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Tear Jerker / Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

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Separation Anxiety at its worst...

The Movie

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  • After George and Harold show their Captain Underpants origin comic at the beginning of the movie, it cuts to Mr. Krupp ripping it apart right in front of them. Even worse is that this actually happened to Dav Pilkey when he first created Captain Underpants as a kid in school.
  • Rewatch the moment right before George threatens to hypnotize Krupp. As Krupp is close to finalizing the separation paperwork, look at George and Harold's faces. George looks understandably scared. Harold, on the other hand, looks like he's about to go into a panic attack, and begs George to do something. That's how terrified he is of losing his best friend.
  • When the boys snoop around Mr. Krupp's house and discover how lonely he is.
    George: I have to say, this has not been the funnest snoop.
    Harold: Yeah, really sad snoop. Kinda regretting it actually.
    • How the discovery goes to reinforce their fears about being separated:
      Harold: I hope we never end up like him. All alone...
      George: (scoffs) That's impossible. That will never happen!
      Harold: Heh, yeah. (pause) Unless he puts us in separate classes...
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  • It's quite easy to feel sorry for Professor Poopypants, especially after the flashback to the Nobel Prize ceremony where he had a meltdown over people laughing at his name and not taking him seriously.
  • When George and Harold are briefly put in separate classes. The boys are heartbroken. However, Harold is shown taking it especially hard, having a dramatic but no less heart wrenching Imagine Spot of him and George drifting apart to opposite ends of the universe, desperately but futilely calling out to each other to illustrate the utter helplessness he feels being apart from his best friend. If you take into account the aspects of Harold's character from the books before he met George...
    Harold: No! Nononono wait, wait, STOP!! George! GEOOOOOORGE!!!
    • Let’s not forget the title of the score for this scene on the movie’s soundtrack: Separation Anxiety. It perfectly and heartbreakingly sums up the feeling of the entire scene.
    • The precursor scene to this is just plain depressing. Captain Underpants ordered a carnival for the students to enjoy and to help George and Harold's efforts to "bring back fun", but it goes south when Captain Underpants keeps putting himself in the crossfire for fun where it involves him getting wet, which reverts him back into Krupp. As much as the boys try to rein him in and keep things under control, the end result is the carnival being train wrecked, with the school suffering damages as well, plus it starts to rain, making the two unable to simply snap their fingers to quickly switch Krupp back to the Captain as could before, so there's no escape from being separated.
    Mr. Krupp: Your friendship is no more.
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    • Following this, Mr. Krupp is seen chortling away after sending George and Harold off... only to see the casserole Edith made. He immediately goes from petty and snickering to lonely and sad.
    • Both Imagine Spots about the two being separated are exclusively from Harold's POV. While it certainly affects both boys, it goes to show it really hits Harold hard on a deep, emotional level.
    • As blown out of proportion as the two took the idea of being put in separate classes was, seeing them fret about the prospect of their friendship being "annihilated" is still sad to see as a whole.
  • Funny as it is, the sock puppet scene is still Harold envisioning how being in "separate classes leads to separate lives", and that he and George will inevitably grow apart to the point George will forget about him entirely:
    Harold: Oh, hey George.
    George: Hey, d-do I know you?
  • Melvin's a Jerkass no doubt, but it's rather depressing to consider that the reason he's so antisocial and insufferable is that he was literally born without any sense of humor or levity.
    • This becomes even more so when Poopypants first uses the Anti-Humor on the students of Jerome Horwitz Elementary. The first thing Melvin says when he realizes it works? “Finally! You’re speaking my language!” And it’s not just that, it’s the way that he says it; for that brief moment, he’s not the Insufferable Genius tattletale... he’s just a kid who’s finally happy that for once, he’s not the only one who doesn’t get a joke. Ouch...
  • When the boys briefly succumb to the Anti-Humor machine. If seeing these lovable boys be reduced to humorless shells wasn't bad enough, George sees Harold succumb to it first, then you're treated to see him panic over the fact and frantically plead for his best friend to snap out of it before it gets him too.
    • This is taken a step further when it shows their brains communicating with each other, frantically trying to come up with a way out of their dilemma as their "Haha-Guffaw-Chucklotamuses" shrink smaller and smaller.
    George's Brain: Don't you leave me!
    • In an earlier scene, Harold mentions that loosing their sense of humor would destroy who they are! This is no exaggeration. It isn't just the ability to laugh they risk losing, but arguably the most crucial piece of their personalities they treasure most, because their creativity, imagination, and individualities are all centered around their sense of humor! Poopypants intends to eradicate the core of what makes these two the characters we know and love, and use the Anti-Humor machine to deprive everyone else in the world of all these traits as well.
      • Particularly in how George and Harold's larger-than-normal "Haha-Guffaw-Chucklotamuses" come across as a representation of their neurodivergance (their ADHD and subsequent higher creativity typically associated with those who are diagnosed with it, in this case), this can especially hit close to home for those who share the same or similar disorders and those with similar values on the aforementioned listed traits.
  • The scene where George and Harold realize that they have to change Captain Underpants back after they defeated Poopypants, the heartbroken look on their faces says it all. It doesn't stick but it's still sad.
    • It doesn't help that the presumed last thing they say to each other is final goodbyes.
    Captain Underpants: Farewell, my dear sidekicks!
    George: Goodbye, Captain Underpants...
    Harold: Goodbye...
    • Worse still, they destroy the Hypno-Ring with the intent to destroy the Captain Underpants persona permanently. The Captain Underpants character is introduced as their greatest creation George and Harold made together. It's made clear how much they pride themselves on what they create together with their comics, which we see outright destroyed by their principal in one of the opening scenes and how upsetting it was to them. Now they themselves end up presumably having to destroy their own creation, only instead of a comic book, it's an identity in a living, breathing person. Also, the Captain would've "died" by the hands of his own sidekicks and would've never realized it. Mull over that a moment.
    • Saying goodbye to Captain Underpants was probably even harder for Harold, especially if you consider the likely possibility that Captain was probably the closest thing Harold had to a father figure since his own dad left...

Meta and Non-Canon

  • This piece of fan art is the combination of this and Heartwarming Moments. The looks on Harold and George's faces...
    THAT’S NOT A JOKE, THAT’S JUST SAD! HE WANTS TO HELP BUT HE NEVER CAN! IT’S THE ONE FIGHT CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS CAN’T WIN!
  • If the Captain found out the truth.
    I'm the villain...how could I harm my own sidekicks?
  • This artist's alternate take on one of the scenes in the climax.
  • If you're a writer or an artist, and you've created a character you truly love, then watching George and Harold bring their beloved Captain to life can cause a bit of a bittersweet I Wish It Were Real feeling. Especially when they realize it can't last.

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