- "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 Priscilla Grundler is a highly intelligent student at Third Street School. She is one of the main characters from Recess and a member of the Recess Gang at Third Street. She often comes up with more technical elements of T.J.'s plans, including supplying technology and important calculations.
She is the daughter of Phil and Doris Grundler, who both share her affinity for science and systematics.
Gretchen is the smartest of the main kids in the show. In a few episodes, it is shown that she is smarter than almost everyone else in town, as shown in "A Genius Among Us", where it is established that she is smarter than most of the teachers. She is a mathematics, engineering, chemistry and physics progity. Gretchen is also somewhat of a big sister 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. In addition to her intelligence and beauty, she can also be sweet, and a bit naive. She believed that a little girl, Little Becky Benson, truly looked up to her and wanted help on her project-when instead Becky just wanted to steal Gretchen's project and finally win the fair. 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' Fortune". She's also very nonathletic, as shown in several episodes. In "Gretchen and the Secret of Yo". She is shown to be very skilled at yoyos. 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 Galileo, a small, handheld computer with a talking frog mascot that she received for her birthday.
Although Gretchen has an unusually solid grasp on most natural sciences, and even have more understanding of biology than the average Third Street student, she still seems to be revolted at the idea of teenagers enjoying kissing.
T.J. surprisingly does not say much about Gretchen. She has, apparently, tutored him in Grammar ("The Break-Up"). The two do not 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 did not consider T.J. a friend for a while since he did not share her interest in science and astronomy, or helped make her pinhole projector. In 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 she is marked for being tardy, she must go without chocolate milk, and assigned to garbage duty after chewing gum. They are assigned as partners for an Ancient Civilization project. On presentation day, T.J. accidentally 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 later uttered "Good Ole T.J." because of this. When she thought she was going to be sent to space, T.J. decided to coach her on how to survive in space, which she became annoyed with. When she learned she would not be going to space, but her ideas would be put on the next shuttle, she asks if T.J.'s hat can also be put in the shuttle so they both have something that went into space.
Mikey and Gretchen do not interact as much, however, they are still friends. 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 do not 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 do not interact as often as she does with the other students, but at times, she is 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" when King Bobs refers to the two of them as "Smart Girl" and "Friend of Smart Girl". It is shown that Gus has a tendency of hiding behind Gretchen when he gets scared, and she is the one to comfort him when he is upset, such as in "Legend of Big Kid" when they thought T.J. suffered a terrible fate at the hands of the Kindergartners. In "Soccer Boy", they were picked to be the "royal scorekeepers".
Like almost every kid on the playground, Gretchen has almost never interacted with the Pale Kids directly. However, they all have a crush on her and admire her for her brains, charm, and beauty, to which she gets shy and flustered over.
Gretchen is a thin, tall, and geeky girl. She has auburn shoulder-length hair tied in two pigtails by pink hair ties, brown eyes hidden by large circle glasses and has rather large buckteeth. She wears a light blue short-sleeved knee-length dress with a white Peter Pan collar and white sleeves, as well as a dark pink sash with a bow in the middle, pink calf-high socks, and large brown and white shoes. Her right sock is slightly shorter than her left one.
Foreign Voice Actresses
- Arabic: Jailan Jom'a
- Brazilian Portuguese: Cristiane Bullara
- Danish: Sara Poulsen
- Dutch: Eva Burmeister
- Finnish: Kiti Kokkonen
- French: Charlyne Pestel
- German: Esra Vural
- Hindi: Rajashree Nath
- Hungarian: Csuha Bori
- Japanese: Misa Suzuki (First half of series)/Yuka Hirasawa (Second half of series)
- Malay: Yatie Maslini/Rozila Hassan (only on "My Fair Gretchen" and "Speedy, We Hardly Knew Ye")
- Portuguese: Cármen Santos/Cristina Cavalinhos
- Polish: Joanna Krejzler
- Swedish: Annika Backlund
- Taiwanese: Li Zhiping
- Gretchen is the only member of the main six to go by her full first name, as all four of the boys go by a nickname of some kind while the only other girl of the main six goes by her last name. However, people (usually Vince) sometimes calls her "Gretch" instead of "Gretchen."
- Her parents appear to be geniuses as well, so it is implied that her brains come from them.
- Among kids only Jared Smith, who appears in the episode "Here Comes Mr. Perfect", was smarter than Gretchen.
- In the original pilot from 1996 (which would be remade into the first episode), she had a slightly different appearance, such as her being given black hair, slightly larger buck teeth, and the blue part of her dress was white with green dots.
- She and T.J. are the only members of the gang to have brown hair, although, hers is more reddish while T.J.'s is a somewhat lighter brown.
- In "Big Ol' Mikey", she is the only member of the gang whose future height is never mentioned.
- Her Pee Wee Pal was Emma, who she taught to be smart like her.
- She is the one to come up with the kissing experiment in "The Experiment".
- Not many episodes are centered on her.
- In "Partners In Crime", it is implied by Menlo that Gretchen incorrectly spelled 'Mississippi' in a first grade spelling bee. However, she and another judge were convinced her spelling was correct. Before Menlo can reveal how she spelled it, Gretchen stops him and gives in to the blackmail by washing his bike.
- Gretchen is the only member of The Recess Gang whose date of birth is revealed. According to "Outcast Ashley", she was born on March 23rd of 1988, which (as Ashley Q. pointed out) makes her an Aries.
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Characters: T.J. Detweiler | Vince LaSalle | Ashley Spinelli | Mikey Blumberg | Gretchen Grundler | Gus Griswald | Captain Bradley | Cornchip Girl | The Diggers | Hustler Kid | Erwin Lawson | Miss Grotke | Muriel Finster | Becky Detweiler | Dr. Phillium Benedict | Menlo | Brock | Peter Prickly | Bald Guy | Butch | Ashley Armbruster | Ashley Boulet | Ashley Quinlan | Ashley Tomassian | Fenwick | Brandon the Singer | Gelman | King Bob | Chucko | Jocko | Randall Weems | King Freddy II | Chewy | Spencer | Swinger Girl | Upside-Down Girl | Gordy | Hector | Miss Lemon | Lunchlady Irma | Tubby | Jordan & Jerome | Flo Spinelli | Bob Spinelli | Guru Kid