Gravity Falls is not meant for children

Breanna Moore, Layout and Design Team Leader

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Disney’s animated TV series “Gravity Falls” first premiered in 2012 and came to an end in 2016. I was one of the kids that started watching it way back in the beginning, and it quickly became my all-time favorite TV show. As I continued to see each new episode and watch as the storyline progressed, there were times that I was surprised that this was considered a show for children. Sure at first glance it appears to be a fun-filled cartoon adventure, but when you dive a little deeper into the secrets of “Gravity Falls,” you may be surprised at what you find.
The series is based around twin siblings Dipper and Mabel who are spending their summer break at their great uncle’s cabin in a small town called Gravity Falls, Ore. Throughout the summer, they discover that Gravity Falls is full of strange mysteries, dark secrets and supernatural anomalies. After finding a journal hidden in the woods that has been filled with information on weird sightings and occurrences throughout the town, Dipper and Mabel decide to uncover the secrets that exist within Gravity Falls. However, some of those secrets contain some genuinely terrifying creatures and scary moments.
While there is a lot of light-hearted fun throughout the show, there are some moments that are freaky and messed up. There were times when I myself, a teenager at the time, got scared or freaked out during certain episodes. From ghostly and demonic possessions, to murderous life-size wax figures, to a terrifying candy monster that eats children, this show is packed with things that I thought are not meant for kids. One of the freakiest episodes that I can think of is called “Into The Bunker.” In this episode, the twins along with their friends Soos and Wendy, explore a hidden underground bunker they find in the woods as they search for the author of the mysterious journal. However, instead of finding the author, they find a creature that he had trapped within the bunker called the Shape Shifter. During their encounter with the Shape Shifter, it has several creepy scenes. In one scene it crawls up the wall and onto the cave ceiling as a freaky spider-humanoid, and in another it transforms into a horrifying hybrid of Dipper and Mabel with arachnid legs and chases the twins throughout the tunnels. It is a truly terrifying and disturbing sight and could definitely give kids nightmares.
Another episode that leans toward the scarier side and that I believe is not meant for children is “Northwest Mansion Mystery.” In this episode, Dipper helps the wealthiest family in Gravity Falls, the Northwests, with a ghost problem that they are enduring just before they throw a grand party. At first, typical ghostly things are seen happening, such as objects floating and being thrown around, but it gets much more horrifying when Dipper is brought to what the Northwests call the problem room. This room most definitely has a problem and a big problem at that. Not only do objects fly throughout the room, but the mounted animal heads that line the walls begin creepily chanting as blood oozes out of their eyes and mouths. Then the large lumberjack ghost appears. He crawls out of the fireplace as a skeleton with an axe embedded in his skull. A ghastly fleshy skin begins to cover his bones, blue fire makes up his hair, and in addition to the axe lodged into his head, he has a second one with which he uses when trying to kill the Northwest family. This scene is scary, especially for what you would expect to see in a kids show. I remember feeling genuinely terrified when watching this episode for the first time.
Personally, I think that “Gravity Falls” is not meant for children. It might be perfect for a slightly older audience who can handle the spooks, the scares and the downright bizarre things that exist within the series, but for little kids? Definitely not.

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