A character is confronted with great misfortune. He is struck by bad luck at the least convenient moment, someone close to him suddenly got shot or died or he lost a precious object forever. Cue to him or her screaming the word "Why?" up to the sky in a Skyward Scream, complete with Large Ham and Narm fashion. Often a sign of Villainous Breakdown, Heroic BSoD, Break the Cutie and Start of Darkness. Might imply a Rage Against the Heavens.
This used to be a popular trope during dramatic scenes, but nowadays it's a Discredited Trope, usually played for laughs.
A Sub-Trope of Big Word Shout.
A Sister Trope to Big "NO!" and Big "WHAT?!".
Compare Big "NEVER!", Big "OMG!".
Contrast Big "YES!".
Not to be confused with the regionalnote supermarket chain "Big Y". Or Super Why!.
Here is a compilation with a lot of examples.
NOTE: Do not Pot Hole to this trope just to complain about something. It will be deleted.
- In one Progressive ad, the box does this when he climbs up to the top shelf of a freezer in a supermarket only to find that the box of waffles he grabbed was whole wheat.
- Scrapped Princess. Raquel has a heartbreaking one, near the end, when Pacifica dies, despite her attempts to save her. It's preceded by a Little "No" before she breaks down and screams at the heavens.
Raquel: (tearfully, while cradling Pacifica's lifeless body) "No... why? WHHHYYYYYYYYY??!?"
- Cool Big Sis Yuuri from School-Live! acts this way in chapter 27 after things go From Bad to Worse when a rescue helicopter crashes and burns in front of the school.
Why? Why did things end up like this? Why!? Why!? There's nothing! There's nothing we can do about any of this, is there!? I can't... do this anymore...
- GTO: The Early Years: Ryuji lets one out in Chapter 68, when Ayumi leaves, accompanied by Manly Tears.
- Zoids: Chaotic Century: When Van's Blade Liger pierces through the Death Saurer's Electric Particle Cannon and then goes through the Death Saurer itself, this is all what Proitzen can say before it explodes along with him:
"Why?! Why?! Why did I have to be defeated by these insects?! WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!"
- Cross Ange: This is the reaction Rosalie has when her ex, Chris, coldly killed one of her (Rosalie's) younger charges. After Marika, said charge, is sheared in half by a massive sword and incinerated in the explosion of her Paramail, Rosalie immediately flies into an Unstoppable Rage as she attempts to avenge her by killing Chris.
Rosalie: Marika... NOOOOOOOOOOOO! How could you?! CHRIS, WHYYYYYYYYYYY?!!
- Hunter × Hunter: During the Chimera Ant arc, Gon belts out one of these during his epic Freak Out over having to wait for Neferpitou, who he needed to save Kite, to heal Komugi for Meruem.
Gon: Why are you helping her anyway?! After all the things...*chokes* That you did to my friend Kite?! Why...?! *aura explodes* WHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!
- Akis: In "Why Oh Why", Akis and her family watch a television program showing a woman screaming "WHY?!" towards the sky after her loved one has died. Akis' father bets she can't act as well as the woman in the program, triggering the plot of the episode when Akis actually takes him up on the challenge.
- In Issue 40 of the Silver Age Green Lantern, the Guardians of the Universe tell Hal Jordan to turn in his Power Ring and uniform, since he being replaced by Alan Scott. Hal reacts with a Big "WHAT?!" and rants about how invaluable he was for the Guardians up until then, ending with three straight "Why?"s, each bigger than the last.
- Played for Laughs in Hetalia: Axis Powers fanfic Gankona, Unnachgiebig, Unità after Germany, Italy, and Japan marathoned all 37 episodes of Death Note for 13 hours straight.
"NNNNNNNAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAANNNNNNNNNNNNNDDDDDDDDEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE?!""DDDDOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUSSSSSSSHHHHHHHIIIIIIIIIIITTTTTTTTEEEEEEE?!""WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?!"
- Sword Art Online Abridged has a good one when Kains hears Yolko dragged a stranger into a plot they were weaving.
- The Loud House:
- In Birthday Breakfast, Lincoln says, "Whyyyyyy?" when the twins fight on their birthday because he thinks he's failed at making them happy. He's wrong—- they like to fight.
- In Nicely Done, Lana's only reaction to her side of the twins' room getting cleaned up by Lola is a long, drawn-out "WHYYYYYYYYYYY?!"
- In The Nutty Professor, Buddy does this to Carla when she's about to ditch him for showing up late to their date.
- After a murder spree that presumably starts long before the action in DeathProof, Stuntman Mike is perplexed when the girls finally turn the tables on him.
- A part of a Break the Haughty moment in Thor. The title character does this when he realises that he can't lift Mjolnir anymore and that his father has well and truly banished him.
- In the final scenes of Poltergeist, Steve grabs his land-developer boss and screams at him for having relocated the headstones of the cemetery on which his haunted house was built, while leaving the bodies. His rant of accusation ends with a furious double example of this trope.
- Played for Laughs by Wayne, while carrying a burnt, unconscious Garth in the "unhappy ending" of Wayne's World.
- Denny at the end of The Room while mourning over Johnny's body after he commits suicide.
- Ximena lets out several of these in El Cid when the exiled Spaniards discover her with her husband in the barn and beg him to lead them once more. She's clearly screaming at the top of her lungs, but we barely hear her over the cheers and Rodrigo's exultant "Spain! Spain!"
- Frankenstein's Monster bellows out an impressive one in Van Helsing to the angry mob at the beginning of the movie, stunning all of them into silence.
- In 50 First Dates this appears to be Lucy's reaction when she learns her father and brother have been repeating the day's events over and over to conceal her brain damage.
- Deja is shot at the climax of the film Higher Learning. As she lies there, gushing Blood from the Mouth, she manages to wail out a wrenching version of one of these. It's her last word.
- God's Not Dead: After failing to change Radisson's mind with Powerpoint presentations explicitly detailing how much his religion "triumphs" over atheism, at least in his own opinion, manchild Josh gets reduced to just demanding "Why" over Radisson's refusal to believe in God.
- Mommie Dearest has Joan Crawford screaming "Why" after she found a second wire hanger in Christina's closet.
- One of many Narm-filled scenes in The Lonely Lady involves Jerrilee editing an actress' longwinded speech down to just "WHY? WHY?"
- In Turning Red, Mei lets out a couple lamenting her situation right before her friends show up outside her window.
- Urban Legend: When Brenda reveals herself as the killer, Natalie asks Brenda about the reason.
Brenda: ...Well, I guess you can say I'm a little...nutty.Natalie: Why?Brenda: [impersonating Natalie's whimpering] Whyyy? Whyyy? (finally in anger) WHYYYYY? Still haven't figured it out, have you?
- This was practically Kenan's Catchphrase on Kenan & Kel, used whenever one of their schemes goes pear-shaped. As seen here, it's sometimes used by the other characters as well.
- Played for Laughs on 3rd Rock from the Sun. Dick considers telling Mary that he and his family are aliens. The only thing is that the Solomons have just seen a sci-fi movie featuring an Alien Invasion, so they stage a simulation to how it would go. After Dick tells Sally (posing as Mary) he's an alien, she "dies". While cradling her "corpse", Harry lets out a Big Why that would do William Shatner proud.
- A Catchphrase for Captain Binghamton on McHale's Navy — "Why me?!? Why is it always, me?!?"
- In episode 51 of Mimpi Metropolitan, Alexi screams "Why?!" twice after being rejected by another director.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: Kirk Vilb, the star of film-in-progress "Scott of the Antarctic," yells "WHY??!" when the producer says they'll have to lose the fight with the lion (because there are no lions in the Antarctic).
- In Breaking Bad episode "Down", Jesse's mom hurls a few at her son for being a meth addict who tried keeping his late aunt's house all to himself, instead of letting his parents take it away from him.
- Note that she doesn't scream a single "why?" once Jesse places a bid on the house when she puts it on the market but at the same time Jesse got his lawyer Saul to blackmail his mom into either signing the house over to Jesse for an amount where she gets NO profits ($400,000) since she spent the exact same much to renovate the house OR face litigations because the house used to contain a meth lab and Saul would be more than happy to press charges against her by contacting the nosy DEA.
- Supernatural: The Teddy Bear that the little girl brought to life with a wish in the "Wishful Thinking" episode tries to kill himself by blasting his head off with a shotgun and discovers that it won't kill him. Cue big why.
- In the That's So Raven episode "The Dress Is Always Greener", Eddie and Cory charge people to see a potato that looks like Abraham Lincoln, but when Chelsea tries to put a stop to it, she bellows this trope when it breaks to pieces on hitting the floor. She lets out another one at the end of the episode when they find a potato chip that looks like Vin Diesel and Victor eats it.
- In Victorious, on the episode "Who Did It To Trina?", Andre says this when he isn't allowed to leave Lane's room. This is a close reference to the first aforementioned example.
- Played for drama in "Goodbyeeee", the final episode of the fourth series of Blackadder. As the certain death of the main characters draws near, Baldrick laments that all his friends are dead: Sammy the spider, Katie the worm, Bertie the bird, everyone except Neville the fat hamster. When Blackadder solemnly tells him that Neville is dead as well, Baldrick snaps, and asks why the war is happening, why can't they all just pack it in and go home, why?
- The Queen song "Under Pressure" features Freddie Mercury screaming the word "Why" for an absurdly long time.
- "Tell Me Why" by The Beatles from A Hard Day's Night could also count:
Tell me why-I-I-I-I
- Elvis Costello's "Welcome to the Working Week" from My Aim Is True has a repeated one:
All you gotta tell me now is why why why why
- The Beastie Boys song "Sabotage" contains an epic Metal Scream one from the King Ad Rock.
- The appropriately titled Annie Lennox song "Why?"
- Limp Bizkit's "Boiler" ends with one.
- In the musical Merrily We Roll Along, at the end of the 1976 scene, Frank's life has been ruined. He stands alone in his Bel Air mansion, and screams, "WHYYYY??!!"
- In the musical Jesus Christ Superstar Jesus asks "WHYYYYYYYY?!?!?!" on a long and high note in the "Gethsemane" number.
- In Kirby: Triple Deluxe, Taranza screams this after Queen Sectonia blasts him for not following her orders properly. It's what lead him into realizing he was fighting for the wrong side.
- In Dynasty Warriors: Gundam, a great big, agonized "WHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY??!!!!" is Uso Ewin's reaction to getting shot down in battle by the player.
- In the DS version of Final Fantasy IV, Cecil does this upon finding the King of Baron (i.e. his foster father) had sent him to unwittingly raze a defenseless village with his package.
- In Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days, Riku asks why the mysterious boy in the black cloak (Roxas) has a Keyblade. Said figure just gives him a Big "SHUT UP!" and attacks him.
- In Devil Survivor 2 Record Breaker, should the player opt for the Human Adminstrator Ending in the Triangulum Arc, the penultimate scene has the party collapse from exhaustion after defeating the Big Bad. Daichi wakes up and sees Yamato, Al Saiduq, and the Protagonist missing and realizes that the Protagonist is planning on becoming a Human Adminstator. He rushes to those three and begs the Protagonist to reconsider and, when they proceed to go through with their plan, just screams, "WHY?!"
- Parodied in Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction, where Rusty Pete gives out quite a large "why" (with a hiccup in the middle) after Captain Slag is killed. He imminently gets over the loss, and declares Ratchet as the new captain so that he can later use him to revive Slag.
- In Psychonauts, the G-Men attempt to pull this off when they're posing as grieving widows, but their lack of inflection causes it to come off as lifeless and lacking in emotion.
"Grieving Widow" G-Man: I am a grieving widow. Why, God. Why.
- In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel II, the protagonist Rean screams this towards Osborne who reveals himself to be alive, undoing everything Crow and the Imperial Liberation Front's whole revenge.
Rean: Why!? Why are YOU still alive! Crow shot you! You're supposed to be dead!
- Sengoku Basara makes this into a Catchphrase for the eternally unlucky, put-upon Kanbe. Anytime life conspires to screw with him (which is often) you'll hear him shouting "WHYYY?" at the sky. Rendered in Japanese as "NAZE JAAAA?"
- In the second installment of Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People, known as Strong Badia the Free, when Strong Bad wins his "battle" against a Taranchula standee, Strong Mad, who was controlling the standee, cries, "WHY, STRONG BAD, WHY?!?"
- Given off by Oil Man's Copy Robot upon defeat in Mega Man Powered Up.
- In Hollow Knight, the Grey Mourner exclaims "WAI!?" every time you fail the Delicate Flower sidequest.
- In Silent Hill 3, Heather shouts this to Claudia in regards to why Claudia killed her father, Harry Mason.
- In certain King of Fighters games, Sie Kensou's KO scream has him yell "NANDE YA!?"
- In Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc, two of Aoi Asahina's voice clips usually follow a pattern of a slightly-more common little 'why' followed by a rarely-used big one when she's sufficiently disturbed. Most notably happens when she discovers Sakura dead in chapter 4.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies plays it for laughs when Nick sees the Phantom has a mask of himself.
- Used in this Awkward Zombie strip.
- Used by a falling and injured Black Mage◊ in 8-Bit Theater.
- Unsounded: When Duane realizes his soul is tethered to his rotting, bug infested body, trapping him in a hellish existence he angrily asks his god why, furious and shocked.
- In the first installment of The Gamers, Nimble does one of these in a flashback to a previous session where his sister was murdered.
- In Alphabet Lore, Y (of course) does this upon finding X's dead body.
- In Doom House, Reginald shouts this, in the Narmiest way possible, after finding the cursed doll in his bed.
- Discussed in David Mitchell's Soapbox when he speculates on the quality of the third series of Downton Abbey and that it will consider this line being screamed by an animated turd standing on a Tesco logo.
- In SMOSH in "How to Dump Your Girlfriend!", Anthony's girlfriend lets one out when she gets fooled by Anthony faking his death. Anthony then answers her, even though he was supposed to pretend to be dead.
- Red of Overly Sarcastic Productions lets one loose in response to The Odyssey - specifically, that Odysseus' dog, Argos, dies immediately after seeing his master one last time.
- In Rick and Morty, when Morty is forced to kill Fart, Fart gives him this.
Fart: Morty, why?! WHY?
- Cow and Chicken. In "A Couple of Skatin' Fools", to take Chicken and Earl out of the figure skating competition, Red Guy fractures Earl's knee by tapping it with a galvanized steel smoking pipe. Afterwards, Earl continually screams, "WHYYYY?!! WHYYYYY?!!", even as he's rushed to the hospital.
Earl: What are we gonna do, Chicken? WHYYYY?!! The skating competition is tomorrow. WHYYYY?!!Chicken: Don't worry, (Clinches fist) We'll find a way to win! (Brings fist down on Earl's knee)Earl: WHYYYYYYYYYYY!!!
- DuckTales (2017): In "A Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!", this is Dewey's reaction to seeing Huey's dream self is just Huey made taller... with the addition of a pair of creepily-long legs. Later Webby has a similar reaction to Huey adding freakishly-long arms to the mix, letting out a shout of "Oh, why?" as Huey's arms flail about.
Dewey: Why, Huey? Why? Why, Huey?! Whyyyyyy?!
Huey: Whatever do you mean? Nothing strange here, just a tall, distinguished, mature oldest sibling.
Dewey: In what world does that description equal this?!
- One Family Guy cutaway has Peter tumbling down a cliff, plants and jagged rocks ripping at his clothes, until he crashes naked and bruised through the roof of a house to land on a poor Mexican family's dinner table. The father asks "What is this?" in subtitled Spanish, to which his wife replies, "It is the answer to my prayers." The father cries "Por qué?"
- Whenever Bugs Bunny tries to break up with Cloudcuckoolander Lola Bunny from The Looney Tunes Show, she turns on the Ocular Gushers and bawls "Whyyy?" not so much asking for an explanation as to shame Bugs into recanting. Which always works.
- In Regular Show, season 4, "A Bunch of Full Grown Geese", Rigby shouts this three times when four geese ruin a sandwich he, Mordecai, and Pops were about to eat by knocking it to the ground and kicking dust on it and when the geese surround him and beat him up.
- The Simpsons. In the episode "Brother From The Same Planet" Homer yells this as he dreams that Bart has turned into a skeleton. He then yells "WHY...? HOW...? WHEN...? WHICH...?"
- In the South Park episode "Volcano", when Stan shoots Scuzzlebutt, Patrick Duffy lets out a Big "NO!" and exclaims, "Why, God, why?!"
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In "Ripped Pants" when SpongeBob appears to have drowned but is just setting up another ripped pants joke, the lifeguard does a particularly hilarious one.
- In "Boating School", Mrs. Puff responds to SpongeBob crashing during the driving test with "Oh, SpongeBob! Why?" She says it in a deeper voice because she has inflated like a deployed airbag.
- In "Missing Identity", SpongeBob mourns the loss of his nametag this way. Or rather, he does it by shouting out "PORQUOI?!"
- Spike does this in the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Just for Sidekicks". Also, being an over-reactive Drama Queen that she is, Rarity in "Lesson Zero" when she lost her ribbon can be this.
- Phineas and Ferb: In "Tri-State Treasure: Boot of Secrets", Candace shouts this combined with a Skyward Scream when she loses her chance at getting a rare Ducky Momo toy when the antique baby rattle she needed to trade was turned new by Doofenshmirtz's De-Age-inator.
- American Dad! Steve shouts a mournful one whenever attacked by a vindictive crow in one episode:
Steve: Why, crow? Why?
- The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Spaceman Sonic" gives us this infamous quote from Dr. Robotnik as he yells at his minions. "WHY is my precious rocket ship drifting off into deep space?! WHY am I reaching you at the coordinates of the abandoned space station?! WHY?! WHY?! WHY?!"
- When Professor Farnsworth discovers that his experimental monkey Gunther has escaped in the Futurama episode "Mars University", he shouts "Why? WHY? Why didn't I break his legs?!"
- In the Steven Universe/Uncle Grandpa crossover episode "Say Uncle", Amethyst trips over a letter "Y" (part of the words "RUN AWAY") and screams "WHY?????" into the sky.
- In The Penguins of Madagascar episode "I Was a Penguin Zombie", Kowalski, Private, and Rico are mourning for Skipper, mistakenly believing he died of an infection, and Rico coughs up a picture of Skipper and screams "Why? WHY?! WWWWHHHHHHHHYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!"
- The Amazing World of Gumball
- In "The Secret", Gumball lets one out when Darwin informs him the only way to get out of a locked bathroom is going down the toilet.
- In "The Flower", this is Leslie's (the titular flower) reaction to Gumball's Green-Eyed Monster Superpowered Evil Side covering him in slugs in the hopes of them eating him alive.
- In "The Origins", Nicole does this in response to her alarm clock going off, which turns out to be Gumball imitating it, alongside Richard's yelling.
- In "The Ex", Tobias lets one out when he triggers a bomb that Gumball mistakenly planted in his house and gets sent flying.
- In the Chowder episode "Mung on the Rocks", an unsatisfied customer claims that he ordered a Super Happy Cake, but the cake is clearly depressed and lets out one of these.
- Wander over Yonder: Sylvia screams it in "The Pet", following a Big "NO!", when she thinks Wander was eaten by the alien (when it was really a teddy bear Wander gave it).
- Adventure Time: "What Have You Done?" ends with Finn "dying", causing Ice King to scream "WHY?!" at the top of his lungs, and his anguished howls reach all the way to the Candy Kingdom, curing the Candy People of their Freezer Burn Flu. After Finn feels hurt by how Ice King just dropped him after crying out in pain, Jake says he'd hold onto Finn for an eternity if he ever died, and carries Finn back home in his arms while yelling "WHY?!" and laughing.
- Work It Out Wombats!: In "Campout Confusion," Zadie, forlorn over the ruined campout and burnt zucchini, shouts "WHY?"
- Figure skater Nancy Kerrigan's reaction on Jan 6, 1994 when an assailant hired by the ex-husband of her rival Tonya Harding struck her above her right knee with a retractable baton. This was subject to plenty of jokes at the time (as were most aspects of the case), although Kerrigan's emotional reaction was pretty understandable and more than a little tragic in hindsight.
- After Gary Plauché shot his son's kidnapper and rapist in the head as he was being escorted through Baton Rouge Metropolitan Airport in 1984, the officers who immediately restrained Plauché began crying out "Why? WHY, GARY? WHY?!" One could presume they were asking rhetorically.
Why, TV Tropes?! WWWWHHHHHHYYYYYYYYYYYY?!?!?!