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Before I even start this forum, I'm going to get out of the way that I know I'm taking a controversial position here. I haven't interacted much with the Gravity Falls fandom before, and I know there are a lot of people who fanatically love this series who might disagree with what I have to say. So let me just say first off that I absolutely loved this series in so many ways - it is by far one of my favorite shows of all time. I didn't watch it until the last episode had already aired, but I did get to see the whole series all at once, so I have the whole thing fresh in memory.
Now that that's out of the way, I want to talk about the ending of this series.
I really had a problem with pretty much everything that happened from "Dipper and Mabel vs. The Future" and after that. I understand that Alex Hirsch wanted to end the show so that it wouldn't lose its original charm, and I can respect that. Many shows do stop being enjoyable after they've gone through so many seasons (i.e. Ben 10: Omniverse; I could go on for hours about that one). But this ending was just so sorely dissapointing and depressing that it honestly almost ruined the show as a whole for me. Now, before you begin angrily commenting, I want to at least get my position out of the way.
I always felt as though a central element of Gravity Falls, and indeed an integral part of what makes it so popular, is that it brings the joy of youth and childhood into its viewers. Personally, watching this show made me feel twelve years old again, having fun in the summer and just enjoying life. It was beginning to seem to me that the ultimate message of the show was that there's youth inside of all of us, even if we're in our mid-sixties or beyond like Grunkle Stan. The storyline and characters were subtly inviting viewers to indulge in childish joy again with a mix of more mature humor, showing us that our differences in age are really illusory, and that we're all young inside.
But then "Dipper and Mabel vs. The Future" completely threw that out the window. The whole theme of the episode was about how summer inevitably ends, and eventually we're all forced to "grow up" and stop enjoying these lovable childish worlds of ours. Maybe that's not what you guys got out of this episode, but it's certainly what I felt. Subsequent episodes, especially "Weirdmageddon" parts two and three, only reinforced this position. In part 2, Dipper had to convince Mabel to abandon her youthful fantasies and instead come back to reality and grow up. And in part 3, right at the end, Mabel reluctantly said that it was time to grow up. Then, in the emotionally shredding last scene, Mabel and Dipper leave Gravity Falls - and, in a larger metaphoric sense, their childhood - behind forever.
Seriously? That's the ultimate message of this show? I mean, I understand that Alex Hirsch wanted the series to end before it got too long, but these episodes seemed to just disregard everything Gravity Falls previously stood for in favor of a finite view of childhood happiness. It basically said to viewers, "We hope you liked this exposition of youth. Now remember it all ends and you have to let go of these things." This is a position I strongly disagree with, one that previous episodes of Gravity Falls had once seemed to disagree with as well. Hirsch has said that the story of Gravity Falls was a metaphoric message about childhood, but why in the world must it be so depressing at the end?
It's my own opinion that the very concept of growing up is rooted in societal expectations; growing old is mandatory, but growing up is optional. I believe that very strongly, and it's part of why I'll still be watching kid shows when I'm Grunkle Stan's age. That's why I have a problem with the end of Gravity Falls; it contradicts everything I thought the series stood for.
What do you guys think? Go ahead and leave comments; try to spare me vehement criticism of my position, thanks. :)
[P.S. I apologize for the long exposition. This is all just stuff I needed to get off my chest.]
I think it wasn't to symbolize "moving on," but instead "evolution." The show started as a pretty innocent thing. BOY, WERE WE WRONG. Around "Northwest Mansion Mystery," the show suddenly got very deep and...well...when I read the article of Weirdmaggedon 2, it was before I saw it with the jokes and my dreams that night included Bill, pink, and a loop of the Ice Age 2 credits music. It's hard to look back at this as some cute fun show.
But not impossible. If you didn't know to look for this stuff, you never found it. This may be a dark and disturbing show, but it's absolutely beautiful. Growing up in no way means that you should give up your childhood pleasures. Bill says that Dipper's internet history consists of some...inappropriate stuff. But, that's pretty adult, and yet he's still doing a bunch of stupid with Mabel (let's be honest, these kids are idiots). And when Mabel, as you say, reluctantly said it was time to grow up, she TOOK THE PIG WITH HER. The pig doesn't seem like it, but it's kind of a symbol of innocence. Fifteen Poundy was a prize basically given to her. Stan also TOLD her to take the pig. She hasn't given up childhood, but she took it with her.
Also, giving up childhood was mentioned in Summerween, Bottomless Pit(!), and was symbolized when Bill kept saying, "EVERYTHING YOU KNOW WILL CHANGE."