan. She could also not cause any damage while on duty, due to liability, since Stan only hired her to keep her out of lumberjack camp and could send her there if Mabel blabs about how terrible Wendy was.
Instead: Wendy takes advantage of Mabel's attempts at being a Benevolent Boss by letting her friends destroy Mystery Shack items, injure a customer child, and skive off work for two days in a row. Mabel hits her Rage Breaking Point when Wendy tries this on day three; there's only 8 hours to turn a profit, and Mabel has just faced a monster that destroyed most of the Shack and caused a lot of damage.
As A Result: Thanks to Wendy's lack of oversight, Mabel becomes just as much of a Bad Boss to her and Soos as Stan was with the time crunch, and though she wins the bet she says Keep the Reward about running the Shack, leaving Wendy with her original Mean Boss.
- Stan is tossing a bunch of guest complaints into the Bottomless Pit. A breeze picks up unfortunately, and start blowing them away. The breeze is so strong that it threatens to blow them into the pit.
You'd Expect: Stan would Know When to Fold 'Em and run inside, as Dipper is warning everyone.
Instead: Stan chases after the papers to toss them in so they'll be gone forever.
The Result: When his family and Soos try to save him from falling into the pit, they all end up falling for hours and to pass the time are forced to tell stories to each other. Dipper lampshades this as they fall.
- In Mabel's story, "Trooth Ache," she is shocked to see that Stan is a Consummate Liar who tries to teach a bear how to drive and lies to the cops about it. Stan blows her off because, well, it's what he does.
You'd Expect: Mabel to stay out of it. She knows that Stan is not an ethical person.
Instead: She replaces his dentures with golden ones that compel the wearer to tell the truth.
The Result: Stan blabbing about his crimes nearly gets him arrested, and Mabel has to lie to cover for him.
- Mabel finds out that the boy at the pool who entrances her is a merman. Despite her infatuation, she agrees to help him return to his family. Dipper in the meantime has gotten a job as a lifeguard to spend more time with Wendy. Mermando asks Mabel to not tell anyone about what he is.
You'd Expect: She would tell Dipper what's going on before stealing the pool equipment to escort Mermando. Dipper's already in hot water with his boss, and so he is determined to not mess up. They just need to get Mermando to the river, or to an ocean, and he can swim free. Dipper doesn't have to lose any pool equipment to get that deed done.
Instead: Mabel refuses to tell Dipper and steals a golf cart from the pool.
As A Result: When Dipper gives chase, he nearly gets Mermando killed and has to resuscitate him.
The Land Before Swine
- Grunkle Stan dislikes how Waddles, being a pig, chews on his clothes and messes up everything in the house. Mabel asks him to not put Waddles outside because "it's dangerous" for a helpless animal. While she's out buying a Snuggie so that she can carry her pig, Waddles ruins a money-making Mystery Shack exhibit "The Cornicorn" by eating it.
You'd Expect: Stan would lock the pig up in the twins' room, or in a room where Waddles cannot easily escape. Then he'd remind Mabel that the destructive pig is her responsibility when she gets home and assign her to rebuild the exhibit, since art is her specialty. That way she can't accuse him of being unfair, especially since Mabel is his favorite, and she likes a creative challenge.
Instead: Out of spite for the pig and feeling that Mabel is overreacting, he ties Waddle up outside to a stake, and a pterodactyl swoops and steals away the pink guy just as Stan is mocking how "outside is dangerous". Even if not for the dinosaur, Mabel would have come home and seen, starting her refusal to talk to her Grunkle.
- Gideon wants the deed to the Mystery Shack, only it's locked in a safe and he doesn't know the combination. Plus, Stan can kick him out every time.
You'd Expect: He'd do what he eventually does: dynamite the safe and make off with the deed.
Instead: He summons an Eldritch Abomination to make a Deal with the Devil, and waits for hours while Bill Cipher tries and fails to get the code. Bill is not one to be trifled with easily and could have hurt Gideon the way he hurts Dipper later on, given Bill said they would "work out the details" later.
- Grunkle Stan deliberately acted harsh on Dipper because he wants him to be a tough kid. Unfortunately, it caused Dipper to believe that Stan hates him as he slowly loses respect for his Grunkle, something which Stan noticed.
You'd Expect: For Stan to properly explain why he is treating Dipper the way he is, or at least try and show visible love such as complimenting him, and helping what Dipper wants while remaining strict and tough at the same time.
Instead: He keeps acting harsh on him with little showing of love.
As A Result: Stan's tough love act leads to Dipper thinking that Stan hates him and almost resulted in Dipper leaving Stan and the others to Bill's clutches. Had Dipper not checked one more time regarding the "Get rid of him" memory, Dipper would have abandoned Stan and his Mystery Shack forever.
Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained
- Mabel wants to mail home a video of her shoving gummy worms up her nose for some reason. She comes across an old, raggedy mailbox in the middle of nowhere that Dipper and Soos are investigating.
You'd Expect: Mabel to at least let Dipper explain, given that she knows full well that this town is bizarre and it could be some sort of all-knowing mailbox for all she knows.
Instead: "Nifty, a mailbox! I've been wanting to mail Mom this video of me shoving a hundred gummy worms up my nose." As it turns out and as Dipper and Soos try to warn her, it is some sort of all-knowing mailbox, and...
As A Result: The video squicks it out so much that it declares humanity a lost cause and destroys itself. Among other things, this costs Mabel the video and Dipper an opportunity to find out who wrote the journals Dipper naturally calls her out.
- The family's going out to the movies to see Pony Heist. While there, the manager who happens to be Thompson yells at Mabel for sneaking in candy. Mabel apologizes and said it was just one piece.
You'd Expect: Since Mabel and Dipper are part of the friendship group, where Thompson deliberately makes himself a Butt-Monkey, that Thompson would confiscate their candy and let them off with a warning. It's one of the few times where Stan admits he paid for the tickets.
Instead: Thompson bans the family from the theater.
As A Result: The family as part of an elaborate scheme to sneak into the theater humiliates Thompson by posting that he drinks butter.
- Federal agents are sniffing around the Shack, to Dipper's delight and Grunkle Stan's dismay, and Stan confiscates a business card that the agents have given to Dipper. Dipper sneaks into Stan's room and steals the card back during Mabel's karaoke party because he wants the agents' help in uncovering the secrets.
You'd Expect: After getting the card, Dipper would immediately get out of Stan's room and call the agents in a distant location. Wendy's got a cell phone and she's his lookout.
Instead: He calls the agents from Stan's room.
As A Result: Stan busts him and tells him he's grounded after the party.
- When the agents come, they don't believe Dipper after flipping through the book and walking off.
You'd Expect: Dipper would find a nonlethal spell to use, or an object like the growth and shrinking crystals to prove his point.
Instead: He reads out a spell with the warning label "DON'T READ ALOUD" and summons hundreds of zombies.
As A Result: The agents get dragged off, and the Pines nearly get killed by zombies.
- Stan has dropped the act; he admits that he knows what goes on in Gravity Falls, and was feigning ignorance to protect the kids and hide the machine under the Shack. After getting rid of the zombies, he gives the journal back to Dipper on the condition that Dipper only uses it for self-defense. Dipper in turn wants to know if Stan has any other earth-shattering secrets.
You'd Expect: Since Dipper awoke a zombie army to prove the supernatural's existence to his uncle and the federal agents, Stan would come clean about the machine's existence, especially since he was using it to rescue his twin brother, which Dipper as a twin would relate to. He could also admit who wrote the journals— again Stan's brother— so that Dipper doesn't keep searching for the answers in dangerous places.
Instead: Stan keeps his mouth shut and does the Lying Finger Cross.
As a Result: Dipper (who had also made a Lying Finger Cross) keeps searching for the Author's identity and becomes distrustful of Stan after finding out that he lied again. This comes back to bite Stan in "Not What He Seems" when Dipper asks why they should believe him about anything after he lied about everything else.
Into the Bunker
- Dipper, Mabel, Soos and Wendy are investigating the titular bunker, and nearly die from a Death Trap. Mabel finds out that Dipper was going to confess his feelings to Wendy, and he tells her not to bring it up.
You'd Expect: Mabel would realize that mixing romance and scary adventures has never ended well for the twins, especially since they just nearly died. She should put off pressuring Dipper until they're done exploring the bunker.
Instead: She locks Dipper in a closet with Wendy, which is actually a decontamination chamber, and won't open it when they find out a monster's inside with them.
As A Result: Dipper and Wendy nearly die due to a shapeshifter being in the chamber with them.
The Golf War
- The Lilliputtians, tiny golf balls with legs, have been helping Mabel cheat in a mini golf competition with Pacifica, in exchange for awarding the best Lilliputtian tribe for a medal sticker. The Dutch Lilliputtians get it in their head to tie Pacifica to a Conveyor Belt of Doom to win the sticker, since killing Pacifica ought to make Mabel much happier than winning. Dipper and Mabel are horrified, and the other Lilliputtian tribes argue they they should get the sticker.
You'd Expect: That Mabel and Dipper would play along, declare the Dutch Lilliputtians the winner, and do Hostage for MacGuffin to get Pacifica to safety.
Alternatively: That Mabel and Dipper would secure Pacifica's safety first, and then declare another Lilliputtian tribe the winner for sticking to the deal. While the Dutch Lilliputtians would still be mad, they'd still have a concrete reason for how their actions made them lose.
Instead: Mabel does a Big "SHUT UP!", makes a speech about how rivalries are stupid, and eats the sticker.
As A Result: The Lilliputtian tribes unite to cut the sticker out of her stomach. The twins and Pacifica barely escape the tiny ones' wrath, leaving Pacifica's trainer behind.
- Dipper has asked Mabel for help with unlocking the passwords, but a new crush of the week distracts her, and she begs him to help her put on a sock puppet rock opera.
You'd Expect: There are two logical options that Dipper could take: 1) Dipper would put away the laptop until the next Mabel crush blows its course, because every time his and Mabel's desires clash, he always gives in to Mabel at the cost of what he wants. Bill even points out this All Take and No Give relationship when he approaches Dipper and asks for a Deal with the Devil. 2) Alternatively, he gets someone like Soos or Wendy to assist him instead so that he's not shouldering the burden of unlocking the password alone. Soos actually fixed up the laptop and has some experience with computers.
Instead: Dipper tries to unlock the password alone while assisting Mabel with her sock opera, and ends up sleep deprived with no success. Said sleep deprivation also allows for Bill Cipher to approach him when Dipper spends the whole night on the roof with the laptop.
- After said sleepless night and after encountering Bill Cipher, Dipper trudges into the kitchen exhausted.
You'd Expect: Dipper would just tuck into bed and sleep the whole day off since he's helped Mabel a lot, even with the risk of Bill approaching him in dreamland, because that way he won't say or do anything stupid.
Instead: Because of said sleep deprivation, he makes the irrational decision to stay awake, gets in a fight with Mabel when she breaks her promise to help him with the journal, and makes a desperate Deal with the Devil with Bill when the laptop is about to erase all its data.
- Mabel needs a book for the wedding scene for her sock opera.
You'd Expect: That Mabel would realize that using the journal would be dangerous, seeing as just two episodes ago alone the Shapeshifter almost killed Wendy to get it, and use another book, since the Shack has many.
Instead: Mabel takes the journal.
As A Result: Not only does Bill get a hair away from taking it, but he himself points out Mabel was willing to risk it for another one of her dime-a-dozen crushes.
- Grenda has told "Bipper" where the journal is, in the wedding cake but to hold his horses and wait until Act Three when he's supposed to hold it as the reverend.
You'd Expect: Bill to just go up the catwalk and grab the journal during intermission, since no one will be the wiser. If he wants to cover his tracks he can easily substitute the journal for another book.
Instead: Bill says "I'll hold my horses, you monster" and waits until the Third Act.
As a Result: Bill's insistence on waiting leads to his confrontation with Mabel when she comes to fetch the journal as well, when before he would have stealthily gotten it.
- When Mabel goes to fetch the journal, it's within the dangling prop wedding cake next to the catwalk. The prop is fragile, being made of wood and paint, and the rope isn't that sturdy.
You'd Expect: For her to pull up the prop and set it on the catwalk. The prop is light, as is the journal.
Instead: She climbs over the safety rail and reaches for the journal, nearly falling with the cake prop when she loses her grip.
As a Result: Bill puts her in a precarious position, threatening to drop her unless she hands over the journal.
- Bill is about to win. Mabel is handing him the journal.
You'd Expect: That Bill would wait until the journal is truly in his hands before he gives out his speech to her.
Instead: He gives the speech when Mabel is in the process of giving it to him, essentially guilt-tripping her into putting up a fight and saving the day in the process.
Soos and the Real Girl
- Dipper and Mabel consider renting a Dating Sim for Soos to improve his flirting skills with real women. The store clerk warns them that it's been returned three times and that there's a note on it saying "destroy at all costs!!"
You'd Expect: Dipper and Mabel would listen, put away the game and keep on browsing for something else.
Instead: They rent the game anyway, putting everyone in subsequent danger.
The Love God
- After Mabel steals the love potion, she plans to use it on Robbie and Tambry.
You'd Expect: If she's already gone this far, she would follow the Love God's directions and flick the potion on the couple with her fingers.
Instead: She spikes Robbie and Tambry's chili fries with the potion, which then radically alters their personalities. Mabel was lucky that this led to Took a Level in Kindness for the pairing, but she could've easily poisoned them.
Northwest Mansion Mystery
- As Candy, Greta and Mabel are arguing over the affections of a boy at the party, the lumberjack ghost reappears and starts turning all the party guests into wood. He doesn't discriminate between the adult and child guests.
You'd Expect: For the girls to set aside their bickering and duck for cover. Mabel in particular has no excuse given the amount of adventures she's endured for Dipper's sake.
Instead: The girls don't pay attention to anything other than their argument.
As A Result: The girls are turned into wood exactly where they stand. The ghost then nearly burns down the whole mansion, which would've killed everyone inside except the Northwests in their underground hiding spot.
Not What He Seems
- The federal agents have moved in on Stan, arresting Stan and taking the kids into custody.
You'd Expect: Given they've been watching the kids all summer, including how the Pines get into regular supernatural shenanigans and aren't stupid, Agent Trigger would break it to them gently that their uncle is a crook and someone not to be trusted.
Instead: Agent Trigger follows protocol and puts on mindless TV for the kids to watch on the drive to Child Services.
As A Result: This gives Mabel and Dipper time to not only find an escape route but also trap Agent Trigger in the woods. They refuse to believe him when he says that Stan has been faking identities.
- This is it. The kids and Soos have discovered Grunkle Stan's secret room in the Shack, and are about to shut off the portal. Grunkle Stan needs to keep the portal on for one more minute.
You'd Expect: Stan would try to explain to them why the portal is so important. Even if they didn't believe him, it probably would have taken long enough to explain for there to be almost no more time left to push the button, ensuring The Author is able to come out of the portal. Additionally, Dipper would reason far better with an actual explanation for what's going on rather than an emotional plea for trust, especially when he's already wary of Stan's intentions to the point of giving a What the Hell, Hero?.
Instead: Stan doesn't try to explain why the portal is so important. He gives a short speech to Mabel, and has to hope that she trusts him, causing Mabel to have to choose between her brother's desire to shut down the portal and Stan's desire to keep it open. She chooses Stan, but it could have easily gone either direction.
A Tale of Two Stans
- In the flashback, Stan is upset that Ford seems poised (as he has an amazing science fair project that the board of that school is going to see the very next day) to go off to a great college in California without him and live a successful life on his own, while Stan himself seems destined to stay in New Jersey forever as a stupid, minimum-wage failure who can't make it on his own without Ford.
You'd Expect: Stan to talk to Ford about his feelings-that he feels like the "dumb screw-up" left behind in the dust while Ford goes off to bigger and better things without him. Or (if he can't bring himself to do that) vent his frustration somewhere else, to avoid doing anything stupid when his frustration is at its peak.
Better Yet: For Stan to realize that he's been too clingy and dependent on Ford, too focused on living a childhood dream and just expecting that Ford would still want to as well, and quietly accept that Ford needs to live his own life. Even though he doesn't want Ford to leave, he knows how much Ford's dreams mean to him and should accept that Ford wants to pursue them-even if it means they'll be apart.
Instead: Stan goes straight to where the project- the source of his fears and frustrations- is.
As A Result: Stan accidentally breaks Ford's science project while venting his anger.
You'd Then Expect: He'd run and immediately tell Ford what happened, so that Ford can fix the project before the demonstration. By doing this (and coming clean about his feelings if Ford presses him for the reason why he was near the project in the first place), Ford would have no reason to believe Stan sabotaged the project for his own gain as he would now know that it was an honest accident.
Instead: Stan covers up what he did, and as a result inadvertently sabotages Ford's attempts to go to the college of his dreams.
As A Result: His father kicks him out and Ford doesn't talk to him for ten years even though Stan deeply regrets it and tries to apologize.
- Ford's about to present his project, which is now covered by the sheet Stan put over it to hide what he did, and which wasn't covered before Stan broke it.
You'd Expect: That Ford would immediately realize something was up, take the sheet off to see the broken project, and have time to fix it before the demonstration was to take place.
Instead: He doesn't even question why a sheet's there when there wasn't one there when he left it.
- Ford has contacted Stan to take the last Journal and hide it somewhere outside of Gravity Falls. He hasn't told Stan about his plan or anything about Bill, only to "Please come!" After Stan realizes Ford only sent for him - after over 12 years of no contact, no less-just so he could simply take a book and leave (presumably never to see Ford again), he gets angry.
You'd Expect: Ford would then explain everything about Bill and the seriousness of the situation. Granted, Ford is paranoid and mentally compromised at the time, but it'd be in his best interests, and the best way to get Stan to cooperate and understand how important this is.
Instead: Ford says nothing about Bill, and acts surprised and offended at Stan's legitimate grievances - even having the gall to act like he's doing him a favor by giving Stan the chance to do "the first worthwhile thing" in his life.
The Result: Ford and Stan get into a fight that ultimately traps Ford in another dimension for years.
- After 10 years of no contact at all from his brother, Stan gets a postcard telling him to "please come!" When he comes and eventually realizes that the reconciliation he hoped for isn't going to happen (and that Ford intends for him to just go away again), he's furious.
You'd Expect: Stan would immediately ask Ford just why should he help him now of all times, considering how he once pleaded for Ford's help when he made a huge mistake, but was rejected- and now he's just expected to help fix Ford's mistake, one arguably even worse than his own? He'd basically tell him "I came here because I thought we were going to finally be brothers again, not to be your stupid errand boy. Its your own fault and responsibility, and youre expecting me, Stanley the Screwup, to help you fix it? Fix your own screwup yourself- youre the smart one, Im sure youll find a way and leave.
Or: With the knowledge that Ford still sees him as little more than a "bumbling leech" of a screw-up that ruined his college prospects and clearly doesn't care about him anymore except to use him as a menial errand boy to solve his own problems (with no known intent to ever follow up on him afterwards), Stan could simply agree to take the book (explicitly saying this will be the last favor he'll ever do for him), leave his ungrateful brother behind for good, and move on with his life, never speaking to Ford again.
Instead: Stan doesn't bring this fact up, instead ranting about how selfish Ford was and thus making things escalate.
The Result: Ford and Stan get into a fight that ultimately ends up trapping Ford in another dimension for years.
- After Ford is rescued from the portal, he gives an ultimatum to Stan: he's allowed to stay until the end of the summer- but afterwards, he has to give Ford's identity back, close the Mystery Shack, and move out of the house.
You'd Expect: That immediately after this declaration, Stan would approach both Dipper and Mabel and tell them what would happen to him at the end of summer, while giving them advice on how to not make the same mistakes he and his brother have. That way, it would make both Dipper and Mabel disgusted enough that they'll stay away from Ford and would stay close each other as much as possible, keeping them away from danger.
Or: Instead of moving out at the end of the summer, Stan could just move out now and immediately send the kids home where they won't be at risk of danger due to Ford's experiments while at the same time, he would quickly get away from his ungrateful brother as far as possible. Afterwards, he could move on with his life and find a way to start a legitimate business with all the 30 years of experience he gained in Gravity Falls.
Instead: Not only does he not tell the young twins what would happen to him, he (along with Mabel) also mocks Dipper for being into nerdy things.
As A Result: Stan's actions lead Dipper to spend more time with Ford, creates a rift between him and and the two, and ultimately is a contributing factor that allows Bill to manipulate Mabel to directly cause Weirdmageddon.
Dungeons Dungeons & More Dungeons
- While playing with Dipper, Ford deflects questions about his time spent in the portal, and instead shows Dipper an Infinity-Sided Die— a powerful die banned in 9000 dimensions because it's a Reality Warper.
You'd Expect: Ford would be really careful with a die that could end the world in one roll.
Instead: He reveals cheerfully that he's kept it in a cheap plastic box with his other dice. Although it was Stan's fault for later tossing the die, Ford really should have taken more precautions.
As A Result: When the Infinity-Sided Die is thrown in a bit of rage, there's no safeguards to prevent the die from working, and the die summons Probabilator.
- Ford and Dipper have continued the game so long that they filled up the basement. They need a new room to continue playing the game in. Mabel and Stan are excited to watch "Ducktective" in the next room, and Dipper knows this.
You'd Expect: That Dipper or Ford would recommend one of the many other rooms in the Shack, including Soos's breakroom, to continue the game.
Instead: They move the game to the TV Room, right when Ducktective is starting.
As A Result: Stan loses his temper after asking Ford and Dipper to move and tosses what he thinks is an ordinary bag of dice, which summons Probabilator, who wants to eat Ford and Dipper's brains.
The Stanchurian Candidate
- During the climatic mayoral debate, Dipper and Mabel realize that Gideon is controlling his father; Gideon then catches them successfully, using his father as a People Puppet who can do the Dumb Muscle bit, and plans to kill them.
You'd Expect: Gideon would lock the twins away in a place where they can't be seen or heard, and make sure they're securely tied.
Instead: He ties them up inside the mayoral monument next to where the debate is being held loosely enough that they can move around, and the crowd hears the twins' cries for help.
As A Result: Stan's heroic rescue of the twins ends up winning him the election, as does the Pines's dramatic jump when Gideon sets off the fireworks.
The Last Mabelcorn
- While shielding their minds, Dipper takes a peek into Ford's mind and learns to his horror that his Great-Uncle has made a Deal with the Devil, the "devil" in this case being Bill. Ford then wakes up from a nap, and because his glasses are opaque, Dipper panics, thinks Bill is possessing his uncle, and grabs the memory ray.
You'd Expect: Ford would realize why Dipper is panicking and take off his glasses, to show that Bill isn't possessing him.
Instead: Ford menacingly approaches Dipper saying, "You shouldn't have seen that." He doesn't reassure him or attempt to reason with Dipper, and makes himself look more suspicious by telling Dipper to hand over the Interdimensional Rift that could bring Bill into the real world.
As A Result: Dipper zaps him with the ray and then cowers in a corner repeating, "Trust no one, trust no one!". If not for the metal plate Ford had installed in his skull, he would've lost his mind entirely.
Fortunately: This is a wake-up call to Ford to explain in full how he came to meet Bill.
- Stan decides to sabotage all his tourist trap competitors along the Redwood Highway as revenge for pranks they've pulled in the past against the Mystery Shack. As we learn in the episode, some of these people are genuinely dangerous, such as the old lady who set Stan's car on fire on two non-consecutive occasions.
You'd Expect: Stan would have some sort of plan in place to protect the Shack against possible retaliation by the people he pranked, or at least start his journey with the farthest away attraction so that he may notice someone gunning for the Shack as he comes back to it.
Instead: Stan takes no precautions whatsoever and starts the trip with the nearest spot. It's no surprise that when he returns, the Shack is filled with corn and covered in insulting graffiti.
- Mabel has already transgressed a bit by packing Dipper's box that said "Do Not Touch" and bluntly telling him to move on from his crush on Wendy, even though he flirts with women himself. She then finds out Candy has a crush on Dipper after seeing his confidence after getting a girl's email.
You'd Expect: That Mabel would realize the ramifications of setting up one of her best friends with her brother, especially after what happened with "The Love God" and realize as well that Dipper is never confident around girls.
Instead: She decides to indulge Candy's crush, and set the two up on a "date". Then when it turns out he's been practicing on other girls, she doesn't consider the possibility that he got his advice from a questionable source — their Grunkle Stan— and turns on him, believing her brother to be a G-rated playboy without hearing his side of the story. It's hypocritical of Mabel given how many guys she's hit on during the past two seasons in hopes of finding The One.
- Likewise, Dipper is similarly feeling awkward about Candy liking him, since he hadn't considered that possibility given she's friends with Mabel. Stan advises him to go on the date anyway at the risk of leading Candy on, to build his confidence.
You'd Expect: Dipper would go with his gut and tell Candy what he told Stan, that he hadn't considered her that way, that he's open to the possibility while not wanting to lead her on. In addition, you'd think they would discuss what it would mean if they dated and what boundaries there would be with her being Mabel's friend.
Instead: Dipper takes Grunkle Stan's advice.
As A Result: Dipper is mistaken for being a Kid-anova when the other girls he's encountered "bust" him.
Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future
- While Dipper and Ford are out trying to save the world, Mabel goes on a party-planning escapade. While trying to confirm who can come, she finds out her two best friends, Candy and Grenda, will both be leaving Gravity Falls on the day of the party.
You'd Expect: One of the girls would suggest moving the party to the day before to better fit everyone's schedules, avoiding the idea that the birthday is ruined just because one date doesn't work.
Instead: No one suggests the obvious solution. Mabel concludes that the party is ruined and has an emotional breakdown. Already emotionally vulnerable, this adds fuel to her tipping point later in the episode.
- When Ford presents Dipper with the cracking Rift, they both go out to seek an adhesive that can seal it.
You'd Expect: They'd leave it behind, since it's a cracking, fragile object whose compete breakage would end the world.
Instead: They bring it with them in a case. In Ford's unprotected pocket, and later in Dipper's equally unprotected backpack. Through what can only be described as divine intervention, it survives Dipper's scientifically impossible-to-live-through action sequence... but breaks under a foot when Mabel takes Dipper's backpack by mistake instead of hers.
- After many complications (and one death-defying action sequence), Ford and Dipper successfully retrieve the adhesive.
You'd Expect: Ford (because the adhesive was, according to him, too dangerous for Dipper to handle) would seal the Rift on the spot, since it was in Dipper's backpack the whole time and is pretty much a bomb waiting to go off.
Instead: Ford waits until they get home, settle in and have conversations with the rest of the family. He doesn't think about removing the Rift from Dipper's backpack and fixing it until Mabel's run off with it.
- After many complications (and one death-defying action sequence), Ford and Dipper successfully retrieve the adhesive.
- During this episode, Ford offers an apprenticeship to Dipper for him to stay in Gravity Falls and receive private tutoring from the former.
You'd Expect: Dipper would ask if Mabel could stay as well, since he was hesitant on the idea of leaving her and they're often stronger together, especially considering his discomfort with Ford actively encouraging the idea of separation between them. Or he and Ford could discuss limiting the arrangement to future summers or after Dipper's graduated from high school, when both he and Mabel are older, since it's not likely such a ludicrous offer would get parental acceptance.
Or: Dipper could talk to Mabel about the offer first so she'd hear it first hand from him, That way they could discuss it calmly.
Instead: Ford assumes that since he has 12 PhDs, Dipper's "parents would be thrilled I could give you such an advanced education," and Dipper doesn't bring up the idea of Mabel staying with him and Ford. Dipper doesn't even approach Mabel with the news directly.
As A Result: Mabel overhears Dipper accepting the offer later over the walkie-talkie, which leads to her becoming even more unstable and distraught. Dipper tries to confront Mabel over the decision but Mabel is now too panicked to listen, and Dipper's note that nothing lasts forever finally causes Mabel to snap. She runs away with Dipper's backpack, setting the stage for the finale.
- Mabel suffers an emotional breakdown due to the events of the episode and runs off with Dipper's backpack on accident, which still contains the Dimensional Rift. Suddenly Blendin Blandin appears out of nowhere eagerly offering a trade—Mabel gives him the Rift, insisting Ford won't miss it, and in return she'll get to stay in Gravity Falls longer. She and her brother have both been warned to be on guard about Bill and his possession tricks, so...
You'd Expect: She would first question why Blendin is here so suddenly, so into the idea of making a deal with her, or how he even knows anything about her uncle that she knows he's never met, or the glass orb she's never seen.
Instead: She hands it over (not even knowing what it is or taking into account that it's Dipper's property) without much thought.
As A Result: Bill starts the apocalypse. Nice one, Mabel.
Weirdmageddon, Part 1
- The rift has opened, and Bill has started to end the world. He makes his first impression on a crowd of townspeople, including Mayor Cutebiker and the Northwests. Mayor Cutebiker and the townspeople show that they are a Badass Bystander bunch and not taking Bill's nonsense.
You'd Expect: Preston would realize that he's not dealing with a cliched Antichrist, if the triangle shape is any indication, and keep his mouth shut, especially since the mayor is potentially angering Bill by politely asking him to "git out". If he has any sense of self-preservation, he would move himself and his family to the back of the crowd.
Instead: Preston thinks to Cut Lex Luthor a Check and ask Bill if he could be a "horseman of the apocalypse." Bill doesn't like traitors, or predictability, and he certainly doesn't like predictable traitors.
As A Result: Bill subjects Preston to Facial Horror, leaving him with no mouth.
- Ford has a desperate chance at stopping Bill, involving a BFG and only one chance to shoot. And it turns out that he knows Bill's weakness.
You'd Expect: Ford would inform Dipper of this weakness, and where to look for it in the journals. In addition, after having Dipper serve as a lookout for his one shot, he would Shoo the Dog and tell Dipper to go into hiding with the journals, in case things go wrong.
Instead: Ford doesn't do any of this.
As a Result: Dipper's in the church with Ford when the shot wildly misses, and both get caught in Bill destroying the building. Ford barely shoves the journals to Dipper in time, and runs out of time to tell him Bill's weakness. Then Bill turns him to gold before Ford can blurt the weakness out.
- After Bill captures Ford, the former offers the latter We Can Rule Together, saying that Ford's six fingers make him fit in right with his "freaks".
You'd Expect: Ford to not say anything that invokes Tempting Fate. Bill's offer may not be sincere and probably isn't, but the triangle is a sadistic Troll who sees planetary destruction as "fun".
Instead: Ford not only says, "I'll die before I join you!" but also brags that he knows Bill's weakness.
As A Result: Bill proceeds to turn him into gold after tricking him into posing as a backscratcher. Ford is only lucky that Bill didn't kill him right off the bat.
- Things are bad; Dipper has just seen not only the end of the world but also Bill capturing his Great Uncle Ford and turning him into gold, using Ford as a six-fingered backscratcher. Dipper has been able to hide so far and witnessed all of this, and Ford has ordered him to run.
You'd Expect: Dipper would either Know When to Fold 'Em and flee for cover, perhaps the Mystery Shack, or he would quickly scan the journal for any contingencies on how to defeat Bill before revealing himself.
Instead: Dipper reveals himself to Bill, standing on a log, and nervously flips through the Journals in a rush, reading You Are Already Dead on multiple pages. He then attempts to punch Bill in the eye.
As A Result: His attempt to punch Bill in the eye gets negated when Bill knocks him aside, burns the three journals, and orders fellow demons to eat "Pine Tree." Dipper barely escapes with his life and three days later is on the brink of the Despair Event Horizon.
- Bill also shares a bit of it after he burns the journals and tries to break Dipper's spirit.
You'd Expect: He would just kill Dipper on the spot or turn him into a statue as he has nearly everyone else. He made a deal with Mabel, but he doesn't owe Dipper the same.
Instead: Bill orders his friends to eat Dipper, and leaves before checking to see if the deed is done. He also does nothing when the demons report that Dipper not only escaped them but is also attempting to enter Mabel's bubble, believing that his contingencies (Gideon and the wish-fulfillment nature of the bubble) are enough to keep the kid from winning.
As A Result: With Dipper free, a series of events kicks off that leads to Bill's downfall.
- Dipper has fled into the mall to get away from the Sweaty One-Armed Monstrosity. He finds a bowl of nachos in the mall, lit by a single light.
You'd Expect: Dipper would recognize this as a trap and leave the nachos alone.
Instead: Dipper's so hungry that he falls for the bait.
As A Result: He gets trapped in a net. Luckily, he only ended up running into Wendy, but he could have been captured by Gideon or another enemy.
Weirdmageddon, Part 2
- Mabel's bubble is meant to be a Gilded Cage and a Lotus-Eater Machine, and Mabel has been hypnotized into not wanting to leave. Others can break this hypnosis, however, with The Power of Love, which Dipper does. The land then reveals itself as a prison with a Nightmare Face.
You'd Expect: For Bill's trump card to be Blackmail: that is, if Mabel ever chooses to leave the bubble of her own free will, either he or the land would expose that she inadvertently started Weirdmageddon by giving the rift to the possessed Blendin. This would distract Dipper at the least, and make her relive the moment when he chose Ford's apprenticeship over her.
Instead: Bill never keeps this trump card handy; in fact, as Mabel recounts to Dipper, Wendy and Soos, she doesn't remember giving the rift to Bill and it never comes up again, and the Bubble's inhabitants only try to make her stay by force. It's not clear if Bill wiped her memory or if she's Faking Amnesia, but using that knowledge would have broken up the survivors' offensive in the next episode. In any case, Mabel and the others escape the bubble without breaking a sweat, and soon they lead a successful attack on Bill.
- Dipper, Soos, and Wendy have found Mabel, but they can't get her out of the bubble because she doesn't want to leave. As she puts it, in Mabeland she can have whatever she wants.
You'd Expect: Dipper would tell Mabel what's been going on over the past four days, including that Bill has trashed the town, turned Ford into gold, and burned the journals. Wendy nearly does when Mabel interrupts her.
Instead: Dipper tells Mabel that this land "is crazy" without elaborating.
As A Result: Mabel dismisses him as a kill-joy.
- On that note, Mabel or the land, one of the two, summons what she/it thinks are the trio's innermost desires. Wendy's happens to be seeing her friends alive and playing a prank with them, and Soos is playing catch with his dad. Dipper refuses to see what Mabel has summoned for him.
You'd Expect: That either Mabel or the land would play on Dipper's desire to study the supernatural and play "dork games", and more importantly that the other Pines family members are alive. An illusion of Ford telling Dipper Know When to Fold 'Em would be enough to stop him since he admires Ford a lot and listens against his better judgment.
Instead: Mabel/The land summons a version of Wendy who's interested in Dipper.
As A Result: Even though Dipper's tempted, he quickly realizes that this version of Wendy isn't real and catches a glimpse of the world's true Nightmare Face. This motivates him to get Mabel to leave, by any means necessary.
Weirdmageddon, Part 3
- Bill wakes up Ford from his golden slumber, to recruit him in help to escape the confines of Gravity Falls and spread his weirdness to the world. Ford has in fact figured out how to get rid of the "magnetism" that keeps Bill and his friends tethered.
You'd Expect: Ford would either perform Obfuscating Stupidity or claim that the process to get rid of the barrier is complicated, stalling for time until he can plan an escape or work on Bill's weakness.
Instead: Ford, a Bad Liar and Insufferable Genius even when facing the end of the world, immediately admits that he knows the equation that will free Bill, that it's remarkably simple, and that he is strong enough to withstand Bill's attempts to break him forcibly for the necessary equation.
As A Result: Bill proceeds to chain up Ford and torture him for a day, then targets Dipper and Mabel upon realizing that they are Ford's weakness.
- Dipper, Soos, Wendy and Mabel have made it to the safety of the Mystery Shack, to find that Stan and the other survivors are hiding and not willing to stand up to Bill. When Dipper reveals that Ford knows Bill's weakness, Stan feels slighted that not only are the twins usurping his authority as "chief", but also that everyone is being an Ungrateful Bastard about how he's offered Sacred Hospitality while the survivors are treating Ford, whom Stan blames for causing Weirdmageddon, as their last hope. Stan also points out that the plan is highly risky, which is a good point in the face of how dangerous Bill is, and facing a demon is askind for a death wish.
You'd Expect: Dipper and Mabel to have a heart-to-heart with their Grunkle about his legitimate worries and petty grievances, and explain they aren't trying to undermine his authority. Dipper in part could point out that, practically speaking, the survivors are going to run out of food while living in guilt about their families imprisoned on the throne, and Bill if he can will transform Gravity Falls into a permanent hub of weirdness. Alternatively, the twins could mention that Bill set several of his demon friends on Dipper to eat him, and trapped Mabel in a bubble for three days straight, since they know that Stan is a Papa Wolf.
Instead: The twins prioritize perfecting the plans and don't talk it out with Stan.
As A Result: Stan remains a Grumpy Bear and the Only Sane Man about the plan, and inadvertently sabotages the last phase of it by getting into a stupid argument with Ford at a critical time.
- The plan works up to the point that the survivors unfreeze Ford, free Gideon, and thaw out the members of the throne. Dipper tells Ford that they don't have much time while Bill is wrestling the Mystery Shack mecha, and asks if Ford knows a way to defeat Bill.
You'd Expect: Ford to realize that the pyramid is not a safe location for revealing such a prophecy, even if everyone is present, because they'd be screwed the second Bill comes back. The survivors can all run for the cover of the woods before Ford reveals the prophecy, buying them even more time.
Instead: Ford, with the time counting down to when Bill's no longer distracted, uses Robbie's spray paint can to draw the prophecy on the pyramid's floor, hugely risking them being caught by Bill once he's finished with the mecha.
- At that time, Stan demands that Ford thanks him for what he's done and Ford begrudgingly does so. Stan then proceed to say "me and him" rather than the correct "him and me" and Ford notices his wrong grammar.
At the Same Time: Stan is still upset and angry at his brother for his ungrateful behavior to the point of refusing to cooperate with him and even considering leaving him petrified by Bill.
You'd Expect: That Ford would just roll his eyes at Stan's poor grammar, say nothing, and perform the ritual per the Journal's instructions.
You'd Also Expect: That Stan would realize that with the world at stake and Ford the only one who knows a way to stop Bill, he should put aside his grudge for the moment, do whatever Ford says and not succumb to his temper.
Instead: Stan rants at Ford about how ungrateful he is in the middle of an apocalypse, and Ford can't stop himself from condescendingly correcting Stan's grammar right when Stan needs to hold hands to stop Bill.
As a Result: Stan snaps and picks a fight with Ford, causing the ritual to completely fail. Bill catches the circle defenseless, turns everyone except the Pines into tapestries, and guns for Dipper and Mabel. It also means that to stop Bill, Ford has to erase his brother's mind, which makes him realize that he's essentially killed Stanley and never even accepted his apology properly.
- Bill has defeated the Shacktron, burned the prophecy circle and turned everyone except the Pines into banners for the Fearamid.
You'd Expect: Bill would turn Dipper and Mabel into banners too to blackmail Ford into giving him the equation, and if he refuses, start burning them to force Ford into giving Bill what he needs.
Or: Seeing that the Pines family are still willing to defy him even after the ritual failed, Bill could twist the knife even further by "revealing" that Mabel has purposely gave Bill the rift and directly caused Weirdmageddon because she selfishly didn't want the summer to end and keep Dipper from leaving her to take Ford's apprenticeship. If Dipper and the Stans don't believe him, he could conjure fake footage of Mabel purposely giving the rift to him and show callous disregard for her brother. Even if Dipper would see through the lie, it would make Mabel disheartened enough to not fight Bill and lead to both Stanley and Stanford pointing fingers at each other, which would allow Bill to commence through his plan unscathed.
Instead: Bill doesn't do anything to the kids.
As A Result: Mabel sprays Bill in the eye and the twins run off while Bill is blinded.
- After Mabel sprays Bill in the eye, Bill decides to chase after the Pines kids to blackmail Ford into giving him the way out.
You'd Expect: For Bill to simply create any form of blockades, such as a wall or a shield, or just levitate them and pull them back to his hands while the Stans are stripping their clothes, giving them no time to complete the Twin Switch.
Instead: He goes into One-Winged Angel mode and only physically chases them...
As A Result: ...which buys the Stans enough time to complete the switch and costs Bill his defeat.
- In order to escape from his confines of his barrier, Bill Cipher blackmails Ford by threatening Dipper and Mabel's lives in the process.
You'd Expect: That since Bill seemingly has no use for Stanley and considering his relationship with Ford, he'd simply get rid of Stanley in any way possible such as turning him into an object or disintegrating him.
Instead: He keeps Stanley alive, while under the impression that Ford wants to think nothing of him after screwing up with the Zodiac, and even imprisons the two together while he chases the kids, believing that they will simply continue to argue with each other.
Result: The two Stans decide to reconcile and work together to save the kids, resulting in Bill's defeat.
- This is it, "Ford" has finally decided to relent and let Bill into his mind in order to make Weirdmageddon global in exchange for letting his brother and the kids go. However, something seems off with "Ford".
You'd Expect: Bill, having known Ford for years, would notice that Ford looks a bit different and simply take away his gloves to check if he really is Ford or someone with five fingers impersonating him.
Instead: Too excited that he can finally make the apocalypse global, Bill shakes his hand without thinking.
As A Result: Bill ends up entering Stanley's mind instead, allowing Ford to use his Memory gun on Stan and destroy Bill once and for all.
- In the aftermath of Weirdmageddon, the Pines are taking care of one rift that emerged. Stan is in the middle of regaining his memories. Mabel has also confessed that Weirdmageddon was her fault because she gave the snowglobe rift to Bill, which leads to Dipper naming the rift "Mabel's Fault".
You'd Expect: Mabel would cut back on the selfish acts and focus on this mission at hand. Or that she'd sit it out if she's not ready.
Instead: Mabel brings Waddles along, ignoring Dipper's legitimate concerns that taking a pig on a rift repairing mission is distracting.
The Result: Due to chasing after Waddles, Mabel ends up sucked into the fault and sent into the Multiverse, trapped on a desolate world with hundreds of parallel Mabel selves. The only one willing to help her is revealed to be Anti-Mabel, who wants to wreak havoc in Mabel's dimension. Stan and Ford nearly get killed entering the Multiverse to rescue Mabel, with Stan being deceived by Anti-Mabel because he's still getting his memories back, and Dipper's left to wait fearing that he's lost his sister again. Mabel rightly apologizes to Dipper for her selfishness.
- In a flashback, Stan is accused by his father of stealing a gold chain. Ford defends him, and their dad says to find the real thief. It's revealed Stan took the watch to polish the chain for his dad and engrave it, but he felt guilty about breaking its display glass by accident. Their father is abusive, mind, and an awful person, and Stan is convinced that he's unloved.
You'd Expect: He would have told Ford in private about what happened, so as to have the courage to confess. Or that they'd get their mother on their side since she seems to be a calming influence.
Instead: Stan lets Ford believe that the Jersey Devil took the watch, and they go off in search of a dangerous monster.
The Result: Ford finds out from rival detective twins, right when the Jersey Devil is chasing all of them, and he gives Stan a What the Hell, Hero? about lying to him. Stan apologizes, and they confess to their dad with Stan returning the engraved watch, but both boys still get grounded for the summer.