Tearjerker / Dumbing of Age

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    General 
  • Most of the Parent's Day story arc, due to how many of the characters come from some major Jerk Ass parents.
    Sal: You fuckin'- You really think this started that day? you really think That was the beginning? It fuckin' started the day we were born and you came out whiter.
  • Astonishingly, Becky's dad manages to pick up some Jerk Ass Woobie points when Becky tries to talk him down from threating her with a gun to bring her home.
    Becky (in tears):Do you know what this means? It means by the end of the day, state troopers are gonna blow open the back of yer head. Ka-spew! That's the only way this ends. You know that, right?
    Ross (also in tears): Satan took your mother from me, and I won't let him take my daughter next. If I have to die for you, Becky, I will die for you.
  • A commentor on the site gives a pretty clear reason why "To Those Who'd Ground Me" is a pretty crushing story arc;
    Commenter:This has been a genuinely painful arc. We have seen beloved characters hurt and humiliated and brought down to their lowest point. We have seen Dina lay bleeding in the woods, Joyce frozen in fear, her best friend taken from her and Becky brought by gunpoint to the horrible fate she tried to escape. We have seen a very realistic portrayal of power abuse and something thatís a real fear for too many youths.
  • Carla's expression after Mary deliberately misgenders her is heartbreaking enough, but after Ruth fails to stick up for her because of Mary threatening to out her and Billie's relationship...
    Carla: You do whatever you want. I'm used to being everyone's acceptable loss.

    Amber 
  • The story of how Amber broke.
  • Danny learns that Amber could've been killed when she rescued Becky, and takes Sal's advice to try and get her to give up the act out of fear for her safety. It does not go well, as Amber cuts all ties with him on the spot. What makes it worse that Danny messing things up used to be played for laughs.
    Amber: Yes, well, Amber needs Amazi-Girl a hell of alot more than she needs you.
    Danny: Amber— Please, just listen to me for a min—
    Amber: And make no mistake, she did needs you. She really did. She just thought she could trust you to support her more. Or to maybe not buckle under a light breeze.
    Danny: *puts his hand on her shoulder* I'm not buckling, I'm—
    Amber: No, don't touch me. Not ever again.
    Danny: This is the opposite of buckling! I love buckling! Look at how unhappy I am!

    Becky 
  • Becky's Anguished Declaration of Love to Joyce, only for Joyce to reluctantly rebuff her.
  • Joyce's acceptance and love for Becky is starting to become this, as it becomes obvious it is making it harder for Becky to accept Joyce's rejection. It gets to the point that Becky demands Joyce to be mad at her, after she fired Ethan as Joyce's boyfriend, but joyce had already broken up with Ethan, so Joyce just tells her that she helped.
  • While Becky is inside of her own home, reminiscing her life with her parents, we find out that her mother attempted suicide, and it is soul-crushing.
  • "My word is 'Painful'!"

    Billie 

    Joyce 
  • Joyce, who nearly got raped. While she tries to act cheerful, deep down she is still very affected by this event, having nightmares about it and still very scared of meeting the guy again. It also turns out the reason Joyce is rarely alone is because she's too scared to be by herself and follows Walky or Ethan around because she thinks it's safer.
  • This strip from book one;
    Joyce: Sarah, wait. I think we should give everyone a second chance before we write them off. I admit sometimes I'm not good at it, but I feel I at least need to try. I want to find the good in people.
    Sarah: You're a good kid, Joyce. I'll be sad when the world breaks you.
  • In book Six, a very upset and jaded Joyce comes to the conclusion that "everything is really broken" (not just herself, but the whole world). Sarah has no choice but to let out an uncomfortable "Yup".
  • After being subjected to Roz's incredibly vitriolic rant about her previous behavior, Joyce leaves Leslie's class in tears. That's bad enough, but then we see Joyce outside by herself for the first time since the party. And then it just gets worse as Joyce starts to see Ryan in place of all the people outside...
  • The look on Joyce's face and her body language in this strip. Poor girl looks like she's edging nearer and nearer to a full blown Heroic B.S.O.D.. Her mother pushes her closer and closer in this strip. Bonus points for her telling Joyce the exact same line Ross told Becky when he was pointing a gun at her, no less. What is worse is that David Willis is directly channeling his own experiences with his mother.
  • Joyce is not in a good place now.

    Sal 
  • Sal is visibly having a breakdown of her own during the convenience store holdup; Word of God is that she had no intention of getting away with it and wanted to get caught. That's how thoroughly starved for attention she was.
  • When discussing Dexter and Monkey Master with Dorothy, Walky mentions he and Sal used to watch it together. Compare the thought of Sal sitting down to watch a cartoon with her brother to the present day, where it's rare for her to be around Walky for more than a few minutes at best.

    Sarah 
http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Tearjerker/DumbingOfAge