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Lost Toy Grievance

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"True evil is born through pain and loss. You see, when I was a small boy back in Gimmelshtump, I had a toy train... and one day I lost it."

We all love toys, don't we? You can cuddle up next to them, play games with them or even hold them for comfort. They also get lost or damaged quite easily, making us rather upset. Usually, this applies to children, although sometimes teenagers or even adults find it quite upsetting to lose their old toys, especially if they're already Prone to Tears and/or have a strong emotional attachment and fond memories linked to the toy. Sometimes, they'll get their beloved toy back, though in other cases the character must learn to accept it's gone.

Truth in Television, as it's part of the process of growing up.

A subtrope of Mourning an Object.

See also Empathy Doll Shot, which is where a lost toy is found to symbolize the Death of a Child or loss of innocence, Symbolically Broken Object and It's All Junk. If a toy is destroyed deliberately as a Kick the Dog moment, it may overlap with Crush the Keepsake. The other side of this trope is Tragic Abandoned Toy, where the toy itself is sentient and sad about being separated from its owner.

Examples :

    open/close all folders 

  • In this commercial for Duracell batteries, a little girl has to leave the park during a rainstorm, and accidentally leaves her toys, the Duracell Bunny and a toy duck under a tree. She spends most of the commercial depressed over having left them behind and is delighted when they make their way back home to her.

    Asian Animation 
  • The Cubix: Robots for Everyone episode "Klank" involves Dr. K coming across Klank, who was the first robot he invented, and the closest thing he had to a teddy bear. He ends up getting so distraught that he breaks down in tears when Klank damaged beyond repair during a fight with the botties, to the point where he doesn't care about the battle any more and orders everybody to retreat.

    Comic Strips 
  • One story arc in Breaking Cat News centered around the Boy's stuffed penguin going missing, with Goldie helping search for him and the news cats reporting on it. The penguin is eventually found wedged between the bed and the wall, and Goldie is rewarded for her help with a toy sheriff's badge.
  • In a Calvin and Hobbes strip, a big dog steals Hobbes and Calvin says, "I wonder what I did to deserve this. Whatever it was, I'm sorry already!!".
    • Calvin loses Hobbes (his maybe-real maybe-imaginary stuffed tiger) while out in the woods. His parents have to go out looking for it, with his mom actually calling for Hobbes before realizing what she's doing.
    • One arc has Calvin's family go to a wedding, but Calvin forgot Hobbes under the bed. When they come back, the house has been burgled... and Calvin's first thought is that Hobbes was kidnapped.
    • In another arc, Calvin steals Susie's doll Binky Betsy and Susie retaliates by stealing Hobbes.

    Fan Works 
  • Anger Management: Exaggerated. Lincoln goes nuts on Lynn when she damages Bun-Bun, and when she does it the second time, he outright knocks her out.
  • In the Encanto fanfic "Stay Alive", Antonio's stuffed jaguar is stolen from him by the same man who kidnapped Mirabel. He did this to threaten her. When Antonio notices it's missing, he's very distraught. He's reunited with the toy when Mirabel is rescued by Camilo and Dolores.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Despicable Me, Agnes gets sad when Edith accidentally disintegrates her toy unicorn and demands Gru fix it. When he says it can't be fixed, she gets angry and holds her breath to demand a new one.
  • In Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, the reason Dr. Doofenshmirtz's Alternate Self turned evil is that he lost his beloved toy choo-choo train.
  • Toy Story:
    • In the original movie, Andy gets very upset when Woody and Buzz go missing and fears they'd be left behind when he moves.
    • In Toy Story 4, Bonnie immediately becomes very attached to Forky and gets upset quickly whenever she can't find him, so when he tries to run away while the family is on vacation, retrieving him for Bonnie becomes the main plotline.

  • In Adrian Mole, the twenty-year-old Adrian is horrified to find that his mother has cleared out his toy cupboard, including his pink and grey two-legged rabbit, Pinky. Fortunately, Pinky is then rescued from the dustbin.
  • Mo Willems explores this trope in all three books of his Knuffle Bunny series.
    • In the original Knuffle Bunny, little Trixie is a toddler who can't speak yet, which means the loss of the titular character—her beloved stuffed rabbit—is even more serious, because she can't communicate what's wrong. Her Bumbling Dad repeatedly misinterprets her cries and screams, but thankfully, her mother immediately sees the problem and sends her husband back to retrieve Knuffle Bunny.
    • Knuffle Bunny, Too sees an older Trixie attending kindergarten for the first time, and meeting another girl who has a toy identical to her own Knuffle Bunny. The two children get along fine, but late that night, Trixie realizes that the bunny she's holding is not her toy—she accidentally picked up the other Knuffle Bunny by mistake—and immediately runs to tell her parents. Thankfully, the other girl's family is having the exact same problem across town, and the fathers meet for a midnight toy swap.
    • Knuffle Bunny Free has Trixie as an eight-year-old girl traveling to meet her grandparents in Europe. She unfortunately leaves Knuffle Bunny behind on the plane; at this point, she doesn't even have to say what's wrong, as her parents immediately figure it out as soon as she walks into the room with a somber expression. Unlike the other books, though, Trixie is able to make peace with the loss of her toy as she imagines Knuffle Bunny traveling around the world on adventures. When the family boards the plane to return to America, they are surprised to find Knuffle Bunny in a seat compartment, making this seem like a case of Sweet and Sour Grapes—only for Trixie to freely choose to give up the rabbit to a crying baby to make him feel better, a sign that she is growing up. The baby's grateful parents thank her by sending her letters, giving Trixie her first-ever pen pal.
  • The Miffy story Miffy Is Crying involves her crying over her teddy bear going missing.
  • Shirley Hughes' story "Dogger" has Dave become rather desolate when the titular toy dog ends up lost.
  • The Mr. Men story Adventures With Minibeasts opens with Little Miss Tiny crying after her thimble (which is probably the closest thing she has to a toy) goes missing.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “No Stealing, Roys Bedoys!”, Maker declares it “the worst day of [his] life” when he can’t find his toy car.
  • Played for Drama in A Song of Ice and Fire: A young Gregor Clegane noticed his six-year-old brother Sandor playing with one of Gregor's old toys, so he grabbed Sandor's head and held it in the fire, giving Sandor a hideous scar and a lifelong fear of fire. Their father covered it up by telling everyone Sandor's bedding had caught fire somehow, and Gregor repaid him by murdering him for his inheritance.
  • The climax of The Suitcase Kid revolves around Andy losing her beloved toy rabbit Radish after accidentally dropping her into a tree hollow in someone's garden and being forced to flee before she's caught. The situation goes deeper than Andy just losing her favourite toy; Andy has already lost everything else familiar from her old life following her parents' divorce, with Radish being one of the few things she has to hang onto. Andy feeling terrible about Radish being lost and alone also reflects her own feelings about her homelife. Andy decides to sneak out in the middle of the night to retrieve Radish, even if it means walking for miles alone.
  • John Betjeman's autobiography Summoned By Bells relates an incident when his teddy bear Archibald was taken away:
    One dreadful day
    They hid him from me as a punishment:
    Sometimes the desolation of that loss
    Comes back to me and I must go upstairs
    To see him in the sawdust, so to speak,
    Safe and returned to his idolator.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Golden Girls:
    • "Old Friends" explores this trope in its B-plot. Blanche gives away an old teddy bear to a little girl named Daisy, only to discover that said bear was Fernando, Womanchild Rose's favorite toy (keep in mind that Rose is in her sixties). Daisy proves to be a Spoiled Brat who tries to force Blanche and Dorothy into buying her presents and giving her cash in exchange for Fernando's safe return. When the girls nervously explain what happened in the hope that Rose will be understanding, she instead demonstrates exactly why Beware the Nice Ones is a trope: "Just cut the crap and get back THE DAMN BEAR!" The plot ends with Rose seemingly coming to terms with the loss of Fernando, and gently escorting Daisy to the door with the remark "Sometimes, life just isn't fair, kiddo"—only to snatch the teddy and hurl Daisy onto the porch.
    • A minor Running Gag saw Dorothy (who, again, is in her sixties) frequently lamenting the loss of her childhood toys, including a doll named Mrs. Doolittle which her sister Gloria somehow broke ("She made it so she could never close her eyes again! Mrs. Doolittle looked like a morphine addict!"), a paper bird that Sophia promised would someday become a real pet if she was good (that is, until the paper one "died" when Sophia used it to start the pilot light), and even, in one case, a simple stick.
  • Luke from Jessie is a 12-years old boy who still sleeps with his stuffed koala Kenny every night.
    • In "Creepy Connie Comes a Callin'", he screams when his creepy stalker Connie decapitates Kenny. However, Jessie repairs it.
    • In "Quitting Cold Koala", he gets upset when Jessie accidentally drops Kenny from the balcony and gets run over by a car. The episode reveals that when Luke was at the orphanage, Kenny was "all he had", which is why it's important to him. Fortunately, Stuart performs an "operation" that manages to somewhat fix the stuffed koala. However, this is when Luke decides to get over Kenny for good, mostly due to smelling like chloroform.
  • Mr. Bean: A particularly cruel Kick the Dog moment in "Mind the Baby, Mr. Bean". Mr Bean helps a young girl to climb on a merry-go-round horse, quietly stealing her teddy bear. The girl's reaction is not seen, only her distant cries of "My teddy!" can be heard as Mr. Bean cruelly mutilates the teddy, to use as an emergency nappy for the baby.

    Music Videos 
  • The video for My Happiness by Powderfinger shows a kid losing his Slinky on the train. He is miserable until the Slinky finds its way to his suburb, where it is retrieved by his mother, who places it in his room while he sleeps.

    Puppet Shows 
  • In the Allegra's Window episode "Where's Godfrey?" Allegra can't find her stuffed octopus Godfrey, but all her friends and family help her look for him and help her feel better. In the end, her dad finds him.
  • Sesame Street:
    • In one episode, Big Bird is upset when his stuffed teddy bear Radar goes missing, and he searches all over Sesame Street to find him. He finds Radar hiding in his mailbox near the end before his naptime, having remembered he put him there for a game of hide-and-seek the other day.
    • In another episode, Big Bird hosts a nest sale and accidentally bumps Radar into the nest of toys he wants to give away, and Snuffy accidentally sells him to The Count. Radar is then given to a random monster who then gives him to Kaitlyn, who then returns him to Big Bird.

    Video Games 
  • Fable: During the tutorial set during the Hero's childhood, he meets a young girl crying over her lost teddy bear. He can find the bear and either return it to her or give it to her Big Brother Bully; either way, the act makes enough of an impact for her to include it in her memoirs as an adult.
    Emily: Her stuffing needs changing today and I can't find her! Please, help!

    Web Videos 
  • In the SuperMarioLogan episode, "Bowser Junior Loses Thomas!", Junior plays with his Thomas & Friends toy and loses it behind the couch. When his friends, Joseph and Cody come over to play, Junior notices that Thomas has gone missing and goes into a deep depression when he can't find him. Chef Pee Pee searches for Thomas, and even tries to buy Junior a new one (the train he gets is a blue one, but it doesn't have a face). He eventually manages to find Thomas when he cleans behind the couch, and this makes Junior happy again... at least until Junior notices that his dinosaur toy has also gone missing.

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • The episode "The Detective" has a heartbroken Anais looking for Daisy the Donkey after she went missing.
    • An earlier episode "The Quest" centered around Anais getting Daisy back from Tina, after she watched her plushie get thrown off the school bus by Tobias.
  • One episode of Arthur, "Clarissa is Cracked," plays with this trope. Grandma Thora allows D.W. to borrow Clarissa, the first doll she ever owned as a child (Thora grew up with several brothers, so most of her belongings were hand-me-down "boy toys"). D.W. doesn't know any of this at first, and so treats Clarissa roughly to the point of breaking. She is terrified that this trope will be the reaction, and enlists Arthur's help to fix the doll. Mr. Ratburn eventually saves the day with his knowledge of puppetry, and Clarissa appears as good as new—but D.W. still confesses what happened out of guilt. Thora thanks her for her honesty and reveals that she, too, has broken Clarissa over the years, providing An Aesop about making mistakes and learning from them.
  • The Batman episode "Cash for Toys" has Cash Tankinson attack and destroy a toy robot he mistakes for being one of Cosmo Krank's toy minions. It isn't until he sees a child cry at seeing the destruction of his toy that Cash realizes his mistake.
  • A strange shape-shifting entity raises all kinds of hell in one episode of Ben 10: Alien Force, until it is cornered and revealed to be an incredibly advanced device - whereupon a Sufficiently Advanced Alien appears and retrieves it, thanking the heroes for finding her child's favorite toy.
    Alien: Now maybe she will stop crying.
    Kevin: No way would I let any kid of mine play with a toy like that.
  • In the Dinosaur Train episode "Tiny's Tiny Doll", Tiny accidentally leaves her titular favourite toy at the Velociraptors' nest, and she can't sleep without it. The boys make her a new one, but fortunately Velma and Valerie arrange for a local pterosaur to return it to her.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Dog Bites Bear", Stewie's bear doll Rupert — whom he has a very sexual fascination for — gets torn apart by a drunk Brian, causing Stewie to hold Brian accountable for his actions until they scatter Rupert's ashes into the wind at the top of a mountain. All this is undone when Brian simply buys another identical bear doll and Stewie makes no attempt to doubt the new "Rupert".
  • Horrid Henry: Peter spends a good chunk of Horrid Henry And The Time Capsule crying over his toy bunny going missing after Henry had placed it in the time capsule.
  • Molly of Denali: In "The Story of the Story Knife," Willow loses her beloved story knife, which is a Yup'ik girl's toy used to tell stories. Molly helps make a new one for her. Eventually, Willow finds her old knife, and gives it to Molly.
  • The episode of the Mr. Bean cartoon "Chocks Away" ends with Mr. Bean crying in bed when he thinks that Teddy was blown up when a remote control plane he bought caught fire and exploded. Thankfully it turns out that Teddy was ejected from the plane and he lands safely in Bean's fireplace.
  • In Phineas and Ferb The Movie: Across the 2nd Dimension, the second dimension counterpart of Dr. Doofenshmirtz was motivated to become the successful tyrant of the second dimension Tri-State Area all because he lost a toy train when he was growing up. The prime Doofenshmirtz, who suffered one of the most extreme examples of a Hilariously Abusive Childhood in Disney animation, is completely and utterly flabbergasted that this is all it took for the other Doof to become such a (comparatively) uber-competent villain. In the movie's climax, prime Doofenschmirtz manages to make his second dimension counterpart stand down and surrender by giving him his own version of the toy train, which he never lost. Then, in the tie-in episode Phineas and Ferb "Tales from the Resistance", Charlene-2 frees Doof-2 from prison and tosses away his new toy train to make him evil again.
  • Postman Pat: In "Postman Pat's Finding Day", Katy Pottage is not pleased to receive a doll on her birthday, because she has lost her own doll, Sarah-Ann. Pat finds her in Sam's mobile shop.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998):
    • Bubbles will often get very distraught if Octi goes missing. In "Octi-Gone" it goes from sadness to anger.
    • Buttercup of all characters goes through this in "Cover Up" when Blossom and Bubbles take away her blanket and ends up being reduced to a sobbing mess.
  • Happens multiple time for Angelica in Rugrats every time Cynthia goes missing. At one point in "The Seven Voyages of Cynthia", she even held a funeral when she believe she truly lost her forever. This attitude extends to her in All Grown Up!. When Cynthia gets accidentally donated, Angelica is devastated.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! episode "Sean's Robotic Arm", Sean loses his prized Neil Armstrong figure in a narrow crevice, and is very upset about it since the toy is very important to him and has accompanied him in his many journeys. The rest of the episode is dedicated to the kids constructing a robotic arm to rescue the Neil figure.
  • In the Roary the Racing Car episode "Roary Loses a Friend", Roary cries because he lost his teddy bear.
  • In The Simpsons, Mr. Burns goes to great lengths to recover his teddy bear, Bobo, who after decades of being lost in the Arctic, somehow found its way into a bag of ice at the Kwik-E-Mart and into Maggie's hands. He uses his wealth to turn the townsfolk against the Simpson family, who only realized what they were doing when Maggie was on the verge of tears. Mr. Burns backs off for now, but promises to get Bobo back again in the future.
  • In Sponge Bob Square Pants episode "Lost and Found", a small boy cries and screams after he loses his teddy fish at the Krusty Krab, forcing SpongeBob to go into the lost and found to find it.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: In "Snout and About," Zeke is in tears after losing his beloved stuffy, Snout. Luckily, his siblings are there to help find the toy.


Video Example(s):


Where's My Bear?

Big Bird is upset at losing his teddy bear Radar and sings his failures at trying to find him.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / LostToyGrievance

Media sources: