I would recommend you read these two posts before reading this one:
- A Guy's Thoughts: (15-11) My 15 Favorite Season 4 Episodes
- A Guy's Thoughts: (10-6) My 15 Favorite Season 4 Episodes
Yes, at last, I finally conclude this three-part series detailing some of my favorite episodes from Gumball's fourth season. I do apologize for the delay; I intended to publish this last week but stuff popped out. Regardless, here are my analysis on my top five episodes from Season 4.
Gumball is often praised for the creative ways it finds to experiment with its fourth wall, and "The Signal" is no exception. Working with a concept I have yet to see explored in other media, the episode not only takes this daring concept, but it makes this daring concept work to a surprisingly enjoyable level.
"The Signal" follows Gumball as he contracts a strange stutter that causes him to accidentally offend Darwin; it turns out that Gumball's strange stutter is not from any disorders but rather satellite broadcast interruptions that are physically affecting his world. One of the episode's stronger aspect is the atmosphere it presents. "The Signal" is not a typical episode; although it does have some great jokes, such as the entire car scene and the cutways that come with it, the episode goes for a more foreboding and almost creepy-like atmosphere, and it really works given the nature of the episode. The episode portrays the glitches as paranormal activity, and surrounded by unsettling music, the episode can be unnerving at times, and that's what makes it work.
The effort that goes into making the glitches look as believable as possible is also astonishing. Everything that comes with a crummy broadcast signal is all accounted for; the jumbled audio, the pixielated characters, the abstract colors, the static sounds, and even the "Lost Signal" screen. All of these small quirks really help to add to the episode's authenticity and emphasize the visual versatility of the show.
Although, I do have some minor gripes with the episode. One of my gripes being how forced the conflict between the brothers can feel at times. I understand that Darwin is fairly sensitive, but I honestly feel as if they could of had Gumball say something more offensive as opposed to mild body shaming. Perhaps having the signal cause Gumball to question his validity as member in the family (akin to "The Disaster") or his feelings for Carrie; having it be something Darwin's more sensitive about would have helped for the conflict to come across as less hokey. Another gripe (which is even this episode's fault, but rather more of the fault of "The Disaster) is the fact that Gumball retains no memory to this episode; it does create a small loophole in "The Disaster" that could have warranted an explanation as simple as "the void reset their memories" would have done wonders.
Tiny complaints aside, "The Signal" is an amazing episode and is definitely the series at some of its most creative.
It always surprises me how over-looked certain episodes of Gumball can be. "The Nest" in particular is what I believe to be an amazing episode that is sadly over-looked. With great jokes and a captivating story, "The Nest" proves to be one of Gumball's finest.
The premise of the episode is that residents all across Elmore are mysteriously disappearing, and upon further investigation, the Wattersons discover that their Evil Turtle is behind the missing citizens. Similar to "The Signal", one of the episode's strongest trait is the atmosphere it builds. The well-done rainy visuals and the excellent use of violin really help to build a sort of mysterious and foreboding tone that compliments the conflict of a turtle praying on civilians for feeding purposes.
"The Nest" makes sure to tell some great jokes as well that hit all the right notes. One of the episode's strongest jokes is Gumball's remark about how he is not a "cat person" not seeing the irony of the statement himself. The episode also disperses a fair bit of black comedy, including the jokes of the guy next door "heading towards the light", Larry driving towards electrical wires with leaking gasoline, and the Goblin getting bit in a very personal area by one of the turtle's babies. However, my favorite source of humor, however, comes from the satire on modern news.
Throughout the episode, Elmore's news crew over-exaggerates everything, often drawing premature conclusions and looking for the absolute worst in every situation, much like the current rendition of news. It's the typical topical and smart humor that we have come to know from Gumball; every line that Kip and Mike say is comedy gold.
Once again, the Wattersons and their dynamic are sharp, seamlessly working off of each other and having that tight-knit bond we've come to know from them. Complete with a heartwarming ending and conclusion to Evil Turtle's story, "The Nest" is an absolute must for any Gumball fan.
It's safe to say that alongside "The Shell" and "The Copycats", "The Fury" is easily one of the most anticipated episodes in the entire series; the hype surrounding this episode was tremendous. Needless to say, I believe the episode delivered and was one of Season 4's best.
"The Fury" has a pretty simple premise: Yuki Yoshida returns town and wants to fight Nicole Watterson one-on-one, but Nicole refuses to do so until her livelihood and family are at stake. Now, Yuki could have easily been an insufferable character similar to Harold with how she relentlessly bullies Nicole at the Rainbow Factory. However, Yuki has two things that save her from being Harold-levels of bad, one of them being a backstory that actually justifies her actions. Although it may be an overreaction to a degree, the tournament meant something special to Yuki and Nicole just shattered her dreams; she has a legitimate reason to be angry unlike Harold who bullies Richard for no reason, and doesn't even have the deliciously cartoony and exaggerated aspect to his jerk-like behaviors that saves Mrs. Robinson. Yuki also makes up with Nicole and apologizes to her in the climax, which is the other thing that saves her from being completely insufferable.
That aside, "The Fury" thrives on being an affectionate homage to Japanese media, specifically anime and manga. A scene that I feel is often overlooked is the manga-styled sequence detailing the history between Nicole and Yuki. The scene has a very authentic feel to it with it almost being a near replica of the Dragon Ball art style. It's a segment brimming with detail and cool bonuses throughout that deserves more attention. However, the episode's shining moment is the fight scene between Nicole and Yuki. The episode plays the fight scene completely straight with little humor and it works quite well. The scene is choreographed beautifully and the use of a Japanese anime art style really compliment the intensity of the scene. Even the smaller details, such as the corny dialogue most likely acting as a homage to anime dubbing and the chibi forms of the children really add to the "anime" feel the episode and make an amazing scene to view in typical Gumball fashion.
Although Richard only appears in the episode for a minute, I must compliment his characterization in the episode. The way he is quick to comfort his wife after he notices her dejected state is a small, heartwarming scene that adds to the episode. It's not much, but small things can bolster the viewing experience, after all.
With some the occasional good joke to boot, such as Richard's and Yuki's interactions and the visual gags revolving around Yuki's treatment toward Nicole at work, this episode is definitely a winner that deserves its popularity.
Only bad thing to come out of this episode is the comment sections of "The Fury"-related videos. Seeing how many people want to replace the multi-media style of the show for a Japanese-anime style just hurts me.
"The Origins" was an episode long overdue that finally gave fans answers to questions they have had for a while. Competing for some to be some of the series's best episodes, both "The Origins: Part One" and "The Origins: Part Two" are a delightful pair of twenty-two minutes.
"The Origins" tells a story of a young Darwin, and how he came to meet his family and develop his hominal attributes. Now, "The Origins" is an episode relying less on comedy, and instead it is an episode more character-driven employing poignancy to tell its story. This works to the episode's benefit; "The Origins" makes a grandiose effort to ensure that its viewers are captivated by Gumball's and Darwin's stories. The episode puts the relationship between the two to the test, really testing how loyal they are to each other and how much they would be willing to endure to reunite (especially on Darwin's end). In turn, it leads to some surprisingly tear-jerking mometns, such as Darwin's dejected state when he believes Gumball has given up on him, and a satisfying reunion between the boys in the final act.
Pacing is not something I discuss too much unless it is awful. However, with "The Origins" being the series's first two-part episode, I feel it is important to state that the episode is well-paced. Each part gets one of the two storylines ongoing in the episode, and it helps to make the story more manageable. Because these two plots are separate, each plot can really be developed, only engrossing the viewers further. Part One emphasizes the struggles Richard and Nicole face to care for a young Gumball and the lengths they are willing to go to satisfy him. Part Two highlights the bond between Darwin and Gumball and how they affect one another. Neither part feels rushed; each one is given an adequate amount of time to do what it needs to and properly intertwine with one another.
Although comedy is not the focus of "The Origins", the two parts manage to still deliver some great jokes. One of the funniest segments in the special is constant deaths of goldfish after goldfish followed by Richard sending each fish a proper farewell; the timing in these two minutes just work perfectly. The joke involving Sussie's parents dropping Sussie on her head is arguably the best joke in "The Origins" with how dark it is for a relativity "feel-good" episode.
"The Origins: Part One and Part Two" are two (or we can count it as one? I don't know) amazing episodes that set out to provide an amazing character-driven experience to great success, making it must-see for not only Gumball fans, but those who are not as invested in the show.
Yes, I am aware that "The Rerun is apart of Season 5's run, but the two episodes are so dependent on each other that they must be talked about together.
"The Disaster" and "The Rerun" are some of the most popular episodes in the entire series. Not only was it the the first episode to leave fans on a seasonal cliffhanger (at least that is how it was intended. You screw ups, Cartoon Network), but it was an episode that really elevated the stakes and for the first time. it work to great success.
"The Disaster" and "The Rerun" has Rob discover a remote control capable of bending reality; he uses this newfound power to not only make Gumball's life miserable, but to get rid of him for good. Similar to "The Origins", "The Disaster" and "The Rerun" focus less on comedy. However, while "The Origins" took a more poignant tone, "The Disaster" and "The Rerun" capture a more serious tone that gives the impression that Gumball is always in danger, and given the nature of the episode it works well.
Rob takes a much needed step in his villainous schemes. For the first time he feels like a genuine threat: somebody not to take lightly. As best stated by C.R. Martin in his review of the episodes here, Rob is not just ruining Gumball's life, but he is attempting to change the entire structure of the show itself. By destroying Gumball's family life, damaging his love life, and throwing Gumball into the Void, Rob is gravely changing the dynamic of the show and how the characters interact, and given how meta the show can be at times, it really adds a certain power to Rob.
"The Disaster"'s and "The Rerun"'s more serious tone can also be seen in the way the characters interact with one another. In "The Disaster", for instance, it is very rare that we see the characters emotionally hurt, but seeing the crushed look on Penny's face, Anais's and Darwin's tears, and the angry faces on Nicole and Richard really add to the episode's power. Seeing how Darwin's and Anais's deaths affect Gumball is also something. The episode even uses it's more serious tone to give Rob a more sympathetic edge, establishing that he does not want to do what he does, instead only desiring to be recognized. It is a sympathetic backstory that works and makes the character likable.
Of course, "The Disaster" and "The Rerun" are also renowned for their clever fourth wall breaks. Following in the footsteps of "The Money" and "The Signal", "The Disaster" and "The Rerun" find a new creative way to experiment with the fourth wall via the use of the universal remote control. The notion of using the "rewind" and "fast forward" buttons to travel through time is such an ingenious concept, and the other things they do with the remote are just as clever. The use of a literal parental filter is also something worth noting. Heck, the AV input acting as the Void was also pretty great.
Small thing: I do like how Penny believes Gumball when he claims he does not cheated. It's a small thing, but small things can make a difference.
"The Disaster" and "The Rerun" are two amazing episodes, and are not only my favorites among Season 4, but some of my favorites in the entire series.
Alas, that wraps up this three-parter series. I have some ideas for future posts. For starters, Matt and I plan to team up again in the future to write a discussion-like post detailing the reputation of the show's first season and why it is so isolated from the other seasons.
In addition, I plan to try some other things. One such thing is a series where I look at some of the series's more popular characters and analyze why they're so well-liked. Think of the series as what Matt current does with his "The [insert good and nice character] Problem" series except more positive and not as well composed. Courtesy of IsabellaGranger12 from YouTube, a person from who I had a nice discussion with about Darwin and Carrie as characters, I intend on tackling either Darwin or Carrie first. When is it coming? Hopefully, some time in late May when my schedule is more free.
As always, I am open to any civil discussion.
- A Second Opinion: The Hero (feat. ThatGuy456) - My collaboration effort with Matt. I'm pretty proud of this one, so take a look if you have the time.
- A Guy's Thoughts: (Week 4) "New Amazing World of Gumball in February!" - If you want to see my thoughts on the final week of
kill Gumball by bleeding all the episodes outGumbomb, then check out that post.