gf home the story and characters the THEORIES why it ruined my life my fav gf stuff the mystery shack

the theories

so the whole thing with gravity falls is it's mysterious. there's mysteries afoot. and while the show was airing, the creators of the show did their best (and god damn did it work) to engage the audience by feeding us breadcrumbs of lore snippets and cryptic clues throughout the episodes. every time a new episode aired, people (like me) immediately went back through to pause the show and decode ciphers (more on that later).

the show gives you a mystery to dig your teeth into before the first episode even starts!!! it's true!! pay close attention to the last few frames of the opening credits. you'll be hit with that image up there, minus charlie kelly

so obviously the thing that sticks out the most is that triangle guy. he's pretty neat looking right? makes you wonder what role he'll play in the show... seems pretty important if he's featured in a piece of the opening credits like this.... well guess what. you're WRONG

haha i'm just kidding can you imagine

the second thing is the wheel- what do all those icons stand for?? well in the opening, you saw a pine tree on dipper's hat, and a star on mabel's sweater, and you probably saw that weird fish/crescent symbol on stan's hat. so like. it obviously involves the characters. but who tf are the rest of these symbols for? oh buddy. you'll find out don't worry.

lastly, you'll notice all the scribbles and nonsense around the wheel. there's some random scribbles, what look like mathmatic equations, science-y looking doodles, and some clearly legible text in some sort of code. these are called ciphers. for the sake of brevity i'll just tell you right now it's secret code shit. there are tons of ways to make and decode these. but there are a few main types of cipher: the caesar cipher, the atbash cipher, vigenère cipher, just to name a few. gravity falls uses the SHIT out of these. they are one of the show's main ways of conveying Secrets to the audience.

so lets take a look at that bigger cipher. VWQG LV GWQ ZKDW KH VHHPV. this is a caeser cipher. each letter in that sentence is 3 removed from the letter is actually should be. like the first letter, V, is actually supposed to be an S. if we apply that to the whole sentence we get "STAN IS NOT WHAT HE SEEMS". for the first few episodes they're similarly simple. we see this front and center during the end credits.

as beloved gnome character "shmebulock" vomits for like 30 seconds straight, another simple cipher is displayed. and man, i love this. it's like a tutorial for the audience. it's a clear signifier: we are going to hide things, and we want you to detective this shit. here it's the same cipher as before, a simple 3 letter conversion, giving us "welcome to gravity falls". as the show goes on, the ciphers become a little more difficult, even requiring secret keywords hidden in the backgrounds of episodes starting in season 2.

there's another tutorial moment in this episode, but you probably didn't even know it at the time. i sure didn't. towards the end of the episode during the mecha gnome fight, you can see this bald headed nerd in the background:

you don't know it yet, but that's a time traveling character named "Blendin Blandin". and you actually see him two more times, in episodes 2 and 3, before finally getting his reveal in episode 9.

once again, i love this. it's another tutorial encouraging the audience to look closely and theorize their asses off.

now, at the end of the first episode, we see stan enter a door behind the vending machine in the shack. that paired with the opening "STAN IS NOT WHAT HE SEEMS" is obviously setting up some grand mystery to do with our beloved grunkle. and oh my god do they take their time working this out over the course of the first season and a half. we of much free time would scour episodes looking for hints as to what his fuckin' deal could possibly be. one of the earliest things the show decides to give us is a license plate. in the episode "summerween" we see stan drive up to the store and his vanity plate is visible for a second.

hm. i wonder what that could mean. i mean his name is stan.... but, wait, isn't his name stanford? could mbl mean mable? much to think about

one of the other biggest mysteries is the identity of the author. and oh my god this is too much to put in just a drop down so i'm making a whole pocket dimension for it

oh my god the author. so as i said in my previous dropdown, we guessed fairly early that grunkle stan had a secret twin brother. and we were right! we also guessed that this brother was the author of the journals. and we were also right! but. the creator, alex hirsch, did a beautiful little bit of subterfeuge that i still think about to this day.

the show had a HUGE presence primarily on tumblr and 4chan. this show was hilariously one of the few bridges between the two sites- there was an otherwise huge amount of vitriol between the two for obvious reasons (one site being an SJW haven, the other being a gathering spot for literal fascists). but the mysteries of gravity falls would, every time a new episode came out, bring the two communities together to work out ciphers, illegally upload the episodes to megaupload, create theories, etc. and alex hirsch was aware of these fandom hubs. 4chan had been a site for leaks of other media before- so one day, when an Anon posts this picture on the /co/ thread, hell breaks loose:

it's also accompanied by this photo, which was subsequently aired in the episode "gideon rises" not too long after the post was made, only adding to the legitimacy.

the weird candid-appearing angle of the photos and the timestamps gave us little doubt that this was legit. of course there were those who were skeptical, but this leak was like a breath of fresh air to the theory-minded memebers of the community. the thing we were so sure of was suddenly thrown into uncertainty. to make things even jucier, alex hirsch tweeted and then deleted this:

shit was on fire. this image floated around for a YEAR before we finally found out the truth in the society of the blind eye when it aired in october 2014. a few weeks later alex admitted at a convention to creating the whole thing himself to throw audiences off. he then succinctly tweet this to cap it off:

amazing. fantastic. exceptional. great job buddy. i was so glad to see the results first hand.