Lifestyle

Scientist debunks Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, ruins your childhood

debunking wonka

Update: Sad news for Willy Wonka fans -- Gene Wilder has died at 83 due to complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

Willy Wonka is a classic film that has withstood the test of time, not to mention a horrendously creepy and wholly unnecessary Johnny Depp remake. But you knew that already. What you'd really like to know is when you'll be able to get some damn fizzy lifting drinks. To help answer that, we enlisted Gregg Bromberg, who worked as a flavor chemist for over 30yrs creating flavors for every kind of junk food melting under the sun -- and who is currently developing a line of "fortified sports products" -- to sift through Willy Wonka's wild confectionary creations and rank them from "not happening" to "why hasn't someone made this yet?"

Now, Greg/we present to you memorable scenes from the movie, in order from "completely-not-plausible-at-all-you-maniac" to "totally-gonna-happen":

7. The Goose That Lays Golden Chocolate Eggs
"Maybe this'd work if they put chocolate inside a robotic goose. But a living thing? No. It's a nice fantasy."

6. Wonkavision (aka, a way to transmit a giant candy bar/boys named Mike Teavee through the airwaves and have it/them arrive via your TV, but still be real)
"You're talking about Star Trek technology: breaking up the molecules and then shipping them through the airwaves. It could be possible maybe 500yrs from now. What it would cost to do something like that! If they just want you to buy the candy, they should pay some guy minimum wage to deliver it."


5. Fizzy Lifting Drinks
"Fizzing things like Alka-Seltzer use citric acid and baking soda to produce carbon dioxide, which is heavier than air. They used Alka-Seltzer in the movie. You couldn't make anything that would actually lift you up without it killing you."


4. Everlasting Gobstopper
"In the movie, it was developed for children in poverty. Ironically, a company [Ed. note: Wonka!] licensed the name, and now you can buy Gobstoppers, but the "everlasting" part is not feasible. The Gobstopper itself is being sold, and as you eat away at them, they change colors and flavors. Things are made not to last. Car tires and stockings could be made to last forever, but then there'd be no reason to manufacture them. In an organic chemistry class I took, they said the government has a rubber that never wears out and a nylon that never would tear. But why would you put that on the market? You'd only buy it once. Disposable products are the key to greed in this country."

chocolate river from Willy Wonka

3. River of Chocolate
"It's technically feasible. It would have to be in a hot climate, because, in a cold climate, the chocolate would become solidified. It would cost millions of dollars. You'd have to use chocolate syrup so it would flow, and you'd have to keep it hot because, as soon as it cooled down, it would go solid. Corn syrup or U-bet should work."


2. Three-Course Meal Gum
"The beef, chicken, and dessert flavors all exist [Ed. note: He created the flavors for those legendary Thanksgiving sodas]. It's a little different, and a lot more complicated compared to creating the Gobstopper. The gum is being chewed all at once, so you'd need technology where the molecules [representing the different flavors] would not be exposed to the water for 2mins, and then 5mins later, another flavor would be introduced. They'll come up with it one day."


1. Lickable Wallpaper
"Absolutely possible! You'd want a vinyl backing to the wallpaper so the flavor wouldn't soak in. The flavor chemicals are volatilized in the air if they're exposed. Eventually, it would evaporate or volatilize. You'd need something to lick that's edible. You could make different colors of starch solution (stripes or another design), and you'd spray [the flavor] on the surface. You'd dissolve the starch or gum [with your saliva] and release the flavor molecules into your mouth -- it'd taste like whatever flavor you'd want it to. I don't know if it's really feasible on a commercial scale, but for an exhibition, it'd be a fun thing."