That’s why I’m hard on Dipper. To toughen him up. So that when the world fights, he fights back.
Ultimately, this is Dipper Pines’ show. It’s his story being told, co-leads or no co-leads, and in the end I think this entire series could all end up being a retelling of Dipper’s memoirs after the fact. His perspective is extremely contrasted with Mabel’s. He is looking forward, to adolescence, to romance, to adulthood, and in the meantime he tends to lose track of the here-and-now.
It’s nice to see, really. Dipper, to me, is exactly what it feels like to be 12 years old, just old enough to really and truly realize how young you actually are. It’s a difficult age for adults to conceptualize in fiction, and I don’t often see it pulled off very well. He’s kindhearted, sure, but at the same time he’s self-absorbed without meaning to be. The stories going on in his head are so much more important than the mundane stuff of everyday life, and he wants to be doing great things, to boldly go where no man has gone before. Someday, surely, he will.
Dipper’s flaws are what they are, and they make him who he is. He doesn’t bother to hide behind platitudes and insincere smiles like Mabel is prone to do, and he is much more comfortable letting his guard down. He does have deep insecurities, however, mostly surrounding his idolization of maturity and his deep desire to escape childhood as quickly as he can.
I honestly don’t want to see any sort of genuine romantic reciprocation from Wendy in the course of this series. Ultimately, there’s just an age and maturity gap between them that is more than what is reasonable, especially as Dipper is currently a completely different person from whoever he will be three years down the road. Ultimately, his crush on Wendy is an important part of him growing up, but equally important is his growing recognition that she is not the idol he has made her, and that ultimately he needs to let her be. I want this badly, if only because it’s an important moral-of-the-story in this age, where emotional abuse and unrealistic relationships in “romantic comedies” are pretty much everyday fare.
Gravity Falls is the story of Dipper Pines becoming a man. It’s a long, difficult journey that takes far more than a single summer, of course. But at the same time, this first extended period away from home is absolutely transformative. It definitely was for me. I want him to do this. I want to see him grow, and succeed, and become everything he’s ever wanted to be. I want him to learn about life, about when to stop talking and just listen, when to go after her and when to let her go. I want him to recognize just how special his sibling relationship is, and that even though it’s ultimately unsustainable it’s worth more than words can describe.
The season ended in vindication for him. The world knocked him down hard, but he fought back, and in the end he won. He is the hero in his own story, sure, and of course he’s the hero of Mabel’s story, but he’s becoming one in everyone else’s lives as well, and I’m fascinated to see where it goes from here.