- Bill getting utterly humiliated by Jimmy on Halloween. When Jimmy catches Bill trying to go trick-or-treating, he beats the crap out of him while other kids egg him on, forcing Bill to strip out of his costume to escape and run back home crying. It doesn't get better at the end of the episode.
- Really, all the shit Bill puts up with in general, constant bullying from Jimmy, his own father thinking he's a wimp, his sister tormenting him (though this is thankfully dropped eventually), his big brother beating him up and taking his problems out on him, and dealing with constantly being exposed to adult situations he's way too young to handle. He keeps trying to stand up for himself, but it almost never works, because he simply does not have the physical strength to back it up.
- Greg being forced to spend the entirety of season 2 repressing his homosexuality, and the emotional turmoil it clearly puts him through, is mostly played for Black Comedy. Him finally gaining the courage to come out to his oblivious wife Ginny, only for her to tearfully tell him to "stop being silly," is not. At all.
- Although some may have seen it coming with the "downtrodden family" nature of the show, Sue getting her Salad Tosser idea stolen by the CEO of her company still hurts to see after all the work we see her put into it.
- Some of Frank and Sue's arguments can be this, especially the really ugly one they had in "Fight Night".
- When Frank once again explodes at Kevin after opening up about his own abusive father. Normally you'd just roll your eyes at typical Frank rage or laugh at it, but here he GENUINELY tries to be more open with Kevin and pour out his soul, only for it to fall apart because Kevin falls asleep with no real ill intention. It's one of the most heartbreaking instances of Frank losing his temper, since there was hope for a real connection for a moment there.
- Really, the horrible shit Frank had to deal with from his own father as a kid, of which we only hear one story but which would be enough on it's own to fill a lifetime. Frank, for all his yelling and anger problems, is an absolute pussycat compared to what his own father put him through.
- Poor Otto Holtenwasser, an elderly Holocaust survivor who married an American nurse and moved to the U.S after barely surviving the death camps, only to lose his wife as well some time before the series began. He's a nice man, but the kids of the neighborhood are terrified of him, because of his German accent and believe he's a Nazi war criminal (except Bill and Kevin who think he's a Satanist, having mistaken his Star of David as a Pentagram). He's moved on as best he could, and is an accepted member of the community but often slips into melancholy reminiscing, much to the discomfort of his neighbors.
Otto: [to a photo of his wife] Nobody likes a gloomy Gustav...
- For the first two seasons, Vic doesn't get what Otto really is, and keeps mistaking his sad references for a party animal past (at one point he thinks Otto's camp tattoo is a sex tally). When he's finally told outright, Vic is sympathetic... then immediately tells him that he needs to stop being a downer and move on with his life. Otto reluctantly agrees.
- While watching a home movie filmed during the early 60's, Frank and Sue reminisce about the early days of their family and the good times they had with their neighbors when they first moved in. Younger versions of their current neighbors appear in the film, with one exception, a man who's never been seen by the audience before, but is shown as the life of the party.Sue: Oh yeah, I remember him! He was fun, he always made those great burgers! Whatever happened to him?Frank: He blew his brains out in '64...
Tear Jerker / F is for Family