National Grouch Day honors treasured, trash-loving Muppet

Oscar the Grouch made TV debut in 1969

Host of Nickelodeon TV "Blues Clues," Steve Burns, gives a thumbs-up to Children's Television Workshop's (CTW) Sesame Street puppet Oscar-The-Grouch, during a press conference in New York, Tuesday April 28, 1998. Nickelodeon and CTW announced a joint venture to launch the first-ever educational Television network for kids, called "Noggin." (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) (BEBETO MATTHEWS, AP1998)

Instead of celebrating Saturday’s silly national holiday, why don’t you shove your head in a pile of trash?

Oscar the Grouch, one of the longest-serving and most instantly recognizable characters in the legendary children’s TV show “Sesame Street,” would love nothing better.

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Saturday, Oct. 15, is National Grouch Day, so named in 2013 by Sesame Street Magazine. Similar to other national “Days” we’ve talked about on, such as how National Cat Day encourages us to pay our feline friends a bit more attention, people are commonly advised to celebrate National Grouch Day by embracing their inner grouch.

Dissimilarly, being a grouch usually means doing nothing at all. So, if this should be a Saturday for slouching, complaining and doing nothing productive, you at least have a reason this time.

An easy thing to do without much effort is learning. Like people claim Leonardo Da Vinci once said, “Learning never exhausts the mind,” and now that I’ve invoked the memory of someone so talented to talk about a Muppet, let’s get to some of the Oscar facts we found.

Drawing from the many details listed on Oscar’s Muppet Wiki page, it seems he has a family of fellow grouches who visit occasionally, a girlfriend named Grundgetta and that Oscar’s eyebrow has remained unchanged ever since the show’s first season. Oscar also has had multiple pets, the most famous being Slimey, a cheerful worm who inches along and communicates by squeaking.

The green grouch has had plenty of time to build his languid lore, making his TV debut in November 1969 while still orange in color, not green. Detailed in “Sesame Street Unpaved” — a 1998 book that covers the making of the show, written by David Borgenicht — Oscar’s character was inspired by an entertainingly ill-tempered waiter at a Manhattan restaurant that Jim Henson and Jon Stone once patronized. The Muppet’s voice, too, was found in New York; Oscar’s original performer Caroll Spinney noted he was inspired by a taxi driver in the Bronx who gave him a lift to work on his first day performing as the Grouch, it is alleged.

Spinney, who also performed with Big Bird for nearly 50 years, passed away in December 2019. He was 85.

Puppeteer Eric Jacobson has since taken over as the Grouch, starting regular work with the character in 2015 as Spinney switched to only provide Oscar’s gravel voice.

However you choose to celebrate National Grouch Day, ensure it doesn’t go to waste!

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About the Author:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.