Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Philo and Gunge

WMW Philo and Gunge

Hello, hello! Today’s Weekly Muppet Wednesday article is written by my friend Maxwell Jessop, an awesome Muppet fan and a fun kid to be around!


Performed by…Philo and Gunge
Dave Goelz (Philo)
Richard Hunt (Gunge)

First appearance…
Fraggle Rock Episode 101: Beginnings (1983)

Most recent appearance…
Mopatop’s Shop “Thingamajig” – (Philo) (2000)
Mopatop’s Shop “Rude Dude” – (Gunge) (2000)

“You are in the presence of…”
“The all-knowing…”
“Trash Heap! Nyaaaah!!”

Best known role…
Rat-like announcers and companions of Marjory the Trash Heap

Philo and Gunge are the rat-like sidekicks of Marjory the Trash Heap who act as her shills or barkers, introducing her whenever they see a visiting Fraggle. The duo are nearly identical in appearance and differ from each other little.While Philo is pink with one tooth, Gunge is gray with two teeth.

Their signature “Nyaaahh!!” also made the characters more memorable. The catchphrase came from Richard Hunt, who created the phrase during one of the auditions.

The two are rarely seen apart. Though, after Fraggle Rock they did split apart. Philo was seen attacking Jim Henson in The Jim Henson Hour Pitch Reel. Gunge was seen more after Fraggle Rock than his purple companion, making cameos on Dinosaurs (avoiding consumption by Robbie Sinclair and Roy Hess) and Mopatop’s Shop (recycled as Toodlepip).

Though sometimes used as the comedic element for Trash Heap scenes, Philo and Gunge were given starring roles every now and then. In “Home is Where the Trash Is,” Philo and Gunge yearn for their home and wonder about their origins, the episode also further explored Philo and Gunge’s ties to Marjory. Gunge also got to be king of the Doozers in one episode. “Gunge the Great and Glorious” depicted Gunge being mistaken for the Doozers’ king. That is, until a jealous Philo alters his teeth on the ancient portrait.

For starters, the Fraggles need them because they need the Trash Heap. From what we know in “Home is Where the Trash Is,” without Philo and Gunge, Marjory would die. And the Fraggles need the Trash Heap for their tough questions and for expert advice.

The Trash Heap’s life would still be in danger if it wasn’t for Philo and Gunge. Thanks to them, Marjory would’ve been thrown into the river by Junior Gorg. That is, since the two elected two supposedly wise Fraggles, Boober and Wembley, to help her. Who actually succeeded in the job!

It would be a chain reaction: without Philo and Gunge, the Trash Heap would die. And without the Trash Heap, the Fraggles would elect a new Trash Heap. At some point they’d go insane without the real Trash Heap and real information, at least I think so. And the whole race of Fraggles wouldn’t be the lovable group we know and love! So in other words, Philo and Gunge have a really big hand in the overall race of Fraggles.

The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, muppetmindset@gmail.com

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