Synopsis: Boober is overwhelmed with the noisy activity of Fraggle Rock. When he learns about the Caves of Boredom, he moves there for some peace and quiet. The other Fraggles discover that a forgetfulness-causing plant grows in those same caves and go to rescue Boober before the plants eat him.
Original air date: January 9, 1984
Some of you reading these reviews might be wondering why we’re writing them. Are these reviews driven by pure nostalgia? That’s what a lot of websites looking back on or rebooting old work are trying to do. They’re harnessing people’s fond memories in order to get clicks and engagement. But there are also old shows that are worth revisiting after we’ve grown because our perspectives, contexts and life experiences have changed, allowing us to appreciate the work and learn from it in a new way.
Just like some of the books you didn’t understand in high school English and should revisit now that you’re older, (Notice I said “some.” Ethan Frome can gather dust on the shelf.) Fraggle Rock contains lessons that mean even more after what we’ve been through in the last forty years.
Specifically, this episode draws comparisons to the first year of the pandemic, when many of us were isolated from our friends and family to varying degrees. Boober moves away to the Caves of Boredom in order to find peace and quiet. He finds it, but he also forgets his friends and Fraggle Rock due to flora that emits an amnesic smoke. His friends don’t forget him, however. They’re very concerned for his well-being and frequently check on him.
I know that for me, returning to my job after lockdown felt like a series of relearnings for things I used to do on a daily basis. Just like Boober, the etiquette for how to socialize and what to do when someone visits became unfamiliar. But what else had I forgotten while shut away in my home? Who had I forgotten? Even though I had the technology and mental capacity to reach out to loved ones and coworkers during the pandemic, many people did not.
Many of you may recall that Fraggle Rock addressed the pandemic much more directly in Fraggle Rock: Rock On. But that doesn’t diminish the power with which this episode also speaks to how to deal with that exact situation. At no point do Red, Mokey, Wembley and Gobo forget about Boober. They visit him, ask after him, make sure he’s got everything he needs, and take action when they realize that everything is not okay in the Caves of Boredom. Caring for the welfare of our friends and family members is a lesson that, important as it is for every stage of life, may not have impacted us until lockdown forced many into Boober’s same position: living alone with a threat to physical health.
So I hope you were able to reach out to someone in the last four years or that someone has reached out to you. And that as we go forward with these new life experiences, we remember to keep reaching out because it shouldn’t take predatory plants or a pandemic for us to remember how much others mean to us.
Also in this episode, Doc divides the workshop in two when he and Sprocket get fed up with each other leaving their possessions lying around. It’s a well-worn trope in media but, as of the writing of this article, this instance doesn’t actually appear on the TV Tropes page.
Strongest Moment: Every time the Fraggles show their concern for Boober and visit him is showing how much this show has grown through season one. Even when Red sings a parody of the theme song to tease Boober, it’s much less antagonistic than the actions in I Don’t Care.
Weakest Moment: Sorry, Uncle Matt. Fainting at the sight of a subway train doesn’t quite compare to the actual danger Boober is in. And it’s not quite the comedic relief we need in an episode like this.
MVF (Most Valuable Fraggle): Boober. Even when he’s in the midst of forgetting, he still has the presence of mind to turn to laundry in a time of need.
First Appearance Of…: The Storyteller as performed by Terry Angus who would perform the character for the rest of the series. And also the first indication that she has a crush on Uncle Matt.
Musical Highlight: The Remembering Song is catchy in just the right way and it encourages you to “something something” your way through it. If you can’t remember the words, you’re doing it right.
Coolest Puppetry Effect: As a known penguin flinging appreciator, I will always think that tossing puppets into the air with enthusiasm is cool. Throughout the episode, Red is teaching Fraggles to properly “whoopee.” And in one scene they fling Fraggles into the air. And it’s utterly joyful.
Darkest Moment: The moment when the plants have immobilized Mokey, Red and Gobo and they’ve got the thousand yard stare is very unsettling even though we know they’re puppets.
Fraggle Lore: The Fraggles go to see the Storyteller and she mentions that the Caves of Boredom used to be called the Caves of Forgetfulness but everyone forgot. Then how does she know? And why hasn’t she done something about it?
One More Thing…: Hey Doc, where is that electronic sponge? If it can clear up oil spills, we needed that like yesterday.
Okay, One More Thing…: Wembley is named Wembley because “they thought it meant easily makes up his mind.” First, I love how this side-steps the question of parents. And second, does this mean that there’s a Fraggle language we’re missing out on? I would like to speak Fragglish like others speak Klingon.
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by Katilyn Miller