Wednesday, September 4, 2013

September is "Fraggle Rock" Month!

"Seek your heart on the high blue skyway,
"Keep your heart and it's bound.
"Steep your heart in the deep of the earth again.
Lose your heart and it's found."
- Cantus and the Minstrels

"Fraggle Rock" was only in its first season when HBO aired this advertisement for a sweepstakes based on its very first original series.  I want you to pay attention to the wording in it:

The grand prize, as you just heard, was a trip for a family of four -and this is the exact phrase they use - "to Fraggle Rock".  Now obviously (to my adult self at least), they meant the studio where "Fraggle Rock" was filmed.  But instead of asking the audience if they want to visit a studio or a bunch of sets or even the Muppet workshop.  They ask us if we want to visit Fraggle Rock.  The real place.

It is a testament to how awesome "Fraggle Rock" was and is that not a few months into its first airing on American television, the network was treating its setting like a real place viewers could go and visit.  I longed with an indescribable heartache to visit the real Rock as a kid.  Hell, I am 35 and a half and I still want to go there.

Thankfully, the series is very easy to access these days.  As I mentioned in an early post, I've got the series sets put out a few years ago, and there is a gorgeous complete series set as well as episodes available through streaming services.  It is, thankfully, no longer difficult to go back to Fraggle Rock whenever you want.

And it turns out this is a series that is worth revisiting and revisiting often.  I have said in the past that I firmly believe that "Fraggle Rock" is the finest television program ever made for children and I'm sticking with that assessment.  The main reason why is because I don't think it's possible to outgrow it.  Thirty years later, watching the show makes me want to be a better person.

There's a reason for this, and it involves Jim Henson at his most Jim Henson-y (and therefore it's kind of the diametric opposite of the supposed origin story for last week's series binge).  The legend is well known by now, but it bears repeating here: Henson wanted to make a children's show that could bring about world peace.  Let's reflect for a moment on how freakin' incredible, crazy, and awesome that is.

For the next few weeks, I'll be watching every season of "Fraggle Rock" in order.  I'll discuss the most interesting, for ill or good (but mostly good), episodes and share a little analysis after I watch them.  In short, brace yourselves for a lot of short posts and a vanishingly rare "every weekday" posting schedule.

And watch along if you would, please, because with Season One already in the rear-view mirror, I've learned that this is not only the finest children's television series I've ever seen, not only arguably Jim Henson's greatest achievement, it is a fantastic series for all ages.


Posts in this series:

Season 1, Episode 1 -  "Beginnings"
Season 1, Episode 11 - "Catch the Tail by the Tiger"
Season 1, Episode 17 - "Marooned"
Season 1, Episode 18 - "The Minstrels"
Season 1, Episode 19 - "The Great Radish Famine"
Season 1, Episode 20 - "The Garden Plot"
Season 1, Episode 21 - "Gobo's Discovery"
Season 2, Episode 5 - "Uncle Matt Comes Home"
Season 2, Episode 6 - "Boober's Dream"
Season 2, Episode 8 - "All Work and All Play"
Season 2, Episode 14 - "The Secret of Convincing John"
Season 2, Episode 15 - "Manny's Land of Carpets"
Season 3, Episode 4 - "The Grapes of Generosity"
Season 3, Episode 8 - "Believe It Or Not!"
Season 3, Episode 9 - "Wembly and the Mean Genie"
Season 3, Episode 18 - "Bored Stiff"
Season 4, Episode 1 - "Sprocket's Big Adventure"
Season 4, Episode 9 - "Wembly's Flight"
Season 4, Episode 17 - "The Trial of Cotterpin Doozer"
Season 4, Episode 18 - "The River of Life"
Season 4, Episode 20 - "Gone But Not Forgotten"
Season 4, Episodes 24-26 - "The Gorg Who Would Be King", "The Honk of Honks", and "Change of Address"


Old but Relevant Art of the Day!  I still like it and honestly, I still stand by this theory:

425. Wembley


Philip Gonzales said...

So glad you're doing this! Now I've got to break out the DVDs. Question: will you be covering the Fraggles' appearance in "The Muppet Family Christmas?" Canonical? Non-canonical?

Trish said...

I'm learning that part of the reason why I held off on this project for so long is because of how daunting it is. There are four full seasons of "Fraggle Rock" and a ton of supplemental materials. I'm focusing mostly on the series here - and even then, only on what I think, upon reviewing, are the greatest episodes.

"Muppet Family Christmas" is terrific, but I agree with ToughPigs in that it's basically the Muppets' victory lap, and it seems to exist outside of any kind of continuity for any of the series involved. (And congratulations on getting me to talk about Muppet continuity. My brain!)