Liz Lemon. Probably anyone with her job qualifies to some degree, but between being constantly put-upon at work, her unreasonably terrible love life, general awkwardness, constant abuse from her boss, and other random problems like her roommate messing around with his wife in Liz's bed...
Liz: Oh, when will death come!?
Kenneth is an extreme Woobie. On top of having a truly terrible job in which he's constantly mistreated by pretty much everybody, he gets a number of subplots that revolve around his suffering. A good example would be "Flu Shot," in which he gets increasingly sicker throughout the episode. Another is "Reunion," in which he manages to accrue some meager scraps of popularity by cracking jokes in the elevator—until Tracy and Jenna become jealous and confront him over it, reducing him to tears and ensuring that he will never try to "upstage" them again. Also, nobody can look utterly miserable quite like Kenneth can; the fact that he smiles most of the time further amplifies the Woobieness when something actually gets to him.
Adam-12: Had several such episodes featuring children in child neglect situations, but none were more definitive than "He ... He Was Trying to Kill Me," a late first-season episode where Reed and Malloy interact with a 6-year-old girl named Charlie, who was left home alone to care for her 10-month-old brother in a run-down, roach-infested apartment, while her drug-infused mother sought (in vain) modeling jobs and no true father figure was present. Charlie has heartfelt conversations with both Reed and Malloy and win them over, even after they turned over the case to Social Services.
All Creatures Great and Small: James, particularly because whenever he's humiliated or insulted he's just too damn polite to make a fuss over it. His politeness gets him into trouble in other situations too, like when he just can't refuse that extra drink or that plate of pigs fat that's obviously going to have him retching in the bushes later. Poor James.
All My Children: Bianca Montgomery. What hasn't happened to her? From the moment she was born Bianca had to suffer one tragedy after another, some are: being kidnapped as a child, having anorexia, being forced to live far away from her mother, her father dying at a young age, being humiliated in public by the tabloids time and time again, almost losing her mind twice (one after being raped and the other after believing her newborn daughter died), always losing the girl she falls in love with for a reason or another, and yet she's probably the happiest character on the show. Always smiling and being kind to other, no matter how they have hurt her she always find a way to love them and forgive them, eventually. When her chin starts to quiver and her eyes well up with tears you will feel terrible for her because something terrible just happened to her.
Not to hammer the point home, but between 2000-2011, Bianca had five major relationships. Here's what happened to each girl.
Frankie: Murdered by minions hired by her aunt.
Lena: Seduced her on orders by the man who would later rape her, then when they have an actual relationship, Bianca is raped. That trauma, coupled with having his child and thus emotionally and physically shying away from her, plus latent feelings for Maggie, causes Lena to break up with her.
Reese: Meets Bianca in Paris, falls for her, marries her, then kisses Bianca's brother-in-law. Bianca dumps her, then takes her back; of course, they would divorce and go through a custody battle over Bianca's children. This BTW was all the result of a writer who wanted Bianca to sleep with a male character in retaliation for Reese's actions; subsequent events would lead to Bianca's portrayer Eden Riegel leaving the show.
Marissa: Established character (and cousin of Frankie & Maggie) and then-wife of JR Chandler; lawyer hired to handle Bianca's divorce, gets kidnapped with her and stuffed into a closet. Learns about her rape, and her revenge. Falls for Bianca, who tries to warn her off, but unlike the last two relationships, Marissa actively pursues Bianca until she falls for her (and in the process giving us Bianca's only on camera love scene). Everything seems to be fine until at a party, JR (whom Marissa divorced in the interim), not happy about seeing his ex with another woman, hides in a closet with booze in one hand, revolver in the other. One guess who gets the slug between the eyes, and it wasn't Bianca.
'Allo 'Allo!: Has two surprising woobies, one is a gay Nazi and the other is a Gestapo agent. Yes, that's right, Godwin's Law notwithstanding, people who watch this show do feel sorry for Lt. Gruber and Agent von Smallhausen.
To be fair though, they can't help that they are citizens of Nazi Germany, who have ended up serving their country in the occupied France.
American Horror Story: Asylum: This show is a breeding ground for Woobies. Kit Walker in particular. His wife is abducted by aliens, he is framed for several murders, thrown into an asylum, falls in love again only to watch her die, has his kid taken away, escapes only to have his first wife kill his new one, after which she is thrown into an asylum and dies.
It has been criticized for having too many of these. Every season there are multiple contestants who have experienced personal tragedies. Katy Perry once called Kara DioGuardi out when she was praising one.
Haley Reinhart from Season 10 most definitely achieved Woobie status during Top 4 week. The critiques given to her first performances both then and in Top 5 week, and especially what happened when the four finalists were all called out after the first round, were certainly examples of Break the Cutie. Of course, her awesome responses in the second round of both weeks were what really solidified her Woobification. In fact, Nigel Lythgoe basically admitted that this storyline was the goal of those first round critiques.
Brooke White from Season 7
Siobhan Magnus from Season 9.
Animal Planet Heroes: Essentially every animal to ever appear in this series. It's a show about helping abused animals, and animals in trouble, after-all.
Ashes to Ashes: Gene Hunt makes real strides into woobie-dom. His wife has let him, and he has relocated to London following the death of his best friend and colleague, Sam Tyler. He's starting to feel his age, and there are frequent references to how old-fashioned he is, and how the modern police force is gradually getting rid of 'dinosaurs' like him. The real woobie-fication takes place when we realise that the Gene-verse is actually a purgatory for dead coppers, and Gene is the guardian of this universe. Gene actually died aged 19, on his first day as a police-officer - shot in the head by a burglar and buried in a shallow grave. All the machismo and heroics of the Gene-verse come from poor young Gene's fantasies of what life would be like as a policeman.
The A-Team: Faceman. His father left him before he was old enough to even remember, no mention of what happened to his mother... all we know is that he wandered into an orphanage when he was five years old. From a young age, he taught himself to con people, seizing at every little opportunity he saw, only to miss out on the big ones because of it—most notably when he conned his childhood friend Barry into giving him concert tickets—while Face was at the concert, a family showed up at the orphanage looking to adopt, and they chose Barry. Granted, that was Face's own fault, but that kind of makes it worse. His college girlfriend Leslie (who he called "The only woman I ever really loved") disappeared with no explanation on the same day he was going to propose to her. He never allowed himself to get too close to another woman after that, so very few of his relationships ever made it past one-night stands. Leslie's disappearance led Face to drop out of college and join the Army where he went through the horrors of the Vietnam War, including spending time in a prison camp, and then he and the rest of the team ended up as fugitives because of something they were ordered to do (he laments in one episode, "Why is it that every time we try to serve our country, we end up behind bars?"). In Family Reunion, Murdock discovers that A.J. Bancroft, a criminal the team is negotiating with, is Face's father. A.J. begs Murdock not to tell Face—he wants to do it himself. But A.J. chickens out and ends up dying before he can tell Face the truth, leaving Murdock to have to deliver what would have been good news had it come earlier. Plus the number of times Face has been hurt, kidnapped, beaten up by the bad guys... somebody give this guy a hug!
Garibaldi, lovely, dear Garibaldi. Several wrenching losses, a history of alcoholism, and then Bestor brainwashes him into quitting the job he loves and finally betraying Sheridan which leads him to start drinking again because he can't deal with the loss of control. Making matters worse, Garibaldi is the guy who's been backing up, supporting, and confronting people like Foster when their issues get too overwhelming, but nobody notices that he's gone off the rails until it's much too late. (Except Zack. Thanks, Zack.)
Ivanova is mostly just a badass and the occasional Stoic Woobie, but she has her moments, between Talia's death-of-personality and Marcus's actual death.
"My shoes are too tight, and I have forgotten how to dance."
Lennier who serves so faithfully only to see Delenn marry another. If one disallows his final scene he could qualify as an Iron Woobie.
Bad Girls: Rachel Hicks.
Battlestar Galactica (Classic): Apollo. In the very first episode he loses his brother during what was supposed to be a routine patrol. In the same episode he meets a woman named Serina and they fall in love. In the fifth episode they get, engaged and then married only for Serina to be killed in the very same episode, leaving him effectively widowed and in the care of Serina's son Boxey.Then, in the sixth episode, he crash lands on a planet and meets a widowed woman and her young son who both remind him quite a bit of Serina and Boxey. He spends a good portion of that episode unsure of whether or not he'll ever even get off the planet and back to the Galactica. This guy's definitely a woobie.
Felix Gaeta from the new series is throughly woobified when he has his leg amputated. Particularly heartbreaking is that the phantom limb itches like crazy, only to stop mere seconds before his execution.
Sam Anders, Gaeta's shooter and a secret Cylon, has his own large issues.
Boomer's duplicate Athena, the one that did a Heel-Face Turn, has also been through heck.
Chief Tyrol has had quite an interesting story. In the miniseries he loses 58 of his colleagues to prevent the death of everyone. His girlfriend turns out to be a cylon and "dies" in his arms. Then he's arrested under suspicions of being a Cylon himself (Turns out he really is). Not much time later, a clone of his ex-girlfriend appears and marries another man with whom she has a kid. He ends up marrying a woman he doesn't really love (and once beat to pulp) and has a kid on his own. Later, when his wife discovers he is a cylon, she assaults him with a wrench and tries to commit suicide before being killed by another hidden Cylon. Tyrol then has a long overdue mental breakdown, from which he recovers slowly. Just in time for the Big Reveal, where they all learn mythic Earth exists but is a nuclear wasteland. There is the part when he finds out that the baby his wife had isn't actually his. And you wonder why in that scene he decides to wear a sarcastic smirk on his face instead of everyone else's devastated expressions. When Boomer comes back, reignites old passions, gets tried for treason, leading Tyrol to do unspeakable things to spring her out. Turns out it was a ruse to kidnap "Hera", leaving Tyrol behind to face the consequences.
Cally. The episode where she tries to commit suicide, and then gets murdered was wall-to-wall Woobification.
Admiral Adama. He's being driven into a full-blown Heroic BSOD at least once every episode in the last season - finding out his best friend is a Cylon, that his lover is dying of cancer, that his Mission Control and surrogate daughter Dualla killed herself, that his ship is about to die. And every time it's the horrible gasping silent military man sobs..
Laura Roslin. After the genocide of the human race she was forced into being the President simply through blind chance - a job she never wanted but had to do for fear of what would happen if someone else was in charge. She only got the job because all the people above her in the chain of command were killed. Despite having to deal with the life and death decisions of an entire race, her every political move is harshly judged by the press and despite all she does for the survivors, she's voted out of office in favour of the man who actually caused said genocide. On the day she discovers she has terminal cancer. In a later flashback, we learn the reason that she even became a politician despite hating politics - her entire family were killed in a car crash. To top it all off, in the final episode she finally sees the human race safely reach Earth, something that wouldn't have been possible without her, but dies before she can enjoy it for herself and finally live a free and peaceful life.
Lee. A man whose very last scene is being abandoned by his father and his UST lover in a field after he finally admits what he wants from life. And he takes it on the chin because he's given up fighting.
Beverly Hills 90210: Has a bunch of woobies, but none of them stand out quite so in need of a big hug as Valerie Malone.
Leonard especially in the episode where his mother visits him.
Leonard: When I was ten years old, I built a hugging machine...
Despite his usually being impenetrably insensitive, Sheldon gets a few woobie moments. One happens when we discover his parents made him hate the sound of fighting when Leonard and Penny's quarrelling sends him into an emotional meltdown. The opener of series 3, when Sheldon finds out that his dreams and possibly his entire professional career have been trashed by his best friend. It was a big deal.
Amy spent most of her life as a pariah, and the main characters are the only friends she's ever had. Her childhood and teenage memories, that is just a string of sad or embarrassing events. When Bernadette and Penny go shopping without her, she decides that they don't like her anymore and compares herself to a brain tumor.
Stuart, the comic book guy, due to his growing debt, Perpetual Poverty, and the fact everyone takes advantage of his friendliness and easygoing-ness to get cheaper prices on stuff from his store makes you feel for the guy. The closest thing he has to a dating life is a cat he doesn't own that occasionally visits to share cans of tuna. Plus he always looks so adorable in his costumes at Halloween and New Year's parties.
The guys all deserve a big, warm hug when their car got stolen in "Bakersfield Expedition". Raj, Howard, Sheldon and Leonard looked so awesome in their Star Trek: TNG costumes and they were so looking forward to having some fun at the comic con. Then... massive Mood Whiplash. They had to walk a long distance to a diner. Would nobody stop for them and offer them help? Bystander Syndrome? Then they got mocked by people at the diner and even the cop. The evil, evil cop would want to call his mum as well if he felt as bad as those guys did.
Even Penny can be this at times (just not as often as the others). In the early seasons she had a tendency to fall for Jerk Jock types only to be devastated when she realized they were jerks. When she and Leonard broke up and Leonard began dating Pria, Penny tried to pull an I Want My Beloved to Be Happy, but couldn't actually say it out loud without bursting into tears mid-sentence. She's an aspiring actress (and has some genuine talent) but her acting career has been going nowhere. Every now and then, the realization of that hits her hard.
Lord Percy Percy of the first two seasons, although alternating between Woobie and Chew Toy, fits into this category: the psychological abuse he suffers at the callously uncaring hands of Edmund Blackadder ought to elicit sympathy from anyone with basic human emotions. He considers Blackadder a friend and is ever eager to jump in and help him fix his problems, yet is treated as nothing more than a hated nuisance by Blackadder (to be fair, his general thickness must get rather annoying, but the complete lack of any gratefulness on Blackadder's part can't be passed over). A famed example would be when he offers to pay off Blackadder's bank debts with his retirement savings: Blackadder coldly tells him that he has long since pinched and spent these savings. Later, he attempts to manufacture jewelry, which he plans to sell of to help Blackadder: Blackadder has nothing to say except that the jewelry (which is green) looks like snot. And then there is the depths he sank to in framing the Bishop of Bath and Wells. Shudder.
Tim McInnerny's acting likely had something to do with this: thanks to him, the character constantly looked to be on the verge of tears. This may be the reason why so many also Woobie Captain Darling of the fourth season, also played by McInnerny, when he is sent off from his comfortable position behind a desk to the front line by the mind-numbingly clueless General Melchett. There's also the surprisingly brutal interrogation scene in the episode "General Hospital" where Blackadder has Darling tied to a chair and is screaming at him to confess that he's a German spy. Despite being near the end of the series, this was Darling's big Woobie moment as he was literally crying for mercy after a few minutes. He becomes even more of a woobie when you realise that his cowardice is fuelled by the honourable desire to be with the woman he loves, Doris.
Lieutenant George should get honorary Woobie recognition for his admittance before The Final Push that, despite the ultra-eager face and voice he's had about the war during the entire series, he's scared and doesn't want to die.
For a man dressed up to be so ugly, Baldrick the third and fourth are surprisingly adorable in their suffering.
Cally is pure woobieness. Banished from her planet by her own people forcing her to be alone among humans, then all her guerilla companions are wiped out and she becomes the only telepath on a ship with a crew of criminals, misfits and jerkasses, and finally almost her entire race is killed.
What about Vila? Poor, innocent Vila. He really does need a hug. We first meet him cowering in a prison cell, clearly hiding from most of the other criminals - and it just goes downhill from there. Vila wasn't nearly as much of Woobie on the show that he became later in the fanfic — he was a lying, cheating con artist who was FAR from "innocent". He's basically good-hearted and adorable; and although his real "Woobie-making" moment doesn't come until late in the series.
The Bold And The Beautiful: Macy Alexander. One of the most decent characters on the show, she seemed to be cursed with perpetual misfortune. Her father disappeared when she was a child, she had three failed marriages with Thorne Forrester and was always caught in the middle between her mother and her inlaws, who were business rivals. She was an alcoholic, had cancer twice, lost a husband to cancer, was nearly murdered by a crazy ex-lover, was unable to have children, and was in three car crashes. Oh, and she died horribly. TWICE.
It has baby-faced psychologist Sweets. He was adopted, suffered abuse in foster care that left him with whip scars on his back, and his birth mother is a circus person whom he's never met but tried in vain to get in contact with. His loving adoptive parents died not long before he came into the show. He was sure for a while that he was hated and that everyone found him annoying until Cam reassured him that it wasn't true with the fact that every character had, at some point, came to him for advice.
There's Zack. He was the "baby" of the team until he was manipulated by cannibilistic serial killer Gormogon into doing his dirty work, going so far as to stage an explosion (in which he severely injures himself in an attempt to keep best friend Hodgins safe), so Gormogon could liberate his "masterpiece" from the Jeffersonian. He also claims to have killed someone under Gormogon's command, (although it's revealed that he didn't actually, he just said it to avoid going to jail) and is sent to an asylum. He then escapes said asylum to help his friends out with a case and willingly goes back when it's over. And his friends still love him. How's that for friendship loyalty, eh?
Alan Shore. Despite being the funny man 95% of the time, he has had a rough time in the past. His wife's dead and he lost his virginity at age 14, causing complete loss of innocence. Also, he can never seem to form a meaningful relationship. Ever.
Jerry Espenson who never ever has anything go right for him and is constantly the butt of others' jokes.
Eric Matthews who lost all the sex appeal (and not to mentionintelligence) he had in earlier seasons. He had lost the girl he loved to his best friend, had to say goodbye to the young orphan he had bonded with when he was adopted, and was exploited by said best friend for money. He is treated like a joke by everyone (his dad once even called him "porky"), even himself, and was struck by lightning. Twice. In a row. Not to mention that it is highly implied that he has become The Unfavorite to his parents (who at times are hardly shy about it) and his brother in which unlike the other examples, as shown in "Brotherly Shove," it is not Played for Laughs.
It has Jesse Pinkman, who despite committing crimes up to and including first-degree murder, still charms audiences with his adorable sorrow and regret and tear-filled puppy-dog eyes, making fans of the series want to give him a hug. And now as of "Ozymandias", he's been enslaved and brutally tortured by the Nazis, and it's not clear if he'll be allowed to live once he's done helping Todd improve his Blue Sky cooks.
Gale Boetticher. He's a sweet, innocent man with pure motives and solid chemistry background, making him a natural target for Walt's abuse and scorn. At the end of Season 3, he's minding his own business at home when Jesse shows up and murders him.
Skyler in Season 5. Walt is a borderline abusive husband when the kids aren't around, and she's realizing just how evil he's become over the past year.
Walter was this in Season 1: His old classmates & co-workers are multimillionaires and professors, while he's treated like dirt in a pair of dead-end jobs and gets slapped with a cancer diagnosis on his birthday. As the show went on and it became clear what a vile person he had become, he stopped being one.
Marie went from Jerkass Woobie to this after "Ozymandias": Maybe a few hours after her Hope Spot when Hank called to say he'd arrested Walter, he ends up dead. From the way Walt drops this bombshell, Marie might even think he killed Hank.
Walt Jr. becomes this in "Ozymandias": he's crushed by the realization that his father is Heisenberg and believes he even killed Hank, and has to break up a knife fight between his parents.
After Tara finally died, her actress, Amber Benson, refused to return to the show because she was sick of horrible things happening to her character. Joss Whedon is not nice to his characters. Considering that Joss was initially planning to have the First Evil appear in the form of Tara to mess with Willow's head, can you really blame her?
Angel is much woobier (after he stops the moping), especially when he gives Buffy the puppy-dog face. And even more so after baby Connor is stolen from him. And more still when the second love of his life, Cordelia, dies without their ever consummating their relationship.
Xander. The guy loses every girl he's with, roughly three-quarters of them are evil, and he's constantly Overshadowed by Awesome to the point where he has fully fledged moments of angst about it. Then again, he also saves the world from Evil Willow by hugging her.
Dawn made third place with Tara's death. Coming home to find your friend/mother figure who helped raised you dead in the bedroom, and sitting with her body for probably several hours because you're unwilling to leave... if Dawn wasn't made out of Buffy, she'd probably have gone catatonic. Not even mentioning everything she went through in season 5. She's not even real, she thinks she might be evil, she feels responsible for one of her friends being tortured and another driven insane, her mother dies, she's got whole armies who want to kill her, Glory almost uses her to end the world, then Buffy dies before her very eyes. Any whining after all this is well-earned, fans.
Willow fits the archetype in her initial appearances. Joss Whedon says in a DVD Commentary from early in Season 1 that the writers learned very quickly that if they wanted to get an emotional reaction from viewers, all they had to do was put Willow in danger because Alyson Hannigan was so good at portraying believable vulnerability. (One could argue that Buffy and Angel are both too strong to count as woobies.) In a later commentary, it is said that Tara was conceived partly as the "new Willow" — Willow had become too powerful and confident for "woobiedom," and they wanted someone to fill the emotional role that she had filled in the first few sesons.
Faith? OK, so her parents were abusive, violent alcoholics. Then she found a parent figure in her Watcher, who was torn apart right in front of her eyes. Then she goes to Sunnydale and is ritually ignored by the Scooby gang despite her attempts to fit in. She gets a new Watcher, who she quickly grows attached to, but who betrays and tries to kill her. Then she accidentally kills a man who she thinks is a vampire, which pretty much destroys her mentally. She is almost helped by Angel, but Wesley pretty much ruins that and makes sure that Faith doesn't trust anyone else ever again. She is driven into the hands of the Big Bad, who is pretty much an adoptive father to her - who asks her to kill people for him. Then she is stabbed into a coma by her former friend. When she wakes up she finds that the aforementioned friend has killed the father-figure, and has already broken up with the man that she tried to kill Faith to save. A short arc later and she's sobbing in Angel's arms, begging for him to kill her. Faith is pretty much the lovechild of the Dark Action Girl and the Woobiest Woobie of them all.
The ultimate woobie is Drusilla. She had her whole family killed and she was tortured more cruelly by Angel than he ever tortured anyone, which given his history of sadism is really saying something. Then once she is insane he turns her into a vampire so she is insane forever.
Casualty: Dr. Ruth Winters. Something of a Dr. Jerk who alienates everyone around her, always puts her career first and has lied to cover up her mistakes, several of which have led to patient deaths. And yet... her father was a manipulative alcoholic, her mother committed suicide and her brother is a drug addict. After another patient dies due to her misdiagnosis, she tries to hang herself, fails and ends up in a coma. After recovering from that, she sleeps with her boss, who rejects her the next day. She begins seeing a nurse, Jay, but a senior doctor tells her she should end it for the sake of her career. She gets pregnant by Jay, but terminates the pregnancy without telling him and they later fall out after she cancels a date. She haemorrhages and is taken to hospital where, humiliatingly, she is treated by her own colleagues and has to tell them about her pregnancy. She lies to Jay that she had a miscarriage and reluctantly ends their relationship. Her brother, fresh out of prison, emotionally blackmails her into letting him stay with her over Christmas. He steals from her and runs off and she is sent on a nightmare journey into an underworld of drug addicts and male prostitutes in an effort to find him. She confides in Jay about the crappy time she's having and they briefly reconnect, but he walks away when she tells him about the termination, despite her finally finding the courage to tell him she loves him. Months later, she gives a terrible presentation at a medical conference but a high-profile doctor takes an interest in her and she ends up marrying him, Jay's declaration of undying love for her coming too late to stop the wedding. Ruth soon discovers that a) she still has feelings for Jay but he has begun seeing someone else and b) that her new husband is gay. They continue with the sham marriage for the sake of both their careers but then her husband's boyfriend, whom he had agreed to stop seeing, begins working alongside her. Inevitably, this does not go well, and her husband eventually leaves her for his lover, ruining another Christmas. Most recently, she has mistakenly accused a man of raping her, almost wrecking his marriage, and now appears to be undergoing a well-earned nervous breakdown.
Paige Matthews definitely counts. Her parents had to abandon her because their relationship was forbidden so she was raised by adoptive parents. They were good parents but she went through a rebellious teenage phase only for her parents to die in horrible car crash when she was 16 years old. She spends the next few years of her life searching for her family and finds out one of her sisters has been killed. And then she gets the whole witch thing dumped on her with the Source of All Evil possessing her boyfriend to try and manipulate her. Just try watching "A Paige From The Past" and see if you can resist the urge to give Paige a big hug.
While she may be The Scrappy to most fans, Billie Jenkins qualifies. Her sister was kidnapped by demons in front of her when she was six years old and she spent the rest of her childhood in a bad relationship with her parents who refused to talk about it. Then when she discovers her witch powers her parents end up getting killed by demons. Then she finally finds her sister only to discover Christy is actually evil and gets manipulated into turning on the Halliwell sisters. Try not to feel sorry for Billie when she collapses crying in the final episode after killing Christy.
The Class: Lina Warbler. In 19 episodes, her boyfriend is sleeping with another woman in her own bed, her feet get run over by a car, and she starts dating a guy who has been married for five years. She is this show's living incarnation of the Woobie.
Cold Case: Any victim. Why do all the good ones have to die?
Abed could count. His father blamed him for his mother leaving, it's implied he had no friends growing up, and in Season 2's Christmas episode he has a Heroic BSOD when his mother has a new family and doesn't want to celebrate Christmas with him anymore.
Annie too, at the beginning of Season 1, but continuing a bit onto later seasons. She wanted to go to an Ivy League school but dropped out due to a pill addiction, which caused her mother to cut her off, and upon going to community college the boy she had a crush on all through high school didn't even know who she was except by her mean nickname. She spent two years living in a dangerous neighborhood above a sex-toy shop. Throughout all of this she also had major self-confidence issues.
Jeff, too. For all that he pretends to be ultra cool and confident, he was left mentally scarred by bullying, his mom's concept of perfection and his dad leaving him flat. It seems that before the study group he never had any real friends- one time when he was a child he gouged scars into his body just to gain sympathy, and still keeps the "Get Well" cards under his bed.
Britta is similar in that she acts like she's calm and in control. However, she suffers from crippling anxiety that she's not a good activist that's only into it to be self-righteous and who was molested as a child.
Shirley got divorced from her husband when he cheated on her, and suffered from alcoholism and rage issues for years. (Thankfully, since getting the study groups support, re-marrying her husband and setting up her own business, she's gotten a lot better).
While Pierce might just seem like a cruel, racist, sexist, homophobic old-man, it seems that all his actions are caused by an intense loneliness, child neglect and a serious case of being a "Well Done, Son" Guy. Even if you don't like him, you have to pity him...
Troy. He's really insecure, his breakdown are heartbreaking to watch, and his childlike innocence makes you want to help him more, especially in Intro to Documentary Filmmaking and Mixology Certification
Coronation Street: Roy Cropper. He was revealed to have been neglected as a child, suspected of being a pervert, taken advantage of by a neighbour,subject to bigotry when his girlfriend Hayley was revealed as a transexual, had his wedding to Hayley almost ruined by paparazzi, accused of sexual harassment by his foster daughter, almost jailed when he and Hayley kidnapped their foster son to get him away from his abusive father, slipped a date rape drug and tricked into thinking he'd slept with Tracy Barlow just so Tracy could win a bet, almost committed suicide when Hayley left him as a result of Tracy's lies, tricked into thinking he was the father of Tracy's baby and into giving Tracy his life savings, misled by his lawyer into thinking he and Tracy had to get married in order so he would have a legal claim over his child, found out he'd never slept with Tracy and that her daughter wasn't his, bullied by Vince who hit him with a spatula and scalded his face with a hot frying pan and finally found out that Hayley had fathered a son when she was a man. Hayley blamed Roy when her son rejected her and went off to Africa for a year where she developed feelings for someone else. Just when things were finally starting to look up for Roy, Hayley was diagnosed with terminal cancer and decided to take her own life before the cancer completely took over. Roy had to respect Hayley's wishes, despite being completely against them, and has now lost the love of his life forever.
The Cosby Show: Olivia may qualify as well, at least in the final season. Her father is in the military, her mother is barely involved in her life, and her stepmother is constantly MIA, leaving her to live with Cliff and Clair.
Nick Stokes. He got BURIED ALIVE. Also, he has been stalked; had a gun pointed at him by a killer; fallen in love with a hooker that died (and then he was a suspect in her death). And he was molested by a babysitter as a child.
Well who else could they fuck with in that show? Grissom was too awesome to go after, women don't tend to get those kind of plots, same with minority characters, and people like Greg weren't visible enough to make it really hit home. So of course Nick had to be the Woobie.
Greg might also count in certain instances. The episode where he is violently beaten by the gang that had been attacking tourists all night while saving one in the process comes to mind. Then later when he tells Grissom that his parents don't know he's working in the field and how he was way overprotected in his childhood make you want to give the guy a hug. There was also the time the lab exploded while he was in it, through no fault of his own.
Mac Taylor lost his wife on 9/11, and in season three his putting away a corrupt cop results in a serial killer being released, and when Mac tries to arrest him the guy jumps off a roof in a way that it looks like Mac pushed him, resulting in Mac's investigation and emotional wringer at the hands of his higher ups.
Also, Danny Messer, who undergoes a spectacular fall from grace in the first season, second season his brother gets beaten into a coma trying to clear his name after Danny gets implicated in a murder his brother was involved in, gets absolutely whomped on in the third season finale, and in fourth season he sends a kid he's fond of away from a crime scene to keep him safe, only to have it turn out later that the kid had been shot without anyone realizing, and died of blood loss; Danny has massive guilt over this for the rest of the season.
Lab Tech Adam (Ross), especially for the amount of screen time he gets. He gets very nervous and lacks confidence around authority because his father was a 'bully', which leads him to often embarrassing himself in front of Mac and Stella, two of the people he respects the most. In the season 3 finale he was tortured for hours, which was probably a nice reminder of his childhood and almost shot by Flack. Not to mention the guilt he must have from watching Danny get "absolutely whomped" to save him. In Green Piece, he's playing a pick-up street hockey game and a van on the street he's playing on explodes and after saving someone from the explosion, while concussed he gets to be interrogated by Mac. Adam also thinks he is being fired by Mac; luckily Stella and the team help out, but not before we get to see some Emo!Adam and two seasons later still thinks it might happen.
Flack has had his fair share of suffering as well. Had to arrest his mentor who covered up part of a crime to save his son, gets caught in an explosion and left in a coma in the season 2 cliffhanger, finds out his sister is an alcoholic in season 5, his fellow cop girlfriend is murdered in the season 5 finale and he is the one who takes her to the hospital as she's dying, and then he murders one of the men who murdered her and the guilt eats at him for the first part of season 6, causing him to take risks and lose control over his life. And then when he tries to tell Mac, someone he trusts and respects, what he did he gets rebuffed.
Private Charles Godfrey, he's one of those old characters you just want to protect, this is especially clear in the Episode "Branded" where he admits to Mainwaring he was a conscientious objector in the First World War, resulting in him being shunned by the rest of platoon until it emerges that he won a medal as an ambulance driver instead.
Captain Mainwaring counts as well: he's trapped in a loveless marriage with an abusive wife, and equally trapped in Walmington-on-Sea by having hit the glass ceiling at the Bank. It's no wonder he's so fervent about his Home Guard duties; it's the only thing that truly makes him happy.
Damages: Ray Fiske veers into Woobie-ness towards the end of the first season, mostly because Zeljko Ivanek is so good at looking miserable and weighed down with guilt.
Dark Shadows: Willie Loomis in both the original 60s and 70s series and the 1991 "revival" series. Let's face it, even though Willie started out as a drunk, a thief, a womanizer, and a con-man he really does change post-vamp bite. Still, his life sucks! He gets beaten on a regular basis, is none too bright, and is basically a mildly upgraded Renfield in that he knows his master is wrong but does what he's told anyway. The girl he likes thinks of him only as a friend and is tormented by the Friendly Neighborhood Vampire. The boy then gets shot five times, put into a coma, wakes up in a loony bin, and is crazy until the character is written out of the show, all the while staring at you with those big, hurt puppy dog eyes and trying to be The Hero. If you count the movie "House of Dark Shadows", Willie ends up the Accidental Hero, but Willie dies in the end anyway, another victim of Supernatural Soap Opera. A different character takes the credit for killing the vampire and saving the girl. In the words of Dr. Horrible: "Balls."
Deadly Honeymoon: In this Lifetime Movie of the Week, Summer's character, Lindsey Forrest, has to deal with the death of her husband. Its played straight in that throughout the entire movie, Lindsey is an intensely sympathetic character (especially when she finds out her husband was cheating on her literally hours before their wedding ceremony). However, it is subverted in that Lindsey knows she's getting a lot of sympathy, and moreso, she uses her situation to secure a payoff from the cruise company to avoid her causing a massive press scandal. The movie itself never makes it clear on whether or not Lindsey was actually responsible for her husband's death or if it was an accident, but either way she's clearly guilt-ridden about it, and she's milking the sympathy angle for all its worth even while being clearly traumatized and pained by what happened.
Deadwood: Alma Garret (Molly Parker). Apparently, the Cartwright Curses must be an extended family. Her eyes, which make her constantly look like she's one second from melting down into a lake of tears, don't help.
Degrassi Junior High/Degrassi High: Kathleen. She has an embarrassing alcoholic mother, her father is perpetually off working, she developed anorexia and the only boyfriend we ever see her with abused her.
Manny. She gets gets kicked out of her house, her dad calls her a whore, her dreams get crushed, a video of her topless gets emailed to everyone in the school and her best friend hates her. And that's only the season five premiere.
Ellie's full story definitely leads to you thinking she needs a lot more hugs than she gets on the show.
In Season 10, Adam. In spades.
Season 12 introduces Campbell, a junior pro hockey player; he's lonely, homesick, plagued with anxieties, and lactose-intolerant.
Desperate Housewives: The show encourages us to feel sorry for all of the Housewives at some point but Bree Van de Kamp is undoubtedly the show's biggest Woobie. Her first husband, Rex, threw everything she gave him back in her face, asked her for a divorce, had an affair with the neighbourhood prostitute, and then asked her to engage in BDSM. When he finally dies, he does so thinking she murdered him. Meanwhile, her son Andrew turns out to be a raging sociopath who blackmails her, asks to be emancipated, and going so far as to sleep with her boyfriend, and her daughter is a slut who betrays her trust, exposes her family secrets, runs away from home with a psychotic boyfriend, sleeps with her history teacher, and becomes pregnant to her best friend's boyfriend. Despite all this, she still loves her children dearly. She doesn't have much luck with love either. After her kinky husband dies, she begins a relationship with a schizo pharmacist who turns out to have killed Rex, whom she then watches commit suicide, after which she becomes a raging alcoholic (which is a recurring problem for her from this point onwards). Her second husband, Orson, ran over her best friend's husband and helps his homicidal mother cover up a murder, while his ex-wife is a crazed rapist straight out of I, Claudius. For a few seasons Orson seems to be relatively stable, before he becomes a kleptomaniac, domineering wheel-chair bound psycho, and finally massively stealthy blackmailer. Her lover Karl gets smashed to death by an airplane, her younger boyfriend Keith turns out to have a son, and she hooks up with a cop who goes crazy because he can't have her. Though she strives for perfection since the very first episode, she always seems to be getting wrapped up in some sort of crime, deception or tragedy, which includes but is not limited to; covering up her son's hit and run; faking a pregnancy to raise her biological grandchild; trying to convince everyone she's not an alcoholic; finding out her neighbour keeps her son locked in a basement; almost being killed by her mother-in-law; finding out her first husband has another son, who then blackmails her; covering up the murder of her best friend's stepfather; almost committing suicide. Luckily, the vetting system in Kentucky isn't very good, since after all this she becomes state Senator a few years later. Oh, and when she was a child, her mother was killed and hit by a car and she spent the entire night attempting to scrub the blood out of the concrete.
Rita who went from a horribly abusive husband to dating a serial killer (who actually represents an improvement in her taste in men, since he treats her and her kids a lot better).
Dexter himself is the main woobie of the series. Rita's misfortune has at least been partially due to the choices she has made. Dexter, on the other hand, saw his mother get brutally murdered with a chainsaw and was left in a crate to sit in his mother's blood for 2 days. It is no wonder he became a serial killer after that. He had to kill his own brother in season 1. He thought he found a woman who understood him in season 2, but she turned out to be crazy and he had to kill her. He also found out that his foster father committed suicide because he couldn't take the burden of what Dexter had become. He thought he had made a true friend in season 3, but had to murder him as well. Season 4 culminated in an ending that was so heartbreaking and tragically ironic that I was left disturbed afterwards (and that is not an easy thing to do). Serial killer or not, it is hard for me to imagine how anyone wouldn't sympathize with this guy.
What about Debra? She just cannot catch a break. It doesn't hurt that she becomes more and more likeable throughout the series. It is heart-breaking watching her relationships fail one after another, especially when the love of her life is shot in front of her eyes.
Dexter's brother, Brian, is hardly safe from this trope. [[spoiler: He remembers every moment of his and Dexter's mother's brutal death, was left behind in that crate, seperated from his brother, grew up without a family, got committed to a 'nut house' and he was later killed by his own brother, who he genuinely seemed to love. Admittedly, he was a murderous sociopath, but it's still utterly tragic.
Laguerta. First, her friend Doakes is framed as the Bay Harbor Butcher after all the trouble she goes through to prove him innocent. Then she finds out another friend of hers (formerly a love interest) murdered another of her friends. Add all this to the unjust treatment she receives from her captain.
Christine the daughter of the Trinity Killer absolutely counts. Sure, she may have shot Debra and killed Lundy, but she was only doing it to protect her father. When she finds out that her father never even cared about her, you can't help feeling sorry for her. Then she confesses to Debra, begs for forgiveness, and shoots herself in the head when she doesn't receive it. Talk about a sad way to go!
Summer Glau brought her kitten-basket-cuteness to Joss Whedon's show as Washington D.C. Dollhouse programmer Bennett Halverson. When she first appeared in the episodes The Public Eye and The Left Hand she was geeky in glasses but also angry and vengeful toward Caroline for leaving her trapped with her arm beneath causing it to be dead. Then when she came back in the episode Getting Closer we learn in flashbacks that she became friends with Caroline but mistook Caroline leaving so she wouldn't be arrested for her abandoning her. Then she seemed to have achieved a cute Pair the Smart Ones situation with fellow geek Topher. Unfortunately after she adorably asks Dr. Saunders if Topher really likes her, Saunders(who was a "sleeper") shoots her in the head, killing her. This shakes up Topher, a character who oftimes was somewhat annoying AND morally questionable and making him more sympathetic. All thanks to his brief association with Summer.Woobie transferrence achieved. She makes one last appearance in the series finale Epitaph Two set ten years in the future as Bennett giving a video tutorial that a nearly insane Topher watches to help build a device to restore the wiped and imprinted population of a postApocalyptic world back to their original selves. Even in his mentally unstable state Topher is still touched by the beauty of, and grateful to the genius of his lost love.
Dr. Saunders, the Dollhouse's resident physician, cares more about the Dolls than is healthy for anyone working for an organization like the Dollhouse, and she usually hides in her office because she doesn't want to see the massive scars she got when her gorgeous face was carved up by a rogue Active. Oh, it probably doesn't help that "she" is actually an old man whose brain was archived by the Dollhouse and when he was killed, downloaded into the body of Whiskey, the Doll whose face got carved up to hell by a sadistic, insane Doll. But wait, there's more - the rogue Active comes back and she gets some quality time Alone with the Psycho who'd slashed up her face, she finds out she's just an imprinted Doll, and in the future, things get worse. First with the "Was I my best?" and then with the "I have to wait here."
Adelle DeWitt: A sad, lonely woman who hires an active, Victor, for company...and then gets dumped by him. In Spy in the House of Love she nearly started crying when she found out who the spy was, and looked ready to do so again when speaking with him. She really was trying to help people, and she ends up basically responsible for the end of the world, trying desperately to protect her for-all-practical-purposes son Topher. Who then sacrifices himself, leaving her to try to rebuild the world alone
Paul establishes his Woobie credentials in the scene where he discovers Mellie is an active. He's basically lost his job as a federal agent and that for a solid portion of his life he's been under surveillance by the organization he's supposed to be investigating.
What about Echo? Especially in "True Believer". You find yourself asking "How many times is that poor girl going to get clunked in the head?"
Victor, at least partially due to being Mr. Fanservice. "I did something bad." "What did you do?" "They won't tell me." Finding out he's in the dollhouse to get a cure for his PTSD doesn't hurt his woobie-ness.
Sierra, after Joe Hearn raping her, the repressed memories of it, and Nolan, the bastard who sold her to the Dollhouse because she wouldn't sleep with him. Poor thing.
Topher, a man so lonely he has to create someone to celebrate his birthday with. He seems to have deliberately programmed Whiskey/Dr. Saunders to hate him due to his guilt about Alpha going rogue on her. It gets worse in Epitaph Two, with his Heroic Sacrifice. In "Getting Closer", he finally falls in love with someone, and Dr. Saunders shoots her in the head right in front of him, giving him a Heroic BSOD.
Dominic is getting there, though in his case it's almost more of an Alas, Poor Scrappy thing: his behavior in "Echos" hinted at Hidden Depths, but most fans' sympathy seems driven by horrified reactions to what's happened to him in his last two appearances. The scene in Epitaph One where he demands of Adelle why she would expect him to help her, after what she did, was plenty sympathy inducing.
The rest of the Dolls. On the one hand, they're memory wiped, have no self-awareness, are pimped out on a regular basis, and there's nothing they can do to fight back. On the other hand, Dolls are implied to mostly be volunteers excepting Sierra and Alpha. For a given value of "volunteers," perhaps. Echo chose to become a Doll, but only because the Dollhouse let her choose between that or something even worse (either death or lifetime in prison for something she didn't do, presumably). Like one of the people interviewed in episode 1x06 said, "the only way you'd sign up to be a slave is if you are one already." The dollhouse had spent two years looking for Caroline, they were never going to let her go.
Mellie/November? She was a sleeper, imprinted with the Mellie personality who loved Paul and was completely unaware that she was a part of the very organization that Paul was trying to take down, and in "Needs" we see that her motivation comes from wanting to forget about her dead daughter. Not to mention that by the end of the series she commits suicide so Boyd can't use her sleeper trigger phrase to use her to kill Paul.
This show is so sad, that even one-episode characters we never see again can be woobies. The internet mogul who rents out a doll to relive his life with the woman he loved, who died tragically just before he became the man she wanted him to be. Being played by Patton Oswalt helps.
Susan. A ten year old girl who was pimped out by her dead mothers boyfriend, who hates herself for having needed help to escape and can't feel safe while talking to an adult if she doesn't have a knife on her. Poor thing.
Little Mo has been a victim of bullying all her life who grows up feeling she is unwanted. Marries a man who not only has a baby with someone else but subjects her to appalling violence and cruelty including rape. She fights back in self-defense and is sent to jail where she is beaten up on a daily basis. When she gets out her psycho ex kidnaps and tries to kill. Then just when she is settled and happily married she is raped (again). She then finds she is pregnant by her rapist which destroys her marriage.
Ronnie Mitchell. She was constantly raped and abused by her father and one of which she got pregnant. She had a baby girl and her father forced her to give her up for adoption. When she moves to Walford a girl reveals herself to be her daughter, she doesn't believe her. Then when she finds out she is her daughter, she gets HIT BY A CAR and minutes later dies in her arms. She then gets pregnant, but suffers a miscarriage after her father pushed her into a bar. She then gets pregnant again and gets married. The baby lives, but the next day HE DIES OF SUDDEN INFANT DEATH SYNDROME and in desperation kidnaps another baby that was left unattended for. Then out of guilt she returns the baby. Kat and Alfie are willing to forgive her on accounts of kidnap. However, her sister's evil boyfriend begins to become obsessed with her and makes it looks like she is trying to kidnap baby Tommy again. So she gets arrested and got put in prison for 3 YEARS.
Syed fit this for a while there, although his life has gotten a bit better once he reconciled his faith and his sexuality.
Whitney- groomed by a paedophile from the age of twelve, repeatedly molested and bullied by him and her step-mother hasn't the faintest idea, convinces her to steal money for him, then when Whitney's sixteenth comes along, he convinces her to run away with him even though she's getting "past her sell-by date".
Dr Mark Greene. The very definition of a woobie as far as I'm concerned. Loses a pregnant patient in the most heartbreaking and drawn out manner possible. Then his marriage breaks up after his wife has an affair. Then the colleague he always loved leaves town, even after he tells her he loves her. Then he gets beaten up by an unidentifyed man for no reason. Then his dad gets emphysema. Then his mother gets dementia, then dies. Then his dad gets cancer, then dies. Then he gets engaged to Dr Corday, who gets pregnant, then he gets diagnosed with an incurable brain tumor. Then the he survives just long enough to get married, see the baby, then see the baby almost die from a drug overdose as a direct result of his older daughters irresponsibility. Then he dies, slowly, horribly, and pointlessly having been mercilessly tortured by the writers for nearly a decade, and never does a thing to make you think he deserved it.
To be fair most characters on this show are woobies, all subjected to numerous horrible experiences in the name of great television.
Rocket Romano, although he is technically Dr. Jerk, he does take a fair amount of punishment. He hopelessly pines after Elizabeth Corday from the moment they meet until he dies, and watches her have various relationships. His assy behaviour means that he can and does alienate people, and it is hinted that he is very lonely. We, the audience, see enough Pet the Dog moments that we nevertheless feel sorry for him. Then, his arm is cut off in an accident involving a helicopter. The re-attachment and recovery goes badly, and the arm eventually has to be amputated. Suffering badly from PTSD, he is no longer able to operate, demoted, and surrounded by colleagues who despise him. Eventually, another helicopter falls on him and puts him out his misery.
Dr. Kovac goes through pretty much every painful misfortune and angst-inducing experience possible throughout the series, and whenever someone gets violent in the ER, 75% of the time he's the one who winds up getting the crap beaten out of him. And before the series even started, his wife and kids were blown up while they were living in a war zone in Croatia, when a stray shell struck the house seconds after he left to go shopping.
In the very first episode, John Crichton is sucked into a wormhole away from everything he's ever known, picked up by bunch of escaping criminals, threatened and roughed up by every one of them, forcibly injected with translator microbes, and blamed for the death of an insane military commander's brother. And this is before the frequent torture, frequent insanity, neural clone living in his head, rape, etc... Luckily, the fans—and his lover—seem to find his fractured mental state endearing. Farscape: One man's descent into madness. With puppets. And snarkiness. Awww.
Aeryn Sun. Bad Ass, Action Girl... but also undeniably with her life a suckfest. Her parents are both dead, one killed by the other; her childhood friends are all either dead by John's great big ship-explodey plan or hate her guts; the first man she loves she turns in for torture and a slow death and the second man she loves dies heroically of radiation poisoning. Her friends D'Argo and Zhaan also died, one as the direct result of her actions. And then there's being tortured horribly. Compared to all this her ridiculous, painful relationship with the second John Crichton is actually a high point rather than the emotionally damaging self-esteem-destroyer it would be otherwise. Literally the next episode after that relationship finally works itself around to a good, somewhat healthy, happy place, the kidnapping and horrible torture happens.
Stark's another great example of a woobie in Farscape: an enslaved medium in the business of assisting the dying into the afterlife, who also happens to have no manner of luck whatsoever. His woobiedom got particularly blatant during the episodes "Self-Inflicted Wounds" and "Different Destinations"- which seem to have been written exclusively to torture the poor bugger: he gets vomited on by Pilot, menaced by a giant serpent, whined at by Jool, doublecrossed by the Pathfinders, and forced to listen as Zhaan - his lover - dies before he can reach her. And then, during his long period of inconsolable mourning, Crichton's attempt to cheer him up backfires by sending them all back in time, where everyone befriended by the main cast ends up horribly murdered.
The Stark-Sikozu hybrid in "Unrealized Realities" and "Prayer." Quite apart from the trauma of being menaced by Scorpius and being forced to watch Chiana/Aeryn die, she sounds like she's just about to burst into tears at any given moment. Between the torture inflicted on him by others, emotional torture he inflicts on himself and his general bad luck, he's pretty much picked "bat-shit insane" over the alternative of remaining constantly aware of how suck his life is. Zhaan was the closest link to a sane and happy reality he had, and as mentioned, she died. And when he does his job of helping people pass on, he does it with such gentleness and dignity that you get the glimpse of what he could be like if he weren't so constantly crapped on by circumstance.
Worse still for John is that he's essentially spending the entire series trying to get home, and when he finally manages to return, not only does he realize that the Earth isn't ready to deal with the things that are out there, but that he can't simply go back to living a normal life: He'd be putting Earth at risk, and beyond that, most of the people on Earth don't even seem to want him there. It's not just John, though. Aeryn and John had hopes that they might be able to live together there, and from what we see of the crew's time on earth from their perspective, it initially seems like they could eventually fit in after all. Then you watch "A constellation of Doubt" and see how the world's been reacting when they're not around - almost the entire cast is painted unfairly. Even Rygel seems hurt by how the humans regarded them. The aspect that makes that episode so particularly painful is that, to the savvy viewer, it's a COMPLETELY realistic portrayal of how humans would likely react, so you can't even draw comfort from the fact that it's fiction.
It's worth pointing out, however, that of all of the woobies, Chiana's the only one who doesn't really get a happy ending.
River Tam, even if she's also the closest you can come to a heroicAx-Crazy. She's had it rough — her backstory involved her being enrolled into what was purported to be a school for the exceptionally gifted, but that turned out to be a twisted government/corporate facility whose scientists cut into her brain, stripped out her amygdala, and subjected her to horrifically cruel experiments and brainwashing that rendered her insane because they were seeking to turn her into a weapon. She and her brother Simon received no help whatsoever from her family, and when Simon rescued her from the Academy, both she and Simon were put on the Alliance's most wanted list. She's since had lots of bad guys and others after her, including Alliance Feds, settlers out to burn her at the stake, the Hands of Blue from the Academy, a ruthless Bounty Hunter, and even a government assassin. The woobification hits critical mass in "War Stories," where River has her physical and emotional breakdown once her medication starts to wear off, and she says that while she enjoyed being able to think clearly, she hates it at the same time because she knows she's going to go right back to her chaotic insanity. She's actually despairing at that moment, because she knows she's never going to be fully healed, and that fact is heartbreaking. One of the worst moments comes right in the original pilot, when River wakes up in the infirmary. She stumbles around, calling out to Simon, and looks terribly lost and confused, and then Dobson leaps out of nowhere, shoves a gun in her face, and takes her hostage. While he's got the gun to her head, she starts sobbing helplessly. She's lost, confused, in a strange place, the only person she has to rely on is inexplicably missing, and due to her Psychic Powers, she knows exactly what Dobson is going to do: take her back to that place that MindRaped her for three years. In that context, that brief, helpless, pained sob is just heartbreaking. In The MovieSerenity she hits absolute rock-bottom when she knows that the crew is terrified of her and that she's bringing the Operative down on them all, and then asks Simon to "put a bullet to me. Bullet in the brainpan, squish!" Interspersed with images of her with a gun to her own head. If you're not feeling a little bit of sympathy for the poor girl, you're a soulless person without a soul.
Simon, River's brother, might have it even worse, considering he has to deal with River's baggage plus everyone demanding he keep his sister quiet, not to mention his giving up his promising career, pampered background, comfortable home and immense wealth just for her. He fancies Kaylee but their class background backpedals their budding relationship everywhere. In "Safe," River blames herself for ruining Simon's life and career. It's bad enough seeing her already so absolutely broken, but then piling on that kind of guilt just makes it even worse for the both of them.
Kaylee is proclaimed a character who is always happy and cheerful. However, what she goes through in "Objects in Space" just makes you want to hug her and tell her it's going to be all right — as well as throw Psycho for Hire Jubal Early out the nearest airlock.
FlashForward (2009): Has its woobie in the form of Agent Demetri Noh. While he's not much on quantity of bad things happening too him, the fact that he's faced with the possibility of dying in the next six months, and then a strange woman calling him to tell him that he's going to be shot to death a month before the day of the Flash Forward have made his character pretty woobilicious.
Frasier: Niles. Although he's in love with another woman, he stays faithful to his cold and unloving wife for years, only to discover that she's cheating on him with their therapist. After the brutal divorce is over, the woman he truly loves is dating his divorce lawyer. And the list goes on, and on...
On occasion, Frasier can also become this; particularly when his loneliness and romantic despair is stressed.
Or when his advice would go horribly wrong for reasons he could not possibly have foreseen or had any control over, or when he gets blamed for advice other people gave. (For a combination of both of these, see the Leap Year episode. Martin has been urging Daphne to get a new haircut for months to the point of saying he'd pay for it, while Frasier merely says that it's a good day to take chances. Daphne's hairdresser proceeds to give her an absolutely hideous hairstyle for no explained reason, and rather than blaming the hairdresser or Martin, Daphne blames Frasier... and ends the episode laughing at his humiliation on television.)
Even Daphne's fiancé, Donny, can fit; yes, we're rooting for Niles and Daphne to end up together, but he still gets it rough, and he's a fairly decent guy. His counterpart, Mel, never gets the same sympathy, as she's portrayed as a much crueler individual.
The first scene of Donny after Daphne and Niles get together, Frasier finds him sitting in the dark in his office, despondant and talking to the groom from his wedding cake, who he's named "Mr. Chump". He furthermore tells Frasier he doesn't hate Daphne for what happened, but he weakly jokes that as a lawyer, suing people is just his knee-jerk reaction to handling problems. While Frasier's confession of his hand in the events gets his riled up, the scene makes it clear that he was thrown into a Heroic BSOD by what happened and just doesn't know how to handle it.
Lots of seemingly tough characters have truly painful moments.
Daniel listening to punk music in his headphones in his tiny room
When Neal finally confronts his mother about his his father's infidelity.
Nearly everyone on the show needs some warm soup and a blanket. Except for Ken, who realizes that he really doesn't have it so bad by the end.
Friday Night Lights: Matt Saracen. Seriously the guy pretty much redefines Woobiedom. He's the only person taking care of his dementia ridden Grandmother, His mother left when he was a kid, He's a social outcast with only one friend, He has no luck with girls, his father is in Iraq, and he's forced to be quarterback of the football team after the main star was paralyzed, in a town where football is practically a religion and no one has any faith in him at all. Said father returns and is revealed as a cold bastard who cares a lot more about the military than his son or mother, he loses the father figure he had in coach Taylor, his girlfriend breaks up with Him, his father dies, he loses the quarterback position to a new player and pretty much everyone he cares about leaves him at one time or another. Season 4 is when things finally start going right for Him and You can't help but be happy for the guy at last.
Ross Geller, who is the "divorce" guy in the group. He is possibly the worst when it comes to relationships, sometimes, these relationships fail because of the actions of his friends, sometimes because of his own actions. Nonetheless, you can't help but feel a little bit sorry for him most of the time. The only reason he isn't any woobier is because he finally does hook up with the girl he has loved since the 9th grade by the end of the series.
Monica has been The Unfavourite to her parents simply for being second-born and was also obese when she was young. She then becomes a Woobie again at one point during work, when the job she's dreamed of doing for years is ruined because the staff all hate and bully her. (Though this improves and she also becomes Head Chef at a different, very prestigious restaraunt). She desperately longs to get married and have a happy home with children but her relationships keep failing and later finds out she's infertile.
Chandler is a Sad Clown who uses humour as a defence and has devestatingly low self esteem, which stems from his Hilariously Abusive Childhood. He's also terrified of ending up alone but struggles with Commitment Issues thanks to his dysfunctional parents, so has to watch Joey have multiple one nights stands and Ross several steady girlfriends while he's either rejected or cheated on. Thankfully, both he and Monica lose this status when they fall in love, as she gets him over his self-loathing and he gives her the love she alwayed wanted. And although they find out they're infertile decide to adopt (instead of surrogacy or sperm donorship) so they can give an unwanted baby a happy home. They end the series Happily Married with adopted twins.
Rachel is a Woobie at the start of the show, when she's a waitress and is very low on income, a huge change to the life she had before. It's also implied that she never felt that she was good at anything during a fight with Ross. Averted for the rest of the series when she becomes pretty successful in her career and a lot more confident.
Joey in season 8 when he was in love with Rachel. Then he lost the only girl he ever loved and was the only friend who ended up without his soulmate.
Pheobe is the woobiest of all of them, with her Trauma Conga Line past: she grew up very poor (she mentions once that on Christmas, her stepdad would sell his blood to buy them food), her drug-dealer mother killed herself, she lived as a homeless for a lot of her life and then found out that her real mother had given her away. No wonder she's so messed up.
Gunther? Poor guy's stuck in a dead end job at Central Perk and harboring a huge crush on Rachel for at least 9 years that's completely unreciprocated, and it's implied he doesn't really have that many friends either.
We have Olivia who gets betrayed by her lover and then learns that she was (without any memory) cruely experimented on as a child to become savior of the world in the midst of war between realties.
Peter whose dad leaves him at 13 and is unaware that he was taken from the other reality as a child.
The most Woobieful of the lot, Walter Bishop, a brain-damaged Mad Scientist who spent 17 years in a mental institution and is now unable to function in society; he retains his prodigious intelligence but can't even go to the store without getting lost, and he's haunted by the knowledge that he's done terrible things in the past but can't remember what they were.
Generation Kill: Lt. Nate Fick in this miniseries adaptation seriously needs a hug after every time he has to deal with his incompetent superiors; seriously, if those eyes of his don't make you want to hug him, you need help. Ray Person goes from zero to woobie in about two seconds when he, quite depressingly and with equally big puppy-dog eyes, admits that he's stopped talking everyone's ears off because he's run out of his energy pills. Worse, in the very next scene, he has a Heroic BSOD and attacks another, much larger Marine, only for the other to BSOD even worse and pound him in the face as a response, prompting Ray finally break down. Fick's woobiefication doubles over if you've read the actual Fick's book, One Bullet Away, if only because of the incredible professionalism he exhibited during the course of the events in the war, especially when compared with the incompetence of his superiors.
Tina who thought she needed to fake a stutter to fit in.
Quinn dealt with a pregnancy in season 1, and then the revelation of the past she ran away from.
Puck when he talked about what really went down while he was in juvie, and his conversation with his father.
Blaine who was shown to have things worse than Kurt in that he was actually beaten down by strangers who didn't like that he went to a Sadie Hawkins dance with a boy, and it's stated that his father doesn't approve of his sexuality.
Emma when she finally gets help with her OCD.
Sue when her sister, Jean, dies.
Will when he has to choose between doing what he's passionate about, teaching the Glee students, or following his dream, being on Broadway.
Rachel in "Born This Way", when everyone is giving her grief about her decision to get a nose job. She eventually changes her mind.
Brittany who, while a bit of a Cloudcuckoolander, is a sweet girl. She breaks up with Artie because he called her stupid. Turns out, he was the only one in the school who'd never called her that.
Santana, dealing with her own sexuality, using Dave as a cover-up, loving Brittany who loves her back, but wouldn't go with her because of issues outside of sexuality.
Sam in Rumours, when it was revealed that his family lives in a motel because they cannot afford a house. It comes to a head when Kurt and Quinn are caught coming out of the motel with him by Finn and Rachel and are immediately accused of cheating on their respective boyfriends, despite the fact that they are helping Sam take care of his siblings.
Dave, in the Prom episode, when he finally breaks down crying, apologizing to Kurt for his treatment of him. Even Kurt looks like he want to give him a hug. Also in the episode "On My Way", when he tries to kill himself.
Becky Jackson. Her inner monologue is done by none other than Helen Mirren, accentuating the fact that she can't get anyone to look past her Down syndrome and see the sweet, intelligent girl underneath.
Kurt. So, so much. He's gay and living in a homophobic town and attending a school where he's physically bullied everyday for his sexuality - most of the time in plain view of the teachers who don't do anything about it - and has his first kiss stolen from him by a closeted homophobic bully. His mother is dead, and when his dad had a heart attack, he seemed to be always on the verge of a breakdown, but instead of offering the support he obviously needed, his friends were judging him for his lack of belief in religion. He's constantly told that he isn't good enough for things, and he's recently found out that the love of his life cheated on him, and that his father has cancer.
Chuck and Blair (who Serena refers to as the most damaged people she knows - and on this show, that's no mean feat). Chuck's mother is either dead or screwed him over (pick one), his father neglected and emotionally abused him before dying tragically, his uncle's main goal in life is to cause Chuck pain, his best friend either ignores him or insults him, his sister treats him horribly, he got shot, and the love of his life is currently engaged to someone else.
Blair's mother neglects and emotionally abuses her (especially in the early seasons), her father moved to another country with a male model, she has low self esteem and bulimia, her best friend has said some unforgivable things to her, she's had three boyfriends who have all at some point cheated on her (one with her aforementioned best friend, one with an interior decorater, and one with his stepmother), she's been pimped out for a hotel, and the love of her life just told her to go marry someone else.
YMMV, these two qualify more as Jerkass Woobie'. While both put through some incredible misery, Chuck and Blair are pretty unsympathetic otherwise. Blair is an Alpha Bitch who treats people like dirt and has a deeply self-centered world view who never really cares about the people she may hurt. Chuck is an incredible snob who doesn't even pretend to be likeable and has no problem voicing his disdain for those less wealthy than Himself. He even tried to rape Jenny in the pilot.
Meredith Grey had a crappy childhood, a bitchy Alzheimer's mother, a boyfriend who turns out to have a wife, she almost gets blown up, dies at one point, in season 3 her mother dies, her stepmother dies and her newly-reconciled father becomes abusive. Her woobie status is hotly disputed however, and could be interpreted as a poorly executed woobie (as it is by a lot of fans). Meredith is the Wangsty one.
The real woobies in the first two seasons is George. George again in season five, with the rest of the cast ignoring him for no good reason. He eventually decides to become a trauma surgeon for the army, which provokes them into staging an intervention. Then he gets Put on a Bus... then thrown under the bus and dragged for a few city blocks. Ouch. Poor George.
Alex Karev he may be a bit of a Jerkass but we find out in season six his brother comes to visit and we find out that Alex is a foster child who has been in and out of care for years and his father was abusive his mother was an alcoholic and he had to steal food for his brother and sister which ended up with him being in juvy. Also he got married to Izzie and she left him so he probably has abandonment issues and to top it all off in the season six finale he gets shot.
Hannibal: Will Graham is starting to become one quick.
Heroes: Save the woobie, save the world: Hiro is undoubtedly the Woobie in Heroes. His father thinks he's a failiure, his coworkers think he's either a loser or a lunatic. When he finally gets his friend to believe in him and go on a quest to save the world he fails to protect people twice (The second time being a girl he loved, whose head is brutally ripped open) he then loses his powers, narrowly avoids being dragged back to Japan, his friend gets shot, he sees himself DIE in a fascist future, he has to kill a man to save the world. This is all JUST in Season One. Season two he loses ANOTHER love, finds out his boyhood hero is an omnicidal Ra's Al Ghul style villain, loses his father, is attacked by Peter who he previously considered a friend and learns his failiure to kill Adam Monroe is the reason his father is dead. Season Three he is trapped in a miserable job, has his desire for excitement cause him to lose a deadly formula, sees a dark future where his friend Ando KILLS him, is locked up by Primatech, mind wiped by Arthur, has to see his mother DIE, has his powers taken and is shoved off a building. I'm convinced the whole show is really just one long string of Break the Cutie moments for the poor guy. The fact that he's as close to a plushie in human form as you can get doesn't help.
Bayliss. After surviving an Abusive Childhood, he becomes a cop and joins homicide, only for everyone to treat him like shit because of his lack of experience from investigation. Then his first case is a murdered eleven-year-old girl which becomes high profile very quickly. The case is fucked from the get go with the scene contaminated, the lack of evidence and the superior detectives moving the body too soon, all of which he is blamed for. The case remains open and Bayliss is forever haunted. Then he has three years of being treated badly by his partner Pembleton whom he seems to idolise. After Pembleton has a stroke, he starts treating him better until Bayliss is shot which convinces Pembleton to retire. In the finale, he murders a released killer and is driven insane by guilt.
Lewis was left traumatized by his partners suicide.
Felton's unstable wife took his kids.
Bolander is divorced with no children and is starting to realize just how much He regrets His path in life,
Kellerman was forced to endure the humiliation of a corruption accusation with no one believing His innocence or willing to help Him which nearly drove him to suicide
Munch has three ex-wives, no luck in work or relationships, a partner who openly hates him and ignores him after he leaves and having to watch three of his fellow detectives get shot. He was miserable in high school, loved a girl who didn't love him and who later turned up murdered, and his father killed himself.
While never specified, Crosetti was so unhappy he was driven to suicide.
Archie Kennedy. In the first four movies, he undergoes all sorts of emotional and physical trauma, first at the hands of the first movie's Big Bad, and later as a prisoner of war, which, despite the series' usually rather relaxed approach to continuity, is enough to give him PTSD issues even after he returns to the Navy. The torments he experiences canonically are bad enough, but the popular interpretation of what happened with Simpson just makes it worse. Also, he's perpetually in his best friend's shadow, and while he usually seems fine with letting Horatio have all the glory, in "The Duchess and the Devil" he flat-out refuses to go back to the Indefatigable and let everyone talk about "how Horatio Hornblower rescued his shipmate from prison" and insists that Horatio doesn't need him. After trying to starve himself to death. By the second installment, he has become a more confident person, only to be fatally wounded in battle, linger long enough to save his best friend's life and career by falsely confessing to mutiny, die in a heart-rending death scene, and never be mentioned in the series again.
There's Wellard in the second series. Presumably they needed someone to torture and Archie had gotten too confident and stable to be tormented the way he was in the first. Wellard appears to be a pretty decent, competent and promising young midshipman, if slightly unsure of himself, but then he catches the attention of the mad captain, who starts having him whipped practically every other day, for completely insane reasons. When the captain falls down an open hatchway in the presence of Archie, Horatio and Wellard, there's some confusion as to whether or not one of them pushed him. It's implied that Wellard thinks he did it, but he was too high on laudanum to remember, and for a while he's tormented by the possibility that he might be responsible (which some members of the crew believe as well, and tell him). And he dies before he ever gets the chance to move on from it the way Archie did.
Clayton from "The Even Chance". Cute as any on the plucky middies among the handsome Navy boys, but has to deal with their bully Jack Simpson. He's ashamed of himself for not being effective enough, even though it's really the responsibility of the lieutenants or the captain. Poor guy, his Heroic Sacrifice meant a world but he just died way too young. The Hero Horatio and his Lancer Archie really liked him and they formed an adorable Moe Triplet, but he became Forgotten Fallen Friend for them too quickly, which increases the Woobie factor exponentially. He deserves a hug, poor guy!
Dr. James Wilson. Seriously, how much more are they going to make this guy suffer? There is a reason that "Wilson's Heart" is considered a high point of the series. To wit: He has issues with depression, he's been divorced 3 times partly because he was busy keeping House in line, he's House's only friend and gets nothing but abuse for his friendship, his assets get frozen when he tries to keep House out of jail, his girlfriend Amber dies because she was doing House a favor, and in season 5 it turns out that he blames himself for his schizophrenic brother running away. The end of season 8, starting with "Body and Soul", cements this for Wilson: he has cancer, endures a massive, nightmarish round of chemo only to have it progress from stage II to terminal, and dies 5 months after the season finale.
Dr. Chase has a small but vocal fanbase that sees him like this. He was a slimy weasel in the first season, but his backstory (alcoholic mum that he took care of at 15 after his dad left; both are now dead) combined with his Character Development (becomes more competent, empathetic and loyal), not to mention constant abuse from House (everyone gets it, but no one else got punched in the face) and the rest of the team walks all over him. This has fans (mostly female) wanting nothing more to hug him better.
Hell, even House has had more than his fair share of woobie moments. "Three Stories" is probably the most notable of these, where we learn that he got his limp in unbelievably crappy circumstances (a blood clot during a golf game - the doctors thinking that he was just a drug addict and sending him home for three days - having to diagnose himself with muscle death - an unsuccessful operation leaving him in agony - his girlfriend and medical proxy Stacy telling the doctors to cut out the thigh muscle, without his consent) and that he had massive self-worth issues even before his infarction. It's a main point in the show to make House suffer. He has had God knows how many near death experiences, got shot, was nearly thrown in the prison, and so on. In the third season, nobody believes him when he says his leg pain is coming back after a treatment that was supposed to cure it. Then Tritter drives him to almost killing himself by overdosing. In the fifth season, his best friend blames him for the death of his girlfriend and leaves him, and this was after he electrocuted his brain to find what's wrong with her. In Season 5, he's had to deal with the suicide of Kutner, a kid whom he seemed to genuinely like, started hallucinating Wilson's dead girlfriend Amber, then ends up at the season finale completely incapable of distinguishing reality from hallucination and commits himself to a mental hospital. The look on his face as he goes through the door is absolutely haunting. Basically his life fucking sucks.
Thirteen in "The Greater Good". There's this bit where Foreman walks into her apartment, starts talking to her, and she cuts him off and goes, "My leg is bleeding." He asks what happens, she tells him that she tripped over the table when she was going for the phone, and then she crowns it by going, "I can't see." She also has moments of this in "The Dig", where she breaks down crying over euthanizing her brother.
Cameron's husband died from thyroid cancer, was rejected by House and it seems that every morally bankrupt Patient of the Week was put on the Earth solely for the purpose of destroying her faith in the goodness of humanity. In Season 6, her marriage with Chase falls apart because he murdered a patient. That deserved it.
Foreman. Crappy upbringing, juvenile record, brother in prison, mother with Alzheimer's who doesn't even know who he is when he comes to her looking for forgiveness, religious nut for a dad, nearly dies, becomes a happier person after this, then has House take it all away again, tries to escape from PPTH so he won't become House, finds out it's too late and no one else will hire him, has a(n) (ex-)girlfriend dying of Huntington's and finds the body of a co-worker who just committed suicide. Not to mention all the smart ass comment he puts up with from House.
Taub: His best friend at work commits suicide, he's unable to cope with it, all while his wife nearly divorced him because of his infidelity. Oh, and he had to give up a lucrative practice as a plastic surgeon making half a million dollars per year to become House's bitch for about a quarter of the pay and shit in terms of benefits. Woobie status for Taub is debatable as some believe most of it he brought on himself (except for the friend's suicide, all of his issues come from cheating, and he's only shown to have an issue about Kutner immediately after it happened.)
House of Anubis- It is very hard not to feel bad for Nina in the second season. Not only was she dealing with a love triangle and had broken up with her boyfriend Fabian early in the season, but she and all her friends were cursed by an evil Egyptian spirit- as well as her grandmother (who she lived with, because her parents died when she was a child). If she failed in her quest to get the mask, her friends and grandmother would be killed. She did have some Jerk Ass moments, but it was hard not to sympathize for her when things continued getting worse and worse as the season went on.
Although a lot of the time Barney Stinson appears carefree and brimming with confidence, he is in actuality quite a fragile person with more than a few issues, particularly abandonment ones. He used to be an idealistic hippie who wanted to join the Peace Corps with the love of his life Shannon, until she cheated on him and left him for a richer more successful guy.
Hippie!Barney: But... I love you.
Shannon: But he has a boat.
Barney was devastated he was when Ted temporarily declared Barney 'something he had no use for anymore' and briefly ended their friendship after Barney slept with Ted's ex, Robin. Of course, Barney is more accurately a Jerkass Woobie, due to his insensitive and remorseless-bordering-on-cruel treatment of people outside his family and circle of friends, especially his one-night stands. But people tend to forget this.
Marshall Eriksen. A notable time is during Season 2 after Lily breaks their engagement and moves away. In addition, he's had moments of getting stressed out by his job, among several other unpleasant situations, but his biggest moment of all where he becomes this is in Season 6 when his father dies, because he was his best friend and meant a lot to him.
An in-universe example in How I Met Your Mother is Zoe's gullible cousin "Honey" so nicknamed because almost everything she does makes people want to say "Oh, honey..." out of pity. Robin actually states "You just want to wrap her up in a blanket and give her a cup of tea."
Ted in season 4, who not only gets left at the altar by the love of his life, but gets tormented by the universe all season in a Trauma Conga Line.
Robin, in early season 7, where she's pining silently for an oblivious Barney, and in her sheer aggregate number of Chew Toy incidents, (usually job-related).
Lily in season 2, getting rejected after she went crawling back to Marshall begging him to take her back, although she kind of deserved that.
iCarly: Fredward "Freddie" Benson. He's both physically and verbally abused by his "friend" Sam just for being a nerd. The poor kid just doesn't deserve that kind of abuse, dang it. "iMeet Fred" probably throws the most crap his way; his statement about the Fred videos causes Fred videos to stop being made, and as a result, he gets thrown out of about 5 different clubs, gets pushed down twice, and gains the ire of everyone at school and his family. Then, when the gang goes to speak to the guy who makes the Fred videos, Sam "convinces" Freddy to apologize for stating his opinion by beating him over the head with a tennis racket hard enough to break the frame. OF A TENNIS RACKET. Sure it's funny, but think about the pain that would cause in real life. And then it turns out that the maker of Fred videos just stopped making videos as a publicity stunt for both him and iCarly. He wasn't even offended by the statement. So, Freddie went through all the previous pain, specifically the tennis racket beating, for absolutely no reason. And then he gets pushed out of a treehouse and gets jumped on by Sam. Mind you, this is only one episode. And we still haven't gotten into the cruelty of Carly's ship teasing... It started badly in the pilot, and then things got worse (his mother wasn't part of the pilot). He gets rejected by Carly, the door gets shut in his face, Sam comes in insults him straight away, Freddie goes to leave, gets manipulated by Carly to stay, gets dragged out of his apartment again by Sam after he made a simple mistake in uploading a video, and even after coming up with the name for the show, is still insulted by everyone, and finally gets rejected by Carly again.
I, Claudius: The title character can be called "I Woobius".
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: Both main characters. When the storyline gets sick of torturing the eponymous Inspector Tommy Lynley, it takes a break to snack on his partner/Not Love Interest Sergeant Barbara Havers. And of course, because the two are soclose, when one of them is hurting, the other is too. Luckily, the comfort and strength they find in each other helps make up for it — a little bit, at least.
Heather got slowly woobified in the second season. In season one, she went to help the neighbouring town build windmills to generate power, and when it turns out the town's leader is planning to invade Jericho we hear she's dead. But then she turns up alive in a car crash later and makes it back to Jericho, so everything's good, right? Well, sort of. She's okay, but after a few episodes, we notice the natural optimism and cheerfulness even the goddamn apocalypse hadn't gotten rid of - it's all gone, and she's as depressed and serious as everyone else. Awwwwwww...
There's Stanley, who struggled for years to run his deceased parents' farm and care for his younger deaf sister only to loose her in a deadly shootout which almost took his financee as well. All of this only to become a political criminal forced into hiding shortly after.
Justice: The defendant in one episode of this show. When the defendant, Jenny Marshall, first appears, she's a happy honor student with no care in the world. Then the kid she babysits dies climbing a bookcase, she gets interrogated into falsely confessing, is repeatedly demonized especially when she tries to call the father, is forced to watch a kid she babysat lie on the stand (he was basically under the impression that it would appease his mom, and not trying to be evil), and even when she's acquitted the kid's dad still tries to demonize her, thus causing her to break down crying. Honestly, she just goes through so much that you just want to hug her.
Has a pretty tiny fandom for variousreasons, but the fandom that does exist is almost unanimously on Team Jack because of this trope. He is not the friendliest guy, but fans tend to excuse this because seriously, nothing good ever happens to him.
If you weren't on the "Jack is a Woobie" bandwagon before the finale, well, you'll be there afterward, when Jack thinks he'll finally live his dream of becoming king on his own merit, only to become a puppet for his uncle, William Cross. He won't even get the true crown at his crowning - a silver false one is substituted instead - and when Silas interrupts the ceremony, Jack is stuck between loyalty to his father and the kingship his uncle promises. When Silas retakes the throne, Jack gives himself up freely - and is rewarded by being walled up alive. While it is sad that he is killed by the love of his life, he was completely psycho crazy and led a bunch of innocent people to their deaths for no reason (and let's not forget that some of these people were people who legitimately loved him, like his fiance Trish) just because he misinterpreted something Abby said as a little girl and (when you really get down to it) he just wanted to sleep with his sister. From that perspective everyone in the series except for Henry is The Woobie.
Law & Order: Cyrus Lupo certainly has woobpotential. When his girlfriend left him and married his brother, he stopped talking to both of them and went into the French Foreign Legion undercover terror investigation. He came back to the states when said brother died by assisted suicide. Still carries a torch for his sister-in-law too.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent: Robert Goren's schizophrenic mother was fertile ground for Arch-Enemy Nicole Wallace's taunts. Goren learns that his partner, Alex Eames, once requested a new partner because she was having doubts about his mental stability. He goes undercover in a prison to help his nephew where he is essentially tortured, starved, and dehydrated. His needy alcohol- and gambling-addicted brother Frank is murdered by the aforementioned Nicole Wallace, who is in turn murdered by his mentor Declan Gage. Then, for good measure, Gage frames Goren for Nicole's murder. Goren's mom dies of cancer - but not before Goren learns his biological father was serial killer Mark Ford Brady.
Olivia Benson was conceived through a rape, grew up abused by her alcoholic mother, wrestled with fears of being like him, has been the victim of Attempted Rape three times, two of which were by the same man in the span of a year and included brutal torture, and was abandoned by her partner, who was the only family she had at the time and has trust issues as a result.
Elliot Stabler grew up with an abusive father and bipolar mother who nearly killed him, has struggled with anger issues, has issues with his family and seems unloved at times by his wife and kids, and finally had to leave the force after he was forced to shoot a teenage girl.
Casey Novak was with a man she loved and was engaged to, but he developed schizophrenia and became abusive. She gets beaten up in her office at one point, and by the time of her final season, she cries frequently. The crimes ultimately get to her and she pulls a stunt that leads to her being suspended.
John Munch's last words to his father before the latter killed himself were that he hated him. He has regretted this ever since. His uncle appeared in one episode only to go insane from depression and kill a man.
Odafin Tututola's son and wife are estranged, his nephew who is the product of incestuous rape on said wife commits murder and gets off scot-free, his former partner got shot protecting him which led to his daughter shooting his current partner, and his current partner betrayed his trust.
Nick Amaro grew up in an abusive household and has struggled with anger issues, which cost him his marriage.
Amanda Rollins is from a Big Screwed-Up Family. Her dad gambled until their mom kicked him out, her mom went through a series of abusive boyfriends, her sister tried to frame her for murder to get insurance money and later cleared out with everything Amanda owned. Amanda also gets beaten up by some loan sharks she owed money to and two years after that, relapses after her current boyfriend is revealed to have been cheating on her on the stand.
Don Cragen lost his wife in a plane crash and is an alcoholic.
Rafael Barba grew up in extreme poverty in a barrio, was bullied, and was never believed in by his mom as much as his best friend was. Said best friend, Alex, also married the woman Barba loved and still loves, Yelina. He comes back while campaigned for mayor and asks for help with their other best friend, Eddie, who has been accused of rape. Barba risks his career to help Eddie and then Alex when suspicion turns to him. In the end, though, he must report Alex. End result: Barba loses Alex and Yelina's friendship, gets called a sellout on national television, turned against by the people of New York City, probably ruining his political future, and is left questioning whether he really did go against Alex because of jealousy. The penultimate scene shows him Drowning My Sorrows.
Parker most certainly qualifies. She has an unknown number of terrible foster homes, at least one of which she blew up when she was about six, she watched her brother die (while he was riding his bike, something that she taught him how to do), she's eventually taken under the wing of a professional thief who trains her but refuses to give her a proper home because he knows that she wouldn't have fit in, and that's all before she hits her teenage years. As an adult and a member of the Leverage crew, she initially refuses to help a group of Serbian orphans because she's afraid that they'll be put in the foster system and turn out like her. And while she is learning how to have proper human emotions, it is still obviously difficult for her.
It's hard not to feel sorry for Eliot when he talks about the parts of his past he regrets. In the season 3 finale, when it's revealed he used to work for Damien Moreau, he starts getting choked up and practically begs Parker not to ask him what the worst thing he ever did was. He considers himself unforgivable, and does what needs to be done so the others don't have to.
There's Jerkass Woobie Nate. The company he worked for for over ten years, saving them countless millions in insurance payments, allowed his eight-year-old son to die; something for which he blames himself. It broke him, so badly he's drinking himself to death when the series begins, and he still hasn't recovered. As much of a jerk as he can be at times, it's clear nobody hates Nate as much as Nate hates himself.
Life on Mars (2006): Sam Tyler, to the point where John Simm got tired of having to cry nearly every episode during the first season.
Mary Ingalls. The tragic blindness could be excused as historically accurate... but not the sandstorm on her wedding day, the miscarriage of one child, the horrible death of another in the same fire that destroyed the school she and her husband ran and just generally having her isolation and helplessness exploited for every last drop of drama. They even devoted an entire episode to raising her hopes about getting her sight back, only to dash them in the last act.
Nancy Olesen. At least this is how she presents herself in the Season 8 opener, "The Reincarnation of Nellie". Nancy tells classmates that her bratty behavior is the result of her being abandoned by her mother (whom she "dearly loved") and then leading a hard life in being moved from orphanage to orphanage; her story behind the latter was that she was not liked by the orphanage director. The classic woobie-worthy tale is undone when Charles Ingalls, through a casual conversation with the orphanage director (since he and Caroline were adopting an orphaned brother and sister) finds out that: 1. Her mother had died while giving birth to Nancy, having suffered from a condition today known as pre-eclampsia; and 2. Her increasing behavior problems were behind her constant moves (although in the 1880s, the additional reality was that orphaned children frequently moved, without regard to how well-liked or well-behaved they may have been). In addition to getting revenge for some shenanigans Nancy had pulled in the episode, the town turns out to teach Nancy a tough lesson. Still, Mrs. Olesen — and her husband, Nels — are willing to give Nancy the good, stable home she needs.
James and Cassandra Cooper Ingalls, the children Charles and Caroline adopt in Season 8. In the 1980-1981 season finale, James (Jason Bateman) and Cassandra (Missy Francis) had witnessed their biological parents' violent death when their wagon spirals out of control down a steep hill, but the emotional ethos comes when Cassandra sees Caroline and begins to cry ... since Caroline strongly resembled her own, sweet mother.
Hurley. The butt of many of Sawyer's fat jokes, has incredibly bad luck and possible mental instability. But the worst times were during season 2 when Libby, the only girl on island to reciprocate love toward him, is shot by Micheal and euthanized by being given heroin. Again, in Season 3 best friend Charlie dies which makes the Season 4 opener much more bittersweet when he canonballs. Also the entire Season 4 opener flash-forwards.
Flashbacks to Ben's childhood deserve special mention: a dead mother, an abusive alcoholic father, and a lonely childhood all add up to a pretty sad life. It makes what he becomes all the more awesome, (if still kind of creepy). His emotional speech to Jacob asking "What about me?" helps- only to be replied with "What about you?" What Locke says about how his years of devoted service were rewarded with him getting cancer, having to watch his daughter murdered, and then being exiled from the island. He gets beat up a lot on the show, too, to the point where you can't help but feel sorry for him.
Daniel Faraday is probably one of the woobiest characters on the show, especially when Charlotte dies in his arms, and later on when he gets shot by his own mother.
Charlie Pace has his moments too. Thankfully, he also has some moments of real lightness and joy, which either balance it out or make it worse.
The Man in Black was pretty Woobie before he got all smoke-ified. His mom landed on the island and gave birth to him and his brother Jacob. Mom is then promptly killed by a woman on the island, who takes MiB and Jacob and raises them as her own children, never telling them about their real mother, so they could take her place as protectors of the island. Then MiB gets a vision of his birth mother and tries to get his brother to run away with him to a tribe of men on the other side of the island, and Jacob refuses after beating the crap out of him. So MiB runs away and only sees his brother every once in a while for the next thirty years. In that time he's been building a way to get off the damn island, which is all he's ever really wanted. Fake!Mom shows up and, after luring him into a false sense of security by hugging him and telling him she's sorry, knocks him out, destroys his machine, and kills every single one of the people he lived with for the past thirty years. He finds his Fake!Mom and kills her in a fit of revenge, immediately regrets it, and then Jacob finds him and beats him up (again) and drags him through the forest to the heart of the island. Jacob tosses him in, dooming him to a fate worse than death. All this because the poor kid just wanted to go home.
Dyson. Constantly caught between loyalties, lets Bo feed from him whenever she needs and helps her all the time even though it's agony for him to be around her knowing she can't be all his the way he wants. Framed for murder, and then tortured for information when he's caught. Then blamed and mistrusted by Bo for keeping secrets from her so that she doesn't let him come with her to fight the Big Bad, a much more powerful succubus. So he agrees to give up what he values most in the world just to lend her his strength this once, so she can survive. He expects it to be his Wolf, the essence of what makes him fae. It's worse.
Lauren: Before Kenzi she's the only human in the fae world, weak and as we later learn, a slave by the Ash because she wanted to cure her girlfriend from a magical coma. Which we also learn was done deliberately by the Ash to entrap Lauren in his clutches
Trick: again, takes huge risks to protect his friends, nearly loses his bar...or at least expects to because of an overly tricksy "friend." Traded a priceless fae collector's item he said he would never let go for medicine to keep Kenzi going until Bo and Lauren could find a cure. Gave up incredible power and authority as the Blood King because of the costs of his ability...but still uses it in the end to save Bo.
Malcolm in the Middle: Everyone. We are reminded that "Life is Unfair" at the beginning of every episode, after all!
Radar, never more so than when he has to announce the death of Henry Blake.
By the end of the series pretty much everyone working at the 4077th is a Woobie. Not necessarily because of their childhoods (most of them, actually, ranged from average to idyllic), but because they were apparently stuck in a time loop in which 3 years of a war were magically stretched into a whopping 11 traumatic and scarring years. Why the heck on't any of them just board one of those helicopters and get the heck out of there? Could the consequences be that much worse than that job?
Frank "Ferret Face" Burns goes from Butt Monkey to Jerkass Woobie. Viewers may have spent most of his tenure laughing at the abuse he so richly deserved, but was anyone else tempted to reach for the tissues at the look on his face as Margaret's helicopter disappeared into the distance?
Maude: Walter. He was an alcoholic and he lost his business, leading to a serious depression and a suicide attempt. After that he wanted to stay locked up in a mental institution because it made life easier. His life almost always seemed to kick him in the ass.
Medium: Ariel Dubois had a lot to deal with in two episodes in a row: first she sacrificed her chance to go to her ideal college by revealing that her interviewer's late husband had fathered a child with a student. The interviewer thought Ariel had planted the photos on her computer (actually her late husband's computer) for revenge, and even the dead husband who knew how heartless his wife could be was stunned. And then Ariel's psychic powers toss her into the future where she's Happily Married to a friend from high school and they have a child, only she has no memory of it. She's certain that it has to do with her teacher's murder and her mom is just about to tell her that it's all connected to the dead teacher's son, when she's tossed another seven years ahead — and her mom is dead, killed the night she was about tell Ariel. Desperate, Ariel goes to see the teacher's son — who's the spitting image of Ariel's high school sweetheart husband who's about to kill her — and then she wakes up safely in the present, a few hours before her friend goes to murder his baby momma. Psychic powers are a bitch.
Merlin: BBC's show: Merlin who has adorably enormous ears and is constantly (and increasingly affectionately) abused by Prince Arthur. General woobieness turns massive when Arthur shoots the unicorn that Merlin is petting or when Merlin watches the Evil Sorcerer summoning the Sidhe elders with a wonderfully sappy grin on his face, because he just loves magic that much or, really, any time Merlin tries to sacrifice himself to save Arthur. Been forced to help keep the status quo wherein he cannot use magic multiple times, watched his friend, his mother, and his father figure die or nearly die all in one episode, watched an old (boy?)friend die, possessed by an ancient sorcerer, been on the run from various armies and kings, (Correctly) accused of witchcraft and sentenced to death, watched his first love die at the hands of his master and friend after finding out she's a were...thing, been forced to Kill a close friend to save Camelot and end a curse and shortly afterward watch His father die hours after they met. This is on top of all the guilt he must feel for the people of Camelot who are dying because he released the Dragon. Piled onto all of this, he's subserviant to someone who would likely turn him in for practicing witchcraft and be executed. A truly heart wrenching scene was when seconds after his father's death, Merlin had to put a hand to his mouth to muffle his violent sobbing and vehemently wipe his tear flowing eyes in order to hide the extend of his grief from his own friend, from whom he had to hide their father son relation. Imagine it, the boy's father just died and he can't even express the grief! Colin Morgan was so convincingly anguished in this scene that this trooper herself died inside. You can never quite tell whether he's a Stepford Smiler or The Pollyanna. He's certainly becoming a darker character and he's extremely jaded by the "I save all of Camelot, but if anyone finds out they'll burn me to death", but he still has a very firm belief that it will all turn out okay and remains a very happy person around his friends. Colin Morgan is very good at keeping it ambiguous how much of a toll his trials have taken on him.
Simon Bellamy is pure Woobie material, and has been bullied and victimised all his life. Even the other young offenders think he's a freak, and Nathan in particular ridicules him without mercy. While his Butt Monkey status is Played for Laughs on occasion, the overall effect is one of major Woobification, particularly given some of the traumatising things that happen to him over the series.
Simon is a somewhat polarising character in the Misfits fandom. Some see him as an adorable, tortured uber-woobie who does nothing to deserve the abuse he gets, others think he's foaming-at-the-mouth crazy and totally unsympathetic. In either case, though, he certainly does go through hell and really ought to qualify as something of a woobie by most people's estimations.
Funnily enough, Nathan himself achieves Woobie status in the end, despite starting out as a - thoroughly deserving - Chew Toy. Basically, it's funny and somewhat gratifying when he gets bashed around a bit, humiliated or otherwise punished for being a prize Jerk Ass. But it's hard not to feel some sympathy when genuinely unpleasant stuff happens to him, such as being made homeless by his mother, getting rejected by Kelly in episode 6, and ultimately being impaled on a metal spike and then buried alive. He may be a jerk at times, but talk aboutDisproportionate Retribution...
In Series Four, Finn earned this status. In episode two it's revealed that he's in an abusive relationship, and his girlfriend uses her powers to make him do things he doesn't want to do. When she loses her power at the end of the episode, she kicks him out and Finn loses his home. Then in episode three Finn gets sexually assaulted and stalked, the rest of the cast gets angry at him and tells him it's his fault, and the whole mess causes Finn to lose his dad. Then at the end of the episode Finn is the one apologising
Monk: Adrian Monk. His wife died in a horrifying and violent fashion, propelling his already severe OCD to new heights. Whenever it seems like he might be getting better, something happens to traumatize him further and make his condition as bad as it ever was.
Tony DiNozzo manages to be The WoobieJerk JockHandsome Lech with a combination of depressing/neglectful childhood, inadequacy issues and getting hit on the head a lot, and not just when Gibbs dishes out a Dope Slap. Also, he had the plague. That's right, the plague. Not to mention being drugged, abducted, chained to a serial killer, framed for murder/accused of murder twice, falling in love undercover (resulting in a vicious, soul-destroying break-up), having his partner murdered so close to him her blood sprayed across his face, having his car blown up (twice), and there is more.
Ziva as well, though she qualifies as more of a stoic woobie. She's already pretty much given up on idealism after having lost who knows how many friends and family members, including her sister and mother, to the conflict in Israel. She killed her own brother, who became a terrorist, in order to save Gibbs, who was a stranger to her at the time. She fell in love with someone who was dying of radiation poisoning, her partner killed her boyfriend, her father doesn't give a crap about her, she was framed for murder twice, and she's been tortured horribly only to come back to a world that does not trust her. Talk about needing a hug from...
Abby; she's been attacked by Chip, stalked by an ex-boyfriend, shot at, lost her best friend, and her Dad. And she's absolutely adorable! Between her usually upbeat attitude, and the willingness of the other characters to do pretty much anything for her, it can be hard to see her as really needing a hug from the audience. She's usually the one giving them to other characters.
Ducky has a few woobie moments. There's "Broken Bird", which gives us some sad backstory, and then in a recent episode, we find out that his mother died. Am I the only one who wanted to give him a hug?
Just about every main character in NCIS has some sort of woobie moment during the course of the series. The possible exception being Plucky Comic Relief Jimmy Palmer.
Palmer has had a few, most notably the NCIS building being bombed on what was supposed to be his wedding day.
Nobuta from the drama definitely needs a few hugs, poor dear. As a little girl, she barely managed to muster up enough courage to call the man her mother married "Otousan" and was told by the guy that he wasn't really her dad. Around the same time, her doll was thrown in the trash by classmates and they graffittied her shirt to say "Little Tick." Throughout her school years, she gets miserably bullied by other classmates to the point where she planned to commit suicide by hanging herself from a tree - which gets ripped out of the ground before she gets there. She gets pushed around, hosed with cold water, has her lunch pushed to the floor and gets betrayed by the first girl she ever befriended, who pretends to be nice while sabotaging all Shuji and Akira's "producing" attempts. All because the girl wants to experience completely and utterly destroying someone.
The boys also get their share of Woobie moments too: Akira is constantly badgered by his violent father to succeed the company, while the boy just wants to live out his youth years in peace. He obviously is not the company-president type, but constantly gets into physical fights over it. He also has to deal with having his crush, Nobuta, punch him in the face.
Shuji resorts to his "Game" because he truly cares about people and fears being alone more than anything else. He utterly breaks down when his classmates discover what he's really like and abandon him completely. And yet he tells both Akira and Nobuta to stay away from him so that they won't be associated with him because Nobuta has finally started to become well-liked.
NYPD Blue: Andy Sipowicz: Starts off as a foulmouthed, alcoholic, Noble Bigot with a Badge, but makes an effort to clean up his act to woo the lovely Sylvia Costas. He succeeds (they're married in Season 3). Then the bad things start. His oldest son, rookie cop Andy, Jr., is killed in the line of duty. Then his prostate cancer scare. Then Sylvia is killed in a courthouse shooting - leaving Andy to care for their toddler son. Then Theo (the aforementioned toddler) has a leukemia scare. In between all that, one partner dies of Soap Opera Disease (a since-discredited heart infection from a nick during dental work) and another is murdered by gangsters. By the time the show ended, and he was married to the way-out-of-his-league Connie (with a newborn daughter) and squad commander, the implausible string of good fortune was handwaved by the fans with a collective "He deserves it."
Ryan was pretty woobieful in his earliest appearances as well, as a kid from a broken home, abandoned by his horrible mother and with nowhere to go, and hopelessly inept at attempting to fit in with the Cohens' world.
Michael and Jim both have Woobie-ish qualities (Jim moreso during his pining for Pam in the early series).
Toby full-out demonstrates it. He's already going through a divorce when he was introduced, and Michael's horrible treatment of him sometimes generates more grief for Toby than it does laughs at the absurdity of Michael's grudge. When Dwight takes his robe in the Season 3 Christmas episode and when Michael bars him from the beach in the beach episode are both extreme Woobie moments for Toby. Plus there's Pam being completely oblivious to his crush towards her- unlike Jim, he won't get any verification. Even beyond that, Toby seems to wind up in a variety of awkward/horrible situations such as his accident after arriving in Costa Rica or trying hard to get the unicorn princess doll for his daughter and winding up with the African American variety. It is averted from time to time with Michael's plots against Toby backfiring, Toby receiving sudden fortunes (and being shown with hot girlfriends in two episodes) or Pam doing something nice for Toby. He cements his self-awareness of his own Woobie status in the episode featuring Cici's Christening, where he is hesitant to go into the Church, and when he finally does, approaches the empty pulpit and asks "Why are you always picking on me?"
In "Koi Pond" where everyone has to write on a board what about themselves they don't want anyone else in the office to make fun of, Erin wrote being an orphan. The extent of Andy's Christmas gifts on her (as shown by a noticeably painful facial gash).
Andy in "Garden Party" when he learn he is The Unfavorite to his parents who prefer his younger brother Walter. His father tells him outright that he can't compare to his more successful brother because he is just an office manager of a paper company in Scranton.
Pam in the early seasons.
One Life to Live: Matthew is closing in fast on Mary Ingalls' record. Every time the writers want to bring Bo and Nora together, something bad happens to him; first there were the paternity issues, then he lost several loved ones as a young child, then his childhood home burned down, and finally he was paralyzed from the waist down in a car crash and has had the possibility of a miracle cure repeatedly dangled in front of him and yanked away at the last second. And he's still only 15.
Our Mutual Friend: This BBC adaptation did this to Bradley Headstone. His suffering throughout is so intense that it's downright painful to watch. A painfully controlled man, despite being deeply passionate, Headstone manages to painstakingly work his way up the social classes to attain the rank of schoolteacher, of which he is intensely proud. He falls in love with the sister of his protégé pupil, and is completely overcome by the strength of his feelings for her. She won't have him, as she is in love with an upper-class waster. Headstone and the brother confront the man, who mocks Headstone - refusing to acknowledge his name. A terrible game begins between the two, in which Headstone is driven mad and eventually tries to murder his rival. He ends up completely wracked with guilt, ill, in complete mental torment, and then his star pupil (his one friend) utterly rejects him. And then it gets worse....
Father Ray Mukada, sent to Oz because he questioned the conservative views of his powerful church patron, is clearly out of his depth in the maximum security prison, but tries his best anyway.
Jeremiah Cloutier (Luke Perry) probably went through more suffering and torture than any character in the history of the show which is saying something. Cloutier is one of the biggest woobies in TV history.
Beecher and Peter Schibetta were definite Woobies as well.
Larry Appleton. Oh sure, he's the Chew Toy who often deserves it when it's his own greed or insecurity that causes his problems. However he actually is a caring person who also gets in trouble for trying to help his friends, or simply for trying to get ahead in life or earn some respect. You really feel sorry for him when he freaks out or gets depressed.
His cousin and co-star Balky gets to be a woobie too when his innocent trust in the world around him fails. Both of them eventually succeed in love and life, slowly over the years.
Power Rangers in Space: Astronema. She is kidnapped as a child and raised to be Princess of Evil. Therefore she did not experience feelings like love and friendship. After she discovers who she really is, she is torn between being the cold princess of evil and her real self. When she officially joins the rangers, she is very insecure and downtrodden, because believes she does not deserve any friends. After she becomes good, she is captured and forced to be evil by Ecliptor (who had been brainwashed himself) who basically was her father figure and only friend.
Doctor K. Kidnapped at a young age by the government and forced to work in a top-secret think-tank for them developing advanced physics and technology with very little break and no leisure (her "birthday present" one was a new equation they needed solving), all perpetuated by convincing her she was allergic to sunlight. She attempted escape using a virus they had her made, and was caught before she could set up a firewall, causing a Robot War that killed at least 90% of humanity in a nuclear holocaust. She is every bit as socially stunted and emotionally damaged as someone with that kind of childhood could be expected to be.
Gem and Gemma; though it's never explored. Sure they're always smiling and like to draw rainbows and unicorns, but when they don't lose that cheerful tone when they talk about being tortured, you know something screwed them over bad to make them like this. It's inferred that like Dr. K, they were kidnapped off the streets as young children so that they could be groomed into soldiers.
Project Runway: Michael Costello from Season 8. Starting after his first win, half of the other contestants spontaneously became a Hate Club for him, for no apparent reason. From episode 5 the only response he got for winning the challenge is a series of scowls from everyone in the room and total, cold, stony silence.
Ned. His mother's dead and his father abandoned him afterwards. Now he can't touch his girlfriend or she'll die. Ned used a hugging machine in one episode.
How about Chuck? Her mother died in childbirth, or so she thought. Her boyfriend indirectly killed her dad. She grew up taking care of her shut-in aunts, and when she finally tries to get out and see the world, she's murdered. Now she can't touch her boyfriend or she'll die again. Chuck is surprisingly upbeat about the whole thing.
Lily and Vivian get their moments, too. Their social phobias and the vacuum that Chuck leaves in their house force them to remain close to each other, a daunting task.
They don't all fit the exact characteristics of a true Woobie, but it might be agreed that every main character in that show needs a hug. Yes, even Emerson.
Queer As Folk: Ted Schmidt from the American version certainly qualifies as a woobie. From the very beginning of the series, he is shown to have very poor self-esteem. In episode 3, he fell into a drug-induced coma. He later got fired from his job in season 2. He lost his next job, almost went to prison, and got addicted to crystal meth in season 3. He hit rock bottom when he saw a video of himself getting gangbanged while he was out of it. This isn't even mentioning all the horrible experiences he had with trying to find a partner! The actor has even said that he fell into a depression while playing this character! Fortunately, things started going better for him in the end. I don't know how much more hardship I could stand to see the poor guy go through!
As of "The Stand", Jason Neville. As a result of refusing to call in an air strike, his father beats him up and disowns him. He confesses everything to Charlie and warns her about the air strike occurring in 12 hours, but she does not take him in. In "The Song Remains the Same", Jason appears to have joined another rebel outfit that didn't know him, and has since hooked up with the main party for good—even helping to interrogate his own father and killing several militia soldiers on the raid resulting from that intelligence. The Heel-Face Turn appears to be for good. However, "Clue" has him become the prime suspect of being The Mole. Not only that, but "The Dark Tower" has him working reluctantly with his father against Team Matheson, and it's clear that he has no idea what he should do.
Charlie Matheson. It's true that a number of folks consider her to be The Scrappy, but the thing is her mother abandoned her 8 years before the beginning of the show, her father got killed ("Pilot"), her surrogate mother Maggie got killed ("The Plague Dogs"), and her brother Danny got killed (Episode 11). Not only that, but Rachel slapped her when Charlie tried to call her out for abandoning her all those years ago ("Ghosts"). It's not easy being Charlie Matheson.
Aaron Pittman. The man once had it all. As a Google executive, he had a lot of money, a great career, and a hot wife. All that shattered when the blackout occurred. His wife stuck with him and they joined up with a group of survivors, but Aaron proves to be useless in a fight. Feeling that he was just a liability, he ends his marriage to Priscilla and strikes off on his own ("Sex and Drugs"). "Home" has him trying to save her from a bounty hunter, and she reveals that the original group they were with got killed off, and she leaves to reunite with her new family in Texas. Episode 6 shows that he is painfully aware that he is basically useless... which made it so satisfying when he tricks drug lord Drexel and kills him. He still has a hard time fending for himself in a fight. He most recently witnesses Rachel cross the Moral Event Horizon by leaving a young boy to die and threatening to abandon Aaron if he doesn't help her get her revenge against Monroe. This is after he worked so hard to save her life ("The Longest Day"). The world hates Aaron, and he never really did anything to deserve it.
Emma Bennett from "Home". She appeared in only this episode, but she totally earned this. She was the closest thing to Incorruptible Pure Pureness this show had. Monroe threatened to have her killed off first for the crime of being Miles's highschool fiance. She tried making a straightforward appeal to Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds Sebastian "Bass" Monroe's better nature. In his defence, he didn't reject her appeal right away, and in fact commented on her tendency to see the good and the best in everybody, and stated that he wants to be the man he once was so badly. Unfortunately, he still tried to have her killed off. Later, he takes her as a hostage and threatens to kill her in front of Miles. She ends up revealing that when Monroe and her had sex while Miles was asleep all those years ago, it resulted in her giving birth to Monroe's son. She tells him that she sent the son away some time ago, but before she can say anything else, a Georgian soldier shoots through her, killing her and wounding Monroe. Even Monroe was greatly upset by that turn of events.
Roseanne: David. Comes in as Darlene's boyfriend (and brother of Becky's boyfriend), stays on as part of the family. The Connors are a loud, brash, emotional family who pick on one another to an extent that could be considered terrible if it wasn't for the fact that they all genuinely love each other. David is a meek, shy little boy who grows up to be a meek, shy little man. He generally just takes the teasing (and occasional indentured servitude) with a timid "okay," prompting Roseanne to comment at least once that she doesn't know how to talk to a kid who won't yell back. Things go swooping into woobie territory when we meet his mother, a horrible, verbally abusive woman who calls him a worthless bastard and manipulates him to be there to help her own emotionally crippling neediness. Oh, and he spends a whole season being constantly bullied by not just his jerky older brother, but middle school student DJ. The boy needs hugs. Constantly.
Sanctuary: Henry Foss. He seems to nearly always be either dealing with some internal turmoil, struggling to prove himself to the other characters, or dealing with death/impending doom/severe injuries inflicted on those he is close to.
The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Summer Glau plays Woobies so very well. The fact that Summer Glau is cuter than a basket of playful kittens helps as well. In the episode "Allison from Palmdale," there's Allison Young, a teenage girl kidnapped by SkyNet's army, who is tortured and repeatedly put through a psychologically damaging series of interrogations by the machines, but continues trying to resist and escape at every chance she can get. In the end, it turns out she is the person Cameron is based on, and just before heading out to assassinate John after gleaning everything she needs to mimic her, Cameron kills Allison. A rather shocking and chilling ending to an episode that already tugs at the heartstrings with everything Allison is going through.
Elliott Reid in the first three seasons. Gets cut-off from her family's wealth by her father, loses her apartment, loses her car, her moving van with all her stuff in it gets stolen, two failed relationships with J.D. (the second attempt required her to dump her then perfect boyfriend), never gets taken seriously by Dr. Jerks Cox and Kelso...the fourth season is when things finally turn around for her and by the fifth season, she has made attending and is in a better place mentally.
Dr. Cox on many occasions. Why do you think "My Screwup" and "My Lunch" (The two episodes where he cries) are the most popular and highest rated of all? Cue goddamn Tear Jerker.. Jerkass Woobie, though.
Ted? Let's look over him, shall we? His wife left him for his brother due to his balding and impotence. He has never won a case to date, he's terrified of other attorneys, his suicide attempts fail, his boss treats him like crap, his self esteem is so low he's shocked when any moderately attractive girl knows his name, his best friend, the Janitor, treats him like garbage, there are times when nobody at all notices him, he gets no recognition for the good things he does, and the one time he gets to be with a woman, she's a terminally ill patient who's also a virgin. Probably because Ted is closer to a Chew Toy, especially in the beginning. He gets thrown a bone now and then, and later it got generally played for laughs.
New intern Lucy, who's innocent, good-natured, adorable, and barely surviving. Also she thinks that if horses could talk, they would be very wise. Guess how well she's holding up so far with the likes of Dr. Cox et al?
Shark: Former District Attorney Jessica Devlin was desperately in need of a hug and a bottle of single malt. She was widowed young, two of her best friends ended up in jail for murder, and one of them tried to take her down with her. Her friend and colleague the mayor backstabbed her at the last minute and cost her the election even after her formerly hated rival Sebastian Stark went to bat for her. Another best friend was murdered after Jessica failed to re-convict her stalker, causing her to have a brief Heroic BSOD. Then she finds out that her by-then close friend Stark was hiding some serious skeletons in his closet, shattering her newfound trust in him. Then her father has a stroke. One can only speculate that, had the series continued, the writers would have come up with exciting new ways to destroy everything she loved.
Has two characters worthy of the title of "The Woobie":
Perpetually picked on Detective "Dutch" Wagenbach and perpetually abused, disfigured, and ultimately betrayed Detective Ronnie Gardocki. The two characters eventually came into collision with each other in the finale, in a ten car trainwreck of Woobieism meets crowning moment of awesomeness, as Dutch arrests Ronnie (who had stood by and watched Vic torment Dutch mercilessly over the course of the series) and goes into overdrive to spell out to Ronnie that Vic had condemned him to a fate of irrevocable damnation, inadvertently in the process making Ronnie the last Woobie standing of the two men.
Lem absolutely qualifies. After season 2 the poor guy gets stress related stomach ulcers. Found out by IAD for something he only did to protect Shane, the character was willing to do jail time and take the brunt of the heat to protect the Strike Team, his self described family. Later, on the lam, Lem helping out an injured child gets him discovered, ultimately leading to Shane falsely believing that he had turned his friends in or soon would. Shane then kills Lem for something that he would have never done. Posthumously disgraced, unable to get a police funeral from which cops are banned from coming, poor Lem gets fewer mourners than Gilroy. If the montage set to "Disarm" doesn't make you want to cradle Lem to your bosom, then nothing will. God dammit, when that man cries.....tears, tears everywhere.
Ruth. Oh, Ruth. That scene when she was eating dinner alone...
David, most of the tragedies happen to him, mainly, being kidnapped. That was painful to watch. Good God, when the phycho released him and he was heading back, badly beaten, several cars passed him. It was night so it was potentially dangerous, but still - would nobody help him? Ow, poor man.
Claire. Finding out her father is dead while on crystal meth, dating a criminal and a sociopath, having her inability to orgasm being broadcast, or finding out she's pregnant and her child's father is having sex with her teacher. Somebody give the girl a hug and find her a reliable boyfriend!
George becomes a Woobie after the flashback of his childhood. His mother committed suicide with him in the house, which unsurprisingly messed him up. His mental break-down is heart-breaking as well.
Arthur. Especially the scene where he's recording a voice message for his nephews on a tape-recorder. The final line of him encouraging them to get an e-mail address so that they could keep in touch more easily is heart-wrenching. Do they even answer him? Ever? Poor, poor lonely Arthur.
Skins: Emily Fitch, seriously whenever something bad happens to her, it's like watching an adorable puppy get kicked in the face. Certain fans have also expressed feelings of wanting to go into their televisions and save Cassie and Chris.
Rembrandt takes over the role in season five, and is much better at it. Hell, even Rembrandt in the pilot. He's on the cusp of his comeback as a famous singer, when (through no fault of his own) he gets sucked into a wormhole while driving by Quinn's house, subsequently crashes and abandons his beloved Cool Car in a nuclear winter universe, gets arrested by commies in a Soviet-ruled universe, and then gets stuck sliding for the rest of the entire series.
Whitney. Sure, he crucified Clark, but after, he faces a trauma conga line for the vast majority of the first season. Also, it helps that he is chewed out by Lana for being paranoid about Clark hanging out with her because he has a crush on her, when we all know he is 100% correct.
Space Cases: Radu. Fannish opinion is divided on whether he's a well- or poorly-executed example of the trope.
Rodney McKay who the writers apparently competed to put him in worse and worse situations. Getting stuck in a sinking Jumper, getting superpowers that were killing him (more than once), having Carson, his best friend die, all the stuff with his sister, waiting in computer form for hundreds of years just to save Sheppard...
Atlantis has John Sheppard. With a backstory of being rejected by his family and hated by the airforce for trying to save his men, he's demeaned and exiled to Antarctica in disgrace. There he's found by Elizabeth and finally has someone who believes and trusts in him. He moves to another galaxy, where he takes on Daniel's role as whipping-boy, and throughout the course of the series is imprisoned, beaten, tortured, fed-on by a Wraith and mind-raped numerous times. Eventually revealed to be a self-hating Broken Ace who believes he needs to be punished for every mistake in his life, and repeatedly offers himself as a Heroic Sacrifice because of it. Then to top it all off, Elizabeth (his aforementioned sole confidante, support and possible Love Interest) is kidnapped and he fails to save her, leading him to become even darker and more depressed while the rest of his friends happily pair up and sail into the sunset.
Dr. Daniel Jackson takes the cake. The "SG-1 Whipping Boy", as his actor has called him, has been blasted (several times), brain-fried (ditto), lost his wife to a Shoot the Dog moment while she'd been taken over by Puppeteer Parasite and was trying to kill him (that's brain-fry #3!), he's had a cave collapse on him while a slave of the episode's villain. He's been raped, been poisoned by radiation... when we first meet him in the original movie, we find out he's ridiculed for his theories and is next to penniless. Oh, his parents were killed in front of him as a child. That sneezing-when-he-travels thing? Psychosomatic. That's the short version. A complete list would basically be a detailed rundown of every episode of the series.
Colonel O'Neill's had it rough, too, with his son having shot himself with O'Neill's gun, his marriage dissolving, and Skaara, the alien boy who reminded him so much of his son, also getting taken over by the villains-the Big Bad's son, no less - and having to be shot (at least he gets better... to continue as a prisoner of his own body for another couple of seasons until Anubis blows his planet up and kills him.) Getting tortured by Baal wasn't much fun, either.
Vala mal Doran gets abandoned by her parental figures. Gets sold to a weapon smuggler who she eventually kills. Gets taken over by Qetesh when she's young, and has to live through all her horrible actions. Then gets brutally tortured by her own people. Then spends years of her life on the run from the many, many people she's scammed. And then she meets Daniel: has a daughter who's the Big Bad but Vala loves her anyway and suffers as Adria nearly dies and later nearly kills her, has to watch Daniel apparently dying, gets tortured again, spends sixty years onboard a tiny ship, gets given the worst "The Reason You Suck" Speech possible by the person she cares about the most, and loses her husband to a psycho religion and her sixty-year boyfriend to a time reversal. How long was she in the series, for all this to happen? Oh, only about two years, and most of that was spent stuck on a hostile planet in a distant universe pregnant with the female Jesus. Man, her life sucks.
Sam "Blackwidow" Carter. Her mother died when she was young, and her father was a jerkass and her broher wouldn't speak to her (though they later reconciled). All of her sort of boyfriends die (or have to be killed by her) and have a tendency to take other people out with them. She watched one of her best friends die, ascend, whatever (the above mentioned Daniel), and her closest female friend was killed. She's been killed, tortured, shot, stabbed, electrocuted, possessed by alien parasites (particularly a Tok'ra that left her with centuries of memories and feelings not her own) and other entities, and that's just some of the fun stuff. She's also the one everyone looks to when its time to come up with a plan to save the galaxy.
Teal'c. He spent a century as a slave to a false God, committed horrible crimes in the name of that God, had to carry in his belly what would be a future false God in order to survive, and let's not even get into living fifty years with the rest of SG-1 that the rest of the team doesn't remember. Simply put all of SG-1 gets screwed time and time again, but it's Sam and especially Teal'c that always get left behind.
Cassandra. When she's about eleven, her entire planet is wiped out by a Goa'uld who also puts a bomb in her chest, all just set up as a trap to take out the Earthlings. Fortunately, she spends the next several years of her life happily with her adoptive mother Doctor Janet Frasier. But wait, Doc Frasier is killed, and Cassie gets a one line mention about being a tough kid and isn't even seen at the funeral. Nice.
Stargate Universe: Has Chloe Armstrong. She ends up trapped on a ship on the other side of the universe, and has to watch her father sacrifice himself to save the rest of them. On top of that, she has no useful skills, so while she's not alone in dealing with the daily struggle to survive, there's not much she can do to help. In Season 1.5, she has also been captured by aliens (for a few hours), nearly been left behind by Destiny (albeit with her boyfriend and her best friend), and been shot when hostiles attacked Destiny.
Some in the writing crew talked openly about doing "O'Brien Must Suffer episodes." Apparently, they felt he was the most likeable adult character on the show, and thus subjected him to numerous beatings, implanted memories of a harsh prison sentence, abduction and cloning, nearly getting killed by an alien WMD etc. He was also constantly dislocating his shoulder/breaking bones, though this was more for Chew Toy effect.
Kira Nerys from the same series, possibly even more than O'Brien. The writers didn't need to fill a once a season "Torture Kira" episode quota, they were screwing her over all the time. Some examples: Her religious leader dies, comes back to life, and must be left on a war torn penal colony. Her lover dies slowly and painfully. A man she considers a father figure dies slowly and painfully. The girl she considers a surrogate daughter/sister is murdered. An entire civilization of 30,000 people is destroyed and ceases to ever have existed so that she can live, even though she wanted to die to save them. Her entire former resistance cell is systematically murdered, leading to her capture and torture. The mirror universe version of her dead lover comes along, she is briefly happy, before he reveals he's out to trick her and goes off with her mirror universe evil counterpart. She discovers her mother was a collaborator who was a concubine to Kira's most hated enemy, Gul Dukat (who spends years trying to seduce her). Not to mention the fact that all of her family and several friends are dead by the start of the series due to the brutal occupation of her planet, during which she saw and did terrible things.
Dukat could at times be something of a woobie himself (even the Chew Toy and this despite—or perhaps as a result of—spending too much time as the Magnificent Bastard and/or Manipulative Bastard). Over the course of Deep Space Nine the poor guy basically loses everything that was ever remotely important to him, except for his half-Bajoran daughter—whom he spares despite the fact that killing her would make him a good Cardassian officer—only to see her killed at a later date even his sanity by the end of the sixth season. And all because he just wanted to be loved and/or noticed.
Jean-Luc Picard is the favorite plaything of Q, assimilated by Borg, tortured by Cardassians, almost his entire family (his brother and nephew) die, gets Alzheimer's and so on and so forth. The perfect storm of woobiedom that resulted from "The Inner Light."
Data has his moments, in spite of supposedly not having any emotions. Virtually every relationship he develops with others that extends beyond just friendship gets smashed to pieces in one way or another. Be it death (Tasha, Lal, Soong) or betrayal (Lore, Graves, Ishara), they all seem to end very badly. It's sadder because Data himself acknowledges that he does not feel and that he cannot properly grieve.
Lt. Barclay is far and away the quintessential Star Trek woobie. And he puts in one or more appearances in virtually every Star Trek: The Next Generation spin off to further solidify his well-meaning, lovable loser status. Maybe edges dangerously close to the Chew Toy at times.
Worf. The things he goes through, it can be near impossible not to get an urge to hug him.
Second place surely goes to Tom Paris, a more traditional Woobie whose need for his father's approval led him to disaster, and whose subsequent rebellion made things even worse. Fans were rewarded by the end of the series; he'd become a family man and the most content person on the ship, without losing his sense of fun.
Captain Janeway. She is not only the captain of the ONLY Federation starship in the entire quadrant, but she's also had to act as a mother-figure for the entire crew. And she is surprisingly cute.
Ransom, who had a far less powerful ship than Janeway even if he did cross the Moral Event Horizon by killing aliens to power his ship (he did redeem himself with a noble sacrifice though).
Dean is being driven toward utter breakdown by losing his family and friends, really plunging downhill starting when his father sacrificed himself for him. When his brother dies, Dean feels like a failure and sells his soul to bring Sam back. He suffers in hell until angels resurrect him because they want him to become Michael's vessel to kill Lucifer even though doing so will raze the world in the process. Not trusting his brother to say no to Lucifer after Sam's betrayal to face Lilith alone using demon-blood-fueled powers, Dean has so given up that he almost says yes to Michael at the end of season five. Instead, Dean loses his brother to stop the Apocalypse, letting Sam jump into the pit to take Lucifer there. After that, in season six, Dean gets a safe "apple-pie" life—and then has to give it up before things get worse. Their new enemy turns out to be like-a-brother-to-him Castiel, who works with demon Crowley to gain the power of the monster souls in Purgatory, kills his closest advisors for not supporting this plan, and destroys the wall protecting Sam from his hell memories as a distraction. Then, in season seven, after going overboard, Castiel is overwhelmed by the Leviathans inside him with the other souls from Purgatory, seeming to die as hungry, shape-changing monsters that can't be killed are loosed on the world. Then Dean loses Bobby and has to watch his brother suffer a breakdown from memories of hell that could kill or permanently incapacitate him.
The Heart Sam has to deal with being the reason his mother and girlfriend died, his brother goes to hell, and the countdown to Apocalypsestarts. After losing himself to demon blood addiction in an effort to gain the power to prevent the Apocalypse, he instead sets Lucifer free. Not only does he never get his safe "apple-pie" life, but he learns he's meant to be Lucifer's vessel for destroying humanity. At the end of season five, Sam goes through with a Self-Sacrifice Scheme to let Lucifer possess him so he can take the devilback into his prison. Lucifer spends 180 years getting revenge on Sam's soul in hell while a soulless Sam spends a year being a Jerkass on Earth. And after Sam gets his soul back midway through the season, season six ends with Sam faltering under the memories of his time without a soul and the debilitating and possibly-deadly memories of hell. In season seven, those memories are driving him crazy and overwhelming him while he and his brother are facing a new enemy they can't kill and losing nearly all their allies and boltholes.
Bobby is worth a mention, as he had to kill his own wife twice, and then got stuck in a wheelchair before getting better in season six. Then in season seven, Bobby has to watch Sam, like a son to him, go crazy under the weight of hell. Dying in a later episode might actually be a relief for him.
John had to see his wife die and later gives up his own life to save Dean. His woobiefication kinda depends on whether you see him as a good guy or a Jerk Ass father who abused one son into running away and the other into having such helplessly low self-esteem that he becomes a Death Seeker
Ellen too, considering the fact that she lost her husband (thanks to John), had her daughter run away, got her saloon destroyed by demons, was made to (telepathetically) put a gun to her head and got her very own bit of Survivor Guilt. And then Jo gets fatally wounded right in front of her, with the hellhounds closing in, then helps build a bomb so that Jo can take the hellhounds with her when she dies and stays with her so she won't die alone. All this to give Sam and Dean a chance to reach the devil with the Colt...which turns out to be totally inneffective against him. It was all for nothing.
Jo probably qualifies as well.
Castiel and his host Jimmy are Natural Born Woobies too; Castiel has begun to feel human emotions and probably punished for this, been stabbed in the back (figuratively and almost literally) by his Angel brother Uriel and very probably got beaten some sense in him by his bosses for how much he's gotten closer to his charge - Dean, Jimmy has had his wife and daughter attacked by demons, his wife possessed by one, and he knows he won't be able to see his girl grow up
Gabriel could count as well. Not only is he dragged into the fight between Michael, Lucifer and Team Free Will, but he's berated by Dean. He eventually confronts Lucifer and declares that he's fighting for humans and is killed for it.
Samandriel, "heaven's most adorable angel", who is brutally tortured for weeks before he finally breaks and is killed almost immediately afterwards by (a manipulated) Castiel. His own brother, who he's shown to be exceptionally fond of.
Kevin Tran, both his girlfriend and his mother. are killed by Crowley. His life is screwed when he become the new prophet and involved with the Winchesters. He's killed by Gadreel in Sam's body.
Let's just agree that Supernatural is a bloody breeding ground for woobies.
Teen Wolf: Isaac Lahey. Especially in season 3. In season 2 Isaac was revealed to be abused by his father, which included being locked in a freezer resulting in the character's consequent claustrophobia. Near the end of season 2 we get to see him cry because he was able to relieve the pain of a dying puppy!!! Then the season 3 premiere begins with Isaac being beat up by the new baddies in town, all the while worrying more about his mysterious rescuer than about himself. Then we find out he was attacked in the first place because he had been out all alone looking for his lost pack members. And the way we find out about this is by having other characters subject Isaac to painful procedures to unlock his memories. Isaac is constantly looking to Scott for guidance and reassurance like a lost puppy. After he gets kicked down some more when Derek kicks him out of his pack, he shows up at Scott's door asking for help. He later is shown to be helping Scott to protect Mrs. Mccall. In short, Isaac is shown to care about his friends and about helping other people, all the while getting frequently traumatized by events in the show.
That Mitchell and Webb Look: But Cheesoid has all the required attributes of true Woobiedom. He's a robot that navigates by smell and can only smell cheese and petrol - and constantly gets them mixed up. Most of it's played for laughs, and much of the sketch concentrates on the travails of the scientist who built Cheesoid, but when he gets something wrong he emits this plaintive little "Cheesoid hate self. Hate self." and eventually attempts suicide by immolation. Of course, he gets it wrong, and the creator just gives up. "Why Cheesoid exist?" Why indeed, little guy. C'mere.
The Thick of It: Malcolm Tucker has wandered into this trope in the third series. Desperately struggling to keep the government in power in its dying days, Malcolm's efforts are not always appreciated by his bosses and enemies are lurking everywhere. His big breakdown in front of Terri about this definitely qualifies as a woobie moment. There are little hints of woobie-ness earlier in series 3 too, such as Malcolm spending his 50th birthday alone in his office. The big climax of the series, when Fleming gets Malcolm fired, and several scenes afterwards where Malcolm looks suspiciously red-eyed, are definitely in woobie territory.
Top Gear: Richard Hammond ("Hamster") is a strange blend of The Woobie and Made of Iron. Of the three presenters, he's the one most capable of showing distress — but he's also the one most capable of withstanding stressful situations. So if the script calls for someone to, say, try to escape a submerged vehicle, Hammond's the one sitting there making scared eyes at the camera as the car fills up with water. Leaked out disturbingly into real life when he had that car crash.
Godric, 2000 year old vampire with severe depression. He was only briefly on the show, but during his run he tries to fix problems between the vampires and the Fellowship of the Sun. The Fellowship ends up sending a suicide bomber to his home, killing many of his guests and destroying the property. The other vampires blame him for the disaster and he gets fired from his position as area Sheriff. He then commits suicide by allowing himself to be stand in directly sunlight telling his last words to Sookie. He also has the appearance of a 15-year-old boy, which helps the Woobification.
Eric becomes the Woobie after Godric, Eric's maker, commits suicide. Many Manly Tears were shed. Eric gets a double whammy as he gets his memory wiped to the point he can't even remember He's vampire, meaning he forgot Godric and his avenged family as well as his 'love' for Sookie not to mention that the first time we see him after this happens is him walking along the road shirtless and confused.
Jason Stackhouse may qualify. In the first season, every girl, including the one he loves, is murdered. He's blamed for these murders, despite being too stupid to commit them. Later one, he falls for Crystal Norris, who betrays him, allows him to be kidnapped, takes part in biting him to turn him into a werepanther. If that weren't bad enough, Crystal and two dozen other women take turns raping him. Don't forget, he was orphaned as a young kid, got beat up regularly as a kid for defending his little sister, and believed that she was dead for over a year.
Laura Palmer fits so well she could be the Trope Namer. The entire town mourned her death and the viewing public was obsessed with finding out who killed her. Plus she went through unimaginable amounts of suffering for years and death was her only possible escape.
Special Agent Dale Cooper could also be considered a Woobie. His true love was killed prior to the series, then his new love was killed again late in the series. He was shot, hunted by a serial killer that use to be his partner, brought up on charges for illegal procedures, and suspended from the FBI. Not to mention the whole trapped in hell (for eternity?) with a killer in your body, free to go around killing your friends, thing. Said love interest Annie would also definitely qualify. As well as Leland and Sarah Palmer. Ok, probably Shelly Johnson too. While others have it bad as well in Twin Peaks, these seem to be the most egregious examples of rather likeable individuals (when not being possessed by BOB at least) that lead tortured lives for years (not just over the few weeks the series takes place).
V: Willie was a minor part of the original miniseries and The Final Battle, but was so popular with fans they made him a regular on the subsequent television series. He's one of the first of the Visitors to join the Resistance, he speaks broken English ("English is not well to me. I learned Arabic for going there.") and at the end of Final Battle his human girlfriend dies in his arms after she takes a laser gun blast in the chest to save him. He's got a perpetual hangdog look and in the series he wears a bow tie!
Elena and Jeremy, who have lost every parent figure they have, and in Jeremy's case two girlfriends, in the space of two seasons. Elena lives in constant fear that someone she loves is going to get hurt (including Jeremy, who actually has died twice and been brought back) and has to base everything she does around keeping the people she cares about safe, even if it means sacrificing her own happiness or her own life.
Both Salvatore brothers.
Katherine also display Woobie-like elements to varying degrees.
Rebekah and all her siblings - minus Klaus of course.
Veronica herself is pretty woobie-ish. Dead best friend, outcast by her school, alcoholic mom leaves, and then she's raped...this is just the backstory.
Subverted Trope in the case of Cassidy. He receives so much crap from his father and brother, and is very Moe and has the Puppy-Dog Eyes to end all Puppy Dog Eyes... He's a mass murderer, by the way. He's still ratherpitiful though.
Duncan needs a hug. As if his sister's murder isn't enough, he has a rare form of epilepsy that makes him think he might have been the one to kill her, his own parents think he was the one who killed her, he falls in love with the girl who he is later told is his half-sister (which she isn't), his best friend drugs him and that leads to him sleeping with the girl and resulting disgust with himself, and he never quite stopped loving her. Said best friend dates said girl, then best friend's father turns out to be the one who killed his sister and their friendship briefly disintegrates. New girlfriend gets pregnant then dies, and he has to kidnap his daughter and flee the country to protect her from her abusive grandparents.
The West Wing: Josh Lyman may be the woobiest woobie on the small screen whose woobiness was achieved without supernatural or sci-fi causes. He has a record for losing loved ones, which has given him a major Guilt Complex. His misfortunes peak when he gets near-fatally shot during an assassination attempt on the presidential motorcade. Due to this, he later acquires Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which no one notices for ages because he masks his guilt and anxiety dying by acting perpetually unaffected by his Chew Toy status. He also gets landed in a Masochism Tango that he can't seem to get rid of, at the same time as he starts to fall in love with his assistant (see above), who he can't get get together with because of conflict of interest. However, even his track record isn't what makes him so woobieish — it's the fact that all of this has left him frantically paranoid about something happening to one of his friends to point of being visibly agonized by every misfortune that befalls them. In Donna's words: "He goes through every day worrying someone he likes is going to die and it's gonna be his fault. What do you think makes him walk so fast?"
Whitechapel: DC Emerson Kent. He's the youngest member of the team and the only one to be nice to Chandler from the get-go. In the first series it's revealed that he deals with the stress of his job by hiding in a car park and crying. In the second series, he's striped (an extremely painful knife assault involving long, deep slashes to the buttocks and upper legs), and suspected of being the mole, leading to a breakdown in the parking lot. Not to mention his increasingly, painfullyobvious, and clearly unrequited, crush on Chandler.
Fox Mulder. Witnessed his sister being abducted by aliens when he was a child, as an adult fails to avert his father's assassination (and later is forced to confront the possibility that his biological father may well be his own worst enemy), virtually all of his close associates die mysteriously or suffer as a result of their connection to him, his hot-yet-intellectual partner shows little interest (or faith) in him through most of the series' run beyond pure, platonic love, and almost without exception everyone is looking the other way every time the real aliens or flying saucers reveal themselves to him. And at the end of the series, after it's revealed to him that Scully has sent their illicitly conceived son into hiding for his own protection—and that even she does not know where he is—he's forced to go into self-imposed exile, his own government intent on killing him and Scully because they know too much. And by the time the second movie rolls around, even this short-lived Mulder-Scully relationship seems to have been broken off, with him still in hiding while she apparently lives a relatively comfortable public life. The guy is Woobification Incarnate.
Scully. She's been shot, stabbed, abducted by aliens, made infertile, given terminal cancer, and had to see the child she didn't even know she had die just a few days after learning of her existence. She's also had to live through the death of her sister (with a bullet meant for her), the death of her father, MULTIPLE deaths of Mulder himself. Her basic beliefs in both science and her government have been shaken to the core, her career has gone down a black hole, her life irreversibly screwed up, and this isn't even her crusade. And she doesn't even get a desk.
Scully's mom. Whenever Mrs Scully appears, she's usually having to deal with some awful family tragedy. Her husband dies, her daughter gets abducted and is presumed dead, her second daughter is murdered, her daughter is dying of cancer... Luckily she's one tough lady and it doesn't break her, but she suffers immensely. And beautifully.
Yes Dear: The youth years of Greg Warner weren't good to him. He was constantly unpopular at school and unlucky with girls (an example has him dressed as Princess Leia in an attempt to please his girlfriend at the time, only for said girlfriend to take photos of him in the costume and show them to the next kid who turned up at the scene and impressed her with his skating skill). While he eventually turned out decent and successful enough (with a high-paying job and a beautiful, loving wife, as well), some of the wound still remained, to the point that he claimed he agreed — on a rare occasion — with his former Jerk Jock brother-in-law's All Girls Want Bad Boys belief. His wife and sister-in-law, both of whom openly disagreed about this opinion, were actually tolerant of him for saying it, if only because his bad memories about dating were bad enough for them to sympathize with him.
Helena of Orphan Black was abused and lied to for her entire life, has never been loved by anyone, and was forced by her guardians to kill her clones, who she could have been close to if they met under normal circumstances. She also cuts herself, and had to watch the only person who ever remotely cared for her get hit by a car, and Helena believed it was her own fault.