Do a Grouch a Favor Day. Bah.
If you know a grouch, buy them a coffee. If you have a jerk co-worker, help them out on a project. And if you live on Sesame Street, perhaps offer to worm-sit Oscar’s pet worm, Slimey.
Most everyone under the age of 45 grew up watching Sesame Street on Public Television.
A grouchy waiter
Everyone’s favorite grouch was developed by Sesame Street head writer Jon Stone and Jim Henson, based on the personality of a “magnificently rude” waiter at Oscar’s Tavern.
His voice was inspired by the voice of a New York City taxi driver, hailed when going to the production studio. When Puppeteer Caroll Spinney first got in, the driver asked him “Where to, Mac?” and spoke with Spinney about the mayor of New York at the time (Republican John Lindsay).
According to Sesame Street’s Robert W. Morrow, Oscar was created to indirectly demonstrate racial and ethnic diversity. Since he’s so different to the other characters, his creators hoped to address social issues by using his differences as a metaphor for racial and ethnic differences.
Oscar may be an American creation, but his love for filth is international.
In Germany, the Grouch character is called Uli von Bödefeld. In Israel, the Grouch is called מוישה אופניק, or Moishe Oofnik, and is Oscar’s Israeli cousin. The Mexican Grouch is named Bodoque. In Brazil, he is Gugu. In Turkey, he is Kırpık. In Portugal, he is Ferrão. In India, he is Kewal Khadoosa. In Pakistan, he is named Akhtar and lives in a rusty oil barrel. France’s Mordicus is is slightly cynical, but is also lively and enthusiastic.
In fact, Oscar originally hailed from Canada, making him an alien! Though possibly an actual one. There are rumors that the garbage can is also a dimensional portal – essentially a Doctor Who TARDIS – to Grouchland.
Oscar’s trash can is actually bigger on the inside than the exterior would suggest, as seen in The Adventures of Elmo in Grouchland. Oscar has boasted through the years that it contains a farm, swimming pool, ice-rink, bowling alley, and a piano.
Oscar could occasionally be seen rotating while descending into his trash can, implying a spiral staircase. Other items include Slimey, Oscar’s pet worm; Fluffy, Oscar’s pet elephant; Oscar’s shoes; and a dimension gate to Grouchland, Oscar’s hometown. It also contains, most likely, many boatloads of trash.
If you don’t know a human grouch (lucky you), Oscar’s favorite dessert is spinach sardine chocolate fudge sundaes. His second favorite dessert is mashed bananas with ice cubes and cold beef gravy.
Siobhan is a freelance writer, research addict and lover of twisted history. If you like horrible but amazing history, check out her website www.interesly.com or Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/interesly. Or you can reach her through www.siobhanoshea.com.