THIS REVIEW IS MEANT TO BE READ AFTER YOU'VE SEEN THE EPISODE. I WON'T BE GIVING A PLOT SYNOPSIS FOR THE EPISODE AND I WILL BE REFERENCING SPECIFIC EVENTS, SO IF YOU HAVEN'T SEEN THE EPISODE THEN THIS WON'T MAKE MUCH SENSE.
Time travel episodes are nothing new, in fact they're a dime a dozen. Any show that has the capability to make its characters travel through time will inevitably do just that. Usually these are the result of the creators kind of just saying "Wouldn't it be cool if _______ saw dinosaurs and knights?!" and while cool, they're usually not that interesting from a character perspective. Gravity Falls handles time travel differently, in a surprisingly mature way that makes the Time Traveler's Pig stand out as an episode worth multiple viewings and plenty of praise.
As with any episode of Gravity Falls The Time Traveler's Pig is funny. It takes advantage of its characters, gets in plenty of environmental gags, and keeps the laughs coming at a great pace. It's not a standout from the perspective of being incredibly funny like Irrational Treasure was, but it is in that the writing is noticeably different than just about any other episode of Gravity Falls. The environment is used for gags that reflect the current state of the plot much more than in any other episode with jokes like when Dipper finally gets the timeline he wants ("We have a winner!") or when he and his twin get back to his preferred timeline ("This is the best present ever!"). These jokes would definitely seem out of place if they were used in other episodes of the show, but in a time travel episode where most of the rest of the rules about how the world works change they seem strangely natural. I believe the abundance of these jokes compared to other episodes can largely be blamed on co-writer Aury Wallington, who worked on both this episode and Headhunters. These kinds of jokes are limited almost solely to this episode along with her credit and I'm kind of glad its that way. If these jokes were used any more than they are then they would begin to become less funny fast, but by only appearing in one episode they don't overstay their welcome.
Besides being hilarious The Time Traveler's Pig is also a very good time travel story. Most time travel episodes, be they in kids shows or adult entertainment treat time travel as a simple means to transport their characters to new and interesting settings, but Gravity Falls uses it for the purpose of moving the plot first and foremost. The characters don't even begin to travel through time until half way through the episode and even then it isn't until the last quarter that they travel to a time other than earlier the same day. It's interesting to see such a unique and restrained approach to time travel that allows the characters and their emotions so much room to shine. In this kind of episode on a different show the pace would probably be too brisk to allow Dipper and Mabel to interact and develop as much as they do, but since the episode is much slower they are given plenty of time to do so. This great pacing combined with the cool time travel device (seriously, how has nobody done a tape measure time machine before) and the little details from previous episodes make the entire thing feel much more complete and expertly put together.
The Time Traveler's Pig is undoubtedly an exceptional episode of Gravity Falls, but it's not perfect. The plot of Wendy and Robbie beginning to go out is handled well and doesn't seem forced, but it suffers a bit from the fact that Robbie hasn't had much development over the course of the show's previous episodes. It's not a huge fault and it can't hold The Time Traveler's Pig back from being utterly fantastic, but it does keep it from excelling and being truly the best the show has to offer.
-Did you notice that when Dipper runs to get the ice the sign over the Mystery Shack says "Sale?". I was watching the episode for probably the fifth or sixth time for this review and I just noticed that.
-This review is shorter than all the rest of these reviews so far, but that's mostly due to the fact that I don't want to talk about specific moments in each episode in these reviews as much as what I think the big important pros and cons of each episode are. If I talked about specific moments these reviews would boil down to me gushing for about 20,000 words, followed by me over analyzing and nitpicking for 10,000.