1 The Muppet Mindset: Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Grover

Oct 27, 2010

Weekly Muppet Wednesdays: Grover


Today's article was a joint effort between Michael Wermuth, Jr. and Ryan Dosier.

GROVER


Performed by...
Frank Oz (1969-present, sort of)
Eric Jacobson (1998-present)

First appearance...
Sesame Street, Season 1 (1969)

Most recent appearance...
Sesame Street, Season 42 (2011)

Notable quotes...
“Hello, everybody!!!!”

“It is I, your cute, adorable, lovable pal, Grover.”

“Hey, froggy babyyyyyy!!!”

WHO IS GROVER?
Grover is one of the furry blue monsters on Sesame Street. He often gives demonstrations (such as "Near and Far") and lectures, and sometimes assists others in their lectures as well (and often either gets them wrong or gets worn-out from doing them). Grover apparently still lives with his mommy, while his father is rarely even mentioned. Grover works a variety of different jobs that range from waiter to cowboy, has the superhero identity Super Grover, and also talks without using contractions.

The first Grover puppet was reused from Gleep, a gray green monster who appeared in a Christmas sketch with Art Godfried on The Ed Sullivan Show. During the first season of Sesame Street, Grover was more of a generic monster, though in many of his first season sketches he showed mannerisms that we all know him for today--such as getting things wrong and getting worn-out from certain demonstrations. In Grover’s first few years on the show, his voice also sounded a bit deeper and gruffer than it later would.


As stated in the book Sesame Street Unpaved, as well as an appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Grover’s best friend is Kermit the Frog. Grover has often assisted Kermit in his demonstrations, and usually ended up a victim. In other sketches, Grover comes to Kermit’s house, usually as a door-to-door salesman (or a plumber), and in these instances it is Kermit who is the victim.

Grover has also appeared in many sketches paired with the likes of Elmo, Herry Monster, Mr. Johnson (though he wouldn’t consider himself Grover’s best friend), Big Bird, and Herbert Birdsfoot.


In recent years, Grover has become more and more prominent on the show and in merchandising. This all started with 2004's pseudo Grover revival that included the direct-to-video A Celebration of Me, Grover and starring roles for Grover in quite a few of Season 35's street stories, along with "Global Grover," which was a staple on the show for years. Most recently Grover was given his own, brand new short-form series in Season 41, "Super Grover 2.0."

GROVER'S JOBS
Grover has had many different jobs on Sesame Street, but his most frequent job is that of a waiter employed at Charlie’s Restaurant. His most frequent , both at Charlie’s and other various locations, is Mr. Johnson (aka Fat Blue). Grover’s service is the bane of Mr. Johnson's existence--although he almost always reacts in shock whenever he sees that Grover will be serving him wherever he goes.

In addition to being a waiter, other jobs Grover has had include...
  • Elevator operator
  • Plumber
  • Salesmonster
  • Exercise instructor
  • Stagehand
  • Actor
  • Taxi driver
  • Limo driver
  • Mailman
  • Farmer
  • Flight attendant
  • Game show host
  • Photographer
GROVER'S ALTERNATE IDENTITIES
Grover has had a variety of different identities in addition to himself and his various jobs. His most famous alternate identity is Super Grover (whose true identity, in the context of “The Adventures of Super Grover” sketches, is Grover Kent), who often tries to help others with their problems in some ridiculous way. Usually this means that Super Grover is oblivious to the fact that the people he's trying to help normally figure out how to solve the problems on their own. In season 41 the Super Grover costume got an upgrade for a series of sketches called “Super Grover 2.0," though the classic costume is still used outside of those sketches.

Other alternate identities include Marshall Grover, who is often paired with his trusty companion Fred the Wonder Horse, Professor Grover, who sometimes taught The Spanish Word of the Day, and Global Grover, a world traveler.

GROVER SONGS
Grover has performed many songs in Sesame Street's 41 years. Here's a list of some of his most famous songs...
  • What Do I Do When I’m Alone?
  • Over, Under, Around, and Through
  • I Stand Up Straight and Tall
  • Me
  • How Do You Do? with Lena Horne
  • Sing After Me with Madeline Kahn
  • Fuzzy and Blue with Cookie Monster, Herry Monster, and Frazzle
  • My Furry Little Shadow
  • Monster in the Mirror
MEMORABLE GROVER MOMENTS
One of Grover’s signature routines is his demonstration of "Near and Far," in which he keeps running near and far from the screen to show the difference, until he gets worn out and faints. Grover first performed this routine in the Season 1. Grover would later show the difference between near and far while riding on a surf board in a sketch from the 1990s.

Other Grover sketches include a three-part sketch where Grover wants to talk about the number 2, his favorite number, in another, Grover and Biff appear as cavemen who try to move a rock up a hill, Grover has also echoed on a mountain, conducted an off-screen stereo, hosted awards ceremonies, provided an Outrageous Makeover: Home Addition, and, most recently, he has smelled like a monster while riding a horse--erm... cow. 

WHY DOES SESAME STREET NEED GROVER?
Sesame Street needs Grover for so many reasons. Grover represents the tenacity within us all--the drive we all have to never give up and never surrender, no matter how difficult, trying, or exhausting something might be. Yes, no matter how far (or near) Grover has to run, he never gives up. Whether he is Super Grover attempting to turn off a light, Waiter Grover trying to serve alphabet soup, or Marshal Grover riding into the sunset, Grover is the most tenacious of anyone on Sesame Street and he teaches kids watching how important it is to keep going, no matter the odds.

Grover is also fun-loving, funny, adorable, hugable, eager, talented, untalented, loving, and one of the greatest teachers anyone could ever ask for. What more or a reason do you need to see why Grover is a core, unmovable part of Sesame Street? Still need something? Fine... take this and call me in the morning.












The Muppet Mindset by Ryan Dosier

2 comments:

  1. Where does the Grover/camera picture come from?

    ReplyDelete
  2. Actually, I think Grover was around since his December 24, 1967 appearance on "The Ed Sullivan Show", where he was referred to as "Gleep". BTW, I also believe that Grover was used as a middle head for the Rock and Roll Monster in the 1968 special "The Muppets on Puppets".

    ReplyDelete