Mr. Wonka leads the Teavees, Grandpa Joe, and Charlie into a blinding white room. He hands out sunglasses to protect everyone’s eyes and warns them to not take the glasses off. Charlie puts on his sunglasses and looks around: the room is bright white and totally clean. At one end of the room is a huge camera, manned by an army of Oompa-Loompas who all wear red outfits that look like space suits. Charlie suddenly feels like he’s in danger—whatever’s in here must be dangerous. At the other end of the room is a single Oompa-Loompa at a table, staring at a TV set.
Because Charlie is so good and follows directions, it’s not hard for him to trust Mr. Wonka and understand on a gut level that this room is dangerous. But although Charlie might recognize this, he nevertheless trusts Mr. Wonka and Grandpa Joe to keep him safe.
Mr. Wonka hops with excitement and says that this is where he tests his Television Chocolate. He explains that he doesn’t like television much, but kids love to stare at TVs all day long. Ordinary television, he says, works when a big movie camera photographs something, and the photos are split into tiny pieces that whiz through the sky until they hit a TV antenna. Then they go into the wire and re-form into a picture in someone’s TV. Mike Teavee says that it doesn’t work that way, and Mr. Wonka replies that Mike is nice but too talkative.
In his introduction to Television Chocolate, Mr. Wonka shows that he wants to reach kids—so that means making things that they’ll like. Mike adores television (his last name, Teavee, is a play on this), so it follows that he’d understand something of how television works. But Mr. Wonka offers an absurd explanation for how television works. For the reader, this is meant to be funny—but for Mike, it’s just not factual, so he’s unable to simply accept and enjoy Mr. Wonka’s invention.
Mr. Wonka explains that when he first saw a TV work, he wondered whether he could do the same thing with a bar of chocolate—it could emerge in the TV, ready to eat. Mike says this is impossible, but Mr. Wonka shouts for the Oompa-Loompas to bring in the chocolate. Six enter the room, carrying a mattress-sized bar of chocolate. The bar needs to be this big, Mr. Wonka says, because transmitting things by TV makes them smaller—that’s why even big men are only a few inches high on TV.
Again, Mr. Wonka’s explanation of how television works is absurd, but that doesn’t make it less fun for readers. However, it’s impossible for Mike to accept the possibility that he doesn’t know everything about how the world works—or that something like this could surprise him—so he’s unable to enjoy Television Chocolate.
Mr. Wonka shouts for Mike to get back—he’s too close to the camera and isn’t wearing a protective suit. When Mike is at a safe distance, the Oompa-Loompas pull a switch, and the chocolate bar disappears with a flash. Mr. Wonka leads Charlie, Grandpa Joe, and the Teavees to the other end of the room, where a tiny chocolate bar appears on the screen. He shouts for someone to take it. Mike laughs that that’s impossible, but Mr. Wonka tells Charlie to take it. Charlie reaches out and the bar comes out of the TV in his fingers. Grandpa Joe says it’s a miracle. Mr. Wonka says that later, he’ll run commercials advertising his chocolate—and people will be able to grab the chocolate out of their screens.
Charlie is able to take the chocolate out of the television because he looks at the world with open-mindedness and wonder. Mike, on the other hand, expects the world to follow strict rules and for things to work a certain way—so he would never even consider plucking a bar of chocolate out of the television. Grandpa Joe reinforces that Charlie has the right idea here by deeming this a “miracle.” When new, seemingly miraculous things happen, it’s more fun, the novel suggests, to accept and enjoy those things for what they are.