DVD review: “Fraggle Rock – Collection Two “ (1985-1986)

“Fraggle Rock – Collection Two “ (1985-1986)

Television

Thirty-five Episodes

Created by: Jim Henson

Featuring: Gerry Parkes, Fulton Mackay, John Gordon Sinclair, Simon O’Brien, Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz, Steve Whitmire, Kathryn Mullen, Karen Prell, Richard Hunt and Jim Henson

Pa Gorg: “Junior, are you sure this isn’t another one of your dumb hair-brained schemes?”

Junior Gorg: “No, Pa, this is one of my smart hair-brained schemes!”

Released recently on DVD is the second volume (of three?) “Fraggle Rock – Collection Two “ (1985-1986) that brings the classic Jim Henson series to home viewing which sees different levels of beings not really interacting but relying on each other to survive. At the time this may have gone over peoples heads but now surely it is more relevant than ever especially in the divided world we now find ourselves in.

Jim Henson was one of the creative forces of the past fifty years, he helped make “Sesame Street” (1969-present) what it is today, created ‘The Muppets’ with all that entailed including the television show, the movies and all that came since. Henson was responsible for the groundbreaking “The Dark Crystal” (1982) which made a comeback last year on Netflix and the groundbreaking (his actual legacy) The Jim Henson Company and Jim Henson’s Creature Shop. Once Jim Henson realised the power of his creations he became a global force in entertainment and children’s education up to his death in 1990. His own politics and social and environmental leanings can be seen in much of his work but no more so than the excellent “Fraggle Rock” (1983-1987) a show so prescient that it illustrated almost every week how reliant we are on each other and our entire environment. Not only that but it spawned an animated series and next year a rebooted series is coming next year.

“Fraggle Rock” concerns four main intelligent anthropomorphic species: Fraggles, Doozers, Gorgs and Silly Creatures. The Fraggles and Doozers live in a system of natural caves called Fraggle Rock that are filled with all manner of creatures and features and which connect to at least two different areas: The Land of the Gorgs which they consider part of the “Universe” and “Outer Space” where the “silly creatures” (or humans) live. One of the main themes of the series is that, although the three species depend on the other for their survival, they usually fail to communicate due to vast differences in their biology and culture. The series mainly follows the adventures of five Fraggles, each with their own personality: pragmatic Gobo, artistic Mokey, indecisive Wembley, superstitious Boober, and adventurous Red. 

Episodes:

Series Three

Red-Handed and the Invisible Thief: Red absolutely loves her radish bars (which are the equivalent of Pop-Tarts in our world). So when she sees that whenever she wakes up from sleeping that her bars are missing, she sets out to find the crook, which leads her to think her roommate Mokey stole them. She also gets Gobo to hide in a hole outside her room to watch and see if it really is Mokey; after Gobo gets distracted from reading a postcard, the bars go missing again, but Gobo claims he didn’t see anything.

Boober and the Glob: It’s Joke Day in Fraggle Rock, and Boober’s trying to get out before his friends find him and make him participate in the holiday he hates. But before he leaves, a huge purplish-pink glob rolls into the Great Hall. Boober ends up meeting Cotterpin Doozer as well, and the Doozers are on their way to start building near the Blob.

The Grapes of Generosity: Gobo finds the legendary “Grapes of Generosity”, mystical fruits which are rumored to compel anyone who eats them to share them with others. However, when Gobo brings them back, he ends up eating them and keeping them all to himself. Before long, Gobo becomes weightless, and tries to hide it from everyone else.

Blanket of Snow, Blanket of Woe: Mokey’s been making too many promises lately; most notably, she was supposed to knit a tarpaulin for the Trash Heap before the next big snow. But she ends up being too late, and when she sees Philo and Gunge mourning over the frozen Marjorie, she decides she has to fix her mistake. When she overhears the Gorgs need to throw out some yucky, hot soup, she along with the help of Gobo go into the Gorg’s castle to find a way to get the soup on the Trash Heap so she can thaw out.

Pebble Pox Blues: Gobo’s come down with the Pebble Pox, so it’s up to Boober and Wembley to go to the Cave of Shadows to get Gobo’s cure. However, Boober’s not too fond of the idea, and shares his worries with Wembley along the way. Before long, Wembley comes up with a bad case of the Pebble Pox, too. Will Boober leave his sick friend behind and ditch the journey, or will Boober put his germ-worries aside to help his friends?

Home Is Where the Trash Is: Philo and Gunge are sick and tired of being around Marjorie, so they decide to go off and find their home. The only problem is, they don’t know where they originally came from. After a failed attempt to live in Mokey and Red’s room, they travel far away, were caught and made slaves of Wander McMooch, the Trash Heap’s biggest enemy.

Believe It or Not: Red and Wembley decide they’re going on an adventure out in the Gorg’s Garden today. At the same time, Ma is trying to get Pa and Junior to clean the basement, which is something that they really don’t want to do. Junior catches a fluffy little creature named Skinfrith, and then Red and Wembley set him free so they can have some fun. But what they don’t know is, this Skinfrith is a magical creature that can change into anything that someone can imagine.

Wembley and the Mean Genie: When Gobo, Red and Wembley are searching for unique items, Wembley comes upon an old green bottle. He takes it back to his cave, and while he’s polishing the bottle up, a genie appears. Wembley can hardly believe his luck, but this genie has his own agenda. He destroys all the items Gobo and Red found, then he scares Boober half to death by making his laundry look like ghosts. Gobo says he needs to get rid of the mean genie, but the genie says he needs to stop letting Gobo boss him around. Later on, Wembley decides Gobo was right, and they create a plan to get the genie back in the bottle, then bury it.

The Secret Society of Poohbahs: Mokey really, really wants to be a part of the Secret Society of Poohbahs, even though Red keeps telling her it’s just a silly club. Then one day Mokey gets a letter saying that the Poohbah’s would like to see her and find out if she’s worthy of being a part of the club. She tells Red of her invitation, only to find out that she wasn’t supposed to tell anyone about it.

The Beanbarrow, the Burden and the Bright Bouquet: t’s time for the annual Beanbarrow Race, and it’s Gobo and Wembley vs. Red and Mokey. But when Mokey gets delayed, Red ends up having to do the race with Lanford, Mokey’s annoying plant. As they’re racing, Red and Lanford get lost at Table Rock Cavern which is where the Clinging Creepers live. When the Clinging Creepers start to attack them, Red and Lanford must work together in order to escape.

Gobo’s School for Explorers: Gobo finds out about Uncle Matt’s Secret Rules for Exploring through a postcard, and decides to open up a school for explorers. On his first expedition, he- along with Red, Wembley and Mokey- must travel to the Hole To Who-Knows-Where. Gobo becomes so fixated on the rules that he starts to disregard common sense, and of course, he and Red go at it again. Wembley and Mokey start to agree with Gobo’s rules, but before long, they both side with Red.

Scared Silly: Boober’s been testing belouviouses, which are the part of a Fraggle’s tail that flares up when scared. And when he tests Wembley’s, Wembley wants to get even, so Philo and Gunge give him ideas on how to test his belouvious back. When hiding in the laundry and shouting “Boo!” doesn’t work, he goes with an elaborate plan of setting up scary masks, spiders and snakes.

The Great Radish Caper: Mokey’s on her way out to get a radish, when she sees Junior talking to this gigantically huge radish named Geraldine. When she tries to take the radish back home, Junior catches her, and she sees that Junior has a problem. Junior asks her what it is, and she fools him into letting her go. Mokey shares this with her friends, and then Wembley, Gobo and Red decide to go have a look at it, only to almost be caught by Junior. Mokey then decides that, while they get the radish, she’ll keep Junior occupied. Mokey gets caught again, and Junior makes her tell him what the problem is.

Born to Wander: The Storyteller’s having a story-telling session in Gobo’s room, so Gobo decides that he wants to hear about Uncle Matt’s first big journey. We see a flashback of little Matt- who’s dressed like Gobo is now-with his Uncle Gobo, who thinks that his nephew Matt is annoying and clueless. Back then, Fraggles either ate mushrooms or Doozer constructions, but when the mushrooms run out, Uncle Gobo and Matt try to find some food. However, Matt causes a rock quake, and breaks Uncle Gobo’s leg.

The Battle of Leaking Roof: It’s about to rain, and Ma wants Pa to fix the hole in the roof before it starts to pour. At the same time, Boober and Mokey are out getting radishes, and when Ma accidentally picks Boober up, he loses his hat. Boober’s too afraid to go back out there, so Mokey goes out by herself to get the hat.

Playing Till It Hurts: It’s time for Rock Hockey, and Red’s especially excited because her idol, Rock Hockey Hannah, is coming to watch her play. Her excitement’s cut short, however, when she injures herself. She’s still determined to play, and she escapes from her room to try it again, only to get even more hurt.

Bored Stiff: Gobo’s wanting to go with Wembley out to the Gorg’s Garden on an expedition. But their trip is cut short when they meet Mokey, Boober and Red at the hole to the garden, and they tell the boys that the Gorgs are right outside. Gobo decides that he’s gonna find out what’s going on. Meanwhile, Ma and Pa are playing around Kissing Rock, and Junior finds a spray can that’s marked “Boredom Juice”, a chemical that, when sprayed, causes anyone or anything to become permanently bored.

The Cavern of Lost Dreams: When Cotterpin Doozer hears that Gobo is the bravest Fraggle in the Rock, she gets him to help her find the Cavern of Lost Dreams, which is where the original tower was built. When they get there, the remaining two Doozers, Yeaster and Crusty, don’t want to come back. Will these two Doozers finally accept the changes that have occurred and move back to the Rock and help build once again?

The Incredible Shrinking Mokey: Mokey and Red are putting on a puppet show and on their way to the production, Mokey hears the cries of a strange creature named Begoony, a magical fluffy critter who clings himself to Mokey and wants all of her attention. But when Mokey’s torn between helping Begoony and putting on their show, Begoony puts a curse on her that makes her shrink, and then Begoony places her in a dollhouse.

A Dark and Stormy Night: Gobo feels as if he’s done it all and wishes there was someplace he could explore. But when he hears that the Gorgs are going on a vacation, he thinks his problem is solved, and decides to map the inside of the Gorg’s castle. Meanwhile, Ma and Pa are going on their second honeymoon, and they want Junior to stay behind and watch the castle. When Gobo tells everyone of his new exploration, the other Fraggles think the Gorgs are going to be in the castle while he’s exploring.

Gunge the Great and Glorious: When the Architect Doozer is teaching some younger Doozers about the great Doozer king (who looks a LOT like Gunge) Gunge wanders in the middle of the teaching session while looking for the M’Geecky vines for Marjorie.

Series Four

The Bells of Fraggle Rock: It’s winter time in Fraggle Rock, and Cantus arrives to help the Fraggles celebrate the Festival of the Bells. However, Gobo’s holiday spirits aren’t up and he’s forgotten the true meaning. So to make this holiday extra special, he decides he’s going to find the Great Bell of Fraggle Rock and bring it back before the celebration begins. But the Rock grows colder, and as Red, Mokey, Boober and Wembley wait, they grow closer to becoming frozen.

Sprocket’s Big Adventure: Doc still doesn’t believe Sprocket when he says there’s furry creatures behind the hole in the workshop. So Sprocket finally makes his way into Fraggle Rock to find Gobo, and causes all kinds of mayhem. When he runs into the Doozers, the Doozers hire him to knock down all their buildings so they can rebuild.

Wembley’s Wonderful Whoopie Water: Wembley’s got a special talent; he can hear water in the rock walls. But when Gobo and Red don’t believe him, he sets out to prove he’s right. When water finally breaks out, the Fraggles discover that this type of water is special. But when the water starts to cause rock quakes and Gobo falls into the cracks, is it finally time to shut down the fun?

Sidebottom Blues: When Boober shows Wembley all of his ointments and medicines, Wembley thinks Boober doesn’t have enough fun, and invites him to the garden to play Follow the Leader with the rest of their friends. First Boober accepts, but then he overhears Gobo talking about Boober being a big goof (when really, Gobo’s referring to Junior), he gets upset and very hurt, and decides to let Sidebottom out and turns into “Dr. Fun.”

Uncle Matt’s Discovery: Uncle Matt’s coming back home again, and this time when he shows up, he hides under the party table in Gobo’s room to avoid what he calls “Face Erasers.” Red mocks Matt’s cowardice. Gobo then gets upset that Matt would not admit his fear, so Matt goes exploring by himself. When Wembley convinces Gobo to go after him, they find a scary wooden statue of a Fraggle.

Junior Faces the Music: Tonight is the night of the Blue Moon, and when Junior Gorg notices this, he begs Pa to let him play the Royal Kazoo to prove that he’ll be a great, worthy king. But the moon needs to be full, and one also needs five Fraggle witnesses. But when Pa dismisses the idea in fear of Junior being banished, Junior feels like he’ll never be much of anything.

The Perfect Blue Rollie: One day as Wembley and Boober are going down by Roaring Rivene, they come upon a huge collection of colorful smoothies and rollies, the greatest gift you can give to a Fraggle. But then, something even more amazing happens; Wembley spots the Perfect Blue Rollie, the rarest pebble in the universe. He gives it to Boober in the spirit of giving. But Boober becomes selfish with the rollie and puts it in his Hidey Hole, a cave where Boober keeps all of his stuff.

A Tune for Two: It’s time for the Duet-athon! Wembley’s supposed to be paired up with Gobo, but when Matt comes back home for another visit, Gobo gets paired up with his uncle instead. Then Wembley tries to get Boober to join him, but when Tosh Fraggle comes along, Boober just can’t resist doing a song with his crush. Wembley becomes sad, and thinks no one wants to be with him in the Duet-athon. While Wembley’s crying, Cotterpin Doozer comes along and tries to cheer him up, saying she’ll be in the competition with him.

A Brush with Jealousy: Mokey’s well-known for being a terrific painter, but when Red takes down one of her paintings and puts up one of Pedley Fraggles’ (another great painter), she sets out to show everyone how much better of a painter she is. When she goes to the Trash Heap for a paintbrush, Marjorie gives her a magical paintbrush that, when used for the wrong reasons, takes control of the Fraggle using it.

Wembley’s Flight: When Wembley rescues a Spider Fly from a Snare Blossom, the fly turns into a strange old creature that will grant Wembley any wish he wants to for setting him free. Wembley decides he wants to fly, so the creature gives him the ability, but Wembley’s only allowed to fly three times. He uses his first time up almost immediately, but then he goes to find his friends to show them his new ability.

Wonder Mountain: Mokey wants to go all the way up to Wonder Mountain to see the Aurora Fragglialis, which only occurs once every 1000 days. But Red’s worried about Mokey going alone, and even though she promised Mokey she trusted her enough to go by herself, Red decides to leave the duties of plant-sitting Lanford to Gobo, Boober and Wembley to watch over Mokey so nothing bad happens.

Red’s Blue Dragon: Red’s been playing “Princess Gwenelot and the Evil Dragon” lately, and when Gobo tells her she needs to grow up and stop playing make-believe, she happens upon the T. Matthew Fraggle Room, the cavern with the dozens of tunnels that lead to different places in “Outer Space.”

Space Frog Follies: Gobo’s getting ready to have a surprise party for himself, but when Uncle Matt shows up and says he can’t come to the party, Gobo gets upset. Meanwhile, Matt takes Wembley aside and shows him the present he got for Gobo; a space frog.

Boober Gorg: Boober’s well-known for cooking excellent recipes with radishes, and one day while creating another famous dish, the pot explodes, and the radish falls on Boober’s head, giving him amnesia, and it’s up to his friends to find a cure.

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