Created By: CanzetTheCoyoteAugust 6, 2011 Last Edited By: StrixObscuroMay 18, 2015

Trivial Tragedy

Something mundane or silly happens and is treated like a tear jerker

Name Space:
Main
Page Type:
Trope
Something very silly happens and is treated like something extraordinarily sad. Maybe someone drops their favorite food, or maybe someone feels so bad about using someone else's toilet paper they cross the Despair Event Horizon. Whatever the case, it is pretty minor stuff. May overlap with Felony Misdemeanor, especially if the character has a My God What Have I Done moment.

Compare Serious Business, where a normally frivolous activity is treated as a matter of life and death. Contrast Black Comedy, in which a serious situation is portrayed humorously, and Dude Not Funny, where something is Played For Laughs and fails to get them.


Examples

Films - Animated
  • In Foodfight, while being inside the supermarket around which the story is centered, Mr. Clipboard takes a bag of chips off a shelf and brutally crushes it on the floor with his foot. The owner of the supermarket is genuinely heartbroken about this.
    Owner: That was a perfectly good bag of chips! Never opened... never enjoyed...
  • In Phineas And Ferb: Beyond the Second Dimension, the alternate dimension's Hanz Doofenshmirtz's tragic Back Story that made him evil is... that he lost his favorite train toy.

Live Action TV
  • In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney rips a suit jacket, rushes it to a tailor, cries when he's told it can't be saved, and has it cremated. Another episode features him mourning a tie that got a little ketchup on it.
  • In one episode of Royal Pains, Russell mourns over an antique rug that's been badly damaged by its Nouveau Riche owners.

Western Animation
  • On Adventure Time, Marceline angsts over the time her daddy ate her fries.
  • In one episode of Brandy And Mr Whiskers, Ed has to use the titular duo's bathroom and he started crying his heart out because he used their toilet paper.
  • In the Futurama episode "The 30% Iron Chef", Zoidberg frames Fry for breaking Prof. Farnsworth's model ship, leading to Fry (who couldn't even be bothered to defend himself) having to... pay $10 towards the cost of materials (and later being unable to buy a turkey baster with it.) Zoidberg is stricken with guilt, culminating with an attempt at committing seppuku on live television to atone.
  • John Kricfalusi stated in his blog he created The Ren And Stimpy Show episode "Son Of Stimpy" as a parody of shock value pathos, making a melodramatic plot that revolved largely around the fact Stimpy couldn't fart a second time.
  • In Avatar The Last Airbender, Iroh weeps for a spilled cup of tea.
    Iroh: I know I shouldn't cry over spilled tea, but... *bawls*
  • The Simpsons. In the sixth season episode "Lisa's Rival", Homer comes across an overturned truck spilling sugar. Like expected, his first thought is to shovel a huge pile of the sugar into his car, stealing it to himself. Homer quickly becomes obsessed by the amount of sugar he has, and when rain eventually melts the pile he's gathered, we get the following reaction:
    Homer: NOOOO! It's melting! My sugar is melting!
    Marge: Homer, I'm sorry.
    Homer: No, it's fine Marge. I learned my lesson. A mountain of sugar is too much for one man. That's why God dispenses it in tiny packets. Also, that's why he lives on a plantation in Hawaii.
  • In an episode of South Park, the boys are caught attempting to illegally download a single song and as punishment, are shown the consequences of illegal downloading, walking past the sight of several celebrities looking horribly depressed as they're forced to downgrade to a slightly less impressive private jet or wait a few extra weeks to buy their own private island.
Community Feedback Replies: 45
  • August 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Mel Brooks' definition of comedy and tragedy:
    Tragedy is when I cut my finger. Comedy is when you walk into an open sewer and die.
  • August 6, 2011
    cityofmist
    In an episode of How I Met Your Mother, Barney rips a suit jacket, rushes it to a tailor, cries when he's told it can't be saved, and has it cremated.
  • August 6, 2011
    KamenZero
    In the recent Phineas And Ferb movie, the alternate dimension's Hanz Doofenshmirtz's tragic backstory that made him evil is... that he lost his favorite train toy.

    If anyone rememebers the name of the movie, feel free to add it.
  • August 7, 2011
    TeramortQueen
  • August 7, 2011
    Bisected8
    In the Futurama episode "The 30% Iron Chef", Zoidberg frames Fry for breaking Prof. Farnsworth's model ship, leading to Fry (who couldn't even be bothered to defend himself) having to...pay $10 towards the cost of materials (and later being unable to buy a turkey baster with it). Zoidberg's stricken with guilt, culminating with an attempt at committing seppuku on live television to atone.
  • August 7, 2011
    TeramortQueen
    SpongeBob's reaction to his spatula being broken. Full. Stop.
  • August 8, 2011
    hevendor717
    Phineas and Ferb: Across The Second Dimension

  • August 8, 2011
    DragonQuestZ
    Shouldn't use this name format. Trust me. Had some problem with Faux Horrific when I first called it "What do you mean it's not horrific?". Try calling this something like... Crying Over Split Milk?
  • August 8, 2011
    Twentydragon
    This probably has a lot of overlap with Heroic BSOD.

    @KamenZero: It's called Phineas and Ferb: The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension.

    @DragonQuestZ: Split milk?
  • August 9, 2011
    Tetraploid
    In one Doctor Who special, "Voyage of the Damned", it does not appear to be Played for Laughs when Kylie Minogue's character says "Cyborgs are getting equal rights, they can even get married now."
  • April 22, 2013
    Noah1
  • April 22, 2013
    StarSword
    If someone takes it over, this will have to be renamed to get rid of the "What Do You Mean, It's Not X" snowclone.
  • April 22, 2013
    MagBas
    Question: Differences between it and Wangst?
  • April 22, 2013
    littlemissmuffet
    I think the difference between this and wangst is humor. This trope is self aware and plays the "tragedy" for laughs.
  • April 22, 2013
    WackyMeetsPractical
    Wangst is also YMMV. It's about badly written sad characters. This trope is about intentionally writing characters over reacting to minor events. It's not subjective. It also doesn't imply anything negative about its use.

    Also, compare Minor Injury Overreaction and Comical Overreacting.
  • April 23, 2013
    Psi001
    • John Kricfalusi stated in his blog he created The Ren And Stimpy Show episode "Son Of Stimpy" as a parody of shock value pathos, making a melodramatic plot revolving largely around the fact Stimpy couldn't fart a second time.
  • April 23, 2013
    Larkmarn
    The description and laconic needs to clarify what this is. The description makes it out to be about something minor being legitimately presented as a tragedy, but it seems to pretty much just be about someone in-universe overreacting.
  • April 23, 2013
    Paradisesnake
    Western Animation
    • The Simpsons: In the sixth season episode, "Lisa's Rival", Homer comes across an overturned truck spilling sugar. Like expected, his first thought is to shovel a huge pile of the sugar into his car, stealing it to himself. Homer quickly becomes obsessed by the amount of sugar he has, and when rain eventually melts the pile he's gathered, we get the following reaction:
      Homer: NOOOO! It is melting! My sugar is melting!
      Marge: Homer, I'm sorry.
      Homer: No, it is fine Marge. I learned my lesson. A mountain of sugar is too much for one man. That is why God dispenses it in tiny packets. Also, that is why he lives on a plantation in Hawaii.
  • July 22, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    Bump.
  • July 22, 2014
    ZuTheSkunk
    • In Foodfight, while being inside the supermarket around which the story is centered, Mr. Clipboard takes a bag of chips off a shelf and brutally crushes it on the floor with his foot. The owner of the supermarket is genuinely heartbroken about this.
      Owner: That was a perfectly good bag of chips! Never opened... never enjoyed...
  • July 22, 2014
    DAN004
    Who wanna grab this?
  • July 22, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    I'll take it.
  • July 23, 2014
    Arivne
    • Examples section formatting
      • Added a line separating the Description and Examples sections.
      • Changed media section title(s) to our standard style.
    • Blue Linked (backstory, angst).
  • July 23, 2014
    ZuTheSkunk
    Fixed the placement of the Foodfight example, since it's supposed to be in the Films - Animated.
  • July 23, 2014
    f1shst1x
  • July 23, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    Okay, I've changed the name? Do we like it better?
  • July 23, 2014
    DAN004
    @ Strick Obscuro: Nooooooope. Not clear.
  • July 24, 2014
    tryrar
    yeah, this is a Stock Phrase title, which is a no-no
  • July 25, 2014
    MJNSEIFER
    There's another How I Met Your Mother episode where Barney mourns the "death" of one of his ties, because it got a tiny amount of ketchup on it.
  • July 25, 2014
    DAN004
    I's like to suggest What Do You Mean Its Not Tragic but it's kind of a bad snowclone.

    Non Tragic Tragedy?
  • July 25, 2014
    ZuTheSkunk
    @DAN 004: Well, the previous title was Faux Tragedy.
  • July 28, 2014
    Snicka
    How about Trivial Tragedy?
  • July 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ that works too.
  • July 28, 2014
    DAN004
  • July 28, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    ^ Okay, I've added that.
  • July 28, 2014
    StellarBlitz
    bumping. You're welcome.
  • July 28, 2014
    Larkmarn
    I don't like the name. It sounds like the opposite (a tragedy is treated as trivial).
  • July 28, 2014
    DAN004
    White Tragedy? (To contrast Black Comedy)
  • July 28, 2014
    Hero_Gal_2347
    May be caused by or related to Skewed Priorities?
  • July 28, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    ... Am I going to have to rename this damned thing again?
  • July 28, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ Perhaps.
  • July 29, 2014
    StrixObscuro
    *sigh* Decide what you're going to call it, and then I'll change it...
  • July 29, 2014
    DAN004
    Faux Tragedy was okay, tbh.
  • July 29, 2014
    Snicka
    Or just decide the name in a Crowner.
  • May 18, 2015
    ZuTheSkunk
    Bump?

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