In another tribute to my recently departed grandmother, I decided this week’s list would be dedicated to the grandparents of film and TV that are my favorites. Oddly enough, this list took a lot of research. I’m not going to lie, I had a hard time finding grandparents to arbitrarily list and sort. Apparently, people just don’t seem to live too long in fictional universes. Who knew? Anyway! Here we go!
11. Grandpa from The Lost Boys
He was a grumpy old man who opened his home to his divorced daughter and her kids. Though they apparently expanded his back story in the Direct-to-Video/graphic novel sequels, I like to just remember him as the disgruntled taxidermist who loved Oreos and just couldn’t stomach all of the damn vampires in his town. For that, he made the list.
10. Sam Dracula, Count of Transylvania (aka Grandpa) from “The Munsters”
Vampire, mad scientist, and sarcastic, loving father to Lily Munster, Grandpa was always quick with a joke or snide remark. We don’t talk about the later interpretation of the character in “The Munsters Today.” No, he’s best in his original form. Or the bat form. Or the wolf form. Or whatever form he takes. As long as he stays true to himself and his passions, it’s all good.
9. Grandmama from The Addams Family
Morticia’s mother was, like the rest of the family, cheerfully morbid. Perhaps a little selfish at times (who wants to donate shinies to charity anyway?), she was always generous with the portions of whatever or whoever she had prepared for dinner. Though I’m speaking more of the film versions of her, she was also great fun in the 1960’s TV show. Occult and humor, what’s not to love?
8. Grandpa Edwin Hoover from Little Miss Sunshine
After being booted out of his retirement home for his heroin habit, Grandpa Edwin Hoover was a fitting patriarch for a family who put the “fun” in “dysfunctional.” When his granddaughter qualified for the Little Miss Sunshine child beauty pageant, he hopped in the van with the rest of his family to help little Olive pursue her dream. Thanks to him, her performance at the show was certainly very memorable.
7. Grandmother Fa in Mulan
Grandmother Fa did her best to be supportive to a granddaughter who didn’t exactly fit into the gender roles prescribed by society. She gave Mulan a lucky cricket to help her with the grumpy matchmaker. She was the first to notice that Mulan was gone and immediately prayed for her safety, thus getting the ancestors involved in Mulan’s shenanigans. When Shang appeared at the end of the movie, she asked if the handsome young general would stay forever.
6. The Grandfather from The Princess Bride
The man with the book. The man who loved his grandson enough to put up with his whining in order to read him a book. Without the book, we wouldn’t have had the great story filled with some memorable lines. Yes, this man might have pinched his grandson’s cheeks, much to the latter’s dismay, but we all know that when he said, “As you wish,” what he really meant was :”I love you.”
5. Queen Clarisse Renaldi from The Princess Diaries
Queen and loving grandmother, Clarisse Renaldi was secretly sassy and a lot of fun despite her seemingly stuffy appearance. Yes, she had a lot of lessons in what a princess does and doesn’t do, but she was more than happy to try and get her granddaughter out of some sticky spots: like a car accident and that unwanted marriage. She also surfed down slides on mattresses. Because she was made of awesome.
4. Grandpa Joe from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Who else would go from being bedridden to running around and dancing? Yep, Grandpa Joe was inspirational, full of fun and mischief. He wanted to help keep his grandson’s hopes alive. Sure, they lived in poverty, but what they lacked in food and funds, they more than made up for with love. It was the kind of love that inspired him to yell at Willy Wonka when things seemed to be going downhill for Charlie. Yelling at Gene Wilder for family is love.
3. Olenna Tyrell from “Game of Thrones”
Oh man. What can I say about the Queen of Thorns? She’s sassy enough to go toe to toe with Tywin Lannister and not care about the consequences. They don’t call her the Queen of Thorns for no reason. She might be vicious to her enemies, but one can’t doubt that she loves her family. She would do anything for them, after all. I won’t go into more detail, of course. Spoilers.
2. Violet Crawley, Dowager Countess of Grantham from “Downton Abbey”
When I grow up and grow old, I want to be as awesome as The Dowager Countess. She’s never at a loss for a quip. In fact, I think she’s the most quotable character in the whole show. Yeah, I want to be just like her when I grow up. Of course, she’s privileged and a snob, but whatever, she still loves her family and is surprisingly understanding when her granddaughters need some sympathy.
1. Wilfred Mott from “Doctor Who”
This guy. This fuckin’ guy. Oh my goodness. Audiences of “Doctor Who” met him before they met his granddaughter, Donna Noble. It would be easy to put him in the kooky grandfather box, but that would be wrong. Wilfred Mott was the heart of the show whenever he was on. He was the one to acknowledge unpleasant truths and was willing to sacrifice himself for the alien who’d given his granddaughter so much. Every time this man started getting emotional, it was like he opened the floodgates on my tear ducts. He’s one of the reasons that old man crying is my Kryptonite and I love him for it.