Series creator Alex Hirsch first coined the concept for the show in an 11-minute low-budget student film which he made at the California Institute of the Arts. Hirsch was called in to do a pitch for the Disney Channel for a show based on the short pilot. The Disney Channel bought the idea and started airing the series in the summer of 2012. The series was inspired by Hirsch's own childhood experiences with his twin sister during their summer vacations.
On May 31, 2014, it was announced that the second season would air on Disney XD and Disney Channel. On June 14, 2014, it was confirmed that season 2 would premiere on August 1, 2014 on Disney Channel, with the rest of the season airing first on Disney XD.
For their summer vacation, 12-year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines are dropped off from their home in Piedmont, California to the fictitious town of Gravity Falls, Oregon to live with their Great Uncle Stan (often shortened to Grunkle Stan). Things are not what they seem in this small town, and with the help of a mysterious journal Dipper finds in the forest they realize that their everyday lifestyle has changed. With appearances from Wendy, Dipper's crush; Soos, friend of Dipper and Mabel and handyman to Grunkle Stan; plus an assortment of other characters, Dipper and Mabel always have an intriguing day to look forward to.
Cast and characters
Dipper Pines (voiced by Jason Ritter), the 12-year-old twin brother of Mabel Pines. Intelligent, he is armed with the journal marked "3" he found in the woods which helps him with each mystery of the day. An adventurer, Dipper has trouble sitting still and is always looking for the next riddle to solve, leaving him restless in mundane situations. His attention to detail seems to be helpful when solving mysteries, but others question his credibility because of his zeal. He is considered to be wise beyond his years and cannot wait to grow up and become a man. Portrayed as goal-oriented and rooted in the facts, he sometimes over thinks possible scenarios and obsessively makes lists. Between seasons, Dipper hosted a series titled "Dipper's Guide to the Unexplained." It is revealed in one of the episodes that Dipper has a crush on Wendy. While he knows in his heart that he will never really be Wendy's boyfriend, that does not stop him from trying to do anything for her. In another episode it is revealed that he likes bubblegum pop music. He got his name from a birthmark on his forehead that is shaped like the Big Dipper. He secretly wishes he had the name "Tyrone".
Mabel Pines (voiced by Kristen Schaal), the 12-year-old twin sister of Dipper Pines. Mabel is an eccentric, buoyant, and an energetic optimist, who expresses herself through an assortment of extremely colorful knitted sweaters as well as skill at various arts and crafts. Her outgoing, curious personality often helps Dipper solve mysteries, though her silliness is often seen as a burden. Mabel enjoys preteen novels and seeks romance (especially in vampires). Despite what she sees as dating obscurity in Gravity Falls, Mabel stays optimistic. She once went out on a date with Li'l Gideon, but this did not continue after Li'l Gideon attempted to kill Dipper. In the episode "Irrational Treasure", she is made an official U.S. congresswoman by the 8 1/2 president, with a political platform of "legalizing everything". She wins a pet pig in the episode "The Time Traveler's Pig" and calls it Waddles. She makes guest appearances in "Dipper's guide to the Unexplained," but also has her own series titled "Mabel's Guide to Life."
Stanford "Grunkle Stan" Pines (voiced by Alex Hirsch), the great uncle of Dipper and Mabel Pines, best characterized by his selfishness and abrasiveness. He runs and lives in The Mystery Shack, a tourist trap which is billed as "the world's most bizarre museum." Grunkle Stan is a salesman first and foremost, putting most of his effort into showmanship, and is eager to sell the Shack's knickknacks, trinkets and baubles for exorbitant prices. Because of his drive to make money, his methods of obtaining it are not always legal. When he is not making money, he is at home watching television. Stan usually wears a fez (the symbol on which has changed over the episodes), carries around an 8-ball topped cane, and infrequently wears an eyepatch over his glasses — the last of which is expressly for personal image. He frequently sends the twins on what they consider to be outrageous and unpredictable errands, but he is protective of them and loves them unconditionally. Despite his age and questionable physique, Stan is physically fit to the point of being able to fight back when threatened, even against zombies and pterodactyls. Behind his vending machine, he has a hidden staircase to an unknown location. In the season 1 finale, this location is revealed to contain a large hidden device which is powered by encrypted information in the three journals. Stan has the first journal, Li'l Gideon had the second, and Dipper has the third. Later on, he collects all three after Li'l Gideon's arrest and when Dipper shows him the third one. He later returns the third journal back to Dipper.
Soos (voiced by Alex Hirsch), the handyman at the Mystery Shack. A friend of Dipper and Mabel, Soos is a portly, hamster-like, lovable man-child who desires to be where the action is. He often drives the twins around town when they need. He's rather clumsy, not the brightest in the group, and is often making mistakes. Despite this, he has a wide variety of talents, including engineering, DJ-ing and pinball, and enjoys bonding with Dipper by doing "boy stuff" such as heating hot dogs in a microwave until they explode. He says "dude" after almost every sentence.
Wendy Corduroy (voiced by Linda Cardellini), a mellow, tomboyish, "cool" 15-year-old girl who is a part-time employee at The Mystery Shack. She is Dipper's crush, and several episodes focus on his misguided attempts to impress her. Wendy has stated that she had many boyfriends in the past — so many, in fact, that there is one ex-boyfriend with whom she cannot remember ever breaking up. Wendy is the oldest and tallest child in her family, and her father is Manly Dan, the lumberjack of Gravity Falls. Sociable and non-chalant, she has many friends who are around her age. Her most recent ex-boyfriend is Robbie, whom Dipper despises and sees as a rival. Wendy almost always stands up for Dipper in front of Robbie.
Candy Chiu (voiced by Niki Yang) and Grenda (voiced by Carl Faruolo), Mabel's best friends whom she first met at a party hosted by the Mystery Shack. Candy and Grenda are both considered unpopular by Pacifica Northwest and the more social kids because they have flaws; Candy is shy, insecure and does some strange things, such as taping forks to her fingers as an "improvement of human being," and Grenda is quite large, likes lizards, and has a deep, masculine voice. Mabel sees these qualities as endearing and thus finds two kindred spirits in Gravity Falls. The two are big fans of Waddles, taking pictures of him on Candy's phone in the episode "Summerween." They have many things in common with Mabel, such as their love of paranormal romance novels, preteen magazines, and the 1990s style boy band Sev'ral Timez.
Deputy Durland (voiced by Keith Ferguson), a police officer, Sheriff Blubs' partner and right-hand man. He is shown to be unintelligent and childlike — he cannot even read. Sheriff Blubs, however, seems to find these qualities endearing, and refers to him as a "diamond in the rough". Instead of "doing their duties," he and Sheriff Blubs like to joke around, ignoring their duty for the sake of having fun.
Gompers the Goat (voiced by Frank Welker), a goat who lives in the forest near the Mystery Shack. Gompers frequently enters the Mystery Shack uninvited and unannounced. He once ate all of the household's tin cans, as well as Grunkle Stan's fez.
Lazy Susan (voiced by Jennifer Coolidge), the sluggish woman who works as a waitress in the local diner. She is shown to love fixing things, despite not being at all skilled. Her name is a pun on her lazy eye, as well as a kitchen device she was trying to fix. She has several cats, three of which are named Donald, Sandy, and Mr. Cat-Face. Grunkle Stan had a crush on her, and eventually worked up the nerve to win her over (with the help of Mabel), but he later regretted it after she called him repeatedly leaving unusual voice messages. She is shown to be scatterbrained in the episode "Summerween," when she categorically failed to guess what Soos, Mabel, and Mabel's friends were dressed as.
Manly Dan (voiced by John DiMaggio), the strong lumberjack and father of Wendy and three sons. Manly Dan is unstable and has serious anger issues, often punching or destroying objects when angry, but enjoys family bonding activities such as fishing on the lake. Manly Dan hangs out at Skull Fracture, a local biker joint in downtown Gravity Falls. He is also good friends with Tyler the Cute Biker.
Fiddleford H. McGucket/Old Man McGucket (voiced by Alex Hirsch), the "local kook" of Gravity Falls. Despite his apparent insanity and stereotypical hillbilly demeanor, Old Man McGucket is both a technical mastermind, capable of creating massive, complex animatronics (such as a robotic sea monster or a homicidal robot dinosaur) and a skilled chemist, to the point he was able to create a formula to alter a human's voice. His son works as a ranger at the lake, and the two seem to have a strained relationship, which adds to McGucket's insanity and need for attention. It is revealed in the end credits of "Little Dipper" that his full name is Fiddleford H. McGucket.
Sheriff Blubs (voiced by Kevin Michael Richardson), the Gravity Falls sheriff. He is shown to be rather lazy, often choosing to sit around and drink coffee instead of pursuing a case. Despite his apparent lack of police skills, he believes himself superior to all, and often looks down on the twins, which undermines their mystery solving abilities. His lazy personality seems to stem from the extremely low crime rate in Gravity Falls, which is demonstrated when Deputy Durland once comments on how unused their equipment is.
Toby Determined (voiced by Gregg Turkington), a journalist for the Gravity Falls Gossiper. He is a hard-hitting yet wimpy journalist, shown to be terrible at his job — an example is that in one episode, he tried to use a turkey baster as a microphone and a cinderblock as a camera. He has an unrequited crush on local TV news reporter Shandra Jimenez which goes to such an extent that he has a cardboard-cutout of her in his closet and flirts with it when alone, as shown in the episode "Headhunters." His name is a pun on "to be determined," said when information in a news story is currently unavailable.
Tyler the Cute Biker (voiced by Will Forte), a slim, well-groomed biker. He appears to be rather childlike and effeminate, and he is well known for showing up in crowd scenes saying his catchphrase, "Get 'em! Get 'em!". He tends to be indecisive, and is a frequent visitor of the Mystery Shack.
Waddles (voiced by Dee Bradley Baker), Mabel's pet pig. She won Waddles at the fair, and ever since then the two have been inseparable. It is shown that Waddles enjoys spending time with Mabel just as much as she enjoys spending time with him. In "Summerween", Waddles allows Mabel and her friends Grenda and Candy to dress him up as a businessman and take humorously captioned pictures of him in the style of "lolcat" internet memes.
Bill Cipher (voiced by Alex Hirsch) is a powerful demon that can be summoned and released into a person's mind. He is a one-eyed, yellow, triangular pyramid with a top hat and a bow tie, superficially similar to the Eye of Providence. Bill first appeared physically in "Dreamscaperers;" however, many references to him had been hidden in previous episodes as images or sentences that flashed across the screen. He has a snappy sense of humor but loses his temper quite easily due to impatience. In "Dreamscaperers," Li'l Gideon summons Bill as an attempt to steal Stan's deed to the Mystery Shack. The two of them make a deal that if Bill goes into Stan's mind and steals the combination to the safe where the deed is hidden, Gideon will eventually have to help Bill with his mysterious plans. He seems to have the abilities to read people's minds and memories, shift forms, decipher codes, and shoot lasers from his eye and fingers. Bill claims he could use Soos, Dipper, and Mabel against the "darkness coming". In the episode "Sock Opera" he tricks Dipper into making a deal with him, and briefly possesses Dipper's body. His name may be either a pun on the Beale ciphers, or a reference to the Eye of Providence that appears on the dollar bill.
Bud Gleeful (voiced by Stephen Root), Lil' Gideon's polite and well-meaning father. Despite having a nervous wife and a manipulative child, Bud seems to always find ways to make money, even to the point of becoming allies with Grunkle Stan—Lil' Gideon's mortal enemy—for a business deal. Besides working at Lil' Gideon's "Tent of Telepathy", Bud also sells used cars.
Gideon Charles Gleeful/Li'l Gideon (voiced by Thurop Van Orman) is a young boy who owns the "Tent of Telepathy," a successful competitor of the Mystery Shack. He has a deep rivalry with Grunkle Stan that presumably started long before the twins arrived. His unhealthy obsession with Mabel, and his belief that Dipper and Stan are the only things keeping them apart, prevent him from seeing that Mabel doesn't like him at all. He previously owned an amulet that endowed him with telekinesis, but it was destroyed by Mabel after he attempted to use it to kill Dipper. It is shown that he owned the journal marked 2, the previous volume of the journal Dipper owned. He seems to be one of the only residents who is fully aware of the mysteries and secrets of Gravity Falls. Li'l Gideon's mission is to gain possession of the Mystery Shack, saying that it has 'a secret you couldn't possibly begin to imagine.' In the Season 1 finale, Stan successfully reveals to the townspeople that Li'l Gideon's psychic ability is a ruse and that Li'l Gideon is a fraud. Li'l Gideon is arrested shortly thereafter, although he quickly managed to turn his fellow inmates into more of his followers.
Pacifica Northwest (voiced by Jackie Buscarino), the most popular girl in Gravity Falls. She comes from a wealthy family, being the great-great-granddaughter of the supposed founder of Gravity Falls, Nathaniel Northwest — the real founder of Gravity Falls being Quentin Trembley (8 1/2th President of the United States). Pacifica is an unfriendly, sarcastic, and spoiled girl and is Mabel's primary rival. Pacifica looks down on Mabel and thinks her eccentric personality is annoying and immature. She uses people's insecurities to manipulate them into doing whatever she wants and despises Mabel for standing up against her. Her name is a pun on Pacific Northwest, given the town of Gravity Falls is located in Oregon.
Robbie V. (voiced by T.J. Miller) is a local teenage punk rocker boy who is Dipper's primary rival for Wendy's affections. He has a cynical attitude toward most characters, and despite his neglect to listen to Wendy while playing a video game in the episode "Fight Fighters," he has been shown to genuinely care for Wendy. Robbie and Wendy were dating for a time which annoyed Dipper. However, in the episode "Boyz Crazy," Dipper managed to break them up when he informed Wendy that the song Robbie wrote for her had a backmasked mind-controlling message, although Wendy was most upset that the song wasn't written for her. After the break up, Robbie seemed greatly upset about losing her, though his attempts to win her back have only caused her to stay annoyed with him.
The gnomes (voiced by Alex Hirsch) appear in the first episode, where they capture Mabel Pines to try to make her their queen, saved by Dipper. They appear as garden gnomes with pointed red caps and white beards, although they often run on all fours. The leader, Jeff, has sworn vengeance on the twins, but has yet to wreak it. The twins call on the gnomes later in the series to help take down a common enemy, but failed as Gideon forces them to carry them away.
Blendin Blandin (voiced by Justin Roiland) is a time traveler from the year 207̃012 (pronounced twenty-sñeventy-twelve) who was sent back in time to Gravity Falls to remove a set of time anomalies that Mabel and Dipper assume they started. He makes a full appearance in 'Time Traveler's Pig', but has made cameo appearances in episodes 1, 2, 3, and 20, cleaning up the time anomalies.
Corduroy boys are the three sons of Manly Dan and the younger brothers of Wendy. Their names have not yet been revealed. The three are often seen with their father, destroying things.
Free Pizza Guy is a background character in Gravity Falls. He is usually seen eating pizza and is disappointed when Stan breaks his promise of free pizza in "Head Hunters". He is most recognizable by his red 'free pizza' shirt.
Lake Gravity Falls Ranger McGucket (voiced by Alex Hirsch) is a stoic worker at Lake Gravity Falls, and is the son of Old Man McGucket. His eyes are always hidden under his hat.
Lee (voiced by Michael Rianda) and Nate (voiced by Scott Menville), Wendy's friends. The two of them are usually seen together. Lee has blond hair and wears a red shirt, while Nate wears a cap and a black shirt. They both act like stereotypical, sarcastic, care-free teenagers.
Mr. Poolcheck (voiced by Michael Rianda) is the head lifeguard at the Gravity Falls Pool, although he acts more like a drill instructor. He was Wendy's boss at the Gravity Falls Pool and later agrees to hire Dipper. At first he takes a liking to Dipper, but comes to realize both Wendy and Dipper do not take the job of lifeguard seriously enough. Near the conclusion of the episode, he fires both Wendy and Dipper.
Mrs. Gleeful (voiced by Grey DeLisle) is the mother of Gideon Gleeful and wife of Bud Gleeful. She is first seen in "Little Dipper" and then in "Gideon Rises." She appears to be traumatized and stressed out. She is usually seen cleaning.
Pacifica's friends (voiced by Ariel Hirsch, the magenta-haired one) are the cronies of Pacifica Northwest, who are usually seen following their dominant counterpart around and obliging to her every whim.
Preston and Mrs. Northwest (Preston Northwest voiced by Nathan Fillion) are Pacifica Northwest's wealthy and apparently snobby parents. They place heavy stress on Pacifica to ensure she maintains their family's image of perfection.
Reginald (voiced by Will Friedle) and Rosanna (voiced by Grey DeLisle), a proposed couple who are commonly seen background characters in the show. They appear to be currently going out, as they are often seen together.
Shandra Jimenez (voiced by Kari Wahlgren) is a news reporter in Gravity Falls, Oregon and Toby Determined's secret crush. It appears she takes her job seriously when she refers to herself as "a real reporter."
Shmipper and Smabble are two very young characters (one male and one female) who are sometimes used as complete opposites of Mabel and Dipper. They have a grandpa who shows his loving affection towards them, in contrast towards Grunkle Stan.
Sir Lord Quentin Trembley III Esquire (voiced by Alex Hirsch), The 8 1/2th President of the United States (He never finished his term after jumping out of a window). He is known for being the silliest president in the United States (He waged war on pancakes, legalized marriage with woodpeckers and so on) and the true founder of Gravity Falls but was replaced by Nathaniel Northwest, Pacifica's ancestor, as he was an embarrassment. He was found preserved in peanut brittle. After being freed by the twins, he gave Dipper his President's Key (which can open any lock in America) and made Mabel a US congresswoman.
Tambry (voiced by Jessica DiCicco) is one of Wendy's friends. She has dyed hair and rarely looks up from her phone, either texting or updating her status.
Thompson (voiced by Michael Rianda) is one of Wendy's friends. He is usually seen participating in the games the guys play, such as putting ice in his pants and trying to shoot a jelly bean into his navel.
Agent Powers and Agent Trigger (voiced by Brad Abrell and Nick Offerman) are agents of the US government. They went to Gravity Falls to investigate paranormal activity in the area. After Dipper raises the dead, the two are seen dragged off by zombies into a ditch. They later reappear alive at the end of the episode and are sure that Gravity Falls is the town they are looking for.
Caesar cipher which is hinted at by a voice in the opening sequence, which played backwards says "three letters back".
Atbash cipher which is announced in an episode in Caesar cipher that it will be used this time.
A substitution cipher where each letter is substituted with an integer that corresponds to the letter's place in the alphabet from 1 to 26.
A symbol cipher appears in the 2 part season finale. It also frequently appears in the journals.
Vigenère cipher which is used in the end credits like all the other ciphers. The keyword for the cipher is hinted at by subtle clues in the episode.
This section requires expansion. (August 2013)
A special preview of the series following the Disney Channel Original Movie Let It Shine was watched by 3.4 million viewers. The series garnered high views on its fifth episode, which aired on July 13, 2012, and attracted 3.6 million viewers. On March 15, 2013, the episode "The Deep End" was watched by 4.5 million viewers after the premiere of Wizards of Waverly Place's The Wizards Return: Alex vs. Alex, becoming the highest rated episode of the series so far.
This section requires expansion. (August 2013)
The series has achieved critical acclaim from critics and viewers alike. Brian Lowry of Variety stated, "The show has a breezy quality that should play to kids, and tickle some twinges of nostalgia among their parents."  While the Los Angeles Times Robert Lloyd referred to the program as "..gently twisted, with some Disneyfied action and heart-warming folded in". In his review, David Hinckley of New York Daily News called Gravity Falls, "quirky and endearing", and offered praise for the character of Mabel Pines. Matt Blum, writing for Wired, favorably compared the show to Cartoon Network's animated program Regular Show and Disney Channel's animated program Phineas and Ferb, hailing Gravity Falls as "clever, strange, and somewhat poignant".
The series preview in Canada on June 15, 2012 and premiered on July 6, 2012. The show started broadcasting in the United Kingdom and Ireland on July 20, 2012 as a preview and officially premiered on September 7, 2012. In Australia and New Zealand it previewed on August 17, 2012 and premiered on September 24, 2012. It also premiered in Southeast Asia on October 27, 2012. In India it premiered on September 16, 2013. In the Middle East region, the series was previewed on October 19, 2012, and premiered on November 10, 2012.
In the United Kingdom it previewed on July 19, 2012 and premiered on September 7, 2012.
In Australia, the show is also aired on 7mate while in Chile, the show is aired on Canal 13 on November 24, 2013 under its programming block CuBox. In the Philippines, the show is broadcast on TV5 beginning on May 4, 2014 while in Brazil, the show began airing on Rede Globo on May 10, 2014. In Indonesia, the show is broadcast on RCTI on August 17, 2014.