- "The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot", where Chickenfoot talks about his past life with Dib where he was a normal man named Chewie Rodriguez until an accident occurred when the microwave was splashed with water while Chewie was wearing the suit and cooking chicken in a microwave, generating an explosion that "created an unholy fusion of man and chicken", causing him go insane and live all alone in an apartment with assorted Chicky Licky toys that he calls his "friends".
- "Bad, Bad, Rubber Piggy" doubles as both horror and Tear Jerker worthy because of what Zim does to poor Dib by crippling him horribly by tossing rubber pigs into Dib's past through a time machine, replacing seemingly random objects in ways that cause Dib to have horrible accidents, progressively crippling Dib to the point that he almost dies.
"WHYYYYYYY?!? MY PIGGIE!!! I LOVEDED YOU, PIGGIE!! I LOVEDED YOOOU!!!!"
- GIR's reaction to Zim using his rubber piggies for this is a bit of minor example
- "Bloaty's Pizza Hog", Gaz yells at Dib for going off to fight Zim because she "just wants to go out to eat with dad." Considering the situation, this certainly counts.Gaz: ...You just don't get it, do you?
- Bloaty. The poor man is completely miserable, forced to do a menial job and gorge himself on pizza.
- Zim's encounter with the adorable blob experiment in "Abducted." It's kept in an isolated room of a spaceship, who hopes someone will rescue it... only to have ZIM nonchalantly leave? The poor creature is left to cry softly...
- Officer Squidman telling Zim I Have a Family is a lot sadder if taken at face value rather than for the absurdity that it is. Thanks to Zim, he'll never see them again because he doesn't remember them.
- Reinforced that he has children, but not a wife. What became of his kids?
- Dib and Gaz's whole family situation. Their dad is so busy, they only go out to eat together ONCE A YEAR. Which seems sort of funny... until you think about it.
- Though Dib seems to care far less than Gaz, interestingly enough. He was more than willing to miss out on that annual family outing without even a hint of regret.
- Dib finding out Dwicky's been lying to him in "Vindicated!" When you see how he joyfully and rather innocently reacts to someone extending a measure of kindness and tolerance towards him, it starts to kind of hit you just how ridiculously YOUNG the poor kid is, and when his "ally" is taken from him it becomes almost impossible not to see just how thankless and lonely a life he lives in trying to save his own people from extinction.Dib: You don't believe me! You... (builds towards rage, then regresses to pleading, and winds up just staring at the ground in defeat) I thought you were different.
Dwicky: Look, I know you think I lied, and I—I did, but I was only trying to help.
Dib (bitter): Isn't this just great?! While you waste my time, Earth gets one step closer to being taken over! That's my problem right there! My problem is that the human race seems to want to be destroyed!
- Dib going into a breakdown after Dwicky leaves with the aliens and Zim rubs it in (AND takes the super weapons that Dib unwittingly helped him acquire) is just the icing on this cake.
- The hints to Miss Bitters' past, if you think there's any truth to them. Think about it: the creepy Humanoid Abomination that terrifies her students on a daily basis was at some point a normal person with hopes and dreams who got mutated into her current state by a freak accident. Miss Bitters may be a monster, but if these stories are true, can you really blame her?Miss Bitters: I had a valentine once.
- The ending of "Gaz: Taster of Pork". Ok, Dib deserved some punishment for using Gaz as a test rat for his spell drive (good intentions or not), but not only tricking Dib into believing she was in danger when she obviously was not but also forcing him to clean up Shadow-Hog dookie with his head while he's crying for forgiveness? Not to mention all the horrific (and very graphic) death threats and beatings that Dib took from her while he was trying to help her? No wonder Gaz has a bit of a Base-Breaking Character status.
- Well, there was also the horrible experiments that Membrane most likely did to her during her quarantine. It makes it worse knowing that her dad is the only person she has/shows any value for... and since it kind of was Dib's fault and she already has A LOT of disdain for him...
- Dib taking the punishment of the Shadow-Hog to save his sister. He's genuinely crying at the end and feeling guilty...and yet Gaz ignores this completely and leaves him to his fate.
- The intro of "The Frycook What Came from All That Space" marks an especially saddening moment for Dib. After spending possibly minutes to hours attempting to explain to his classmates that Zim is an alien and that they do exist, the kids continuously mock him and cause him to have a momentary mental breakdown in front of the entire class. After cooling down, he tries again only to have a large and imposing alien (alter revealed to be another Irken) kidnap Zim interrupt him while stating it came from outer space. Dib tries to use this as evidence to his statements about aliens only for bird poop to fall on his shoulder from the hole in the roof that the alien created. The kids totally ignore the roof and alien and simply start to laugh at Dib for having been pooped on by a bird. Cue a single tear from a heartbroken and embarrassed Dib.
- Zim's humiliating duties on Foodcourtia (from the same episode) are funny at first, but become genuinely depressing after he has a complete breakdown and begins weeping after being forced to dance in a mascot costume filled with boiling oil.
- The ending of "Tak: The Hideous New Girl" has a moment of genuine reflection and realisation on Zim's behalf of the fact that he consistently fails the Tallest and that they don't like him at all. It's rare to see him with any sort of self-awareness, so seeing his delusions and facade slip a little to reveal some shame implies that he might know that they hate him and still wants them to be proud of him anyway.
- "Dib's Wonderful Life of Doom": Dib enjoys a life of many achievements in technology and the humanities, and defeats the Irkens in battle forcing them to surrender...until it turns out that it was all a simulation ran by Zim. Why? Because he wanted to know who threw a muffin at him in class. Zim could've just interrogated Dib in a more straightforward manner, but he wanted to twist the knife more by making Dib believe his wildest dreams were coming through before tricking him into admitting it.
- "Career Day": Dib gets matched up with Bill, a paranormal investigator; sounds like the match made in heaven, right? Except Bill believes in everything but the existence of aliens, dismissing the Galactic Equinox molt as hogwash. Just to rub salt in the wound, Bill believes Count Cocofang, a cereal box mascot, is real, and chases after the poor man dressed as Cocofang while Dib tries desperately to get him to look at the restaurant where Zim is molting through the doors and windows, without any luck. The molt comes and goes, the only hint of evidence being the completely-destroyed restaurant, and Dib loses his chance to not only expose Zim as an alien but to do so to someone who he thought would be interested in the subject!
- "A Room With a Moose" really shows how much Dib is disliked by his classmates, with them constantly glaring at and insulting him. Dib actually wonders if they're worth saving, and when he does manage to, it's not because they're listening to him, it's because they all just want to sit away from him.
- "Voting of the Doomed" also shows how unpopular Dib is. When he's feeding Willy lines for his campaign and gets him to request that Dib be treated with respect, it proves so unpopular that he has to quickly change tracks in order to get Willy popular again. Worse, Zim — who also isn't liked by the other students — has no problem winning them over.
- When the Santa suit sucks up Zim completely in The Most Horrible X-Mas Ever", he sounds like that he lost all hope. When he curls into a fetal position, he looked like he hoped that everything was all a dream and that he was still in his smeet tube. Luckily, Dib accidentally rescues him.
- At the end, after it seems that the crowd will take to Dib's speech of how Christmas should be a time for family and not fake Santas Zim proceeds to persuade the crowd into beating Dib up under the guise of an Easter platypus thing. Though luckily, this is also the last time Dib is beaten in the series.note
- In "Parent Teacher Night", Zims flashback as a smeet can be kinda of a tearjerker. Just by hearing Zims first words "I love you, cold unfeeling robot arm!" is heartwarming to hear him say that but also very heartbreaking since THIS Zim has grown from such an adorable loving smeet to a very unpopular Invader who is hated by everyone on Irk.
- The similiar thing happens to Dib, we get a brief flashback in "Mysterious Mysteries" of Dib and Gaz as babies. The band-aid on Dibs head makes you think that Gaz bullied him. And just seeing Dib using building blocks to spell "ALIENS" is very cute.. but Gaz just kicks the blocks out of her way only for Dib to just look in sadness.
- Just seeing Zim and Dib in their baby stages is SO sad and also adorable it makes you want to hug them.
Tear Jerker / Invader Zim