Oh, My Pop Culture Religion: Bill Cipher & Triangular Theology

I have recently become obsessed with Gravity Falls. I know it is too little, too late, since the show is over and the fandom is sort of dead, but hey, I still have Rick and Morty, which is in the same multiverse as Gravity Falls, so it’s fine. As I was watching Gravity Falls over and over again this past couple of weeks, I started thinking about Bill Cipher and religion. Bill Cipher is the main villain in Gravity Falls. He is a triangle from the second dimension and seems to be a demon or some kind of demigod with numerous powers. Throughout the show, Bill attempts to merge the nightmare dimension, which he currently resides in, with the Gravity Falls dimension, and because of this he often interacts with and influences humanity.

(image via playbuzz)

If I existed in the same universe as Bill Cipher, I would seriously be concerned about Bill’s influence on religion, because triangles are everywhere in religion. It’s arguably one of the most universal symbols in real-world religions. And according to Gravity Falls canon, Bill has been making deals and influencing humankind for a long time, so the idea that he could have influenced ancient and current religions is not that out there.

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Magical Mondays: Take a Look; It’s in a Book

(via the svtfoe wiki)

I very recently started watching Star vs The Forces of Evil (no spoilers, please!) and was amused by an episode where Star needs to undo a spell she’s cast on Marco. She pulls out the wand’s manual, an ancient, crumbling tome filled with the wisdom of ages of wand users to consult, only to realize that all of their notes are so cryptic and poorly organized that it will take her ages to make any sense of them. This got me thinking about magical journals in general. A common staple of fantasy fiction is a magical guide to the world in question, typically in the form of some kind of handwritten diary or log. Sometimes a book is just a book; I can’t imagine, for example, that Newt’s finished version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them will be anything but a basic bestiary. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. However, these books are often most compelling when they serve a greater purpose than simply as a how-to or a reference of some kind. By including these books in a layered way, we can add additional complexity to the stories we tell.

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Self-Care & Geeky Shows to Help You Deal with the Rise of Facism

I don’t know about you all, but I have been struggling a bit recently. It’s hard to deal with life when you wake up every day trying to figure out what damage the current administration has done to your country and the rest of the world. During times like these, self-care is really important. Yes, we need to stay proactive and keep fighting, but we also need to remember to take a break and recharge ourselves once in a while. I always turn to my favorite geeky shows to help me recharge. A lot of geeky media is about fighting the government/powers that be, which is great, and sometimes, that is exactly what I need. But other times it’s nice to just forget about fighting the good fight. So here are some of my go-to favorite geeky self-care shows that’ll let you relax, at least for a little while.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Teaching Consent to Kids

Trigger warning: mentions of rape throughout.

We’ve established again and again that pop culture has issues with consent. From that horrible Jaime and Cersei sex scene that the directors insisted wasn’t rape (it was) to almost every siren-related fantasy plot ever, the one thing that’s obvious about understanding consent is apparently that no one does.

That’s kind of terrifying. It’s pretty horrible that adults just don’t get simple concepts like “no means no”, “inability to consent means no”, “the absence of a yes means no”, or “coerced consent is not consent”. And what’s worse is that, when this way of thinking lodges itself in our cultural headspace, it isn’t just adults who are on the receiving end of it. Rather, this mentality creeps its way into children’s media as well, and too often goes entirely unchallenged within that media. Kids aren’t going to go read a blog post about Snow White or Sleeping Beauty’s inability to consent while asleep after watching those movies—there needs to be some kind of message within the film (or book, or show) that shows them why it isn’t kosher. And while there’s a lot of onus on kids’ media to be didactic in some way, a lot of it still falls flat.

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Farewell to the Falls: Gravity Falls and the Beauty of a Completed Story

I was both excited and sad to tune into the hour-long finale episode of Disney’s Gravity Falls. It seems like forever since I reviewed Season 1, and while it was great, Season 2 was on a whole different level. The stakes were higher, the spooky stuff was much more terrifying, and while I sometimes worried about the messages the show sent, I was gratified by the finale in more ways than one. Spoilers after the jump.

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Fanfiction Fridays: Zen and the Art of Infinite Pizza Maintenance by gyzym

Okay, so here’s the thing: it’s not like Dipper means for it to be a dastardly master plan or anything. It’s not like Dipper means to screw over his sister. It’s just that he’s the one there, at dinner with their parents, when the hospital calls, because it’s a Friday night and Mabel’s always out with her friends on Friday nights, and most of Dipper’s friends are not exactly Friday night people. Dipper tends to gravitate toward the Tuesday afternooners of the world, or sometimes the Eating Cheese And Posting Things To Messageboards On Sunday At 6:45 PM While Listening To Conspiracy Podcasts crowd. They’re more his speed. Friday night people have this uncomfortable tendency to stare at him for a long time after he says anything and then, slowly, say, “Dude… what?”

Anyway. Dipper isn’t a Friday night person, so Dipper is there, that Friday night, when the hospital calls to say that Grunkle Stan fell in the shower. And so it’s Dipper who hears it, when his parents start to hiss things about “hospice” and “never agree to it” and “how many nurses” and “how can we afford” and it’s not like he plans for things to go the way they do. It just — happens. Yeah. That’s it. It just… happens.

“Me and Mabel could go to Gravity Falls!” Dipper says. And then, when both of his parents stare at him: “For the summer, I mean. To — take care of Grunkle Stan! Finals are next week and then, I mean, we don’t have anything to do until school starts, right?”

I’mma be real with you: it took me hours to decide on a fanfic to rec for this week’s post. I read story after story that were good but just didn’t do it for me enough that I wanted to spend time writing about them. Then I remembered this fic exists.

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Sexualized Saturdays: How Gravity Falls Dropped the Ball

S2e9_mabel_the_love_godGravity Falls is, in many ways, one of my favorite shows. It’s funny, it’s spooky, it’s weird without losing its kid-friendliness, and it often offers worthwhile commentary on persistently shitty tropes.

I think that’s why I was so disappointed with the episode “The Love God”. I expected so much more from you, Gravity Falls.

Spoilers for the episode follow the jump!

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Sexualized Saturdays: So Pumped about Female Friendships

There’s a slow but exciting change occurring in popular media, these days: lots of creators are finally beginning to show female friendships in their works. That’s not to say that there have never been friendships between ladies in the public eye before the last few years—Wicked comes to mind, among other things—but the message seems to finally have gotten out to the world at large. We want more than one lady in things, and we want those ladies to understand each other, not for them to antagonize each other.

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Sexualized Saturdays: Challenging Inappropriate Affection

I have very little tolerance for relationship drama in TV shows. Ninety percent of characters’ problems stem from a lack of communication, and my humble opinion about love triangles is that the answer is always polyamory. One of the things that makes me most uncomfortable, though, when it comes to fictional relationship drama, is inappropriate displays of affection.

S2e2_into the bunker dipper wendyWhat do I mean by inappropriate affection? I’m referring to a situation between two friends or colleagues where one has an unrequited crush on the other, and said crush-er constantly attempts to win the affections of the crush-ee, despite the latter being uninterested/much older/unavailable. It’s not quite a friendzone situation, but it’s based in similar ideas—essentially, the person with the crush believes that they are such a good catch that any of the aforementioned objections should be moot. In constantly forcing their affections on the other person, they’re actually being selfish and disregarding any feelings or opinions the object of said affections might have about the situation. It’s important that shows that engage in this sort of characterization portray it as it is—inappropriate—but unfortunately, that’s not always the case. Continue reading

Gravity Falls Season One

After a really really long and drawn-out run, Gravity Falls has finally concluded its first season, and so I finally feel like I can talk about the show as a unit.

Without further ado, the logo.

Without further ado, the logo.

Guys, Gravity Falls is awesome. It’s the best and arguably the only good show coming out of the Disney Channel these days. It’s funny, it’s smart, and it’s spooky in a campy, goofy way. It also quite handily takes apart problematic concepts like consent, the need for stereotypical masculinity, and the friendzone at a simple, kid-friendly, and witty level. When I first listened to Welcome to Night Vale, I described it to my roommate as a grown-up Gravity Falls, if that gives you some sense of what it’s like. You should really watch it.

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