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Tear Jerker: The Nostalgia Critic
Doug has said how much he loves tragic comedy. Judging by these examples, he's very good at it.
Extremely easy to miss, but when the cartoon characters are hammering their anvil in during Cartoon All Stars, he starts off disagreeing when they say to believe in himself and they care about him. Now that's some good foreshadowing.
His terrified expression when he recounts how many times you have to break up with someone before they turn into a psycho and start stalking you. (It's 3.)
The "Alas poor Tom and Jerry" speech. What old-school Tom and Jerry fan didn't feel like that when they were singing about being best friends?
He made a list filled with 11 of it. WARNING: You will laugh more than cry. (Also, he's right. How did we survive our childhoods with all that in the stuff we watched?)
Some people say they kept it together for the list but lost it when he got shot in the head. Perhaps a catharsis thing?
The way he says it is funny, but the thought of a mini-Critic retreating to his cupboard whenever he got scared and thinking he was the only one to do that is a depressing image.
After Scooby-Doo, the line about struggling to keep the past innocence and nostalgia alive becomes all the more poignant.
The Top 11 Dumbest Superman Moments ended pretty darkly. He says that despite everything, the Superman movies make him smile, but soon he remembers what happened to the World Trade Center, Margot Kidder and Christopher Reeves. Then he looks utterly miserable and leaves with "I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I'm gonna go kill myself." Thanks for making us sad too, love.
In his review of Short Circuit II he stammers out a "shit" with real tears in his eyes when he sees Johnny Five trying to get up from his beatdown.
In the Top 11 Cereal Mascots, there's a look of both guilt and crushing realization after the "my Dad still has AIDS" line. The latter is understandable (if slightly depressing by itself), but from the Alaska review it sounds like he's also worried about still getting punished.
The Patton speech "that [he] personally wrote" after failing to recognize Optimus Prime's death as a Tear Jerker is really funny, but then you see he's been tearing up so much that his glasses are looking really misty.
His suicide and the circumstances around it in Spoony's Captain America review was a bit distressing. How would you react if one of your friends casually revealed to the internet that he dressed you up in an humiliatingly objectifying outfit while he was raping you and is using the pictures for blackmail?
In their review of Troll IV, Snob and Phelous aren't all that happy to see him drunk and vulnerable. And these aren't the most empathetic of men so that means a lot.
His gigantic rant on how A Troll in Central Park is giving the bad message to rely on your hopes and dreams. Speaking from experience, are we Critic?
Over on Familiar Faces, his breaking down to CR about how insecure he is with his job, setting up the depression below.
The end of the "My Pet Monster" review was parodying the bizarre ending of the movie, but it was still effectively depressing in many ways:
That Thousand-Yard Stare when he remembers how he was pitied for acting like a monkey in eighth grade.
The call, how he just shrinks in more and more as it goes.
After he hangs up, how he just stares at his phone miserably for a few seconds, almost like he's been betrayed by it.
You can't even hate the director for it. It's made too obvious that he's just defending his work from the random idiot calling to bitch at him.
Sitting in his room alone. Made worse by the music he chose when he was sitting there. "The Lonely Man". Aww Critic, honey...
And if you thought that was bad, the commercial special turns it Up to Eleven:
After the most likely intentional OTT-ness of the first breakdown ("I'm a wreck!" and such), the second breakdown just before his Moment of Awesome will very likely throw you for a loop. "There's nothing left for me anymore." He just sounds so lost and broken.
The adorable picture of eight year old Critic. The Dark and Troubled Past he's built up is slightly less funny when you have such a sweet face to attach it to.
The very near Death by Despair, slumping over his chair lifeless. If he hadn't managed to pull himself out of it, it's actually rather scary to imagine such a Hot-Blooded guy just kinda wasting away.
There's something quite unsettling about that shot before the camera goes back to him for his song. It's hard to explain, but it's like those movies where you think the person is just sleeping, but it turns out they died alone.
The instrumental he used for his Despair Event Horizon is called Sad Romance, and the full version might just be the most heartbreaking piece of music ever heard.
Say you were mid twenties or so. You're either recently been classed as disabled, you've lost your job or you just feel like your life is slipping you by. The episode will hit all the harder.
Little Monsters. A bit like the Chick trying to make The Adventures of Milo and Otis funny but sliding into Tranquil Fury at the animal abuse scenes, he tries to offset the unpleasantness of this one (especially the scenes of parents yelling at children) but it gets under his skin and will get under yours.
From Spooning With Spoony III in the donation drive, while funny too, his broken reaction when he realizes he's been raped by Spoony. Again.
From Care Bears II and the Book Ends of the It's a Wonderful Plot special, just how much Santa Christ now dislikes the Critic. It's deserved from his POV, but Critic really did fuck up completely by accident.
Even the ending doesn't give that much relief. He's all excited about getting a second chance to do the Q&A, wanting people to realize that he's funny and creative, but when he gets there he can only swear at them again.
In the Little Nemo review where he gets celebrated for not making a Finding Nemo joke, his squeeing that he's never felt so loved is pretty dreadful once the fridge sets in.
His top 11 list of Batman: The Animated Series was very like the show's dark tone. The majority of the episodes he picked were tragic, there weren't all that many jokes and he sums up abusive relationships in just one depressingly accurate line.
It's easy to miss, but in the Critic/Joe grudge match when he's losing, he looks like he's going to cry and says "okay" in a really defeated tone. He goes to a muggy angry face next time we see him, but you have to feel kinda bad for the guy.
In his review of Alaska, he remembers the last time he mouthed off to his dad and is actually shaking as he says it really wasthe last time. Funny and intriguing too obviously, but seriously, shaking.
As bad as the episode was, even the LP gives a surprise foreshadowing painful moment:
Critic: [quietly bitter] Yes, thanks for that, I have nothing, thanks for the reminder.
With what he's said about his family, relating to Bart and poor grades, this line also serves to be Harsher in Hindsight:
Critic: A "D-". That's- I feel so privileged that you gave me this opportunity, game, to have my family look at me, hate me, and totally want to disown me. That's wonderful.
That openly vulnerable expression when he asks the audience if he's restored anything in their eyes makes your soul ache.
Maybe not to the point of tears, but did anyone want to give him a hug when he was so delighted that another person (Lupa in this instance) actually listened to him for once, only to have a Yank the Dog's Chain?
Listen closely and you'll hear "Sad Romance" playing again.
It also shows you that he really does want to be a better person by how quickly he gets a whole new outlook just because he was listened to, it's just life keeps screwing him over.
Lupa herself becomes quite The Woobie when she accepts that the Critic doesn't want her help reviewing Simon Sez. It turns out she's faking because she likes him to suffer as much as anyone else, but it's still a bit moving.
His view of the robot from Doug's 1st Movie as The Woobie. "It's actually kind of hard to watch."
Despite the insanity of "El Tango De Pretense", look at him when he's walking down the street in the Moulin Rouge! review and you'll clearly see that he's been crying.
Blink and you'll miss it, but the Chick visibly flinches when they hit Spoony's house.
Brental Floss' pitiful "Ho-hoooo..." after he's shot by the Critic toward the end. Not exactly tearjerking (especially considering the humor that follows it), but still quite sad.
After Doug revealed that this was the review where they decided Critic needed to be wrapped up soon, "The Review Must Go On" - with its lines like "I think I'm done", "the joke's gone on too long", Critic typing "The End" while dying, even Chick going to watch Scooby-Doo - gets some seriously painful double meanings.
His reaction to Patch being fired in Santa Claus: The Movie, ending with a tearful "Fa la la la la, la la la la."
Anyone feel kinda depressed when Critic leaped up all excited to give Santa Christ a hug but never got it?
The most epic answering machine message. It starts off as deliciously hammy fun, but then it surprisingly turns much sadder and darker with Ringtone's Heroic Sacrifice.
It's played for laughs, but his reaction to the pet he called Ballsack dying. He just sounds so destroyed. The next review even shows he gave it a decent headstone.
In the Patch Adams review, his horror at the idea that he'd just been mocking a real person who was molested as a kid, and murdered.
Even before that, his Tranquil Fury over the family being forced out while Patch - for some unknown reason - gets to be with their father in his last moments.
The entire second half of the review is a combination of this and Crowning Moment of Heartwarming/Awesome.
Ponyo time and again tempts him into making a joke about the 2011 tragic Japanese earthquake and tsunami, but thank God he never does. Seeing him struggling to keep his sadness in is no less touching. Even a messed-up nerd like him feels sad for all the ruined lives resulting from the tsunami.
Played for laughs, but in Thomas and the Magic Railroad he really seems broken at the idea that he's Alec Baldwin's delusion. One must wonder how badly he'd take finding the fourth wall and realizing he really is just fictional.
A bit more muted, but yet another one in “fuck-ups part three”. At the start he obviously just wants the list of his flaws over and done with (even finishing Douchey's sentences for him), and at the end he has a screaming breakdown about everyone being awful. It's so bad that Douchey has a My God, What Have I Done? moment and decides to leave him alone.
The bitter way he says “maybe I should be my own troll”. A cute nod to Doug playing both Critic and Douchey, but also pretty true in-character as well. When Douchey praises him for being good at coming up with insults for himself, you know damn well the reason why.
He looks pretty disappointed when Douchey realizes they've been bonding and forces it to stop.
He's so lonely he's reaching out to Douchey. He's willing to spend time with someone who treats him like crap just so he won't be alone.
Nostalgia Prime's depression over how far his franchise has fallen since the days of the cartoon. Apparently, no one gave him the memo about Transformers Prime.
Drunkenly crying to his giant monkey plushie in Jack about how he thought everything was going to get easier as he grew up sounds a little too much like a funnier version of the "lost innocence" rant in ''The Last Unicorn".
It was Played for Laughs, but there's something quite sad about his bitterness that women always leave him right after sex on one night stands.
In "The Top 11 Simpsons Episodes", right after setting us up with Bart's tears over failing again, admitting he did badly in school and that all the talks about if there was something wrong/feelings of failure really hit close to home for him. Suddenly all those "God, Critic, you are such a dumbass" moments have a painful edge to them.
What probably makes it so potent is that a lot of people can relate to it. As woobie-ish as child abuse and rape are, thankfully only a minority know what's like that. Feeling worthless at school? Awfully common.
And makes some of his lines from previous episodes cringe-inducing. He's used to disappointment now so doesn't really mind? Well he did back then.
The big rant at the beginning of his review of the Scooby-Doo movie about how lonely he is. Through his crazy and angry tone, his extreme resentment of what he does, and his general feeling of hopelessness that culminates into a breakdown, you can really see how much he wants friends or at least someone to hang out with.
It didn't just involve him being lonely, it also included how he's never done anything to make anyone's life better and how he'd love it if someone said "that guy is okay, not great, but okay". With that, he may have possibly beat out Dean Winchester for the lowest self-esteem a character could have.
As a troper who's trying really hard to figure out how to make herself a better person and dosen't really have any friends, this whole episode really hit home for her.
To the troper above....there are many, many, many tropers on this site. If you want, we could be your friends.
Also lends a sad irony to the numerous crossovers and cameos that came before this episode. Either he doesn't get that the other contributors getting excited to do co-reviews with him means that they like him, or he pushed them away because his self-hate was getting so bad he felt like he didn't deserve them.
"What's the point in trying to change anything, I am where I am, nothing's gonna make it any different." Could also explain why, after all the progress made in To Boldly Flee and the Plot Hole, he reverted back to 2008 characterization when he came back.
That it was improvised and expanded from two lines by Doug doesn't help. In the commentary, by the time Critic emitted his Howl of Sorrow, Rob seemed stunned and the man himself sounded embarrassed.
Thank God Young!Critic and Old!Critic came in, otherwise the depressing "this is how I do my shitty review" bit would have continued.
For all his talk on conspiracies and "narcs", young!Critic still seems pretty innocent and hopeful about life.
When Critic is talking to his younger self, "Perfect" by Smashing Pumpkins is playing. You know, the one that goes "But please, you know you're just like me, next time I promise we'll be perfect"? Because it's not like the review hadn't been soul-ripping enough already.
Old!Critic's more subdued personality, memory loss and shakier voice is quite uncomfortable for tropers with grandparents suffering from early dementia.
Granted, the context was Present!Critic explaining a scene in Wedding Crashers to Young!Critic, but am I the only one who cringed when Young!Critic asked "Do Ihaveto become you?"
After celebrating how he'd saved the world again, his cheerful mood dropping when he realizes he has nobody to brag to.
Yeah he's a dinosaur, but anyone who's tried to get their relative or friend out of depression can relate to The Other Guy's tired annoyance when he tells Critic he'd been trying to get him in a poker game for five years.
Thankfully it ends up alright, but Critic looks very young and vulnerable when he's getting up the nerve to join the poker-game.
Watching To Boldly Flee, then this review, makes all of this drama super effective!
At the end of To Boldly Flee, the Critic merges with the plot hole to save our universe, but cannot do reviews anymore. The entire movie was basically all about endings, and about the Critic admitting to himself that he's all messed up and should do something about it. All my sorrow...
However, the way he was brought back may have been just as tearjerking if not more.
Especially if suffering from an eating disorder, one can find CriticReloaded!Critic's utter revulsion of his SuburbanKnights!body (and remember how Doug gleed over even fanboys calling him sexy in that movie?) more depressing than funny.
In The Odd Life Of Timothy Green, Doug the advertising man making Rachel the infertile woman cry.
Part of it's his own fault, but how lonely he sounds when calling Santa Christ in “Son Of The Mask”, calling him the “only good, decent person [he] knows”. The new eye-bags don't help.
After the happiness he found in the Plot Hole, Santa Christ (showing off a sadist side) telling him that he was meant to suffer is just really cruel.
His expression after he suffers the heart attack, practically like he would have preferred dying.
Critic begging the Devil to Mercy Kill him so he'll be rid of the horrible images. Evilina brings up his death in To Boldly Flee and decides it's “crueler to leave him alive”, and the two them leave Critic to curl up on the floor and sob.
The ending: “I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it because it'll never go away”. And then crying some more. Jesus.
And after all that, playing the sad instrumental version of “The Review Must Go On” makes said song even more depressing.
Most of the Where the Wild Things Are editorial is pretty poignant, but when he talks about "there's no logical reason why, it just seems like everything that should be good is now falling apart", there's a resigned tone to his voice that just hurts you.
Doug spends a fair amount of time, mostly centered around the response tweet to the tribute but in other places too, trying to make us aware that he's nowhere near as good as Ebert. The farewell is bad enough, but all that on top is heartbreaking.
Special mention for Doug mentioning that he would be constantly looking for Ebert's next appearance so he could tell him just how much that tweet meant to him, but now he'll never get the chance...
Just the fact that he put the video up the same day as Ebert's death when he could have waited until Tuesday shows just how much the man meant to him (plus, what he had to say probably wouldn't have been nearly as fresh in his mind if he waited).
"I'm the Nostalgia Critic...and you will always be remembered."
After a certain scene that occurs after the Cat gets hit in the groin, the Critic leaves to stare at the sunset. He then starts to wonder if he's losing his touch. It's not as dramatic as the other times he's broken by a movie, but watching start to doubt himself is a bit disheartening.
At the end of reviewing A.I.: Artificial Intelligence, he admits that, while the movie still has plenty of flaws, he can't bring himself to despise it as much after learning the Ending Fatigue was written by Kubrick, not Spielberg - the latter was faced with a no-win situation, but still went ahead and produced it for his dead friend (who had wanted to emulate Spielberg's more whimsical style).
In the Superheroes editorial, he reassures them that he "gets all the anxiety and torment beating down on a guy". Add that to some very red eyes and you get the urge for some cuddling.
There's something depressing about him tearfully begging the Breaking of the Wind (or Fart Joke, as he's called) not to leave him as he reaches the ending of The Master of Disguise.
Knowing context, the build-up to the Demo ReelTake That at the end of Sailor Moon. Dr. Hack says it's going to be the best show ever, and going to post-To Boldly Flee, you might remember Doug being so excited for it that he couldn't even get words out. Word of God is that they even made Donnie Critic just because they were pissed off at the demands for Critic's return.
His conclusion to his already downbeat analyzing of The Graduate
Critic: In my world, it's a constant reminder of how it's best to slowly figure out what you want rather than rush into something you're unsure about, because fighting too quickly for your freedom will result in making your prison bars even stronger.