Last month I bought a season pass on iTunes for a new cartoon series on the Disney Channel called Gravity Falls. My family was about to take a long plane trip and even though I didn't know anything about the show, the artwork alone gave me a hunch that it would be something my 9-year-old daughter Jane would like.
She ended up watching The Powerpuff Girls the whole time on the plane instead, but when we got home we watched Gravity Falls together and we loved it. It's about a brother and sister (Dipper and Mabel) who go to the Pacific Northwest to spend the summer with their "Grunkle Stan," a fez-wearing proprietor of "The Mystery Shack," which trades in occult items, crpytozoological specimens, and other Fortean curiosities. The woods surrounding the Mystery Shack are populated by bigfoots and jackalopes, while the town's human residents are even stranger.
Intrigued, we got in touch with the creator of Gravity Falls, Alex Hirsch, and Jane asked him a few questions:
What is that hat Grunkle Stan wears? Does he ever take it off?
Like all cool people, Stan wears a fez pretty much constantly. According to legend, it gives him special powers, like the ability to cover his bald spot, and a place to hide his parking tickets. He bestows the fez upon Mabel in a future episode, and she learns of its awesome responsibility...
What are the weird symbols that you can see for a second after the theme music at the start of the show?
I have no idea what you're talking about.
In one of the first episodes Mabel got a grappling hook. Will she use it in an upcoming episode?
Trust me -- Whenever Mabel is offscreen, she's using her grappling hook, usually in ways not intended by its user manual. (It doesn't make a great toothbrush) The grappling hook will return later this season, and it will be worth the wait!
Which episode was the most fun for you to make and why? We recently did an episode featuring an old-school arcade game character who enters Gravity Falls. It was awesomely animated by pixel animation genius Paul Robertson, who was lots of fun to collaborate with. Fans of Street Fighter and seeing Dipper get roundhouse kicked in the face will not be disappointed!
There's a new episode go Gravity Falls airing tomorrow! Here are the details:
Gravity Falls: "Time Traveler's Pig" - When Dipper wishes he could go back in time and undo a mistake he made, he discovers there is a time machine that can help him do just that. Meanwhile, it's love at first sight for Mabel when she wins a pet pig at the fair, in a new episode of "Gravity Falls," premiering Friday, August 24 (9:30 - 10:00 p.m., ET/PT) on Disney Channel.
Also airing tomorrow on the Disney Channel: a new episode of Phineas and Ferb, another favorite in our house.
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Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His new book is Maker Dad: Lunch Box Guitars, Antigravity Jars, and 22 Other Incredibly Cool Father-Daughter DIY Projects