Bess and Courtney Grumper, also known as the Grumper sisters, are the scandalous sisters and the writers of the gossip section of Sheffield Institute's paper. They are voiced by Tracy Martin (Bess Grumper) and Courtney Peldon (Courtney Grumper).
The Grumper sisters love spreading gossip and find great fun in breaking up friendships. They love to ridicule (especially when it comes to gossiping about others) anyone and get them in trouble at school to see their reactions, but the W.I.T.C.H. girls - and especially Irma Lair and Cornelia Hale - are their favorite targets.
In the comics, they are the writers of the gossip section of the Sheffield Institute newspaper, "Vanity Sheffield", though later are made the editors by Principal Knickerbocker. In the TV series, they joined Irma's K-ship radio staff so that they can spread gossip across the school. They aren't above creating conflicts and tearing apart other's relationships in the name of gossip.
Bess and Courtney are big into fashions and rivals of Cornelia. They have been known to diss Cornelia and her fashion sense, such as when they were walking through an alley and dissing Cornelia.
They are considered to be Principal Knickerbocker's pets, though they don't mind bribing students to stand behind them. Dean Collins declared them the most "falsely respectful" students in the school. The two strive to look like model students, dedicated to their school work and never missing classes, even when sick. This has caused grief when they spread sickness to student and teachers alike.
They are considered rude by everyone except themselves due to their gossipy nature and are disliked by many students and especially by Irma because of the nasty rumors they make up about people. Even so, they are somewhat popular with boys on first meeting. They have a positive relationship with Venus Sanders who, accepting their flattery, gives them free samples from her mother's cosmetics shop. Their only other "friend" is Bertha Mills who follows their orders and circulates the newspaper for them. However, Bertha will gladly deflect blame to the sisters if it will keep her out of trouble or earn her points with her teachers.
Bess Grumper and Courtney Grumper were born on May 22nd, 1991.
They are mentioned to hang out at their aunt's house in the afternoon, though it isn't clear if they only visit or if she is their legal guardian. Her absentminded ways would explain how the girls get away with so much.
When Hay Lin created a play for school theatre, the Grumpers signed up for tryout outs. Even so, they eagerly came nosing around when one of the actors started complaining of the story Hay Lin wrote, looking for drama to put in the school paper. Deciding to cause some trouble, they approached new girl Taranee Cook and lied saying that Cornelia had called her a weirdo, then told Hay Lin that Irma had made fun of her theatre costumes. After a visit from Peter Cook revealed the crush Cornelia had on him, the Grumpers told her Will Vandom also liked him and told him Cornelia would never date him. All these lies get the friends arguing and the sisters scamper off, finding it fun to mess with people. The two later went to Principal Knickerbocker to point out Irma's bad grades, getting the girl removed from tryouts.
With time, W.I.T.C.H. mended their friendship and Irma pulled up her grades enough to participate in the play, which did not please Grumpers. Out of the blue, Cornelia approached them with information about a costume party after the play, asking that they keep it secret. The girls believed her and on the night of the play, showed up in ball gowns only to learn Cornelia lied. They were laughed at by Uriah's Gang, receiving their just punishments.
The Grumpers joined the cultural exchange between Sheffield Institute and Redstone Academy, flying with their classmates to the other side of the world. Knickerbocker asked them to take photos and notes about their experience, but changed her mind after the Redstone headmaster bragged of the luxurious campus. They continued taking notes, anyway. During the volleyball game when Astral Cornelia was getting close to Redstone student Rick, the Grumpers took photos of it as blackmail. On the day of the Redstone Park fieldtrip, they spotted Cornelia and showed the pictures and teased her for "her" new romance. However, Cornelia didn't get upset and remarked on how good she looked in the photos. This frustrated the Grumpers who threw the pictures away, refusing to keep photos that made their enemy look good. They went to the Redstone park with the rest of their class and later, all returned to Heatherfield.
Courtney witnessed Will dozing off in history class, yet was not punished by Mr. Collins. She found this to be blatant favoritism. During the school recess, Bess overheard Matt Olsen telling Joel Wright that he'd ask Will out to the Rock and Roll café. Both sisters confronted Will and Cornelia in the hall, talking about Collin's kindness to Will and showing the pictures they'd take of him, her, and Will's mother on an outing together. They dared her to explain the relationship and Will declared it none of their business. Irma arrived to aid her friends, so the Grumpers turned on her with pictures of her failed blind-date with Hugh Jones. Will and Irma both left, with the Grumpers declaring they were too touchy. Since Cornelia remained, the Grumpers pondered how they had no relationship news on her and mocked that with her high standard, she would need someone "alien" to fall in love with.
The Grumpers attended a meeting with the school paper as they decided what articles to publish. Bess told her sister about Matt's plans and the two decided to go spy on the couple. However, when they arrived to the Rock and Roll café, the "lovebirds" were not present, leaving the snoops in the noisy club with no story. What's more, they found themselves being flirted with by two boys they wanted nothing to do with. They promised each other that for once, they'd keep their mouths closed and not tell anyone about this night. Even so they came up with a new name for their gossip column, "The Ultimate Secret".
The Grumpers introduced themselves to new kid Sheila Jensen, who had quickly become very popular. They offered to give information on any kid in Sheffield so she would know who to avoid, not realizing that Sheila had immediately seen how slimy they were. They also offer help in anything else she might need, but Sheila snapped at the whole class to leave her alone. This haughty attitude disillusioned the Grumpers and the rest of her class.
Sheffield Institute chose to take part in a cultural exchange program. The Grumpers signed up to host one girl in their home with them. On the welcoming day for the new exchange students, the Grumpers were asked by Knickerbocker to take care of Erin Peyton while she waited for her host, Irma. The Grumpers accepted and immediately told the girl bad things about Irma, though she didn't believe them. Instead, Erin played a trick on them by saying the girl they were hosting raised fleas as a hobby. The Grumpers were disgusted, determined to make her stop, then were furious when Erin revealed her joke. They noticed Irma's friends across the yard and angrily told Erin to talk to them instead, then left her behind in a huff.
They attended the fieldtrip to the Heatherfield theatre and performance until noticing W.I.T.C.H. and Erin had gone missing. Informing Principal Knickerbocker, they tracked the Guardians to a dressing room where the principal found them "hiding". Knickerbocker was ready to give W.I.T.C.H. a punishment which the Grumpers wanted to write about in their gossip column. However (thanks to Erin's mind control) Knickerbocker instead chose to punish Bess and Courtney, to their great confusion. They were ordered to spend a month doing extra homework.
Knickerbocker announced elections for a School Body Representative to organize the upcoming school Olympics inauguration. The Grumpers immediately signed up to share the seat, wanting the power it would give over the school, but Martin Tubbs also signed up to against them to everyone's shock. Rather than set up an actual campaign, the Grumpers used bribers to earn people's votes using their connections. They passed out free passes to great parties, attracting the attention of Venus Sanders. The complemented her beauty and she in turn offered free samples from her mother's cosmetics shop. The Grumpers also offered Cobalt Blue time in a recording studio to earn Joel's vote, to Irma's annoyance.
On the day of the electoral debate, the Grumpers admired all the free samples Venus gave them which they would give away to buy more votes. They thoughtlessly messed up Gideon's clean floor and planned to hire new cleaning staff when they became representatives. They stashed their cosmetics in a supply closet and ran to the bathroom to clean up for the debate. However, Irma used magic to attack them with water from the faucets, then drive them into the supply closet where she had already turned the cosmetics rotten. The Guardian then locked them in the closet so they would miss the debate and though Gideon saw all of this, he helped Irma by playing oblivious and leaves the Grumpers behind.
W.I.T.C.H. and Sheila took over Martin's campaign and in time, swayed many more students to Martin's side.
On Election Day, the school was perfectly divided on who to vote for: the Grumpers with their bribery or Martin with an honest, interesting plan. The sisters stood at the poll both, handing out last minute bribes and reminding Joel of their promise to use a record studio, though the boy had already changed his mind. Knickerbocker counted out the votes in front of everyone and just as they were tied, the last vote came in for Martin. The Grumpers were stunned, their supporters booing Martin's side. Bitter at their loss, they watched Martin stumble through his acceptance speech, though Will swooped in to save him.
At some point, Principal Knickerbocker put the two in charge of the entire school newspaper, "Vanity Sheffield", in the hope they would be responsible with it. Instead, they used the paper to publish embarrassing stories about other students, especially W.I.T.C.H.
The Grumpers played all kinds of pranks on W.I.T.C.H. though all of their attempts failed or came back to hurt them. In one instance, when angry about not getting the lead in a school dance performance, they destroyed what they thought was Taranee's costume though it was just a decoy. At another point, they tricked Cornelia with lip gloss containing glue that sealed her mouth shut. She got her revenge by tripping them with a tree root.
The Grumpers prepared the latest edition of Vanity Sheffield with embarrassing stories about Irma and Cornelia, and when they thought was a flattering story of Principal Knickerbocker. They also published Dr. Folkner's call for more eye examinations and scheduled an appointment with him. However, some point after making this appointment, the two decided to sign up for the Miss Everyone Beauty Pageant which would mean skipping school for a few days. They gave their finished paper to their "friend", Bertha Mills, begging her to distribute copies of it around Sheffield in their absence. With this taken care of, the two left for Kate Town where the competition would take place. They might not have informed their aunt of this, or they did and she didn't understand their words.
Unknown to them, their articles caused a big stir around Sheffield as Knickerbocker hated what they said about her, but not no one could find the two. W.I.T.C.H. misunderstood their absence as them being abducted by Dr. Folkner in connection to Tecla Ibsen.
The beauty pageant was broadcast on live TV and when it was the Grumpers' time to speak, they were overly nervous and excited when talking in front of the camera. They even stole the announcer's mic to prattle on, slowly embarrassing themselves to the point even W.I.T.C.H. felt bad for them. When the winner of the competition (who looked identical to Cornelia) was crowned, the Grumpers objected that "Miss Everyone" was a stereotypical beauty. They tried to steal the crown for themselves, calling the competition rigged, and sparking a full-out riot among the other competitors. Bess punched out the announcer, screaming the judges were bribed, while Courtney started brawling with the other girls. The cameras broadcast the entire thing, calling the two "maniacs" who would hopefully increase their ratings. It isn't explained how the situation ended, but the Grumpers were left with black eyes and in bad moods, so it's assumed they didn't get the crown.
When they finally returned to Sheffield Institute, they printed a new issue for Vanity Sheffield to complain about "Beauty pageant fraud" with the main article about how Knickerbocker shuns beauty standards as a true role model. Once again, they didn't understand how this was offensive to their principal and aggressively passed out copies to all the students. Those who knew of their beauty pageant fiasco laughed at them. Principal Knickerbocker also saw their unflattering pictures of her and readied to track them down for punishment.
The Grumpers were trading gossip and completely ignored the questions of new girl Mary Ann. During the lunch break, they saw the girl sitting alone and introduced themselves as the "magnificent Grumper sisters". They lied to Mary Ann about the "traditional Sheffield Welcome". In which a new student should give two older students a present. They suggested she give them her sandwiches and Mary Ann did, pretending to believe them. Taranee noticed this and came over to confront the sisters, though they defended Mary Ann gave the food willingly. Mary Ann got her own revenge by innocently mentioning the sandwiches she gave were full of bugs, causing the grossed-out girls to flee to the bathroom. Mary Ann and W.I.T.C.H. laughed at their gullibility.
It's hinted that after this, the Grumpers caused other issues for Mary Ann, though she overcame them all. When they heard that Mary Ann was set to move away, they gloated about it to Taranee who didn't know. They theorized the two weren't real friends after all, laughing meanly as they walked away.
When they were walking through an alley, they dissed Cornelia and her fashion sense. Unbeknownst to them, Cornelia was also in the alley, so she threw a couple mud balls at them which scared them into running away.
They joined the school newspaper to write about fashion.
They started to work in the school's radio station, K-Ship. After running out of gossip, they decided to "create some". They made Martin sing a "lovey-dovey" song for Irma. Enraged, Irma lashed out at Martin and called him a loser, realizing too late that they were on air (as planned by the Grumpers and Uriah).
They started a band with Alchemy, "Alchemy and the Grumpers" and played in Irma's Battle of the Bands. They teased Nigel Ashcroft when it seemed his band, Wreck55, would miss their chance to play before a talent scout. When it was their turn, Courtney played bass guitar while Bess was on drums. They had a good reaction from the crowd, but it isn't said if they impressed the talent scout or not.
Images of Bess and Courtney Grumper from the comics.
Images of Bess and Courtney Grumper from the TV series.
- Issue 009: The Four Dragons
- Issue 070: Radio Silence
- L is for Loser
- The Stone of Threbe
- Issue 069: Beyond Borders
- Issue 040: The Last Secret
- Issue 028: So Near, Yet So Far
- Issue 030: The Path of the Wind
- Issue 031: The Voice of Silence
- Issue 048: New Horizons
- Issue 067: On Your Side
- Issue 130: A New Friend
- The Stone of Threbe
- Stop the Presses
- L is for Loser
- S is for Self