Some people need kids to go to kids movies, read kids books, go to toy stores— while the husband and I drew a definite line through a suggested Disney Land honeymoon, we do enjoy the occasional kids programming. Especially when it’s creative, intelligently conversational, musical, and stinkin’ cute. Add a bit of nostalgia for something we both loved as kids ourselves, and you’ve got two solid reservations for Toon Town.
So the husband picked me up from work the other day sooooo excited to share his big surprise: Fraggles! He had found a completely random discount-DVD at Target with the first few episodes of Jim Hensen’s Fraggle Rock. For something like 8 bucks! Sweet.
We popped it in the machine that evening, and after the initial joy of the peppy, familiar opening credits wore off, I got a little worried: what if this was like the Smurfs or Inspector Gadget or the Baby Sitter’s Club? Things I loved at various points that have absolutely NO appeal to me now? What if the Fraggles weren’t timeless?
But then Sprocket and that man with no name and his workshop showed up, and then Uncle Travelling Matt (my favorite!) cam hrmhmm-ing thru, and I knew it was all going to be ok.
23 minutes later, and I was completely stunned. This show is fantastic! I’d forgotten how musical it is! And it’s complicated, hard music with clever lyrics, layered harmonies, and really creative rhythms. Know what else I forgot? The fact that Fraggle Rock is the biggest hippie commune ever, with all their crystals and mystical events.
Not to mention subversive. Check it out: In “Wembley and the Gorgs”, Wembley thinks he makes friends with the giant, Fraggle-crashing Gorgs. He wants to impress them, sing for them, make them like him. It’s not till his friends come to rescue him and are imprisoned (in this birdcage where they sing and clatter out an awsuhm jailbird lullaby) that he realizes he’s been a prisoner himself the whole time.
They all get away, of course, and at the end Wembley and Gobo have this nighty-night exchange:
Wembley: “I didn’t realize what they were doing to me until they tried to do it to my friends. I guess some prisons feel like freedom.”
Gobo: “Yeah. You knew who your friends were. That’s good, Wembley.”
“Some prisons feel like freedom?” Whoa man. I did NOT pick up on that as an 8-year old.
How could I ever doubt the man that brought us the sheer genius of The Muppet Show? I’m sorry Mr. Hensen. It won’t happen again.