Oh "Gravity Falls," we miss you so much. The series, created by the wizardly Alex Hirsch, which followed twins (played by Kristen Schaal and Jason Ritter) as they spend an increasingly bizarre summer with their charlatan uncle, Stan (Hirsch), ended last February and we're still smarting. This was a Disney animated series that Guillermo del Toro referred to as "one of the best realized, most compelling series around." Just think about that. So, in an effort to extol its virtues once more, and to cope with the magnitude of its loss, we are running down every episode of the series, from worst to best. Note: we're not including the short films (there are 17 of them) so don't even ask. Grappling hook!
40. 'The Legend of the Gobblewonker' (Season 1, Episode 2)
This will always be the last on anybody's list of "Gravity Falls" episodes, just like "Beer Bad" will be the last on anybody's list of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" episodes -- because it fundamentally forgets what the show is all about. It's weird to watch an episode where the kids come across as so selfish and bullying, and where the central mystery isn't a mystery at all but a "Scooby-Doo" style fake-out. Maybe most damnably, this is still an essential episode of the series, both because of its pay-off in "The Time Traveler's Pig" and because of "Old Man" McGucket's involvement in the larger mythology. A subpar "Gravity Falls" episode is like sex or pizza -- even when it's bad, it's still pretty good.
39, 'Little Dipper' (Season 1, Episode 11)
Dipper, feeling insecure about Mabel being taller than him, sets out to grow using magic (of course). They both end up being tiny and taken advantage of by Gideon. That's the entirety of this episode and pretty much all I can remember from it. Despite some decent visual gags (accomplishable only via animation), this is largely forgettable and doesn't really contribute to the show's larger mythology in any meaningful way.
38. 'The Love God' (Season 2, Episode 9)
This is one of the most baffling episodes of the series, period. It concerns a self-professed Love God, who has a series of potions dangling from his waist. Mabel steals one in order to (finally!) find true love and, of course, the whole thing backfires. Sounds fun, right? Nope. This is an episode that is so off-putting and weird (in a bad way) that it's hard to ever become truly invested. Josh Weinstein, a comedy legend whose credits include "Seinfeld" and "The Simpsons," co-wrote the episode, which makes its ineffectiveness even more bewildering. But still. Skip it.
37. 'Boyz Crazy' (Season 1, Episode 17)
This episode posits the question: what if the boy band you really love are actually a series of clones that are housed inside a giant terrarium? (I know, you've asked yourself this question a number of times.) While this is a riff on the standard "Mabel falls for a boy who is not what he seems" episode, there are hidden delights, mostly to do with Mabel's small group of friends (Brenda forever). The series has always woven popular culture into its storytelling but rarely has it addressed it directly, as in this episode. The results are terrific, some tangy satire to go along with your regularly scheduled sugar. It's hard to not think this episode would make for a great double-feature with the Lonely Island's "Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping."
36. 'The Deep End' (Season 1, Episode 15)
One of the hallmarks of the entire series was Mabel's constant attachment to various boys who turn out to either be some kind of supernatural agent (this actually began in the first episode, when it was revealed that Norm is a collection of gnomes standing on each other). Of all of these episodes, "The Deep End" is perhaps the least effective. Despite strong direction and a clever concept (Mabel falls for a boy at the local pool who turns out to be a mer-creature, meaning she has to choose between being his girlfriend and setting him free in the ocean), ultimately this doesn't leave much of an impression. Mabel would have bigger -- and better -- crushes.
35. 'Northwest Mansion Mystery' (Season 2, Episode 10)
Finally! Dipper and Pacifica team up to solve the mystery of the Northwest family's haunted mansion. This "sins of the father" episode serves as a spiritual successor to the first season's "Irrational Treasure," delving deeper into the Northwest family tree and all the bad stuff that is buried underneath it. What's more, the B story, following Mabel and her friends attempting to win handsome, wealthy suitors at a regal ball, is really funny and investigates the cutthroat dynamics of female friendship with surprising frankness and honesty. Also monumental for being the last episode with Mayor Mayor Eustace "Huckabone" Befufftlefumpter, who would die during the course of the episode. RIP.
34. 'Land Before Swine' (Season 1, Episode 18)
The arc Stan goes on in this episode, from complaining about Mabel's pet pig, Waddles, to ultimately traveling to a prehistoric subterranean realm to help rescue him, is really the reason to watch this episode, although it's also easy to appreciate the casual adventuring going on with our leads. "Land Before Swine" is the kind of episode that makes you appreciate the sheer scope of the series, not only in terms of its gorgeous animation, but also the way in which characters can change and develop in a single episode, exposing hidden layers and unexpected details.
33. 'Carpet Diem' (Season 1, Episode 16)
One of the first episodes to address the fact that the Mystery Shack itself is just as mysterious as anything outside of the building (a lovely indication of where things would go), this episode nevertheless has one of the more strange and pointless supernatural elements in the entire series: a carpet that, when you rub up against it and generate static electricity, allows you to body swap with the person you're with. As you can imagine, as Mabel and Dipper compete for this new room they've discovered (after bickering about having to share a room), this new feature comes in handy and is both hilarious and destructive. While the metaphor and relatable drama of not wanting to share a room with your sibling resonates soundly, the rest of the episode is more nebulous and hard to pin down.
32. 'The Golf War' (Season 2, Episode 3)
Some episodes have such a bizarre premise that you wonder how they could have come up with it at all, much less made an entire half-hour of animated television around it. Such is the case with "The Golf War," which sees the twins (and Pacifica!) confronted with the reality that a bunch of golf ball-shaped creatures are living (and warring) within the putt-putt green. This is an incredibly charming episode (the lead golf ball creature, voiced by Patton Oswalt, is amazing) and it is so good that, in Season 2, there was more of Pacifica, but doesn't leave much of an impression compared to grander (or even weirder) installments in Season 2.
31. 'Double Dipper' (Season 1, Episode 7)
If "Gravity Falls" is about anything, it's about doubles. Not only are there two sets of twins at the show's center, but it frequently played around with the idea of the external and internal persona being different but the same (exemplified by Stan's Mystery Shack tourist trap being full of fake nonsense but him pursuing an interest in the paranormal), not to mention the overarching concept of a dimension lurking behind our dimension, familiar yet bizarre. Then there are times when the show has addressed it more directly, like in this tale of Dipper and his clones (who each have a different number written on their gimme cap). It's a fun episode and great that it ladders back into these bigger ideas, but it's largely an episode where you marvel at its cleverness but remain emotionally uninvolved.
30. 'Irrational Treasure' (Season 1, Episode 8)
Somewhat similar to an episode of "The Simpsons" where the Springfield town founder is exposed as a huckster, this half-hour sees the kids investigate the true origins of Gravity Falls. (Spoiler alert: they're weird.) This is a solid but somewhat forgettable episode, bolstered by the perennially underrated Pacifica being a central character and how smart the screenplay is.
29. 'Roadside Attraction' (Season 2, Episode 16)
While the show was winding down and the intensity was ramping up, it still managed to take a breather, tell a one-off story, and have some giddy fun. This episode, which sees the family actually leave Gravity Falls to go on a prank-filled mini-tour of other roadside tourist traps, explores what a horny old man Stan really is. And it's amazing. Of course, the object of his lustful affection turns out to be an ancient shape-shifting spider, which served as a nifty reference to "It" and the interconnected, endlessly spooky worlds of Stephen King (a clear inspiration on the series as a whole).
28. 'Blendin's Game' (Season 2, Episode 8)
One of the sweetest episodes in the entire series, this episode used a time-travel framework to delve into Soos's tragic back-story, specifically his relationship with his deadbeat absentee father. It's heartbreaking, brilliantly told stuff, expertly handled and emotionally nuanced, and the other, wilder stuff in the episode is pulled off with equal aplomb. That involves Dipper and Mabel unwittingly entering into a game of wits with the time powers that sent Blendin to their timeline in the first season and crescendos with some truly excellent "Tron" parodies. If you thought your favorite handyman was just good for a laugh, this episode showed that there was much more to him.
27. 'Dungeons, Dungeons & More Dungeons' (Season 2, Episode 13)
What wonderful silliness. A Dungeons and Dragons-style board game unwittingly unleashes an actual wizard (voiced, incredibly, by "Weird Al" Yankovic). It's just nuts. This was a brief reprieve from the somewhat darker and more somber tone of the second season, with a ton of really great jokes and serves as a deft satire not only of turn-based role-playing games but also of the fantasy film genre as a whole. So, so fun.
26. 'Soos and the Real Girl' (Season 2, Episode 5)
One of two great Soos-centered episodes from Season 2, this half-hour sees our favorite handyman fall into the black hole of a dating simulator game called "Romance Academy 7" (games like this are hugely popular in Japan), before it takes over his life, both literally and figuratively. And all he needed was a wedding date! While some of the disparate elements of this absolutely bonkers episode don't quite add up (like Stan's bizarre attachment to a gold miner statue named Goldie), in the end, it's actually quite touching, with Soos meeting a real girl (Melody!) and falling hard. It's lovely to see a character as pure and good as Soos find happiness.
25. 'The Last Mabelcorn' (Season 2, Episode 15)
In order for the Mystery Shack to stay safe during a potential rift in time and space, Ford needs to cast a specific spell. A key ingredient of this spell is unicorn hair. So Mabel and her crew (including Wendy) venture out to the far side of the forest to retrieve the hair. What's fascinating about this episode is that it calls into question the virtues of Mabel, who is presented with the idea that maybe she's not a good person. It leads to altruistic endeavors and introspection and gives her some additional dimension we'd never seen. Also, it's not too late to do an entire spin-off based on the undercover gnome cops section of this episode. The deer with the police light on its head is just too cute.
24. 'Fight Fighters' (Season 1, Episode 10)
Of the two episodes of the show that dealt explicitly with video games, this is the more rousing and fun, with Dipper befriending a character from an 8-bit fighting game named Rumble McSkirmish after agreeing to fight Wendy's loser boyfriend Robbie. The animation on the fighter is deliciously retro, mimicking the look of an old-school game sprite, and the feel of the episode is almost like a action movie/buddy comedy from the 1980s. It was good to see them return towards the end of the show, once Weirdmageddon was unfolding. This is just a charming, wonderfully animated half-hour. And sometimes that's enough.
23. 'Society of the Blind Eye' (Season 2, Episode 7)
A deep-dive crash course in the show's thickening mythology, and a clear-cut example that shows sometimes too much mythology is not a good thing. I remember poring over every detail in this episode, but now those same details remain fuzzy. This is probably because the explanation of everything negates the emotionality of it. The biggest takeaway is the tragic backstory of McGucket, a former confederate of Stan's, who was ultimately driven mad by that association. Also, if you want to know the backstory of Lazy Susan's lazy eye well, you're going to get it. "Gravity Falls" was also a thicket of interconnected mysteries, and exposing some of those mysteries allows you to appreciate its machinery even while being left a little cold.
22. 'Sock Opera' (Season 2, Episode 4)
Important mostly for the fact that Bill shows up again (and the twins defeat him), "Sock Opera" is a mostly unexceptional episode that features another disastrous Mabel boyfriend encounter. It's also notable for the fact that Dipper's relentless sleuthing ends up putting everyone in mortal jeopardy, a theme that would reverberate later in the season.
21. 'Scary-oke' (Season 2, Episode 1)
I remember the first time I watched this episode, which aired exactly a year after the first season finale, and thinking how bold and ballsy it was. "Gravity Falls" was back. A zombie outbreak coincides with a dance that Stan is having at the Mystery Shack, and the results are both hilarious and terrifying, with a surprisingly violent climactic zombie massacre. It's hard to pinpoint it but the vibe of this episode is just really cool and stylish.
20. 'Little Gift Shop of Horrors' (Season 2, Episode 6)
A companion piece to the first season's utterly brilliant "Bottomless Pit," this anthology series swaps the "telling each other's stories" framework for Stan walking around the Mystery Shack telling spooky stories based on objects scattered around the place. (It, of course, has a sublimely silly twist ending.) The only thing keeping this episode from being top tier material is just that there had been an earlier episode that covered similar ground. Still, these micro stories are really funny and it has one of the most experimental sections of the entire series, a partially stop-motion-animated tale that serves as a loving homage to pioneering animator Ray Harryhausen while pushing the stylistic boundaries of the entire series.
19. 'Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future' (Season 2, Episode 17)
This pre-Weirdmageddon triumph had Dipper and Mabel planning for their 13th birthday party/going away bash (since it would happen at the end of summer, right before they head home) and Dipper investigating the extraterrestrial origins of Gravity Falls. Ford posits an incredible question that never gets fully answered: did an ancient alien spacecraft crash in the valley surrounding the town because of the area's inherent weirdness, or was the weirdness created by events like the crashed UFO? We never fully get an explanation but gee is that a tantalizing question. There's lots of cool stuff in this episode, although it's kind of a bummer that there aren't any aliens on the craft (instead, Dipper is chased by robotic sentinels). But the main takeaway from the episode is that Dipper decides to stay with Ford and explore the unexplored, which means that he and Mabel wouldn't be living together, a decision that ultimately almost triggers the end of the world. It's heartbreaking stuff.
18. 'Headhunters' (Season 1, Episode 3)
Notable if only for the fact that it's probably the only half-hour of television to ever feature both Larry King and Coolio (playing reanimated wax-figure versions of their real-life counterparts, at that), "Headhunters" serves as more of an early indication of what the purely comedic episodes of the show could be, as opposed to anything that delves too deep into either the mythological or emotional underpinnings (and you know what, that's okay). This was one of the episodes revisited in "The Time Traveler's Pig" and oh yeah, did I mention that it's really, really funny? Because it is.
17. 'Dipper vs. Manliness' (Season 1, Episode 6)
It's not exactly commonplace for a kids' show to tackle the concept of toxic masculinity, but nobody said "Gravity Falls" was ever run of the mill. In this episode, Dipper's manliness is called into question so he retreats to a section of the woods ruled by man-o-taurs (minotaurs who are really, really manly -- one has fists for nipples). When Dipper is forced to take down a creature called the Multi-bear (voiced, surprisingly, by Alfred Molina), he has to investigate his own feelings about what it is to be a man. This kind of introspection is not widely seen in cartoons, since these shows are typically about the external, exaggerated forces that tug on protagonists. The fact that the show traverses such subject matter with wit and grace is what's truly remarkable.
16. 'Not What He Seems' (Season 2, Episode 11)
With Stan in custody, Dipper and Mabel have to look into whether or not their great uncle is actually who he's been telling them he is. This episode is almost entirely made up of a mystery-exposing investigation, and while a good bit of mythology is exposed or uncovered (or, at the very least, in the series' customary fashion, maddeningly hinted at), the episode works better for its metaphoric value. At its heart, "Not What He Seems" is about what happens when you reach that junction in life when you realize that the parent (or stand-in guardian figure) isn't the godlike being that you once thought they were. Instead, they're just another screwed up human being like the rest of us, capable of deceit and betrayal. And that's the real power of this episode.
15. 'Dreamscapers' (Season 1, Episode 19)
What would serve as the first half of the two-part season finale, "Dreamscapers" is hugely important in the show for introducing (as an actual character) Bill Cipher, the ageless demon who would ultimately bring about the apocalypse. In order to defeat the demon, they have to travel through Stan's mind, which is a thorny place full of foreshadowing and mystery. (There's even crazy connections that you can make, now that the series is entirely finished, with this episode, like the fluffy cat that Mabel conjures who ends up being the judge in her imaginary prison during Weirdmageddon.) This was the first indication that "Gravity Falls" wasn't just one of those animated series, like "SpongeBob SquarePants," that can just go on forever, with interchange episodes that have no bearing on one another. Instead, this was a show that had a very clear trajectory and that trajectory was going to be littered with bizarre and tragic and very dark moments.
14. 'Summerween' (Season 1, Episode 12)
After a five-month hiatus in between episodes, the first season resumed with "Summerween," a really funny and bizarre episode concerning the Halloween-style celebration that Gravity Falls takes part in every summer. (Think watermelons carved like jack-o-lanterns.) When the kids anger an evil trickster, modeled on the No Face character from Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away," they're forced to collect a truly gargantuan amount of candy before the night is out. By turns thrilling and hilarious, "Summerween" was the perfect episode to kick off a new run of episodes after such a long drought: it showed us what we were missing.
13. 'Weirdmageddon Part 1' (Season 2, Episode 18)
It wasn't clear just how serious this whole "end of the world" threat was going to be until the first part of the season (and series) finale, which saw Bill Cipher escaping from his prison and unleashing phantasmagorical nightmares on our favorite Pacific Northwestern town. This was a true apocalypse, and for much of the running time, you get the sensation that none of your favorite characters would escape from this alive. (Hirsch is just the kind of fearless creator who you could imagine actually doing something like that.) The creativity unleashed by the show becoming totally unmoored was truly astonishing to see, from the retrofitted title sequence to the menagerie of creatures including (but not limited to) a monster that is a giant head with an arm growing out of it that has the voice of Hirsch. There's so much to love about this episode that it's hard to whittle it down. Thankfully, there were two more parts of the saga before we had to say goodbye.
12. 'Weirdmageddon 2: Escape From Reality' (Season 2, Episode 19)
This is an episode that I watched again and again just to soak in all of the visual details housed within. Dipper and Wendy have penetrated the bubble that houses Mabel and what they find is a Lisa Frank notebook sprung to life. As it turns out, Mabel has created her prison, full of all the things that she loves (like those pair of '80s dreamboats) and where everyone is under her command. In a weird way, the rainbow-colored utopia is darker than anything going on outside of the bubble, since it's born of Mabel's psychological unrest. Eventually, the episode turns into a kind of cartoon courtroom drama, with Dipper pleading with her to return to the world (it should be noted that the courtroom is presided over by a giant kitty cat voiced by Jon Stewart), complete with some truly heart-tugging flashbacks. This episode felt like a subversion of the "second part of a trilogy is the darkest" trope, by making it so blindingly bright and sunny. But below the glitter was something truly bleak and it masterfully set the stage for the final hour of one of the greatest animated series of all time.
11. 'Boss Mabel' (Season 1, Episode 13)
Some episodes of "Gravity Falls" are commendable because they are particularly ambitious, because of either their subject matter or how they fit in with the show as a whole. Some are particularly sweet or feature characterizations that fall outside of the realm of what you consider normal for a show primarily aimed at children. And some just tickle me. That is where "Boss Mabel" falls in. An episode where Mabel decides to run the Mystery Shack while Stan is away (competing on a truly terrible game show), this half hour isn't challenging or marvelous but man is it a delight. From Mabel's 1980s book on management to Stan's delirious B-story, everything about this episode is designed for maximum enjoyment. It might be inconsequential but that doesn't make me love it any less.
10. 'The Hand That Rocks the Mabel' (Season 1, Episode 4)
Ah Lil' Gideon, how we love to hate you. The pint-sized antagonist, who seems to be at least partially modeled on diminutive '70s singer and game show staple Paul Williams, would go on to become one of the show's major villains. But back in the first season, he was just a creep with a crush on Mabel. This episode is excellent for being subtly unsettling, it's visual "Twin Peaks" allusions and for expertly setting up with the narrative would travel, even though many of us couldn't see that far down the road.
9. 'The Stanchurian Candidate' (Season 2, Episode 14)
There is a very weird and specific reason why I love "The Stanchurian Candidate," a cutting riff on '70s conspiracy thrillers, so much. And that is because it introduced us to Tad Strange, the Gravity Falls' resident boring everyman. He is so funny. He might just be my favorite character. (Can I start petitioning them to make a Tad Strange Funko Pop?) This was also one of the final stand-alone episodes before the show's complicated mythology turned center stage and finished the series strong. "And I love bread," as Tad would say.
8. 'Bottomless Pit!' (Season 1, Episode 14)
One of two "anthology" episodes of the series (think "The Twilight Zone" or the "Treehouse of Horror" episodes of "The Simpsons"), these are two of the funniest and most formally adventurous episodes in the entire series. Amongst the oddball avenues explored are a story where Dipper gets a deep, manly voice (provided by A. Smith Harrison, who does the "Next time on Rick and Morty" voice overs) and a Soos story called "Soos' Really Great Pinball Story (Is That A Good Title? Do They Have To Be Puns Or Whatever?)" This showcased that "Gravity Falls" could be anything that the mad geniuses behind the show wanted it to be, even this.
7. 'Gideon Rises' (Season 1, Episode 20)
This might have been the most jaw-on-the-floor finale since the first season of "Twin Peaks" (which makes sense given the show's obvious debt to the David Lynch masterpiece), made all the more excruciating by the fact that the show wouldn't return for another year. "Gideon Rises" saw the Pines family finally go to blows with Lil' Gideon, the Mystery Shack took substantial damage, and (some of) Stan's true motivations revealed. With the three journals, he was able to complete a blueprint for his portal, which signified the beginning of the next big arc of the show. Of course, we wouldn't know that for another year (plus, several episodes). Yes, this is a big episode full of bombast but it also meant a lot, and its mixture of resolution and new questions felt satisfying in a very real way.
6. 'Into the Bunker' (Season 2, Episode 2)
What is so great about "Into the Bunker" is how scary it is. It's basically an animated version of John Carpenter's "The Thing," with Dipper standing in for Kurt Russell. It really pushes the limits of cartoon intensity, although the series' move to Disney XD in the second season probably allowed for more leniencies. The other thing that is so impressive is that, in Season 2, when it could have started shying away from the more complicated elements of the mythology and its interweaving elements, the series buckled down and made this an even bigger part of the show. This was mostly because the series was already on its way towards a conclusion, but back then, how was anybody to know?
5. 'The Inconveniencing' (Season 1, Episode 5)
What a weird episode. Again: for a series to have such confidence in its storytelling and tone so early is shocking and genuinely incredible and "The Inconveniencing," about a haunted all-night mini-mart on the wrong side of town (I love that it's called Dusk 2 Dawn), is further evidence of this. What makes it so special, too, is its fearlessness oscillating between truly terrifying and really silly and surreal (particularly when it comes to Mabel's Smile Dip-fueled hallucination -- onward Aoshima!) This is expert storytelling, through and through, featuring some of the series' best direction from Aaron Springer and Joe Pitt.
4. 'Tourist Trapped' (Season 1, Episode 1)
It's rare to see a show so perfectly crystallized so early on, and yet, in the first half-hour of "Gravity Falls," it's all there -- the sibling dynamic between Mabel and Dipper, the outsized personality of Stan, the mythological strangeness, the relatable real-world emotions, and the clever interwoven storytelling (that wouldn't pay off until eight episodes later). It's also hugely important because it introduced us to the gnomes, the wise-cracking denizens of the forest surrounding the Mystery Shack. This is one of the show's great contributions to popular culture, inspiring loads of merchandise and a Snapchat filter (the vomiting rainbows number). This show was truly special, right from the get-go.
3. 'A Tale of Two Stans' (Season 2, Episode 12)
A great example of how "Gravity Falls" establishes stakes, stokes expectations, and then totally subverts it all with something smaller and more personal. "A Tale of Two Stans" answered one of the show's biggest questions -- what was on the other side of the portal that Stan had been constructing for virtually the entire series. And the answer was ... his twin brother, Ford (a delightful J.K. Simmons). Brilliantly told in flashback, which justified Stan's actions and made Ford an instantly lovable, recognizable character (cutting down on what would otherwise have been weeks worth of character development), this is one of the series' most elegantly told half hours and one of its most heartbreaking.
2. 'Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls' (Season 2, Episode 20)
This was it: everything the show had been building towards in two highly ambitious seasons in one super-sized episode and guess what? It didn't disappoint. Hirsch and his collaborators took remarkably good care when it came to all of the mysteries that were first brought up in the show and where they would land when it came to the finale, but this series capper doesn't feel like it's just an hour of people plugging electronics into fixtures. There are surprises and upsets and severe emotional stakes; at some points, the fate of the universe seems downright trivial compared to the question of whether or not these inseparable twins would grow up together. Visually stunning and lushly imagined, this was proof that a grand design in serialized storytelling is not only possible but when it's pulled off can be as satisfying as it is moving.
1. 'The Time Traveler's Pig' (Season 1, Episode 9)
This was the episode that made the grand design of "Gravity Falls" crystal clear. In the episode, Mabel attempts to win a pig (beloved fan favorite, Waddles) at the fair, while Dipper attempts to not screw up his flirty interactions with Wendy. The twist (since there is, of course, a twist) is that Blendin (voiced by "Rick and Morty" creator Justin Roiland), a time agent, has also come to the fair and his time device will allow Dipper to correct his mistakes but potentially cost Mabel her pig. This is perfect "Gravity Falls" material, but what made the episode so special is that it periodically visited moments from previous episodes and, if you watched those first few episodes (including the pilot) later, you'd see those same disturbances. (If you were particularly eagle-eyed, maybe you noticed the first time but just weren't sure what they were.) The only thing better than the time twisty stuff (directed by series MVPs Aaron Springer and Joe Pitt) is its emotional resonance. It was, in short, a mind-blowing revelation and clearly cemented "Gravity Falls" as the smartest and most fearless show on television ... that just so happened to be on the Disney Channel and Disney XD.