main index




Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
Kickstarter Message
TV Tropes Needs Your Help
Big things are happening on TV Tropes! New admins, new designs, fewer ads, mobile versions, beta testing opportunities, thematic discovery engine, fun trope tools and toys, and much more - Learn how to help here and discuss here.
View Kickstarter Project

Angst can create compelling drama, Character Development, and interesting psychology when done well; many acclaimed works of art use it to a degree and the appeal of The Woobie is based on it.

But like all other good things, angst can be overdone or clumsily handled. Wangst, a portmanteau of "whiny" and "angst," (or "wimpy" or "wah") is essentially angst gone wrong. The intended Woobie attempts an epic failure at an Appeal To Pity, and thus becomes a pathetically whiny character who insists on crying (often loudly and repeatedly) about a Dark and Troubled Past or event instead of, you know, trying to solve the problem and stop being depressed all the time. People will end up surrendering in their efforts on sympathy and just question the emokid on "Why haven't you killed yourself yet?" Especially if said "trauma" doesn't come across nearly as tragic as the character thinks it is, compared with other people trying to endure out there yet are still determined to solve the problem, making his lamentations seem way out of proportion.

Note: Though Wangst is most frequently associated with characters whining over petty "tragedies," the trope is not merely sadness or angst; it is poorly written sadness or angst that comes off as unjustified due to poor writing, lack of an explanation, or exaggeration. It's not necessarily the scale of the tragedy that the character is reacting to that's the problem, but the way it's handled.

It all boils down to quality and personal tolerance level; what is grating and unrealistic to one viewer can be genuinely heart-rending for another. There's an inherent Double Standard involving this trope — people are much more likely to be crying "Wangst" to a male character than they are a female character. In heavily action-oriented works, it's expected for anyone who just pauses for a short time to feel a little angst to immediately get called out as wangsty: see also What Measure Is a Non-Badass?.

Wangst is a favorite of Emo Teens, Sympathetic Sues and characters Cursed with Awesome. Any kind of Despair Speech (especially by nihilists) is also often considered as this. Often pointed out by playing the World's Smallest Violin. See also Emo, Narm, Angst Dissonance. To deal with the wangsty kind, people will usually say "Get A Hold Of Yourself Man!"

The "wangst" equivalent for entire stories is when Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy is caused by too much True Art Is Angsty. Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers! is the philosophical equivalent. Compare Deus Angst Machina, which is about having too many sources of angst for Willing Suspension of Disbelief rather than too much response to sources of angst. For both in-universe and meta-examples, see Muse Abuse, a frequent Real Life and in-universe cause of Wangst. Contrast Angst? What Angst?, and Stoic Woobie. Compare First World Problems and Misery Poker.

Not to be confused with angst resulting from a lack of sexual relationship. Or angst over the size of your wang.

Subtrope of Bathos, and may be called that in literary circles.

This just defines the term. No examples, please.

Ungrateful BastardComplaining IndexWhat the Hell, Hero?
Volleying InsultsPt/Índice de TraduçãoWe Wait
Wall GlowerSadness TropesWas Too Hard on Him
Victoria's Secret CompartmentDouble StandardYamato Nadeshiko
Wall BangerScrappy IndexWhat an Idiot
Ur ExampleJustForFun/Tropes of LegendWild Mass Guessing
True Art Is IncomprehensibleIndustrialWhat Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?
Rock Me, Asmodeus!What Do You Mean, It's Not an Index?    
Virtue Is WeaknessCynicism TropesWell-Intentioned Extremist
Unstoppable RageCharacter Flaw IndexWardrobe Flaw Of Characterization
Bulletproof Human ShieldImageSource/Anime and MangaGaoGaiGar
Villain SueBad Writing IndexWimpification
Visual Effects of AwesomeYMMV/Home PageWar Ship
Visual Effects of AwesomeYMMVWar Ship

alternative title(s): Whangst; Butthurt
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from
Privacy Policy