Fraggle Rock: 40 Years Later – “Doozer Is As Doozer Does”

Published: June 1, 2024
Categories: Feature, Reviews

Synopsis: When Wrench Doozer’s construction team is given an important assignment, they celebrate being “rev” by “flooping.” When Wrench realizes that flooping can have dangerous consequences, he has to decide whether he wants to stay “rev” or stand up for himself.

Original air date: May 28, 1984

Since its inception, Fraggle Rock has always been about teaching messages. Some are more subtle, like how “Fraggle Wars” is all about the importance of finding common ground, while others are more overt, like how “The Doozer Contest” is all about the dangers of taking rivalry too far. “Doozer Is As Doozer Does,” on the other hand, has all the subtlety of an anvil dropping on someone’s head. But considering that the topic for today is peer pressure, something pretty much every kid will face in their childhood, that may be the right approach.

The bulk of the episode is actually told in flashback by Wrench Doozer, who introduces himself in a letter as “an outcast,” noting that his life is miserable. That’s pretty heavy stuff right off the bat. How did his life come to this? It all began when he saw a tower collapse due to a Doozer with hiccups. While they may not be as disastrous to silly creatures like us, their hiccups cause them to shake up and down, endangering the fragile structures. (Maybe they ought to call the place Fragile Rock.) But Wrench’s attention is soon back on his building crew, Tower Team F, led by the popular Turbo Doozer. They soon learn that they’ve been picked to work on the dome’s support columns, becoming Support Team A. Wrench is astounded by the promotion, but Turbo isn’t, saying that the whole crew is “rev,” meaning cool or hip. I personally like using a slang term here, because it feels authentic to childhood. Who didn’t want to be phat or bad? Kids still say those, right? Skibidi Toilet? Am I relevant now?

Anyway, as rev Doozers, they don’t just celebrate in the usual Doozer way, which I’m pretty sure is ten seconds of silent appreciation. Instead, Turbo gets Wrench, Tweezer, and Scoop to spy on some passing Fraggles, who just happen to be (ta-da) Mokey, Red, Gobo, and Wembley. Wembley enjoys flooping up and down on his leapstick (That’s hopping up and down on a pogo stick, for those who don’t speak Fraggle), which gives Turbo the idea to repurpose some hydraulic tampers as makeshift leapsticks and do some flooping of his own. Declaring that in order to be rev, you have to floop, he gets his crewmates to get in a few jumps. (He also declares that you have to be rev in order to floop, but that’s a catch-22 for another time.) All seems fine, until the flooping results in Wrench getting the hiccups! They subside after a while, but it’s enough of a warning to him that he tries to get the rest of the group to stop. But since only Wrench got the hiccups, Turbo rebuffs his request, and the remaining three resolve to continue flooping after work. With the big job nearing, Turbo seems uncertain of what to do, until he comes across a postcard from Uncle Travelling Matt that convinces him to do what he thinks is right, whether it’s rev or not. The messaging seems really obvious here, but it makes sense. It’s easy to see the Doozers as parallels for kids, which hopefully makes them identifiable for those dealing with this sort of peer pressure.

That being said, the episode makes no bones about the fact that even if it’s the right thing to do, there can still be consequences for standing up for yourself. The assignment begins, and of course, Turbo, Tweezer, and Scoop begin hiccupping, but since the Architect Doozer can’t see who’s compromised, they all say it’s Wrench to get him dismissed. But vindication comes when Turbo’s hiccupping causes him to knock down the support column. Pinned under the wreckage, he expects Wrench to abandon him, but doing the right thing, Wrench pulls him out. Still hiccupping as he’s brought up to the surface, Turbo finally confesses that Wrench was right all along. The pair reconcile as Turbo heals from his injuries, when he admits that by standing up for himself, Wrench is truly rev. It’s a rev ending for a rev storyline.

And of course, the secondary lesson is “for every solid message this show has, somehow, they’ll usually mess up the Doc and Sprocket story.” Doc tries to get a part-time job managing a bed and breakfast across the street, and when he dresses up for the interview, like any reasonable adult would, he’s turned down, as based on the way he dresses, the owner thinks he’s overqualified and wouldn’t like any of the tinkering it would require. He goes back to complain to the owner in his usual outfit, and they hire him because he dresses more casually. Doc, I’m just going to say it, this may be a bad job. Your boss only seems to judge based on appearances. Did she even ask you any questions in your interview? Because that’s when she’d really get to know you. While I certainly appreciate a casual dress code, that shouldn’t be the defining factor in getting a job. Trust me pal, you don’t need that. And maybe take your ties out of your toolbox.

Strongest Moment: I have to say, I truly appreciated Turbo’s mini-monologue at the end of the episode, where he realizes that there are many ways to be rev. Now that’s something everyone can understand.

Weakest Moment: The entire Doc and Sprocket storyline. The ending is right because Doc decides to be himself, but how they get there sends a bad message.

MVD (Most Valuable Doozer): Wrench and Turbo are both memorable in their own ways, so they both deserve recognition.

First Appearance Of…: Turbo Doozer, who only appears in this episode in the classic series, but has a larger role in Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock, where they still work with Wrench. Now that’s a nice payoff!

Musical Highlight: Not only is “Rev” an adjective, it’s also a musical number, and it’s incredibly catchy, not to mention that it has great puppetry work.

Coolest Puppetry Effect: I love how the Doozers’ helmets pop up and down as they hiccup. It’s just a wonderful little touch that makes it seem realistic.

Darkest Moment: I suppose that in addition to peer pressure, the flooping could also be a metaphor for drug use. It feels good at the moment, but it does have some serious detrimental health effects down the line. Kids, say no to pogo sticks. Not even once.

I don’t care how awesome it looks!

Fraggle Lore: We learn what “rev” means, and that flooping causes hiccups. This episode’s a good exploration into Doozer society.

One More Thing…: If I had a nickel for every time I reviewed an episode this season that was missing one of the Fraggle Five, I’d have a dime. Aside from the opening theme, Boober doesn’t appear in the episode!

Okay, One More Thing…: Come to think of it, the Gorgs aren’t in this episode either! And they weren’t in “The Doozer Contest” or “Fraggle Wars” either! Not rev. Not rev at all.

Click here to elect yo floop on the ToughPigs Discord!

by Matthew Soberman –

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