Did we mention how big of fans we are of Alex Hirsch's Gravity Falls? While we will readily admit that we're not exactly faithful viewers of Disney HD programming (nothing personal), Hirsch's animated epic ranks as one of our top shows to have on in the background when we're writing. First hitting Disney Channel screens in 2012, the series focused on twins Dipper and Mabel Pines, who investigate supernatural & paranormal mysteries with their great-uncle Stan from The Mystery Shack located in the Oregon town of the show's title. The show would end its run in 2016 (hitting Disney XD in 2014), with Hirsh signing a multi-year overall deal two years later with Netflix to produce animated projects for adults and kids. But the show's fan following hasn't given up on the series, and if we're being honest? A day doesn't go by when we don't imagine a series revival (I know, humor us) for the heir apparent to The X-Files (just wait until someone pitches a live-action sequel series set ten years later).
And it's for us that Hirsch shared a very interesting Twitter thread in honor of the 10-year anniversary of Gravity Falls. Sure, you might know everything there is to know about the series by what's on your screen. But do you know the fights Hirsch and the team had to get into so that show could make your screens? That was the topic of Hirsch's post, a rundown of the various debates with the studio's Standards and Practices department. Clocking in at just under five minutes, the clip offers example after example of instances where S&P took issue with content they considered too sexual/adult, flirted too close to what they considered to be red button social issues, etc. Along with the notes from S&P, we also get to see how Hirsch approached pushing back on what were considered questionable judgment calls. For example:
S&P: "Please revise poop face as it comes across as a replacement for 'shitface.' Prior use of Mabel saying 'poop, poop and butts' in the episode 'Fight Fighters' came across as more childlike and not as offensive."
Hirsch: Straight-to-the-point response shutting down the idea that young viewers would be offended by "poop face."
S&P: "It has come to our attention that 'hoo-ha' is a slang term for vagina. Please revise."
Hirsch: "It is a proper word meaning 'excitement' or 'hullabaloo' and that is clearly its meaning here. The context is an owl-themed restaurant called Hoo-Ha's Jamboree. Not changing."
Another example involved S&P finding Sheriff Daryl Blubs putting his arm around Deputy Durland (a gay couple) a little too sexy(?) for their tastes ("Please revise the action of Blubs putting his arm around Durland. As noted in previous concerns, their affectionate relationship should remain comical versus flirtatious") as well as the use of any religious symbolism & practices that some viewers might find offensive ("Why should we be held hostage to any imaginary knee-jerk career complainer who could conceivably go out of their way to pretend to be offended by this?"). Here's a look at Hirsch's full thread, which is filled with some fascinating insight into the collision between art, commerce, and vaguely defined "public standards":