In 2012, when “Gravity Falls” had just begun its two-season run, Alex Hirsch spoke to Collider about the show and where his idea came from. He revealed that Dipper and Mabel mirrored himself and his twin sister growing up, right down to their interests and fashion choices. As for Grunkle Stan, he is inspired by Hirch’s grandfather, Stan, who used to fool around with him and his sister to keep them entertained. As for the sci-fi plot, Hirsch says shows like “The X-Files” and tabloids motivated him to do the series about all things paranormal and absurd.
Naturally, these real-life connections made working on “Gravity Falls” a deeply personal experience for Alex Hirsch, considering it could be interpreted as a sort of fictional account of his childhood. That said, it should come as no surprise that he took his development very seriously and often clashed with senior Disney brass over their comments. As he told The Mary Sue in 2017, one particularly heated exchange concerned a scene involving a same-sex couple that officials didn’t want in the episode. Unfortunately, Hirsch couldn’t overcome Disney’s censors, so he reluctantly deleted the moment.
While the powers that be at Disney could make changes to “Gravity Falls” as they pleased, they couldn’t remove the personal association between Alex Hirsch’s life and the characters and story he wanted to tell.