A select few fans of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory are united on one front: Charlie's Grandpa Joe is a dirtbag. This Grandpa Joe hate isn't unfounded - the man's irresponsible lifestyle and immaturity create a whirlwind of troubles for Charlie, which only worsens when the patriarch rises from his 20-year bedridden hibernation to join Charlie on his journey to Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory.
While Willy Wonka film conspiracies might attempt to explain away Grandpa Joe's callous and often absurd behavior, examples of the old-timer's cruel or offensive actions are sprinkled throughout the film without explanation, enticing Willy Wonka enthusiasts to "say no to Grandpa Joe."
Throughout the film, as the children entangle themselves in one dilemma after another, they may appear to be their own antagonists. However, the true villain in Willy Wonka is Grandpa Joe. He's a professional at manipulating Charlie - as well as his entire family - all for his own gain. From encouraging irresponsible spending to endangering his grandson in the Fizzy Lifting room, Grandpa Joe proves that he only exists to care about himself.
He Pretended To Be Bedridden For Years, Even Though He Was Perfectly Agile
Grandpa Joe thinks Charlie works too hard and needs more time to experience his childhood. But even though Grandpa Joe feels bad for Charlie, he still won't get out of bed to help him support the family. He stays in bed, insisting that he'll get up and help as soon as he regains his strength.
Grandpa Joe complains about his lack of strength, yet he is completely able-bodied. By his own will, he refuses to cook, clean, bathe, or work. When Charlie's mom tells him that she has never seen him set foot on the floor, he doesn't blame his lack of strength - instead, he says it's because the floor is "too cold."
When Charlie wins the Golden Ticket, Grandpa Joe leaps from the bed in excitement, displaying his agile dance moves all over the bed he refused to leave for 20 years.
He Convinces Charlie To Steal Fizzy Lifting Drinks And Almost Gets Them Killed
Willy Wonka brings the Golden Ticket winners to the room that makes his Fizzy Lifting Drinks. Even though the room is full of bubbles, he tells them that they can't indulge in the sodas just yet, since they're still "far too powerful."
Ignoring this warning, Grandpa Joe and Charlie stay behind to sneak a taste of the sodas - and they find out what Wonka meant the hard way. Both of them, carbonated to the brim with the drink's lifting gas, float up toward the ceiling, which houses the drink machine's dangerous fan. They only get themselves out of the predicament by burping their way back down.
Not only does Grandpa Joe risk the lives of himself and his grandson, but he also sets a bad example for Charlie by disregarding Wonka's rules and taking something that isn't theirs.
He Smokes A Pipe Of Tobacco Every Day, Even Though His Family Is Stuck Eating Cabbage Water
Day in and day out, the entire Bucket family survives off of cabbage water. Since Charlie and his mother are the only working people in a family of six, they don't have much money to spend on luxury items, or even food.
Early in the film, Charlie proclaims that he's downright sick of eating cabbage water and spends his first paycheck on a loaf of bread for the family.
The rest of the family might express disdain for the soupy cabbage water, but Grandpa Joe doesn't seem to mind it at all. Despite the family being too poor to afford adequate meals, Grandpa Joe still makes his daughter pay for his daily pipe of tobacco. When Charlie gets a job, he takes on the responsibility of funding his grandfather's habit.
He Seems Unaffected By What He Can Only Assume Are The Deaths Of Several Children
As they travel through the factory, the Golden Ticket winners disappear one by one. The predicaments that send the Oompa Loompas scurrying after them can only be assumed to be lethal.
From being sucked up and shot out of a pressure-fueled pipeline to falling into a trash chute that leads directly into the factory's furnace, the children's accidents are life-threatening, at best. Grandpa Joe, however, doesn't care about their well-being in the slightest - he has nothing to say about their conditions, and he doesn't bother checking in on them afterward.
When the tour concludes and Charlie is the last child standing, Grandpa Joe's complaint isn't about the safety of the factory, but about Charlie's special prize.