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Inelegant Blubbering

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"There's a reason God makes you ugly when you're grieving; so people will leave you the hell alone."

A character cries. Not just any old crying, but full-on ugly crying. It tends to be loud, complete with a runny nose and red, puffy eyes. If the character is wearing mascara, expect it to run — badly.

A literary trope, mostly, since we do not have to see the character sobbing. Often lampshaded. Plus actors can more easily mimic tears than the full effect. You may, however, see this on reality TV or daytime talk shows where it's an actual person ugly-crying for real.

Note that this may occur for any motive for which someone can cry.

May be done by a Hysterical Woman.

Liable to turn drama into unintentional comedy if mishandled. This can be done intentionally, as a form of Bathos. But tropes are tools, and this trope can be Played for Drama for a powerful Tearjerker too.

When it's intentionally Played for Laughs, it can lead to the character wiping their eyes and blowing their nose on something that isn't a tissue.

Compare Deteriorates Into Gibberish. Contrast Beautiful Tears, when someone's crying is considered to be pretty.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • A man sobs and wails loudly upon his regret towards his girlfriend’s death due to him speeding in this 1993 SAAQ PSA. The ad closes out with a closeup of his scarred face; red, puffy eyes; and runny nose.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Elongated Man: E. Man, over his wife. Think Monkey D. Luffy during the scene when Ace dies and combine that with spontaneously losing control over his stretching powers and you'll get something like this. A very nice touch seeing as how truly distraught E. Man is over his wife dying.
  • Empowered manages to cross this with Stepford Smiler, with a dash of Frozen Face, in a horrifically tragic way. Poor Sistah Spooky...
  • In The Pulse, Jessica and Luke have a minor argument — really more like a discussion — about her working for the Daily Bugle, but the pregnancy throwing her hormones out of whack causes this.
  • Artist Sara Pichelli seems to excel at portraying this. Her stint on Runaways included scenes of both Molly Hayes and Klara Prast crying in an ugly fashion.
  • Wonder Girl in Teen Titans: Year One.

    Comic Strips 
  • Odie during a movie in this Garfield strip... much to Garfield's annoyance.

    Fan Works 
  • A picture from the Inanimate Insanity fan blog Ask-II-Humanized has Baseball wailing over Nickel's elimination.
  • Kurenai in Black Flames Dance in the Wind: Rise of Naruto is found by Asuma crying with snot running from her nose due to Naruto having hung Yakumo's paintings in her bedroomnote  and leaving a clone behind to silently remind her of his very real threat to kill her.
  • Boys and Girls, a fanfiction of The Loud House, has Lori start "bawling like an infant" upon realising that she's done wrong by fawning over Hugh while dating Bobby.
  • Bug on a Wire: In Chapter 4, after Skitter and Shadow Stalker have tracked down the Undersiders and regular intimidation hasn't gotten them to give up Grue's location, Taylor uses a bullet ant, a species infamous for the agonizing and long-lasting pain of its stings, to force the information out of Tattletale. One sting is enough to draw out a long pained hiss; she cracks after the second, which leaves weeping and keening in pain, her tears mixing with the snot coming from her nose. Taylor notes the stark contrast this makes to her normal confident demeanor.
  • Heirverse: Everyone at some point, especially Aizen in CF as he desperately tries not to break down in front of Gin and "fails miserably" as he bitterly lampshades
  • Junior Officers does this twice with Shellington:
    • Once in "The Swell Shark" during his mental breakdown.
    • Again in "River Riding Adventure, Part 2" while he blames himself for Barnacles' injury.
  • Law And Arson, a Rescue Bots fanfiction, depicts Heatwave crying like this after breaking his leg while responding to an apartment fire.
  • Lucy's Unwanted House Guest!: After Lisanna hires some thugs to beat up Lucy, Lisanna's older siblings, Mirajane and Elfman, disown her. In Mirajane's case, she even hiccups and stutters as she cries, and Lisanna hearing this causes her to "start crying like a baby."
    Mirajane: And to *sob* think *hiccup* t-that you were my... my... my SISTER?!
    Lisanna: B-but *sob* One-
    Mirajane: I a-am *sob* NOT your *hiccup* 'Onee-chan'! For I could NEVER have such a monstrous weak mage as my younger sibling!
  • In The Panda Chronicles chapter "Mama's Boy", Jesse ugly cries over Aaron T. while begging for his forgiveness over not believing him about being sick.
  • Respawn of the Dead: In the prequel, Medic gets so drunk he throws up on Heavy after kissing him for the first time. After Heavy cleans himself up, he comes back to find that Medic is crying in a completely undignified manner which would be unlike him if he hadn't just drunk eight beers.
  • Secret Dreamer: Several times, like in Chapter 10, when Severa visits her father's grave.
  • Shifts by Fernwithy covers Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix from the point of view of Remus (who spends most of it on Order business at Dudley's prep school.) Needless to say, the Inelegant Blubbering comes in near the end.
  • This Steven Universe fanart of Blue Diamond that lampoons that "Crying doesn't always look like it does in beautiful Leiji Matsumoto anime ladies".
  • With Strings Attached: Paul sobs his heart out on John. Later he wipes his nose on one of John's wings.
    I deserve this, John reflected.

    Films — Animated 
  • Alice in Wonderland:
    • Alice gets frustrated with the constant changing of size and cries a river of very undignified tears. Since she's gigantic at this stage, her tears quickly become an ocean.
    Alice: Oh dear. I do wish I hadn't cried so much.
    • Later, midway through the film, during the "Very Good Advice" song, she does some more bawling when she worries that she's not going to find her way home, blowing her nose when she finishes.
  • The Bimbettes at Gaston's attempted wedding to Belle in Beauty and the Beast. Complete with exaggerated animation too. If one pays close attention, Claudette and Laurette even have snot dripping down. They do this in the stage version too: their crying is even written in the script as "WAAAAAAAHHHHH!"
  • At the end of Encanto, Abuela Alma retells the story of her husband's death in all of its traumatic detail. Rather than the look of restrained sadness from the version at the start of the film, young Alma gives a Death Wail and collapses to the ground, sobbing with her whole body in a raw and unrestrained fashion.
  • Anna in Frozen II does this when she and Elsa reunite near the end of the film. At one point, she nearly blows her nose into her hand.
  • Helen Parr in The Incredibles displays it when she thinks her husband is having an affair. Special focus is given to the numerous pieces of toilet paper she has been perusing. It's toilet paper and not tissues because this happens at Edna Mode's home and, "There's no crying at E's place."
  • Lilo & Stitch 2: Stitch Has a Glitch, Stitch blubbers unpleasantly when the map was destroyed.
    Lilo: We're sunk.
    Stitch: [glances at what's left of their map, his lip quivers, and he starts sobbing] Uhhhh....wwwwwWWWWAHHHHHH HAH HUH HUH HAH HOO HAH! ANH, ANH, AAH, URGH, WAGH! [An exasperated Lilo grabs him by the leg and drags him away]
  • The Lion King (1994): Timon and Pumbaa bawl over "losing" Simba to his romance with Nala in the first film, and at emotional moments throughout the rest of the franchise. In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride, Pumbaa even has snot bubbles coming out of his nose and drenches Zazu with his Tears of Joy during the happy ending.
  • Make Mine Music:
    • In Peter and the Wolf, the hunters Misha, Yasha, and Vladimir burst out crying when it briefly looks like Peter has been eaten by the wolf.
    • In the ending of "Casey at the Bat," Casey bursts into very undignified tears after striking out at a major baseball game.
    • In The Whale Who Wanted to Sing at the Met, Willie the Whale imagines himself starring in Pagliacci and floods the orchestra pit with his whale-sized tears during "Vesti la giubba."
  • In The Princess and the Frog, Charlotte did this when she thought Naveen wouldn't come to her party, for comic effect.
  • Narrowly averted in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs: In the scene where the dwarfs are crying over the seemingly dead Snow White, Dopey originally made a funny face that ruined the mood of the scene and made the test audience crack up, so it was cut. In the final version, he hides his face.
  • In Turning Red, the younger characters (especially Mei) usually weep like this when overwhelmed with emotion, sometimes even paired with Puppy-Dog Eyes and Ocular Gushers.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Every time Neytiri cries in Avatar.
  • The Blair Witch Project features this. It makes the scene especially realistic.
    • And ripe for many, many parodies.
  • Helen in Bridesmaids has this. Her rival Annie sees how flushed and snotty she looks and can't help but smile.
  • Marty in Bully when he was telling Lisa about Bobby.
  • Megan in But I'm a Cheerleader, upon realizing that she is indeed a lesbian (as everyone else could already tell), goes into full hysterics, up to and including high-pitched sobs and drooling.
  • Nicolas Cage in both Deadfall and Vampire's Kiss:
    • In Deadfall he openly bawls. He also has his tongue hanging out and his sobs sound like chuckling.
    • In Vampire's Kiss he actually says "BOO HOO!". Twice!
    • Nic does this to much, much better effect in Mandy (2018), after his titular girlfriend is brutally murdered by a cult. It should be silly because he's openly bawling and screaming in his tighty-whitey briefs while chugging vodka, but considering the circumstances, it totally works.
  • Christopher Eccleston is particularly good at this, and does so in Jude, Flesh & Blood and in a scene that got cut from The Second Coming. Observe.
  • First Blood'': Pulled off beautifully by Rambo during the movie's climax:
    We were in this bar in Saigon and this kid comes up, this kid carrying a shoe-shine box. And he says "Shine, please, shine!" I said no. He kept askin', yeah, and Joey said "Yeah." And I went to get a couple of beers, and the box was wired, and he opened up the box, fucking blew his body all over the place. And he's laying there, he's fucking screaming. There's pieces of him all over me, just... like this, and I'm tryin' to pull him off, you know, my friend that's all over me! I've got blood and everything and I'm tryin' to hold him together! I'm puttin'... the guy's fuckin' insides keep coming out! And nobody would help! Nobody would help! He's saying, sayin' "I wanna go home! I wanna go home!" He keeps calling my name! "I wanna go home, Johnny! I wanna drive my Chevy!" I said "With what? I can't find your fuckin' legs! I can't find your legs!"
  • The Fountain. Tommy Creo breaks down after the death of his wife.
  • One of the best parts of Funny People was when Seth Rogan's character just starts doing this in the middle of a crowded restaurant during dinner with Adam Sandler's character.
  • The hero of Gladiator when he discovers that his wife and child are dead. There's even snot involved. This was an actor and director decision and invoked intentionally. And it totally works. The original plan for the scene was for him to do a normal discreet-few-tears-down-each-cheek dignified cry... but Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott agreed that what Maximus was seeing demanded (as Crowe put it) a "full-blown snot-fest".
  • The Godfather: Fredo after the Don is shot. Not your everyday Manly Tears, this is full-blown sobbing and sniveling, caused not only by the shocking, sudden onset of grief, but from the sheer humiliation of having failed to do anything to stop the assassination (he fumbled his gun at a critical moment).
  • Played for laughs with JP in Grandma's Boy (2006). There were multiple strings of spit coming from his mouth, and his eyeliner was smudged as well.
  • How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000): After The Grinch’s heart grew three sizes he cried like this in warmth and remorse after he realized the true meaning of Christmas near the end of the movie.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Cedric Diggory's father, and for that matter, Harry himself. A case of Tropes Are Not Bad, because the scene mentioned is agonizing.
  • Mike in The Hole is in clear hysterics after he kills Geoff in a fit of rage.
  • In The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Katniss loses it when Prim's cat returns to the house. She screams and cries that Prim isn't coming back as she throws things at the cat.
  • In The Impossible, Ewan McGregor's character, Henry, breaks down in loud, uncontrollable sobbing as he tries to tell his father-in-law over the phone that his wife and older son are missing after the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami. He has to hang up because he simply can't pull himself together long enough to get the words out properly. (See also Moulin Rouge! below – Ewan McGregor is good at this.)
  • In Bruges: the scene in the park when Ray breaks down and bawls into Ken's chest.
  • Belle is prone to this in Knockout, particularly after her father is shot and at the end when she wins the world lightweight boxing championship.
  • Stan Laurel was prone to the comedic version, particularly after being berated by Ollie.
  • Love in the Villa: After resigning herself to her situation, Julie breaks down crying on the couch, her speech illegible and her sobs squeaky. When an uncomfortable Charlie hands her a napkin, the nose-blowing she does are also loud and ungraceful.
  • Les Misérables (2012):
  • Little Women (1994) has Beth's undignified Tears of Joy when Mr. Laurence gives her his dead granddaughter's piano. She does it silently, but her face looks far from pretty, and she wipes her nose with her hand.
  • The Martian. In the tension of the pre-launch during his high-risk rescue, Mark Watney breaks down crying when he hears the voices of his crewmates for the first time in well over a year, knowing they've all come back to save him.
  • Played for laughs in Mary Poppins; the "I Love to Laugh" segment ends with Bert making what Dick Van Dyke referred to as his Stan Laurel face. (Van Dyke was a huge fan of Laurel.)
  • Moulin Rouge!'s Christian does this when Satine dies. Because it sounds almost like he's laughing hysterically, it potentially kills the mood. Justified (perhaps) in the director's commentary where it's suggested that only a completely devastated person cries like that because whether or not they sound silly is the last thing they're concerned about.
  • Murder by Death. Sam Diamond and Tess Skeffington are locked in a room with a hidden, ticking Time Bomb.
    Sam: I got an idea. I don't know whether this is gonna work or not. Quick, turn around!
    Tess: I'm turned, Sam.
    Sam: Whatever you do, baby, don't turn back.
    Tess: But Sam, if anything...
    Sam: Do as I say, angel!
    Tess: I will, Sam.
    Sam: Good. Because I think... I'm gonna cry. (starts sobbing pathetically offscreen)
  • Spoofed in The Naked Gun, where Frank Drebin lets Nordberg's wife cry into his shoulder and winds up with a big wad of snot on his jacket.
  • Barbra in the remake of Night of the Living Dead (1990). A very accurate depiction of hysterics. She's half laughing, half crying when Ben shakes her.
  • Not Okay:
    • Danni's father does after she "returns", utterly relieved she's alive.
    • Danni herself does this after Rowan confronts her about the deception, and gets told to leave. She breaks down crying messily in the elevator on her way out.
  • The Parent Trap (1998):
    • When Hallie reveals to Elizabeth who she really is, Martin breaks down in Tears of Joy. His sobbing makes Grandpa close the door to not ruin the mood of the reunion.
    • Likewise, when Annie reveals herself, Chessy has a hard time keeping it together without revealing the secret when Nick comes in and asks her what's wrong.
  • At the end of Rebel Without a Cause, James Dean's character Jim does this after Plato is killed.
  • In Reflections In A Golden Eye, Marlon Brando's character collapses into some of the most pathetic crying ever caught on film after losing control of his wife's horse and then beating it with a branch in a fit of rage. It's in stark contrast to his other roles, where he sheds manly tears at worst.
  • Basically the last few minutes of Reservoir Dogs is this, as a subversion of the awesome manliness, the film had up to that point.
  • In Rocky III, Rocky does some of this just after Mick dies.
  • Leonardo DiCaprio does this in William Shakespeare's Romeo + Juliet.
  • Likewise, in Franco Zeffirelli's 1968 Romeo and Juliet, both Leonard Whiting's Romeo and Olivia Hussey's Juliet cry this way.
  • In the film version of Ronja the Robber's Daughter, this is Matt's reaction to Bald Pete's death.
  • At the end of Schindler's List, Oskar Schindler does this as he says that he could have saved more Jews if he had sold his belongings (the blubbering grows from the repeated phrase "I could've gotten more...").
  • Cmdr. Shepard in Sink the Bismarck!, The Stoic after losing his wife in an earlier bombing raid and later his son's plane being shot down, and monofocused on sinking the marauding German battleship, finally breaks down weeping in his bathroom after getting a report that his son had been rescued.
  • Stevo in SLC Punk! when Heroin Bob dies.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: John Conner completely loses it when he realizes that, in order to prevent Judgement Day, his guardian, friend, and father figure will have to perform an Heroic Sacrifice. He is just a kid, though.
  • ¡Three Amigos!. After the title characters realize that they aren't putting on a show but are facing a real bandit gang, they start crying and whining like babies.
  • Laura's honking in Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
  • During the climax of The Truman Show, Truman begins crying in frustration and defeat when he conquers his aquaphobia only to sail the boat he stole to escape directly into a wall, revealing to him Seahaven isn't an island at all and is, in fact, just a set encased in a large dome. Jim Carrey is a master of authentic-looking ugly tears.
  • When Harry Met Sally...: When Sally finds out her ex is getting married again, she calls Harry. Meg Ryan nails it perfectly. She weeps uncontrollably enough to be sympathetic but balances the pathos AND the comedy of the scene.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Roger blubbers inelegantly after he's told his wife is playing around. This scene is an almost exact remake of the opening from Chinatown.
  • The Wizard of Oz:
    • The Cowardly Lion is prone to this: for example, when Dorothy slaps his nose when they first meet, and out of fear when they're about to meet the Wizard.
    • The guard on the Wizard's audience chamber does this out of sympathy for Dorothy: "I had an Aunt Em myself once!"

  • In her Memoirs, the Duchess of Abrantès characterized her late husband — General Junot — as being extremely prone to this.
  • In Amelia Takes Command, Amelia fears doing this after she gets bullied, because, according to her, people tend to have chins that crinkle up or mouths that look like rubber bands when they cry. In the end, the bully, Hilary, dissolves into all-out bawling after Amelia finally tells her off. She's described as having "a rubber-band mouth and a crinkly chin."
  • Asperger Adventures: Ben does this in the first scene of Blue Bottle Mystery when Miss Browning-Lever yells at him for reasons he barely understands, then becomes so enraged that she breaks the ruler on his desk.
  • As described in Aztec, part of the ceremony to the rain god Tlaloc involves all the spectators doing this. First, the two young children who will provide the sacrifice are paraded around and shown off to the group. Then a priest makes the children cry, usually by pinching them. The onlookers all start weeping and wailing and beating their chests because it will bring rain during the upcoming rainy season.
  • In The Belgariad, Ce'Nedra sees Garion with another woman, spits poison at him, and runs off to cry. Polgara tracks her down to let her know that woman was his cousin and clean her up a bit because she does not look pretty after crying. Not the only time this observation is made: Also happens when she's trying to lead a war and gets hit with the enormity of the fact that most of the people she's just rallied to battle are going to die.
    • And again in The Mallorean, after she has a period of deep depression and weeping over her baby's kidnapping:
    Polgara: "You really shouldn't cry in public, dear. You haven't the coloring for it."
  • The Bible: After twenty years of estrangement, Joseph cries uncontrollably at the moment of his reconciliation with his brothers.
  • A Boy Made of Blocks: When Alex arrives in Dan's flat after leaving his wife and son, he almost immediately starts crying hysterically, with snot bubbling out of his nose.
  • Bud, Not Buddy: Upon learning that Bud's mother was his daughter Angela, Herman Calloway retreats to his room and sobs uncontrollably on the bed.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: In The Silver Chair, Jill Pole is doing this when the book opens. Also, young Digory Kirke in The Magician's Nephew. Both times, the author spends quite a bit of time on how unattractive it is.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Alex can tell Misty has been crying because her eyes are red and puffy.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "Jewels Of Gwahlur" not exactly wise for an imposter goddess.
    Wipe your face. A goddess doesn't cry like a whipped schoolgirl.
  • Scout in Yoda: Dark Rendezvous is described as having a soaked sleeve and a slimy face while still sniffling after a bout of tears.
  • Discworld:
    • In Terry Pratchett's Unseen Academicals, Glenda's crying is explicitly described as not being like a romance heroine's.
    • In Raising Steam, Harry King cries the fat, blubbery tears of a hard man who would never let anyone see them.
  • Invoked in Stephen King's Dreamcatcher where one of the boys cries so hard snot drips out of his nose. Also happens to "Duddits", a mentally challenged boy with Disability Superpowers, when a group of bullies beat him up and force him to eat a dried dog turd.
    • It happens at least twice to the title character in Carrie. Both times also involve dripping snot.
  • The Dresden Files: While the female characters are rarely weepy, on the times when they do cry, it is always described as incredibly unflattering. Of course, the protagonist being who he is, that only pisses him off even more. He's fully aware of this flaw, and is getting better about overcoming it. And Harry himself does not weep manfully — he curls into a ball of whatever misery has currently landed on him and sobs his heart out.
  • In A Drowned Maiden's Hair, phony psychics the Hawthorne sisters stage séances for grief-stricken customers. One of their easiest and most reliable marks is a man named Horace Burckhardt, who lost his wife Agnes to Death by Childbirth thirty years ago and always sobs hysterically while talking to "her." Hyacinth makes fun of him behind his back, calling him the Weeping Walrus and saying, "People shouldn't carry on like that unless they're good-looking."
  • Eric, or Little by Little: A group of boys, led by school troublemaker Brigson, pelts Mr Rose with breadcrusts. Mr Rose canes Brigson, who cries like a baby and rolls around on the floor yelling 'The devil—the devil—the devil!' The other boys are so disgusted by Brigson's show of cowardice that he goes from being the most popular boy in the lower forms to being scorned by everyone.
  • In Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder's Except The Queen, crying like this is one of the multiple indignities heaped on Serana by her exile.
  • In Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel Only In Death, Ludd's tears leave his eyes red.
  • Hermione in the Harry Potter books is prone to this. In the fourth book, she abruptly bursts into tears and hugs Harry and Ron when the two of them make up after a fight. In the fifth book, she pretends to do this to fool Umbridge. This adds a bit of Narm when you realize that about three pages pass of Hermione convincing Umbridge about the weapon in the forest - and she's supposedly got her arms covering her face pretending to sob the whole time. The movie naturally drops this from the scene.
    • That said, the first part of the movie version of the seventh book has Hermione doing a lot of blubbering when Bellatrix is torturing her for information.
  • In Heart of Steel, Mad Scientist Alistair Mechanus breaks down into this after getting his memories back, as he is forced to relive the Trauma Conga Line that led to his psychotic break and subsequent amnesia a decade before. Compounding things is that, due to his Trauma-Induced Amnesia, he still hasn't had time to properly process things, so the pain is still as fresh as if it happened yesterday.
  • From Heralds of Valdemar: When Winterhart breaks down, Amberdrake observes that her eyes are swollen and bloodshot, her nose a brilliant pink, she looks horrible — and he wants to hold her in his arms and protect her from the rest of the world.
  • That Hideous Strength: When Ransom is meeting with a restored Merlin, Merlin ends up 'blubbering' at one point when he realizes he may have no choice but to take on a suicidal mission. After Ransom orders him to Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!, they continue on as if nothing happened (essentially "it's out of my system, why focus on it?").
  • In Suzanne Collins's The Hunger Games, Katniss is afraid of this after she volunteers; it would make her look weak. After she shoots the apple out of the mouth of the Gamemakers' roast pig in anger and walks away undismissed, she sobs inelegant Tears of Remorse for fear they will harm her family over it and give her a bad score, meaning she will do poorly after she promised she would try to win.
    • She does it again (complete with Lampshade Hanging) in "Catching Fire" when she thinks Peeta is dead.
  • Joan Foster, the narrator of Lady Oracle, admits in the first chapter that she is prone to this sort of crying; her eyes get as red as "cooked tomatoes," her nose runs, she clenches her fists, snorts, and moans. "Decorous weeping was another of those arts I never mastered, like putting on false eyelashes."
  • Played for laughs with Margaret Twiss, courtesy of some amusing sound effects, in A Leader in the Chalet School:
    “B-but it was me!-hurp-hurp!-it was!" Margaret wept loudly, her words so mixed up with her sobs that none of the girls could make head or tail of what she was saying and even the Head, with all her experience, could gather only a little here and there. “I-I s-saw Miss A-andrews-hurp!-p-put the snake-hurp-hurp!-snake into the d-drawer and I never-hurp!-said anything-hurp-hurp!-even when the rest b-blamed Jack-hurp!-for it!-hurp-hurp-hurp! Wah-hah-hah!”
  • In Andy Weir's The Martian, astronaut Mark Watney gets stranded alone on Mars for months, without any means to communicate with Earth. But after he recovers the old Pathfinder probe, he repairs it and uses it to establish a link to Mission Control. Once he sees the main antenna has moved, indicating successful contact, he goes back inside the Hab and breaks down sobbing in relief.
  • The title character of the Brothers Grimm fairy tale Mrs. Fox's Wedding does this in the first part when Mr. Fox plays dead because he feels that he was unfaithful to her. She does this again in the second part when Mr. Fox finally dies.
  • My Dark Vanessa: Vanessa sobs so hard she can barely stand up, with snot dripping out of her nose, when Strane breaks off their relationship because the risk of being caught is too great.
  • In Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Door collapses into tears —afterward, she has red eyes and looks as if she had vigorously blown her nose and scrubbed tears from her face.
    • During the ordeal, the Jessica cries so that her make-up runs.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians: In The Lightning Thief, the first of the series, Percy breaks down after seeing his beloved mother choked and kidnapped, sobbing and hoarsely calling out for her even though he knows she's gone, and at this point thinks she's dead. It drives home that heroic and apocalyptically powerful though he may be, Percy is also a love-starved little boy who just lost the only person who's always been there for him.
    • In the sequel series, Piper tries to invoke this, but since Aphrodite decided to bless her with beauty, beautiful she remains.
  • In Derek Robinson's novel Piece Of Cake, a pilot breaks down crying next to the adjutant who is made very uncomfortable and observes that it's a shame that, when men need comfort the most, God makes them look like monkeys.
  • In The Secret Of Drumshee Castle Grace is so overwhelmed by her cousin giving her a beautiful horse for her birthday, she collapses on the floor crying. Her cousin mistakes this for her not wanting the horse and Grace realises how undignified she was acting.
  • In Song of the Lioness, when Alanna is crying after a tiff with Liam, Thayet comes in to console her and remarks that "some women can cry and look pretty. You and I can't."
  • In Neil Gaiman's Stardust, when Tristran finds the star, her eyes are raw and red with weeping.
  • In Lewis Carroll's Sylvie and Bruno after Ugugg got his ears boxed,
    Uggug (who was blubbering his loudest, in the hope of attracting notice)
  • In Sylvie and Bruno Concluded, when they catch a thief of apples, he blubbers.
    • The narrator's sister in Carroll's Melancholetta is portrayed this way:
      My dismal sister! Couldst thou know
      The wretched home thou keepest!
      Thy brother, drowned in daily woe,
      Is thankful when thou sleepest;
      For if I laugh, however low,
      When thou'rt awake, thou weepest!
      • And later, when he tries to cheer her up by inviting "three gay young dogs from town" for dinner
      "Hounds IN FULL CRY I like," said she:
      (Oh how I longed to snub her!)
      "Of fish, a whale's the one for me,
  • Lanen of Tales of Kolmar observes that she's seen women who only looked more beautiful when they cry, but her eyes go bright red and puffy and her nose runs.
  • In Henry Zhou's Warhammer 40,000 novel The Emperor's Mercy, after aristocrats are rounded up in a raid, the women are crying with their black make-up running, and the men are worse.
  • Due to their sibling rivalry, Marty and Melissa both ugly-cry in The Worst Thing About My Sister when they learn they'll be sharing a room.

  • Albert Collins' hard luck blues story ''But I Was Cool''
  • At the end of Korn's song “Daddy” (which is about him being molested by a family friend), Jonathan Davis does this.
    • In much the same vein, Slipknot's song “(515)” is Sid Wilson doing this over the death of his grandfather, set to a power electronics backdrop.
  • Depressive Black Metal has a lot of these cries formed into vocals. They're so painful to hear you'll want to cry too. Example at about 5:55.
  • The extended version of The Temptations' "Runaway Child, Running Wild" features a little boy crying for his mother, just after the regular version would've faded out. It's only for about five or six seconds, then the instrumental takes over as if to say "No one can hear you, Little Boy."
  • Kids Praise: Psalty himself tends to fall into this when kids pretend to praise God without really meaning it.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • Manly Tears are not common in Dino Attack RPG. Instead, expect red eyes, runny noses, and uncontrollable sobbing. Hertz, Frozeen, and Rex are all victims of this trope.

  • Rodolfo traditionally does this after Mimí's death at the end of La Bohème. This might be the reason for the above-mentioned Moulin Rouge! example since that film draws considerable inspiration from this opera.
  • Another famous operatic tenor example is Canio in Pagliacci, at the end of his iconic aria "Vesti la giubba." The sobbing isn't called for in the libretto, but it's a firm tradition, and depending on the singer it can be very undignified. Thanks to Pop-Cultural Osmosis from film, TV, and cartoons, an inelegantly blubbering tenor in a clown suit is probably the main image that the title Pagliacci evokes for most people.
  • Hamilton: "Say No To This" indicates Maria Reynolds is not a pretty crier.
    ''Half-dressed, apologetic, a mess, she looked pathetic, she cried "Please don't go, sir!"
  • In Pygmalion and My Fair Lady, Eliza cries this way, especially in the earlier scenes before she learns ladylike manners. In the opening scene, her crying when she thinks Higgins is a detective spying on her is written in the script as "Oh, boo—hoo—oo—" and Higgins calls it "detestable boohooing." In a later scene, he also tells her that when she cries she looks "as ugly as the very devil."

    Video Games 
  • Played for laughs in Battleborn as Oscar Mike confesses his deepest feelings to Nova, the ship’s computer, thinking he’s talking to a personal diary. As he gets to the point of tears, Nova broadcasts to the ship about it with glee.
  • Splicers cry a lot in BioShock. This is hardly surprising, given how badly they're broken. When they start crying, there's nothing elegant about it — it's full of sobbing and groaning, and it tends to last for quite some time.
  • Brawl Stars: A handful of Brawlers tend to do this in some of their losing voice lines. These include Lou, Lola, Cordelius and Mandy.
  • Heroes with afflictions in Darkest Dungeon sometimes speak in this matter, with some of them going into sobbing fits depending on what affliction they have.
  • Queen Brahne while watching the play "I Want To Be Your Canary" in Final Fantasy IX. As the play is performed every year, she's likely just getting into the spirit of it (it's a tragedy). She pauses for a moment to wonder where her daughter has wandered off to before resuming bawling over the heroine's death.
  • Tidus in Final Fantasy X does some very undignified crying when he discovers the truth about Yuna and the Final Aeon. His line near the end of the game "I hate you, Dad" is a little more dignified.
  • In Fire Emblem: Awakening's Future Past 2 DLC Owain, the future son of Lissa goes into a sobbing fit upon being reunited with his mother. It gets to the point that he can barely speak properly as he chews himself out. Considering the one who's doing it, it's quite painful to read.
  • Zelda's crying in the Japanese version of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild is extremely loud and inelegant-sounding, especially compared to the other versions.
  • Like a Dragon:
    • Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name: At the end of the game, as a reward for his efforts Kiryu's government handler Hanawa gives him a tablet featuring hidden camera footage of the orphans he raised in his old life visiting his gravesite. Two of the orphans notice the camera and out of a belief that Kiryu is still alive give him an update on what they've been going on, causing him to weep profusely. It gets even worse when he's given a picture of a drawing by Haruka's son Haruto of him and the kids. Hanawa bitterly notes that the "reward" almost feels like a punishment of sorts.
    • Yakuza: Like a Dragon; Ichiban spends most of the last half hour after the final boss fight bawling and begging Masato to pull a Heel–Face Turn and forget his ambitions. It almost works... then Masato's lackey guts him just as he comes to his senses.
  • Lost Odyssey features an example with Cooke and Mack mourning the loss of their mother... who also happens to be The Hero's daughter. (Long story. No, literally.) Cooke makes increasingly desperate calls for her mom and descends into incoherent wails.
  • In Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, Hassel breaks down in tears whenever he's proud of someone. The game phonetically spells out his dialogue as he cries, implying that he's sobbing hard enough that he's hard to understand.
  • Professor Layton and the Unwound Future: "Now Luke, you know a gentleman never makes a scene in public." "I'm sorry, professor, but I'm not a gentleman yet!"
  • In Puyo Puyo Tetris, Ess is shown multiple times in the story mode making a rather melodramatic-looking blubbering face whenever she is sad.
  • Sakuna Of Rice And Ruin: When Sakuna is throwing herself on Lady Kamuhitsuki's mercy after the explosion in the Royal Garner, her face has undergone an Art Shift to be blobby.
  • In The Spectrum Retreat, after the flashback of Robin dying, you can hear Maddie's breakdown, and it's not pleasant at all.
  • In Super Paper Mario, Emotionless Girl Nastasia suddenly goes into a blubbering fit when she learns that Count Bleck is gone forever. She recovers her dignity with equal abruptness.
  • The four youngest kids in Super Sized Family will outright bawl when they cry, as opposed to their older siblings, who have a more dignified cry. Notably, the younger ones are the only ones who cry with a sound effect; the older kids' crying is silent.
  • Oxygen Not Included: Duplicants with the Ugly Crier stress reaction will sit down and start blubbering all over the place if their stress peaks out, just being miserable in a very messy way until their stress goes down. This is apparently so unsightly that everyone witnessing this might get stressed out too and generally finds it demoralizing. On the plus side, it's free water for your colony.

    Visual Novels 
  • Kiyotaka Ishimaru from Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc does this (complete with tears and sweat) after his new friend Mondo Oowada is revealed as the murderer of Chihiro Fujisaki in Chapter 2 and he is executed at the end of the second trial. The scene is intensified in the anime version, where little puddles of tears are added to the effect.
    • Himiko Yumeno from Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony, who normally doesn't emote very much, breaks down sobbing when she finally expresses her grief over the deaths of Angie and Tenko, the two people she was closest with, in chapter 3.
  • Katawa Shoujo: In Hanako's route when Hanako and Hisao climatically reconcile their feelings for one another with all the pain and loss both have experienced in their pasts. It is likely the player will be crying too, but for a very different reason.
  • In A Little Lily Princess, Lavinia cries this way on her route after Sara discovers a picture of Lavinia's Indian mother, thus uncovering Lavinia's most shameful secret- being half-Indian. Considering that Lavinia is usually rather proud, if temperamental, her breaking down like this says a lot about her emotional state.


    Web Original 
  • Twilight the Musical: Bella Swan does this.
  • The Nostalgia Critic's knowledge of a traditional cry is one where you're puffy-eyed, sniffing, snorting, and can barely talk.
    • Critic himself has cried like that on several occasions, most notably over every single one of the "Top 11 Saddest Nostalgic Moments."
  • This is commonly used in Wojak's memes. Often accompanied with a Big "NO!".
  • Orange's eyes are red and puffy in his video promoting his new YouTube channel because he had been crying tears of joy over it.
  • A viral video features Abby Evans from Colorado who cries her eyes red over the 2012 primary election. Clearly, she has enough of all the talk about Bronco (sic) Obama and Mitt Romney.
  • This video by LittleKuriboh.
  • Elena Marquez in Boris' twin: episode 9 when she finds out that Boris has apparently been killing people. It doesn't sound like the typical "waaaaaaaaa-ah" you hear in Goanimate, it sounds like an actual woman crying.
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: In the Season 5 episode "Hansel and Gretel", Tanner cries like this through his photoshoot because Tristan has broken up with him. We even see tear streaks on his doll's face! When the commentators see this, they are understandably uneasy and depressed.
  • Battle for Dream Island: At one point in "The Four Is Lava", Gaty starts bawling her eyes out after believing she is going to be eliminated.
  • Pretending to Be People: After utterly failing most of their rolls in pursuit of a lead, the Contention boys are reduced to sitting on the sidewalk outside of the police station, sobbing.

    Real Life 
  • Whatever else you may say about him, American President Richard Nixon loved his wife Pat and broke down at her funeral, sobbing openly, profusely, and at times uncontrollably during the ceremony.
  • North Koreans think they have to follow and obey their leaders — even worship them. So when they die, they have to appear to openly mourn for them (read: wail and cry as if they really mean it) or else they will be imprisoned or worse. News coverage of the leader's followers once they had died has some people wondering if it's all fake or not for that matter.
    • In 1994, when Kim Il-sung died, they did just that. News reporters, factory workers, tough soldiers and everyone else all pounded the pavement, wrung their fists, and wailed loudly.
    • They did so likewise when Kim Jong-il died in December 2011. Again, it was mandatory (which make some viewers of footage of them inconsolably wailing think that they are feigning it).
    • At the same time, such (seemingly) exaggerated emotion is a part of Korean culture, in the South as well as the North, and cannot wholly be put down to totalitarian repression.
  • In 1997, the death of Princess Diana precipitated some inelegant and graceless public weeping in Great Britain, which the more traditional half of the population found distasteful and depressing.
  • In Aztec society, weeping at appropriate times (such as after losing a battle, or when beseeching the gods for aid) was considered the sign of a pious and honorable individual.
    • Similarly, in Europe in The High Middle Ages, it was surprisingly appropriate for a Knight in Shining Armor to weep copiously under certain circumstances, such as the Crusaders did when they finally reached Jerusalem in 1099.
    • The ancient Babylonians had a New Year's festival called Akitu, where the high priest customarily dragged the king by the ear and slapped him in the face as hard as he could. If the king burst into tears, then he was still in the gods' favor. If not, then he clearly wasn't fit to rule.
  • The Irish and Scottish tradition of keening (singing a lament combined with wailing) over the body during the funeral procession and at the burial site is the human equivalent of the death wail of the Banshee, or bean-sídhe ("the woman of the fairy folk''), who is a guardian spirit of the old Gaelic families; she wails and cries through the night to warn "her" family that one of them will soon die.
    • "Keen" comes from the Gaelic verb "caoin", meaning "to cry/weep, to mourn" and its active article "caoineadh" ("weeping", "crying", "wailing") can also be translated as "elegy/lament". The caoineadh itself was often composed and performed in an improvised way, with at least one keening woman (bean chaointe) hired to lead the rest of the mourners, who generally joined with the chorus. Singing the caoineadh itself was not uncontrolled sobbing so much as a controlled melody and generally consisted of stock poetic elements (the genealogy of the deceased, praise for the deceased, emphasis on the sorrow of those left behind, etc.) set to vocal lament.
  • Brazilian fans' reactions to the 2014 World Cup semi-finals match between Germany and host country Brazil, or for short, 7-1.
  • While watching the ending scenes of Avengers: Endgame, one viewer in China bawled hysterically and loudly to the point of having chest pains, breathing problems, numbness in her extremities, and cramps. She was rushed to the hospital, where she was treated for hyperventilation.
  • The entire population of New York City cried like this on 9/11 after the World Trade Center collapsed.
  • After news broke of Michael Jackson's death on June 25th, 2009, fans of his work were extremely emotional as seen in various news coverages and video uploads between June 25th and June 26th. Notably memorial gatherings at The Apollo Theater and Jackson's Star at the Hollywood Walk of Fame where some female fans were bawling over his death. The same occurred during his memorial services on July 7th where some Jackson fans were weeping at various moments.
  • In countries such as Italy and Mexico, grown men are very open with their feelings and their love, so they are known to weep freely whenever the occasion calls for it (the ending of La Bohème for Italians, the loss of a soccer match for Mexicans, etc.).
  • During the tribute show for Eddie Guerrero, Chris Benoit can be seen weeping uncontrollably every time he's on camera, and his heartfelt tribute to Eddie during the show ended with him breaking down into a sobbing fit. The two were Heterosexual Life-Partners, and many believe that Eddie's death was the beginning of the end for Chris.


Angel Thanks Charlie

After Angel thanks Charlie for looking out for him, she becomes a weeping mess and Vaggie takes her to their bedroom.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / InelegantBlubbering

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