Tuesday, October 1, 2013

"Fraggle Rock" Month: Season 4, Episode 17 - "The Trial of Cotterpin Doozer"

The second half of the final season of "Fraggle Rock" is crazy emotional in its best moments, and I am probably not going to end up spending as much time as I should on this relatively lighter episode.  But I think there are some very interesting ideas presented in "The Trial of Cotterpin Doozer", so although it isn't the kind of crazy tearjerker the last few episodes of "Fraggle Rock" are rightfully known for, there are a few neat things to unpack.

So far, Cotterpin has been the main catalyst in bringing the Fraggle and Doozer worlds together by being one of maybe three Doozers ever who has even talked to a Fraggle, never mind made friends with one.  And this episode reveals that, really, Cotterpin herself IS the connection.  The other Doozers still think of Fraggles as those stupid weird bird-things that crash into their towers and eat their architecture.  A bullying Doozer calls her out and very suddenly Cotterpin finds herself on trial for consorting with Fraggles.  She'll lose her job unless she can prove Fraggles are intelligent beings worthy of the Doozers' respect.  And now that the trial has thus escalated, we've got ourselves the "Fraggle Rock" version of the good old Humanity on Trial story.

It's hard to tell if the Humanity on Trial story really is a rusty old science fiction trope or if it just feels that way, probably because it bookended "Star Trek: The Next Generation".  Never mind that in this series, we have an alien race putting a different alien race on trial instead -- and notice how closely we relate to Fraggles by now that they so easily slip into humans' role!  Humans had Captain Picard to defend our right to exist (we also got the Planeteers, according to TV Tropes; I really need to hunt that episode down because I can't even imagine...).  And the Fraggles get...

Well, they don't get Red or Gobo, like Cotterpin was hoping for.  Actually, they don't get any of the major characters.  They've all evacuated the Rock due to a Poison Cackler egg found nearby that's due to hatch soon.  So in a great subversion, Cotterpin can't pick the most noble or wise among the Fraggles to stand up for the entire Fraggle species.  Fortunately, "Fraggle Rock" is at the point where, as with "The Simpsons", there are lots and lots of terrific minor characters, and lucky for Cotterpin, a couple of them stayed behind.  And thus Cotterpin recruits the two Fraggles who must now step up for the sake of all Fraggles: Large Marvin and his sidekick Feenie.  Oh, dear.

Thus far, Large Marvin and Feenie have been little more than joke characters doing weird stuff in the background.  They are, as stated, not the most noble or wise among the Fraggles.  If you knew these two were your entire species' defendants, it would not exactly inspire confidence.  But they are still the only beings around who are big enough to tackle a Poison Cackler - and that egg that's about to hatch is nested right outside the entrance to the Doozer Dome...

This is the last episode that centers on the Doozers, so it is effectively the end of their story arc.  There was some chatter a while back of a fully animated Doozer spin-off series.  I said it before, and I'll say it again, I sure as heck didn't see that coming.  But more importantly, I wonder if that series is even going to acknowledge the other residents of Fraggle Rock or if its going to be set entirely in the Doozer Dome?  As violently opposed as I am to the very idea of CGI Fraggles (quick aside: on that note, let's not talk about any animated Fraggles.  Let's just not.  Nope), I'd hate to see the Doozers deprived of their context.  It'd be a betrayal of all the work the original "Fraggle Rock" series did to bring these worlds together.

Okay, who's ready for a long string of emotional gut-punches?

1 comment:

Grant said...

News of that CG Doozer series pops up every few years, but nothing ever seems to come of it. I think the idea, weirdly enough, was to set it in Outer Space, not in the Rock at all. I agree with you about context.