What's your opinion on the theory that Dipper is treated unfairly throughout GF? For example, Dipper sacrifices a lot for Mabel, while she only seems to sacrifice her sock-puppet show for him. There are also many suggestions in the show that some episodes overlap, like that from July 11-15, Sock Opera, Blendin's Game and Into the Bunker overlap. Which means D was under a LOT of pressure that week and he sacrificed a LOT for his sister. But she doesn't thank him for that. What are your thoughts?
See, maybe it’s the big sister in me, because I’ve never understood this particular complaint. The fact is, Dipper loves Mabel so much that her happiness is his own; his actions of sacrifice on her behalf are freely chosen. That’s why Bill’s behavior in “Sock Opera” is so insidious; he builds on Dipper’s momentary frustration with Mabel (why won’t she help me?!?!) by bringing up the various ways he’s helped her in the past, implying that she hasn’t done much to return the favor. He seeks to engender resentment where there was none, where Dipper was previously unwilling to give him so much as a stitch of Mabel’s puppet show; hey, she worked hard on those.
The key assertion I have to address here is that “Dipper sacrifices a lot for Mabel, while she only seems to sacrifice her sock-puppet show for him.” I imagine that viewers come to the conclusion that Dipper has the losing end because, when they compare Dipper’s problems to Mabel’s, they see Dipper’s as more serious. Dipper has a crush he can’t shake (relatable), Mabel is gaga over a pig she just saw at the fair (less relatable); Dipper is pursuing the latest lead in his search for the Author (important), Mabel is rigging up an elaborate puppet show to impress the Boy of the Week (unimportant). Yet the show is always keenly aware that Mabel’s problems, as trivial as they may seem to us, are as important to her as Dipper’s are to him. Bill highlights this when he says, “Who would sacrifice everything they’d worked for just for their dumb sibling?”, causing Mabel to respond, “Dipper would.” Dipper’s “everything” is his investigation of Gravity Falls and Mabel’s “everything” is her puppet show, but each of their projects is everything. Coming from Mabel, the sacrifice of the sock puppet show–and, by extension, of a shot at the “epic summer romance” she’s been seeking as ardently as Dipper has been seeking the answers to his questions–is a very real loss, one she’s willing to accept because Dipper would do and has done as much for her.
Nor is Mabel’s puppet show the only casualty of her greater love for her brother; the loss of her dream world is no mean thing. Mabeland might not be to everyone’s taste (I would personally have thinned out the crowd and lowered the 80s club music a notch), but it’s Mabel’s ideal universe; it’s a world where everything is as she wants it, where she’s never bored or lonely, where every boy loves her, where the high court judge is a kitten. With the threat of change weighing on her and the most important relationship of her life under siege, the prison bubble presents Mabel with an irresistible retreat. Bill, who has banked on human greed in the past to great success, believes that the trap is inescapable, that no one handed all their heart’s desires on a plate will be capable of leaving (just as Mabel is taken in by her desperation to stop time, Dipper wavers when presented with the possibility of growing up on the spot). But without Dipper, all of it is hollow; she prefers in the end to leave her safe place and to follow him into an uncertain world.
For much of the show, Dipper is the more responsible one within the context of their relationship. Regardless of actual birth order, Mabel is the baby; sometimes the baby gets in a habit of relying on charm to carry her through, taking it for granted that her older siblings will always step up to the plate on her behalf, because she’s just that cute (looking at you, youngest sibling in my own family). But if Mabel’s occasional thoughtlessness with regard to Dipper is a character flaw, it’s worth measuring against the depth of her concern for the world at large, a quality that Dipper himself, who tends to value his select group, could stand to learn from. Dipper’s only real issue with the destruction of Northwest Manor and all of its visitors is that Mabel happens to be among them; Mabel is the first to see the potential for redemption in Pacifica, even though Dipper is the one who becomes close to her.
But Mabel loves Dipper more than anyone, and she is grateful to him for everything he does for her and shows it. She apologizes to him at the end of “Sock Opera” for letting a transient enthusiasm skew her priorities: “I spent all week obsessing over a dumb guy. But the dumb guy I should have cared about was you.” After escaping the prison bubble, she makes it clear to him that he can stay with Ford if he wants to–her noblest moment in the series, because Dipper is her entire world, infinitely more to her than crushes and pet pigs and magical trees that grow stuffed animals. He stays with her, not out of guilty obligation, but because he wants to be with her–because she’s his best friend, because growing up without her would be unthinkable. He’s a fair-minded guy, not one to take the fall without good reason–when he operates against her in “The Time-Traveler’s Pig,” he does so on the assumption that her pig is an enthusiasm of the moment and that his love for Wendy is permanent. When he realizes that losing Waddles will truly hurt her, he doesn’t hesitate. “I could never break your heart, Mabel.”
But look at how she thanks him. She knows this wasn’t easy for him and she’s ready to show him how much it means to her. She tackles him in sheer strength of feeling. She lifts him right off his feet.
Treated unfairly? Dipper gets back everything he gives away with interest. Dipper’s happiness is his sister’s happiness and he always gets it because he is her happiness. Dipper is a lucky kid.