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Stoic Woobie / Live-Action TV

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  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gives us a few glimpses into Coulson's backstory in "The Magical Place", as well as finally revealing the truth behind his memories of recovery in Tahiti, ("It's a magical place.") which puts him firmly under this trope. Despite his stoic, Seen It All persona, he's heartbroken over the fact that he never got to say goodbye to the women he loved when he got his Death Faked for You courtesy of Nick Fury. He also recently lost his mother, his father died when he was a kid, and the sheer pain he experienced when being brought back to life ''broke'' him, to the point where he begged to be allowed to die. The memories of the procedures were replaced by memories of Tahiti in an attempt to turn him back into the man he was, but now he knows part of the truth there's no telling what it will do to his mind. Don't expect to pick up on any of this from his demeanour at the end of the episode, though.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel:
    • Angel is the best example of this trope. Whether losing his son, losing his friends, brooding over his curse/vampire status, dealing with the fallout of his mistakes, disillusioned with being a champion, or pining over Buffy, he has particularly every kind of pain there is through the seasons ... but he doesn't show it. And rarely complains.
    • Giles was this in Season 2 of Buffy after the death of Jenny Calendar and in Season 6 when Buffy died. He also may or may not have been this in Season 4 after being unemployed and going through a mid-life crisis.
    • Wesley. This was particularly prominent after being isolated exiled out of Angel's group, and then his silent descend into nihilism after losing Fred in Angel's last season. Though he has a few iffy moments such as killing Knox and shooting a Wolfram & Hart employee.
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  • Abed Nadir from Community. Most of the time he's stoic to the point of being called robotic, comparing himself to Data and Spock. When confronting his father for having blamed him for his mother leaving when he was six, he makes an emotional movie but doesn't show direct emotional reaction himself. When in the midst of a Christmas breakdown caused by his mother's abandonment, his grief manifests as denial, fantastic delusions of a claymation Christmas wonderland, and eventually catatonic freezing. And when he loses his best friend Troy to the cultish Air Conditioner Repair school, apparently forever, he visibly tears up but only says "Sorry I got emotional" before retreating to his room. Also, one particularly bizarre episode deals with Troy going to lunch with Britta instead of hanging out with Abed in his Dreamatorium (their pretend holodeck for imaginary fun), causing Abed to get upset. Annie, realizing that Abed is subtly trying to control Troy instead of letting him do his own thing, uses the Dreamatorium to alter Abed's mind to experience empathy. In order to do so, she has to delve deep into Abed's subconscious (while he emulates all the other characters). She discovers that Abed was beaten up constantly in school and spent most of the time hiding in his locker, as within "his mind" his locker is shown as a prison cell where he is locked up, as being Abed is "illegal". But then again, this was technically all within Annie's imagination, as the Dreamatorium isn't a real holodeck, but then again, the entire episode was a complete Mind Screw so...
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Eleventh Doctor has just enough quick flashes of sadness that his Cloudcuckoolander personality comes across as more of a defense mechanism than anything else. The real turning point for this is probably when Fridge Horror kicks in after "Amy's Choice" and you realize what he meant by his offhand comment about how "There's only one person who hates me as much as you do.". His immediate predecessor, while equally woobieish, was a lot more obvious about it and got downright self-indulgent a few times.
    • The Ninth Doctor is almost entirely this. He's full of PTSD and survivor's guilt about the recent war, yet he hides it all behind a stoic, Jerk with a Heart of Gold personality. Even more tragic, is that his previous incarnation, The War Doctor, ends up meeting his future selves, who together avert the genocide they thought they caused. The War Doctor knows he doesn't have to hate himself, but he also knows the Timey-Wimey Ball will make him forget everything that happened. So in other words, he knows he's going to go through a personal hell over something that never happened. And there is no avoiding it.
  • Mr. Bates in Downton Abbey. He goes to jail for his insane wife, and the millisecond she finds out he's semi-happy she comes roaring over to Downton to make his life miserable. And then when she kills herself, he ends up in prison. Even in prison, he gets picked on. Everything seems to happen to Bates, and yet he never complains.
  • Simon Tam in Firefly. His sister, on the other hand, is too Ax-Crazy to be Stoic. Even so, we sometimes find out just how much she really does understand what was done to her. She's bottling up more than we ever realize, much like her brother.
  • Horatio Hornblower. Not particularly demonstrative of outward emotion (with a few exceptions, notably at the end of "The Wrong War/The Frogs and the Lobsters") but beneath the surface he's plagued by self-doubt and constantly berating himself for what he sees as his failures, despite his considerable skill and the admiration of his men.
  • Humans: Niska rarely shows emotion, and she has endured much suffering.
  • In the JAG episode "Each Of Us Angels" the actor normally playing Bud's brother plays a Medic who has his eye shot out and instead of accepting his fate, insists on helping the nurses aboard a hospital ship while constantly Deadpan Snarking about his eye.
  • Kamen Rider Agito: Ryo Ashihara, tritagonist and Kamen Rider Gills. He's subjected to Body Horror transformations that he didn't ask for, and just within the first eight episodes he's two for two on people in his social support structure abandoning him when he actually lets them in and tells them about what's happening to him - first his swim coach, and second his (ex-?)girlfriend. But for all of this, he just... stands there and takes it, accepting it as a penance. The only time he seems to let it out, if ever, is when he transforms into Kamen Rider Gills.
  • Leverage: Parker, despite the Woobieness being almost entirely in her Back Story. Although she hides it well by being extremely good at her job and eternally chipper, there are some serious wounds in her past. She does, however, break down in "The Future Job" when a psychic correctly deduces that her brother was hit by a car when they were young.
  • The Mandalorian: Underneath a Mandalorian's faceless helmet, there apparently lies a lot of emotional turmoil:
    • The eponymous Mandalorian, Din Djarin, lost his birth parents as a child, to a Separatist droid raid. Their death traumatized him into carrying recurring flashbacks and a hatred for droids into adulthood; Chapters 1 and 3 contrast his inexpressive visage and body language with the terror of his memories as the Armorer forges new armor for him. Some time in between the raid and the start of the show, Din had to move underground along with other Mandalorians, as the Great Purge wiped out their kind across the Empire. When the adult Din rescues another orphan himself, the two of them get essentially chased off Nevarro for Din's violation of the Bounty Hunters' Creed. Even after Din makes amends with the Bounty Hunters' Guild, and officially welcomes the Child into his clan, his new responsibilities and faster age rate compared to the Child leave it uncertain how long the "Clan of Two" can hold. He endures even worse tribulations while leading the Clan, but his Character Development eventually enables him to open up his emotions to the Child and their friends.
    • The rest of his adoptive Mandalorian tribe also has it pretty rough. In addition to living underground, they must bear the emotional burden of their numbers dwindling, and suffer a shortage of Beskar metal.
  • Jake Brockman in Season 1 of Outnumbered. He suffers from bullying at school, including having his phone stolen, given severe chinese burns and is implied to be beaten up on a regular basis. Doesn't say a word the whole time, and lies to ensure his parents don't find out the truth.
  • Dr. K from Power Rangers RPM. She hardly shows any emotion at all and rarely, if ever, mentions her life growing up in the government think tank named Alphabet Soup. Although she does begin showing emotion, she typically remains deadpan, even when she confesses to her Series Operators that she created and accidentally released the Venjix computer virus responsible for destroying nearly all of humanity.
  • Nick Cutter from Primeval. Where to begin? Having his wife disappear for eight years, return as a Manipulative Bastard Straw Nihilist bent on wiping all humanity from existence and who turns his best friend against him. And just when he's found someone else to love, she's erased from existence. And then just as he's beginning to get along with her alternate self he gets shot - by his wife!
  • Sherlock:
    • John Watson. It's abundantly obvious to the audience that he's absolutely crushed after Sherlock's apparent suicide but spends the entire series making sure to stay calm around other people. Even when he's strapped to a bomb he manages to stay perfectly steady until the danger's over. Then after Sherlock jumps off a building he shoves everyone who tries to help him away, and the audience is only allowed to see him cry in a reflection.
    • In "A Sign of Three", we have Major Sholto. A recluse, he is mentioned to get more death threats than Sherlock, and the wedding is interrupted by an elaborate plan to kill him. Still, he attempts to Face Death with Dignity until Sherlock, Mary and John manage to talk him out of it.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: Malcolm Reed, who has been repeatedly shot, concussed, nearly frozen/suffocated to death, made to believe his entire ship had been blown up, pinned to the hull of said ship by a Romulan mine via a metal spike through the leg, almost hanged, crushed under rocks... and that's just in the first couple of seasons. And he never once complains about it, taking the attitude that as The Security Officer, it's his job to die to save the ship and her crew. Oh, Malcolm...
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Picard has a moment at the end of the now famous two-part episode "The Best of Both Worlds" that reveals him like this. He had just been rescued from the Borg who had forcibly abducted him, implanted him with cybernetic parts and made him part of their collective consciousness in order to conquer Earth. They used his knowledge and experience to kill thousands of people before he was finally rescued. At the end of the episode, Picard has almost completely physically recovered and is chatting away with his officers as if he were completely fine before they leave his office. He then undergoes an incredibly subtle Heroic BSoD. He finally gets to let some of it out in the next episode, "Family", after getting in a fight with his brother.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
  • Castiel on Supernatural. He rebelled, was hunted by his brothers, saw his friends die, discovered God had abandoned the world, is caught in the middle of a Heavenly civil war, has had no discernible success in convincing his fellow angels to respect humanity, has to deal with those whiny Winchesters who expect him to be at their beck and call and do anything they ask with never a word of thanks and the closest thing he has to a friend is a hedonistic asshole of an angel who ran away during the apocalypse and left him to deal with it all on his own, then had the gall to say he was following Castiel's example. To cap it all off, he's been blown up twice. Fans would give anything to see him get that damn hug, but at this point most of them would settle for someone, anyone, showing him some genuine gratitude. And Sam denies him a hug in 'Like a Virgin', not so subtly sitting down as soon as Castiel opened his arms. Comes to a heartbreaking head in The Man Who Would Be King Castiel finally gets his gratitude from Bobby, Sam and especially Dean. Too bad it's 1. Not (knowingly) to his face and 2. Too little too late. Castiel made a deal with Crowley and chose to keep fighting alone rather than go to the Winchesters for help in order to protect them and it seemed like the best plan at the time. When this gets found out the boys are quick to judge and quicker to claim had Cas come to them for help they could have fixed it. It's clear from the conversations that follow and from Castiel's surprise at being told he's like family to them, Castiel had no idea he meant that much to them. And with the way they treated him during the season he had no reason to think it. "The Man Who Knew Too Much" finally has him snapping. Namely, in that he absorbs all the souls from Purgatory, blows up Raphael, kills Balthazar (the aforementioned hedonist), restoring Sam's memories of Hell, and at the very end, after absorbing the souls from Purgatory, declares himself the new {{God}}, saying that anyone who doesn't profess their love to him will be destroyed.
  • Cameron of Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles makes it quite abundantly clear that she doesn't feel emotions. This makes all the bad stuff she goes through over the course of the series even more apparent - it's quite clear that she's confused and concerned (we would say afraid, but as a Terminator, she can't feel fear) about her conflicting programming, her inability to empathize with humans she is quite clearly concerned for, and the danger she represents to the very people she's trying to protect - especially when they hold her in scorn, suspicion, or distrust. And that's a good thing for her, too, since if she was human and could feel emotions, Cameron would probably be a gibbering, half-insane wreck due to all these issues. Cameron's issues can best be summed up by a single line she speaks to John when he asks her if she can't be "more happy." She tells him that she cannot be happy.
  • Jack Harkness of Torchwood. Being alive for over 2000 years, watching friends and lovers die is definitely not a healthy thing to live through. Not to mention being buried alive by his own brother and being murdered over and over in a butcher shop because the public thinks his blood has magic properties. It doesn't.
  • The Walking Dead:
    • Michonne is a stoic Lady of War who shields her emotions from other people in order to stay strong in the zombie-infested world, but when she's Not So Stoic, you can't help but feel her pain. Especially when it's revealed her entire family was killed by zombies.
    • Daryl Dixon presents as a milder version of his brother at first but is slowly shown to actually be a much kinder and useful individual, giving the audience a reason to feel bad for him for being misjudged. It is eventually revealed that he used to get beaten by his dad.
  • Scully does this a lot in The X-Files, often saying "I'm fine" even when she's not. In the episode "Irresistible", after being kidnapped and almost killed by a death fetishist, Mulder non-verbally calls her on it, which leads a cute comforting moment between the two. Also one of the very rare times Scully actually cries.


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