Grumpy Old Man

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Exactly What It Says on the Tin, 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, I'm a Senior!, Evil Old Folks.

Examples of Grumpy Old Man include:


Abridged Series[edit | hide | hide all]

  • 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 rendevous with the poster of the Black Luster Soldier...
  • Naruto the Abridged Series has the Third Hokage, Gladas the Village Elder and Bob the Other Village Elder (who still can't be Hokage).

Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • The three old guys in Cowboy Bebop. Though the one with the ball cap is clearly much grumpier than the other two.
  • 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.

Film[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • Arguably, Miracle Max in The Princess Bride.
  • 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.
  • Norman Thayer Jr. in On Golden Pond.
  • Walt Kowalski (Clint Eastwood) in Gran Torino. (Never has the phrase "Get off my lawn" sounded so terrifying...or awesome.)
  • 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.
  • 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!
  • "Pope Doll" 1 from 9.
  • Howard Beale from Network
  • R.J. Fletcher from UHF
  • Judge Smails from Caddyshack
  • Grandfather Disguisey from The Master of Disguise
  • Sheriff Bell in No Country for Old Men (played for decidedly less humor than is usual for the trope).

Literature[edit | hide]

  • Gandalf in Lord of the Rings mildly. More seriously Denethor.
  • Justinian in Belisarius Series possibly.
  • Several elders in the Warrior Cats series are portrayed this way, complete with "When I Was Your Age..."
  • Mr. Norrell of Johnathan Strange&Mr. Norrell is the incarnate of Grumpy Old Men.
  • Keith Robertson's Henry Reed, Inc. gives its young protagonist a Grumpy Old Couple (Mr. and Mrs. Apple) as neighbors.

Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • Frank Barone.
  • There was a Saturday Night Live character, played by Dana Carvey, who was actually called "A 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!")
  • Statler and Waldorf from The Muppet Show.
  • Bernie Kibbitz from All That
  • 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.

  • Sid Fields from the fourth season Seinfeld episode, "The Old Man."
  • Adam Schiff and, to a lesser degree, Arthur Branch on Law and Order.
  • 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.
  • 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 of ten reminiscence about the "good old days". Never seen even cracking a smile.
  • William Shatner's character on S... My Dad Says.
  • Doctor Who, the Doctor started off like this.

Music[edit | hide]

  • The Weird Al song "When I was Your Age":

"Didn't have no swimming pool when I was just a lad
Our neighbor's septic tank was the closest thing we had
Didn't have no dental floss, had to use old rusty nails
Didn't have Nintendo, we just poured salt on snails
Didn't have no water bed, had to sleep on broken glass
Didn't have no lawnmower, we used our teeth to cut the grass"

"I was a young boy that had big plans
Now I'm just another shitty old man
I don't have fun and I hate everything
The world owes me, so fuck you"

New Media[edit | hide]

  • Pete from Pete the Puppet
  • 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?"

Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace, possibly the Ur Example.
  • 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.

Stand Up Comedy[edit | hide]

  • 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.
  • Lewis Black, full stop.
  • 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.

Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Long Beards in Warhammer Fantasy Battle. Their special ability allows units to reroll a morale test to prevent their grumpy leers and words of "told you so".

Theatre[edit | hide]

Video Games[edit | hide]

  • Jolee Bindo from Knights of the Old Republic is an interesting example, he purposefully acts like a sterotypical 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.
  • Victor Kudo in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations. Wendy Oldbag is a female example.
  • Cranky Kong from Donkey Kong Country, of course. "His day" being the original Donkey Kong game...
  • Cid Highwind from Final Fantasy VII.
    • Despite only being 32.
      • 32 is old in anime/JRPG character years.
  • 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.

Webcomics[edit | hide]


Western Animation[edit | hide]


Grandpa:...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!