By the time a movie is 43 years old, it's an accomplishment if it's still being watched by new audiences. If that same movie is not only still being watched and enjoyed, but creating waves of controversy on the internet, you know you have a true classic on your hands, and that's exactly what's happening with Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.
This whole thing started with a blog which questioned who the true bad guy was in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory. The blog suggested it wasn't Slugworth or Willy Wonka who was the bad guy, but actually Charlie's old grandpa Joe.
Is Grandpa Joe the real bad guy in Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory?
I have to admit, I've never been the biggest Grandpa Joe fan, I always thought it was rude that he claimed to have a golden ticket, when it was really Charlie's, and it seems like my annoyance has been echoed by others over at the Say No to Grandpa Joe blog and The I Hate Grandpa Joe From Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory Facebook page. Take a look at the evidence they've gathered and judge for yourself whether or not Grandpa Joe is the true Willy Wonka villain:
Grandpa Joe Is A Lazy Slacker
While Grandpa Joe sleeps and lazes around all day, Mrs. Bucket works hard to support the family of six as best she can. After being 'bedridden' for twenty years, Grandpa Joe springs out of bed the second he has the opportunity to get inside Wonka's factory. Surely if he was energetic enough to muster the energy to accompany his beloved Charlie to a chocolate factory, he could have had enough energy to go out and work so that his daughter-in-law could cook a meal of nutritional value for Charlie?
But this eagerness to get into the factory leads me to the next point the blog had.
Grandpa Joe Wants To Sell Wonka's Secrets
This one is definitely an interesting theory. Grandpa Joe knew an awful lot about Wonka's operations, especially considering he has been bedridden for twenty years and presumably can't afford to buy a newspaper.
We also see him egging Charlie on to drink the fizzy lifting drink, and later he suggests Charlie sell his gobstopper to Slugworth. All in all, some pretty good evidence that Grandpa Joe is, in fact, an industrial spy.
Perhaps Grandpa Joe was part of the reason why Wonka shut his doors to the public all those years ago.
Grandpa Joe Is Cruel To Children
Throughout the film Grandpa Joe is shown to take many small pleasures in the misfortunes that befall the children. This starts when Augustus is sucked up the pipes. Not only does Joe make no move to help him, but actually silences Charlie to hear the Oompa Loompa's song, something he also does when the Oompa Loompas sing about the Salts in the sorting room.
He is also shown taking delight in the fact that Mike Teevee was put up in the air in a million tiny pieces by Wonkavision and shrunk to a tiny size; as well as when Violet Beauregarde was transformed into a blueberry, which brings me to:
Grandpa Joe Is Sexist
We know that the film was set in another time, but there's no skirting around this one: Grandpa Joe is sexist. Throughout the whole film he only bad mouths or disrespects women.
Along with making his poor daughter-in-law work to sustain the entire family of six, he also shows his sexist ways on the factory tour. When the group is boarding Wonka's boat, Mr. Salt states that Ladies should board first, including Veruca. Joe then whispers to Charlie, what we can only take to be a rather rude comment, "If she's a lady, I'm a Vermicious Knid."
He continues on his tirade against Veruca Salt throughout the boat ride when he claims what she wants "is a good kick in the pants." He doesn't limit his rude comments just to Veruca, calling Violet Beauregarde a "nitwit" when she turns into a blueberry.
Others 'Villains' Are Redeemed While Joe Will Continue His Cycle Of Villainous Behavior
While by the very end of the film the audience has learned that both Wonka and Slugworth were in fact kind hearted people who just had the factory's best interests at heart, we're not so sure about Grandpa Joe.
From what we're meant to believe, Joe was going to accompany Charlie and his family to live in the factory and live out the rest of his days in the lap of luxury, while his grandson, Charlie, does all the hard work keeping the business afloat. He certainly doesn't show any remorse or any signs of changing. Grandpa Joe, the sneaky villain of Willy Wonka.