Despite being a gross-out comedy, Ratburger has some very sad moments.
- The story starts with a tearjerker: Gingernut is dead, and Zoe doesn't know how, as he's quite young, even in hamster years. Sheila shows no sympathy and tells her to get rid of him before he starts to smell bad.
- The reveal that Zoe's mother died when she was a baby and Dad is still shaken up by grief, then when he lost his job he couldn't find a new one, leaving them poor and unable to get out of the dilapidated apartment. He's said to always hide his emotions around Zoe and go to the bar every day.
- As it turns out, Tina is a bully because her dad is mean to her.