Exclusive: Gravity Falls Creator Alex Hirsch On The Stanchurian Candidate

This week’s Gravity Falls, entitled “The Stanchurian Candidate,” was a riff on paranoid conspiracy thrillers of the ‘70s and saw the return of Gravity Falls big (little?) bad Gideon Gleeful. (You can read our exhaustive rundown of the episode here.) In the episode Stan ran for mayor of Gravity Falls, with the help of a magic mind-controlling tie. There was a lot going on—and this is one of the lighter episodes, in terms of the series’ rich, overarching mythology.


We reached out to Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Falls and a co-writer of last night’s episode, in the hopes that he could answer our burning questions.


The episode takes its title from the ‘70s paranoid thriller The Manchurian Candidate and there are nods to similarly classic thrillers like North by Northwest. Was this always a genre that you had wanted to play with? And were there any references to other thrillers that are included in the episode (but that we might have missed)?

Our inspiration came less from thrillers and more from the weirdness of small town politics. I personally went canvassing door to door in a local race when I was in high school and thought it was kind of hilarious how worked up people got over such small stakes elections. The only thriller reference I wanted to do would have been a parody of House of Cards, with Gideon constantly turning to the camera and saying things like “When you throw red meat to the hound dogs, they come a-runnin! The squeaky molasses bucket gets the grease!” and have everyone be totally confused who he was talking to. As is often the case, we had to cut this for time!


A beloved Gravity Falls character bites the dust. How do you hope fans remember Mayor Befuffuftlefumpter?

Mayor Befufftlefumpter, we hardly knew ye! Like, literally—who was that guy? He only left his mayoral mansion once a year to get lettuce for his 200-year-old pet Galapagos Tortoise Jembles, who he said “made him feel young.” I think Mayor Befufftlefumpter will be remembered by his long life and his even longer name. Valentino Funeral homes is working on their widest headstone ever.


But, as the Circle of Life continues, you introduce what might be our favorite Gravity Falls character (period), Tad Strange. Where did he come from and will he be back for more good, clean fun?

Tad Strange likes to keep a low profile, which is perfectly normal. (Incidentally, “Low Profile” and “Perfectly Normal” are both written on his business card.) Although Tad won’t be back for a while, rest assured that whenever you buy milk, paint something white, or stare at a nondescript rock, Tad is there in spirit. And ladies, he’s single!


This episode sees the return of Little Gideon, in a big way. Was it hard to figure out a way to bring him back while keeping him imprisoned?

We’ve always wanted to bring Gideon back, and getting his scheming family in on a local election seemed like the perfect way to do it.  


At the end of the episode, a fairly huge bombshell is dropped: not only has Gideon been in contact with Bill Cipher but he finally summons him after his quest for power is thwarted. How long has Gideon been in contact with Bill and what does this mean for the town of Gravity Falls?

Gideon has an uneasy relationship with Bill. He likes having the ear of someone so powerful, but he hates the idea of being second-fiddle to someone more powerful than him. He’s been biding his time in jail waiting for the chance for his big break, and now that it’s been foiled he’s finally decided to swallow his pride and take drastic measures.


Elsewhere in Gravity Falls mythology, Tyler’s last name is finally revealed! What else do we need to know about Mayor Cutebiker?

Local “Enthusiasm-Enthusiast” Tyler Cutebiker is passionate about 3 things: watching fights, wearing cutoff jean shorts, and ensuring the fiscal and infrastructural long term stability of Gravity Falls. He has already begun decorating his mansion with artisanal wind chimes and he plans to fight crime with his new “Cut That Out, Guys!” initiative which mainly involves putting pictures of himself in high crime areas making an adorable, pleading face.


What should we ask Alex next time? What are you dying to know about the world of Gravity Falls? Let us know in the comments!

Posted 6 years Ago
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