Recall one of your favorite shows. Any show will work, it doesn’t even have to be a nerd-esque show, just pick a television program that you hold dear. Recall the exact moment that left you thinking, “Okay, I’m going to love this show!” It’s something within the first episodes, a line or a scene that hooked you into a show for life.
For me, I can remember the exact moment that I knew Gravity Falls was a show I could actively sink my teeth into. I can take it all down to one word: “BEWARB.”
When Gravity Falls was teased on Disney Channel, it was 2012 and I remember thinking, “Okay, this show is different.” Disney Channel hadn’t really pursued any radical television shows in quite some time, let along a 2D animated one. Considering the wide success Cartoon Network saw with shows like The Regular Show and Adventure Time, Disney Channel was long overdue to dip its toes into some structural weirdness.
Thanks to Cartoon Network’s forward thinking when it came to American animation, we got the bizarre town that was Gravity Falls, Oregon.
Of course, as exciting as it was for Disney to step into some darker storytelling, historically their attempts at playing catch-up weren’t so successful. Initial attempts include shows like Fish Hooks, which often fell flat with a tired high school life storyline–and don’t even get me started on Wander Over Yonder.
Thus, while I was excited about what Gravity Falls could mean for Disney Channel, I had my doubts. I mean, could Disney have actually snagged something that not only fresh but also built with strong storytelling bones? Or were we just looking at another anthological monster-of-the-week sort of deal? Oh, man, did Gravity Falls first episode, “Tourist Trapped”, indulge me.
Detailing the Pines Twins strange summer vacation residing at their stranger of a great uncle’s tourist trap, known as the Mystery Shack, Gravity Falls successfully brought Disney into a whole new realm of animated television. But honestly, watching that first episode, I couldn’t help but think, “This show is way too cool for Disney Channel!” The moment that really clicked for me was a scene that defines one of the greatest characteristics of Gravity Falls: the character interactions and resulting humor.
Dipper: I’m telling you, something weird is going on in this town. Just today, my mosquito bites spelled out “BEWARE.”
Stan: That says “BEWARB.”
I remember actively snorting with laughter at that scene. That’s when I knew–Gravity Falls, you got my heart!
Of course, such an epic moment of fandom creation deserves to be celebrated, right? Especially when you’re a giant nerd who enjoys designing t-shirts, it just makes sense to commemorate that moment with, well, a t-shirt! I had made plans to create a BEWARB t-shirt design, inspired by Dipper’s mutilated arm, for quite some time, but only just got to it thanks to a customer’s request. And, dude, it’s glorious.
What are some of your favorite moments from Gravity Falls? Can you remember the moment that you fell in love with the show?