Fraggle Friday: Episode 409–“Wembley’s Flight”

409

Is it just me, or was the conflict in this episode really avoidable?

After the odd old man/fairy godmother departed, why didn’t Wembley just fly back to the Great Hall?  I mean, it would have saved him a lot of walking and he would have gotten to show off to everybody in the Great Hall when he got there.  That’s what I would have done.

I guess, though, he wanted to show off for his friends, and there was no guarantee that his friends would have been in the Great Hall at that particular moment, but he still had one flight after that, so he could have gathered his friends together and flown for them then.

I know that the answer to my question is that (a) otherwise there wouldn’t be a story, and (b) it would completely undermine the moral of the episode, which is, “Don’t show off”–a moral, by the way, that I wholeheartedly endorse.  On the other hand, the whole point of Fraggle Rock is to prime us, the viewers, to look for resolutions to conflict, and they can’t reasonably expect us to turn that on and off at will.

I really love the songs in this episode.  It seems like I say that every Wembley song is one of my favorite Wembley songs, but these two are really something special:

With that said, I always used to get slightly annoyed at the beginning of this song when Wembley sings, “Why did they send me away?”  Um, they didn’t send you away, Wembley; you stormed off in a huff, remember?  

And yet, I don’t blame Wembley for being upset that his friends (or perhaps “friends,” in this instance) refuse to believe him.  “I’m a friend, and I wouldn’t lie!” Wembley protests, breaking my heart in the process.  I understand why Wembley’s friends prevent him from jumping out the window, which was a good call, but why did nobody think to suggest that they all go down to the Great Hall, and Wembley could try a standing takeoff?  That way they humor Wembley and avoid hurting his feelings without running the risk of him hurting himself physically.

How many times have Wembley’s friends doubted him when he told them something unusual that ultimately turned out to be true?  Off the top of my head, there was also the matter of the Terrible Tunnel and the Wizard of Fraggle Rock.  Granted, in that last instance Wembley’s friends didn’t believe him because he was disguised as the guileful wizard at the time, but other than that, they hardly have any excuse.  Why don’t Wembley’s friends believe him?  When has he ever shown himself to be anything other than honest and trustworthy?

There’s a certain parallel to be drawn there, but I think that’s a post for another day.

In the end, Wembley learns his lesson that it’s not worth it to show off, and he is rewarded with an extended flight all throughout Fraggle Rock.  And we are rewarded for our patience with this sometimes frustrating episode with the song “Free and High”:

Keeping with the theme of flight, I get the impression that they were really trying to create a song that was transcendent, and as far as I’m concerned they succeeded.  The individual aspects–vocals by Steve Whitmire and Richard Hunt, plus the Handel-like brass fanfare in the instrumental line–are each stunningly beautiful on their own, but put them all together and it becomes something more than the sum of its parts.

At times, this episode makes my heart soar. At other times, it just makes my heart sore.

 

12 thoughts on “Fraggle Friday: Episode 409–“Wembley’s Flight”

  1. I always interpreted “Why did they send me away?” as “Why did they upset me, thus causing me to leave?” or something to that effect.

    Regarding the recurring theme of no one believing Wembley, besides the two episodes you mentioned, there was also “Wembley’s Egg” and “Wembley’s Wonderful Whoopie Water”. And yeah, I never understood that either. Why was this such a common plotline? It even happened with the similar sounding Bean Bunny in “The Tale of the Bunny Picnic”!

    I was watching “New Trash Heap in Town” yesterday, and I thought it would be interesting if you did a post on that episode as the way the Fraggles blindly accepted everything Mokey said as fact simply because she was in a position of power reminded me of how the people on the Tough Pigs forums are with Disney and the Hensons.

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    • Great examples, Julia! I knew there had to be other instances that I was forgetting. And yet, I can’t believe I forgot the Whoopie Water one as I just watched that one relatively recently.

      You make an interesting point about “New Trash Heap in Town.” I will definitely have to watch that one again and think about it.

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  2. Mary, because I never got to watch Fraggle Rock at the level you have, I have to wrap around this piece by piece. My sound on the PC is rough with my head phones, who I shall hold this till tomorrow, when I can listen on the external speakers (My buddy is asleep behind me, and it would wake him up.

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    • Thank you, Anne. I suppose really should sign up for Twitter and start promoting my own stuff. We’ll see if I ever get over my technophobia and get around to doing that.

      And I agree with you; I’ve always loved that song, “Heart in a Hanky,” but man, it’s really taken on new resonance now.

      I also agree with you that Wembley is an absolute darling of a character. He may well be my favorite Fraggle Rock character, although it’s hard for me to choose among Wembley, Mokey, and Cantus. I wish Wembley could come live with me and be my best friend. Or if not live with me, I wish there was a tunnel connecting my house and Fraggle Rock so he could come visit me.

      Someday–probably not anytime soon because of my financial situation, but someday–I would like to adopt a dog and name it Wembley. Maybe a retired racing greyhound.

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  3. Who’s to say you can’t have a connection to Fraggle Rock. Dreams are a great place to begin. I have an idea that Wembley and you would be the best of friends. I had a friend in the past who adopted two retired greyhounds. They were magnificent and very well behaved. He used to bring them with him to the 911 center. We were both dispatchers at the time.

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