Fraggle Rock: 40 Years Later – “Catch The Tail By The Tiger”

Published: March 24, 2023
Categories: Feature, Reviews

Original air date: March 21, 1983

‘No-one knows where we’re going,
No-one knows where we’ve been.
Strangers follow us,
Dangers fall on us,
Life plays tricks and they’re mean’

When we decided that we were going to do these Fraggle 40 reviews, I jumped on this episode super quick. I couldn’t have even told you what the episode was even about, I just love this song, ‘Catch The Tail By The Tiger’ for a lot of reasons.

Firstly, it’s super catchy! The rhymes are fun, the melody is a bop, and I could imagine this remixed into some sort of disco tune you’d hear in an underground Fraggle themed nightclub that would absolutely be called ‘Boober’s Laundry’ or ‘Club Lanford’. And now I’m just mad this doesn’t exist. Specialty cocktails like the Raspberry Radish or the Doozer Stick Martini… Sorry, I got distracted.

The reason I really love this song is the message of bravery. I’m not a brave person. I wish I was, but I’m just not. I’m a big old ball of anxiety at the best of times, so wrapped up in my own head and other people’s opinions of me that I’m petrified of pretty much everything everywhere all at once. Oh sure, I can fake it til the cows come home, I’ll stand in front of 1000 people with a microphone and be the most confident person in the world. But the second I’m back in the car driving home listening to Bo Burnham’s ‘Inside’ for the 800th time, I’m right back to Mr AAARRRGGGHHH!

In 2017 I lost my job and didn’t work again steadily for 2.5 years. It was rough. I applied for well over 1000 jobs and those were just the ones online. When that wasn’t working out, I ended up printing out 200 resumes at my Dad’s insistence and wandering around malls just randomly handing them in to any store that would take them. I hated doing that with a fiery passion. I don’t like going up to people and saying ‘Excuse me, can I please have a job, please?’ in my nasally little voice. So I found myself using a couple of mantras which embraced the nerves and made me suck it up enough to walk in to a suit store and ask for work. Those mantras were; ‘Do it anyway’ and ‘Catch the tail by the tiger’, and it wasn’t until recently that I realized they were both Fraggle Rock related. Gobo singing about how to be brave made me feel brave.

Of course it wasn’t until I watched this episode the other day that I realized that Gobo was actually a chicken who was only pretending brave, which resonated with me even more.

So, quick recap: Uncle Travelling Matt hasn’t sent a postcard in 2 weeks which worries Gobo, so he decides he needs to go into Outer Space to find his uncle. He’s terrified of Sprocket and everything else out there, so he tries to find excuses to get out of it so that Red doesn’t mock him. He finally fakes up enough courage to actually leave, and that’s when he finds a postcard from his uncle, who has been hit with the flu.

I get it, Gobo. One of the worst parts of anyone’s life is when they think to themselves ‘Oh god, what are my friends going to say about this?’ I have some wonderful friends I consider family, but they can reach deep into my soul with their mocking. But I’m also notoriously mean to my best friends, so I’ve been the Red in this situation, too.

Anyway, sorry about that, just haven’t had an existential crisis on the site for a while so I figured we were due one. Oh, by the way, I got a job by handing in my resume at a store. I hate it when my father is right!

Strongest Moment: Gobo handing out his possessions to Wembley before he finally heads off is a masterclass in acting by Jerry Nelson. Beautifully subdued and sweet.

Weakest Moment: None of the Doc/Sprocket bits particularly entertained me. Sprocket is scared of lightning so wears a weird hat. Haha, I guess?

MVF (Most Valuable Fraggle): That’s gotta go to my main man, Gobo. I’m with ya, bud!

Musical Highlight: ‘Catch The Tail By The Tiger’ is a Fraggle classic! I can’t wait to dance to it while sipping on a Gorg Butter Beer.

Coolest Puppetry Effect: There are a lot of full body shots in this episode, and they all look great.

Darkest Moment: Boober is way too happy to assume that a big crack opened in the Earth and swallowed up Uncle Matt. Boober is messed up.


Okay, One More Thing… This was the first time I’ve watched any classic Fraggle Rock for a while. I’m so used to John Tartaglia’s Gobo that Jerry Nelson’s took a second to get used to!

Click here to invest in Club Lanford on the ToughPigs forum!

By Jarrod Fairclough –

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