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YMMV: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Acceptable Hard Luck Targets / Acceptable Lifestyle Targets: Augustus Gloop and Angina Salt are both mocked in-story and in the narration for their obesity; the Salt family in general is also the epitome of obnoxious, spoiled rich people who use money to get everything they want.
  • Accidental Innuendo: While it's less prevalent than it is in the movie (see below) the book still manages it at least once:
    Oh, the joy of being able to cram large pieces of something sweet and solid into one's mouth!
    • In one of Dahl's writings for Playboy, "schnozzberry" was used as a euphemism for "penis."
  • Adaptation Displacement / Mainstream Obscurity: In the U.S., the story and characters are better known from the two film adaptations, especially the 1971 version, than the source novel these days.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: Mr. Willy Wonka is either a genius, a monster, or a combination thereof. As he is an Interpretative Character, every major adaptation takes him in a different direction. The 1971 film portrays him as a traditional Trickster Mentor, while the 2005 film presents him as a strange recluse who refuses to grow up — and serves as a foil to Charlie, whose poverty and responsibilities leave his childhood almost joyless. The 2013 musical presents him as a Sugar and Ice Personality Anti-Hero. Each of these provides fodder for unique Alternate Character Interpretations, but questions that can apply to most any reading/viewing include:
    • Is Charlie merely a patsy, intended to inherit the responsibility for the multiple acts of child abuse, unsafe working conditions, and slave labour committed in Mr. Wonka's factory?
    • Could Mr. Wonka be an example of Asexuality? His devotion to a field of work most would consider only a hobby and the fact he didn't get married and chose to find an heir rather than have children suggests he might be a Celibate Eccentric Genius.
    • Is Mr. Wonka an Aesop Enforcer and Chessmaster, deliberately steering the unknowing brats towards their various fates as a Radish Cure of sorts or a way to Scare 'Em Straight? Each is taken out of the running when they go to steal or use something that clearly isn't safe but they still want, all playing right into their various vices — which Mr. Wonka is likely aware of, having presumably followed the press coverage of the contest. It would also explain why the Oompa-Loompas seem to know so much about the kids (a question actually broached in-story in the 2005 film). In adaptations, Mr. Wonka usually seems to be decidedly unconcerned with rescuing or stopping the kids, so...
    • In a related issue, are any or all of the tickets intended to fall into the hands of the kids who find them, that they may be punished or rewarded as appropriate? Depending on which version one's reading/watching, the possibility may be unaddressed, teased, lampshaded, and/or confirmed!
    • Is Mr. Wonka autistic? (One prominent interpreter of the role thinks he's close to it...)
  • Angst? What Angst?: The Golden Ticket tour group learns how dangerous Wonka's Factory can be — not to mention how nonchalant their guide is — when Augustus Gloop winds up sent to who-knows-where via the pipes, but it doesn't dampen their enthusiasm for the rest of the tour, even as further members are eliminated in similarly absurd disasters. No matter what they witness, no one ever asks to leave if they aren't directly affected by events, and the Audience Surrogate is having the time of his life. Granted, the disasters are all played for Black Comedy and the victims are all repulsive brats and coddling parents. The 2013 stage adaptation plays with this trope a little, again for laughs — even though the party is horrified by what happens to Augustus (and in this version it's suggested he might not survive), when the impatient Mr. Wonka asks them "Anybody want to go home?" not one answers in the affirmative! As the party further dwindles, though, anxiety creeps into the wonder of those still standing...
  • Anvilicious: The fates of the bratty kids. Lampshade Hanging in the 2013 musical gently tweaks this: "True, we lost a few children along the way...but we all learned something and that's the important thing!" according to Wonka.
  • Applicability: The novel has enough of this going on that Lucy Mangan's Milestone Celebration retrospective Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory devotes two sidebars to examining Marxist and Freudian interpretations, albeit with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Let's not even get into the adaptations...
  • Crazy Awesome: Who else but Willy Wonka?
  • Escapist Character
    • Charlie Bucket is poor but virtuous and has as warm and loving a family as one could wish for. They suffer quite a bit early on... then he not only gets the rare chance to visit the factory he's always wondered about plus a lifetime supply of sweets, but also winds up becoming heir to the place! True, life as Willy Wonka's guest (and, in the sequel, sidekick) is sometimes terrifying — but so long as you follow the rules, it's never, ever boring.
    • Willy Wonka himself: A Renaissance Man extraordinaire, possessed of remarkable wit and intelligence, he doesn't just live in The Wonderland but created it. Moreover, while the real world can a harsh place for the good and too-comfortable for the bad, in his world, be it by chance or plotting, Laser-Guided Karma prevails. For anyone dispirited by just how unfair the world can be, this is a deeply satisfying fantasy.
  • Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory: Marilyn Manson, a longtime fan of the 1971 film, expressed interest in playing the role of Willy Wonka in the 2005 film, and has a theory that Wonka is Satan, tempting and leading the damned souls (the children) into Hell!
  • Fandom Berserk Button: Feel free to debate the merits of the two movies — but remember that the novel came first.
  • First Installment Wins: Raise your hand if you didn't know there was a sequel...Even Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory barely acknowledges its existence.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: Viewers might view the Oompa-Loompas in a different light once they lean about the real life child slavery issue the cocoa industry has. (See Unfortunate Implications below.)
    • And the Amusing Injuries the kids suffer are much more terrifying if one remembers that children used to work in factories, and often suffered horrific actual injuries (sometimes fatal) in case of a slightest mistake.
  • Iconic Character, Forgotten Title: To an extent. Willy Wonka is the standout character and the most famous adaptation, a 2005 American stage musical, and a defictionalized candy brand are named after him rather than poor Charlie. But other adaptations use the original title without any trouble.
  • It Gets Better: The first third of the book is devoted to backstory and Developing Doomed Characters, but once the tour begins, wheeeeeee! Also applies to all adaptations, which easily split into two halves — the first set in the mundane world, the second in the absurd one.
  • It Was His Sled: Between all the adaptations and parodies, The Reveal that the Golden Ticket contest is a way for Wonka to find an heir has become this; some adaptations (most obviously the 2005 film) pull Not His Sled twists to compensate.
  • Magnificent Bastard: While little in the novel suggests that anything related to the Golden Ticket contest and the tour (i.e. the bratty kids' fates) is deliberately planned by Willy Wonka, it's not uncommon for adaptations to tweak things to turn him into this to varying degrees.
    • In the 1971 film, the whole business with "Slugworth" turns out to be a Secret Test of Character masterminded by Mr. Wonka.
    • In the 2005 film, other characters note that the Oompa-Loompas' 'improvisation' of their songs smacks of conspiracy. This ramps things straight into casino territory, as it rather implies that Mr. Wonka cherrypicked those kids specifically.
    • In the 2013 musical, tropers are directed to the Walking Spoiler folder on the character sheet for the details...
  • Magnum Opus: For Roald Dahl, at least where his work for children is concerned. Though cases can and have been made for James and the Giant Peach and Matilda as well, Factory is his most popular, most-often adapted work, and Willy Wonka is not only his most famous character, but one of the most famous characters in children's literature as a whole.
  • Memetic Mutation: Inside Charlie's Chocolate Factory briefly discusses two that are certainly not limited to the Internet: "'Willy Wonka' is now shorthand for any kind of innovator or eccentric genius.[...]Having a Golden Ticket is synonymous with getting an access-all-areas pass to anything desirable." The former's memetic status is reflected on this wiki with Mr. Wonka becoming a Trope Namer — one of the few remaining ones that's named after a specific character.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Potentially the fates of the other kids. For those and more, see this page.
  • Squick: Augustus Gloop goes for a swim in chocolate intended for eating. A few days later someone in the world will be eating chocolate that a fat boy has been swimming around in for a few minutes....
  • Unfortunate Implications: The whole matter of the Oompa-Loompas and their Happiness in Slavery in a Dangerous Workplace, not helped by the White Man's Burden and capitalism-run-rampant undertones. The book Roald Dahl and Philosophy features an essay, Ron Novy's "Willy Wonka and the Imperial Chocolate Factory", that examines these implications in depth, and how Bowdlerisation over the years hasn't erased them whollynote . They've also provided dark humor in some of the parody versions of the story, such as a Robot Chicken skit revealing how cruel Mr. Wonka actually was to them and the Futurama episode "Fry and the Slurm Factory", in which the Grunka-Lunkas sing about their plight. It is telling that neither the 2010 opera or 2013 stage musical discuss the book's Backstory of how they came to work in his factory at length (as the films do). The musical has Mr. Wonka say little more than that they're "an ancient, long-lost tribe from Loompaland", reducing matters to a Cryptic Background Reference, and in the opera they're just there.
  • Values Dissonance: Violet's primary vice being gum chewing has aged poorly, so starting with the 2005 film the character is tweaked in adaptations to make her the proudest or vainest of the kids, with the gum chewing habit endemic of the larger issue.
    • In the 2005 film, she is a Competition Freak who has to be a winner in everything she sets her mind to, hence her becoming a world-champion gum chewer.
    • In the 2010 opera, she is vain and obsessed with being thin. She chews rather than eats.
    • In the 2013 musical, she is an airheaded starlet who, with her dad's help, parlayed her "talent" for gum chewing into a multimedia Cash Cow Franchise.
  • Values Resonance: Gum chewing may not be seen as a vice anymore, and Mike's plot thread leans on New Media Are Evil, but by and large the obnoxious behavior of the brats and their parents' willingness to indulge them are timeless issues that are easy to adapt to whatever The Present Day is, which might be a reason the story has been consistently popular and frequently adapted for 50 years as of 2014.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit: Post-1980s adaptations, particularly in their efforts to update Violet and Mike, can easily run into this trope. The 2005 film has a sight gag involving an Oompa-Loompa watching Oprah Winfrey; the 2013 stage musical has a Boastful Rap for Violet and Cyberpunk Is Techno for Mike in the Genre Roulette. Of course, most all of this is being Played for Laughs, and it helps that both of the above-mentioned versions take place in Retro Universe settings and, again, make their of-the-moment vices endemic of more timeless issues.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: It may be the most beloved Black Comedy in children's literature, Sweet Dreams Fuel and Nightmare Fuel all at once. For years it was a near-fixture on lists of banned/challenged kids' books.
  • The Woobie: Charlie, for all the criticism about his being a Useless Protagonist, is clearly a good, selfless kid who's been dealt a lousy hand by life and deserves a break. He's particularly woobie-ish in the 1971 film (see that version's YMMV page) and the 2013 musical (see below).
  • Woobie Species: The Oompa-Loompas, if one doesn't regard them as just exceptionally tiny humans (their children are only a few inches tall). Their lives might be Happiness in Slavery now, but it's still a substantial improvement on their previous existence in Loompaland...
  • Woolseyism: A mild case. Veruca Salt's surname was changed to Paprika in the Hebrew translation because "Salt" doesn't have a meaning in Hebrew and young readers wouldn't understand there's a connection between the name and the dad's business.

Specifically the 1971 film:

see YMMV.Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory

Specifically the 2005 film:

Specifically the 2013 stage musical:

  • Acceptable Professional Targets: Violet and her father, as representatives of Horrible Hollywood in its shallow/talentless and greedy aspects, respectively.
  • Applicability: As noted above under Alternate Character Interpretation Douglas Hodge, who originated the role of Mr. Wonka in this show, regarded him as "almost autistic". Indeed, Mr. Wonka does have several traits overlapping with high-functioning autism/Aspergers (sometimes Literal-Minded, often brutally honest, thinks logically, fully devoted to his craft, no close friends, extremely energetic) and in this adaptation is also a Motor Mouth who Hates Small Talk, and, as played by Hodge, is prone to extravagant arm/hand gestures. With all that in mind, his "I Am" Song "Simply Second Nature" — and his quest to find someone who has a similar creative spirit and understands his way of thinking to become his successor — becomes even more poignant than it already is in context. (And cold though he can be at times, the brats and their parents, via insults and looking down on his motivations, come off as picking on someone who is trying to be a good host and sincerely hopes they'll appreciate his work...)
  • Critical Dissonance: While it did receive a few raves, most professional critics thought it merely okay or panned it outright — and everyone compared it to not only the film adaptations, but also the other Roald Dahl musical on the West End, the highly-acclaimed Matilda. Nor is there much love for the show on musical theatre message boards. Nonetheless, it's proven popular with family audiences thus far, actually breaking West End one-week sales records twice over in 2013.
  • Friendly Fandoms: At least on Tumblr, there's a good deal of overlap between this show's fanbase and that of Matilda. Beyond the obvious connection of being Roald Dahl adaptations, they also share a choreographer, and owing in part to the need for West End shows to triple/quadruple cast child roles, there are now a few child actors who have logged time in both productions.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: Two relating to previous roles of Douglas Hodge.
  • Memetic Molester / Too Soon: Averted. In the runup to the opening, the catastrophe of the Jimmy Savile revelations (for non-U.K. tropers, he was an eccentric Top of the Pops and children's show host posthumously revealed to be a horrifically prolific serial pedophile/rapist) was still fresh news, and Douglas Hodge acknowledged in interviews that launching a musical about an eccentric chocolatier whose world is highly dangerous for bratty kids was skirting the latter trope under such circumstances. But in practice, the show didn't elicit the unsavory comparisons that the 2005 film did — likely because it fully embraces the Black Comedy of the source material and presents Wonka as an Anti-Hero Deadpan Snarker with a Sugar and Ice Personality, rather than the Uncanny Valley Stepford Smiler Man Child of the '05 version.
  • Replacement Scrappy / They Changed It, Now It Sucks: Poor Alex Jennings, the first replacement Willy Wonka. As early as his Olivier Awards performance of "Pure Imagination" in May 2014, a month before he took the stage at Theatre Royal Drury Lane in the role, he was getting unfavorable comparisons to Douglas Hodge from fans. Once updated show trailers were uploaded to the show's offical YouTube channel in July, the bulk of the viewer comments were lamenting the change. Those who have seen both performers are split on which actor does a better job with the characterization (Jennings' icy-yet-still-playful approach versus Hodge's extravagant-even-for-Wonka hamminess), but general consensus is that Hodgenote  is the better singer. Some fans even lament that Jennings's Wonka is clean-shaven! (Hodge's chin tuft/mustache combo was prosthetic makeup, but also closer to the novel's description of the character.)
  • Rewatch Bonus: Knowing The Reveal throws a lot of business involving the tramp/Willy Wonka into a new light.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Both the condemnation of Creative Sterility and mindless consumption and the celebration of imagination and grateful appreciation are drilled into the viewer hard along with all of the story's "classic" Aesops. But when so much modern pop culture glorifies materialism and obnoxious behavior to both children and adults, such messages really need to be repeated and heard.
  • Suspiciously Similar Song: "When Vercua Says" sounds similar to "Sing!" from A Chorus Line.
  • Tough Act to Follow: An unusual case, in that it's with regard to other adaptations of the same story and/or the other work of the source material's writer rather than having the same creative team as a previous hitnote . Considering the status of the 1971 film and the critical acclaim given to the other Roald Dahl musical on the West End, Matilda, this was inevitable. While critical reception was mixed, the show has proven to be an enormous financial success.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: All the projections, the Department of the Future sequence (particularly the perfect timing of the dancers with the television images in "Vidiots"), the Great Glass Elevator gliding out over the first few rows of the stalls (though some viewers think it wobbles too much)...even the simple trick that sends a paper airplane flying up to the balcony gets oohs and aahs.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: For a megabudget family-friendly musical to rival any of the Disney stage productions, there's a lot of potential offstage (if lovingly described via the songs) Death as Comedy here — visited upon children no less. Nigel Planer (who originated the role of Grandpa Joe) explained to the Daily Mail: "There were contingency plans if it scared children too much; if it was too dark. But after a few days of previews it became apparent kids love that. They laughed as they watched Veruca Salt going down a grinder. Kids find that funny. They’re nasty, kids, aren’t they? I think they enjoy someone telling it like it is; we soon realised we could be as gruesome as we liked." This has a bit of Lampshade Hanging early on in the show: When Charlie asks to hear the story of Prince Pondicherry (who, in this version, died in the melting ruins of his chocolate palace), Grandpa Joe quips: "Oh, you like the scary ones, don't you Charlie?"
  • The Woobie: Charlie. Part of it is that he's the most rounded version of the character since the 1971 film: A Cheerful Child prone to daydreaming who works so hard to make the best of his meager situation, a light in the lives of his toiling family, who wish they could give him the life he deserves but just can't (as seen in "If Your Mother Were Here") — really, they're all woobies. In any case, a lonely kid who has dreams that he can't attain is a sad sight indeed, and watching him fall into a blue funk as each Golden Ticket is found is heart-tugging. Even when he gets his golden chance, the poor, shy kid keeps bringing up the rear come tour day, lost in the shadows of the limelight shed on the other finders. This makes The Reveal that Willy Wonka, the man the boy admires more than any other, was secretly looking out for him all along quite touching and gratifying.


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