Friday, September 13, 2013

"Fraggle Rock" Month - Season 1, Episode 21: "Gobo's Discovery"

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All joking aside, "Gobo's Discovery" blindsided me.  I remembered this one as the episode where Gobo gets all emo and there's an invisible monster or something.  I did not recall the reason for Gobo's angst, and while there is an effectively scary invisible monster, the real invisible monster here is all in our hero's head.

Gobo, as I have already mentioned, is our de-facto leader and an explorer.  In this episode, we learn that he never really called any of this into question, but a particularly terrifying visit to Doc's workshop got him thinking.  And he realizes that he never asked for this life; it was kind of thrust upon him by his uncle.  There's a long path of risky decisions and shattered childhood dreams stretching behind him and a lifetime of danger and fear in front of him.  All of this causes Gobo to suffer what can only be called the Fraggle equivalent of a mid-life crisis, and he spends most of the episode moping in bed.

That's some heavy stuff for a kids' show isn't it?  I don't think this is the kind of problem you're going to see tackled in "Super Why".  This is where "Fraggle Rock" is at this point in the series.  No subject is off-limits.  This is the kids' show that isn't afraid to go there.

The other Fraggles are desperate to get Gobo out of his depression.  And mind you, that's before the invisible monster (the one who is not inside our hero's head) attacks the Rock.  At that point everyone is clamoring for Gobo to get off his fuzzy butt and help drive the beast back into its lair.

The conclusion to this episode is kind of fascinating.  As an explorer, Gobo has developed skills that none of the other Fraggles have.  He really is the only one who can save everyone from the monster because he knows where it came from and how to trap it.  And he learns that even if exploring isn't what he's always wanted to do, at this point it's what he's meant to do.  So, kids, even though you may grow up and not be where you dreamed you'd be as a child, other people are going to be counting on you, so it's almost kind of selfish to mope all day that you grew up to be an accountant instead of a rock star.  Again, that's pretty heavy and unexpected, but it's another big step in humanizing (or Fragglizing?) Gobo. 

Next week, we'll start in on season two - and I'll be writing the reviews right after watching the episodes this time instead of all at once.

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