Welcome to Childhood Fact Check, where we revisit (and maybe ruin) our childhood faves. Today we’re talking about Fraggle Rock, one of Jim Henson’s later Muppet endeavors, to see if it was really as weird as we all remember.
Fraggle Rock is a bit conflated with other Muppet appearances in my memory, but it was definitely more musical, and more bananas. Everything I think I remember doesn’t seem like it could, or should, be real. Let’s watch.
Okay, so the Fraggles live in Fraggle Rock, along with the lil’ green dudes, the Doozers. Out one end of their little cave complex is the home of a human inventor and his Muppet dog, Sprocket. Like most dogs, Sprocket is the best.
Out the other end, we’ve got the Gorgs, which are much larger than Fraggles and treat them as pests. The Gorgs have a pretty old fashioned gender binary going on. Ma Gorg sounds like Kristen Schaal and their adult-looking son talks like a baby, which is disturbing. I find it hard to move past this.
Some random facts, highlights, and thoughts:
One of the Fraggles is named Boober, which is hilarious. Also a little hard to move past. The other main Fraggles are Wembley, Red, Gobo, and Mokey.
Gobo’s uncle, Traveling Matt, is out exploring the human world, which he humorously misunderstands. This is the main interaction we see between Fraggles and humans, who they call Silly Creatures.
Fraggles are really into hats. It’s unclear why, but hats figure prominently into more than one storyline.
At times, the show becomes vaguely educational, with the inventor Doc explaining things to Sprocket. But overall, I don’t think we can call it an educational show.
Generally the stories are pretty light and nonsensical, but every once in a while there’s a line which comes way out of left field, like “I guess some slavery feels like freedom.”
The music is very good. A fun fact I learned from Wikipedia, the theme song actually made music charts in England at the time.
If you remember Fraggle Rock with the hazy quality of a fever dream, you are correct. It’s weird, even as Muppets go, but still has that distinct Muppet charm. The Fraggles each have distinct characterization. Boober is clearly meant to be the lame one, and the other Fraggles are pretty harsh on him sometimes. It’s a bit depressing, but it’s hard to remain sad when they keep saying “Boober” over and over again. The highlight of Fraggle Rock is definitely the music. There are two or three songs per episode, each written with obvious care and in a variety of styles.
Weirdest character The Gorg son Junior is incredibly off-putting.
Character the the internet can relate to hardest: Marjorie the All-Knowing Trash Heap
Should adults rewatch this? Go to Youtube. Watch a few clips. Move on with your life.
Should your future kids watch this? I don’t see why they wouldn’t still enjoy it. Kids love weird shit, and if they are going to sing along, at least the music is good.