Grumpy Old Man
They say I'm old-fashioned, and live in the past,The old guy who loves to complain about how things were better in his day, and that kids these days show no respect. The Grumpy Old Man is similar to a Sadist Teacher, but old — and not usually in direct authority over the youngsters. May possess unexpected wisdom — but is likely to just complain about the young whippersnappers walking on his lawn, damn young'uns, no respect, don't know how good they have it. In my day we had to walk fifteen miles through the snow to get to school, uphill both ways! And we didn't complain, nosir, we were happy, and we got a dime a year to work 17 hours a day in the mines, one cent an hour, but did we complain? NO! We were satisfied, dammit, because there was a depression going on, and we didn't dare complain when dad beat us, because it built character and we respected him for it, not like these days … In some cases, the Grumpy Old Man might be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is able to slowly warm up to the company of kids — but, more often than not, he's just an elderly Jerkass. The Old Timer would be the Fan Dumb variant that doesn't appreciate those young whippersnappers who have the unmitigated audacity to enjoy any of the TV shows, movies, music, or whatnot that were popular when he was young. This character will, at some point, yell at the darned kids to get off his lawn. Compare Nostalgia Filter. Contrast Cool Old Guy, Eccentric Mentor. See also Screw Politeness Im A Senior, Evil Old Folks. If he talks with a Yiddish accent, he's probably an Alter Kocker.
but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!
but sometimes I think progress progresses too fast!
open/close all folders
- Yugi's grandpa in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series. He frequently fantasies about dying as he hates his life so much, is increasingly senile and seems to find nothing in life enjoyable. Except of course, for his rendezvous with the poster of the Black Luster Soldier …
Anime and Manga
- Genryusai Shigekuni Yamamoto from Bleach, a shinigami pushing at least several thousand years, who constantly complains about the younger generation of shinigami when he is forced into battle. Counteracted by the fact that he is a Badass Grandpa.
- Everyone is a kid to him and even when he does fight he speaks to his opponents as though they're naughty children he has to punish.
- Pryce in Pokémon and PokemonSpecial. Averted in the games, where he is considerably nicer.
- The three old guys in Cowboy Bebop. Though the one with the ball cap is clearly much grumpier than the other two.
Films — Animated
- Mr. Nebbercracker in Monster House is shown at first to be the basic "Stay off my lawn" old man who took any toy that came near his house. However later it is revealed that this is a cover for his true intentions of protecting kids from the wrath of Constance, his child-hating deceased wife who has possessed his house for 40-so years and eats anybody who comes too close to her. Basically anytime he yells "Stay off my lawn" it is not so much a threat as it is a warning. Ultimately the main characters set her spirit free by blowing up the house and he loses his crotchety behavior, happily giving back all the toys he confiscated to everyone in the neighborhood.
- Carl Frederickson from Up. He's grumpy and crotchety because his beloved wife is dead, and because he feels overwhelming guilt from an unfulfilled promise he made to her.
Films — Live-Action
- The movie Grumpy Old Men, featuring Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, which focuses on two such characters fighting amongst themselves over old-man stuff and ages-long grudges. It got a sequel, Grumpier Old Men.
- Walter Matthau and George Burns played a pair of Grumpy Old Borscht-belt Comedians who despise each other in The Sunshine Boys. But they used to be a partner act, and they're coerced into reuniting for a television special. Grumpy Hilarity Ensues, of course.
- Sam Baines from Back to the Future seemed to be that sort of person. It's unlikely that kids would routinely jump in front of his car, and that he was just grumbling about "damn kids" in general.
- Allan Quatermain (Sean Connery) in The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, who mixes this with Badass Grandpa.
- Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) in Gran Torino. (Never has the phrase "Get off my lawn" sounded so terrifying … or awesome.)
- Jetfire in the Transformers Film Series. His father was the wheel! The first one! He may not have transformed into anything, but he did it with honor! Dignity! Overuse of exclamation points!
- Sheriff Bell in No Country for Old Men (played for decidedly less humor than is usual for the trope).
- The Lord of the Rings has the Gaffer (played for laughs) and Gandalf the Grey (mostly for laughs) as well as the Steward Denethor (played as an increasingly alarming Despair Event Horizon.)
- Justinian in Belisarius Series and Theodora is a grumpy old lady. Making them a (sort of) Happily Married grumpy old couple.
- Several elders in the Warrior Cats series are portrayed this way, complete with "When I Was Your Age…"
- Keith Robertson's Henry Reed, Inc. gives its young protagonist a Grumpy Old Couple (Mr. and Mrs. Apple) as neighbors.
- Lazarus Long in Robert A. Heinlein's Time Enough for Love is, at 2300 years old at the start of the novel, the oldest human ever and can be as grumpy as he wants to be.
- Albert, Death's manservant, doesn't approve of anything that's happened since his "death" some two millennia ago, especially not the changes to Unseen University (he was the first Archchancellor). Since he hasn't aged since he entered Death's Domain, he was probably a grumpy old man then as well.
- Granny Weatherwax may be a badass and the greatest witch in the world, but she is also, and admits herself to be, a very grouchy old lady, usually because she thinks she knows better than everyone else. "I can't be having with this" is her Catch Phrase, and one of the things she can't be having with is Nanny Ogg, who is her best friend.
- Journey To Chaos: Old Man Aaloon is a three thousand year old man who lives in the Dragon's Lair headquarters. He considers his fellows in the guild to be "strays" and "thieves" that need to stay away from his home (the guild's archives) and keep their hands off his scrolls. When Eric wanders in, Aaloon beats him with his Magic Staff until he runs out.
- Gender inverted with Millie Bellows in Rabble Starkey. She is an old woman (thrice widowed) who lives alone and yelled to make sure Gunther wasn't walking on her grass. She also had a hard time showing appreciation when Rabble and Veronica started to help around her house.
Live Action TV
- The Four Yorkshiremen sketch from At Last The 1948 Show (featuring John Cleese and Graham Chapman of Monty Python's Flying Circus) is basically a pissing contest between four old men trying to outdo each other in their "hard life" bit and taking to Serial Escalation levels: "We had to get up half a hour before we went to bed …"
- The program Grumpy Old Men, which is devoted to real-life grumpy old celebrities complaining about stuff.
- There was a Saturday Night Live character, played by Dana Carvey, who was actually called "Grumpy Old Man". Every time he appeared on the show, he would make a rant against modern-day society, starting off with his Catch Phrase ("I'm old and I'm not happy!"), contrasting how things were in his day. ("In my day we didn't have hair dryers! If you wanted to blow dry your hair you stood outside during a hurricane. Your hair was dry, but you had a sharp piece of wood driven clear through your skull! And that's the way it was and you liked it! You loved it! Whoopee, I'm a human head-kabob!")
- "Life was a carnival! We entertained ourselves! We didn't need moooovin' pitchurrrres. In my day, there was only one show in town — it was called 'Stare at the sun!' ... That's right! You'd sit in the middle of an open field and stare up at the sun till your eyeballs burst into flames! And you thought, 'Oh, no! Maybe I shouldn't've stared directly into the burning sun with my eyes wide open.' But it was too late! Your head was on fire and people were roastin' chickens over it. ... And that's the way it was and we liked it!"
- Oscar from Corner Gas.
Brent: It's not just you. Dad's cranky. I saw him yell at a butterfly once. Called it a son of a bitch, told it to get out of his garden.
- JAG: Basically, every Admiral/General or senior NCO on the show near retirement will exhibit these traits. It goes for those who have already retired too. It’s justified, since those characters are almost always involved to some extent in an investigation or trial.
- The BBC series of one-off TV shows Grumpy Old X takes a bunch of Real Life grumpy old celebrities, and has them do talking heads about whatever the x is this time. The initial ones were Grumpy Old Men and Grumpy Old Women, more recently there have been things like Grumpy Old Holidays, Grumpy Old Christmas etc etc etc.
- McCoy from Star Trek: The Original Series shows traces of this, by being somewhat older than the other two in the Power Trio, snarky, and somewhat phobic of transporters. He makes up for it by being a compassionate, humanistic idealist and a competent doctor as well. He takes it Up to Eleven (well, up to 137) in his guest appearance on The Next Generation.
- Even up to 147, according to the Will Shatner novel, The Return.
- Captain Picard of Star Trek: The Next Generation started out as this, yelling at Wesley for coming onto his bridge. Becoming more of a Cool Old Guy when the series took off, though he still held onto some of the traits of grumpiness.
- Peo Persson from Vintergatan, every installment — though he lightens up off-work, and with his wife. Of course, his wife is frequently kidnapped, so this isn't often. He has become less of this later, though, instead becoming more of a jaunty old man.
- Andy Rooney on 60 Minutes embodies this trope so perfectly, it's usually pretty hard to take him seriously. Honestly, he probably knows how ridiculous some of his gripes are, but he also doesn't care.
- The "Old Man" of Pawn Stars often reminiscences about the "good old days". Never seen even cracking a smile.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor started off like this. Thanks to The Nth Doctor, he's since racked up several centuries while generally looking younger (coming full-circle in his Peter Capaldi incarnation). The Tenth Doctor explicitly compares his early personae to a kid "trying to be old and grumpy and important, like you do when you're young."
- Victor Meldrew is a particularly spectacular example of this (though he is somewhat more sophisticated about it than most), and he does at least usually have a good reason for being upset about everything.
- Inverted in Graduados. Andy is a rocker in his forties, who just found his long-lost son…and he's a bit upset because he's such a nice, correct and good guy.
- Diana Trent in Waiting for God is practically a Most Triumphant Example. Over time we realize that she's like that because her youth was incredibly adventurous, daring, and exciting, so being incarcerated in a seedy old folks' home is a living hell for her.
- The "Weird Al" Yankovic song "When I was Your Age":
"Didn't have no swimming pool when I was just a ladOur neighbor's septic tank was the closest thing we hadDidn't have no dental floss, had to use old rusty nailsDidn't have Nintendo, we just poured salt on snailsDidn't have no water bed, had to sleep on broken glassDidn't have no lawnmower, we used our teeth to cut the grass"
- The Green Day song "The Grouch":
"I was a young boy that had big plansNow I'm just another shitty old manI don't have fun and I hate everythingThe world owes me, so fuck you"
- Lampshaded and subverted by the Youtube-based anime-reviewer, Grumpy Jii-san (lit., 'grumpy grandpa'). Very rarely does he ever make some sort of complaint against something new, despite his name, and he has adapted to modern times quite well, going so far as to review anime that is being streamed on the internet. Jii-san also has some editing prowess: in his review of Irresponsible Captain Tylor, Jii-san spliced images of himself into the intro of the anime. Every now and then, he brings out some Laserdiscs, or references some old movies or artifacts.
Grumpy Jii-San *during his review of Baccano!*: "For that matter, does anyone even remember passenger trains?"
- Ed Crankshaft, originally from Funky Winkerbean then later spun off into his own strip, Crankshaft. He's not only a Grumpy Old Man, he's a school-bus driver, who keeps a running tally of how many times he's destroyed his neighbor George Keesterman's mailbox with the bus, and how far he can make parents or the kids chase the bus before they give up.
- Funky himself seems to have (d)evolved into this, after Time Skip #2.
- In one Dilbert strip, a scowling employee says that he had only plain zeros and ones to work with when he started programming, and sometimes not even ones.
- The Mummy in Monster Bash.
Mummy: "Back in my day, we didn't have jackpots!"
Stand Up Comedy
- Comedian and ventriloquist Jeff Dunham's "Walter" character is a Grumpy Old Man.
- Comedian Godfrey's own father qualified. What makes this funnier is that his father is Nigerian, and is acted with an appropriate accent. When l'il Godfrey complained about missing the bus, he talked about how he had to walk one hundred miles to school every day. When Godfrey had managed to save up $195 towards $200 Air Jordans and asked for a loan, his father talked about how, in their day, he did not have feet. He had to borrow his feet.
- Billy Crystal used to do routines based on his own grandfather, talking about the Bad Old Days ("Happiness? What happiness? We were miserable, and we loved it, goddammit!"). Listening to the routine, it's clear that he based Miracle Max off of this character.
- Long Beards in Warhammer. Their special ability allows units to reroll a morale test to prevent their grumpy leers and words of "told you so".
- Jolee Bindo from Knights of the Old Republic is an interesting example, he purposefully acts like a stereotypical Grumpy Old Man because he finds humor in it and (jokingly?) thinks youth expects him to act like it.
- Or he really is a Grumpy Old Man, but just happens to be really Genre Savvy about it. That's the beauty of his character.
- In Jade Empire, another Bioware game, you can run into a pair of old men in Tien's Landing grumbling about the state of the town. Addressing one of them will get you moaned at, but the other will explain he means nothing by it, and they're just passing time.
- Ezio Auditore has become this by the time Assassin's Creed: Embers takes place. He's 65, and just wants to enjoy what little time he has left with his family in peace, away from the Templars and the Assassins, which is why he doesn't take too kindly to Shao Jun pulling him back into it all. However, he does warm up, in typical Ezio fashion, once he gets to know her properly.
- Huang Zhong from Dynasty Warriors, a Badass Grandpa at 62, defeating generals half his age. He also tends to make comments that have him come across less like a legendary Chinese hero and more like a cranky old man with a bow and arrows.
- In LA Noire Finbarr "Rusty" Galloway and Hershel Biggs both fit this trope like a glove. Despite (or because of) his long history of service in the LAPD Rusty has become grumpy, ornery, and a borderline alcoholic who wants nothing more than to chalk each case up to a suicide and go home. Hershel Biggs is referred to as a basket case and an institution, and is explicitly partnered with disgraced protagonist Cole Phelps to spare the rejects from being partnered with anyone else on the Arson desk.
- Cranky Kong from Donkey Kong Country is far too happy to criticize newfangled video games with their fancy graphics and scrolling screens and controllers with way too many (in his opinion) buttons. Manuals for the first couple of Donkey Kong Country games explain that he refuses to go adventuring, despite his experience and wisdom (instead giving hints or selling useful items to the playable Kongs — while insulting them every step of the way), because of his grumpy old ape-ness, but after getting kicked out of his home in Donkey Kong Country: Tropical Freeze he apparently gets over it.
- In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Jean's Uncle Cestus Poule. Also villain Fructose Riboflavin, when he's not trying to intimidate anyone.
- Fred, Davan's Deadpan Snarker dad in Something*Positive.
- In Sinfest,
- In Monsieur Charlatan, swearing at kids to get out of his way.
- In Cucumber Quest, Grizzlygum grumbles about the kids in his forest and how sick he is of it.
- Tagon's dad in Schlock Mercenary, a retired general, is every inch of this. Directly referenced when a young intelligence-analyst sarcastically asks if he walked uphill both ways to get to school as a kid... and he replies that yes indeed, he did, due to living in an old space-habitat with a flaky artificial gravity generator that they had to cycle around noon.
- In Drowtales, long lived elves and drow make "old" people uncommon. That doesn't stop healthy, middle aged drow from having the spirit of a grumpy old man.
- In Girl Genius, Agatha Heterodyne is a young and buxom blonde girl who has absolutely nothing to do with this trope. It does get a nod and a wink, though, when Gilgamesh Wulfenbach starts throwing lightning at Castle Heterodyne.
Tarvek: A Wulfenbach assault on the Castle? Not good.
Agatha: Darn right! HEY YOU KIDS! STOP HITTING MY HOUSE!
- Warhammer 40,000: Absalom the Chaos Space Marine from Da Real Wurld 40K. Makes sense, he's pretty much the oldest character in the comic who doesn't look like a hot chick. His hobbies include gardening, which was suggested by his therapist to curb his anger issues. For God's sake, don't mess up his garden.
- In The Fairly Oddparents, Timmy's grandfather, Pappy, fit this to a T until Timmy found some common ground with him.
- Grandpa Phil from Hey Arnold! mostly towards the other boarders.
- Master Pakku from Avatar The Last Airbender, also doubles as a Badass Grandpa.
- Fire Lord Azulon fits this example, though he's more of a Sadist Old Man than anything. In his only scene he yells at Ozai about wasting his time, right before threatening him and forcing him to kill his own grandson!
- There's also the Air Monk who was very impatient with Gyatso's methods of training Aang.
- And of course we can never forget the old fisherman who accused Aang of abandoning his duties for the past 100 years. Even when apologizing he seemed rather gruff.
- Uncle from Jackie Chan Adventures. He is totally badass, though.
- Conan Mc Nulty, Lou's primary rival, seems to be just as grumpy as him.
- Grandpa Simpson from The Simpsons. Notably, he once reacted to hearing The Star Spangled Banner with "Turn that hippie crap off!"
- Ratchet the Shell-Shocked Senior from Transformers Animated. He's older, he's grumpy, and he complains a lot about other ensemble members. People who have fun tend to annoy the slag out of him.
- Played with in the Futurama episode "A Clone of My Own". When Fry has to pretend to be the professor so the Planet Express crew can sneak into the Near-Death Star, but the robot guards are skeptical about his age, Fry instantly convinces them he is a 160-year-old man by shouting "Hey, you kids! Get off my lawn!"
- One of Mike's personalities from Total Drama Revenge of the Island, Chester, is an old man who complains and talks about his youth, never mind the fact that Mike is a teen.
Grandpa: … and your Blu-Ray Discs and your pierced scrotums and your bull frogs and your telekinesis and your Marvel Comics and your YouTube.com and your nuclear physics and your ingrowing toenails and your Gears of War and your Quentin Tarantino and your power steering and your elevators and your six-person space capsules and your illegitimate offspring and your — hey, why did it fade to black? Am I dead?
Yugi: No, Gramps. It's just the end of the trope.
Grandpa: Oh, fiddlesticks!
Yugi: No, Gramps. It's just the end of the trope.
Grandpa: Oh, fiddlesticks!