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Series / Fraggle Rock

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Let the music play, down in Fraggle Rock!note 
"The magic is always there, as long as we keep looking for it... "
Uncle Travelling Matt

Story goes that Jim Henson was taking a long and boring trip and mused aloud, "I'd like to make a TV show that brings about world peace."

The result? Fraggle Rock, produced for the CBC in Canada, and aired on HBO in the U.S. in 1983-87 and rerun several times since. The series depicts a colorful and fun world, but it's also a world with a relatively complex ecosystem. The different races of creatures are each connected through symbiosis, even though they don't realize it until the very end of the series. This was meant as an allegory of the human world, where each group is somewhat unaware of how interconnected and important they are to one another. Creating this allegorical world allowed the program to entertain and amuse while seriously exploring complex issues of prejudice, spirituality, personal identity, ecology and social conflict.

The series' triumph, by far, was being able to express all of this onscreen without being Anvilicious or insulting the intelligence of its young audience. By the second season, there wasn't an issue they wouldn't tackle. The writers refused to over-simplify any individual issue, and instead simply illustrated the consequences and inherent difficulties of different actions and relationships. Though the Fraggles do learn important lessons, they are rarely self-conscious about it.

And the best part? The series is a lot of fun, with wall-to-wall music and engaging characters in a fantastic, well-realized setting, making it a prime example of the kind of show you like as a kid, but "get" as an adult. It also contains some of the most astonishing and ingenious special effects ever devised for a Muppet series, thanks to a team led by Muppet veteran Faz Fazakas. HBO, understandably excited about having an exclusive on a new series from the creator of the most-watched TV series on the planet, paid the show's talent costs, allowing the CBC production team in Toronto to allocate more funds for production (using the increased budget typical of a variety show as opposed to a children's show), and it showed.

The ideals of friendship, being true to yourself and learning to love those incredibly different were the cornerstones of Henson's career, and he considered Fraggle Rock to be one of the purest and most successful expressions of that vision. Although Henson delegated most of the day-to-day responsibilities of the series' production, as he was focused on The Dark Crystal and then Labyrinth at the time, he had assembled a top-notch team of professionals in every department who knew how to bring his vision to life, and did with flying colors; in turn, many Henson fans have agreed that Fraggle Rock may be his masterpiece. Unlike Dark Crystal and Labyrinth, Fraggle Rock enjoyed near universal acclaim, well liked by both criticsnote  and audiences.note  The first LP soundtrack earned a Grammy nomination and charted in the UK Top 40 (as did the theme song). And while it didn't end war in general, it was dubbed into over a dozen languages and aired in over ninety nations globally, and was the first western series broadcast in the Soviet Union... four days before the Berlin Wall came down, no less!note 

Spin-offs include:

  • Fraggle Rock (1985-86): A Comic Book series published by Marvel Comics' Star Comics imprint.
  • A number of children's books which either adapted TV episodes ("Wembley's Egg", "Marooned") or featured the characters in original stories were published between 1983 and 1986, by Holt, Rinehart and Winston and Muppet Press in the U.S. and CBC in Canada. Head writers Jocelyn Stevenson and Jerry Juhl themselves penned a few of the entries in the series, which included both storybooks for younger readers and chapter books for middle-elementary readers.
  • Down at Fraggle Rock: Behind the Scenes (1987): A backstage look at the production of the show, hosted by Henson himself. Broadcast as an HBO special, it won a CableACE award in 1988.
  • Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series (1987-88): An Animated Adaptation for NBC, animated by the Muppet Babies crew. It was later rerun on Disney Channel prior to the original series being rerun, and released on DVD in January 2010.
  • Fraggle Rock (2010): A second comic series, this time by Archaia Entertainment.
    • Fraggle Rock (2011)
    • Fraggle Rock: Monsters from Outer Space (2011)
    • Fraggle Rock: Journey to the Everspring (2014-15)
    • Fraggle Rock (2018)
  • The Doozers (2014-18): An All-CGI Cartoon based on the Doozers.
  • Fraggle Rock: Rock On (2020): The Fraggle Five (and some of the original cast) return for a series of 3-to-5-minute episodes with celebrity guest stars on Apple TV+ filmed on their iPhones while all were separated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
  • Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock (2022): A reboot that premiered on Apple TV+ on the night of January 20, 2022. Once again, Karen Prell and Dave Goelz are reprising their original roles and are also co-executive-producing along with John Tartaglia (the current Gobo). Designs other than Mokey's are mostly the same as the originals. Apple TV+ also now holds exclusive streaming rights to the original series. A holiday special aired in November 2022, and a second season has been confirmed.

Meanwhile, a follow-up film was stuck in development since 2005 and had lapsed in and out of Development Hell. Its most recent move forward was in spring 2015, where Joseph Gordon-Levitt signed on to produce and star in the film. It has since been canceled in favor of the two streaming reboots.

Trope your cares away, down on Fraggle Rock!:

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Marlon sometimes gets a little too chummy with Red and Gobo, in such a way that it seems he has a really nasty ulterior motive (see Ambition Is Evil, below.)
  • Absurd Phobia: According to "Marooned", Boober is afraid of words with the letter "R" in them, especially when one of his closest friends has a name starting with "R". Or the fact that he has the letter "R" at the end of HIS name.
  • Acceptable Breaks from Reality: Or rather, acceptable breaks from fantasy. The main non-human species of Fraggle Rock all speak English (or whatever language the given adaptation is written in). Not only that, but they will sometimes make reference to certain animals, technological devices, etc. that they have little plausible reason to be familiar with, but which the audience would readily understand. This seems to be especially frequent in song lyrics. Then there's the lighting; See Hollywood Darkness, below.
  • Actor Allusion: In episode six of the "Rock On" series, Boober shares (via Doozertubes) a laundry-folding technique with Neil Patrick Harris.
  • Adventurer Outfit: Uncle 'Traveling' Matt's getup.
  • Aerith and Bob: Of the main Fraggles, you have names like Boober and Wembley alongside names like Red and Matt.
  • An Aesop: Each different variety of Aesop got to have at least one episode.
  • All There in the Manual: Where do Fraggles come from? According to the book The Legend of the Doozer Who Didn't, Doozers who stop working turn into these!
    • Though it turns out that's just a story Doozer parents frighten their children with, as revealed in "All Work and All Play." Cotterpin Doozer wants to become a Fraggle, but eventually has to face up to the fact that the old story isn't true and that she has to remain a Doozer.
      • Also, according to Convincing John, Fraggles who eat too many Doozer constructions turn into human beings, although it's probable he just made that up. It is noteworthy that he refers to humans as "human beings" instead of "Silly Creatures" as the Fraggles normally do, which may explain the Fraggles' horror at this story.
    • According to one of the "series Bibles" included with one of the season DVD sets, Fraggles are apparently egg-layers. This along with their feathers, beaks, and long tails, has led to some interesting theories.
    • This may be inconclusive or just inconsistent; Storyteller Fraggle mentions a fraggle hatching in "The Terrible Tunnel", but none of the Fraggles knew what an egg was in "Wembley's Egg" - yet Uncle Matt spoke of a chicken egg in "Capture The Moon".
      • Of course, the Fraggles may not have recognized the egg in "Wembley's Egg" as such, as they never encountered an egg that size before.
    • In one of the "Ask a Fraggle" 30th anniversary shorts in 2013, Red mentions she's been swimming since she was a "Fragpole," which would (if Fragpoles are anything like tadpoles) suggest that Fraggles do hatch from eggs, but not anything like the eggs chickens hatch from.
    • On the topic of "where Fraggles come from", Terry Angus (Storyteller, Morris, Brio) had this to say in an interview with the website Muppet Central:
    "At first they showed some of the Fraggles holding baby Fraggles, but ... after awhile they didn't allow any of the puppets to hold baby Fraggles anymore because they didn't want to get into the issue of birth. One of the ideas was that they were going to have an egg with a Fraggle pop out of it ... but it was never used."note 
  • Alternative Foreign Theme Song: Averted. The foreign dubs/adaptations all had theme song lyrics translated into the vernacular, but the melodies and arrangements were othrewise identical to the original English; likewise all the Insert Songs.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Marjory, the Trash Heap. According to her performer Jerry Nelson, there were a few angry letters from people whose kids asked why a pile of garbage talked like their grandmothers. Nelson claimed the accent was supposed to be Russian, not Jewish.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Bug-eyed Marlon Fraggle has "frustrated megalomaniac" written all over him.
  • And Starring: In the closing credits: "And Gerry Parkes as 'Doc'." Meanwhile, only the Muppet performers' names are listed with no indication of who performed whom.
  • Animated Adaptation: Ran for a single season immediately after the Muppet-centric series ended.
  • Anti-Villain: The Gorgs are Type IV. While the Fraggles see them as cruel ogres, they just see the Fraggles as pests - and they actually have a valid reason to see them that way, seeing as the Fraggles steal vegetables from their garden. (The Fraggles don't consider this stealing; of course, they have a skewed view of many other beings, including humans.)
  • Arcade Sounds: Sound effects from Pac-Man are heard in "The Challenge" as Doc and Sprocket vie for the high score in a computer game, although the game they are playing is referred to as "Zombie Attack."
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: According to Boober, he's "a quivering collection of the worst and least helpful emotions," including fear, anxiety, terror, paranoia, indigestion, and dishpan hands.
  • Art Shift: Mokey was substantially redesigned for the 2022 reboot, trading her open robe for a green dress, losing the Dreary Half-Lidded Eyes and now wearing her (longer) hair in a ponytail. The other Fraggles still look essentially the same.
  • Attending Your Own Funeral: When Junior Gorg thinks he's killed Mokey, he holds a funeral for the Fraggle out of grief; she doesn't attend the funeral so much as watching it from a distance, but joins Gobo and Red afterwards just to confirm she's alive.
  • Author Avatar: Cantus, who is a great character to be sure, but Jim Henson wasn't even subtle about it.
    • Overlaps with Ink-Suit Actor, as Cantus was designed to vaguely resemble Henson. In one of the DVD extras, some of Jim's friends even mentioning naming a special place "Cantus Cove" in his memory. Some fans even rank Cantus above even Kermit the Frog as Henson's most memorable character ever.
  • Authority in Name Only: Ma and Pa Gorg claim they are the King and Queen of the Universe. (Junior never says anything like this, although his parents do claim he's their heir.) In reality, they seem to be nothing more than a family of simple farmers with a rustic house and garden patch; they just happen to wear crowns.
    • Considering some of their possessions, it's likely they are the last survivors of what might have been a mighty kingdom long, long ago.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other:
    • Red and Gobo have these moments throughout the series to balance out their bickering and competing.
    • Pa Gorg is prone to losing patience with his son Junior, but every now and then he shows how much he really cares about him: for example, in "The Challenge," when he cries thinking Junior is dead, or in "The Garden Plot," when a flashback shows him singing "Muck and Goo" with baby Junior and kissing him.
  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: Junior in one of the last episodes. Promptly subverted when he realizes the Universe is fine on its own and abolishes the Gorg monarchy forever.
  • Balloonacy: Used to return a bird whose egg has fallen into the Fraggle Pond back to the Gorgs' Garden.
  • Barefoot Cartoon Animal/Does Not Wear Shoes: All of the Fraggles go barefoot, with the exception of Uncle Traveling Matt (at least while he's exploring the human—er, Silly Creature world). Which leads to the Fridge Logic: where do the socks Boober Fraggle washes come from?note 
  • Belligerent Sexual Tension: Red and Gobo—even the Trash Heap's attendants noticed.
  • Beneath the Earth: The Fraggles live in an elaborate world of caverns, with the entrance in Doc's workshop. Or beneath the lighthouse, in the UK version. In both cases, exactly where the Gorgs' garden is in relation to the human world is completely unexplored.
  • Berserk Button: For Gobo, it's when someone mocks his Uncle Traveling Matt, or, in "The Cavern of Lost Dreams," being called a "riding beast." For Red, the idea of someone stealing her radish bars is unforgivable. And then there's Sprocket's reaction to being told he'll have to travel as baggage in "Change of Address." Even though he speaks dog, he clearly says in English:
    Sprocket: Baggage?! BAGGAGE?!?!?!
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Among the dangerous creatures of Fraggle Rock are the Poison Cacklers, which have large teeth, protruding tongues, and tails similar to those of scorpions.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mokey Fraggle, especially in episodes like "A Cave of One's Own" and "Red-Handed and the Invisible Thief".
    • Wembley can do some damage when he's angry, as Sprocket can attest in "A Friend in Need."
  • Big Eater: Large Marvin Fraggle.
    • In "The Preachification of Convincing John," after Mokey releases the Fraggles from their oath not to eat Doozer sticks anymore, everyone pigs out on Doozer sticks, to the point where they all end up stuffed to the gills with tummy aches. Via voiceover, Mokey says she learned it's possible to eat too many Doozer sticks.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Sprocket. Naturally he doesn't come off as such to the Fraggles initially, but that begins to change after Gobo and friends rescue him in "A Friend in Need."
  • Bilingual Bonus: When the series aired in Japan on NHK in the 1980s, in addition to the Japanese dubbing, viewers could also utilize the secondary audio channel to hear the original English version.
  • Blow That Horn: The Fraggle Horn is used to summon Fraggles to the Great Hall.
  • Bold Explorer: Travelling Matt, the first Fraggle to explore Outer Space (i.e., our world).
  • Book Ends: Always involve the local equivalent of the Doc's Workshop subplots.
  • Bowdlerise: Perhaps one of the strangest examples happened when The Hub reran the show. The network used to run "The Day the Music Died" uncut, until a young fan's father misheard part of the line "Well gee, Gobo, we're sorry!" as a racial slur. The network responded by shortening it to "Well gee, we're sorry" on future airings up until the rerun rights reverted back to HBO, who has since aired it uncut.
    • The Hub also censored the video game title Zombie Attack in "The Challenge", blurring out the word "attack" when seen on screen and censoring Doc's dialogue every time he says it.
    • The animated adaptation did this with the songs at times. For example: "Just a Dream Away," originally a moving, profound song about the fleeting nature of life in its original appearance in "Gone but Not Forgotten," was dumbed down into a song about Boober's favorite "sweetwater" in the animated series.
  • Bravado Song:
    • In "Catch the Tail by the Tiger", Gobo sings the song of the same name as he vows to be brave enough to venture into Outer Space to find and rescue Uncle Traveling Matt when he does not deliver for a while.
    • In "The Beast of Blue Rock", Wembley sings "Brave Alone" as he prepares to face spending the night without Gobo for the first time ever.
  • Break the Haughty: Gobo and Red, being the confident and occasionally brash personas that they are, both get smacked with this on occasion.
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats: Mokey's attempts to get into one of these (which seems to alternate between incredibly serious and incredibly silly) make up the story of one episode.
  • Building Is Welding: The Doozers have sometimes been shown welding while building their constructions.
  • Burying a Substitute: Gobo was once thought to have been eaten by Sprocket and all his friends found was his hat. Boober suggests burying the hat as a way of remembering him just before Gobo reappears and reveals he's not dead.
  • Call-Back: There was some nice continuity between episodes at times. For example, at the end of "Mokey's Funeral", it appears Sprocket has caught cold from sitting out in the rain. Sure enough, Sprocket is sick in the next episode, "The Beast of Blue Rock".
  • Canada, Eh?: Not surprising given this was a CBC production. Most of the major characters were played by Americans, but there were many Canadians on the production staff, the songs were written by Canadians, and Doc and many secondary characters (including Ma Gorg) were played by Canadians. Also, Jerry Nelson gave Gobo a Canadian dialect, complete with "Eh"'s and pronunciation of certain words such as "again" (though he never said "aboot"). Traveling Matt visits Toronto's CN Tower in one postcard segment.
    • The 2022 reboot, Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, continues the Canadian ties, as it was made in Calgary, Alberta.
    • Completely averted with the animated adaptation, as it was planned and produced in the U.S. and animated in Korea.
  • Canon Discontinuity: The Animated Adaptation basically pretended the earlier series never happened. Naturally, most fans pretend the animated series never happened. As this Tough Pigs review shows, it isn't terrible, but most fans agree it isn't nearly as good as the classic series (in short, a similar case to Muppet Babies vs. The Muppet Show. Though many Muppet fans give Babies points for at least trying to be creative, one can tell Henson was far less involved in the Rock cartoon. Truth be told, he wasn't closely involved with the original series either, but he had appointed a group of professionals who had worked closely with him for years and could (and did) competently bring his vision to life but (with the exception of Dave Goelz, who performed Traveling Matt during live-action interstitials, and Kathryn (Mokey/Cotterpin) Mullen, who co-wrote one episode) did not work on the animated version.
    • The fact all of the songs were blatantly recycled from the original show (and used in much simpler, more juvenile contexts) didn't help.
    • The Fraggles' appearance in A Muppet Family Christmas presents a complicated possible example. It was made (and broadcast) after the original series had ended (but while the animated version was still airing), yet in that special, Doc still doesn't know what Fraggles are, despite the original series ending with him meeting Gobo. On the other hand, the fact that Emily Bear's house, where Doc and Sprocket are spending Christmas, just happens to have a Fraggle hole jibes with the final episode's concept of "You cannot leave the magic."
  • Canon Immigrant: Is there anything more glorious than Kermit and Robin visiting Fraggle Rock?
  • The Cat Came Back: Young Nephew Matt is this (minus the teleportation) to his long-suffering Uncle Gobo.
  • Catchphrase. Many.
    Junior Gorg: OOOH! A FWAGGLE!
    Rats: You are in the presence of the all-knowing, all-seeing Trash Heap! Nyeaah!
  • Cats Are Mean: The first thing Fluffinella does upon seeing Sprocket is attack him. This being Fraggle Rock, it later turns out that she's a lot nicer than she seems at first.
  • Character Development: The Fraggles, Doozers and Junior Gorg. The Doozers were all but invisible to the Fraggles until Cotterpin befriends Red, and even more shocking was that by the final few episodes, Junior had stopped trying to capture (and kill?) Fraggles and was on a first name basis with Gobo.
    • On a more personal level, all the Fraggle Five went through some Character Development over the series. It's most notable with Wembley, who at the beginning of the series has no opinions of his own and just agrees with whoever spoke last, but as the series progressed, he learns to think a little more for himself and even stand up for himself when a situation requires it - to the point where Junior Gorg actually mistakes him for the leader of the Fraggles in the penultimate episode - but without losing his flexibility and gist for seeing everyone's point of view.
  • Cheer Them Up with Laughter: In "Space Frog Follies", Gobo's uncle tells him he can't stay for his Birthday. Upon seeing how upset Gobo is as a result of that, his friends Red and Wembley balance pickles on their noses to make him laugh.
  • Christmas Episode: Fraggles of course don't celebrate Christmas (although of course Doc and Sprocket do in the same episode); instead, they enjoy The Festival of the Bells.
    • This didn't stop them from enjoying A Muppet Family Christmas with The Muppet Show and Sesame Street characters. They still didn't know what Christmas was (even after a brief explanation by Kermit and Robin), but they did like the songs.
    • "The Bells of Fraggle Rock" was packaged along with "Perfect Blue Rollie" in VHS releases, in keeping with the gift-giving theme of the latter.
  • Chroma Key: Possibly the producers' one favorite special effect in the entire series. When there is a Conspicuously Light Patch around someone, generally that means something's up.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe:
    • Personified by Skenfrith, ties into the secret of The Festival of the Bells, and there's more and more.
    • Doc and Sprocket's belief in the Fraggles (Gobo in particular) creates the new tunnel and hole in the wall at the very end of the final episode.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Landers: Most of the Fraggles and Junior Gorg.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Doc manages this frequently. In one episode, he's trying to figure out how he and Sprocket can communicate:
    Doc: And now the "I want to be friends" gesture. (rolls on his back like a dog, limbs in the air)
    Sprocket: (gives him a look)
    Doc: I resent the implication that I've gone mad.
    • Most of the Fraggles manage it on a regular basis as well. The show's absolute king of the trope is Traveling Matt, who manages to misunderstand almost everything, and in extremely creative ways at that.
    • Traveling Matt is the undisputed master of this trope; his performer Dave Goelz even described his frequent misconceptions as the first of his three defining character flaws.note  For instance, Traveling Matt is perplexed why it's called "fast food" when it doesn't really go anywhere.
    • Each of the Fraggle Five on occasion, Wembley more than others due to his age and naivete.
  • Company Cross References: In "The Cavern of Lost Dreams", Sprocket tries his paw at making his own dog food and, at one point, does a remarkably good imitation of the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show.
    • Traveling Matt encounters a few more in "Outer Space," including a kid dressed as Kermit the Frog for Halloween and a drive-in theater showing The Dark Crystal. And there's also an episode called "The Great Radish Caper".
    • Perhaps unintentional, but Sprocket is shown to take baths with a rubber duckie in "Let the Water Run."
    • It's in Doc's name, too - his real name is Jeromenote , but his last name is Crystal, making him "Doc Crystal." (Say it out loud if that doesn't make sense.)
  • Computer-Generated Images: Henson was quite proud of Fraggle Rock being an early adopter of digitally created backgrounds. Its impressive to note that even this far back, they were seamlessly integrated in with the physical ones.
  • Continuity Nod: Tons. In part this was budgetary — custom Fraggle models reappeared frequently in crowd scenes after their debut, for example — but many were entirely script-based, such as Travelling Matt recognizing the hopping creatures.
  • Cool Old Guy: Apparently, the Fraggle aging process only causes an elderly Fraggle to sprout a beard Dumbledore would envy. The World's Oldest Fraggle is even louder and more energetic than the main cast, and wavers somewhere between awesome and just plain terrifying by virtue of leading the happy, friendly, peace-loving Fraggles to war.
    • Amongst the Doozers, the Architect also was pretty rev.
    • Doc himself seems to be a fun person to be around, like someone's lovable eccentric grandpa.
  • Couch Gag: Five different endings were filmed for the last spoken line of the theme song "Down at Fraggle Rock...", one for each of the five main Fraggles. However, only three were broadcast. This includes, obviously, the most familiar one where Boober indifferently says it, as well as one where Gobo says it while hitting a ball with a stick (seen only in "The Finger of Light"), and one where Wembley whispers the line to the viewer (seen only in "The Terrible Tunnel"). For the finale's ending theme, Doc says it, followed by a bark from Sprocket.
  • Cowardly Lion: Boober and Wembley both have their moments.
  • Creepy Cave: Fraggle Rock, being underground, has quite a few caves that are scary, if not outright dangerous. Others caves, though, are lovely places to hang out.
  • Crossover: All six major Fraggles, plus Doc and Sprocket, appeared in A Muppet Family Christmas.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Convincing John. This is especially noticeable in his second episode, where he, called upon to do some spontaneous convincing, just happens to have rare Fraggle delicacies, two shirts identical to Wembley's, and even a trio of background singers waiting in his cave. it's Lampshaded by Gobo and Red:
    Gobo: Where's this guy get all this stuff?
    Red: I heard he was prepared for anything, but this is ridiculous!
  • Creator Cameo: Dave Goelz appears as the man seated next to Traveling Matt on the roller coaster in "The Thirty-Minute Work Week", mainly so that Goelz could puppeteer Matt on the coaster.
  • Cryptic Conversation: Cantus is quite fond of these. Lampshaded on multiple occasions by Red Fraggle, and Murray the Minstrel.
  • Cultural Translation: Keeping with the show's vision, it was designed to be an international production from the start. The Muppet scenes were all self-contained and could be dubbed over, while different "Doc" and Traveling Matt segments could be shot in each region, making the viewer feel like this was all happening near them. In addition to the North American original, there was Germany, the UK—where Doc was a lighthouse keeper named The Captain—and France—where he was a baker and his dog was named Croquette. The UK version was the only one apart from the US/Canada original which made it to the Grand Finale, with BJ, the show's third lighthouse keeper, having the same encounters with Gobo as Doc.
  • A Day in the Limelight:
    • "Doozer Is As Doozer Does" centers around Wrench Doozer, with the main Fraggles (sans Boober) only appearing in one short scene.
    • "The Trial of Cotterpin Doozer" sends the entire main cast away, leaving recurring characters Cotterpin Doozer, Large Marvin Fraggle, and Feenie Fraggle to carry an episode by themselves.
    • "The Battle of Leaking Roof" focuses primarily on the Gorgs, leaving only Mokey and Boober with a tiny subplot.
    • "Gunge, the Great and Glorious" centers around Philo, Gunge and the Doozers, with only minor appearances by Red and Wembley at the beginning.
    • Cotterpin, Sprocket, Uncle Matt, and even Junior Gorg also get their own stories in some of the spinoff children's books published during the original series' run.
    • Michael Frith envisioned the series itself as being this for Jerry Nelson, who, although having performed memorable characters like Floyd Pepper, Count von Count, and the title character in Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas , had never had a series built around one of his characters.
  • Dead Guy Junior: Gobo, possibly. He was named after his great-uncle, whom Traveling Matt adored. Given Matt’s own advancing age and the fact that the original Gobo is only seen in flashback, it’s probably safe to assume that he is deceased.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Boober. Though he claims to have No Sense of Humor, he gets easily the funniest lines in the show.
    • Red likes to snark as well, her favorite target being Traveling Matt.
    • Gobo has perhaps the most cynical outlook (at least early on) and the snark is glorious.
    • And Cotterpin Doozer, being both a young Doozer and being very tiny, is a straight-up Little Miss Snarker.
  • Diegetic Soundtrack Usage: When Mokey visits the past, she advises the Ancient Fraggles in a solemn tone to "dance your cares away... worry's for another day... let the music play... down in Fraggle Rock." Wembley adds a honk.
  • Digital Destruction: The 2015 re-airing of the Christmas Special (originally videotaped) on ABC Family/Freeform gives it a jarring faux-film look (especially horrid compared to some Disney shows that were also videotaped but have a faux-film look).
  • Disney Acid Sequence: "Dreaming of Someone", "Talking About Germs", "Do You Want It", "Chase the Wind", "I'm Never Alone".
  • The Ditherer: Wembley's defining trait, so much so that his name is a Neologism for dithering.
  • Ditto Aliens: Boober: "You Doozers all look alike anyway." Cotterpin: "Oh, yeah? Well, so do you Fraggles."
  • Doting Parent: Ma Gorg, whatever her faults, genuinely loves her son and fawns over him often.
  • Dramatic Irony: Mokey's death in "Mokey's Funeral". The audience knows she's okay and that Junior "killed" a decoy, but Junior, Gobo and Red don't know that.
  • Dramatic Wind: When there's wind blowing stuff around, something's up.
  • Dub Name Change: In the Spanish dubs,note  Gobo was the only one of the five main Fraggles to retain his name, with Wembley, Mokey, Red and Boober becoming Dudo, Musi, Rosi and Bombo respectively. Also, the Doozers are known as either Carris (Spain) or Inges (Latin America), and the Gorgs are called Goris in both dubs.
    • The Japanese dub retained the names of most of the characters including the main Fraggle Five, but changed a few of the supporting character names, including Sprocket to Mac and Philo and Gunge to Kuzu and Bororo.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: They're named after, if not very loosely based on, the Frackles from The Great Santa Claus Switch. The show was to be called Frackle Rock but they decided to use a different, more euphonious name and friendly creature design.note 
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: "The Thirty-Minute Work Week", although the fifth episode, was the first to be filmed and features an early, somewhat different version of Sprocket, who was redesigned before more episodes were shot. Ma Gorg was also drastically redesigned after the first dozen or so episodes, and Gobo's wardrobe changed (from a red jacket to his trademark vest and scarf) and hair got shorter, although their early designs retained a presence for the entire series run, as they were featured in the opening and ending.
  • Easy Amnesia: Boober gets this in "Boober Gorg".
  • The Eeyore: Boober. He's always expecting the worst.
  • Egg McGuffin: Done very well in "Wembley's Egg".
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Junior Gorg.
  • Entertainingly Wrong: Regarding objects and customs of Outer Space, Traveling Matt is the king of this trope. The other Fraggles as well, as evidenced by how they react to radio commercials in "Manny's Land of Carpets".
  • Epic Tracking Shot: The opening theme starts with a continuous shot that phases through Doc's window, zooms in on Gobo, then follows him all the way through the tunnel to the Great Hall.
  • Food Pills: The Doozers live on a diet of assorted food pellets.
    Doozer #1: Do you have any of those jelly-filled food pellets this morning?
    Doozer #2: Uh-uh. Just custard.
    Doozer #1: Again? Yuck!
  • Friendship-Straining Competition: Wembley thinks this'll be the case when he competes with Gobo in an athletic challenge and beats him in a race. He even dreams that Gobo leaves the Rock out of shame. So, he intentionally throws the next race only to find the inverse is true. When Gobo finds out Wembley threw the race, he demands that he try his best or he'll end their friendship.
  • Friendly Tickle Torture: The titular creatures from "Invasion of the Toe Ticklers" specialize in this.
  • The "Fun" in "Funeral": Invoked with this song.
  • Genius Loci: Not only the Trash Heap, there are several episodes that heavily imply that the Rock itself is "alive".
  • Gentle Giant: Junior Gorg, though he does seem like a bully at first glance, especially Season 1.
    • Brool the Minstrel also qualifies. Especially evident when we hear him speak and sing in "Mokey and the Minstrels".
  • Granola Girl: Mokey. If she were human, you could easily picture her listening to sitar music and polishing crystals.
  • Grand Finale: It took the last seven episodes or so to wrap up all the major plots.
  • G-Rated Drug: Wembley's Wonderful Whoopie Water, Love Potion Number Nine.
    • The act of "flooping" from "Doozer Is As Doozer Does" is depicted as one.
  • G-Rated Sex: Pa and Ma Gorg are still very amorous, to the point that Junior has to be banned from the creek when Pa and Ma go there very obviously to skinny-dip and have sex.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Red is obviously jealous of Uncle Matt and Gobo with their tales of Outer Space, but whenever the topic is brought up, she goes into full Sarcasm Mode. Late in the series, she openly expresses her admiration of them and interest in Outer Space.
  • Growing Up Sucks: Cotterpin Doozer goes through this in the episode "All Work and All Play".
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The Fraggles and Doozers...
  • Happy Dance: Fraggles do a lot of these.
  • Helpless with Laughter: This has happened to Fraggles on more than one occasion. In one episode, it's mentioned that yorumba root is used to treat giggle fatigue.
  • Henpecked Husband: Pa Gorg is this at times.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Doc and Ned Shimmelfinney. Particularly evident in the last episodes.
    • Their relationship is fairly common in real life with senior citizen best friends who have outlived their spouses and family; they become like brothers or sisters who will never stop being there for each other.
    • Gobo and Wembley qualify as well, as do Red and Mokey.
  • Hey, That's My Line! / Unwanted Assistance: Matt and Gobo's reprise of "Follow Me" in "Uncle Matt Comes Home". Gobo starts singing verse two, as he did when the song was introduced in the first episode, and Matt quickly shushes him, telling him, "This is my song."
  • Hollywood Darkness: Those caves are awfully brightly lit for an underground world. Turns out the light is supplied by tiny bioluminescent creatures called Ditzies that feed on music.
  • Horrible Judge of Character: Poor Wembley. He’s wound up at the mercy of the Gorgs, Convincing John, a mean genie, the shady Wizard of Fraggle Rock...
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Highly averted, though Uncle Matt immediately identifies us as "The Silly Creatures". (This isn't really an insult, though, as Fraggles like silliness.) Later on, Doc agrees that it's a good name for humans.
    • In fact, some of the Silly Creatures are very friendly towards Uncle Matt, especially the little girl from "Let the Water Run" who shares her umbrella with Matt while it is raining, and a bunch of street punks who dress him up in punk clothes, in which Matt refers to them as the closest things a Silly Creature can be compared to a Fraggle!
  • Humans Are Ugly: Uncle Matt has described Silly Creatures this way. When he sees some trick-or-treaters, he thinks this is why they have disguised themselves.
    Gobo: [reading postcard "As I've told you, Silly Creatures are some of the ugliest things in the universe."
    Wembley: As ugly as Gorgs?
    Uncle Matt: [voiceover] Though not as ugly as Gorgs.
  • I Ate WHAT?!: In "The Doomsday Soup", Gobo and Wembley accidentally taste Boober's laundry water, thinking it's his radish gumbo. When they taste the actual gumbo, it tastes no better, and Boober tells them he had to use rutabagas, dried greaseberries and, much to Wembley's disgust, skunk cabbage to make the soup as he was unable to get any radishes because of the Gorgs.
  • Identical Great Nephew: In the flashbacks to Traveling Matt's childhood, we see that Gobo inherited his great-uncle and namesake's color scheme (orange with fuchsia hair).
  • Identity Amnesia: In "Boober Gorg", Boober gets a thump on the head and ends up thinking he's Junior Gorg. Ma and Pa Gorg think so too.
  • I Gave My Word: When Mokey meets Begoony, she promises to come if he calls her. Trouble is, he keeps calling her and pulling her away from her other friends and commitments... but she goes because she can't bear to break promises.
  • I Just Want to Be You: The episode "I Want to Be You" is all about this. Red becomes jealous of Mokey for being (so she thinks) more popular than her with everyone ("especially Gobo"), and spends the episode trying to imitate Mokey's hairstyle, voice, touchy-feely new age poetry, etc.
  • Ill-Timed Sneeze: In "The Perfect Blue Rollie", Wembley sneezes when he sneaks into Boober's hidey-hole to retrieve the rollie, waking up Boober. Then he sneezes and blows the rollie into a crack in the wall.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food:
    • The Grapes of Generosity, which appear when a Fraggle needs to learn how to be generous. They are so delicious that a Fraggle will want to eat them all himself, but if he eats them alone, he will become more and more selfish... and eventually weightless, so that everyone can see how selfish he is. By contrast, if he eats the grapes with others, he becomes extremely generous.
    • Mossmelon, the rarest and sweetest fruit in the Rock, can only be harvested every hundred years.
    • The legendary Tooth Tower was built by the Doozers, who had to withdraw the building material because it was so sweet that it drove Fraggles wild.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Red, particularly early on, has a habit of emphasizing failures and flaws that others are struggling with, while not noticing just how much it hurts who she's speaking to. One example early is when she piled on Boober for failing to alert Gobo (due to fear-induced inability to whistle) to Sprocket's approach when Gobo was trying to get Matt's postcard.
    • "Gone But Not Forgotten": After Mudwell forces Wembley to leave, Boober offers to cook Wembley his favorite dish - Peach and Pepper Potage - to cheer him up, not knowing that Mudwell made that dish for Wembley (and it was much better than Boober's). Boober is at a loss to figure out why this makes Wembley cry harder.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Sort of. Steve Whitmire looked like a human version of Wembley, complete with long, floppy blond hair.
    • Gobo likes to wear hats, including fedoras. So did Jerry Nelson.
    • Phil Fraggle is based on Phil Balsam, co-writer of most of the songs. He was also voiced by Balsam (albeit puppeteered by Whitmire).
    • The temperamental, eccentric Gillis Fraggle was based on the show's music director, the temperamental, eccentric Don Gillis.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Convincing John uses this a lot.
  • Insert Song: Every episode has at least one, and most have two or three.
  • Instant Taste Addiction: Matt, in his youth, accidentally discovers the Gorgs' garden and radishes. When the other Fraggles try one, it immediately becomes their Trademark Favorite Food.
  • Invisible to Normals: The final episodes have a very strange variation on this one. Seems Gobo never had to go through all the stress of hiding from Doc all those years... although he still needed to hide from Sprocket.
  • Involuntary Shapeshifting: Poor Skenfrith.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Captain, Doc's equivalent in the UK co-production. The Captain was a bit crustier than Doc and tended to be a little harsher toward Sprocket, but the two were still very close.
  • Jerkass: Pa Gorg and, to an extent, Ma Gorg.
    • Jerkass Ball: Each of the main Fraggles gets to hold it at some point during the show, with the possible exception of Wembley, who's very rarely mean unless he's wembling and following the lead of someone else who's being mean.
  • Kangaroo Court: The Doozers have a court that basically says, "You're guilty before proved innocent, and you're probably guilty anyway."
  • The Klutz: Traveling Matt. According to Muppeteer Dave Goelz, Matt became this in order to make his segments more interesting to film.
  • Lack of Imagination: An episode focused on the main enclave of Fraggles coming across a second Fraggle colony, only to discover these Fraggles were their polar opposites in that they found boring things fun and didn't see a use for imagination (it distracted them from activities like counting pebbles).
  • Language Barrier: This caused a problem when Steve Whitmire went to Germany to film the German equivalent of the Doc and Sprocket segments. Whitmire spoke no German and was unable to follow along while performing Sprockie (Sprocket), despite having an English translation of Doc's dialogue at his side.
  • Lethal Chef:
    • Ma Gorg, it seems. In one episode, she makes Junior a peach-and-garlic pie (which is just the way he likes it, apparently) but when he tries to eat it, it's like rubber, literally. Fortunately, the pie isn't wasted; later, when the Fraggles have to sneak into the Gorgs' castle, they're able to do so by using it like a trampoline.
      • On the other hand, the Fraggles ruin her soup on purpose (unbeknownst to Ma) in "Blanket of Snow, Blanket of Woe" by adding greaseberries (so they can use the soup to thaw the frozen Trash Heap). Even then, Pa still loves it.
    • Boober, whenever he's experimenting with a new recipe. He even has a song ("Dump the Stuff Out (Yucky for Sure)" in "Doomsday Soup") and a children's book (Danger! Boober Cooking) about it. Otherwise, he's not that bad.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Put dithering, self-proclaimed wimp Wembley under stress and you get a Fraggle who furiously pummels the "Hairy Monster from Outer Space" (read: Sprocket, but consider how a Big Friendly Dog looks to a smaller creature) or beats The Ace Gobo in a full-out race.
  • Lighthouse Point: Where the UK version took place.
  • Lilliputians: The Fraggles themselves almost qualify compared to humans (being a little smaller than Sprocket) but Doozers are small enough to fit the trope from their point of view. Then when Cotterpin sees a Gorg for the first time, she's gobsmacked about a creature the size of a mountain.
  • Lord Error-Prone: Uncle Traveling Matt.
  • Lovable Coward: Boober Fraggle.
  • Love Is in the Air: "Wembley, Wembley, Number Nine..."
  • Lower-Deck Episode: A handful of episodes revolve around the Doozers, beginning with "All Work and All Play".

  • The Magic Goes Away/The Magic Comes Back: The finale. When it looks like Doc is moving, Gobo races to tell him that he cannot leave the magic — and gets there too late, finding only a cold, dark, empty, utterly mundane room stripped of all the life and joy Doc and Sprocket had infused it with throughout the entire series. Luckily, the message wasn't an order. It's a statement of fact.
    • Reality Subtext: The show's message to fans was that the Fraggles would always be there if the fans wanted them to be there, even after the series ended.
      Doc: If little furry creatures could live behind the walls... why... that's magical. And then, anything is possible. Think of it. Maybe you're magic. Maybe I'm magic. Maybe Ned and Fluffinella are magic. Maybe the whole world... and then, Sprocket... if we wanted there to be a Fraggle hole behind that cardboard box... well... who knows?
  • Magic Music: Plays a role in a good number of episodes, and almost guaranteed to be employed whenever Cantus shows up.
  • Make a Wish: According to the book The Doozer Disaster, there is an ancient poem that Fraggles can recite to make wishes when picking radishes.
  • Manchild: Doc certainly didn't have the most mature outlook on life, but he never lost his childlike sense of wonder either.
  • Man of a Thousand Voices: Jerry Nelson, Dave Goelz and Steve Whitmire all got a moment to shine in this area. Especially Whitmire, who performed Wembley, Sprocket, Marlon, Flange Doozer and other characters who all sounded virtually nothing alike.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Sort of. "Convincing John can convince anyone to do anything." So he's got the manipulative part down. He isn't shown to be evil, per se, although he does convince them to do really silly things for no apparent reason, such as convincing Red that wearing a blindfold all the time is the only way to live. The first episode featuring John has Red calling him "the type of Fraggle nobody goes to see," but the Fraggles, being Fraggles, occasionally invite him to come anyway when there's something they want him to convince them to do, like wearing clown noses.
  • Meaningful Name: Cantus is the Latin word for "song".
    • Sidebottom is the fun side of Boober that he keeps on the bottom. Like Convincing John, Sidebottom isn't evil, just fun-loving, overactive, and irresponsible.
    • Wembley's name in Spanish, Dudo, means "I doubt" in that language, which fits with his indecisive personality. Also in Spanish, Mokey is renamed Musi, which seems to imply both "music" and "muse."
  • Meanwhile, Back at the…: The story would transition from the Fraggles to whatever things Doc and Sprocket (and sometimes the Gorgs) are up to.
  • Merchandise-Driven: Not quite to the extent of The Muppet Show or Sesame Street, but there was plenty of Fraggle merch on sale during the '80s, from stuffed toys to records to children's books to even a board game.
  • Mistaken for Profound: Marjory the Trash Heap.
  • Mondegreen Gag: Travelling Matt heard the word "city" and thought it was "silly", hence "Silly Creatures".
  • Mouse World: And multilayered to boot.
  • The Movie: Announced in 2005 only to get stuck in development limbo for a very long time. Given the development time, some of the rumors, the actual revealed plot elements, and some early buzz that the studio heads were gunning for a Darker and Edgier script (seriously), some fans were very apprehensive. However that iteration of the film didn't last too long, and Weinstein gave the project the axe. In 2012, the project was transplanted to New Regency and the writers of Rango were hired to write the script. That it took almost three years for the next relevant information to come involving the Fraggle movie - that Joseph Gordon-Levitt would produce and star in it - is really saying something. In the end, it was decided during the Covid-19 pandemic to move forward with streaming series reboots instead, and Regency was still involved in the production of Back to the Rock.
  • Moving Away Ending: The show begins with Doc and Sprocket moving in to a new residence which happens have a tunnel to Fraggle Rock, and ends when they move away. Even if their new residence also has such a tunnel.
  • Musical Episode: Inverted. The sole non-musical episode, "The Lost Treasure of the Fraggles", was formula-breaking. Even then, it still had original instrumental tracks.
  • Musical World Hypothesis: Fraggle Rock is explicitly an alternate universe with magic music.
  • Multinational Shows: While the Fraggle scenes were the same all over the world, various countries had their localised version of Doc (see Cultural Translation above).
  • Mushroom Samba: The Whoopee Water Wembley discovers.
    Gobo: It tastes like a party!!!
  • Mystical Cave: The Singing Cave has stalactites that, when touched, each play a different note of a song.
    Cantus: [to Mokey] If you lived in this cave by yourself for many, many, many days, you'd easily hear the whole song. All it takes is dedication, determination, and inspiration.
    Murray: Also known as hard work.
  • Mythology Gag:
  • Narration Echo: Used by Red in "Inspector Red."
    Red: [narrating] But I was about to stumble onto a mystery so strange, so bizarre, that I would always think of it as the "strange and bizarre mystery."
    Red: The Fraggle horn! It's missing! This is strange and bizarre.
  • Nearly Normal Animal: Sprocket, while he mostly acts like a normal dog, can grab and hold objects with his front paws and can understand English. He can also make impersonations.
  • Neologism: "Wemble", a verb meaning "to be pathologically indecisive". A "wembler" is a person who wembles, and "wembley" is an adjective describing a person who wembles (and it's also an acceptable name to give a child in Fraggle Rock — though according to Wembley, the people who named him apparently thought it meant "makes his mind up easily.") According to the ancient Fraggle language, "Wembley" meant "No scratch nose in public."
    • When Wembley stops being indecisive, he demands he be called "Wilfred", which some have speculated might be his real name.
    • "Rev" is Doozer for "cool".
  • Nervous Wreck: Everything scares Boober, especially germs.
  • Never Say "Die": VERY much averted. Just watch "Marooned" for an example of an episode that, while it has a happy ending, doesn't talk down to its audience about the concept of death.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The Trash Heap assumes that removing all the radishes will cause the Fraggles, Gorgs and Doozers to unite in the face of the crisis. She's horribly wrong, and ultimately has to be satisfied with getting them to just meet in the first place.
  • No Ending: Averted. This was the way Jim Henson originally wanted to end the series. Jerry Juhl, however, thought there should be a three-episode arc to wrap up the story, and he won out.
  • No Name Given: Doc (and his equivalents). In the episode where they finally meet, Doc reveals to Gobo that his name is Jerome Crystal. Yes, that's right, Doc Crystal.
    • Marjory the Trash Heap is simply known as La Montaña de Basura (literally "the trash mountain") in Spanish dubs.
  • No Peripheral Vision: In "Uncle Matt Comes Home", when Uncle Matt knocks on the door, Doc answers but doesn't see Uncle Matt, who is lower than Doc would have been looking but he should. Justified by the second-to-last episode when it's revealed that Doc was unable to see or hear Fraggles, though in this episode Doc was able to hear Gobo shout "yippee" from behind the wall.
  • Not So Above It All: Normally, Boober does not like fun and games and would rather spend most of his time doing laundry. He may, however, sometimes participate in his friends' fun activities.
  • Not-So-Imaginary Friend: Sprocket repeatedly tries (and fails) to prove the Fraggles' existence to Doc.
  • Novelization: Most of the children's books based on the show are original stories (a few of which were written by Jerry Juhl and Jocelyn Stevenson, the show's chief writers), but there were a handful—namely Wembley's Egg and Marooned in Fraggle Rock (based on the episode "Marooned")—that adapted television episodes. Both of those books were written by the same scenarists as their TV counterparts. Most of the installments in the 1985-86 Marvel comics series were also based on TV episodes.
  • Oblivious to Love: Uncle Travelling Matt has been the object of Storyteller Fraggle's affections since they were very young, but he's never noticed, even when she invited him to visit Kissing Chasm with her.
  • Oh, Crap!: Red's frequent reaction when Gobo announces he has a new postcard from his uncle, usually combined with Sarcasm Mode.
  • On Three: On four, actually, in the first (NHK) Japanese dub, in which the opening theme begins with a "1-2-1-2-3-4" count-off over a still shot of the Japanese logo.
  • One-Hour Work Week: Almost literally (it's half an hour).
  • The Oner: Simulated in the opening and closing titles, and in the "walking through the tunnels" scenes.
  • Only Sane Man: Boober often plays this role for the Fraggles. Murray is clearly this for the Minstrels. Sprocket is occasionally this for Doc. Oddly enough, for all his childlike understanding of his world, Junior Gorg becomes this for Ma and Pa Gorg, most obvious in how he handles Wander McMooch, for example. And Sprocket is also often this for Doc.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In "Marooned", Boober becomes more composed and less panicked in the face of death, while Red becomes paranoid and freaked out like Boober normally is.
  • Opinion Flip-Flop: One of Wembley's defining traits at first; his name even means "to wemble," which is a Fragglish verb that means "to waver."
  • The Outside World: The show has two examples. Outer Space is what Fraggles call the human world, and was considered a myth until Travelling Matt discovered a portal in Doc's wall and left to explore it. On the other side of the rock is the Gorgs' world, into which some Fraggles venture to gather radishes and consult Madame Trash Heap. Unlike Outer Space, it is considerably more dangerous, as the Gorgs consider the Fraggles pests and are actively trying to capture them.
  • Plot Parallel: In most episodes, the "Doc and Sprocket" segments mirror to some extent what's going on in Fraggle Rock. This is more evident from season two onward and in season one episodes like "Marooned."
  • Parental Bonus: Lots of 'em!
  • Perpetual Frowner: Ma Gorg in the first few episodes, before she was redesigned.
  • Pie in the Face: It actually prevents a war between the Rock and Cave Fraggles in "Fraggle Wars", as Red's and Beige's pieing the oldest living Fraggles in their respective tribes simultaneously gets both tribes laughing at the same thing at the same time.
    • Also in the North American version of "Fraggle Wars," Doc is the victim of two pieings courtesy of Shimmelfinney, and is bent on revenge until Sprocket "talks" him out of it. He also gets creamed by an automatic pie maker in "The Riddle of Rhyming Rock."
    • It's never shown on screen, but part of the rituals in the Hall of Justice is the ceremonial pie throw.
  • Pinky Swear: Fraggles have an vow called "The Solemn Fraggle Oath" that affirms an unbreakable promise (and they really do keep to it, one of the few things they take very seriously - only the Fraggle who called for the oath can release others from it). Being Fraggles, the actual "solemn" oath is kind of silly: They hop around in a circle, saying "Weeba weeba, waffa waffa, garpox gumbage, whoopee!"
  • Planet of Steves: Parodied with the Order of the Poohbahs. All members take the name "Fritz," which makes the roll calls very interesting indeed.
  • The Power of Friendship: Coupled with both Clap Your Hands If You Believe and The Power of Rock; the Fraggles are really a force to be reckoned with if you think of it.
  • The Power of Rock: It's right in the title, isn't it?
  • Prehensile Tail: The Fraggles have somewhat prehensile tails—they can be used as paintbrushes and can wrap around each other to play Tug-O'-Tails (like tug-o'-war, but with... you know). According to the episode "Wembley's Wonderful Whoopee Water," they are also strong enough to support their owners' whole weight.
  • Punny Name: Uncle Traveling Matt. A traveling matte is a blue-screening technique which allows people and equipment to move in front of a camera undetected.
  • Put on a Bus: Lou, Wembley's would-be girlfriend in "We Love You, Wembley," was rarely seen after that one episode.
  • Reality Warper: Begoony (who managed to be genuinely creepy), the Mean Genie, and a few other one-off characters.
  • Really 700 Years Old: The Gorgs are (or belong to) an extremely long-lived race; Ma and Pa Gorg are explicitly stated to have been married for over five hundred years.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: A "Next on HBO" promo from 1987.
    Fraggles and Doozers and Gorgs, oh my!,
    Are waiting to greet you, so don't be shy.
    Just come underground, you don't have to knock,
    To visit your friends down at Fraggle Rock.
  • Rock Monster: The Avalanche Monster in "Wonder Mountain".
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Junior Gorg, kind of. He does most of the actual labor in the Gorg royal family.
  • Running Gag: Quite a few, including Sprocket's reaction to any mention of Ned Shimmelfinney, and Wembley's bad luck with that one pipe.
  • Saving the World With Art: Or saving Fraggle Rock, anyway. Music is literally what keeps the Fraggles alive, as we see in "The Bells of Fraggle Rock" - if they weren't able to ring their bells for the holiday, they'd literally freeze to death.
  • Scatting: Shows up quite a bit in the Fraggles' songs, including the ending version of the theme, which begins with scatting by Gobo and Wembley.
  • Serious Business: Satirized ten ways to Tuesday, most aggressively in the "Grand Poohbahs" episode. Note that, in Fraggle society, major, far-reaching decisions can be settled with such things as who can stack the most pickles on the end of their snout.
  • Shared Dream: Fraggles can share one another's dreams. All they need to do is have their heads touching and say, "Dream a dream and see / What a dream can be." Then, when they fall asleep, they can enter one dream. There's even a whole song dedicated to the ritual: "Dream a Dream (and See)."
  • Ship Tease: Gobo had several of these with Red and Mokey.
  • Shoo the Dog: Done in "Gone But Not Forgotten;" Wembley gets treated by Mudwell the Mudbunny and they become good friends, but after he's healed, Mudwell gruffly chases him out so he won't be hurt when Mudwell dies. It doesn't work.
  • Shout-Out: To other Muppet productions. Also see Company Cross References.
    • A couple of meta examples: there's a real life Fraggle Rock in New Mexico, near the town of Lordsburg (a giant rock with the words "FRAGGLE ROCK" painted on it in white). And in Bedford, Nova Scotia (a Halifax suburb) lies Fraggle Rock Road, perhaps a testimony to the show's popularity in the country where it was made.
  • Sick Episode:
    • In "Pebble Pox Blues," Gobo comes down with pebble pox, so Boober and Wembley set out to Find the Cure for him, but soon Wembley catches the pox too, as does Boober in the end.
    • In "The River of Life," water pollution causes all the Fraggles except Boober to fall ill with throat rot.
    • In "The Challenge," Junior Gorg sneezes several times and thinks he must be coming down with a cold, which leads to Gobo tricking him into thinking he's dying of "gorgliosis". It's never confirmed if he's actually sick or not, though.
    • Sprocket is sick (and Afraid of Doctors) in "The Beast of Blue Rock." note 
  • Singing Voice Dissonance: In "Gone But Not Forgotten," Mudwell the Mudbunny loses his deep, bouncy tone and Southern accent when he sings "Just A Dream Away," singing more-or-less in Richard Hunt's natural voice. This makes the Reality Subtext even more poignant, as Mudwell's eventual fate, foretold by the song's lyrics, foreshadows Hunt's death of AIDS complications five years later.
  • Smoking Is Not Cool: Just ask Traveling Matt, who, upon encountering the "mouth burners" in "The Challenge," threw a pitcher of water on a man smoking a cigar to keep the "fire in the man's mouth" from getting "out of control." In the German version of "Catch the Tail by the Tiger," he actually tries smoking a pipe, but visibly doesn't like it.
  • Smorgasbord Test: In one episode, after an egg falls into the Fraggle Pond, Wembley takes it on himself to sit on it, then take care of the "tree creature" (bird) that hatches from it. He offers the creature a radish, some mashed peas, and an artichoke soufflé, but it doesn't like any of them. Finally, he manages to get it fed when Mokey tells him that tree creatures eat seeds.
  • Soft Water: During the Title Sequence, Gobo falls a great distance and lands in the Fraggles' pool without any ill effects.
  • The Song Remains the Same: Averted. Unlike in other Muppet productions, foreign dubs of Fraggle Rock always had the songs dubbed over as well, in order to capture the spirit of the songs in a way that subtitling could not. Potential dub voice actors were auditioned based on singing as well as acting talent.
  • Special Edition Title: In the UK version, the titles for "Born to Wander" shows Sprocket alone in the lighthouse during the zoom into the Fraggle hole, because the Captain is gone and P.K. hasn't moved in yet.
  • Species Surname: All the Fraggles, Doozers and Gorgs.
    • From the way the Gorgs talk, Gorg may be their last name rather than the name of their species. Anyone who has lived in the Southern states in the U.S. will recognize their constant references to Gorg history and Gorg tradition as similar to the way a family might refer to (for example) McCoy history and McCoy tradition.
  • Stable Time Loop, or perhaps Tricked Out Time: "Mokey, Then and Now". Mokey creates the weird Fraggle drawing that sent them to the past in the first place.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Begoony, a one-off character who was excessively lonely, acted much like this for Mokey. She took pity on his loneliness and befriended him, to which he responded by trying to isolate her from her other friends, and even going so far as to imprison her so she would stay with him always.
  • Team Chef: Boober.
  • Team Mom: Mokey, again. Jim Henson referred to her as "the den mother of the Fraggle Five", and the oldest.
  • Theme Tune Extended: A longer version of the theme song was released on the first Fraggle Rock LP record in 1983. In March 1984, a remix of the longer version, credited to "The Fraggles" as the performing artist, hit #33 on the UK pop singles chart, with "Workin'" as its B-side. The extended version bears a different arrangement, with no Theme Tune Roll Call, a sung stanza by Junior Gorg, and some additional scat-singing from Gobo and Wembley.
  • Theme Tune Roll Call: Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, Boober, and Red shout out their names in succession during the theme song, though so rapidly that viewers are quite unlikely to learn their names that way. And if you think it's hard in the show's native tongue, it's even more difficult in some of the foreign dubs - for example, Japanese, where Wembley's and Red's performers have to squeeze in additional syllables to say their names in Engrish. (Perhaps that's why the Latino Spanish version ditches the roll call and adds new lyrics there instead.)
  • This Is No Time to Panic:
    • "The Great Radish Famine." When there's no radishes, Fraggles, Gorgs and Doozers all say this — then panic and accuse the others of stealing them.
    • When the Fraggles learn there's a Poison Cackler's nest with an egg in it in "The Trial of Cotterpin Doozer", the Fraggles panic. Gobo tries to calm them down with a plan, but Red interrupts, "We've got a panic on our hands!"
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Red and Mokey, respectively.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Radishes for both Fraggles and Gorgs. Fraggles have more ways to cook radishes than anyone would guess existed—soups, pies, milkshakes, candy bars, you name it. Doozer sticks—the Fraggles' favorite snack—are made from radishes as well.
  • Trapped in Another World: Gobo in one of the very first episodes. Sprocket, at least once a season thereafter.
  • Trickster Mentor: Cantus again, mostly by virtue of being terribly mysterious.
  • Umbrellas Are Lightning Rods: A variation: Doc actually builds an umbrella hat that deflects lightning in one episode. It works, albeit offscreen.
  • Unconventional Food Usage: In one episode, Red and Mokey use radishes as earplugs so they won't fall victim to the Mind-Control Music of the Singing Cactus.
  • Unexplained Accent: Gobo has a Canadian accent complete with "eh" at the end of many of his sentences, and pronounces words such as "again" the Canadian way (he does not, however, say "aboot"). His Muppeteer, Jerry Nelson, was American; the accent is a reference to the show's Canadian home, as it was shot in Toronto. Nelson also used Canadian pronunciations for Pa Gorg and the Trash Heap on occasion, as did Dave Goelz with Uncle Matt, though none of those characters sported actual Canadian accents.
    • Unfortunately, this was flanderized all to hell in the animated series, which had a different stable of voice actors and no Canadian ties.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Pa Gorg's "Drat and Deuteronomy!"
  • Vague Age: All the main Fraggles.
    • Also applies to how the characters age. For example, in "Uncle Matt Comes Home," Gobo remarks that he was "just a kid" at the start of the series when his uncle left, although he doesn't look appreciably older despite his character design change midway through Season One. Of course he could be referring to emotional rather than physical growth, but this remark still makes it unclear not only how old the main characters are, but how much time passes over the course of the series. Cotterpin Doozer also grows from a baby (albeit one able to speak in complete sentences) in Season One to a kid in Season Two, but this doesn't explain whether several years have elapsed between her first two appearances, or whether Doozers just grow up quickly.
  • Verbal Tic: Wembley has a tendency to run around yelling "squeet squeet squat squat" or some variation thereof when he's happy or excited. It shows up in many of his songs, too (and in the ending theme).
    • He also makes curious cough-like noises randomly throughout his dialogue. It's revealed in an interview that this happened when Steve Whitmire had a cold, started coughing in his Wembley voice to be funny, and was encouraged to make it part of the character since it was frankly adorable.
    • Wembley's high pitched grunting with each step doesn't hurt the cuteness.
  • Villain Song: Wander McMooch has one in his second appearance: "Manic McMooch (Find You, Bind You, Grind You)."
  • Voiceover Letter: Uncle Matt's postcards tend to be this.
  • Walking the Earth: "Call me Uncle Traveling Matt."
  • Walk This Way: Invoked by Cantus in "Junior Faces The Music", which resulted in the Fraggle Five following him and imitating his regal gait.
  • Wandering Minstrel: Cantus and, well, the Minstrels.
  • Weirdness Censor: Marjory states that Fraggles are Invisible to Normals because most Silly Creatures are too silly to be able to see them. She later notes that humans have lost the ability to see the magic, and that a human making friends with a Fraggle is wonderful.
  • What, Exactly, Is His Job?: Doc, for most of the series, seems to be a pensioner dabbling in being a crackpot inventor; but in the final episode, it's revealed that he came to the area to try his hand at being a marine biologist. It didn't work out.
  • When Trees Attack: Lanford, Mokey's pet plant, seems to be a very mild version of this trope. He really only actively dislikes Red, and he's evidently capable of relocating on his own since he turns out to be a member of the Poohbahs even when Mokey isn't.
  • Wild Hair: Mokey and Cantus have it. The latter gets bonus points for having tufts of hair that defy the laws of gravity.
  • The World Tree
  • You Mean "Xmas": Actually well-done and believable in this series. Happy Festival Of The Bells!
  • Zeerust: King Gorg owns a blunderbuss.
    • The Gorgs are this in general; they're the only ones who seem to be living in a weird combination of medieval times and a perpetual warfront (with a completely imaginary enemy).
    • Partially justifiable when you consider how old the Gorgs are, and that they are essentially isolated from the rest of the world - including whatever other members of their species remain.
  • Zombie Advocate: Mokey becomes one in an episode, where she feels sorry for the Doozers having their buildings eaten, and convinces the other Fraggles to stop. Turns out the Doozers like having their hard work destroyed; they love to build things, but they don't care for the completed projects, and if they're torn down, they have more room to keep building.note 
    • Wembley becomes one in "A Tune For Two," speaking out for Cotterpin's right to participate in the Duet-a-thon when she's barred from it on account of being a Doozer.

"We can not leave the magic!"
The Trash Heap, uttering the last spoken line of the series


Video Example(s):


Afraid to Be Afraid

Red expresses her fears at revealing to the other Fraggles that she's afraid.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / FearSong

Media sources: