Because I always discover TV shows after they’ve gone off the air, I just recently started watching some episodes of Gravity Falls (2012-2016).
What an odd and funny show. The writing reminds me a bit of The Simpsons: The jokes are kooky, but the plotting is as tight as a drum. What makes, say, The Simpsons’ “Marge vs. the Monorail” work is how carefully the plot elements build on each other, and that’s similar with Gravity Falls.
The joke writing is also just plain good. Take Soos’s excuse for why he can’t work today (“Boss Mabel,” S1:E13):
I actually just met this pack of wolves, and I think they’re gonna, like, raise me as one of their own, so I should really be at the den right now.
It may not come off as hilarious when read, but it’s not meant to be read, and when the voice actor says the line it’s very funny.
The voice actors are all good too. J.K. Simmons is in this show, for Pete’s sake! Grunkle Stan in particular is a great comic creation. And the show always has time for a truly bonkers gag like a John Henry (!) spoof in an episode about mini-golf.
My problem is that I don’t have DisneyFlix, so I’m just watching whatever episodes pop up on whatever the Disney kids’ channel is. But I should just get the DVD set and watch in order, because clearly that’s how creator Alex Hirsch means viewers to see the show.
This is the best-written kids’ cartoon I’ve seen since early-season SpongeBob, which doesn’t get enough credit for how good it is. (The recent episodes seem to be terrible, but at its best—“Squid’s Day Off,” “Squidville,” “Can You Spare a Dime?,” “Squilliam Returns,” “Rock-a-Bye Bivalve”—SpongeBob was a truly good and funny show, with lots of references to Laurel and Hardy.)