Abigail Maughan – Boober Fraggle is the only cautious, quiet homebody in a civilization full of loud, bold thrill-seekers. The cynic, the skeptic, the naysayer of the core Fraggles, this guy’s got a lot on his mind, even if you don’t count the mischievous party-loving entity living in his head. Over the course of his adventures, Boober learns more about himself, the world around him, and where he fits in it. Although our world is much less fantastical than that of Fraggle Rock, we Silly Creatures can learn a lot about life by noting some of the more important growing experiences that Boober has.
Let’s look at some of the most vital lessons that our favorite furry pessimist has taught us.
“Wait a minute… we had a fight… and I won! I’m the one who’s in charge around here!”
“Did I ever say you weren’t?”
Sidebottom, Boober’s self-proclaimed “fun side,” sparks inner debate—literally—within Boober whenever this alter ego decides he wants more exposure than he gets. While Sidebottom seems to think he is helping Boober to stop being so uptight, the real lesson that Boober gleans from the Sidebottom trilogy is that when he lets an undesirable side of his personality run rampant, the outcome is embarrassing at best and dangerous at worst. But, despite pressure both inside and out to pretend to be someone he’s not, Boober learns that he is the one in control of himself. And while it may be exciting to venture outside of his comfort zone, Boober must exert responsibility when doing so.
The alternate but equally valuable message we can interpret from Boober’s encounters with Sidebottom is that we all have unexpected layers, and that they are real and authentic, which means they shouldn’t necessarily be buried. As Boober himself tells Sidebottom, “There is such a thing as a happy medium.”
It’s Okay to be Cautious
“I’d really love to help you, but I think I hear my kettle boiling. Okay?”
Even though Gobo learns his own lesson about trusting his instincts in “The Voice Inside,” Boober was doing it before it was cool. In “Bored Stiff,” Boober hightails it out of a dangerous expedition to the Gorgs’ garden, leaving him the only one of his friends not infected by Pa Gorg’s boredom juice. Boober’s reluctance for adventure is played for both laughs and sympathy throughout the series, so it’s nice to see his fears proven correct every once in a while. In instances like this, Boober is proving true the valuable lesson that erring on the side of caution is not bad or cowardly, but is in fact the smart thing to do.
While “Bored Stiff” is far from being a Boober-centric episode (he leaves the story halfway through, in fact), it does provide an instance of Boober’s paranoia actually saving him, hammering home a theme we’ve seen before in “Doomsday Soup,” and will see again, much more dramatically, in “River of Life” later. However…
While Being Careful is One Thing, Being Selfish is Another
“Don’t thank me. I tried to run away. I was worried only about myself, as usual. I’m sorry I didn’t help you sooner.”
Boober’s ability to see danger where others can’t, or won’t, makes him an asset among the typically happy-go-lucky civilization of Fraggles. But as he avoids danger to save his own skin, he also realizes that he cannot be passive when someone else is suffering. This is what happens in “Boober and the Glob,” in which he has to muster his courage in order to save Doozers that have been eaten by a monster. He is tempted again to ignore a problem for a sick Wembley in “Pebble Pox Blues,” and for all of Fraggle Rock in “River of Life.” But his morals outweigh his fears, and he realizes that he is a coward if he doesn’t step in to help someone else when he can.
From a prized blanket to a perfect blue rollie, a number of Boober’s stories involve his selfish streak in relation to material goods as well. But he always comes around to realize that friends and people are more important than stuff.
Save Real Worries for Real Problems
“Sometimes… although not very often… I guess I exaggerate how terrible being sick can be. You see… I guess… I suppose pebble pox is just a natural part of life. I don’t believe I said that.”
As often as he is correct about his suspicions, Boober just as frequently makes the tallest of mountains out of his molehills. His germ phobia reaches its apex in “Pebble Pox Blues,” which he spends relaying the terrors of germs to Wembley, and singing a catchy song on the subject. When Wembley himself becomes sick with the pebble pox, Boober’s spiel has convinced his friend that he is going to die, and Boober has to admit that this particular sickness is not as big of a deal as he made it out to be.
Boober learns that his tendency to predict the worst creates unnecessary panic and hurts more than just himself. There is plenty in the world to be concerned about already without going out of one’s way to look for it.
“Sometimes I think you don’t have enough fun, and I worry about you.”
“Wembley, I have my own kind of fun. Safe, cozy fun.”
Boober, constantly on edge about his own mortality, needs to be reminded that while tragedy is inevitable, he shouldn’t spend his life dwelling on it. While one wouldn’t suspect it from his perpetually skittish demeanor, Boober enjoys life quite a bit in his own, quiet way. Despite his constant preaching of dread and disasters, Boober seems to be very satisfied with his place in the world.
With a few exceptions, including “Sidebottom Blues,” Boober is comfortable in his own skin when it comes to following what he’s chosen to do with his life. He isn’t ashamed of loving laundry, cooking, or home remedies—things that no other Fraggles do. He prides himself on being boring and fully embraces mundanity, because it makes him happy, although different from others. He seems to take to heart the advice given by Philo and Gunge in “Marooned” that “Life is for living!”
May we all someday love anything as much as Boober loves laundry.