Friday, September 27, 2013

"Fraggle Rock" Month - Season 4, Episode 1: "Sprocket's Big Adventure"

(Note: This is the twenty-third episode included on my [relatively] old season three DVDs, but I have recently learned that it was aired and produced as the first episode of season four.  We'll talk about the scheduling weirdness of HBO next week.)

So here we are in the last (or second-to-last depending on what part of the world you were in -- but again, that's something we'll talk about next week) season of "Fraggle Rock" and at this point the Fraggle world, the Doozer world, and the Gorg world have all interacted with one-another somehow.  And the Human world, our world, has interacted just a little bit with the Fraggle world.

There's the obvious fact that humans have met Uncle Traveling Matt on his adventures in "Outer Space".  And now it is tangent time, cause I can't believe I haven't talked about this yet.  "Outer Space" is the Fraggles' term for our world, and I never truly realized the brilliance of that until I considered this show as an adult.  This gives "Fraggle Rock" all the hallmarks of a xenofiction series.  We're seeing the whole world through the eyes of the Fraggles, so the unknown alien creatures living in an unknown alien world, we realize with a little shudder, are us.

Sprocket, Doc's loyal dog, is a truly horrifying alien creature to the Fraggles.  Earlier in the series, he and Gobo came to a kind of understanding after Gobo helped Sprocket when he was trapped in the tunnels leading from the workshop to Fraggle Rock.  Now, they're friends, which comes in handy when Sprocket becomes lost in the tunnels of the Rock in this episode.

Here's the crazy thing about this episode, and the reason why I love it.  At this point in the series, we are more familiar with the worlds of Fraggle Rock than we are with the human world.  And just now, we're getting to see this world from the point of view of an outsider.  I'd like to point out that most series set in a fantastical imagined world do this in the very first episode/book/whatever.  Meanwhile, "Fraggle Rock" dropped us right into the fantasy world from the start with almost no hand-holding.  It doesn't do the obligatory episode where a newly arrived character is given a lengthy tour and has all the details of how the place works explained to him until the first episode of the final season.  You guys...

Anyway, Sprocket makes his way into Fraggle Rock and, in yet another nice subversion, meets with Cotterpin and her Doozer crew before any of the Fraggles.  And Cotterpin recognizes how lost this poor beast is and shows him the way to his home -- which, she assumes, is the Gorg's garden.  So Sprocket meets Junior Gorg and Marjory the Trash Heap.  The latter turns out to be fluent in canine and helps poor Sprocket find Gobo and the way back to Doc's workshop

And so we have the table set for the major crossovers between the worlds of the final season.  That does it for the third season set.  Next week, we head into the last season of "Fraggle Rock, which includes several episodes I have never seen before.  I'm just warning you, this could get emotional...

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