Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / The Woobie

Go To

Basic Trope: A character who invokes sympathy in the audience.

  • Straight: Alice is viewed as sympathetic while getting abused by her father.
  • Exaggerated: Alice is popular to the point where the Author gives her a happy ending, and she grows up to be a sweet, loving person.
  • Downplayed: While Alice somewhat invokes sympathy at times, she has a few Jerkass qualities to balance it out.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
    • The Chew Toy - Alice is loved FOR her misery.
    • Complete Monster - That is, a villain that is utterly unsympathetic, and likely hated by fans; they want something AWFUL to happen to him/her instead.
    • Asshole Victim - No one cares about the terrible things that happened to Alice because she deserved it
    • Hate Sink - Everyone likes to root against Alice instead because of how unsympathetic she is
    • Damsel Scrappy - The audience's opposite opinion to the woobie, but a similar character.
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: The aforementioned level in Jerkass was just an act and was Alice's way of dealing with her problems.
  • Parodied: Bob tries to get someone's attention, but when Alice enters the room everyone rushes to check on her.
  • Zig Zagged: The audience felt sorry for Alice, and then she became successful and Took a Level in Jerkass, only to find it was Lonely at the Top so the audience felt sorry for her again, but this time it was her own fault, and then she lost everything, being an unconditional sympathy magnet again.
  • Averted:
    • The audience is indifferent to Alice.
    • Alice isn't unsympathetic, but doesn't suffer very often if at all beyond her control.
  • Enforced:
    • "We need a character to draw in sympathy, otherwise we're going to be seen as too goofy."
    • The author puts in every Common Woobie Trait he can think of and shows positive results of other characters pitying Alice to make sure the audience does as well.
  • Lampshaded: Another character refers to Alice as "Poor girl."
  • Invoked: Alice tells everyone her father is abusive to get free hugs.
  • Exploited: Alice tells everyone the tragic truth about her abusive father, but only to get free hugs.
  • Defied: The author goes out of his way to make Alice as self-sufficient and well-off as possible, and shows negative results of other characters pitying her, in hopes the audience will not.
  • Discussed: "Alice certainly has a pretty rotten life. It'd be sick if someone was watching her for that reason."
  • Conversed: "You ever notice how some fictional characters get more offers for hugs and protection than real people?"
  • Deconstructed:
    • Alice is aware that people are only drawn to her because of her suffering, causing her to become depressed.
    • Alice's weakness draws people to protect her, and the people who protect her smother her in it...
  • Reconstructed:
    • Then Alice realizes that they're drawn to her because nobody should be left to suffer, and helping others is the right thing to do. She accepts their help and overtime becomes a stronger person who can stand on her own two feet.
    • ..until she invokes Stop Helping Me! and becomes a stronger person.

Back to The Woobie