"Tourist Trapped" is the first episode in Season 1 of Gravity Falls. It debuted as the series preview of the show after the premiere of the Disney Channel Original Movie, Let It Shine, on June 15, 2012. "Tourist Trapped" is the official pilot episode of the show.
Twelve-year-old twins Dipper and Mabel Pines arrive to spend their summer break with their Great Uncle Stan, also known as Grunkle Stan, in the remote town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Once there, they have to work at Stan's store, called The Mystery Shack. While hanging signs in the "creepy part" of the woods, Dipper finds a metal hollow tree. Inside, he find an electronic device that when he flips the some switches, opens a trap door in the ground. Inside he finds a mysterious journal with facts and notes about Gravity Falls' creatures that hints to an even greater cover-up hidden within the town's wondrous past and present. Dipper then believes Mabel's new boyfriend, Norman, is a zombie when he starts acting strangely. When Mabel is with Norman, Norman tells her that he is actually a gnome named Jeff (the leader of the gnomes) standing on top of other gnomes. Dipper asks Wendy if he can use the Mystery Cart to save Mabel. Wendy gives him the keys and tells him to try not to hit any pedestrians. As Dipper drives the Mystery Cart to save Mabel, Soos gives Dipper a shovel and a bat. Dipper drives the Mystery Cart into the forest to rescue Mabel from the Gnomes.
Dipper takes the Mystery Cart and finds them in the forest. After a gnome vomits rainbows, Dipper questions what the heck is going on, gets hissed at by a gnome, and Mabel explains that Norman turned out to be a bunch of gnome jerks. Dipper realizes that he was way off and checks the journal, only to see that there is no weakness listed for the gnomes. The gnomes now have Mabel tied to the ground. Jeff begins to explain that this is a big misunderstanding by saying "she's not in danger, she's just going to marry all one thousand of them and become their gnome queen for all eternity." Dipper commands them to release Mabel or else. Jeff begins to explain that Dipper won't be able to stop them because they are a powerful race, but Dipper stops him in mid-sentence and chucks him with the shovel. He then uses it to free Mabel from the ground and they begin to drive back to the Mystery Shack.
Once Jeff and the gnomes realize Dipper and Mabel are getting away, they assemble together, becoming one big monster. Mabel worries that they will catch up to them, but Dipper isn't because gnomes have tiny legs. They then realize that the gnomes formed a big monster (controlled by Jeff). The monster begins to chase after Dipper and Mabel. The army of gnomes begins launching several small gnomes onto the Mystery Cart. Dipper and Mabel fight them off one by one and Dipper bashes Shmebulock on the Mystery Cart's horn in three times. One of the gnomes lands on Dipper's face and Mabel punches it in several times to get it to release. After Dipper thanks Mabel for saving him, the monster then picks up a tree and throws it in the middle of the road. Dipper and Mabel closely slide under it and crash the Mystery Cart in front of the Mystery Shack. Dipper and Mabel crawl from the Mystery Cart. Dipper warns the gnomes to stay back, so he throws a shovel at them, but they smash it to the ground. Dipper and Mabel both scream and Dipper wonders where Grunkle Stan is. Stan is inside showing tourists "The world's most distracting object" distracting himself in the process.
Mabel then tells Dipper that she has to do it. Dipper doesn't agree, but she tells him to trust her. Mabel agrees to marry Jeff. Jeff is excited and goes to put the ring on Mabel's finger. Once Jeff successfully places the ring on Mabel's finger, he wants to hurry and get Mabel back to the forest, but Mabel says that he must kiss the bride. Jeff puckers up, but to his surprise Mabel has a leaf blower pointed his way. Mabel sucks and shoots Jeff out of the leaf blower for revenge because he lied to her, broke her heart, and messed with Dipper. As he is flying through the air, he says that he is getting revenge for that. The rest of the gnomes are confused as to what they should do next. Mabel then begins blowing them with the leaf blower, forcing them back into the forest. One of the gnomes gets caught in the plastic from a 6-pack soda and is carried away by a goat. Mabel feels sad that her first boyfriend was a bunch of gnomes, so Dipper tries to cheer her up by saying that her next boyfriend will be a vampire. They then hug each other in an awkward sibling way.
Dipper and Mabel walk into the Mystery Shack. Grunkle Stan is feeling guilty for insulting them, so he tells them they can each take anything they want from the Mystery Shack. Dipper chooses a hat that he will be seen with throughout the series and Mabel chooses a grappling hook, holding it in a Zelda-like fashion. Mabel is then seen jumping on the bed, playing with her toy while Dipper writes about the events that happened that day in the mysterious journal he found. At the end, Dipper tells Mabel to turn off the light, but instead she flicks it out of the window with the grappling hook. Meanwhile, Grunkle Stan is downstairs and opens a secret door by typing in a secret code on the snack machine which leads to a secret passage downstairs. He mysteriously closes the door, which hints that he may have something to hide. During the end credits, they replay the clip of Steve throwing up rainbows, except it's longer and lasts the entire credit roll.
Before the episode had aired, Alex Hirsch made a pilot version, which has some notable differences from the aired version. For one, the animation style is much different, sometimes using "Live Action" images, and the pilot is half the length of a normal Gravity Falls episode, running at a total of 12 minutes instead of the usual 22 minutes used for the actual series.
The pilot was released publicly on August 3, 2016 by Alex Hirsch, as a reward for solving the physical puzzles, which were part of the Cipher Hunt, an alternate reality game with the goal of finding an actual statue of Bill Cipher, briefly seen in the credits of Weirdmageddon.
While the story is similar, there are notable differences. Unlike the official episode, Soos and Wendy do not appear, and Dipper has his blue hat from the start, rather than getting it from the Mystery Shack Gift Shop in the epilogue. The Journal itself does not appear in the pilot either, instead Dipper's information comes from a book called; "Doctor Crackpot's Book of the Damned".
In Dipper's introduction, he describes some previous adventures in Gravity Falls, such as the Fishing Trip and issues with Telepathy. These ideas are later used as the stories for future episodes.
The pilot begins with Grunkle Stan revealing to Dipper and Mabel a sculpture of London Tower Bridge, made out of popsicles; but the sculpture collapses, so Stan, Dipper and Mabel decide to eat them all. As they do so, the three read the Jokes & Riddles printed on the popsicle sticks; Dipper finds one with the question; "What is a ghost's favorite ice cream flavor?", with Mabel thinking "booberry", Grunkle Stan thinking "corpse melon" and Dipper thinking "cookies & scream". But the stick does not have an answer, which Grunkle Stan claims is bad luck, which is when Mabel introduces them to Norman.
The episode continues relatively the same, until the climax. When Dipper gets the Mystery Cart to save Mabel, Stan isn't distracted by tourists at this time, but is instead eating the popsicles in front of the television. He gives Dipper the keys, giving him the same warning as Wendy does about trying not to hit any pedestrians.
The Gnomes, in this version, are defeated, not by a leaf blower, but rather Dipper and Mabel meeting the Gnome King, who gives them a riddle; "What is a ghost's favorite ice cream flavor?" Mabel asks Dipper to trust her, by using her answer "booberry", which is correct, causing all the Gnomes to turn to stone.
When the two return to the Mystery Shack, Grunkle Stan gets up to answer the door, but all the popsicles have given him a brain freeze, and he hurts his leg getting up, so when he answers the door, Dipper and Mabel think he's a zombie, and throw rocks at him.
Home video releases
- Gravity Falls: Six Strange Tales
- The mask Grunkle Stan wears to scare Dipper is an allusion to the Gill-man from the 1954 film Creature from the Black Lagoon.
- When Mabel is tied down by the gnomes, the scene references when Gulliver is tied down by the Lilliputians in the book Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift.
- Mabel's pose with the grappling hook is a nod to The Legend of Zelda.
- Mabel hoping Norman is a vampire is an allusion to the character Edward Cullen from the series Twilight.
- When Mabel punches Dipper, she punches him in the cheek, but his eyes are black.
- While Dipper was reading from Journal #3, he spoke the word "studying" even though the book states "researching."
- The book 3 that Dipper discovers has a hand symbol on the book cover that alternates between five and six fingers in several shots.
- After Dipper and Mabel crash the Mystery Cart, its position moves several times throughout the scene.
- When Mabel showed Dipper the leaf blower mark, one can see it's there, but when she finishes the story about how she got it, it was gone.
- When Dipper and Mabel are being chased, a rear shot of the back of the Mystery Cart shows that Dipper's hat is missing despite it being present in the preceding and following shots.
- The leaf blower sucked Mabel's lips, but the "smooch mark" was on her cheek.
- Norman has a cut on his face from which "jam" is spilling. Later shots do not include this cut.
- When you see the triangle stained window from the inside it is centered with a double ring, but from the outside it has a single ring.
- Up close Mabel's sweater says MEOW WOW, but zoomed out it is wordless.
- When Mabel is responding to Jeff's proposal, Jeff's beard is red instead of brown.
- When Wendy pulls up in the Mystery Cart there are four flaps across the top. But when Dipper goes to save Mabel, there are only three.
- When Mabel is on the floor, her headband disappears.
- The gnome colossus appears to be all red with a white beard, but the entire colossus should be more varied due to the individual gnome's coloring. This could be part of the gnomes' magic.
- In one of the clips that Dipper recorded, when he watches that Norman's hand falls off, the hand doesn't have a brown stick attach it, when Mabel sees that Norman is a bunch of gnomes the hand has one stick attached.
- Dipper throws a shovel at the gnomes and is shown that it was left at the gnome hideout but later reappears when Dipper grabs it to throw at the giant gnome monster.
- When Mabel introduces Norman to the family, she says "Ooh, little muscle there" but when Norman reveals that he's a bunch of gnomes, the arms are only sticks.
- When Dipper throws the shovel at the gnomes, Dipper and Mabel are a few feet apart, but in the next camera angle they're holding each other.
- When Dipper is looking through the window when Norman is about to give Mabel daises, he screams. When he screams the window is a lot bigger, then returns to normal size.
- Mabel's cheek mark is much bigger.
- Dipper says that Norman never blinks but Jeff does blink.
- On the part it shows the map of Oregon, Corvallis is spelled Corvalis.
- This episode received 3.4 million viewers on its premiere night.
- The title of the episode is most likely a combination of "tourist trap," which is a trick shop trying to make tourists spend all their money on different objects referring to The Mystery Shack, and "trapped," since Dipper and Mabel are "trapped" in Gravity Falls, Oregon for the summer.
- This episode was originally available as a free download on iTunes.
- When it was first aired as the series preview, it lacked a scene before the opening sequence, let alone the theme song.
- When Grunkle Stan said Ben Franklin looked like a woman, it was foreshadowing "Irrational Treasure" where secret documents confirm Ben Franklin secretly was a woman.
- The combination Stan uses to move the vending machine is "13256."
- The 618 appearances for this episode are:
- The Mystery Shack's address is 618.
- On the cash register, the display reads $6.18 when Wendy is introduced.
- The first page of Journal 3 is dated June 18, June is the 6th month.
- The Whack-A-Mole machine in Dipper and Mabel's bedroom has its score stuck at 8190, 0618 upside down.
- During the end credits of this episode, there was a cryptogram that read "ZHOFRPH WR JUDYLWB IDOOV." Once decoded, it reads "WELCOME TO GRAVITY FALLS".