Thursday, September 26, 2013

"Fraggle Rock" Month - Season 3, Episode 18: "Bored Stiff"

Okay, let me level with you, dear reader.  This is not the most psychologically dense episode of "Fraggle Rock" ever made.  It is not the most sophisticated.  And yet...

And yet, I think of all the episodes from Season Three, this one made me the happiest.  Look at that climax again!  Look at it!  Great Wish-Granting Creature, we get to see that the Gorgs and the Fraggles are finally dancing and singing together in the spirit of harmony -perfect harmony, if you will- to one of the most delightful earworms on the song score so far!  And they're doing it to help each-other because...

I think I need to back up a little.

Okay, so Ma and Pa Gorg are feeling romantic (At this point, the Gorgs are basically a much less cynical version of Chuck Jones' Three Bears), but the spot where they first made out is infested with Fraggles.  Pa finds a nasty potion, Boredom Juice, in the shed and is determined to saturate the whole Fraggle tunnel with the stuff.  But Junior is worried because he has begun to befriend the Fraggles in earlier episodes, most notably "The Great Radish Caper".  The Rock gets sprayed, the Fraggles suffer fatal amounts of ennui, and it's up to Junior and Gobo to save everyone with a magical song-and-dance number -- and of course, they'll have to deal with their differences and work together to do so.

So at first glance, this episode is just fun.  The aforementioned song-and-dance number is truly terrific and showcases the wonderful physicality of these characters.  And I still have the "Touch your nose / then touch your toes" song in my head.

But dig a little deeper and you've got a beautiful case of character development here.  We got hints of it in earlier episodes, but now it is very clear that "Fraggle Rock" has a genuine gosh-darn myth arc going on here.  This is the episode where Junior and the Fraggles finally start coming to an understanding.  Consider this: in the first season, the Gorgs were almost straight-up antagonists!  For a Gorg to even talk to a Fraggle was unthinkable back then!

And given that Fraggles have already befriended Gorgs and Doozers, there's only one other world left to fully connect with...

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