Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Junior Gorg

WMW Junior

Written by Ryan Dosier.

Performed by…Junior
Richard Hunt (voice and face)
Rob Mills (body)

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

Most recent appearance…
Fraggle Rock Episode 513: “Change of Address” (1987)

Best known role…
Son of the King and Queen of the Universe; Fraggle hunter; bumbling, fumbling dumb of a son of a gun

Famous quote…
“Look Ma! I caught a Fwaggle!”

Junior Gorg is the son of Pa and Ma Gorg. His parents declared themselves the King and Queen of the Universe, making Junior a sort of Prince of the Universe. He loves to hunt Fraggles (which he pronounces “Fwaggles” due to his defining speech impediment) but doesn’t normally know what to do with one once he catches it. He has often been seen tending to his family’s radish garden and trying not to mess up his father’s plans.

Perhaps Junior’s best known role on Fraggle Rock was as a barrier for the Fraggles when they attempted to cross the Gorg’s Garden in order to get radishes for their meals or to meet with the all-knowing Trash Heap. Junior went to great lengths to intercept trespassers on his land and was a constant force of annoyance for any Fraggle who tried to enter his kingdom.

A relatively innocent soul, Junior’s main desire is always to please and help his parents whenever they ask him to do something. Sometimes he accidentally does majorly detrimental things on these occasions such as selling the royal land for a magic plant, inadvertently faking his death due to a “genie” in a radish basket, nearly falling for a fake Sir Hubris, “helps” Pa fix the leaky roof, eating too much garlic popcorn while Pa and Ma are away, and many more goof-ups.

Junior developed a few friendships with individual Fraggles throughout the course of Fraggle Rock. According to Episode 318: “Bored Stiff,” when Junior became friends with Gobo Fraggle, the Gorg’s only other friend up to that point was a gigantic radish named Geraldine. In Episode 119: “The Great Radish Famine,” Junior forms a semi-bond with Mokey Fraggle as she attempts to reason with him about the disappearing radishes. Cantus the Minstrel made sure that Junior was worthy of the crown in Episode 405: “Junior Faces the Music.” Finally, in Episode 511: “The Gorg Who Would Be King,” Junior was shrunken down to Fraggle size by the Nirvana Tree and went on an adventure through Fraggle Rock with Wembley Fraggle.

His adventure in Episode 511 culminated in Junior learning a major lesson about life and symbiosis between creatures, learning about not only the Fraggles but the Doozers and the Trash Heap as well. When Pa Gorg was passing on the crown to Junior, Junior thrust the crown away and refused the title of King, proving that he had grown from a goofy child whose only goal was to capture Fraggles to a true thinker with a perspective on the Universe at large.

Junior has not been seen since the finale of Fraggle Rock in 1987, but one can only assume that he is still living blissfully alongside Ma and Pa and with his new friends the Fraggles.

Junior appeared in many episodes of Fraggle Rock, but it wasn’t nearly as often that the story focused around him. Below is a list of episodes throughout the run of the show where Junior is featured prominently…

  • Episode 120: “The Garden Plot”
  • Episode 122: “Mokey’s Funeral”
  • Episode 209: “Sir Hubris and the Gorgs”
  • Episode 216: “Junior Sells the Farm”
  • Episode 314: “The Great Radish Caper”
  • Episode 316: “The Battle of Leaking Roof”
  • Episode 318: “Bored Stiff”
  • Episode 321: “A Dark and Stormy Night”
  • Episode 403: “Sidebottom Blues”
  • Episode 405: “Junior Faces the Music”
  • Episode 509: “Ring Around the Rock”
  • Episode 511: “The Gorg Who Would Be King”

When Fraggle Rock first began, it would have been extremely difficult to come up with a good reason for why Junior Gorg was a necessary element for the Fraggles. In purposes of the show specifically, Junior made a wonderful nemesis being both innocent and menacing without being evil or hateful. However, Junior added nothing to the Fraggles, other than tending to the radishes they ate. However, Junior Gorg would become the most developed character by the end of the show’s run.

Junior grew from an Elmer Fudd-like character–a bumbling idiot with nothing driving him but his desire to catch a “Fwaggle”–to a character who understood why all life was important and why hierarchies and rulers aren’t necessary for a society or an ecosystem to function. By thrusting away the crown in “The Gorg Who Would Be King,” Junior symbolized his own growth as complete and showed more growth or development than almost any other character on the show. It’s a beautiful thing to realize that Junior had to become small to grow so much.

Fraggle Rock needs Junior Gorg because he proves to the world watching that anyone can change. At one time the Fraggles’ greatest enemy, Junior grew into their biggest ally, protecting them from even his own mother and father. Junior Gorg may look and sound like a dumb lummox, but he is truly one of the only characters on the show who comes to understand how everything is connected and why everyone is important.

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

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