Things you should maybe know before we get started: I am nearly 25 years old, and my entire DVD collection consists of: Batman The Movie (the one from the 60s with Adam West and Burt Ward), The Secret of NIMH, Rainbow Brite and the Star-Stealer, The Last Unicorn, a recording of Sweeney Todd starring Angela Lansbury and George Hearn (a real musical production, before Tim Burton got his hands on it!), Milo and Otis, a “double feature” of the crappy sci-fi movies Slipstream and Abraxus, Guardian of the Universe (it was $1 at the dollar store ok), Watership Down, Simon & Garfunkel’s reunion concert in central park, a collection of public education films aimed at teens from the 40s, 50s and 60s on the subject of “hygiene, dating, and delinquency,” and seasons 1-4 of the new Doctor Who. Make of that what you will.
And then I’ll tell you that the reason I gave the list is to illustrate the fact that I love children’s movies. And a lot of media meant for children or young adults in general. They are a kind of comfort food for my brain, they fill me with warm fuzzies and a vision of the world as a place where things can get weird and scary and dangerous but young people are full of courage and face their problems and usually there is pain and difficulty but mainly things turn out well in the end. And sometimes I need that. And so when Netflix started offering Fraggle Rock on Instant View when I was about halfway through my master’s degree and stressed out kind of all time, I was filled with joy.
But just because they’re comfort food and I watch children’s movies or TV when I need something soothing and relaxing and don’t want to think too hard, doesn’t mean I can actually keep myself from thinking while I watch them. I am a neurotic nerd with a high need for cognition and am utterly ruined for innocent surface-level enjoyment of basically anything in life.
I love the colorful and silly world of Fraggle Rock just as much now as I did when I was 7, and I totally appreciate that as far as shows for young children go, Fraggle Rock is good at depicting complex issues without dumbing them down too much or patronizing children. But I started noticing some nuances and possible interpretations of the stories that hadn’t occurred to me at such a tender age. And I’m not sure they were always the kind of lessons the good people at the Jim Henson Company would have wanted children to learn!
So naturally I had to blog about it.