- "I've been trying to dumb myself down ever since kindergarten and it hasn't worked so far."
- ―Gretchen in the episode My Fair Gretchen
Gretchen Grundler is the intelligent member of the main characters from Recess.
Gretchen is a thin, tall, geeky yet beautiful girl. She has auburn shoulder-length hair tied in two pigtails by pink hair bands, brown eyes hidden by large circle glasses and has rather large front teeth. She wears a light blue short-sleeved knee-length dress with a white collar and cuffs and a dark pink sash with a bow in the middle, pink calf-high socks and large brown and white shoes.
Gretchen is the smartest of the main kids in the show. In a few episodes, it's shown that she's smarter than almost everyone else in town, as shown in "A Genius Among Us", where it's established that she's smarter than most of the teachers. Gretchen is also somewhat of a "team mom" to the main six, usually to T.J. and Gus. She often argues with Vince, but appears to be very close to him as well, hinting that she may have feelings for him. Out of all the members of the main six, Gretchen usually hangs out with Spinelli.
Although she is very smart and beautiful, she can also be sweet, cute and a bit naive. At times, she can easily fall for most of the crazy stories told on the playground, such as the outcomes of the Stinky Peterson fortune teller in "Gus's Fortune". She's also very unathletic, as shown in "Gretchen and the Secret of Yo". She's shown to be very skilled at yo-yos.
She is one of the few kids on the playground to get along with one of the Ashleys, Ashley A., as seen in "Outcast Ashley", where Ashley A. is kicked out of the clique for forgetting a tradition in the group. When looking for friends, she decides to hang out with Gretchen. The two become friends for a while, until Ashley A. is welcomed back into the clique. Their friendship is seldom seen again.
One device Gretchen is usually seen with is her Gallileao, a small, handheld computer with a talking frog mascot.
T.J. surprisingly doesn't say much about Gretchen. She has, apparently, tutored him in Grammar ("The Break-up"). The two don't always see eye-to-eye on things. T.J. supported her in her math club with Hank in "A Genius Among Us", but soon stopped going since it put the gang to sleep. In "Outcast Ashley", Gretchen didn't consider T.J. a friend for a while since he didn't share her interest in science and astronomy, or helped make her pinhole projector. At the end, they apologize for taking each other for granted. T.J. respects her for being the smartest kid in school, and Gretchen says T.J. is a good friend. In "Good Ole T.J", Gretchen was jealous because he manages to get what he wants. While being tardied, going without chocolate milk, and assigned to garbage duty, they are assigned as partners for an Ancient Civilization project. On presentation day, T.J. accidently melts the project with tea. They receive a minimal pass, the lowest grade Gretchen has ever received, which saddens her. To make it up to her, T.J. decided to go with her original idea, which leads them to their grade raised up to an " A". Gretchen uttered "Good Ole T.J."
Mikey and Gretchen rarely interact. It remains to be seen the status of their friendship. However, during the episode My Fair Gretchen, Mikey falls to the ground and dramatically shouts his anguish after the gang is informed that Gretchen will be leaving for a different school. Also during this episode, Mikey is the one that thinks of a plan to get Gretchen out of leaving. This indicates that they are friends, at some level, but just don't interact much.
Gretchen and Vince are good friends, but have a rivalry. Most of their friendship is seen in "The Candidates", where they are put against each other for Class President. They are competitive until the end, where Vince realizes Gretchen truly deserved the spot. They end with Gretchen saying "a game of tetherball against a good friend". They have their moments of arguing and disagreeing, but also appear to be good friends.
Being the only two girls in the group, Gretchen and Spinelli are very close. Gretchen was Spinelli's first choice to go with her to the museum in "More Like Gretchen". Their friendship goes through a rough patch in the middle of the episode (with a confused Gretchen), but Gretchen helps make things better between Spinelli and her parents. Gretchen also invited Spinelli to go with her in the "Young Adventurer's Fair" ("Bad Hair Day"). Spinelli helped Gretchen in her campaign in "The Candidates" as her assistant. They also shared revenge against T.J. in "My Funny Valentines" when he gave them both fake valentine's cards.
While Gus and Gretchen don't interact as often as she does with the other students, but at times, she's shown to act as somewhat of a "big sister" figure to him, such as in Recess: School's Out. the evidence of this is seen in "Lawson and his Crew". It's shown that Gus has a tendency of hiding behind Gretchen when he gets scared. In "Soccer Boy", they were picked to be the "royal score keepers".
Foreign Voice Actresses
- Dutch: Eva Burmeister
- Finnish: Kiti Kokkonen
- French: Charlyne Pestal
- German: Esra Vural
- Japanese: Misa Suzuki (First half of series), Yuka Hirasawa (Second half of series)
- Polish: Joanna Krejzler
- Swedish: Annika Barklund
- Hindi: Rajashree Nath
- She and Mikey are the only kids in the main six who don't have any siblings.
- Her parents appear to be geniuses as well, so it's implied that her brains come from them.
- In the original pilot from 1996 (which would be re-made into the first episode), she had a slightly different appearance, such as her being given black hair, slightly larger buckteeth, and the blue part of her dress was white with green dots.
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