Follow TV Tropes

This is based on opinion. Please don't list it on a work's trope example list.


Tear Jerker / Total Drama

Go To
"...Now she hates me more than ever."

The Tear Jerker page is for post-viewing discussion, so all spoilers are unmarked per wiki policy.

The Ridonculous Race has its own page.

    open/close all folders 

  • Gwen and Trent's plot in "Search and Do Not Destroy". Both of them were just so broken over the other.
  • Tyler's fear of chickens was Played for Laughs, but the poor guy was CRYING on his way to the Boat of Losers. Made even worse in by how his teammates make fun of him, Chris enforces his fear by filling the boat with chickens, and Lindsay started forgetting his name! That must REALLY screw up a guy, psychologically.
  • DJ's sadness over Bunny was bad enough - Geoff couldn't own up to Bunny being eaten, so DJ thought he'd run off - but then hearing Duncan's backstory about his dog running off when he was a kid (which became his motivation for replacing DJ's bunny) shows that the juvenile delinquent really does have a heart. When you remember that Courtney asked him if his parents even like him, and he replied that he didn't know, he hadn't asked them lately, just... Ouch.
    • In Duncan's video log, after listing his various crimes and misdemeanors, his father coldly says, "Come to think of it, do we love you?" Even if the video was played for laughs, it's still kind of depressing.
  • Courtney's elimination was sad - even if you're not a fan of Courtney, it's sad seeing her and Duncan's blooming romance being interrupted so quickly. Duncan's expression while she's sailing away really sells it — he usually has a cocky smirk or a menacing glare, but this is one of the only times when he's genuinely upset. He has a stunned look on his face, like he can't believe what's happening.
  • In her video log, Heather's mother and father are shown throwing a party in her absence as movers remove her belongings from the house. As mean as Heather is, this is rather sad.
  • During the special, Courtney abandons Duncan for the million dollars without a second thought after he hurt his ankle. And rather then get mad at her (he saves that for Noah after he makes fun of him), he sounds genuinely hurt.
  • While easily overlooked, Harold is treated with little to no sympathy by his own team in spite of being its best player. He is often pranked and picked on by Duncan (even though he never did anything wrong to him), criticized by Courtney for his unintentional mishaps, told he is useless (to the point he was only allowed to showcase his beatbox in the talent show due to there not being any other available options) and his teammates even mention that if someone of the Killer Bass dies waking Duncan up so he can assist them, he is the only teammate they can afford to lose. Not to mention the cruel pranks he is subjected to over refusing to admit something understandably embarrassing. More sad is the fact that no one, not even the campers he befriends, seems willing to stand up for him, and he often sees himself in danger of being eliminated despite not screwing up the challenge.

  • Trent's breakup song in "Aftermath: I"—the peanut gallery certainly agrees; everyone (except Noah) is visibly saddened by it, the song manages to move Eva to tears, and even Cody, Ezekiel, and Courtney seem genuinely upset about Trent and Gwen breaking up.
  • You've gotta feel sorry for Gwen, too. She didn't want Trent to throw challenges for her or change himself for her. When she breaks up with him, it's implied she also does it because she's worried about his mental health and blames herself for it. Instead of anyone being understanding about her own heartbreak, she's promptly ambushed by Trent's team, who blackmail her into betraying her own team, because of something Trent did that she had no part of. And then her team votes her off without even hearing her side of it - heck, because she's a woman of her word, she votes herself off too. And is continually badmouthed all season until Trent sticks up for her. It's the way that no one seems to acknowledge how wronged she was that makes this especially painful to watch.
  • Scruffy looked so sad when Harold accidentally squashed him. You gotta feel bad for Duncan, too. He really loved that spider.

    World Tour 
  • Bridgette crying over Geoff in the confessional when he does not advance into the third season; realizing she must go on without him, she promises to win it for the both of them before bursting into tears.
    • If you felt Bridgette needed to reassurance that she would be fine, everything that happened to her shows she wasn't. She completely screwed up a great opportunity to prove she could do fine without Geoff, failed her boyfriend in the worst way possible, and consequently ended up presenting herself on international TV as a horrible person despite her efforts to stay strong without Geoff and fend off Alejandro's advances. She became the only girl to be genuinely and seriously impacted by Alejandro's charms when he successfully seduced her into cheating with him; she received no help from her friends or teammates when her tongue got stuck to a pole; she suffered a humiliating elimination where she almost died; she couldn't bear to face Geoff due to feeling horrible for her own infidelity (even saying "Geoff will never forgive me!" in an exclusive clip); and Blaineley just kept bullying her for all of it (including blowing the incident out of proportion by claiming Bridgette was outright making out with Alejandro, which never actually happened) and continued to torment her after she and Geoff moved on! And Bridgette is one of the show's kindest and sweetest characters! Why did they keep giving her the short end of the stick and make her suffer so much?! Someone give this poor girl a hug!
  • Poor DJ has been through a lot. Not only does he have to go through painful and frightening challenges, he has to lose his pet bunny, be forced into an illegal alliance, quit the show out of guilt, believe that he's cursed to hurt animals, have those said animals hurt him, and be manipulated and sabotaged by Alejandro, and he's one of the nicest characters on the show! Why can't those damn writers give him a break?
  • You wind up feeling sorry for Tyler, Geoff, and Harold too. Their girlfriends (or on-again-off-again crush, in Harold's case) all flirt with Alejandro, with Lindsay remembering Alejandro's name and not Tyler's right in front of Tyler, Bridgette actually cheating on Geoff by trying to kiss Alejandro, and Leshawna making a fool of herself for Alejandro. You can see how much pain it causes each of their guys. Not to mention Heather, who is trying desperately to control her jealousy.
    • What about Owen? Even Izzy was smitten by Alejandro, even choosing to huddle with him over her "Big O" in the Yukon episode... which also makes Gwen and Courtney's immunity (at least until later in Courtney's case) to Alejandro's charms all the more baffling as well.
    • Another thing about Geoff's POV. Consider how hard he must have been rooting for Bridgette to do well in the season, since it would be her first season without him. It's one thing to almost see the woman you love falling for another man on TV, but it's another thing to see her getting eliminated from the game extremely early as a result of it. He was every bit as badly impacted as Bridgette was by Alejandro despite not being in the season, and the fact that it left such an ugly scar on their still-ongoing relationship is all the more sadder.
  • The fact that Bridgette still had some unwanted feelings for Alejandro left in her during "Revenge of the Telethon", which Blaineley tried to exploit for ratings. It's truly a testament to how badly Alejandro messed up Bridgette's mind that even after she learned his true nature, showed deep remorse for her actions, sang a touching and genuine apologetic love song, and successfully reconciled with Geoff that she still was mildly attracted to Alejandro (although she indicates she doesn't like this) - something Leshawna and Lindsay never showed, despite also being charmed by him. And imagine how painful and awkward it must have been for Geoff when Bridgette was forced to put on Brown Bag Mask to avoid being aroused by Blaineley's shirtless Alejandro montage.
  • Courtney's reaction to finding out that her boyfriend, Duncan, kissed Gwen who, to rub salt in the wound, she was becoming "friend-ish" with over the entire first half in the season, especially in the EXACT episode Duncan and Gwen kissed. While Courtney's aggressive domineer for the rest of the season afterwards has only further made her the biggest base-breaking character in Total Drama, you can easily see from her reaction why she was like that when she's on the plane and is sobbing hysterically while even one of her biggest enemies, Heather, is patting her shoulder to comfort her, and Courtney's voice actress's delivery is heartbreaking.
    • It is even more tragic. Courtney had spent all of Action and part of World Tour suspecting that something had happened between Duncan and Gwen, only for both of them to repeatedly emphasize nothing romantic happened. After spending half of the season of finally beginning to accept that Duncan and Gwen were being honest with her, she then learns that they have developed romantic feelings for each other anyway and kissed behind her back, therefore vindicating her original suspicions in the worst possible way. Talk about a Hope Spot getting crushed.
  • "Oh, My Izzy" somehow manages to combine Tear Jerker, Heartwarming, and Funny due to the cutesy kid-style art, the constant kiwi-shots, and the Lyrical Dissonance.
    • How devastated Owen is when Izzy breaks up with him. We've never seen the big goofball so depressed before, and the song really shows how saddened he is about the whole thing. You really do have to feel bad for him. Heck, Gwen even places a reassuring hand on his shoulder after the song.
  • Alejandro's final fate in World Tour.
    • The ENTIRE World Tour finale can be considered a tearjerker. Heather spent three seasons being the bad girl nobody likes, having to go to great lengths the entire third season just to get some RESPECT. And finally, after all this time, not only does Cody say she's the good guy in the finale, she defeats her nemesis Alejandro and wins the game, with people CHEERING FOR HER and wanting her to win for once! So after gaining lots of Character Development the entire season and becoming a Defrosting Ice Queen, the writers show how little they care by making her lose the money anyway. She already chose money over love and now she has NOTHING. And in the version where Alejandro wins, Heather loses by making the mistake of throwing Al's doll in the volcano instead of hers. The heartbreak in Heather's face when she realizes that she made it this far and beat Alejandro just to lose to him via technicality hits mercilessly. All of this culminates in a massively depressing Gainax Ending once the volcano erupts. And, just in case the writers didn't make their point, the last shot of the season shows Heather about to get smashed by a smoldering boulder. This was such a Downer Ending it's hard to watch.
  • Ezekiel's devolution into a mindless beast is heartbreaking, with pretty much every fan agreeing he didn't deserve that kind of horrible fate. While it's hinted the old Zeke is still in there somewhere, what everyone sees now doesn't appear to remember anything about himself at all. Think how his parents might feel...
    • Easily overlooked, when Ezekiel returns in the finale and takes the money from either Chris or Heather, Trent looks somewhat saddened at seeing Zeke's new feral state. Considering that they seemed to get along during their stay at Playa Des Losers, it can be easily assumed that, unlike other contestants, Trent did see Ezekiel as a friend and possibly feels that had he participated that season, he could have perhaps prevented Ezekiel from deteriorating during his isolation.

    Revenge of the Island 
  • Mike's situation. He's such a nice, sweet kid who always has the best intentions, but his life is dictated by the fact that he isn't in control of his own body half of the time. He lies to everyone about his multiple personalities, as he's convinced that he is unworthy of love because of it and that everyone will ostracize him as a freak if they were to learn the truth about him. When he gets his crush on Zoey, his automatic assumption is that this will just be another thing his disorder will ruin. And, from what we've heard of his past, Mike has felt this way for years.
  • Staci is not treated with much sympathy, but there is a decided sadness to her elimination as she believes she was "doing so good". And she was! She was a fine team player — it was Dakota who made things difficult. But the Toxic Rats needed to eliminate someone and they chose Dakota's self-absorption over Staci's annoying tall tales. Staci's a compulsive liar, which might be a cry for attention and not something she realizes she does, so for her to get eliminated on those grounds is miserable. She also is one of the rare few to get injured by her elimination as she loses her hair because of the radioactive marshmallow.
  • The early eliminations of B and Dawn are both fairly sad. Both are exceptionally competent and likable competitors who display feelings of confusion and dejection after their new friends are turned against them by Scott's lies.
  • Brick's elimination is one huge sacrifice for the sake of upholding his morals. After the pleasant rivalry between him and Jo went sour, they're back on the same team and Jo agrees to stop calling him by nicknames that make fun of his imperfect bladder control. This being Jo, she's already scheming against him by allying with Lightning, but Brick is unaware of that and once at the bottom of the mine the three of them fall into perfect teamwork that would've won them the challenge, thereby sparing Brick for another day and possibly giving him a chance against Jo. But the Mutant Maggots, Brick's and Jo's former team, are in mortal danger and though Jo and Lightning want to leave, Brick goes back, breaking the statue the Toxic Rats need to win by clubbing a mutant gopher with it. Despite singlehandedly costing his team the victory, Brick is taken aback that he gets voted off. Three episodes prior, he left his team behind against his own conscience and he lost because of it, so there's a connection here that doing the right thing should count for some reward. But it doesn't. And none of the people at the elimination ceremony are sympathetic to him. Chris, who'd've been in trouble if anyone had died, once more mocks Brick's values. Lightning, whom Brick had built a good working relation with, dismisses him as a traitor. And Jo, with whom the time in the mine resembled their early rivalry and who kept her promise not to use cruel nicknames, goes back to calling him Soggy McGee.
  • It's played for laughs, but it's also clear that Lightning is completely blindsided by Jo's betrayal when she feeds him to a shark to cover her own escape. Of note is his realization she's leaving him behind on purpose, seemingly recalling how she left him in the swamp and he left her to look for a cart key on her own. He didn't regard those as detrimental to their alliance, because he trusted Jo.
  • Mike puts up with so much from Scott to keep him from telling Zoey about his MPD, which Mike thinks she'll reject him for. He eventually comes clean and she doesn't reject him, but Scott wins the challenge due to Mike's help. The prize is that he alone gets to pick the next elimination. He picks Mike. Mike's farewell to Zoey includes giving her a gold medal to remember him by.
  • After Anne Maria's elimination, Vito manifests two more times. Both times, his first if not only concern is finding her. It even allows Scott to manipulate him with the offer to bring him to her. It's not played for tragedy, but it actually is very sad.
  • Everyone knew Scott eventually had to get his comeuppence in TDRI. But did he have to lose most of his body along with the ability to move or speak? Especially cruel in that after explaining what happened to Scott, Chris exclaims "But who cares? It's Scott!" while everybody else LAUGHS. Scott sheds a Single Tear, because that's all he can do.
    • In All-Stars, Scott is back to full health, but now he's absolutely terrified of sharks, to the point that he mentally blanks out when Chris forces him to fight Fang. Not only is it hard to watch, but it's also Played for Laughs...
  • Lightning, at the end of Cameron's version of the RotI ending, after ineffectually trying to act unfazed, starts crying and apologizes to his father for losing. And this is after his father bet five championship rings on him. Imagine just how hurt he is.
    • Now imagine how upset Lightning must be with his being second kicked off in All-Stars.

  • For the first time in his life Mike is alone. His personalities are missing, he has no idea what's happening to his mind and it's terrifying him.
  • In "Food Fright", Gwen is crying over the fact she can't make up with Courtney, admitting this is the only reason she returned to a show where she gets publicly and internationally humiliated plus risking life and limb more than once. Just listen to how her voice cracks mid-sentence before she breaks down sobbing.
    • Not to mention after all she went through to get back in Courtney's good graces, the A-Type reveals in the confessional in "Sundae, Muddy Sundae" that she doesn't plan on taking Gwen to the finale liked they promised one another. When Mal reveals Courtney's diagram and subsequent plot, Gwen's not only rightfully ticked off, but saddened that her efforts were ultimately fruitless.
    • Courtney's guilt and apologies to Gwen after the above. But it wasn't sincere, as she just wants to stay in the game.
      • Courtney's elimination has her struggle to eat her sundae with bird vomit on it so Chris would let her stay. He flushes her. Leaving her with no friends. And only Scott misses her.
      • It only got worse for Courtney after being flushed, when she later resurfaces at a beach and is greeted by a pair of sharks, who she tries to ward off by offering them her sundae; Repulsed, they instead vomit all over her. Broken and humiliated, she breaks down into tears.
  • Zoey losing her faith in Mike after Duncan points out Mal could be his real personality and Mike is just an alternate.
    • Then there's the fact that she regains her trust in the next episode after he saves her from piranhas. That sounds great right? Not exactly. It was Mal that saved her and not Mike. To make things worse Mal only saved her to avoid suspicion. Zoey may be in really big trouble and if Mal tries something she won't even see it coming.
  • Chris' sadness over the destruction of his cottage. Sure, he might have deserved it, but you gotta feel a little sorry for him.
  • In Zeke and Ye Shall Find, when the campers split up to find Chris, Gwen attempts to join up any of the groups only to be rebuffed in return. First, she asks to partner up with Courtney and Scott only for both to decline saying that three's a crowd. Then she asks to pair up with Alejandro who also declines. Finally, she attempts to join up with Mike, Zoey and Cameron who downright ignore her though in Cam's case, it's because Mal lied to Cameron saying that Gwen had been insulting him behind his back. This results in Gwen having a dejected look on her face.
  • Cameron's medivac. Mal (who is pretending to be Mike, his best friend) nearly kills him, and learns too late about his friend's fate. You can really hear how anguished Cam is in his Big "NO!" underneath the gauze around his mouth.
    • It gets worse in the finale: Cam agrees with Gwen that his friend is gone forever. Just look at his face when he says that.
  • Manitoba Smith's fate? He needs to take Mike's dreams (here represented as clouds) and burns them away. Harsh.
    • Even worse, he had no problem with doing it even as Mike was watching he burned them as if he was getting the newspaper.
    • Mal's Sadistic Choice to Svetlana; either she carves fish out of butter or ceases to exist entirely. Hands down, Svetlana's definitely the one who got the worst fate.
  • Zoey's sadness throughout the episode, thinking that Mal had replaced Mike forever.
    • Zoey saying farewell to Mike while burying the necklace he gave her last season.
    • When Mal almost falls into the toxic waste, Zoey panics and calls out "Mike!", and is relieved when he lands on the ground. Despite believing that Mike is gone, Zoey can't bring herself to see the only thing left of him disappear.
  • Mike losing all his alternate personalities to save Zoey from Mal. At least they all willing did so after Mike initially refused to do so.
  • The fact that the eliminated All-Stars contestants, save for Gwen, Cameron, Alejandro, and Heather have seemingly floated away to oblivion in the balloons. Many fans only watched the finale in hopes of seeing their favorite eliminated competitors again, so it was quite a cruel slap to the face.
    • Thankfully this has been rectified by the revelation that they're still alive.
  • The fact that the season ends with Camp Wawanakwa, the birthplace of the series, sinking to the bottom of the ocean as a consequence of Chef using a fracking machine on the island for the challenge.
  • After spending the episode as Sickeningly Sweethearts, Heather and Alejandro go back to fighting to try and get the reward. Thankfully, at the end, after it's lost, Alejandro is willing to take her back.

    Pahkitew Island 
  • The reason why this season takes place on a different island? Because Camp Wawanakwa is gone. Forever.
  • Samey is a walking tearjerker. Her sister treats her like garbage, constantly puts her down, and she had few friends before coming to the island.
    • Special mention goes to her conversation with Jasmine when Jasmine tries to get Samey to stand up to Amy, showing the number Amy's done on her sister's self-esteem
    Jasmine: You know, you don't have to help me every morning just cause Amy tells you to.
    Samey: don't want me to come?
    Jasmine: That's not what I said. I just want it to be your decision, not hers. Stop letting your sister treat you like a servant.
    Samey: Oh, she never treat me that well...
    Jasmine: Then do something about it!
    Samey: How can I? She's everyone's favourite. She's the pretty one.
    Jasmine: You're identical twins; you're both the pretty one!
  • Beardo being the first eliminated is actually quite sad when you consider his audition tape. He just wanted to be liked, but was too shy to open up properly. As a result, he never gets a chance to prove himself and ends up gaining nothing worthwhile from a great opportunity to come out of his shell and make friends.
  • Ella's heartbreak after finding out that Dave set up a picnic for Sky in the Pahkitew Island ep "Mo' Monkey Mo' Problems". Even worse, when she found out, she was literally CRYING and was down for most of the episode.
  • Shawn screwing up his chances with Jasmine, and wishing he could fix it.
  • Sky brutally telling Dave off, to the point he goes into a Heroic BSoD and actually votes himself off!
  • Jasmine getting voted off right after she and Shawn patched things up.
  • Jasmine seeing Shawn's confessionals and learning he never planned on splitting the prize money with first.