It is a truth universally acknowledged that we need villains to make sense of our world, and Grandpa Joe from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is, somewhat inexplicably, the internets villain of choice. In the story, Charlies family is impoverished his mother works while Charlies four grandparents are bedridden (in the same bed). When Charlie wins the golden ticket, it is Joe who accompanies him to the factory.
On Facebook for instance, a page called The I Hate Grandpa Joe From Willy Wonka And Chocolate Factory Page currently has over 10,000 fans. Recently, the page polled its fans to ask, “what is it that Grandpa Joe does that annoys YOU?” and the responses ranged from “bein a little bitch,” to “I hate his hair and his nightgown.” Some, however, were more devastating:
The Facebook page was created in 2010, but the seeds of Grandpa Joe hate were planted on the internet much earlier. In 2004, two anonymous Grandpa Joe truthers who go by “Oompa” and “Loomp” created the site Say No To Grandpa Joe. Looking past its impressive 2004 design, the site offers an exhaustive analysis of the 1974 film and draws more than a few shocking conclusions.
While most of the anger on the Facebook page toward Joe stems from the fact that he stayed in bed for years, leaving Charlie’s mother to provide for the family until the opportunity for a fun adventure came around, the “Say No” site finds more nuanced reasons to loathe the man.
Grandpa Joe and Charlie encounter and/or observe a great many people, but Grandpa Joe only insults the women.
He doesn’t say anything derogatory about the fast-talking Sam Beauregard, the seemingly mad Wonka, or even the vile Slugworth9. He heaps all his invective on women throughout the story. It seems clear he has little use for women even though he has, apparently, depended on one to feed and clothe him for more than twenty years.
Then there’s the equally damning allegation that Joe is an industrial spy. The theory is that Joe has an unusual amount of knowledge about Wonka’s business and the industry for a man who has been bedridden for years (the 2005 movie, which came out a year after the site was founded, provides Joe a backstory working for Wonka that would explain this). Most damning though, is the fact that he is willing to go along with Slugworth’s request to betray Wonka by providing a sample of the Everlasting Gobstopper.
One last piece of evidence on the trial of Joe’s character surfaced in 2013, when an eagle-eyed Redditor noticed that Grandpa Joe has “coke nails.” Perhaps here is the key to his perceived moral failings: He was hopelessly in the throes of a serious drug addiction. Read more…