Review: Back to the Rock S2 – Episode 4 ‘The Repeatee Birds’

Published: April 24, 2024
Categories: Feature, Reviews

To sum up this episode in five words: Boy, Twitter kinda sucks, huh?

To sum up this episode in several words:

Here we are, back for season two, baby! Last season, I covered the episode “The Merggle Moon Migration,” which tackled a very modern issue of misinformation in the digital age (even though Fraggles have no computers). This season, we’ve gotten a spiritual sequel in the form of “The Repeatee Birds,” which also handles a distinctly digital message in an analog setting while not being as blunt with the terminology (even though I didn’t mind the “Echo Chamber” from the former episode, I can understand people finding it a bit eye-rolling).

Today, Boober is hosting his annual Radish Razzle, “the only dinner and a show where the dinner is the show.” But, in addition to radishes, Mokey has brought back something else from the Gorg garden – strawberries. Despite his very impressive, hibachi-like abilities, Boober finds nobody is paying attention to his show, but rather are focused on the new strawberries. An unappreciated Muppet in a hibachi setting? Pfff, it’s been done!

But, because of the gusties, a new species of bird has been introduced to the rock that repeats what they hear. So, Boober uses their unique ability to spread misinformation and disinterest strawberries to get his audience back. Golly, instead of the seeds of strawberries, he’s sowing the seeds of discord! Hey, word play! Gobo also discovers the bird’s knack for repeating things and tries to counter the anti-strawberry narrative with anti-radish talk. And soon, Fraggles must choose a side or be forced into a musical battle.

Meanwhile, everyone else is doing stuff – Doc is trying to reprogram her Doc-Bot for a school visitation, Pa and Junior try to clear the garden of strawberries, Travelling Matt crashes a Mexican birthday party, and the Doozers experiment to see what they can do with strawberries from a building perspective. Hijinks abound!

So, in case it wasn’t super clear, this episode is all about the power of words, especially the age of social media. Again, they’re not using direct terminology this time, but the Repeatee birds are pretty literal stand-ins for Twitter and how tweets and retweets can spread information, good and bad. I certainly admire their restraint in not making the birds blue. Though, it is kind of amusing how the metaphor got kind of ruined between filming and release when Mr. Tesla Man decided to completely rebrand the website to something even stupider for literally no good reason at all.

But this is certainly a good lesson for kids who are growing up not knowing a world without social media. Words have meaning, and I, like a lot of other people, have certainly been guilty of using my online platform to say something negative and get something negative in response. And that ain’t a good feeling! But, as the Fraggles demonstrate, if we can put positive things out there instead, we’ll probably get more positivity in return. And that is a good feeling!

The other plots are a little more tangentially related than directly, but are still good lessons. Doc learns to speak more positively towards one’s self, and that replacing people with artificial intelligence is a dumb idea. The Doozers learn to do your research before putting anything out there, otherwise you might say something ill informed like “Strawberries are good building material” or “The election was stolen.”

A little touch near the end that I like is that even after the supposedly happy ending, one bird is still repeating the anti-strawberry rhetoric, showing that you can’t always take things back, and that things on the Internet can live forever. You gotta be careful about what you share, otherwise Pa Gorg might develop a plot to kill you. That is absolutely something that can happen in real life, probably.

In conclusion, this was an enjoyable episode! It’s got a good moral delivered in an appropriate Fraggle way, Boober gets many good one liners, it’s got some rockin’ tunes, and an Inkspot in a spa tub.

Strongest Moment: I really like the Night at the Opera-type scene where the Fraggle five all crowd into Boober’s “single occupancy hidey-hole,” which leads to some good jokes (“Please don’t gasp, we don’t have the air for it.”).

Weakest Moment: The Doozer subplot has a few laughs (strawberry hats!), but I don’t think it’s especially memorable. It does allow the episode to end on a very good, and fitting callback, though.

MVF (Most Valuable Fraggle): Ol’ Boober Fraggle of course!

Classic Musical Moment: Much like the Fraggle Pebbles of yore, we’re regifted a song – “Pass It On!” This version interestingly combines the two previous versions, utilizing the counterpoint aspect from the original version, while using the altered lyrics from A Muppet Family Christmas. The special is canon, folks!

New Musical Moment: “Radishes vs. Strawberries,” the musical battle (of words) between Boober, Gobo, and company. It’s shot really cool, with some great lighting and smoke effects. And the Storyteller delivers an especially great cameo.

Coolest Puppetry Thing: The Repeatee Birds are neat little guys with some interesting mechs (for their wings and ears) and have just enough of an off-kilter look that helps make them feel like they’re out of place.

Darkest Moment: The aforementioned original musical number is probably the closest to dark as the episode gets. Nobody’s life is at stake or anything, but it’s got a much harsher tone than the rest of the episode.

Fraggle Lore: Supposedly, in this timeline, Boober has been hosting this Radish event for a while. Good for him!

One More Thing…: The Gorg subplots throughout the season may not make a whole lotta sense sometimes, but man, I’m just glad they’re actually utilizing the trio more, and Ma and Pa aren’t just stuck behind a window the whole time for no reason.

Okay, One More Thing…: Red’s poncho is fitted specifically to shield both her pigtails. A+ costume work, Henson Workshop!

Click here to pick a side in the strawberry vs. radish debate on the Tough Pigs Discord!

By Shane Keating

You May Also Like…

Written by Shane Keating

Read More by Shane Keating

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This