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Characters / Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Bucket Family

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     Charlie Bucket 

Played by:
Peter Ostrum (1971 film)
Freddie Highmore (2005 film)
Benjamin P. Wenzelburg (2010 opera's 2012 recording)
Jack Costello (2013 musical's Original London Cast Recording)
Ryan Foust, Jake Ryan Flynn, and Ryan Sell (2017 Broadway Retool of the musical)
Lincoln Melcher (Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)

A boy who lives with his poor but loving family in a shack on the edge of the town that Mr. Wonka's factory is located in. He craves chocolate more than anything else in the world but their straits are so dire that it's only a once-a-year birthday treat for him. Despite his lot in life, he is a good, self-sacrificing soul, and perhaps that's how the Million-to-One Chance of his finding the last of the Golden Tickets comes about...

In the novels and across adaptations:

  • Adorably Precocious Child: Shades into this in the film adaptations; he does what he can to support the family in both versions, and is a near-Incorruptible Pure Pureness with his manners and generosity in '05.
  • Advertised Extra: In the novel, once Charlie arrives at the factory, he does nothing and, therefore, wins the factory. Granted, he spends the first third of the book starving to death while being a really good kid. By the time he gets to the factory, he's got nothing to prove to the readers. But with this trope in mind, adaptations usually tweak the story to give him more to do: He succumbs to a temptation and must make up for it in the 1971 film, reconciles Mr. Wonka with his father in the 2005 film, and is a budding inventor in the 2013 version.
  • Audience Surrogate: The events are presented primarily through his eyes, though it is written in the third person. This also applies to most of the sequel, aside from the scenes with a different set of characters in the White House, though at one point the narration lets the reader in on Mr. Wonka's thoughts.
  • Friendless Background: It's easy to miss in the novel or most adaptations, but Charlie has no friends to speak of...just his family. He goes to school with other kids — is he shunned because he's poor? Is he too busy trying to help his family out (as in the 1971, 2005, and 2013 versions) to spend time making them? Averted in the Alton Towers theme park ride adaptation, in which riders assume the role of Charlie's friends whom he has invited along on the tour of the factory.
  • Grade-School C.E.O.: In the 2005 stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, the 2010 opera, and the 2013 musical, Charlie immediately becomes the new owner of the Wonka Factory once he passes the Secret Test, whereas in the novel and other versions he will not assume that role until he comes of age.
  • Hair of Gold, Heart of Gold: In the 1971 film and Quentin Blake's illustrations, Charlie is blonde.
  • Hakuna Matata: In the 2005 stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, Leslie Bricusse (who co-wrote the songs for the 1971 film) gives Charlie "Think Positive", which he sings to cheer up his just-laid-off father. He later has a brief reprise as he prepares to open what turns out to be the Wonka Bar that has the last Golden Ticket.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: In the novel, 2005 film, and 2010 opera, he is distinguished from the four brats by his ability to resist temptation. Other versions present him as fundamentally good, but not to the extent of this trope.
  • Kid Hero: Albeit one who doesn't affect the plot much; his defining trait is his virtuousness, which allows him to avoid temptation in the novel. As noted above, adaptations tend to make him a little more proactive.
  • Kid Sidekick: In the sequel, he becomes this to Willy Wonka.
  • Lead You Can Relate To: He reflects the novel's preteen target audience, and serves as a window through which Mr. Willy Wonka (who is at least middle-aged) can be observed.
  • Nice Guy: All versions, but the 1971 film and 2013 musical incarnations deserve special mention in part because he is not a case of Incorruptible Pure Pureness in either.
    • In the 1971 film, he's certainly not as cruel as some of the other children, and actually tries to help Augustus when he falls into the river. But he actively desires more out of life, and is not above temptation, hence the Fizzy Lifting Drinks misadventure. Proving he's a good kid by not giving Slugworth the gobstopper is what earns him the factory.
    • In the 2013 musical, he's as puzzled by Willy Wonka as the rest of the tour group is, but unlike the brats (who see Mr. Wonka as a means to an end, nothing more) and even some of the adults is unfailingly polite and respectful towards him anyway, because that's just the kind of kid he is.
  • Pinball Protagonist: He's largely just along for the ride after the opening stretch.
  • Rags to Riches: Starts out as poor but inherits the chocolate factory and Charlie's business on top.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Subverted with Wrath- Charlie passes Wonka's moral test in adaptations.
  • Sweet Tooth: Not that he gets many opportunities to indulge it (see Trademark Favorite Food below).
  • Token Good Teammate: Of the five kids. He is the only kid who isn't spoiled, mean, greedy, stupid, or otherwise unworthy of Willy Wonka's favor, apart from succumbing to temptation once in the 1971 film, and he acknowledges that what he did was wrong and apologizes for it.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Chocolate. Alas, it is a Mundane Luxury to him (he only gets one bar a year, on his birthday), which makes it painful for him to live so close to Mr. Wonka's mysterious factory.
  • Underdogs Never Lose: In the 2005 film and 2013 musical, it is known to everyone that there is a secret super-prize for one of the Golden Ticket finders to win on the tour. In the former, Violet is determined to win this and calls poor Charlie as a loser to his face, and not long after Augustus taunted him at that. In the latter, Charlie is regarded as The Runt at the End by the press compared to the other winners, and even Mr. Wonka treats him this way...
  • The Watson: In the sequel, he's this and a Kid Sidekick / Tagalong Kid rather than a Pinball Protagonist; Mr. Wonka himself becomes the protagonist.

In the 1971 film:
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: The (literally) poor kid is faced both with the temptation to try the Fizzy Lifting Drinks, which he succumbs to with nearly-fatal results, and the greater temptation to give Mr. Slugworth the Everlasting Gobstopper, which would net him even greater prizes than the lifetime supply of chocolate. And when he gives in to the former, he learns that the original prize is forfeited! But he still can't bring himself to betray Mr. Wonka, and in the process wins the greatest prize of all.
  • Heroic BSoD: Three times: First, he seems to be silently having one as (having become frustrated with his inability to find a ticket) he blankly roams around town during the "Cheer Up, Charlie" number, the second time occurs when he cries in bed after the fifth (actually a fake) Golden Ticket is claimed to have been found, and the third case comes when Mr. Wonka tells him he won't get the lifetime supply of chocolate. The latter doesn't last long, thankfully.
  • Heroic Bystander: He tries to be one by holding out a giant lollipop for the drowning Augustus to grab on to, but the latter is sucked into the pipes before he can do so.
  • If You Kill Him, You Will Be Just Like Him: Near the end, when Grandpa Joe vows to get even with Wonka by bringing the Gobstopper to Slugworth, Charlie realizes he and Grandpa Joe are no better than the others for the Fizzy Lifting drinks they consumed and could become Ungrateful Bastards if Grandpa Joe followed through on his threat, and Charlie pacifies Wonka's wrath by giving the Everlasting Gobstopper back to him to atone for the wrong they've done.
  • Karma Houdini: While they are almost killed in the Fizzy Lifting Drink misadventure, he and Grandpa Joe initially seem to get away with drinking it in the first place, without any lasting consequences. But it's subverted: Mr. Wonka knew about it the whole time and is not happy. This is enough for Charlie to realize that he did something wrong and lost just as much as the other kids. Giving the Everlasting Gobstopper back to Mr. Wonka is his way of acknowledging his mistake and apologizing for it.
  • Mr. Vice Guy: Because he wants a lot more than what life has thrown at him, Charlie is prey to temptation, and along with Grandpa Joe samples the Fizzy Lifting Drinks.
  • Seven Deadly Sins: Envy, and with valid reason.
  • One-Book Author: Peter Ostrum never acted again afterward — he's now a veterinarian.

In the 2005 film:
"I wouldn't trade my family for anything, not for all the chocolate in the world."
  • Broken Pedestal: This Charlie admires Mr. Wonka as much as any other incarnation, even building a scale replica of his factory out of the defective toothpaste caps his father brings home from work! (As the movie begins he just needs a head for the Wonka figure itself to complete it.) But unlike other versions, this admiration is broken by the time the tour ends. It's not just that this Wonka's socially awkward and an Insufferable Genius; that the boy can live with. As the climax approaches though, he completely loses Charlie's respect over his demand that he abandon his family.
  • Secondary Character Title: Ironically, this adaptation keeps the book's original title but changes the focus so that Wonka now is the main character.
  • Supporting Protagonist: He has no real Character Development over the course of the film; even his Broken Pedestal moment is something he largely takes in stride. Once the Flashbacks to Mr. Wonka's childhood begin, it slowly becomes clear that this adaptation is really about him coming to terms with his past in order to achieve his goals and have a happy future. In the end, Charlie is merely a catalyst for this.
  • Thicker Than Water: He loves and cares about his family above all else, even chocolate. He actually considers selling the Golden Ticket to lift them out of poverty and Grandpa George has to talk him out of it. And in the final stretch, he turns his back on becoming Mr. Wonka's heir because he can't give up his family.

In the 2010 opera:

  • Born Unlucky: He seems to believe himself to be this owing to his dire straits; early on, he asks "Grandpa Joe, were you ever lucky?" suggesting he wants to know that that's like. Nothing suggests this is actually true, though.
  • Constantly Curious: In the opening scene, Mr. Know winds up having to ask "Charlie, why do you ask so many questions?"
  • Grass Is Greener: Charlie is at least resigned to his circumstances in the novel and most adaptations and even finds happiness in his existence, thanks primarily to his loving family. But here, even more than in the 1971 film, he's really unhappy and openly wants more out of life. In the "Dreams and Ambitions" sequence, which is effectively his "I Want" Song, he sings about how much he wants to "escape, far away,/into dreams?/And to roam strange fantastical worlds far from home". Luckily, when he gets his chance it works out well for him.
  • Parental Abandonment: Owing to his parents being Adapted Out; no explanation is given for what happened to them, so it's easy to assume they died. Also counts as:

In the 2013 musical:

  • Ascended Fanboy: He wants to find a Golden Ticket not just because (like everyone else) he loves Mr. Wonka's sweets and wants to see just how they're made, but because he's absolutely in awe of the man's amazing accomplishments to the point that he's inspired to brainstorm ideas for sweet inventions of his own, as detailed in his "I Want" Song.
  • Catchphrase: "How d'ja do?" in Act One: It's part of the "Almost Nearly Perfect" refrain, turns up again in "A Letter from Charlie Bucket" and "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie", and is the first thing he can think of to say on the red carpet. Downplayed in the Broadway staging, where "Almost Nearly Perfect" and "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" are cut.
  • Cheerful Child: His Mr. Imagination tendencies help him make the most of his meager lot in life, though he does fall into a blue funk as his hopes of finding a Golden Ticket fade. He's not a case of Incorruptible Pure Pureness — he's sweet and kind, but he isn't above the occasional fib if it lets him hear a favorite story, he's prone to daydreaming, and while he tries to be selfless and obedient, he can't resist spending a bit of dropped money on a bar of chocolate or looking at the idea notebook. So he's not perfect, but to nick the title of his "I Am" Song (which refers to the discarded-but-still-useable things he finds at the dump), he's "Almost Nearly Perfect", and that's good enough for Mr. Wonka, who 1) encourages him, while in disguise, to buy the fateful bar, and 2) wants him to look at the notebook as a Secret Test not of morals but of creativity.
  • Collector of the Strange: He regularly picks up the Wonka Bar wrappers that the patrons of Mrs. Pratchett's sweet stall leave behind. When another character calls this out as unusual, he explains that he collects them. (Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delight wrappers are his favorites!) It's a way he can vicariously enjoy the candy his family is too poor to afford on a regular basis, and they don't see this as odd at all.
  • Despair Speech: During his Heroic BSoD, all he can say when his dad tries to cheer him up by encouraging him to look through the hole in the roof for a shooting star is "Don't waste a wish on me." Short, but it says so much about his lost hopes.
  • Heroic BSoD: He goes into a funk when it looks like he won't find a Golden Ticket. Right after his annual birthday Wonka Bar proves not to have one, he and his family learn the third ticket has been found and the news genuinely upsets him. The others (save for Grandpa George) try to keep his spirits up...and then the news of the fourth ticket being found — by Mike, the worst of the brats in this version to boot — breaks. For the next week, the poor boy is glum and quiet, not even asking to hear one of Grandpa Joe's stories.
  • Heroic Bystander: When Grandpa Joe accidentally presses Mr. Wonka's Berserk Button over the lifetime supply of sweets turning out to be the Everlasting Gobstopper, Charlie prevents them from physically fighting by Standing Between the Enemies and declaring that the Gobstopper's "an amazing present" and that he doesn't want anything else.
  • "I Am" Song: "Almost Nearly Perfect" has him explaining how he makes the most of his meager world. Averted in the Broadway production.
  • I Can Explain: He uses these exact words when Mr. Wonka catches him adding to the idea book. (Not that he has to...).
  • "I Want" Song: "A Letter from Charlie Bucket". Most of it details things he'd like Mr. Wonka to invent — in order to brighten up the lives of his parents and grandparents. He realizes at the end that there are two things he wants for himself: "Please drop them off yourself/So we can ask ya 'How d'ja do?'/And well, I'd like one Wonka Bar/That I would share with you." (Interestingly, by this point he's unknowingly managed the first part.)
  • Mr. Imagination: He's more grounded than most examples of this trope, using his imagination to brighten up his life. This gives him something in common with Mr. Wonka: Charlie's shy, poor, humble, and warm and Mr. Wonka is a Large Ham, fabulously wealthy, boastful, and frosty, but both have vibrant imaginations and enormous senses of wonder; at heart, both want to create things to make other people happy. Downplayed in the Broadway version, in that his imaginative skills are mostly in service to his adoration of Mr. Wonka and "Almost Nearly Perfect" is cut.
  • One Man's Trash Is Another's Treasure: U.K. version only: Both Charlie and his dad keep an eye out for discarded items that they can find use for, be it a notebook that still has blank pages or a broken umbrella that can be fixed up. Charlie even sings in "Almost Nearly Perfect" that "Their ["your" on the cast album] trash is my treasure/Their 'Goodbye' is my 'How d'ja do.'"
  • The Pollyanna: Downplayed. In the early going, he's of the mind that even if times are tough for him and his family now, things will eventually get better (in "Almost Nearly Perfect" there are the lyrics "But someday/When I have my say"...note the when), and he isn't fazed by the odds against his finding a Golden Ticket even though he'll only get one shot at it. But when that chance fails he reaches his breaking point, angrily declaring that the factory would just be a lot of machines anyway in a desperate attempt to hide his disappointment. Learning that the fourth ticket has been found triggers his Heroic BSoD, as he loses all hope that his dreams will ever be fulfilled. Luckily his fortunes finally take a turn for the better, and that blue funk doesn't keep him from being a good, Cheerful Child.
  • The Runt at the End: After the other four Golden Ticket finders make flashy entrances on the red carpet come tour day, the poor boy — the last to find a ticket to begin with — cuts a shy, small figure by comparison and reporters Jerry and Cherry clearly see him as this while the other kids clearly have shots at the glorious secret super-prize. He and Grandpa Joe are always bringing up the rear; Mr. Wonka asks (during the introductions in "Strike That, Reverse It") "Is least the last to join our cast?" and when they dawdle in the Nut Room after Veruca's demise, they wind up having to ride in an actual bucket being towed by the Cool Boat to get to the Department of the Future, with Mr. Wonka noting that the boy has a bad habit of daydreaming.
  • Warts and All: Charlie quickly realizes that his hero is a decidedly quirky, icy fellow in "Strike That, Reverse It" — and Mr. Wonka notices his puzzlement and asks him about it. Charlie explains "[Y]ou're not what I expected." Mr. Wonka admits "That's a coincidence...because I'm not what I expected either." As the tour progresses it becomes clear Mr. Wonka can get very dark and he keeps treating Charlie as The Runt at the End, but he also has sensitive Hidden Depths. Charlie sees those depths, never loses sight of what a remarkable person Mr. Wonka is, and always treats him with kindness and respect. And as it turns out, Mr. Wonka cares much more about Charlie than he's letting on.

In the 2017 Broadway Retool:

  • Mr. Exposition: During "Willy Wonka! Willy Wonka!," Charlie tells the Backstory of Willy Wonka to the candy shop owner — not realizing his listener is Mr. Wonka himself.
  • Obsessed with Food: Admits he's obsessed with Mr. Wonka's candy in this version. He's much more upset to learn that the Golden Tickets are being found by others and hangs out around the pop-up candy shop even though he can't afford the candy and the owner (a King Incognito Wonka) treats him thoughtlessly.
  • Parental Abandonment: Mr. Bucket is dead in this version.

     Grandpa Joe 

Played by:
Jack Albertson (1971 film)
David Kelly (2005 film)
Keith Jameson (2010 opera's 2012 recording)
Nigel Planer (2013 musical's Original London Cast Recording)
John Rubinstein (2017 Broadway Retool of the musical)
Jess Harnell (Tom and Jerry: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory)

Charlie Bucket lives in a Multigenerational Household with his parents and both sets of grandparents. The grandparents have been bedridden for decades when the story begins. Of the four, Grandpa Joe — who is fascinated by Wonka's Factory and knows all the stories that surround it — is the most hopeful that Charlie will find a Golden Ticket. When the boy does, the old man is so excited and happy that he gets out of bed to serve as Charlie's guardian for the factory tour.

  • Ascended Extra: In the books he's just sort of there along with Charlie, though he also handles a lot of exposition early on in the first installment. Most adaptations give him more to do; by way of screen/stage time, this character is usually the secondary adult lead.
    • In the 2005 film and the stage musical Roald Dahl's Willy Wonka, he's actually a former employee of Mr. Wonka's.
    • In The Golden Ticket he is not even bedridden; he seems to be the one who supports (to however small extent) the rest of the family, as in this version Charlie's parents are absent. This is zigzagged, though — see below.
  • Cool Old Guy: Downplayed in most versions, but he's certainly fun to be with. Definitely this in the 1971 film, owing to his Deadpan Snarker tendencies (heck, he even enjoys the boat tunnel at first).
  • Demoted to Extra: As the other grandparents become Ascended Extras in Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, he becomes this.
  • Doting Grandparent: All of Charlie's grandparents love him dearly, but Grandpa Joe isn't just a relative, but a true friend who's willing to sacrifice what little money he's saved up to get Charlie a Wonka Bar in hopes of the boy finding a Golden Ticket. He also is determined, in both the 1971 and 2013 versions, to make sure Charlie gets everything he's been promised.
  • Greater Need Than Mine: He gives up the tiny bit of money (a few coins of change, really) he's saved so Charlie can buy a Wonka Bar and — hopefully — find a Golden Ticket in the novel and most adaptations. In the 1971 version Joe uses the money Charlie, having earned it on a paper route, had earmarked for the former's tobacco habit (which he's giving up anyway). In the 2013 musical, Grandma Josephine points out that the 53 and 1/2 pence Joe stashed away in a sock was for his funeral, but Joe's says he's fine with just being packed away in a rubbish bag and left on the curb when he dies if Charlie gets his heart's desire! Notably, in all versions this Wonka Bar doesn't yield a ticket.
  • Mr. Exposition: He delivers most of the backstory of Mr. Wonka and the factory in the opening stretch of the novel and most adaptations.
  • Older Sidekick: For Charlie.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni
    • In the 1971 film, he is the Red Oni — optimistic, feisty, and willing to break rules — to Mrs. Bucket's Blue Oni, who is realistic and serene. Interestingly, in this adaptation she is his daughter, whereas in the novels her father is Grandpa George.
    • In the 2013 musical, he is the optimistic, fun-loving, easygoing Red Oni to grumpy, cynical Grandpa George's Blue Oni. And he's married to the demure, sweet Grandma Josephine, making for another Red/Blue combination.
  • The Storyteller: He knows all kinds of stories — including the history of Mr. Wonka and his factory — and relating a story or two to Charlie is a nightly after-dinner ritual.

In the 1971 film:
"'cause I had said, it couldn't be done! But it could be done!"
  • Ambiguously Jewish: He's portrayed by actor Jack Albertson, who was born to a Russian-Jewish family in Massachusetts in 1907.
  • Broken Pedestal: He admires Mr. Wonka greatly and is as excited by Charlie at the prospect of meeting him and touring the factory. But as the tour ends, Mr. Wonka's choice to deny Charlie the lifetime supply of chocolate, compounded by a What the Hell, Hero? speech, over the Fizzy Lifting Drinks incident shatters this. Grandpa Joe delivers his own What the Hell, Hero? speech in response; by the time Mr. Wonka cuts him off, he's called the man an "inhuman monster" who cruelly strung Charlie along. He is so embittered by this that he decides he'll get revenge on him by selling the Everlasting Gobstopper to Mr. Slugworth, whom he spoke of as "the worst" of Mr. Wonka's rivals. What's sad about this is that this is a subversion, as Grandpa Joe did encourage Charlie to sign the contract without paying close attention to it and it was his idea for them to steal the drinks, so Mr. Wonka's actions are justified, if not the blunt, cruel way he delivered the news to them. Charlie knows this too, so he chooses to return the Gobstopper to Mr. Wonka.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Only Mr. Wonka himself can out-snark him. "If [Veruca's] a lady, then I'm a Vermicious Knid!" is just one example of his skill.
  • Gallows Humor: His snarker devolves into this as the tour goes on.
    Grandpa Joe: Well, Mr. Salt finally got what he wanted.
    Charlie: What's that?
    Grandpa Joe: Veruca went first.
  • The Millstone: Even though he doesn't intend to be one, He's pretty much a bad influence on Charlie all the way through. He tells Charlie not to read the contract he signs at the beginning of the tour, he talks him into trying the fizzy lifting drinks, which almost gets both of them killed and leads to the infamous "You get nothing!" outburst, and after said outburst, he suggests giving the Gobstopper to Slugworth as revenge. Charlie doesn't, and this is what earns him the factory.
  • Never My Fault: At the end of the film, after Mr. Wonka denies Charlie the chocolate and gives a What the Hell, Hero? speech to him over the Fizzy Lifting Drinks incident, he furiously chews Mr. Wonka out in response, calling him an "inhuman monster" who strung Charlie along and vowing revenge by selling the Everlasting Gobstopper to Slugworth. Of course, not only did he encourage Charlie to sign Wonka's contract without reading it, but it was Grandpa Joe's idea to try the drinks in the first place. That said, the reason he's outraged is because Wonka is apparently weaseling out of the deal by punishing a little boy for a harmless infraction that wasn't even his idea.
  • Papa Wolf: He's Charlie's grandfather but otherwise fits the trope perfectly.
  • Sidekick Song: "I've Got a Golden Ticket" is his reaction to finding Charlie's found the last of them, as he gets out of bed for the first time in twenty years.
  • Tempting Fate: In the Fizzy Lifting Drink room: "A small one won't hurt us."
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Attempts this on Mr. Wonka in response to his use of this trope on him and Charlie.

In the 2005 film:
"I’d give anything in the world just to go in one more time, and see what’s become of that amazing factory."
  • Adaptation Expansion: Overlapping with Ascended Extra, his knowledge of Willy Wonka's public Backstory is due to having been an employee of his. He was a clerk in Mr. Wonka's first chocolate shop and went on to work in his factory until the day it was closed.

In the 2010 opera:

  • Composite Character: With Adapted Out Mr. Bucket in the 2010 opera, since he seems to be the meager breadwinner of the family.
  • Demoted to Extra: His Mr. Exposition function is completely eliminated, his celebration when Charlie finds the last ticket is dropped, and he's sidelined from the final stretch of the tour when he stays behind to comfort Mrs. Teavee (Mike is third, not fourth, to be eliminated in this version), not appearing again until the denouement back at the shack.
  • Good Samaritan: Mrs. Teavee, in the wake of her son being shrunk by Bubblevision, is so traumatized that she begs for someone to stay with them while they wait for him to be restored. Mr. Wonka is indifferent, Veruca and her father don't care, but Grandpa Joe volunteers to stay behind and comfort her, figuring Charlie can manage on his own with the remaining tour group. (Charlie might have stayed behind too, but Mr. Wonka "sweeps him on board" the train to the Bazaar of the Bizarre, according to the stage directions.)

In the 2013 musical:

  • Born Unlucky: According to "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie", the reason he became bedridden so long ago was that times were so tough he believed he was an example of this! "All my four-leaf clovers wilted/And my rabbit's foot had mange/The genie in the bottle turned up dead".
  • Fun Personified: The most fun-loving of the Bucket family members, which might be why he becomes the factory's offical taster and an honorary Oompa-Loompa.
  • The Munchausen: He loves to tell silly tall tales about his past: he claims to have fought with the Light Brigade, traveled with Scott of the Antarctic, ran a four-minute mile in the 1948 Olympics, etc. (An In-Joke detail reveals that he has at least one true feat to his credit, though — the uniform he wears to the factory marks him as having served as an RAF pilot in World War Roald Dahl did.)
    • Also present in the Broadway staging, but replaced with references to American history: he claims to have been a travel agent for Lewis and Clark, fought with General Custer, and took the wheel of the Titanic.
  • Sidekick Song: "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie" is his response to the news that the boy has found the final Golden Ticket.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: In this version, this is his response to Mr. Wonka revealing that the lifetime supply of sweets is the Everlasting Gobstopper in a case of Exact Words, and unfortunately it presses Mr. Wonka's Berserk Button. Good thing Charlie understands both sides of the situation and can defuse it before it gets out of hand!

In the 2017 Broadway Retool

  • Adaptation Expansion: Similar to the 2005 film, he was an employee of Wonka's and worked as the factory's security guard until the day it was closed.
  • Sidekick Song: "I've Got a Golden Ticket" is revived from the 1971 film to replace "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie".

     The Rest of the Family 

In the novels:

  • Adult Fear: In the sequel, poor Mr. and Mrs. Bucket are put through the emotional wringer in the second half when they watch their parents (besides Joe) accidentally get de-aged to babyhood or, in Grandma Georgina's case, out of this plane of existence. As Georgina is Mrs. Bucket's mother, she is particularly hard-hit by this. Dealing with the sight of the over-aged Georgina is similarly terrifying.
  • Alliterative Family: By marriage! Charlie's grandparents are named Joe, Josephine, George, and Georgina, and are almost always referred to as "Grandma/Grandpa [name]" to boot!
  • Ascended Extra: The grandparents become central to the plot of Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator.
  • The Chew Toy: Grandma Georgina in the sequel.
  • Fainting: Grandma Georgina does this when the Great Glass Elevator crashes through the roof of their house at the end of the first book.
  • Flat Character: All five in the first book; also applies to the counterparts who appear in the 1971 and 2010 adaptations. The sequel does take steps to give the grandparents distinct personalities, whereas in the first book they're virtually interchangeable, but adaptations usually take them in other directions than Dahl did.
  • Foil
    • As described below, Charlie's parents and grandparents are this to the brats' parents.
    • In the sequel, bad-tempered and snarky Chew Toy Grandma Georgina is this to the upbeat, always-in-control (but even snarkier) Willy Wonka.
  • Good Parents: Charlie's parents (except for the 1971 film and The Golden Ticket) and both sets of his grandparents. The fact that he has a loving, though poor, family makes him contrast with the bratty, dysfunctional rich kids even more. Charlie's parents get a duet in the 2013 stage musical, "If Your Mother Were Here", that makes this even clearer: They're both so busy working or looking for work that they don't get to spend much time together, but they both love each other and Charlie deeply, the essence of Good Parents.
  • Granny Classic: Both grandmothers, though they're too weak to do much anymore and not above the occasional moment of grumpy snark, come off as this in the first book. At the end and in the sequel, the pricklier, anxious sides of their personalities emerge in the presence of Willy Wonka, which is quite understandable.
  • Housewife: Mrs. Bucket in most versions, with the exceptions of the 1971 film and 2013 musical, both of which give her a job involving laundry on top of caring for her family.
  • Hysterical Woman: Grandma Josephine throughout the sequel — her panicking when Mr. Wonka flies the elevator really high to make a proper descent is what winds up sending the elevator into orbit. Later, her panicked despair as they face capture by Vermicious Knids gives Mr. Wonka a Eureka Moment. Mrs. Bucket also becomes this as most of the grandparents are de-aged to babies or out of existence altogether — in part because Grandma Georgina, who vanishes, is her own mother.
  • Unnamed Parent: Mr. and Mrs. Bucket, who have no given first names in the novels or any adaptations.

In the 1971 film:

  • Adapted Out: Mr. Bucket died sometime before the events of the 1971 film begin.
  • Ascended Extra: Mrs. Bucket gets a solo, "Cheer Up, Charlie". It's one of only three musical numbers set before the story gets to the factory.
  • Living Prop: Grandpa George and Grandma Georgina get next to no lines and hardly contribute to the plot. Grandma Josephine doesn't fare much better, but at least she gets 5 or 6 lines in. None of their actors are credited.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni: Mrs. Bucket is the down-to-earth, realistic Blue Oni to Grandpa Joe's Red Oni here. Compare their musical numbers — the ballad "Cheer Up, Charlie" for the former and lively "I've Got a Golden Ticket" for the latter.

In the 2005 film:

  • Cloudcuckoolander: Grandma Georgina. Her Establishing Character Moment has her adding to the other characters' conversation about the factory the following: "I love grapes."
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Implied with Grandpa George; with each news story about the other four children, he gets increasingly disgusted by their bratty behavior. It all comes to a head with Mike Teavee's declaration that he doesn't even like chocolate. Grandpa George goes off on a rant that is unheard as Charlie's father covers his son's ears; the audience doesn't hear the rant either.
  • The Cynic: Grandpa George is the one who most often brings up the fact that Charlie really has no chance of finding a ticket. Ultimately inverted when he's the one who gives an idealistic speech to persuade Charlie to use the Golden Ticket, rather than sell it for cash.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Grandpa George's grumpiness makes him good at snarking. When Willy Wonka unintentionally insults the rest of Charlie's family in the late going, he adds "No offense" to his speech; Grandpa George replies "None taken, jerk."

In the 2010 opera:

In the 2013 musical:

  • Ascended Extra: All of them get moments in the spotlight in Act One — the grandparents get to help Grandpa Joe deliver "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka" and later follow his lead in getting out of bed in "Don'cha Pinch Me Charlie". The parents have "If Your Mother Were Here" as they try to comfort Charlie.
  • The Cynic: Again, Grandpa George fits both tropes, mostly to be a foil to Fun Personified Grandpa Joe. Even in his sunnier moods, he has a glass-half-empty streak going — when Charlie finds his ticket and the family celebrates the rich possibilities ahead of them, he notes "We'll have no more cabbage suppers/Now I'll have to wear me uppers" and "We can even get divorces!"
  • Dirty Old Woman: Grandma Georgina — as the grandparents recount "The Amazing Fantastical History of Mr. Willy Wonka", she twice praises the man for his attractiveness. According to her, he "[h]as a sex appeal what makes me feel young!" and "Whips a swirl that makes a girl go wild".
  • Mr. Exposition: The grandparents are elevated to equal footing with Grandpa Joe with regards to this trope in the early going.
  • Parental Love Song: "If Your Mother Were Here" for both parents.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni
    • Mr. Bucket does his best to have a glass-half-full attitude even as he loses his job in the early going, is creative enough to fashion Homemade Inventions to help the family get by, and loves to play with his similarly creative son (Red Oni), while Mrs. Bucket is the down-to-earth, gentle, practical enforcer of house rules (Blue Oni). Much of "If Your Mother Were Here" discusses the different ways they interact with Charlie — and how together they make Happily Married Good Parents as they each bring different good qualities to the table.
    • Grandpa Joe is optimistic Fun Personified (Red Oni) while Grandpa George is cynical and grouchy (Blue Oni).
    • Grandma Georgina is a feisty Dirty Old Woman (Red Oni) while Grandma Josephine is demure and sweet (Blue Oni).
    • Also, the grandparents maintain Red/Blue combinations as married couples! The relationships between them are nicely summed up by which section of the newspaper each reads first: Joe likes the cartoons, George the obituaries, Josephine the society pages, and Georgina the horseracing news.
  • Society Marches On: In the novel and 2005 film Mrs. Bucket is a Housewife with no job outside the home — even though Mr. Bucket can barely keep the family housed and fed and another paycheck couldn't hurt, the possibility that she might be able to bring in extra income is never broached. (She works in the 1971 film, since Mr. Bucket has passed on before it begins, leaving her the only able-bodied adult in the house.) In this version both of them have jobs allowing the family to scrape by, though Mr. Bucket loses his shortly before the action begins.

In the 2017 Broadway Retool


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