In November of 2009, Lions Gate Entertainment released a compilation DVD of holiday-themed Fraggle Rock episodes just in time for the Christmas season. The DVD contained three episodes of Fraggle Rock, one episode of the short-lived Fraggle Rock cartoon, and special features like an Emmett Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas sing-a-long version of “Brothers,” the opening song from The Christmas Toy, a holiday trivia game, and an ornament memory game. The episodes are great, but the special features and packaging are kind of a lame attempt to tie the Fraggles into Christmas and make a buck off of fans. Out of the episodes featured on this DVD, “The Bells of Fraggle Rock” is the most holiday-centric episode. In this episode, Gobo (Jerry Nelson) believed the Fraggle’s Solstice tradition of the Festival of the Bells was a waste of time. During the Festival of the Bells, the Fraggles gather in the Great Hall and ring their individual bells, which awakens the Great Bell. The Great Bell must be awakened in order to keep Fraggle Rock moving. Fraggle Rock slows during the Winter Solstice and if the Great Bell stays dormant, Fraggle Rock slows to a halt and freezes along with all of the Fraggles! Gobo’s faith in the Great Bell is waning. He feels that it is pointless because he has never seen the Great Bell. Despite Cantus the Minstrel’s (Jim Henson) warnings, Gobo heads to the center of Fraggle Rock in search of the Great Bell before the ringing of the bells. He also makes Wembly (Steve Whitmire) and the other Fraggles promise not to ring their bells until he returns. As Gobo continues his journey, Fraggle Rock slows and grows colder. While waiting on Gobo, the rest of the Fraggles freeze! By the way, there are few visions that are more scarring than a frozen Fraggle! Thanks to Cantus, Gobo realizes that he was looking in the center of Fraggle Rock, instead of the heart. The heart of Fraggle Rock is, of course, the Fraggles and their music. Gobo rings his bell, which awakens the other Fraggles who ring their bells, and then Great Bell rings. Fraggle Rock moves and Gobo’s faith is restored. Fraggle Rock is accessible through a Fraggle hole in Doc’s (Gerard Parkes) workshop. Doc is the only regular human character of this show and is also the only character to appear in every episode. He shares his workshop with his dog Sprocket (Steve Whitmire). Each episode of Fraggle Rock has scenes with Doc and Sprocket that parallel or share the theme of what is currently happening with the Fraggles. In this episode, Doc and Sprocket are trying to celebrate all of the Solstice traditions of the different cultures of the world. As the Great Bell rings in Fraggle Rock, Doc and Sprocket listen to church bells after Sprocket breaks open a piñata. Each season began on HBO in the beginning of January, except for the third season which began a week early in order for this episode to air before Christmas. It was aired each year at Christmas time. Usually each episode of Fraggle Rock ends with an instrumental version of the theme song with Wembley singing scat. This episode ends with a reprise of “There’s a Promise” over the closing credits. This is the first of three times that the regular end theme is replaced by an alternate song. “The Grapes of Generosity” is a great episode, but it is a reach to include it on a holiday themed DVD. According to Fraggle lore, the Grapes of Generosity appear to a Fraggle that needs to learn to become generous. If shared and eaten with others, the Grapes of Generosity will make a Fraggle more generous. If a Fraggle does not share them and eats them by himself, then he becomes weightless to show everyone how selfish he has been. In this episode, Gobo stumbles upon the Grapes of Generosity after Mokey (Kathryn Mullen) has told the legend. At first, Gobo cannot wait to take them back to share with his friends, but as he eats more of them, he becomes obsessed and does not share them. Red (Karen Prell) asks Gobo if she can display his rock climbing trophy during the Jocks and Jockesses Picnic. Gobo refuses to let her take it because he has hidden the Grapes of Generosity in it. This leads to an argument between the two. Red challenges Gobo to a rock climbing competition. If he will not share the trophy with her, then she will win it from him. Before the competition starts, however, Gobo becomes weightless and hides in his cave. Red decides to prove her bravery and rock climbing skills by climbing to the ceiling of the Great Hall, but she gets stuck on a rock. Luckily, weightless Gobo floats up to her and awards her the trophy. Being generous causes the Grapes of Generosity to wear off, but Red and Gobo are able to help each other down. There were just enough grapes left at the end of the episode for the Fraggles to share with each other along with all of their other possessions! The best part of this episode is the end when the Fraggles are wearing each other’s clothing! “The Perfect Blue Rollie” is another episode that is also a bit of a stretch to be included on this DVD. Wembley and Boober (Dave Goelz) happen upon a stream that is barely trickling and the water level has gone down very low, exposing all kinds of rollies and smoothies (sparkling pebbles). Wembley and Boober gather them up in true Fraggle fashion to share with everyone. Among the other rollies and smoothies, Wembley finds the legendary Blue Rollie. It is a rare and beautiful blue pebble that is meant to be shared. Just like Gobo with the Grapes of Generosity, Boober does not want to share it. He builds a special display for it in is secret hidey-hole among his other treasures like buttons and laundry lint. Boober spends all of his time guarding the Blue Rollie and chases all of his friends away. The cave he dug for his hidey-hole falls in, but Wembley and the other Fraggles are able to save him. The Blue Rollie pops out of the rocks, unscathed and the Fraggles decide to share it. This episode is remarkably similar to “The Grapes of Generosity,” only better. It is pretty interesting to see the kind things that Boober treasures. The rollies and smoothies are pretty cool looking too! I would love to find some in the creek near my house! It was not originally meant to be a Christmas episode even though it contains a great gift giving song titled “Pass It On.” In another Christmas special, A Muppet Family Christmas, the Fraggles sing “Pass It On” to Kermit and Robin when they explore a Fraggle hole and wander into Fraggle Rock. The Fraggles give Robin a Fraggle Pebble as a Christmas gift. A Muppet Family Christmas (unedited of course, but that is totally different soap box and article) DVD release with “The Bells of Fraggle Rock” would have been a much better holiday DVD and Muppet fans would have rejoiced and been thankful for the gift. In the 1980s and early 1990s, Saturday mornings were filled to the brink with cartoons. The Big Three networks each had blocks of programming for kids. Classics like Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies, and Tom and Jerry shared space with newer cartoons that were based off of toys (Care Bears, The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin, G.I. Joe, and He-Man and the Masters of the Universe) live action television shows (Punky Brewster and ALF), and even musical groups (M.C. Hammer and New Kids on the Block). Even Fraggle Rock got into the act. An animated version of the show ran on NBC from 1987-1988. I was excited that this DVD included an episode of the cartoon until I actually watched it. The animated version of Fraggle Rock was much like the HBO puppet version, but with different actors supplying the voices. The voices were similar to the voices we are used to, but vary enough to emanate a weird Twilight Zone feel. The cartoon even borrowed many songs and plots from the puppet versions, but chopped and inserted them into strange combinations. The entire time I watched “The Great Fraggle Freeze” I kept thinking, “No! This is not where these songs belong!” At first, you expect something like “The Bells of Fraggle Rock,” but this episode is much more like “Let the Water Run” from the puppet version. In “Let the Water Run,” Junior Gorg (Richard Hunt) fills up a bathtub for Pa’s (Jerry Nelson) daily bath which in turn drains all of the water from the Fraggle pond that happens to serve as the Gorg’s well. The Pipebangers come out and bang on the pipes. Doc hears the banging and empties out his boiler to stop the noise which refills the pond. In the animated version, the heat goes out in Doc’s workshop making the pond’s water incredibly cold. The Pipebangers bang on the pipes which causes Doc to turn on the water heater to stop the banging. In a huge plot twist, the water for Pa’s bath is freezing cold too. Similar to “The Bells of Fraggle Rock,” Gobo must travel to the center of the Mystical Magical Maze and touch the “fingers on the giant hand” to switch the electricity back on in the workshop. The recycling continues when this episode uses the song “Shine on, Shine on Me” to celebrate the return of electricity that was originally used in the puppet episode “The Day the Music Died” when Gobo’s music brought the Fraggles back to life. Fraggle Rock can be pretty heavy at times. This cartoon episode also includes the song “Rollin,’ Rollin’ On” from the episode “Catch the Tail by the Tiger.” If that was not enough, the postcard from Uncle Traveling Matt where he discovers elevators was previously used in “The Trash Heap Doesn’t Live Here Anymore.” Sheesh! A Merry Fraggle Holiday delivers Fraggle-wise, but falls short on the holiday part. If you want to celebrate the holidays with the Fraggles, “The Bells of Fraggle Rock” is essential, but I would skip these other episodes and go straight to an old taped off television version of A Muppet Family Christmas. This compilation DVD takes a clearly Christmas episode and adds a couple episodes about generosity with it. The animated version of Fraggle Rock is great for nostalgia, but “The Great Fraggle Freeze” pieces together chunks of better Fraggle Rock episodes. This DVD is a good choice for someone needing to satisfy a Fraggle craving or works as a nice gift if you cannot afford the boxed sets of seasons or the entire series on DVD. Dubious packaging aside, I rate this 4 out of 5 rubber chickens! See larger image Fraggle Rock: Merry Holiday New From: $5.99 USD In Stock Share this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.