Okay! Mike Teavee! The fourth kid to find a Golden Ticket and get shipped off to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory.
I noticed, rereading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a few weeks back, that the four “bad” kids embody what I’d assume to be (in Roald Dhal’s mind) the four great sins of children.
Augustus Gloop, the “fat” boy, was the picture of greed. Violet Baureguarde (the gum chewer) was the epitome of pride. Veruca Salt (the spoiled brat) represented selfishness. And Mike Teavee, the television addict, stood for laziness. (Personally, I’m prone to thinking Charlie, himself, the “perfect kid,” had no character at all, but I won’t diss Roald Dhal.)
In the book Mike Teavee was more or less lazy and blank, whatever Roald Dhal wanted him to represent. But I think Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has gone far enough through time and popularity that I can conjoin the 2005 version and the book to get a more characterized opinion of the kid.
See, I don’t think his TV addiction was his fault. The Oompa-Loompas did tell his parents they should throw out the TV and install a bookshelf. Fair advice, but…
Mike Teavee is usually considered lazy. And what goes with lazy, is “dull.” But let me point out a few things.
My deduction? Mike Teavee was incredibly intelligent. And bored out of his brain. School obviously wasn’t stimulating enough. His father was a geography teacher (in the movie) and didn’t seem to be on a scientific page at all. He didn’t relate to his son. Mike had nothing to do, so he watched TV (where adventures happened.) He played video games. (Note: strategy video games.)
He also cracked an entire of system of chocolate raffle prizes so he could get a ticket to a chocolate factory. He said himself that he hated chocolate. Why would you do that unless you were that bored?
And notice, in the movie, he smiled for the first time when he was in the TV room, teleporting himself. Doing something exciting, scientific, amazing. Something that would make him unbelievably famous. A real scientific breakthrough.
I think books might have solved his problem. Yeah, they’re sure stimulating and exciting, though you can’t say books are for everyone. I think what Mike really needed was mental stimulation. Maybe a scholarship to an academic school, or a specialized tutor? That is to say, he was still a bratty little jerk, but I think it could have been fixed easily with some work on his parents part. It wsn’t the fault of the TV. He could have turned into one of the world’s greatest minds, with a little human TLC.
What do you reckon? Was Mike Teavee a bored genius, or a lazy brat? Do you prefer the movie version or the book version? (Have you seen the movie or read the book?)
Mime is currently watching clips from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory on YouTube. She just finished reading My Life Undecided, and is extremely excited about starting Grade 7 flute music. She believes that few villains are fully at fault, which leads her to always favour the villain song in any Disney movie ever.