Oscar the Grouch

Oscar the Grouch is a Muppet character on the television program Sesame Street. He has a green body (during the 1969–1970 season he was orange), has no nose, and lives in a garbage can. His favorite thing in life is trash; evidence for this is the song "I Love Trash". Although "The Grouch" aptly describes his misanthropic interaction with the other characters, it is also the name of his species.

Oscar can also become mobile with the help of his friend Bruno, the trashman, who carried Oscar around in his can. Bruno was a full-body costume which allows Oscar's puppeteer to manipulate Oscar while remaining hidden by the Bruno costume. (While Bruno was seen fairly regularly in Sesame Street's early days, he hasn't appeared on the show in over a decade.) Also, as seen in the Elmo's World episode 'Dance', the underside of his trash can is somewhat detachable, with Oscar's legs protruding from the bottom of his trash can. Other evidence of this can be seen in Christmas Eve on Sesame Street (1978), when Oscar is ice skating. For several seasons, Oscar was frequently shown with his friend and pet Slimey, an orange worm. On occasional episodes he has mentioned leaving Sesame Street to attend "the annual Grouch convention in Syracuse, New York".

Oscar is performed by Muppeteer Carroll Spinney. Spinney's other lead character is Big Bird. During the first season of Sesame Street, the street set was arranged such that Spinney, who is right-handed, was forced to operate Oscar's head with his left hand. A subsequent redesign of the set allowed him to switch hands. Spinney has said in interviews that he modeled Oscar's voice on that of a grumpy New York cab driver he once hailed.

In Oscar's trash can

  • Slimey, Oscar's pet worm
  • Fluffy, Oscar's pet elephant
  • oscar's shoes


Sesame Street is localised for some different markets, and Oscar is often renamed.

  • In Germany he is called Rumpel.
  • In Portugal his name is Ferrão, and does not live in a trash can, but rather in a barrel.
  • In Turkey he is named Kırpık and lives in a big basket.
  • In Pakistan he is named Akhtar and lives in a rusty oil barrel
  • In Israel a slightly different, orange puppet who lives in an old stationary car is called Moishe Oofnik: "Moyshe the complainer", loosely translated. It was mentioned in the show that Oscar was his American cousin.
  • In Brazil his name is Gugu.
  • In Poland his name is Oskar Zrzęda

Appearances in other media

Oscar made what he called "a very brief cameo" in the 1981 Jim Henson movie The Great Muppet Caper. When Miss Piggy threw a truck driver (played by Peter Ustinov) into a pile of boxes and a trash can, Oscar emerged from the can and demanded "Hey, what's all the racket?" The driver asked him, "What are you doing here?" Oscar replied, "A very brief cameo." The driver muttered, "Me, too."

Oscar inspired an Apple Macintosh hack written by Eric B. Shapiro and shown at the 1989 MacHack conference, featuring a singing animated Oscar that appeared from the trash can whenever a file was thrown away. The hack was so popular that some parents lost the entire contents of their hard disks to preschoolers wanting to see more of Oscar. (Late Nights with MacHack, p. 27)

Oscar first appeared as a member of the mob on the January 11, 2008 episode of 1 vs. 100. He was eliminated on both games. He is scheduled to be a "regular" member of the mob until further notice.

The fumetti comic Twisted Toyfare Theater once featured Oscar in an issue in which he sings a variation of his "I Love Trash" song about Wesley Snipes' movies. In the end Wesley Snipes (as Blade) decapitates him.

Oscar also appeared in the Simpsons episode "Trash of the Titans"

Oscar has also been adopted as the mascot for Waste Reduction Week in Canada, an environmental campaign taking place October 19-25, 2008.


External links

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