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Disappointed in You

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Eleanor: I'm not mad. I'm just disappointed.
Michael: Oh, come on! Everyone knows that's worse!

One character fails at something. Instead of being angry, another character is morose. They don't yell at the first character or ask them "What Were You Thinking?" or anything dramatic like that. Instead, they calmly, sadly and often regretfully tell the other person that they've let them down. Someway, somehow, they've set the second character's hopes for them high and then failed to deliver. May be worded as "I'm disappointed in you," or "You disappoint me," or at a stretch "I expected better/more of you." However it's worded, the issue isn't one of outrage or indignation — merely that the speaker has been let down by the other and they feel like a fool for believing there would be any other outcome.


This usually has a greater effect on the person they are disappointed with. The recipient of this trope may be driven to a Heroic or Villainous BSoD, in extreme cases to the declaration of "My God, What Have I Done?". If they've become a bad person or are in the process of it, they may have a Heel Realization. Except in the case of an Ignored Epiphany, this character will typically be driven to atone for their failure. Only very, very rarely do they cross the Despair Event Horizon and become Driven to Suicide.

Compare What a Senseless Waste of Human Life, where someone is moved to regret by the death of a particular person, and You Could Have Used Your Powers for Good, which may go hand in hand. This trope can typically get through to a Knight Templar or Well-Intentioned Extremist when angry callings-out and indignant diatribes fail. Contrast So Proud of You.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, Sora scolds his friends for allowing themselves into being captured by a bunch of weak Heartless when the trio are captured and zapped into a computer world called Space Paranoids. This is different from the game, where he simply tells them to "show 'em who's boss".
    Sora: Come on, guys! You let the Heartless get you?
  • In My Hero Academia: Aizawa gives his whole class one of these after five students decided to disregard pretty much all rules and regulations to conduct an unsanctioned rescue operation, and nearly the entire rest of the class knew about it and didn't report it. He tells them that their actions meant that it will be a long time before they can earn his trust again.

    Comic Books 
  • In The Avengers Rage of Ultron, Hank Pym confronts his omnicidal robot son Ultron near the end. Ultron asks if Hank is going to stop claiming he loves Ultron as a son unconditionally and own his hatred. Hank denies hating Ultron and says he's disappointed in him because he wants to hurt people.
  • In one issue of JLA, Batman reacted this way when he found out Plastic Man had a son Luke whom he never met face to face. Batman claims that he had always thought Plastic Man would have been a decent dad and chews him out for not being there for his son. This leaves an impression on Plas — in a later storyline after a particularly traumatizing experience he decides to stop being Plastic Man (to the point of forgetting he ever was Plastic Man) so he can be a dad for Luke.
  • Subverted in MAD, during the parody of 7th Heaven. Cleric Crammed-in says he's very disappointed in his son, Simple, when the boy's caught shoplifting, but retracts that when it's revealed that Simple was shoplifting "The Best of Eight is Enough," since his show can steal material from that.
  • The Sandman: Morpheus creates the nightmare known as the Corinthian as a "black mirror" to reflect everything humans aren't prepared to acknowledge about themselves. Then Morpheus gets waylaid and captured by a cult for decades. After he escapes, he finds that the Corinthian has been at large in the human world for some time — and is unimpressed that all he's done is inspire the modern Serial Killer.
    Morpheus: What have you wrought, Corinthian? NOTHING! Just something else for people to be scared of, that's all. You've told them that there are bad people out there. And they've known that all along.
  • An unintentional version serves as part of Spider-Gwen's backstory. While watching news about Spider-Woman's frivolous antics on television, Captain Stacy rants to his daughter about how deeply disappointed he is that someone with such abilities would selfishly use them for profit rather than to help others. His daughter Gwen, secretly being Spider-Woman, is visibly shaken and saddened by this, deciding to start off on the path to heroism that Peter's death later cements.
  • This is how Superman views Lex Luthor. Since he's an All-Loving Hero Superman can't stay mad at him, but he will always be disappointed that Lex, with all his brilliance, wastes his talents on perpetuating a grudge instead of being the paragon Superman knows he could be.

    Fan Works 
  • An Alternate Keitaro Urashima: Granny Hina tries guilt-tripping Keitaro into taking over the Inn by talking about how disappointed she is in the person he's becoming. This doesn't work. She also attempts the same tactic on his parents.
  • Ambience: A Fleet Symphony: In chapter 105, Murasame saying this to Suzukaze is the cherry on top of the preceding Et Tu, Brute?, the straw that breaks the camel's back and causes the latter to abandon the fleet.
  • In Boys und Sensha-do!, Miho expresses the sentiment to Mako when a mistake by Mako as driver results in Miho almost getting run over by their Panzer IV.
  • Both Twilight Velvet and Night Light scold Shining Armor's actions at his sister in A Canterlot Wedding: Aftermath.
  • In Cardcaptor Rad, with Optimus being something of a Team Dad, both Hot Shot and Rad can attest they find when he's disappointed in them to be worse than if he got angry.
  • Chloe's Lament: After sincerely believing that his Childhood Friend was simply misunderstood by her classmates and spending so much time defending her, Adrien is horrified to realize just how little regard she holds for others, to the point that she legitimately doesn't see anything wrong with the notion of Mind Controlling everyone to serve as her personal slaves. Chloe notices that he keeps giving her incredibly disappointed looks, but struggles to understand why, even when he spells it out for her.
  • In Continuance, Souji Seta convinces his father, Yuuma to let him visit Inaba for Golden Week, under the pretext of gathering business information. Yuuma, upon seeing Souji's portfolio, says this is "far beneath what (he) expect(s) of" his son. Souji, unfazed, snarkily replies that Yuuma's been saying that ever since Souji was thirteen.
  • After Yuugao almost kills Suzume for poisoning Naruto in Eroninja, Naruto tells her he's disappointed in her, which Suzume notes nearly drives the Anbu captain to tears.
  • Fate/Black Dawn: The key turning point in Morgan le Faye's relationship with Shirou is how he takes her to task for being a terrible mother to her homunculus Mordred. "She deserves a decent mother. And you deserve to be a great one." While Morgan has had people hating her and her ambitions her entire life, she's never had anyone disappointed in her because they expected her to do better.
  • After twelve years of inhabiting his son's body in The Fire Quenched, Kakashi notes that Minato doesn't seem so much angry with the village as deeply disappointed for how they treated "Naruto".
  • Xander indirectly tells Buffy how disappointed he is in Hunter when after they both agree to share their dirty little secrets with the group (that Xander had Ethan Rayne mystically empower him and that Buffy has been hiding that Angel's back), he reveals his secret first and she refuses to say anything.
    Xander: Well, I guess no one else has anything to say. I guess we can all go back to our so not normal lives.
  • Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail: Miss April is deeply disappointed when she catches her student Sara snidely declaring that Chloe doesn't deserve to have anyone looking for her, and that she hopes she never comes back. This extends to the rest of the class for making Chloe so miserable in the first place, contributing to her disappearance.
  • In LadyBugOut, Ms. Bustier attempts to talk Marinette into deleting the titular blog behind Ladybug's back (unaware that she is Ladybug). When Marinette refuses and calls her out on her bully-coddling, Bustier attempts to shame her by saying this. It promptly blows up in her face as most of her class proceeds to back Marinette up, calling her out for her underhanded tactics.
  • Marinette Dupain-Cheng's Spite Playlist: Remix:
    • Marinette expects Adrien to pull this card after she transfers out of their school, since he'd told her to 'take the high road' and just ignore Lila's antics. Instead, Adrien apologizes to her, having realized that his advice wasn't the support she'd needed... or that he'd promised her.
    • Chloé pulls this when she tries to guilt-trip Marinette into helping her take down Lila, regaling her with all the ways the Manipulative Bitch is exploiting their classmates. When Marinette doesn't cave, Chloé sneers that she thought she'd care more about her friends.
    • Later, Adrien worries that Marinette will be disappointed if she learns that he's cooperating with Chloé to deal with Lila. This proves doubly ironic; not only is this part of his efforts to grow a spine and make up for his past mistakes, but he's unaware that Marinette is cooperating with them as Ladybug.
  • The One to Make It Stay:
    • After Alya accidentally ditches her babysitting duties, her older sister Nora is utterly furious with her. By contrast, her mother is much quieter and calmer, explaining why she's disappointed not just by this incident, but by how skewed Alya's priorities have become in general. While Alya has been incredibly stubborn up to this point, rejecting the idea that she could be responsible for any of her problems, this marks a turning point, as she finds herself more frustrated by how she can't blame them for being upset.
    • Eventually, Alya admits to Ladybug that her fear of this was a major motivation behind how she was acting. In essence, she didn't want to admit her actions were wrong, or that Lila wasn't who she believed her to be, because acknowledging that would mean facing the idea that she'd disappointed everyone who trusted her. The irony of how this has only made matters worse isn't lost on her.
  • Of Patience and Pettiness:
    • Ladybug uses this on both Lila and Alya at the same time after the former is akumatized into Volpina again, chastising her for falsely claiming that they were friends and chiding the reporter for providing an easy platform for her lies by posting them on the Ladyblog.
    • Adrien attempts to guilt-trip Marinette and the rest of his classmates by expressing how deeply disappointed he is that she exposed Lila's deception to everyone. This completely blows up in his face, as none of the others knew that he already knew about her true nature, and don't appreciate his high-handed moralizing.
  • Princess of the Blacks: Lily attempts this with Jen, saying she's "better than this" when the latter admits that "if [she] can only stay afloat by pushing someone else under, then that's just the way it goes." Unfortunately for her, not only does Jen not care, Lily called her Jenny.
  • At one point in Cleolinda's The Secret Life of Dolls series, Cleo disciplines Edward simply by telling him she's disappointed in him.
  • A nonverbal example occurs in Sideways Sorting after Draco Malfoy (who's a Hufflepuff in this story) talks trash about Harry's parents only to receive a look from Professor Sprout of "such grave disappointment that even Harry felt guilty." Afterwards, Draco doesn't insult anyone for three days.
  • Sins of the Past:
    • When Lila successfully makes it look like Marinette assaulted her, several of their classmates tell their former friend they're disappointed that she's sunk so low. One comments that "I thought you were supposed to be our 'Everyday Ladybug'?"
    • Adrien follows this up with an even nastier example. Marinette confides in him about how Lila threatened her, only for him to lecture her about how disappointed he is that she's still trying to expose the liar, claiming that she's no better than a bully herself.
    • Both of Kamela's parents are deeply ashamed after learning about how she had an altercation with Amicia.
  • This is definitely the sentiment in a chapter of the One Piece snippet series Specks of Seafoam titled Advantages, where Nami talks Sanji into retrieving a treasure from an underwater tunnel and almost ends up killing him as a result. The crew, especially Zoro, are shocked at Nami for what she made Sanji do, but it's not until Luffy says this phrase that Nami realizes it.
    Luffy: Nami. I'm disappointed in you.
    And in that moment, Nami felt like the world had ended.
  • Twilight expresses her extreme disappointment over TD and Celestia's animalistic behavior in TD the Alicorn Princess, which hits both quite hard. Celestia is also shown to be disappointed in herself.
  • Unohana does this in chapter 35 of Uninvited Guests, when she uses her Team Mom status to guilt trip Soi Fon into surrendering her hold on Soul Society.
    With immeasurable sadness in her eyes, she said, "I just want you to know... I'm not angry, Soi Fon. I'm disappointed."
    Soi Fon recoiled as if physically struck. "Wh-what... what was..." She muttered. What had just happened? Unohana had done nothing of note; she'd spoken a few words. They weren't even kido. And yet Soi Fon felt as though a spear of ice had been driven deep into her soul, a deep, crushing chill that permeated her entire being.
    "I've done so much for you. I work tirelessly, day in and day out, to keep you and your little friends healthy and happy." Unohana said, still sadly. "I do this because I care, Soi, I really do. And to see you respond by treating me like this... it hurts."
    Soi Fon fell to her knees. "S... stop it..." She muttered. "What are you... what are you doing to... to me..."
    "Look me in the eyes when I talk to you, young lady." Unohana said firmly. "I want you to understand just how much your selfishness has hurt the people who care about you."
    "Oh... oh God..." Soi Fon said weakly, tears in her eyes. What was going on? What was this woman doing to her? She hadn't been so much as scratched, but she felt so weak and terrible and... guilty.
  • Up And Apart, a Patchwork Fic written for the TRON universe has Jet Bradley hanging a lampshade on this trope.
    He has the mental image of his father staring at him over his spectacles, and the words “Jethro Eugene Bradley, I'm very disappointed...” When it comes to his dad, “disappointed” covers a lot of things other people use four-letter bombs to express.

    Films — Animation 
  • Brother Bear: After Kenai kills the bear (AKA Koda's mother) out of anger for supposedly causing Sitka's death, the spirits his people worship turn him into a bear as a punishment. During the transformation scene, Sitka's spirit appears to Kenai and gives him a sorrowful look, not happy at all that his youngest brother had needlessly killed the bear.
  • Towards the end of The Chipmunk Adventure, Miss Miller delivers this to Theodore once she finds out about Alvin's ruse to go on a world quest.
    Miss Miller: (crying) I can understand this deception from Alvin, but not you, Theodore.
    Theodore: (tearing up) I'm sorry, Miss Miller.
  • The Lion King:
    Mufasa: Simba, I'm very disappointed in you.
    Simba: I know.
    • And again later in the film:
      Nala: You're not the Simba I remember.
      Simba: You're right, I'm not. Now are you satisfied?
      Nala: No. Just disappointed.
      Simba: You know, you're starting to sound like my father.
      Nala: Good! At least one of us does.
  • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride doesn't show this part in the movie, but a recording of James Earl Jones voicing Mufasa hints at a scene of Mufasa calling Simba out for unfairly banishing Kovu, which had led to Kiara telling him "You will never be Mufasa!".
    Mufasa: You have let your family fall apart, and in doing so, you have broken the Circle of Life.
  • The Prince of Egypt: Queen Tuya sorrowfully turns away from her adopted son Moses in shame after he humiliates a slave girl at the royal banquet. Given how she was ashamed of her son for humiliating what other Egyptians would consider a lowly life form, it is clear that she was one of Moses' major moral compasses in his early life.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Black Rain. After his partner is murdered the protagonist, an NYPD detective, admits to a Japanese detective that he stole money from drug dealers.
    Masashiro: Did Charlie [his dead partner] know this?
    Nick: No.
    Masashiro: [quietly] You shame him. And me. And yourself.
    Nick: [long pause] I know.
  • Gettysburg. General Lee's mild-mannered rebuke of his cavalry commander Jeb Stuart cows the flamboyant general so much he tries to resign on the spot.
  • Steve-O lampshades this in the first Jackass movie just before a stunt when he remarks that when parents say "I'm not angry, just disappointed", it hurts so much more.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • Arthur tells Charlie this once he fails his Secret Test of Character. Especially noteworthy as Charlie was the only remaining candidate who fit his vision of what a Kingsman agent should be.
    • When Eggsy fails his last Secret Test of Character by refusing to shoot the dog he adopted, Harry sees it as Eggsy throwing away everything he'd been working towards over something trivial — even worse because, turns out, the gun was loaded with blanks. This is particularly sad because it's the last exchange he and Eggsy have before Harry's death.
  • A subplot of Nutty Professor II: The Klumps has Sherman's dad taking Sherman's youth formula to be younger and skinner. When he tries to get his wife to take it, she's angry because she thinks it means that he's grown tired of her. After exiling him to the couch, she says that she's disappointed in him.
  • RoboCop (1987), following a disastrous test run of ED-209 leaving an OCP executive riddled with bullets.
    OCP Chairman: Dick, I'm very disappointed.
  • X-Men Film Series
    • X2: X-Men United: Xavier is disgruntled by Pyro's mischief at the museum.
      Professor X: The next time you feel like showing off, don't.
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Xavier is upset when the mutant teens are behaving like party animals, and he rebukes them with a frown.
        Xavier: I expect more from you.
      • After Havok insults Hank by calling him "Bozo," Charles' terse delivery of "Thank you, Alex" is his very polite way of saying, "Shut up."
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Magneto believes that Mystique has grown soft when he sternly asks her, "What's happened to you? Did you lose your way while I was gone?"
      • It's subtle, but there is resentment in Charles' voice when he says, "Goodbye, Erik."
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • Xavier isn't at all pleased that Magneto has reverted back to his violent ways.
        Professor X: You're going to take part in all this killing? Destruction?
      • Archangel receives this posthumously when Apocalypse disparages him as "Useless."
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe: Quiet expression of disappointment by those Loki cares about has more effect on him than any amount of angry shouting ever would. In Thor, when Odin condemns his actions with a Little "No", he lets go of Odin's spear Gungnir and his former life, apparently committing suicide by letting himself fall to his death, but survives and then is Jumping Off the Slippery Slope in The Avengers. In Thor: Ragnarok, when Thor calmly admits that he once though the world of Loki but has given up on him because Loki refuses to change, Loki makes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • In Inception, the last thing the dying Corrupt Corporate Executive Maurice Fischer says to his son Robert is simply "Disappointed." Robert, a "Well Done, Son!" Guy and the inheritor of his company, naturally assumes this trope, until Cobb and his Caper Crew, as part of a scheme to get him to sell off said company, implant a false memory in his mind where Maurice elaborates:
    Fischer, Jr.: I know. You're disappointed that I didn't turn out to be like you.
    Fischer, Sr.: No. No, nonono. I was disappointed... that you tried.
  • In Stand Clear of the Closing Doors, Carla blows off her responsibility to walk her autistic brother home from school. When he goes missing, their mother blames her and says, "I can't even look at you."
  • Spawn: Wynn calls him a disappointment for having a conscience as a professional killer.

  • One Narnia Gamebook uses this. Aslan sends the Player Character to investigate an island where some of the water can turn everything it touches to gold, which is otherwise indistingishable from all the other water there. If the hero decides to join a gang exploiting the water to get rich quick, Aslan appears, tells them how disappointed he is, and sends them back home, along with their ill-gotten wealth. The hero's deeply upset, realizing too late the folly of their greed, and it's implied they'll never get a chance to atone or return to Narnia.

  • In A Brother's Price, the punishment for Corelle's irresponsible behaviour is very calmly delivered. The Whistlers don't yell at kids or beat them ... they just strip Corelle of all possessions she doesn't need to survive. As they're not that rich, and are a large family, Corelle doesn't have much to begin with, but it's still a harsh punishment.
  • Absolutely Truly: Truly's mother says she's disappointed in her when she sees Truly's report card and discovers she failed math.note 
  • In Harry Potter, this is a recurring theme in Harry's interactions with his role models.
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Dumbledore calmly expresses his disappointment with Harry and Ron for flying the Ford Anglia to Hogwarts — Harry would rather he had shouted.
    • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Lupin is quietly disappointed in Harry over the fact that he didn't hand in the Marauder's Map, "leaving [him] feeling worse than he had at any point in Snape's office."
    • In Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, when Harry disappoints Dumbledore by not making much of an effort to get a memory from Slughorn, he again would have preferred him to yell; "this cold disappointment was worse than anything."
  • In Mistborn: The Original Trilogy, Vin initially refuses to help Kelsier rescue a group of prisoners on their way to be executed, on the grounds that said prisoners are heavily guarded and the odds are strongly against them. The usually very passionate Kelsier simply tells Vin that she has never really understood what he's trying to accomplish, and she still has a lot to learn about friendship.
  • In Tom Sawyer, there is a passage where Aunt Polly starts crying and berating Tom. He thinks that for a moment, he hoped she'd just beat him.
  • One of the quotes on the Quotes page comes from one of Jeremy Clarkson's car review collections, while discussing the Mazda 3.
  • This is how Joe's cultist parents react to his betrayal in The Tenets of Futilism. Rather than punishing him directly, they 'teach him a lesson' by hurting the woman he loves in the hope of molding him into the son they want. It doesn't work.
  • This is very much Granny Helga's reaction to Jan's panicked actions in Unique. It takes a heartfelt appeal from Charles to convince her to stop her quiet yet seething rant at him in favor of further training to prevent a repeat.
  • In Frozen Tie-In Novel A Frozen Heart, Prince Hans' father tells him that he should be more like his brothers and warns him "Don't disappoint me - again."
  • Welcome To Wonderland: Gloria tells P.T. she's disappointed in him in "Beach Battle Blowout" because he made Dill intentionally lose a Frolf game against Geoffrey, just because Geoffrey's a son of one of the judges.
  • Dark Shores: Killian's father High Lord Calorian, when he hears about his son's failure to hold the wall.
    High Lord Calorian: You were meant to be my greatest achievement. Instead, you've been my greatest disappointment.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Played for laughs in Liv and Maddie. After Maddie loses Liv's bracelet, Liv tells her she's not mad, just disappointed. Maddie tells the audience "The Disappointment card? That's not fair!". The mother, Karen, in her own fourth-wall-break says: "Liv played the disappointment card without my permission? I'm not mad, I'm just disappointed..."
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: Jazz is normally considered a nuisance, and usually thrown out of the house when he gets too annoying. But one episode, he ends up damaging Uncle Phil's campaign by putting his name on Will's tickets. Will is so hurt that he doesn't throw Jazz out of the house, telling him he is not worth it.
  • In the Sherlock episode "The Reichenbach Fall", Moriarty reacts with a mixture a disappointment and anger when Sherlock reveals he bought into his BS about a computer program that could break into any computer in the world.
  • Parodied on 3rd Rock from the Sun when Tommy has to pretend to be a juvenile delinquent to keep up the Masquerade:
    Tommy: Why me?
    Sally: Well, you're a minor. They'll go easy on you. Besides, we all have to make some sacrifices around here.
    Tommy: Okay, what sacrifice are you making?
    Sally: The shame of having a juvenile delinquent for a nephew, okay? [leaves]
    Harry: I'm not angry, Tommy, I'm just disappointed.
  • Garibaldi and Sheridan in the Babylon 5 episode "The Wheel of Fire":
    Sheridan: I'm not angry with you. Not now. I was. .. But Delenn has a .. way of looking at things.. No. No, I'm not angry with you. But I am very disappointed, Michael.
    Garibaldi: I'd rather have you yelling at me or angry. Anything but disappointed. I know I failed...
    Sheridan: I didn't say I was disappointed in you because of your failure. I'm disappointed because I didn't pick up on this earlier. Disappointed because you felt that you couldn't come to me about this on your own.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Discussed and subverted in "All the Way":
      Giles: We need to have a conversation.
      Dawn: This the part where you tell me you're "not angry, just disappointed"?
      Giles: Pretty much. Except for the bit about not being angry.
    • And averted by Giles in "Innocence", after Buffy's decision to sleep with Angel releases the evil Angelus, who Buffy (at that point in time) is unable to bring herself to kill.
      Buffy: You must be so disappointed in me.
      Giles: No. (Buffy looks bewildered at him) No, no, I'm not.
      Buffy: But this is all my fault.
      Giles: No. I don't believe it is. Do you want me to wag my finger at you and tell you that you acted rashly? You did. A-and I can. I know that you loved him. And... he... has proven more than once that he loved you. You couldn't have known what would happen. The coming months are gonna, are gonna be hard... I, I suspect on all of us, but... if it's guilt you're looking for, Buffy, I'm not your man. All you will get from me is my support. And my respect.
  • Community: In "Comparative Religion", Shirley, as the group mother-figure, tries to guilt Jeff out of fighting a bully on (or near) Christmas.
    Jeff: Oh, come on, Shirley, don't be mad!
    Shirley: I'm not mad, I'm disappointed.
    Jeff: That's mom for "mad"!
  • In The Crown (2016), the recently-crowned Elizabeth II learns that Winston Churchill has kept secret the fact he's had two strokes. On the advice of her private professor, she takes this tone with him whilst reminding him that the monarch must be able to trust Parliament for constitutional law to function properly. Any Englishman of a certain age and social class, it seems, is vulnerable to a stern telling-off from Nanny.
  • Go On:
    Ryan: You know, this would be better if you just yelled at me.
    Joyce: That's why I'm not yelling.
    Ryan: I was wrong. It was better when you weren't yelling.
  • In the (first) finale of Foyle's War, Andrew Foyle comes back to Hastings, having broken up with the girl at his base and eager to get back together with Sam, whom he'd dumped via letter. When he talks about wanting to look Sam up again, Foyle pauses, and simply says "you were unkind to her."
  • In an early episode of Night Court, when Harry's past as a juvenile delinquent surfaces, he decides to tell about what had happened. He took a car for a joyride only to crash into a liquor store. He notes the two nights in jail and a couple of weeks in reformatory were nothing compared to his trial, where his father just sat there staring at him, and after it was all over, all he could say was, "You disappointed me, Harold." It haunted Harry ever since, especially since his father died before he could see him turn his life around.
  • Star Trek: Voyager: Captain Janeway can fall into this trope if one of the crew screws up badly enough. The downside to being Team Mom is that when your crew-slash-surrogate-family lets you down, it hits hard.
  • Arrow. In Season 6, John Diggle takes up the Green Arrow identity so Oliver Queen can concentrate on his family and being the Mayor of Star City. However he failed to mention he was suffering major nerve damage that prevented him aiming a weapon, and which he coped with using illegal drugs bought from Ricardo Diaz. Given that Diggle has always been well regarded for being the most moral member of Team Arrow, no-one is happy when they discover he has feet of clay.
    Oliver: I've been mad at you before, John. This is the first time I've been...disappointed.
  • In The Magicians when Persephone saves her son's life, in spite of the many gruesome murders and other crimes he has committed against her followers, she slaps him across the face and tells him she's disappointed in him.

     Professional Wrestling 

  • In Ink City, Yosuke repeatedly ignores Souji's wishes to lay low and not draw undue attention to themselves, including signing both of them up as the headliner of a 'Butler Fight'. When he plasters posters with their images and names across the City in order to promote the fight, Souji responds this way.

  • In the musical Hamilton, Alexander tries to head off a national scandal when he is accused, as an immigrant, of embezzling National funds to pay off a blackmailer. When he publishes the details of the affair, he openly admits to something that was just a nasty rumor. He had hoped his honesty would be taken into account, but the action kills his chances of any more public trust. As everyone around him is joyfully saying how, now that Hamilton admitted the affair, he ruined his chances to become President, George Washington, his friend and mentor, simply looks at the pamphelt and gives him a look as if to say, "Didn't I warn you about history having its eye on you?"

    Video Games 
  • The ending of God of War III has Athena say this to Kratos when he runs himself through with the Blade of Olympus, giving the power to the humans instead of her.
  • In RosenkreuzStilette, two characters say this.
    • In the original game, when Freu asks Tia if she thinks she can stand against all of RKS on her own, Tia resolves to do just that. In response, Freu will say this.
      Freu: ...A foolish decision. You disappoint me. If you will not rethink your answer, then... I shall end your life with my own hands!
    • Freu will also say this again if Tia uses up her last life against her.
    • Similarly, in Grollschwert, Raimund will say this to Grolla if she uses up her last life against him in the first phase of the boss battle against him.
  • In Atelier Ayesha: The Alchemist of Dusk, if you fail to complete the game's main goal by the end of the third year, then Keith arrives with Nio in tow and tells Ayesha to consider what it is that she lacks that she wasn't able to save Nio on her own.
  • In World of Warcraft, Thrall says this to Garrosh Hellscream (the exact words are "You disappoint me, Garrosh.") after Garrosh picks a fight with Varian Wrynn at a meeting with Rhonin to discuss their efforts against the Old God Yogg-Saron, who's a threat to the entire world, resulting in Varian walking out and not wanting to cooperate with the Horde. Although Garrosh seemed unrepetant at the time, in the short story "Heart of War" (which you can read here) he admits to himself that he does feel bad about hearing those words.
    • Much later, Thrall uses that phrase again as an Ironic Echo. After Garrosh is defeated at the end of the Siege of Orgrimmar Thrall says, once again, that Garrosh disappoints him and adds for good measure, "You are not worthy of your father's legacy."
  • Towards the end Shin Megami Tensei IV, if have chosen the Law or Chaos routes you receive a particularly stinging one during your already painful battle with Isabeau if you choose to express doubt in your alignment path during her mid-battle dialogue.
    • In the followup, Apocalypse, a similar scene occurs when Nanashi battles his former friends should he agree with Dagda and follow the Anarchy route, with each one voicing their disappointment in him as he strikes them down. Some, like Nozomi and Gaston are very vocal about it while Halleujah and Toki deliver the more quiet version. Even Danu voices her disappointment over how far she thinks Dagda has fallen. Dagda meanwhile does the exact polar opposite.
  • In Obsidian, at the end of the first dream world, Lilah Kerlins finally breaks every rule in the Bureau Realm to reach their boss. When she does, the Bureau Chief morosely shrugs and says, "Lilah...too bad. I am very disappointed in you," before checking a memo over what you just did. Then he slides into a Villainous Breakdown before finally showing you information about your partner Max.
  • While hallucinating from a powerful poison in Batman: Arkham Origins, what does Batman see? Any of the enemies he's fought so far? No. He sees Alfred expressing utter disappointment in him. There's something both touching and sad in that.
  • Uncharted 4: How Sully feels about Nate lying to Elena and wanting to continue the journey for Henry Avery's treasure with Sam after Elena arrives at Madagascar and confronts him.
  • Fallout 4:
    • If you lower your affinity with character companions, they'll start getting irritated with you. Examples include Hancock (who growls whether he's mad at you or himself...and settles for you), and Codsworth (who wonders if he's disappointed in you or himself for believing in you).
    • Subverted with Nick Valentine if your affinity drops very low, and he'll have this to say.
      Nick: I'm not mad at you. I'm just disap— No, you know what? I am mad!
    • You can potentially say this to Father/Shaun, if you side against the Institute. Perhaps unsurprisingly, he just brushes it off and even potentially calls you an idiot as the conversation ends.
  • Due to past events in BlazBlue: Chrono Phantasma, Ragna is brimming with anger and thoughtlessly takes his aggression out on random objects and was about to do the same to a bystander, had it not been for the intervention of Rachel. She expresses her disappointment in his behavior, but due to his aformentioned anger, Ragna has none of it and tells her off. It goes downhill for him from that point onward.
    Ragna: "Disappointed?" I don't recall you expecting anything from me, so get the hell out of here!
    Rachel: Don't presume to speak to me. I don't need you sullying me.
  • Pillars of Eternity II: Deadfire: If you try to escape Rymrgand by offering up Ydwin as a sacrifice, not only is your entire party enraged, but Ydwin’s only response is to bitterly remark on how thoroughly you’ve disappointed her.
  • Unemployment Quest: Chris' father says this to him because he can't find a job.
    "I just want you to know that as your father, I'm very disappointed in your apparent unwillingness to work. Have you really tried to get a job yet? Gone out to apply? Anywhere? Because I don't think you're trying hard enough."
  • A minor case happens in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies during the first trial where the Judge expresses disappointment in Gaspen Payne for not being able to find a crucial piece of evidence during his investigation. Payne can only meekly apologize in response.
  • Red Dead Redemption: John Marston has just rescued his son Jack from an attacking grizzly bear and takes him home, scolding him for putting himself in danger. While they argue, Jack begs his father not to be angry at him, and John replies, "I'm not angry; I'm disappointed. Don't you ever run off like that again."
  • In the Forsaken DLC for Destiny 2, after finding and possibly killing Uldren, while he doesn’t say it outright, Zavala’s dialogue and tone of voices makes it perfectly clear to the Young Wolf that he’s not happy with what they’ve done, and that their actions will have consequences.
  • In Cyberpunk 2077, if V chose to kill themself, a compilation of a messages left behind by their friends will be shown in the credits. Unlike most companions who are either accepting, upset, depressed, or angry, the way Kerry Eurodyne delivers his "The Reason You Suck" Speech makes it clear that he is extremely disappointed by V's decision rather than being angry considering that he also considered killing himself in the past.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Toward the end of the second case of Justice For All, the Judge will ask why the culprit committed the crime. If you present the wrong piece of evidence regarding the culprit's motive, Mia tells Phoenix, "I feel embarrassed for you for even thinking of showing that piece of evidence," then provides a brief answer as to why the culprit committed murder.

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY Volume 4, the villain Tyrian returns sobbing and in fear to the Big Bad Salem to report his failure in capturing Ruby Rose. Rather than pull a You Have Failed Me, Salem simply walks past him and states that he's disappointed her in a soft yet cold tone. Tyrian, who reveres Salem like a goddess, is left sobbing in heartbroken despair.
  • In Camp Camp, this is apparently the standard punishment for inmates at "Super Guantanamo." Cameron Campbell finds it worse than torture and beatings. When David finally accepts his former mentor's true nature and tells him the same thing, Campbell has a full-on breakdown and flees into the woods.

  • In PvP Online, Francis, after revealing to Cole his plan to fool the world into thinking that he's waiting for Star Wars Episode III since Episode II's release with a robotic double of himself, expects Cole to lay into him for this, but instead gets a simple statement that he's disappointed at him. As Cole walks away, Francis realizes that it's even more effective than yelling at him.
    Francis: Please yell at me?
  • Homestuck: Trickster mode naturally ends in self disgust. Jane's dad showing STERN FATHERLY DISAPPROVAL upon seeing Jane's antics. Subverted when Dirk expresses disappointment at Roxy falling Off the Wagon, he admits to Jane that he's actually proud of her for buckling down with the sobriety. Kanaya expresses both anger and disappointment when Rose takes up drinking, as she feels that Rose is both wasting her talents and hurting herself.
  • In General Protection Fault, during the climax of the Surreptitious Machinations arc, Ki finally succeeds in revealing Trudy's role in GPF's collapse, true plans and years of duplicitous behavior. In response, Nick calmly tells Trudy that since he can no longer trust her, he can't return her feelings for him, but he can forgive her, and asks her to turn herself in. In response, Trudy pulls out a gun and points it at Nick, threatening to kill him the same way her future self did in the Bad Future, but backs down when he simply stares at her fearlessly and invites her to do what she has to do. Trudy's reduced to tears, and when Ki asks if Nick's angry or said, he says he's neither- "Just... disappointed," with a look on his face that haunts Trudy for a long time.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Adrian Raven tells his mother that his father would have been disappointed in her. Given that Pandora considered her husband to be her moral compass in life and bases her morality on what she thinks he would have wanted her to do after his death, this serves as a Wham Line for her, makes her think My God, What Have I Done? and triggers a Heel Realization.

    Web Original 
  • The internet meme "Son, I am disappoint" is based on this.
  • A poster on Reddit related this brief anecdote.
    It's funny how Mr. Rogers's words end up carrying through to your adulthood. I was once had a co-worker who was being a total jerk to everyone. When he turned on me, I let him have it! I said, "You are not acting like the person Mr. Rogers knew you could be." He stood there flat-footed in shock. .... "Damn, that was harsh man." About 30 minutes later he personally apologized to each person, one by one.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • In "Arthur the Wrecker" on Arthur, Mrs. Read is "not mad, just disappointed" that Arthur disobeyed her by playing on her computer when she asked him not to. This isn't the only instance of her using this or a similar line in the series.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Joker has gained reality warping powers and has Batman at his mercy. Harley asks Joker if he's going to take off Batman's mask, and Joker says "And reduce my primal enemy to a mere man? Harley my dear, I'm so disappointed in you! Where's the fun in that?"
  • Beavis and Butt-Head:
    • In a segment of the revived show, the two are watching an episode of Jersey Shore where Snookie talks about how someone saying they're disappointed in you hurts a lot worse than if they were just angry. Beavis disagrees. People say they're disappointed in him all the time, and it doesn't bother him none.
    • In one episode the two end up at a feminist meeting, under the impression that they're a bunch of chicks who do it for free. Beavis asks Butt-Head why there aren't more guys there if they do it for free.
      Butt-Head: Damn it, Beavis, we've got a room full of chicks here who do it for free, and all you can think about is how come there aren't more guys here?
      Beavis: Um, yeah, how come?
      Butt-Head: Beavis, I'm a little disappointed in you.
  • Family Guy, after Peter engages in some alcohol-induced mischief, Lois says that she isn't mad, just disappointed. Still blitzed out of his mind, Peter considers this a good thing.
  • The Earth Empire from The Legend of Korra has captured Zaofu, and Bataar Jr. tries to force his father and one of his brothers to bow to Kuvira. Bataar Sr., however, calmly retorts that he was disappointed in what he had done.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Owl's Well That Ends Well", Spike was already on edge from being worried that Owlowiscious would replace him as number 1 assistant, and in turn, take away some of the admiration that went towards him, and when Twilight Sparkle finds out that Spike lied to her about the book he was asked to get, she says he is very disappointed in him.
    • Princess Celestia throws this at Twilight Sparkle when she accuses Princess Cadance of being evil with flimsy, easily explained "evidence". This is after having, throughout the episode, expressed anger and resentment towards her brother about not being told about the wedding sooner, causing the whole thing to come off as petty and childish on Twilight's part. Once it turns out that Twilight was correct and Cadance has been replaced by a villain, everypony's quick to apologize.
    • In the episode "Every Little Thing She Does", Twilight comes home to find her student, Starlight Glimmer, has resorted to mind control in an attempt to make her friendship lessons go more smoothly. She tells Starlight that she's less mad than disappointed to find her taking such a huge step backwards.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Marge Be Not Proud", from Season 7: Marge is clearly at the end of her patience with Bart after he had been caught shoplifting a video game from a local discount store, but instead of yelling at or lecturing him, she just shuns him. The clear disappointment Marge has with Bart says far more than any punishment could.
    • It happens again in "Bart the Mother", when Bart kills a bird. Even worse in that he was trying to miss, but the sight on the pellet-gun was already off-mark.
    • Parodied later, with an inversion of how the trope would normally go. Someone is forced to bring bad news to Fat Tony, and says that he know Tony will be disappointed. Tony responds that "I am not so much disappointed as I am blinded by rage!"
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars, "Storm Over Ryloth": Anakin starts his sad lecture of Ahsoka after her refusal to listen to orders right away resulted in heavy losses by telling her he's disappointed in her. As it's clear she's disappointed in herself for the outcome of her actions he's not too harsh, and he acknowledges that part of the reason she didn't immediately follow orders is that he does the same thing but it still sends her deeper into her Heroic BSoD.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
    • In the tie-in comic "No Sympathy", this is how Agent Kallus reacts when his former student Swain attempts to defect out of disgust for the Empire's cruelty. Considering that he would later have a Heel–Face Turn for similar reasons, this becomes Harsher in Hindsight.
    • On that note, in "Through Imperial Eyes", at the end, Colonel Wullf Yularen is extremely disappointed that Kallus, who was one of his best students, has become The Mole.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: In "Roller Ghoster Ride", Chris says this upon learning her own sister Terry plotted against her.
  • In Justice League, Batman's Justice Lord counterpart is giving Batman a tour of the universe to demonstrate the peace and security the Justice Lords had created. Batman remarks that their parents would be so proud of him.
  • In one episode of Braceface, Sharon gets caught shoplifting, and when she gets home, she expects her mom to be angry at her, but instead she looks sad and disappointed, but doesn't say anything. Naturally, this just makes Sharon feel even worse.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Console", when Gumball summons allies against the Final Boss of Inverted Paradox: The Enemy Within, one of them is Nicole, whose attack is just a stare of disapproval titled "I'm Not Angry, Just Disappointed".
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Bossy Boots", this is what Pearl feared would happen with her and Mr. Krabs.


Video Example(s):


A Royal Mess

Roland and Miranda are upset that the siblings broke a castle rule and tried to hide it from them.

How well does it match the trope?

3 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / DisappointedInYou

Media sources:

Main / DisappointedInYou