Ridge Report Writing and Photography Contest

This year, you can submit a short story, poetry piece, and/or photography connecting to one of three possible themes. Your options are "Hush", "Bang", and "Click". Be as creative as you want!

Entries will be accepted starting Monday May 1st 2017

The deadline for entering is Friday May 20th 2017

First place winners in each category (short story, photography, and poetry) will have their entry published on the Ridge Report website and will be awarded a prize.

Click on each category to submit and know about the rules and requirements.

Short Story
Photography
Poetry

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Gravity Falls Weirdmaggedon III: Take Back the Falls Review (Spoilers, duh)


After 40 episodes, mystery after mystery, fantastic characters, beautifully dramatic moments, and joke after joke, Gravity Falls ended last week to a viewership of 10.7 million people. The finale titled "Take Back the Falls" is a great blend of comedy, character development, and action (One of the best robot fights ever). The finale pitted two seasons worth of characters against the apocalyptic forces of Bill Cipher, it culminated in a battle between a heavily modified Mystery Shack and an omnipotent Cipher, the final repairing of the relationship between Stan and Ford, and a heart-warming ending that wraps up the whole story in a neat little bow.
Bill Cipher: The most psychotic triangle ever

Gravity Falls has had two seasons worth of well developed characters, and this finale shows each one of them at their best. Bill Cipher is his most terrifying, he's most chilling as he delivers the line "I think I'm gonna kill one of them just for the heck of it!", his eyes flashing red like a timer as he prepares to murder either Dipper or Mabel to force Ford to do what he wants. When Bill turns into a giant, monstrous form and chases after the twins, he's genuinely intimidating. The villains of Gravity Falls have certainly developed, as they should, Gideon became much more evil than he was originally portrayed, and ultimately developed into something of an antihero, and Pacifica turned from an entitled brat into a character who's whole backstory could be beautifully summarized by a ringing of a bell (there are certainly other villains, but these two have had the most development).

As Bill gains unprecedented power, the heroes suit-up the Mystery Shack into one of the coolest robot designs ever. The usage of previous items from the series makes it equal parts awesome and nostalgic. The components are:
Bill trying to break the magical barrier of Celestabellebethabelle's hair
-Celestabellebethabelle's hair providing the magical barrier
-Totem-pole cannon
-T-Rex arm from "Land Before Swine"
-The Portal as the hips
-The Mystery Shack as the body
-The Gobblewonker from "Legend of the Gobblewonker" as a tail
-Characters from throughout the series acting as crew

It's designs like this that distinguish Gravity Falls from other shows, just like the jokes, story, characters. etc, this is a good show (everybody reading this already knows that though).

Even with the world facing destruction from a chaos god, Stan and Ford's broken relationship is a major plot point with a resolution that is satisfying and realistic. When the heroes are all standing on the Zodiac (I'll get to that later) and Stan and Ford are still fighting, I was so happy that it wasn't just Stan who was being immature, that even when the fate of the world hangs in the balance Ford belittles Stan over mere grammar. You get why Stan's angry at Ford, and you understand why Ford is the way he is towards him, both are in the wrong, and that makes it even better when the two resolve their differences to save their family, the world, and their relationship. When Dipper and Mabel leave, it makes the viewer feel a bit better knowing that Stan has Ford, and that the two are going to fulfill their dreams of travelling the world (That's how good this show is, I feel so invested in the lives and well-being of the Pines' family).

Oh the feels
As I said, the Zodiac that has appeared in every episode since day one finally enters the plot in the finale as a mystical human-energy circuit that can banish Bill Cipher from this dimension. The one thing that has been teased in every episode, something that has had so much secrecy and speculation around it, and it does nothing. The Zodiac doesn't work because Stan and Ford fight, breaking the circuit, and ultimately Stan has to Bill into his mind where he's erased by the memory-gun from "Society of the Blind Eye", and that's so much better than using the Zodiac. The circuit is a red-herring, as opposed to being this deus ex machina object that can stop Bill Cipher, the villain is defeated in a clever way using established ideas in a new way. It also repairs the relationship between Stan and Ford, and provides emotional weight as Stan's memory is destroyed by the gun in a sacrifice that certainly made me cry out. Stan's realization that he wasn't such a screw up as he looked at the photo of his family is heart-wrenching. I  think it's important to recognize just how awesome Stan is, he tricks a chaos-god who throughout the whole series has been puppeteering everyone, makes him so terrified he begs for his life, then as his whole mind is being burned to the ground, punches Bill into nothing.
Hey, look at me. Turn around and look at me, you one-eyed demon! You're a real wise guy. but you made one fatal mistake. You messed with my family!
Stan's memory is destroyed by the gun, but ultimately looking at Mabel's scrapbook repairs it, I'm sure many viewers would have thought it would be more dramatic if he had remained amnesic, but not me. I think that it is better that Stan is able to truly say goodbye to Dipper and Mabel, rather than be damaged, Gravity Falls is about family, and Stan healing through his unconditional love for his family perfectly shows this. It not only has great emotional moments, but the comedy is to die for, such as:
Stan:"The plan is to stay in here and eat brown meat till we run out, then I vote we eat the gnomes."
Gnome:"Hey! I'm short, not deaf."
Stan:"Shhh shhh shhh, stress will make you chewy"
That's not even the best humor, much of it uses excellent animation and delivery to make the jokes much more funny. Many people still think of cartoons as lower forms of entertainment, but I enjoy them even more than live action programming because of the possibilities animation can offer, and shows like Gravity Falls are proof of how the cartoon medium can become a work of art filled with humor, characters, mystery, plot, and brilliance.

Weirdmaggedon was a fantastic finale for a fantastic show, one that was able to balance the humor and action with character development and emotion. Saying goodbye is like saying goodbye to childhood. Gravity Falls was a show defined by love for family and adventure, the ending of the episode left nothing unsaid, giving every character a send-off with dignity, from Stan and Ford finally travelling the world, to McGucket finally rebuilding his life. The most poignant resolution was the arc of Dipper and Mabel, who have struggled with the inevitable reality of the end of 'summer' and the end of childhood, leaving Gravity Falls, journeying into the unknown of maturity together, but with the promise of another summer. That's the point that the show has been trying to make, growing up is inevitable, but you don't have to fully let go of the good times, it's a point that many of us teens can relate to as we edge closer to adulthood. Gravity Falls was something remarkable, with characters that the viewers genuinely cared for, it's no wonder that it hooked people, including myself, for four years, two seasons, forty episode, and one unforgettable story.

Goodbye Gravity Falls
18-23-20-19-20 8-15-21-4-3-6-19-5 22-12-19-23-21-16-19-20 22-25 5-3-10
4-16-19 4-23-12-19'5 4-9-12-20, 4-16-19 5-3-11-11-19-6'5 20-9-10-19
15-10 11-19-11-9-6-15-19-5 4-16-19 8-15-10-19-5 5-4-15-12-12 8-12-23-25
9-10 23 5-3-10-10-25 5-3-11-11-19-6'5 20-23-25

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