Misplaced Sorrow

A form of Black Comedy where a character misses another character for shallow, selfish reasons, such as money. Let's say Alice has died. Or, she has gone away for a long time, perhaps never to return; point is, you're never going to see her again. This trope is when another character, say Bob, expresses sadness over Alice's passing...but not because Bob actually misses Alice. Rather, he's sad that Alice will never be able to pay back the $5 she owes him.

Doesn't necessarily have to be about owing a debt. This would be any example where someone misses a dead character for unconventional and/or inappropriate reasons. A common variant is Alice's family members bawling their hearts out, eliciting sympathy from a passerby... only to be informed that they didn't get anything in the will.

Compare If You Die, I Call Your Stuff.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Durarara!!, Kadota's gang are devastated when they find out their friend Kaztano has been kidnapped, but none so much as Togusa, who even claimed he couldn't go on without the man. No one can be there for Togusa like Kaztano. Why? Because Kaztano was his source for sold-out, front row tickets to see Idol Singer Ruri Hijiribe.
  • Done by America in Axis Powers Hetalia. When England 'dies' in the hospital after an accident involving the panjandrum, America gets teary eyed and tells him he can't go because he owes him a 'crap-ton of money'.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Garfield strip had a spider introducing Garfield to his "big" brother. After Garfield casually smashes him, he says "Hey! He owed me money!"

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Scary Movie, one girl is outraged to find a fellow student has been murdered... because she planned to cheat off said student's test that day.

  • Discworld:
    • In Pyramids, one of the surviving student assassins mourns the one who didn't make it, noting, "He still owed me money".
    • In A Hat Full of Sky a shopkeeper is horrified to see his wizard assistant turned into a frog and a big, pink, gloopy blob:
      Shopkeeper: Please, please turn him back! I could never get a real wizard for what I pay him!

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of Happy Endings, Max comes in after just leaving his hairdresser's funeral. He quickly says "the real tragedy is I need a haircut and I have no one to go to!"
  • In the first episode of Red Dwarf, Dave Lister's first reaction when he finally gets that Everybody's Dead, Dave and is told that he's three million years in the future is "Three million years?! I've still got that library book!"

  • "Weird Al" Yankovic's song "Why Does This Always Happen to Me" is all about this, complete with $5 reference. A news flash comes on to tell about a devastating earthquake, and he mourns the fact that he was recording The Simpsons and will have to do it again. His friend dies in a traffic accident, and he mourns the $5 the friend owed him, and that he'll be late to work now. He stabs his boss, and mourns the knife, which broke and will never be as sharp again.
  • The song "Superman" by Atmosphere. In the song, the narrator suddenly finds he has superman-like powers. While walking down the street, he runs into two aquaintances. While attempting to give one of them a fist-bump, he accidently kills hims with his superstrength. The other friend, heard in the background, is seemingly heartbroken, and laments "Why you gotta squish my friend, dude?"...until you hear him say, "That dude owed me, like, five dollars. Why you gotta kill him?"

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Homestar Runner plays this straight in the Strong Bad Email "army", when "Col-o-nel" Homestar laments his fallen soldier Frank Bennedetto (a popcorn popper):
    Homestar: Don't you die on me, Bennedetto! Not on my watch! Don't you give up! You never gave me the five bucks...
  • In Alternate Reality Dragon Ball Z, Krillin gets in tears whenever Vegeta dies. Because he was carrying his borrowed iPod.
  • After Sparadrap's pets were killed in Noob, deeply saddening her Man Child guildmate in the process, Gaea's apparent sympathy reaction turned out to be along the lines of "Darn, one of my potential revenue sources just got destroyed".

    Western Animation 
  • The Futurama episode, The Sting, has Fry sacrifice himself to save Leela, causing Bender to be devastated over his friend's death:
    Leela: Fry? He's... he's dead!
    Bender: Oh, who will make Bender waffles just the way he likes them now?
  • In an episode of Archer, Archer's fiance has just performed a Heroic Sacrifice by tackling evil cyborg Barry off a building. She dies, Barry is just fine, and Archer is in tears over this senseless tragedy. So is Doctor Krieger; they landed on and crushed his beloved van.
  • In South Park, after Kenny is Killed Off for Real, the boys discover that he has the winning ticket to a candy store shopping spree, so they decide to build a ladder to heaven in order for him to give it to them. But when adults ask what they're doing they don't mention the candy part, they just say they want to see Kenny again.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Neptune's Spatula", SpongeBob is about to be taken to Atlantis to be King Neptune's top fry cook after beating him in a contest. This would mean separating SpongeBob from his friends. Mr. Krabs is saddened not because he lost his best fry cook, but because he betted on King Neptune.
  • In Gravity Falls, the (incredibly old) mayor dies, and Shandra Jimenez breaks down and cries over the rush of emotion caused by having actual news to report on for the first time in ages.