Gravity Falls, Season 1 – Episode 6
After a very public show of weakness, Dipper encounters a tribe of Manotaurs, who help train him to become a man. Meanwhile, Mabel helps her Grunkle Stan woo the affections of the waitress Lazy Susan.
July 20, 2012
Producer: Disney Television Animation
Director: Aaron Springer & Joe Pitt
Writer: Tim McKeon
Starring: Alex Hirsch, Kristen Schaal, Jason Ritter, Linda Cardellini
Distributor: Disney Channel (later Disney XD)
Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Comedy, Adventure
Gravity Falls is an American animated series created by Alex Hirsh and produced by Disney Television Animation. The series started on June 15, 2012 and ended on February 15, 2016. Gravity Falls has won numerous awards, including Teen Choice Awards, Kid’s Choice Awards, and Annie Awards to name a few. The series ended with only two seasons of 40 episodes, as Hirsh desired to end on a high note and not allow the series to grow stale. Nevertheless, Hirsh commented in interviews about the possibility of revisiting Gravity Falls in future projects.
To the joy of many fans, all 40 episodes were released on July 24th, 2018, from Shout! Factory. Gravity Falls: The Complete Series [Collector’s Edition] includes audio commentary, deleted scenes, and many extra features. It is available on both Blu-ray and DVD.
Language/Crude Humor: Dipper trips on a chipmunk. Various male characters appear shirtless in this episode, including Dipper, Grunkle Stan, the police officers, and the Minotaurs. The Manotaurs and Dipper relax in a sauna, and both appear wearing only a towel.
Sexual Content: Dipper sings in a shower towel. Soos dresses up as woman for example purposes. Tyler Cutebiker is a very flamboyant and effeminate male character featured prominently in the introduction.
Drug/Alcohol use: None.
Spiritual Content: None.
Other Themes Some May Deem Negative: Tattoos (both temporary and permanent).
Positive Content: Exploring true masculinity.
Dipper vs. Manliness starts with Tyler Cutebiker in the Mystery Shack, stating he likes to get his Christmas shopping done early. Cutebiker asks Grunkle Stan for anything in the spirit of the season, to which Grunkle Stan offers a bowl of “crystals”. Cutebiker says it looks like broken glass.
The Pines twins walk in and want to go to the diner. Both groan about being hungry, grabbing their stomachs in an exaggerated manner. Grunkle Stan agrees as soon as Cutebiker finishes shopping. Cutebiker remains indecisive, so Grunkle Stan decides to lock the customer inside as they go for food. As the Pines twins and Grunkle drive off, Cutebiker still can’t decide between a puma shirt or panther shirt.
A Test of Manliness
At Greasy’s Diner, a woodpecker drops wood shavings on a customer’s pizza. A waitress shoos away a beaver eating through the floor of the restaurant with a broom. The two police officers use a radar gun to track the speed of their eating pancakes. Lazy Susan, one of the waitresses, comes to serve Grunkle Stan and the Pines twins. Grunkle Stan greets her and she discusses what she did yesterday (which was being hit by a bus). He orders, but Mabel wants pancakes. Grunkle Stan believes they are too expensive.
Dipper then spots Test Your Manliness, a strength testing machine with the prize of pancakes. Dipper assures his family they will get pancakes by beating the Manliness tester. Both Mabel and Grunkle Stan mock Dipper’s assertion of manliness. Among the ridicule, Grunkle Stan states how he walked in on Dipper signing Disco Girl by BABBA (a parody of Dancing Queen by ABBA). Dipper asserts his manhood, attempting to show his chest hair. His chest is so bare it blinds Mabel and Dipper. Despite this, Dipper still faces off against the Manliness Tester.
The clientele turn from their food and watch Dipper attempt to win the pancakes. Dipper looks up at the tall machine. He hesitates a bit, but finally squeezes the handle of the Tester. He manages to hit the rank of Barely Passable for a moment, but the Tester quickly goes down to Wimp. A pink card spits out of the machine, with the image of a baby saying, “You are a cutie patootie.”
Dipper insists the machine is broken, before Manly Dan shoves him out of the way. Dipper warns that the machine is flawed. Manly Dan simply pokes the Manliness Tester with his pinky finger and causes it to explode. Everyone cheers for Manly Dan, while Mabel and Grunkle Stan still laugh at Dipper. Dipper says he needs to get chest hair and fast. As he runs out, he trips over the head of the beaver poking his head out of the floor.
Grunkle Stan wonders how he is related to Dipper. Mabel believes her Grunkle has a soft side, though. Lazy Susan serves food, and Grunkle Stan stutters in his conversation with her. It registers in Mabel’s mind that Grunkle Stan likes Lazy Susan. Grunkle Stan admits this, but says he wouldn’t know where to start with her (as he has been out of the game for so long). Mabel decides to help Grunkle Stan pursue Lazy Susan.
Dipper walks around the streets of Gravity Falls, grumbling about his lack of manliness. A woman accidently bumps into Dipper, asking for the mailman. Dipper overreacts, thinking she was addressing his lack of manhood. Dipper runs into the forest.
In the forest, he bench presses a twig and still sees no chest hair. Dipper struggles to figure out the secret, even conferring to a Real Man Jerky bag for advice. Suddenly, the ground begins to rumble. Dipper dodges a falling tree and a giant shadow comes over him. Dipper screams in terror, but quickly tries to correct his scream to be manlier.
Meeting the Manotaur
A muscular Minotaur is shown to be the source of the disturbance. The creature is so manly he uses the antlers of a stag as a back scratcher and has a Mars symbol tattooed on his left shoulder. The Minotaur pushes the log Dipper hides behind away. Dipper pleads with the creature to not eat him. But, the Minotaur only wants the beef jerky.
Dipper tosses the beef jerky to the Minotaur, who proceeds to gobble it up. Dipper deduces the species of the creature, but the Minotaur corrects him, calling himself a “Manotaur”. The Manotaur states the smell of jerky summoned him, and smashes a tree with his fist and a boulder with his head. The Manotaur then smells Dipper’s emotional issues. Dipper confesses his recent masculinity problems and asks the Manotaur for pointers. The Manotaur agrees and tells Dipper to climb on top of his fly-ridden back hair.
The Manotaur dashes through the woods, with Dipper on his back and eventually jumps through the side of a hollow cliff. Inside, he finds other Manotaurs. Chutzpar (the initial Manotaur) proclaims the place as the Man Cave. Chutzpar introduces the other Manotaurs. Dipper introduces himself, but adds the Destructor at the end of his name to make it sound manlier. Thus, Dipper the Destructor requests help for lack of masculinity, even showing his lack of chest hair. The Manotaurs get into a huddle, which ends in a fist fight.
Back at the Mystery Shack, Mabel starts her training of Grunkle Stan, with the help of Wendy and Soos. First, Mabel trains Grunkle Stan in approaching women, with Soos dressed in drag as Lazy Susan. Grunkle Stan asks the Lazy Susan Soos if he can borrow money. Mabel states this will be harder than she thought.
The council of Manotaurs decides to deny Dipper’s request for manly secrets…at first. Dipper uses reverse psychology though, stating the Manotaurs are not man enough to train him. Dipper even states they are chicken. The council deliberates again, and decide to train Dipper. His first test is placing his hand in the pain hole. Back at the Mystery Shack, Mabel trains Grunkle Stan in smiling. She asks for Soos’ opinion, who runs out of the Shack screaming in horror. Mabel then enlists the help of a Training Mix CD.
A classic 80’s training montage ensues. Retro music plays as Mabel trains Grunkle Stan in dating etiquette and the Manotaurs train Dipper in masculinity. After the intense training, Dipper hangs out with Manotaurs in a cave sauna. Dipper feels confident he is becoming a man. Chutzpar notes there is still one more task that remains, the deadliest trial of all.
In a special ceremony, the Manotaurs place temporary tattoos all over Dipper’s body, including one that says RAD DUDE and another that says TOO COOL. Dipper now only wears a barbarian loincloth. Chutzpar introduces their leader, Leaderaur. At first, Dipper thinks it is an elderly Manotaur, who creeps toward him. But, the elderly Manotaur is devoured by an even larger, black Manotaur, who is the true Leaderaur. Leaderaur pulls a bone spear from his own chest and commands Dipper to bring back the head of the Multi-Bear. Then, and only then, will his man-training will be complete. Dipper is unsure of himself, then Chutzpar finds Dipper’s Disco Girl CD in his book bag. Dipper denies the CD belongs to him. This close embarrassment invigorates him to grab the bone spear and announce he will conquer the Multi-Bear. The Manotaurs cheer and the Leaderaur blows flames from his nostrils.
The Hunt for the Multi-bear
Dipper races through a foggy forest as a storm thunders. He drinks from the river, with a nod of approval from a stag. Dipper climbs up a mountain, jumping over crevices with his spear. Dipper then states his claim, saying “I am coming for you Multi-Bear.”
Back at the Mystery Shack, Mabel, Soos, and Wendy review Grunkle Stan’s progress, which is actually a regress. Wendy states Grunkle Stan is unfixable like that spinning pie tray at the Greasy Diner. This sparks an idea in Mabel’s mind, and she calls Grunkle Stan to follow her out of the Mystery Shack.
Dipper enters the cave, which is littered with bones. The Multi-Bear then reveals itself as an eight-headed bear with twelve limbs. The main head speaks, asking why Dipper came. Dipper then sates he seeks his head (or one of them, at least). The Multi-Bears states this is foolishness; he tells Dipper to leave or die. Dipper however doubles down with his spear. The Multi-Bear agrees to battle and roars. They begin to fight and Dipper defeats the creature.
Before Dipper kills the magical beast, the Multi-Bear asks for a request. Dipper agrees. The Multi-Bear asks he die listening to his favorite song. It is revealed to be Disco Girl by BABBA. Although the Manotaurs mock the Multi-bear for knowing the lyrics, Dippers bonds with the Multi-Bear over the song. He then remembers he has to kill the Multi-Bear to gain his manhood. The Multi-Bear accepts his fate. Dipper throws his spear down, as if to stab the beast.
The scene cuts to Dipper stabbing the spear before Leaderaur, Chutzpar, and the other Manotaurs. Dipper refuses to kill the Multi-Bear. He then tells the Manotaurs being a man doesn’t require doing a bunch of tasks. Dipper calls the Manotaurs a bunch of jerks for wanting him to kill the Multi-Bear. The Leaderaur yells in Dipper’s face to kill the Multi-Bear or never become a man. Dipper nonchalantly says he will never become a man then. The other Manotaurs boo him and call him weak and lame. The Manotaurs then leave Dipper to build something and knock it down.
Mabel drags Grunkle Stan to the Greasy Diner, where Lazy Susan is ironically hitting the actual broken lazy susan. Mabel states Grunkle Stan is in need of fixing and Lazy Susan is the perfect candidate to fix Grunkle Stan. Grunkle Stan asks Lazy Susan for an answer. At first, Lazy Susan walks away, as if to reject Grunkle Stan. But, the waitress ends up giving Grunkle Stan her phone number and a free slice of pie. Mabel is excited, but Grunkle Stan just wants to focus on eating the pie.
A despondent Dipper enters Greasy’s Diner and joins Mabel and Grunkle Stan. Dipper explains the recent events of the episode. Grunkle Stan praises him for standing up for himself when no one else agreed, which he calls manly. Mabel spots a chest hair on Dipper and immediately pinches it off with tweezers to add to her scrapbook. Grunkle Stan reassures Dipper there is more chest hair where that came from and proceeds to rip his shirt open, revealing his grey chest hair. The ends credits show Grunkle Stan harassed by 36 voicemails from Lazy Susan and her cats.
This episode provides good character development for Dipper, particularly with his confidence. Dipper does develop the honorable trait of standing up to the Manotaurs, even though he is alone. On that note, I find it interesting how quickly Dipper now readily accepts the existence of Minotaur-type creatures. It is a testament to his growing acceptance of the strangeness of Gravity Falls as a whole. Lazy Susan is a good love interest for Grunkle Stan. Similarly, the training of Grunkle Stan by Mabel could have had better humor. I did enjoy hearing Alfred Molina (who played Dr. Octopus in Spider-Man 2) voice the Multi-Bear.
The story structure moves along at an even pace. We are introduced to the initial conflict quickly and it is understandable. Nothing stands out in terms of music, besides the 80’s training montage.
This episode tackles one of Dipper’s insecurities: His masculinity. By extension, he serves as a surrogate for any young man who has struggled with this same insecurity.
Of course, secular society carries a preset definition of what is considered manly. This definition includes human striving, physical prowess, promiscuity, and violence. The Manotaurs represent this with muscular bodies, constant fighting, and aggression. This culminates in the goal of slaying the Multi-Bear.
Dipper represents the contrast to what is stereotypically manly. He epitomizes this in the end, sparing the Multi-Bear’s life and rejecting the requirements of the Manotaurs. It is fitting that Tyler Cutebiker, a very effeminate male character that breaks traditional masculinity, is focused on in the opening. In addition, Soos is dressed in drag, even if it is to help Grunkle Stan.
So, who is right? Dipper? The Manotaurs? I do not believe either side is completely correct. I don’t even think the correct thought is in the middle. Instead, I believe Scripture provides the perfect balance.
David, considered to be one of the greatest kings of Israel, is the perfect example of this balance. He was an athlete, giant-slayer, and military leader. But, he was also a shepherd-boy, musician, and poet. David knew when to show mercy (1 Samuel 24), but he also knew when to be aggressive (1 Samuel 17:26). He was far from perfect, yet the Lord still calls him a man after His own heart (Acts 13:22).
Jesus Christ is the ultimate display of true manhood. As the Son of God, He set Himself to do the will of His Father, despite emotional, physical, and spiritual distress (Luke 22:42). Jesus was a Man of prayer (Matthew 26:41), servanthood (Mark 10:45), and ultimately sacrifice (John 3:16; 1 John 2:2).
+ Alfred Molina is a good cameo for the geeky audience
+ A good resolution on true "manliess"
- The effeminate Tyler Cutebiker and Soos in drag may offend some Christian audiences
- Some of the images involving Leaderuar may scare younger audiences