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Mocking the Mourner

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"You shall not afflict any widow or orphan."
Book of Exodus, 22:21
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Usually, when you know someone recently (or sometimes not so recently) lost a loved one, the polite thing to do is to offer condolences.

Then you have people who, for whatever reason, not only show a lack of sensitivity for another person's loss, but will outright exploit the fact that a person lost a loved one in order to antagonize them, even if they had nothing to do with that person's death. It goes without saying that this is a big way to Kick the Dog, marking the person doing this as a Jerkass or worse.

This can overlap with Would You Like to Hear How They Died?, however, if the loss was one that the speaker themselves caused. This can also overlap with Speak Ill of the Dead, when a character mocks an other for being upset about losing a particular loved one. Finally, this trope can overlap with Fisticuff-Provoking Comment if the bereaved responds by opening up a can of whoop-ass on the person offering disrespectful condolences.

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Compare Last Disrespects, where someone shows mocking behavior towards the deceased (typically at a funeral). Compare also "The Reason You Suck" Speech and Relative Button.

While this may be Truth in Television on occasion, there will be No Real Life Examples, Please! After all, discussing the real-life petty behavior of other people is just asking for trouble.

As a death trope, all spoilers will remain unmarked.


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Examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Death Note: Light Yagami tries to justify his heinous actions by saying that in such a Crapsack World, idealists like his father Soichiro Yagami will continue to be made fools. This pisses off his erstwhile comrade Matsuda, an ardent pupil of Soichiro and until this moment Light's biggest fan, driving him to shoot him five times and nearly kill him.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: When he encounters Envy on the Promised Day, Mustang asks the former if they know who killed Hughes. After avoiding the question for a bit, Envy proudly announces that they're the culprit. Envy explains while laughing the entire time they transformed into Hughes' wife and shot him, mocking how Hughes was powerless to do anything and finding the situation hilarious. This turns out to be a huge mistake, as Mustang proceeds to blow Envy up enough times to reduce them to their true form before Hawkeye and Ed talk some sense into him.

    Comic Books 
  • The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: While holding Scrooge hostage, Soapy Slick read various letters as a means to mock Scrooge, including one informing Scrooge that his mother passed away. Unfortunately for Soapy, mocking the death of Scrooge's mother ends up infuriating Scrooge enough to break free and tear Soapy's boat down with his bare hands
  • Maus: In a comic that Art wrote, a relative is shown telling Art he should have cried while his mother was still alive.
  • Sideways: Just in case there's any question about just how reprehensible the school bully is the jerk makes fun of Derek after his Derek's mom is murdered and attacks him when Derek isn't especially happy about Ernestine trying to force Derek to mourn differently, since Derek wasn't appreciative of a girl being "nice" to him.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • At the beginning of Ant-Man, Hank Pym confronts some of the higher ups of S.H.I.E.L.D over trying to replicate his shrinking formula. One of them, Mitchell Carson, mocks him over losing his wife Janet back when they were still active in the field. Hank responds by slamming his head into the table. Even Howard Stark tells Mitchell he had that coming.
  • Bridge to Terabithia: Jerk Jock bully Scott Hoager decides to joke about Leslie's death while Jesse is heavily in mourning, only to get punched in the face and sent flying by him. Gary Fulcher decides to do the same and is met with a bloody nose from Janice Avery.
  • Die Hard: When Karl, The Dragon to exceptional thief Hans Gruber, confronts John McClane over the latter killing his brother, Tony, John — in a rare heroic example — tells Karl that he should have heard his brother squeal when he broke his neck. This is an attempt to make Karl lose composure so John can deal with him in combat.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. In the Back Story Alan Quartermain takes his son on a mission for the British government, during which the son is killed. While he is fighting with the Fantom, the Fantom mocks him, claiming that Quartermain is responsible for his son's death.
    Fantom: You run from the memory of your son's death. You should have trained him a little better. You may as well have put the gun to his head and pulled the trigger yourself.
  • In Now and Then, during a softball game, one of the Wormers, who later has a crush on Roberta, taunts her about her late mom, who died when she was five years old in a car crash, Roberta deservedly slugs the Wormer.

    Literature 
  • Extreme Prejudice (2019): When Garth Mason tells Fraser Barton Colborne off for telling the former to commit suicide, Fraser responds by telling him to go cry to his dead mother.
  • Harry Potter: Mocking Harry for being an orphan is a favourite move by Draco Malfoy, and Bellatrix Lestrange taunts Molly Weasley with Fred's death during their duel. This turns out to be the last thing she does.
  • Mortal Engines: When Melliphant tries and fails to impress Clytie Potts and notices she seems more interested in Tom Natsworthy, he decides to wind Tom up by discussing the accident that killed Tom's parents with Clytie while Tom's in earshot.
  • Night Huntress: In "Devil to Pay": Xaphan torments Cat Crawfield with the voices of her late grandparents, who had been killed in the events of Halfway to the Grave.
  • In Pet Sematary, Louis and his father-in-law Irwin get in a fistfight at Gabe's funeral when Irwin accuses Louis of neglecting Gabe, leading to the poor kid getting run over by a Mack truck. Louis responds by punching him square in the mouth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Gotham: When Bruce Wayne objects to Tommy Elliott calling him "Brucie", Tommy counters that he can call Bruce whatever he wants, because Bruce is an orphan.
  • On One Tree Hill, the show-runners would often turn the audience against characters by having them make fun of Peyton's lack of a traditional family due to her father mostly being away as a longshoreman and her beloved late mother who had died in a car accident when she was a little girl. And this wasn't even limited to unlikable characters like Dan and Brooke's Mom or even her adopted mother; after both the death of her biological mother, Ellie, in season three and her falling out with Brooke in season four, one of the latter's nastier moments has her implying that Ellie was a slut for having another half-sibling that she also gave up for adoption. Fortunately, Peyton called her out on this and the fact that she abandoned her when she needed her the most.
  • Veronica Mars: After the bus-crash kills several Neptune High students, the parents of one of the victims starts getting harassed by someone who keeps trying to trick them into believing their son is a ghost; not only do they hear audio recording of his voice, but they smell his cologne, see things getting moved around, etc. It's not upfront mockery, but a sinister act of psychological warfare concerning their murdered child.

    Video Games 
  • Dead Rising 2: During the TiR games, Leon Bell decides to talk smack to Chuck by insulting him and his wife who had become zombified prior to the events of Case:Zero. Chuck is by no means amused.
  • Near the end of Jak 3: Wastelander, Jak ends up watching his mentor Damas die from injuries sustained in a crash, with Damas' Last Request being for Jak to find his missing son and heir, Prince Mar, whom Jak is the grown-up version of. It is then that Count Veger shows up, mocks Damas for losing his son, and never knowing they've reunited because Mar should be 4 instead of 18. Veger also gloats on how he kidnapped Mar from his parents, but lost him to Kor and the Underground. This infuriates Jak to the point he momentarily takes on his Superpowered Evil Side, leading to him and Daxter chasing Veger into the Catacombs to get payback for Damas.
  • In Persona 3 during the service Gekkoukan holds for a recently deceased Shinjiro (who only S.E.E.S. knows died protecting Ken), two students call Shinjiro "just some punk", to which a grieving Junpei (and optionally the protagonist) respond with them to shut up.

    Web Comics 
  • In The Order of the Stick, Roy gets into a fight with a vampire who was raised from the corpse of one of Roy's former comrades. The vampire look through its host's memories of Roy in order to find something to demoralise him with, and starts mocking him over the accident that killed his younger brother Eric. It backfires because it finally tips of Roy that the vampire is not "the comrade with a forced alignment change" as it claimed to be, but a different mind entirely.
    Vampire: Here's one thing I've always wondered since you first told me this story... when you found his dead body after you failed to warn your mother, how many pieces was it in? ...More than five?
  • Subverted in the first arc of Penny and Aggie. Penny contemplates Revenge on Aggie for her constant insults and petty harassment. When she learns that Aggie is still grieving for her mother who died some time ago, Penny considers responding to Aggie's next provocation with "That would really hurt if my mom weren't right there to build up my self-esteem." However, her conscience prompts her instead to try being nice to her.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: During "A Picture's Worth a Thousand Bucks", Peter and his friends are asked to leave "Bob's Funland" amusement park for causing trouble. The man who approaches the group ends up being both the owner of the park, Bob Funland, and a former classmate from high school that Peter and his friends used to bully. A flashback has him being mocked by them as he cries at his mother's grave.
  • In the Futurama episode "I Second That Emotion", everyone thinks Nibbler (Leela's pet) is dead because Bender flushed him down the toilet. He then calls her a "one-eyed jerk with a dead pet".
  • In the Robot Chicken segment "Real Boy, Real Death", after Pinocchio ends up dying of an auto-immune disorder brought on by a peanut allergy, the Blue Fairy callously says at the former's funeral that if Gepetto hadn't wished for Pinocchio to be a real boy, he would have survived as a wooden puppet, before offering half hearted condolences when Jiminy Cricket clears his throat to subtly rebuke her for her lack of decorum.
  • The Simpsons: In "Dude, Where's My Ranch?", Homer writes a song bashing Ned Flanders. The song includes a particularly random and cruel line "His wife is dead", which is also completely unrelated to the lyrics of the rest of the song. Funnily enough, everyone ends up loving that song, including Ned and his kids.
  • South Park: In "Scott Tenorman Must Die", Cartman tricks Scott into eating chili made from his deceased parents. As Scott weeps from the revelation, Cartman licks up his tears and comments about how delicious they are.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Eggscellent" where after Rigby eats himself into a potentially fatal coma attempting the Eggcellent Challenge (he's allergic to eggs), Benson uses him as an example of what happens when you don't do work, prompting a clearly upset Mordecai to punch him. Downplayed since Rigby isn't technically dead here, and he does gets better at the end of the episode.

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