The Rise and Fall of the Gorg Empire
So, on occasion I watch Fraggle Rock. My daughter likes it; we have some of the DVDs and play them often. Since I’ve watched the same three episodes or so over and over and over again to the point where I can probably recite them from memory, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve begun to overthink every aspect of the show. My usual target for such ruminations? The so-called Gorg Empire.
Seriously, what the hell is up with the Gorgs?
It goes without saying that the so-called King and Queen of the Universe do not rule a kingdom, do not have an empire, and have no subjects. They mention how they have never met their subjects on at least one occasion, and it is only very rarely that we see other beings in their world at all. We are forced, then, to presume one of two things:
- The Gorgs are delusional. There never was an empire, they aren’t really kings, and they’ve been making all this stuff up.
- The Gorg Empire once existed, but doesn’t anymore. The three Gorgs in the show are the very last survivors of a once-great civilization.
Being a literature guy, I know that #1 is never the right answer. No, they aren’t just ‘crazy’ – that’s a cop-out. That leaves us with option #2: post-apocalyptic Gorgs eking out a living on a wild scrap of land among the bones of their civilization. The parents persist in the fiction that the empire is alive and well because they cannot fathom explaining to the child the atrocities that brought them to this turn and, furthermore, are probably not emotionally equipped to handle the revelation themselves. Accordingly, they cling to the old traditions and tell the old stories and pretend nothing is amiss.
Causes for Collapse
The reason for the collapse of the Gorg Empire could be anything–war, famine, natural disaster, plague, or whatever. Without asking Madam Trash Heap, we will never know for certain. My favorite theory, though, is this one: the Fraggles did it.
You know how Queen Gorg is always freaking out anytime she sees a Fraggle? They’re considered vermin, right?
Well, one of the reasons we humans have instinctually negative reactions to vermin is because they represented a health risk to our ancestors – they ate our food, they spread disease, and they rendered areas unliveable. The Fraggles are the same thing – they are vectors for disease. Furthermore, since they happen to be quite intelligent vermin, they would be exceedingly difficult to eradicate. Centuries or even millennia of Gorg history likely passed with Fraggles ravaging gardens and ruining abandoned homes. This, though, doesn’t destroy the empire, does it? They’d need to spread some kind of terrible disease that the Gorgs would have no defense against. Wherever could the Fraggles have gotten such a thing? Hmmmm…
Right: Earth. Outer Space – favorite home of such civilization-killing diseases as smallpox, the bubonic plague, and even cholera. The legends of Outer Space abound even before Travelling Matt makes his sojourn through the workshop and into the world, so presumably fraggles had been there before. Some fraggle could have popped out into Outer Space, looked around, and then popped into the Gorg Empire to raid some cabbage. A sneeze or some tainted water later, and boom – a deadly plague raging across the continent. In our own history, diseases spread to new continents were terrible to behold; it doesn’t stretch the imagination much to think a cross-world plague would be worse. Dead Gorgs piled in the streets. Plague carts roving the countryside. The collapse of civic order, the decent of the barbarians – death, destruction, and unending pestilence.
Mamma and Papa Gorg were the lucky ones – immune to the disease, survivors of the chaos that followed. Can you blame them for holding on to the past? What have they got to live for now? Radishes? An idiot son?
Chills the bones, don’t it?
Anyway, these are the things I think about while watching children’s programming.
Posted on December 26, 2011, in Critiques, Theories, and Random Thoughts and tagged apocalypse, children's TV, disease, Fraggle Rock, Fraggles, Gorgs, war. Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.
Please continue to watch more children’s television.
I absolutely loved this post! Fraggle Rock was one of my all time favorite shows as a kid, but I haven’t seen it since I was itty bitty. Now I want to get the DVDs and watch it with a new eye. Wonderfully done.
Thanks! Glad you enjoyed it!
It is now clear to me that the Gorg King was once known as Robert Neville……
LOVE IT! Food for thought, though: what if the Gorgkiller plague came not from Earth, but from another dimension? I have a theory that the Fraggles are actually interdimensional travelers that can move through time and space. I wrote a guest article on OverthinkingIt giving my reasoning: http://www.overthinkingit.com/2009/08/14/the-transdimensional-fraggle-threat/
I think we should write the ultimate Fraggle prequel screenplay together. 🙂
I had independently come to the same conclusion about fraggles, actually. I would stick to the fragglepox coming from Earth, if for no other reason than it would be difficult to imagine a more disease ridden world than our own. Still, you never know.
In any event, it scarcely matters to the Gorgs anymore.
Oh, and if you can get the IP rights, I’m totally in for a hardcore scifi Fraggle remake. 🙂
I so want this to happen.
Something more to consider. The ongoing theme of Fraggle Rock was about the ecological interconnection – one species needs another species in order to survive. They are all connected by radishes. The Gorgs grow the radishes, the Doozers make doozer sticks to build structures, the Fraggles eat the structures (which we find out gives the Doozers purpose).
In the episode, The Great Radish Famine, we find out that Gorgs need to make Gorg Youth & Beauty cream or else they vanish – literally they become invisible. So if this delicate environment were to become out of balance, say the Fraggles over-consumed the radishes, then the Gorgs would disappear. And think about waking up one morning to find everyone just gone. It may be traumatizing enough to make you think you’re Ruler of the Universe.
Never saw that episode. Good theory!
The episode “A Friend in Need” has Doc examining artifacts from a shipwreck called the “Gorgania” including a ring made of an old Doozer helmet. Could be that some Gorg travelers served as the source of giant stories and their decline could have included extermination at the hands of daring humans.
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