Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Convincing John

WMW Convincing John

Written by Ryan Dosier.


Performed by…Convincing John
Jim Henson

First appearance…
Fraggle Rock Episode 106: “The Preachification of Convincing John” (1983)

Most recent appearance…
Fraggle Rock Episode 310: “The Secret Society of Poobahs” (1985)

Best known role…
The world’s most persuasive Fraggle who can convince anyone to do anything

Famous quote about Convincing John…
“Listen to Convincing John, and all your troubles will be gone! He’s gonna tell it, spell it, sell it, just for you!”

Convincing John is a sort of “traveling salesman” in Fraggle Rock. Yet, instead of peddling random items door to door, Convincing John instead uses his catchy songs and innate ability to convince to sway other Fraggles one way or the other. It is said of Convincing John that he could convince a Gorg it was a Doozer, or convince a Doozer to stop working and start dancing.

In the Season One epiosde “The Preachification of Convincing John,” Mokey Fraggle recruits the help of Convincing John to stop the Fraggles from eating Doozer constructions. Backed by his trio of Fragglettes, Convincing John sang his titular song, “Convincing John,” and stopped the Fraggles from eating Doozer constructions, proving how powerful his convincing ways could be. When Mokey realized that the Fraggles should eat Doozer constructions, it takes Convincing John’s song to sway them back to eating towers again.

Convincing John returned in Season Two in the episode “The Secret of Convincing John,” where it was revealed that he, like Wembley, was a constant wembler and unable to make decisions. Convincing John revealed that although he was the most persuasive Fraggle in the world, it was only because he taught himself self-confidence and could convince himself that he was able to make decisions. Convincing John uses another song to help Wembley overcome his wembling, turning him into a bossy Fraggle who now goes by the name Wilfred and alienates his friends.

In his final appearance in the Season Three episode “The Secret Society of Poobahs,” Convincing John appears as the Vanguard of the Poobahs. His Vanguard duties range from reading role call (wherein every member’s name is inexplicably “Fritz”), presiding over Poobah court, and confusing the difference between guilty and innocent (he thinks it has something to do with lambs). Vanguard Convincing John is one of the main Poobahs against allowing Mokey Fraggle to join their silly society. This is the only appearance where Convincing John does not convince anyone of anything.

Though he only appeared in three episodes, Convincing John made a major impression due to this raucous and exciting character and the fact that he was performed without restraint by Jim Henson. Convincing John became one of Henson’s funniest and beloved characters even with his very few appearances.

Convincing John is one of the few Fraggles in Fraggle Rock that could be considered a bad influence. He helps the Fraggles realize that sometimes convincing other people to do things they might not want to doesn’t always end well. But perhaps Convincing John knows this, since he is so willing to switch his convincing to the opposite, such as eating Doozer constructions or not eating Doozer constructions. Convincing John is both a bad influence and a good reminder of why thinking for yourself is the best way to go.

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

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