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* The end of The Weighed Companion Cube in ''VideoGame/Portal1'' is bound to bring tears to player's eyes even though it's just a cube with heart drawn on the side that does literary nothing.

to:

* The end of The Weighed Companion Cube in ''VideoGame/Portal1'' is bound to bring tears to player's eyes even though it's just a cube with heart drawn on the side that does literary literally nothing.


[[folder:Film]]
* Disney/{{Aladdin}}'s Establishing Character Moment happens when he gives up his only meal (immediately after having just risked his life to steal it in the first place) to ensure orphans won't starve. That's all the viewer needs to know what sort of man he is.
* In ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'', Judge Doom [[NightmareFuel memorably]] vaults over the MoralEventHorizon by painfully [[KickTheDog murdering an innocent]] just to prove he can. Who is this innocent? A cartoon shoe. Take an ordinary shoe, draw a face on it, have it make cute squeaking noises and nuzzle up against people's legs just like a friendly cat, and the audience will be horrified when it's killed in cold blood.
* Creator/{{Pixar}} uses this trope a lot. Over the years, they've made us empathize with [[WesternAnimation/PixarShorts desk lamps]], [[WesternAnimation/ToyStory plastic toys]], [[WesternAnimation/ABugsLife ants]], [[WesternAnimation/MonstersInc the monsters that live in your closet]], [[WesternAnimation/FindingNemo fish]], WesternAnimation/{{cars}}, [[WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}} rats]], [[WesternAnimation/WallE robots]], and even [[WesternAnimation/InsideOut emotions]].
[[/folder]]



[[folder:Film]]
* Disney/{{Aladdin}}'s Establishing Character Moment happens when he gives up his only meal (immediately after having just risked his life to steal it in the first place) to ensure orphans won't starve. That's all the viewer needs to know what sort of man he is.
* In ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'', Judge Doom [[NightmareFuel memorably]] vaults over the MoralEventHorizon by painfully [[KickTheDog murdering an innocent]] just to prove he can. Who is this innocent? A cartoon shoe. Take an ordinary shoe, draw a face on it, have it make cute squeaking noises and nuzzle up against people's legs just like a friendly cat, and the audience will be horrified when it's killed in cold blood.
* Creator/{{Pixar}} uses this trope a lot. Over the years, they've made us empathize with [[WesternAnimation/PixarShorts desk lamps]], [[WesternAnimation/ToyStory plastic toys]], [[WesternAnimation/ABugsLife ants]], [[WesternAnimation/MonstersInc the monsters that live in your closet]], [[WesternAnimation/FindingNemo fish]], WesternAnimation/{{cars}}, [[WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}} rats]], [[WesternAnimation/WallE robots]], and even [[WesternAnimation/InsideOut emotions]].
[[/folder]]


[[folder:LiveActionTV]]
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': Don't hurt River or Kaylee. EVERYONE watching is their PapaWolf or MamaBear.
** Similarly, although the ''Series/{{Buffy|The Vampire Slayer}}''[=/=]''Series/{{Angel}}'' series wasn't afraid to kill off sympathetic characters, if Willow had died the fans would have burned the studio down. Fred is a borderline case because the actor continued as Illyria.
** It's notable that Creator/JossWhedon is well aware of this, having said that if he wanted the ''Firefly'' audience to hate a character, he just had to show them being mean to Kaylee. If he wanted to the ''Buffy'' [[TearJerker audience to cry]], he just had to show them Willow crying.

to:

[[folder:LiveActionTV]]
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': Don't hurt River or Kaylee. EVERYONE watching is their PapaWolf or MamaBear.
** Similarly, although the ''Series/{{Buffy|The Vampire Slayer}}''[=/=]''Series/{{Angel}}'' series wasn't afraid to kill off sympathetic characters, if Willow had died the fans would have burned the studio down. Fred is a borderline case because the actor continued as Illyria.
** It's notable that Creator/JossWhedon is well aware of this, having said that if he wanted the ''Firefly'' audience to hate a character, he just had to show them being mean to Kaylee. If he wanted to the ''Buffy'' [[TearJerker audience to cry]], he just had to show them Willow crying.
[[folder:Live-Action TV]]



* ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'': Cameron is a cold, emotionless, and [[RobotGirl literal killing machine]] who at one point leaves a man and his sister who helped her to die because they don't matter to her anymore. That doesn't change the fact that she is a ''deeply'' sympathetic character who rapidly obtained EnsembleDarkhorse [[TheWoobie Woobie]] status because of both how interesting she was and all the crap she puts up with [[IronWoobie without complaint]] for the Connors.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' pulls this ''all the freaking time'', by introducing us to so many good-natured, likable, honest folks, and then killing them in cold blood. Such as poor Mo in the episode "Hungry Earth", who we first meet while trying to help his dyslexic son to read a book ("who loves you more than me?"). He survives, but he ''does'' end up being kidnapped and vivisected.[[note]]They do put him back together without killing him, but [[NightmareFuel that's horrifying in an entirely different way]].[[/note]]
* Please direct your attention to the ''Series/KnightRider'' episode (original series) "Junkyard Dog," which sees KITT dumped in an acid pit and literally gutted alive (it's the only time we ever see the nigh-indestructible Knight Industries Two Thousand calling for ''help''). The reactions of the team when he's hauled out, and KITT's resulting PTSD, are heartbreaking for fans; especially the reaction of Michael, who spends hours sitting around outside of the lab, like a nervous family member outside of an operating theatre, while the team is trying to repair him. And if the episode itself gets to you, then for the love of God, ''don't read the script''.
** KITT tends to do this to people a lot. And given that KITT is essentially a ''sentient car'', that's saying something. All we have to get attached to is his personality.

to:

* ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'': Cameron is a cold, emotionless, and [[RobotGirl literal killing machine]] who at one point leaves a man and his sister who helped her to die because they don't matter to her anymore. That doesn't change the fact that she is a ''deeply'' sympathetic character who rapidly obtained EnsembleDarkhorse [[TheWoobie Woobie]] status because of both how interesting she was and all the crap she puts up with [[IronWoobie without complaint]] for the Connors.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' pulls this ''all the freaking time'', by introducing us to so many good-natured, likable, honest folks, and then killing them in cold blood. Such as poor Mo in the episode "Hungry Earth", who we first meet while trying to help his dyslexic son to read a book ("who loves you more than me?"). He survives, but he ''does'' end up being kidnapped and vivisected.[[note]]They do put him back together without killing him, but [[NightmareFuel that's horrifying in an entirely different way]].[[/note]]
* Please direct your attention to the ''Series/KnightRider'' episode (original series) "Junkyard Dog," which sees KITT dumped in an acid pit and literally gutted alive (it's the only time we ever see the nigh-indestructible Knight Industries Two Thousand calling for ''help''). The reactions of the team when he's hauled out, and KITT's resulting PTSD, are heartbreaking for fans; especially the reaction of Michael, who spends hours sitting around outside of the lab, like a nervous family member outside of an operating theatre, while the team is trying to repair him. And if the episode itself gets to you, then for the love of God, ''don't read the script''.
** KITT tends to do this to people a lot. And given that KITT is essentially a ''sentient car'', that's saying something. All we have to get attached to is his personality.
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* ''Series/DoctorWho'' pulls this ''all the freaking time'', by introducing us to so many good-natured, likable, honest folks, and then killing them in cold blood.
** In an in-universe example, in [[Recap/DoctorWho2005CSTheChristmasInvasion "The Christmas Invasion"]], Jackie Tyler, who at this point usually had fairly harsh words and attitude for the Doctor, becomes very caring towards him as his [[ResurrectionSickness condition]] worsens. The Doctor, likely aware of everything that happened within earshot, later thanks her by pulling her into a GroupHug.
** Such as poor Mo in [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E8TheHungryEarth "The Hungry Earth"]], who we first meet while trying to help his dyslexic son to read a book ("who loves you more than me?"). He survives, but he ''does'' end up being kidnapped and vivisected.[[note]]They do put him back together without killing him, but [[NightmareFuel that's horrifying in an entirely different way]].[[/note]]
* ''Series/{{Firefly}}'': Don't hurt River or Kaylee. EVERYONE watching is their PapaWolf or MamaBear.
** Similarly, although the ''Series/{{Buffy|The Vampire Slayer}}''[=/=]''Series/{{Angel}}'' series wasn't afraid to kill off sympathetic characters, if Willow had died the fans would have burned the studio down. Fred is a borderline case because the actor continued as Illyria.
** It's notable that Creator/JossWhedon is well aware of this, having said that if he wanted the ''Firefly'' audience to hate a character, he just had to show them being mean to Kaylee. If he wanted to the ''Buffy'' [[TearJerker audience to cry]], he just had to show them Willow crying.
* Please direct your attention to the ''Series/KnightRider'' episode (original series) "Junkyard Dog", which sees KITT dumped in an acid pit and literally gutted alive (it's the only time we ever see the nigh-indestructible Knight Industries Two Thousand calling for ''help''). The reactions of the team when he's hauled out, and KITT's resulting PTSD, are heartbreaking for fans; especially the reaction of Michael, who spends hours sitting around outside of the lab, like a nervous family member outside of an operating theatre, while the team is trying to repair him. And if the episode itself gets to you, then for the love of God, ''don't read the script''.
** KITT tends to do this to people a lot. And given that KITT is essentially a ''sentient car'', that's saying something. All we have to get attached to is his personality.



* ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'': Cameron is a cold, emotionless, and [[RobotGirl literal killing machine]] who at one point leaves a man and his sister who helped her to die because they don't matter to her anymore. That doesn't change the fact that she is a ''deeply'' sympathetic character who rapidly obtained EnsembleDarkhorse [[TheWoobie Woobie]] status because of both how interesting she was and all the crap she puts up with [[IronWoobie without complaint]] for the Connors.



[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* One of the shorts of ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'' viciously subverts this, showing a series of characters, each given screen time alone and characterization to make the audience connect with them, and each of whom becomes the subsequent {{Mook}} to be slaughtered by another character that the audience is being told to empathize with.
* ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop''. How can you make the audience consistently laugh at TheChewToy without [[DesignatedMonkey starting to feel sympathy]] ''for him''? Especially if his main {{foil}} is a complete idiot who causes a lot of problems? Easy: engineer the perfect {{Woobie}} (sweet, subjugated, sensitive, and harmless), make TheChewToy treat him like crap, and show as many of his reactions as possible--both to immediate actions and the treatment as a whole--playing them completely straight in stark contrast to the rest of the show's comedic nature. Usually what Pete goes through can be justified by PJ episodes, and to a lesser extent Max episodes (which tend to feature PJ in major roles), but "Bringin' on the Rain" was a Pete episode that used this a lot.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WebOriginal]]

to:

[[folder:WesternAnimation]]
* One of the shorts of ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'' viciously subverts this, showing a series of characters, each given screen time alone and characterization to make the audience connect with them, and each of whom becomes the subsequent {{Mook}} to be slaughtered by another character that the audience is being told to empathize with.
* ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop''. How can you make the audience consistently laugh at TheChewToy without [[DesignatedMonkey starting to feel sympathy]] ''for him''? Especially if his main {{foil}} is a complete idiot who causes a lot of problems? Easy: engineer the perfect {{Woobie}} (sweet, subjugated, sensitive, and harmless), make TheChewToy treat him like crap, and show as many of his reactions as possible--both to immediate actions and the treatment as a whole--playing them completely straight in stark contrast to the rest of the show's comedic nature. Usually what Pete goes through can be justified by PJ episodes, and to a lesser extent Max episodes (which tend to feature PJ in major roles), but "Bringin' on the Rain" was a Pete episode that used this a lot.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:WebOriginal]]
[[folder:Web Original]]



[[folder:RealLife]]
* A really grotesque version is many ideological movements. A large part of the reason [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany the Nazis]] got away with so much is that they were able to [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]] the world's otherwise laudable sympathy for the country that lost UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* On a LighterAndSofter note (sort of) one Amish woman got a beer bottle thrown in her face by a passing driver. She was right away given plastic surgery from private contributions from people who did not know her.

to:

[[folder:RealLife]]
[[folder:Western Animation]]
* A really grotesque version is many ideological movements. A large part One of the reason [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany the Nazis]] got away with so much is that they were able to [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]] the world's otherwise laudable sympathy for the country that lost UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* On
shorts of ''WesternAnimation/AeonFlux'' viciously subverts this, showing a LighterAndSofter note (sort of) one Amish woman got a beer bottle thrown in her face by a passing driver. She was right away series of characters, each given plastic surgery from private contributions from people screen time alone and characterization to make the audience connect with them, and each of whom becomes the subsequent {{Mook}} to be slaughtered by another character that the audience is being told to empathize with.
* ''WesternAnimation/GoofTroop''. How can you make the audience consistently laugh at TheChewToy without [[DesignatedMonkey starting to feel sympathy]] ''for him''? Especially if his main {{foil}} is a complete idiot
who did not know her.causes a lot of problems? Easy: engineer the perfect {{Woobie}} (sweet, subjugated, sensitive, and harmless), make TheChewToy treat him like crap, and show as many of his reactions as possible--both to immediate actions and the treatment as a whole--playing them completely straight in stark contrast to the rest of the show's comedic nature. Usually what Pete goes through can be justified by PJ episodes, and to a lesser extent Max episodes (which tend to feature PJ in major roles), but "Bringin' on the Rain" was a Pete episode that used this a lot.


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[[folder:Real Life]]
* A really grotesque version is many ideological movements. A large part of the reason [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany the Nazis]] got away with so much is that they were able to [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]] the world's otherwise laudable sympathy for the country that lost UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.
* On a LighterAndSofter note (sort of) one Amish woman got a beer bottle thrown in her face by a passing driver. She was right away given plastic surgery from private contributions from people who did not know her.
[[/folder]]

Added DiffLines:

* The end of The Weighed Companion Cube in ''VideoGame/Portal1'' is bound to bring tears to player's eyes even though it's just a cube with heart drawn on the side that does literary nothing.


->''"You know what makes people different from animals? We're the only species on Earth that observes [[Creator/DiscoveryChannel Shark Week]]. ''Sharks'' don't even observe Shark Week; but we do. For the same reason, I can pick up this pencil, [[NominalImportance tell you its name is Steve]], and then go like this; [''snaps it in half; gasps of horror''] and part of you ''dies'', just a little bit on the inside. Because people can connect with ''anything''. We can sympathise with a pencil, we can forgive a shark, [[TakeThat and we can give]] Creator/BenAffleck [[Film/GoodWillHunting an Academy Award for screenwriting]]. People can find the good in just about anything except themselves."''

to:

->''"You know what makes people different from animals? We're the only species on Earth that observes [[Creator/DiscoveryChannel Shark Week]]. ''Sharks'' don't even observe Shark Week; but we do. For the same reason, I can pick up this pencil, [[NominalImportance tell you its name is Steve]], Steve, and then go like this; [''snaps ''[snaps it in half; gasps of horror''] horror]'' and part of you ''dies'', just a little bit on the inside. Because people can connect with ''anything''. We can sympathise with a pencil, we can forgive a shark, [[TakeThat and we can give]] give Creator/BenAffleck [[Film/GoodWillHunting an Academy Award for screenwriting]].screenwriting. People can find the good in just about anything except themselves."''


Relatedly, it should be noted that the Rule Of Empathy is not an all-powerful charm that grants success and survival to sympathetic characters. It may well be used ''against'' the characters/audience with the likes of a MauveShirt being KilledOffForReal, or to hook us into rooting for the BoringFailureHero. As noted earlier, making a villain sympathetic is a sure way of making the audience deeply invested in a story. Sure, they're bad, but they're not ''[[AntiVillain all]]'' bad.

to:

Relatedly, it should be noted that the Rule Of Empathy is not an all-powerful charm that grants success and survival to sympathetic characters. It may well be used ''against'' the characters/audience with the likes of a MauveShirt being KilledOffForReal, or to hook us into rooting for the BoringFailureHero.FailureHero. As noted earlier, making a villain sympathetic is a sure way of making the audience deeply invested in a story. Sure, they're bad, but they're not ''[[AntiVillain all]]'' bad.


* Disney/Aladdin's Establishing Character Moment happens when he gives up his only meal (immediately after having just risked his life to steal it in the first place) to ensure orphans won't starve. That's all the viewer needs to know what sort of man he is.

to:

* Disney/Aladdin's Disney/{{Aladdin}}'s Establishing Character Moment happens when he gives up his only meal (immediately after having just risked his life to steal it in the first place) to ensure orphans won't starve. That's all the viewer needs to know what sort of man he is.

Added DiffLines:

* Disney/Aladdin's Establishing Character Moment happens when he gives up his only meal (immediately after having just risked his life to steal it in the first place) to ensure orphans won't starve. That's all the viewer needs to know what sort of man he is.


** However, the article misrepresents the nature of the theory: Dunbar's number (the actual scientific name for the concept, which according to TheOtherWiki varies in estimation between 100 and 230, rather than the concrete 150 given by Wong) refers to the number of people with whom one can maintain ''meaningful social relationships'' (i.e. know ''personally'') at any given time; Wong's article seems to imply that it describes the number of people for whom one can feel ''any empathy at all''. One can easily extend basic empathy to strangers without knowing them intimately.

to:

** However, the article misrepresents the nature of the theory: Dunbar's number (the actual scientific name for the concept, which according to TheOtherWiki Wiki/TheOtherWiki varies in estimation between 100 and 230, rather than the concrete 150 given by Wong) refers to the number of people with whom one can maintain ''meaningful social relationships'' (i.e. know ''personally'') at any given time; Wong's article seems to imply that it describes the number of people for whom one can feel ''any empathy at all''. One can easily extend basic empathy to strangers without knowing them intimately.


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[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/5bf4ba3728c5d90b1f99b3020438704c.jpg]]


[[quoteright:350:http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/5bf4ba3728c5d90b1f99b3020438704c.jpg]]





* ''Series/TheSarahConnorChronicles'': Cameron is a cold, emotionless, and [[RobotGirl literal killing machine]] who at one point leaves a man and his sister who helped her to die because they don't matter to her anymore. That doesn't change the fact that she is a ''deeply'' sympathetic character who rapidly obtained EnsembleDarkhorse [[TheWoobie Woobie]] status because of both how interesting she was and all the crap she puts up with [[IronWoobie without complaint]] for the Connors.

to:

* ''Series/TheSarahConnorChronicles'': ''Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles'': Cameron is a cold, emotionless, and [[RobotGirl literal killing machine]] who at one point leaves a man and his sister who helped her to die because they don't matter to her anymore. That doesn't change the fact that she is a ''deeply'' sympathetic character who rapidly obtained EnsembleDarkhorse [[TheWoobie Woobie]] status because of both how interesting she was and all the crap she puts up with [[IronWoobie without complaint]] for the Connors.



* Pretty much the whole point of ''Webcomic/WarbotInAccounting'' is to make the audience feel pity for another literal killing machine. Unlike [[Series/TheSarahConnorChronicles Cameron]], however, this machine has no face, voice, appendages, ability to emote, and is basically a box with a giant camera lens coming out of the center. It works. [[TearJerker Painfully well]].

to:

* Pretty much the whole point of ''Webcomic/WarbotInAccounting'' is to make the audience feel pity for another literal killing machine. Unlike [[Series/TheSarahConnorChronicles [[Series/TerminatorTheSarahConnorChronicles Cameron]], however, this machine has no face, voice, appendages, ability to emote, and is basically a box with a giant camera lens coming out of the center. It works. [[TearJerker Painfully well]].



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The Rule Of Empathy also informs viewers and characters ([[AuthorOnBoard and at times authors]]) just how good or bad an action is within the context of the story. When a villain destroys a whole ThrowawayCountry, we don't care because [[AMillionIsAStatistic we never saw those characters]]. But when they kill ''one'' character the audience or [[ProtagonistCenteredMorality hero empathizes with]], then they've crossed the MoralEventHorizon.

to:

The Rule Of Empathy also informs viewers and characters ([[AuthorOnBoard ([[WriterOnBoard and at times authors]]) just how good or bad an action is within the context of the story. When a villain destroys a whole ThrowawayCountry, we don't care because [[AMillionIsAStatistic we never saw those characters]]. But when they kill ''one'' character the audience or [[ProtagonistCenteredMorality hero empathizes with]], then they've crossed the MoralEventHorizon.


* ''Series/DoctorWho'' pulls this ''all the freaking time'', by introducing us to so many good-natured, likable, honest folks, and then killing them in cold blood. Such as poor Mo in the episode ''Hungry Earth'', who we first meet while trying to help his dyslexic son to read a book ("who loves you more than me?"). He survives, but he ''does'' end up being kidnapped and vivisected.[[note]]They do put him back together without killing him, but [[NightmareFuel that's horrifying in an entirely different way]].[[/note]]

to:

* ''Series/DoctorWho'' pulls this ''all the freaking time'', by introducing us to so many good-natured, likable, honest folks, and then killing them in cold blood. Such as poor Mo in the episode ''Hungry Earth'', "Hungry Earth", who we first meet while trying to help his dyslexic son to read a book ("who loves you more than me?"). He survives, but he ''does'' end up being kidnapped and vivisected.[[note]]They do put him back together without killing him, but [[NightmareFuel that's horrifying in an entirely different way]].[[/note]]



* A really grotesque version is many ideological movements. A large part of the reason the Nazis got away with so much is that they were able to [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]] the world's otherwise laudable sympathy for the country that lost the last war.

to:

* A really grotesque version is many ideological movements. A large part of the reason [[UsefulNotes/NaziGermany the Nazis Nazis]] got away with so much is that they were able to [[ManipulativeBastard manipulate]] the world's otherwise laudable sympathy for the country that lost the last war.UsefulNotes/WorldWarI.


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