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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

The 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 of this idea was Fraggle Rock, produced for the CBC in Canada, and aired on HBO in the U.S. in 1983-87. The series depicted a colorful and fun world, but it was also a world with a relatively complex ecosystem. The different races of creatures were each connected through symbiosis, even though they never realized it. This was meant as an allegory of the human world, where each group was somewhat unaware of how interconnected and important they were 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.


The ideals of friendship, being true to yourself and learning to love those who are incredibly different were the cornerstones of Jim Henson's work throughout his career, and he considered Fraggle Rock to be one of the purest and most successful expressions of that vision. In turn, many Henson fans have agreed that Fraggle Rock may be his masterpiece. And while it didn't end war in general, it was the first western show 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.
  • Fraggle Rock: The Animated Series (1987-88): An Animated Adaptation for NBC which was animated by the same crew who worked on Muppet Babies (1984). It was released on DVD in January 2010.
  • Fraggle Rock (2010): A Comic Book series 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): A All-CGI Cartoon based on the Doozers.
  • Fraggle Rock: Rock On (2020): The original cast return for a series of 3-5 minute episodes for Apple TV+ filmed on their iPhones while all were separated by the 2020 Coronavirus Pandemic.

A film follow-up has been in development since 2005 and has lapsed in and out of Development Hell since then. Its most recent move forward was in spring 2015, where Joseph Gordon-Levitt signed on to produce and star in the movie.

Not to be confused with where the pilgrims landed.

Tropes found down in Fraggle Rock include the following:

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Marlon sometimes gets a little too chummy with Gobo, in such a way that it seems he has a really nasty ulterior motive (see Ambition Is Evil, below.)
  • Absurd Phobia: According to the episode "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".
  • 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 version of the show 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.
  • Adorkable: Wembley. He's sweet-natured and earnest but nervous, awkward, and lacking in confidence.
  • 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 baby 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.
    • 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.
  • Ambiguously Jewish: Marjorie, 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.
  • Ambition Is Evil: Bug-eyed Marlon Fraggle has "frustrated megalomaniac" written all over him.
  • 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.)
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Berserk Button: Sprocket's reaction to having to travel as baggage in "Change of Address". Even though he speaks dog, he clearly says in English:
    Sprocket: Baggage?! BAGGAGE?!?!?!
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Mokey Fraggle, especially in episodes like "A Cave of One's Own" and "Red-Handed and the Invisible Thief".
  • Big Eater: Large Marvin Fraggle.
  • Big Friendly Dog: Sprocket.
  • Blinding Bangs: Boober.
  • 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 of this trope happened when The Hub reran the show. The network used to run the episode "The Day The Music Died" uncut, until a father of a girl who was a fan of the show misheard part of the line "Well gee, Gobo, we're sorry!" as a racial slur. The Hub responded by shortening it to "Well gee, we're sorry" on future airings up until the rerun rights went back to HBO, who has since aired it uncut.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 it isn't nearly as good as the classic series (in short, a similar case to Muppet Babies (1984) vs. The Muppet Show. Though many Muppet fans give Babies points for at least trying to be creative. One can tell Jim Henson was far less involved in the Rock cartoon.).
    • The fact all of the songs were blatantly recycled from the original show didn't help.
  • 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 made friends with 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 over the course of the show 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.
  • Christmas Episode: Fraggles of course don't celebrate Christmas; instead, they enjoy The Festival of the Bells.
  • 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.
  • Company Cross References: In "The Cavern of Lost Dreams", Sprocket tries his paw at making his own dog food and, at one point, imitates the Swedish Chef from The Muppet Show, another Jim Henson series.
  • Computer-Generated Images: Jim 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 seemlessly 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 Crazy 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 series finale's ending theme, Doc says it, followed by a bark from Sprocket.
  • Cowardly Lion: Boober and Wembley both have their moments.
  • Crossover: All six major Fraggles, plus Doc and Sprocket, appeared in A Muppet Family Christmas.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: 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.
  • 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!
  • 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.
  • 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 Feeny Fraggle to carry an episode by themselves.
    • "The Battle of the 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.
  • 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.
    • And Cotterpin Doozer, being both a young Doozer and being very tiny, is a straight-up Little Miss Snarker.
  • Digital Destruction: The 2015 re-airing of the Christmas Special (which was 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: Cotterpin: "You Fraggles all look alike to me." Boober: "No we don't!"
  • 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.
  • 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 
  • The Eeyore: Boober. He's always expecting the worst.
  • Egg McGuffin: Done very well in the episode "Wembley's Egg".
  • Elmuh Fudd Syndwome: Junior Gorg.
  • 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.
  • Exposed Eyeballs as Eyes: The eyes of Red, Wembley and Gobo are just eyeballs placed on top of their heads.
  • Easy Amnesia: Boober gets this in the episode "Boober Gorg".
  • Everything's Better With Zombies: Doc is excited about one of the games for his new computer in season one episode The Challenge.
    Doc: Zombie Attack! "Chase the alien enemy zombies from outer space, hurling flaming marshmallows!" Oh, yes, Sprocket! It sounds like a challenge!
  • Extreme Doormat: Wembley tends to let the others walk over him.
  • The Faceless: Ned Shimmelfinney.
    • And in the short-lived animated series version of the show, Doc.
  • Face of the Band: In-universe. Cantus is the only Minstrel the Fraggles know by name. Justified, however, in that the other four Minstrels’ names are All There in the Manual.
  • Fantastic Racism: A major underpinning of the initial interspecies relations in the show. The various central species (Fraggles, Doozers, Gorgs, and humans) start out misunderstanding each other at worst, and knowing nothing about one another at best. Gradual bridge-building occurs as the series develops.
  • Fiery Redhead: Red. Boober is a subversion.
  • Fish out of Water: Traveling Matt in "Outer Space." Not that he lets it worry him any.
  • Five-Man Band: There are actually two of these. The obvious example are the main Fraggle characters; but the Minstrels also qualify.
  • Five Races: Humans (Mundane), Fraggles (Cute), Gorgs (A downplayed, stupid variation of High Men), Doozers (Stout), and miscellaneous (too many others to count).
    • The Rats and Trash Heap seem to be the best match for Fairy, in sort of a mystical sense.
  • Flat-Earth Atheist: The source of some of Gobo's angst, most notably during the Festival of the Bells.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble (or rather, the five-temperament expansion):
    Gobo - Sanguine / Phlegmatic Type II
    Red - Choleric
    Boober - Melancholic
    Mokey - Phlegmatic
    Wembley - Supine (minus the quietness)
  • 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.
  • G-Rated Drug: Wembley's Wonderful Whoopie Water, Love Potion Number Nine.
    • The act of "flooping" from the episode "Doozer is as Doozer Does" is depicted as one.
  • Gang of Critters
  • 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".
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Has anyone noticed that the episode "We Love You, Wembley" contains homoeroticism? Both male and female Fraggles are affected by Wembley's Love Potion Number 9.
    • "Let Me Be Your Song" could easily be misconstrued as a sexual plea. Listen very closely to the lyrics.
    • In the very first episode, Sprocket gets mail. It's his subscription to Puppy Dog Tails magazine.
    • In one episode, Ma and Pa Gorg go to wade in the brook... alone. When Junior wants to come along, Pa stutters out an excuse for why he can't. The implications are subtle enough for children to miss, but watching it again as an adult...
  • 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.
  • 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".
  • Grumpy Bear: Boober, at first. Turns out he just has a bad, bad case of OCD.
  • Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal: The Fraggles and Doozers...
  • 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.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Those caves are awfully brightly lit for an underground world. Turns out the light is supplied by tiny bioluminescent creatures called Ditsies 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 Uncle Matt refers to them as the closest things a silly creature can be compared to a Fraggle!
  • 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 Begooney, 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 gets 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.
  • Impossibly Delicious Food: The Grapes of Generosity, so delicious that anyone who finds them will not want to part with them.
  • 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.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: Sort of. Steve Whitmire looked like a human version of Wembley, complete with long, floppy blond hair.
  • Insane Troll Logic: Convincing John uses this a lot.
  • 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 bit more harsh toward Sprocket, but the two still had a very close relationship.
  • Jerkass: Pa Gorg and, to an extent, Ma Gorg.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 Gorg's house, they're able to do so by using it like a trampoline.
  • Lord Error-Prone: Uncle Traveling Matt.
  • Lovable Coward: Boober Fraggle.
  • Love Is in the Air: "Wembley, Wembley, Number Nine..."
  • Lower-Deck Episode: "All Work and All Play" revolves around the Doozers.
  • 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.
  • Manchild: Doc certainly didn't have the most mature outlook on life, but he never lost his childlike sense of wonder either.
  • 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 him establishes that he was exiled from the Rock prior to the start of the series, but the Fraggles, being Fraggles, occasionally invite him to come back 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 completely irresponsible and self-centered.
  • Meanwhile, Back at the...: The story would transition from the Fraggles to whatever things Doc and Sprocket are up to.
  • Meganekko: Storyteller Fraggle.
  • Mistaken for Profound: Marjorie the Trash Heap.
  • Mondegreen: In-Universe, Travelling Matt heard the word "city" and thought it was "silly", hence "silly creatures".
  • Moral Dissonance: Sometimes the Fraggles can be insensitive to other races, especially the Gorgs, as seen when they teased Junior about the fake Mokey in "Mokey's Funeral" after he was crying over it. Realizing they can't be like this and need to interact more positively with others is a key to the series finale.
  • Mouse World: And multilayered to boot.
  • The Movie: Announced in 2005 and as of this writing has been 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 have understandably been 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.
  • Musical Episode: Inverted. Non-musical episodes were Something Completely Different.
  • 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).
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Boober's attitude towards laundry.
  • Muppets
  • Mushroom Samba: "It tastes like a party!!!"
  • Mythology Gag:
  • 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, "wembling" meant "scratching your nose".
    • 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.
  • Nice Hat:
    • Boober wears a fisherman's cap, similar to the ones that Bob Dylan and John Lennon wore in the mid-1960s.
    • Gobo has an extensive collection of these, and he wears them in many episodes.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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-Imaginary Friend: Sprocket repeatedly tries (and fails) to prove the Fraggles' existence to Doc.
  • 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 the Kissing Cavern with her.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Parental Bonus: Lots of 'em!
  • Perpetual Frowner: Ma Gorg in the first few episodes, before she was redesigned.
  • 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). 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 Poobahs. All members take the name "Fritz," which makes the roll calls very interesting indeed.
  • Poisonous Friend: Begooney is arguably the first example of Borderline Personality Disorder in a kids' show.
  • 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?
  • 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.
  • Reality Warper: Begooney (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.
  • 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.
  • Serious Business: Satirized ten ways to Tuesday, most aggressively in the "Grand Poobahs" 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 her/his beak.
  • 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.
  • Sneeze of Doom: 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.
  • Soap Box Sadie: Mokey.
  • Soft Water: During the Title Sequence, Gobo falls a great distance and lands in the Fraggles' pool without any ill effects.
  • The Southpaw: Gobo plays his guitar left-handed. This is par for the course for Muppets, though.
  • 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 Cameo: When Mokey visits the past, she advises the bald Fraggles in a solemn tone that they should "dance the night away... worries for another day.... down in Fraggle Rock." Wembley adds a honk.
  • 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.
  • 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, "Can't you see we're panicking?"
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Red and Mokey, respectively.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Radishes for both Fraggles and Gorgs.
  • 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.
  • Unexplained Accent: Gobo has a Canadian accent complete with "eh" at the end of many of his sentences. His Muppeteer, Jerry Nelson, was American; the accent is a reference to the show's Canadian home, as it was shot in Toronto.
    • Unfortunately, this was flanderized all to hell in the animated series.
  • Unusual Euphemism: Pa Gorg's "Drat and Deuteronomy!"
  • Vague Age: All the main Fraggles.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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: Marjorie 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 Poobahs 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 

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

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