UConn Magazine: The Grouch’s Girlfriend

Meet Grundgetta, the Grouch’s forever girlfriend.

Photo of Pam Arciero and Oscar the Grouch along with Oscar's girlfriend

Grouch and Grundgetta have been together a long time. They fear marriage, though — it might make them happy. (Contributed photo by Richard Termine)

When Pam Arciero auditioned to be a puppeteer on “Sesame Street,” she quickly saw it wouldn’t be a one-day audition; it would involve weekly workshops over four months. Three hundred people were part of that first workshop to fill the role of Grundgetta, Oscar the Grouch’s significant other, and each week, fewer and fewer people were asked back.

On the last day it was down to Arciero and one other person. She walked into the room and there were Jim Henson and many of the key people who created “Sesame Street.”

“It was the most intimidating room – they were the nicest people – but knowing who they were and being a young person auditioning, it was pretty scary,” says Arciero. “It was also tremendous. Jim Henson was very fun to work with, always.”

That was 38 years ago. Today Arciero is still Grundgetta. She’s also played “cats and bats, goats and birds, and any kind of animal or monster you can imagine. That variety is part of the joy of the job,” she says.

Read on for more.