Oct 9, 2013
Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Sidebottom
Fraggle Rock Episode 206: "Boober's Dream" (1984)
Most recent appearance...
Fraggle Rock Episode 403: "Sidebottom Blues" (1986)
Best known role...
Boober Fraggle's fun-loving, partying alter-ego; see also: the exact opposite of Boober
WHO IS SIDEBOTTOM?
Sidebottom is a psychological manifestation or personality quirk of constantly morose Boober Fraggle. Boober seemingly has little to no control over his alter ego for the most part, as Sidebottom has run amok in Boober's head and outside of it in three different episodes of Fraggle Rock. Sidebottom's existence is rather ambiguous--is he a projection of Boober's brain? Is he part of Boober's split personality? It's hard to say. What we do know is that Sidebottom is Boober's fun side that he keeps on the bottom--hence the name Sidebottom.
Sidebottom first appeared in the Season 2 episode "Boober's Dream." In the episode, Sidebottom is part of Boober's dreams (but for Boober they're more like nightmares). His fun-loving, party all the time attitude keeps Boober awake and plagues him for days. Boober decides to bring his friends Wembley, Gobo, Mokey, and Red into his dream to help. Sidebottom tries to sway the others to convince Boober that he should become a permanent part of Boober's personality. After realizing that Sidebottom is dangerous, the other Fraggles realize their friend Boober is wonderful just the way he is.
The first time Sidebottom came out of Boober to play and cause mischief was later in Season 2 in the episode "Boober's Quiet Day." In this episode, Sidebottom disrupts Boober's planned quiet day by convincing him to lie to the other Fraggles to avoid responsibilities and have his quiet day. Of course, this backfires and Boober ends up having to impersonate the Old Gypsy Lady because of his lies. With some coaching from Sidebottom, Boober does a fantastic song as the Gypsy Lady, but is caught in his lies when the actual Old Gypsy Lady appears. In the end, Boober realized that he had to integrate his two personalities and let himself have fun once in awhile.
Sidebottom's final appearance was in Season 4 in the episode "Sidebottom Blues." In this episode, Boober is worried that his friends think he's a bore (he just now worries about this?) and decides to let Sidebottom take over to show them a good time. Sidebottom takes on the role of Dr. Fun and leads Gobo, Mokey, Wembley, and Red into the Gorg's garden where he hypnotizes Junior Gorg, jeopardizes Wembley's life thanks to a bonkleberry allergy, and makes Boober realize that his friends think he's fun when he's himself. This episode also features a wonderful Sidebottom song "Fun is Here to Stay."
WHY DOES FRAGGLE ROCK NEED SIDEBOTTOM?
Sidebottom represents a wonderful, wacky, and zany side of Boober, showing that he isn't just a laundry-loving stick in the mud. However, what Sidebottom really does for Boober is allow him to recognize that he can let loose and have fun and still love laundry and fear germs and all of the things he usually does. Sidebottom gives Boober an excuse to have fun but keeps him grounded and reminds him that too much fun is just as bad as too much tedium and drudgery.
The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier, firstname.lastname@example.org