Oscar the Grouch

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Oscar the Grouch is a Muppet character on the television program Sesame Street. He has a green body (during the first season he was orange), has no (visible) nose (although he claims to have one[citation needed]), and lives in a garbage can. His favorite thing in life is trash; evidence for this is the song "I Love Trash". A running theme is his compulsive hoarding of seemingly useless items. Although "The Grouch" aptly describes his misanthropic interaction with the other characters and even to himself at times, it is also the name of his species. The character is performed by Caroll Spinney, and has been performed by him since the show's first episode. Through Oscar, children actually learn about respect and tolerance instead of disrespect and intolerance, and they discover that people with different views and lifestyles can still be great friends.



Initially, the Muppet characters on Sesame Street would not actual appear on Sesame Street itself, but be relegated to the intermediary segments. Muppets creator Jim Henson wanted them to be integrated into the series, suggesting a giant bird and creature living in the neighborhood's trash. The character was developed by Sesame Street head writer Jon Stone and Henson, based on the personality of a “magnificently rude” waiter.[1] Based on the character outline, puppeteer Caroll Spinney was inspired by the voice of a New York City taxi driver, hailed when going to the production studio; when he first got in, the driver asked him "Where to, Mac?" and spoke with Spinney about the mayor of New York at the time (Democrat John Lindsay).

His name's source is of some debate. Most sources suggest it's derived from the name of the aforementioned restaurant, Oscar's Tavern. In recent years, however, the family of Canadian folk musician Oscar Brand has suggested he was the namesake. Brand was an early board member for the show's non-profit production company, Children's Television Workshop. The claim has been made in an interview with the CBC around the time of Brand's 90th birthday,[2] and by his son in the interview segment of Jeopardy.[3] Named “Oscar the Grouch”, writers would eventually add other grouches, an entire species explored in the film Elmo in Grouchland and various television episodes.

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