Adventure Time/Tear Jerker

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"Please love me again, Betty!"
"I like sad things."
Pen Ward

What time is it? It's sad-venture time!

Wow, what a bright, colorful cartoon. A show like this can't possibly have sad moments... right?


  • The ending of "What is Life?", which solidifies the Ice King's Jerkass Woobie status when he dreams about N.E.P.T.R. being his son.

N.E.P.T.R.: Shall we capture princesses now, Papi?"
Ice King: No, let's just stay here a little longer, son.
N.E.P.T.R.: I love you forever, Papi.

  • An early scene of "Crystals Have Power", in which we see that Finn is still upset after Tree Trunks exploded in her self-titled episode. At least it was comforting to see that she's still alive, just mad with power as queen of the crystal people.
  • And from "Tree Trunks" itself, this line is pretty tear jerky.

Finn: Is that what you think adventurers do?! Die and make all of their friends feel terrible because they couldn't save them?!

    • Really, imagine how terrible Finn felt going back home after this episode.
  • In "The Jiggler", when the eponymous baby Jiggler is dangerously sick from prolonged separation from its mother, eventually fainting. Finn tries to bring it back first with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and then when he thinks it's dead, by kissing it desperately. Jake (and possibly the viewer, at first) finds this ludicrous, but when he asks why Finn thinks kissing the baby will help, Finn, who looks like he's about to cry, just says that he can't think of anything else.
  • From "Freak City", "I guess I'll just lie here... and rot like the rest of you."
  • "Daddy, do you even love me...?"
    • Rebecca Sugar's original version of the Fry Song, with both versus, sung in her simple yet sweet voice with a ukulele, is so heartbreaking.
  • The ending of "Susan Strong", where Finn has reason to believe Susan is an actual human and it is strongly implied that the two may be related. She just runs off into the night.
    • Oh, God, that ending... Prior to seeing Beautopia, the ending to "Susan Strong" may be the most depressing ending in Adventure Time.
  • The song in "Belly of the Beast" was this.
  • The title card for Mortal Recoil [dead link]. Even if Princess Bubblegum isn't Killed Off for Real. Finn's expression might not say much, but the way he's holding the like-like sweater ...
  • In "To Cut a Woman's Hair", seeing LSP having run away from home and even saying that she doesn't want to go back in her sleep. Even a few episodes later where she's still roughing it out in the woods is sad.
  • "The Other Tarts" has the Royal Tart Toter. He's completely insane, and he's lost all of his senses except for his sense of touch. He's old, psychotic, and injured from his job- yet he's still so dedicated to it.
  • In "Henchman", near the end, when Marceline is out in the sun as a bat, she says that it stings, but she likes it, because it reminds her of her mother putting bandages on her scraped-up knees. At first, it doesn't seem to matter much, but then you realize: her mother is probably dead, her father is the Lord of Evil, and doesn't really love her. She just misses her mom. Though at the end of the episode "It Came From The Nightosphere", her father did admit he actually loves her and hearing the song she wrote about him, which made their situation somewhat heartwarming.
    • Made even more heartbreaking in "Memory of a Memory" when Finn sees the young Marceline repairing her beloved teddy bear. While she's sewing on a new eye she says "I'm hurting you because I love you." I'm guessing that's something her mother used to say to her.
  • In the episode "Mystery Train", when Finn thought that Jake was killed by the conductor. It was too close to the end of the episode for comfort, and just the look on Finn's face when it first happens... he even sounds heartbroken. Then before going after the conductor in his unstoppable rage, he ever so gently places Jake's skeleton on the ground. Just... Finn's whole reaction. It's sad.

Finn: (trembling, in a small voice while looking despairingly at Jake's skeleton) J-J-Jake? (carefully picks it up and hugs it) NOOOO!

  • During "Mortal Recoil", when the Ice King is told off by Finn and the entire Candy Kingdom that he is a lousy old man; one can feel some pity for him and the way the Ice King reacted to being called old; it was as if he never realized how long he has lived or he has been in denial of being an old man. One has to wonder if this will affect him in the long run.
    • It doesn't help that Ice King use to be a young human that was cursed and is trying to find his way out of his mind.
  • Finn's Imagine Spot in "Storytelling", in which he threatens to kill some baby birds, causing them to have heart attacks from fear. Thereafter, the mother, with tears in her eyes, asks Finn, "Have you seen my boys?"
  • A lot of it in the rather dark episode "Morituri Te Salutamus". Gladiator ghosts were forced to fight in an arena and either killed or were killed by their closest friends, which is why they kept screaming for forgiveness. Though this does make their liberation at the end of the episode all the more heartwarming.
  • In "Memory of a Memory", we see Marceline as a cute sweet little girl, after the friggin apocalypse. We see her try to fix her broken down teddy bear with her very last piece of string, and even says "I'm hurting you because I love you!". What could possibly top that? Her boyfriend sold the teddy bear to a witch, because it was her most valuable possession, and we see her dad eating her fries, which makes her cry.
    • The look on Marceline's face when Finn shows her his memory of her lost memory of her breaking up with Ash is just heartbreaking. Even more so due to the fact that Marceline has never had such a look before and is normally far more upbeat.

Marceline: Finn... I think I'd like to wake up now.

  • Finn's sadness at the end of "Too Young". If only Lemongrab never showed up, then maybe Princess Bubblegum could have stayed 13 instead of having to revert back to her 18 year old self...
    • The part where she turned 18 again and basically told Finn to move on was made worse considering how much love she displayed for Finn before. Finn's dejected look after this happens, especially after Jake calls, was utterly heartwrenching.

Jake: What's the status?
Finn: Bad news, man... I... I got dumped...

    • "Go up the wizard steps..."
    • Lemongrab's whimpering tears when Bubblegum and Finn punch him in the hallway. He may be an ass, but he sounds so genuinely hurt that it's hard not to want to confort him and help him up, and slap Finn and PB. And on the same note, a lot of his facial expressions in the storyboards, especially in the spice-bombing scene. He makes some of the most literal "D:" faces, and it's just pitiful to look at.
    • The scene of Lemongrab's birth to be really sad, too. Once she got over how hilarious his voice sounds, she realized that she was watching someone who was not used to being alive, completely panicking and unable to express himself in a way that made sense. His eyes rolled back into his head- that's one of the body's natural reactions to a situation that's deemed too terrifying or dangerous to see. And we didn't see PB trying to help him- she just stood there. Most people's lives start when they're surrounded by love and warmth. Not his.
    • The whole "spicy" sequence is extremely sad from Lemongrab's perspective. The man is perpetually unhappy. As far as we know, the only thing he actually derives joy from is food. Food is the only thing that makes him happy. After spending a short and miserable time in a castle where everyone despises him, he can finally sit down to have a good meal- of mashed carrots, lovingly boiled of all flavor. He was actually excited about the meal. He takes a bite... and abruptly experiences extreme pain so terrible, it leads him to fall out of the window and smash his head into the ground, humiliate himself, and later fall out of a tree with a pitiful little moan. From his perspective, it's DEFINITELY understandable why he decided to imprison everybody. Who WOULDN'T be upset by that whole situation?! Of course, YMMV. EVERY scene is depressing at best when viewed from Lemongrab's perspective. This troper's friend laughed throughout the scene, while this troper just cringed. Even though LG's an asshole, there were quite a lot of What the Hell, Hero? moments in Too Young.
    • Lemongrab doesn't have any friends, according to Jesse Moynihan. That's a tearjerker in itself.
    • The fact that Princess Bubblegum said: "He was the first one of my experiments gone wrong," RIGHT IN FRONT OF LEMONGRAB. That really makes you wonder about what kind of twisted, mangled excuse for a self concept Lemongrab has at this point...
    • Imagine suddenly waking up in a dark, creepy room- having no idea who or where you are or what is going on, and trying to run away or call for help, only to be rendered immobile and unable to communicate in any way but screaming hideously. Then imagine learning a little about your situation- learning that you're a failed experiment that your own creator doesn't even want or like. THEN imagine what it must be like to be totally unable to read social cues, talk normally, or express yourself in a way that doesn't cause people to be put off by you, leading to an extremely isolated, friendless life. THIS is Lemongrab's whole life. Holy shit.
    • The name of Too Young's sequel, which apparently is a Lemongrab-centric episode: You Made Me! Given what we already know, that does NOT sound happy.
  • "What Was Missing" had a few, but the ending where Bubblegum reveals that what she lost was an old shirt Marceline once gave her was probably the biggest.
    • "I'm Just Your Problem" is a pretty big one. Marceline really opens up about how she feels about PB, how she wants to be friends again, but she just can't finish the song.
    • The beginning of "You Are My Best Friends", before it turns all heartwarming. The defeated look on his face really sells it.

Finn: Everyone, Bubblegum. I'm so dumb. I should've just told you.... What I lost... was a piece of your hair! Now it's lost, gone forever. But I guess it doesn't matter when I just... just had all of you there. Just had all of you there with me, my friends, if you're even my friends...

  • In "Jake vs. Me-Mow", in an attempt to lull Me-Mow to sleep (though he is also fully knowledgeable of the fact that he may die), Jake requests that Finn sings the song their mother's lullaby using her music box. Finn accepts and the result is everyone who hears the song falls asleep. For the fans, it means there's not a dry eye in the house.

Finn: Don't be weepy, sleepy puppies. Slip your slippers on your footies. In the morning, you'll get goodies; puppy hats and puppy hoodies. No stripes or polka-dots. Heather grey and feather soft; baby pink or baby blue. All the drawstrings you can chew.

    • Finn breaking down and tearfully hugging a dying Jake after the antidote breaks. It takes them about five seconds to realize the solution to their problem, but it's still a sad moment.
  • "New Frontier" was a surprisingly mature episode. Jake has a dream about dying that slowly starts coming true, and Finn desperately tries to stop it. It's almost painful watching Jake accept his fate while Finn just can't let him go. The scene where Jake goes aboard the spaceship that he knows will lead him to his death is the most heartwrenching scene in the episode.

Jake: Finn!
Finn: *holding onto Jake's leg* NO!
Jake: ...Finn, let me go...
Finn: *crying* Please... Please...

Jake: You have to let me go...

Finn: No... Please...

    • Even sadder when you realize Jake is not just Finn's best friend, but also the only thing resembling family he has left.
    • Finn is so broken it almost sounds like he's saying "pwease."
  • In the Christmas special, we finally learn the Ice King's origins. He was just an antique dealer before the Great Mushroom War, until he bought a crown off a Scandinavian merchant. He was with his fiancee when he put it on. He completely lost control, started spewing nonsense and phrases, but he had no recollection of it. Whatever he said or did was horrible enough to make her leave him. He never saw his fiancee after that. He chronicled his transformations from the crown through the video, growing more and more like the Ice King each entry. We finally find out why he tries to capture princesses: he's trying to find his old fiancee, whom he never saw after he put on the crown. Arguably the worst part? He remains perfectly aware of his transformations, never becoming completely controlled by the ice crown. Holy shit.
    • Simon Petrikov calling his fiancee his "princess", eventually breaking down into tears, begging Betty to "please, love [him] again".
      • Here's the kicker. Early versions of Adventure Time have Princess Bubblegum's first name as Betty, not Bonnibelle. If these two are one and the same, that means that every time Finn stops Ice King, he keep the two apart.
    • And let's not forget Simon begging the viewer to forgive him for whatever he does while he is insane, until he can manage to find his way back from the depths of madness.
    • Simon slowing losing his sanity, forgetting his past as a human, his own name, and his fiancee, soon declaring himself "too far gone" to be free of the crown's effects on him.
      • Probably the worst part comes when you realize the Ice King is so far gone that the secret he was trying to keep was that he used to wear glasses. He just heard every last word of his story from his own mouth, and he still can't seem to fully grasp the true scope of what's happened to him anymore.
    • You will never be able to laugh at the Ice Kings antics ever again the same way again.
    • Is it bad that your first impulse after this episode is to give him a hug?
    • This also makes the "I'm still not happy" at the end of "The Eyes" extra tragic- at some level, he must remember what he's lost, just enough to still be unhappy even with friends at his side for a brief moment. He knows somehow that, as comforting as sleeping with friends in his arms is, something very important is still missing.
    • Suddenly, all of his powers coming from his crown (a nod to the original short) makes perfect sense.
    • Another example from Holly Jolly Secrets would be the tapes Finn and Jake watch where all you see is the Ice King crying. Sure, some of it can be a little funny the first time (like when he suddenly stops crying to ask Gunter for five more minutes), but especially after you've seen the episode once, the sound of him crying like that, the agony in his voice, just makes you want to join him. It shows that even though he seems pretty cheery a lot of the time, he's still suffering.
    • He hates his lucid moments.
    • In the opening -even as far back as season one- if you pause it in the splitsecond just as it shows Ice King, you realize he's not mad, but that he has a deep distraught, down-right miserable face. Along with the theories on the Mushroom War making the opening HONF, watching him in such emotional pain makes the opening part Tear Jerker too.
  • Marceline's Journal song from "Marceline's Closet" is really sad.
  • In "Another Way", Finn's realizes that he mortally injured three people in order to have his way. This realization comes with a sad song that marks the return of the auto-tune.
    • In fact, it's so much of a Tear Jerker that the Cyclops mistook it as an attempt to make him cry.
  • If Finn really is the last boy in Earth then after he dies, humanity will be extinct. That's a pretty depressing thought..
  • Despite the colorful innocent look of the series, the backstory is pretty depressing. The "Mushroom War" was somehow related to nuclear explosions which destroyed almost all of Earth, almost killed out humans, and more or less reverted technology back several stages for a while.
  • In "Ghost Princess", Clarence kills himself over Ghost Princess's death, which he himself caused.
    • Despite the arguable Narm in Clarence's facial expressions and the way he cries when killing Warrior Princess, who would then become Ghost Princess as a result, this troper felt somewhat emotional watching that. Others, however, laugh. Clarence's death scene also leaves something to be desired emotionally since he explodes from eating too much cheese, right after repeatedly saying the decidedly-silly line, "My life is like a fart!"
    • Do we have a trope for a scene that doesn't seem sure whether it wants to be funny or serious? Or in this case Dead Baby Comedy or Tear Jerker?
  • In "Dad's Dungeon", Jake follows Joshua's advice and frequently insults Finn by calling him a baby, like Joshua does on the tapes. While it was originally meant to be good reinforcement for Finn, it ends up making Finn want to kill himself from disappointment in himself.

Jake: Dude, don't eat that!
Finn: Why? All the people that I care about in this world are being wads.

    • In the storyboard, when Finn is about to eat the apple, he says, "I don't care about anything now."
      • "Dad's Dungeon" was actually the last Season 3 episode going by production order; viewing this after "Incendium" (aired afterward, and last going by air date) makes the above more poignant.
  • "Incendium" is pretty heartbreaking from the Flame Princess' point of view. Though Jake had good intentions going into it, he really yanks her chain hard by lying to her father, claiming that he's an envoy of Prince Finn sent to request the chance to woo her, earns that right, then backpedals after hearing she's a Person of Mass Destruction. Way to go, Jake.
    • Finn's Song "All Gummed Up Inside" is just heartbreaking. It's about how he's lost all his motivation to do anything because Princess Bubblegum won't return his affection. Later in the episode, he won't even get up when the house is on fire because he's too busy wallowing in his pain (until the fire burns up his portraits of Bubblegum, of course).

I can't keep pushing this down any deeper

Why do I keep trying if I can't keep her?

Every move I make

Is just another mistake

I wonder what it would take

[[Hurting Hero Because it feels like there's a

Hole inside my body. Like there a hole inside my heart

It's like this feeling is gonna consume me

If I keep waiting for this thing to start.]]

  • Season three in regards to Finn if you think about it. He finally gets to be with his dream girl in "Too Young" when PB gets de-aged and that only lasts a short time. They kiss and she doesn't remember any of it and treats it like it was years ago. Then comes "What Was Missing" when he just wants to hang out with his friends Marceline, PB and Jake to form a band to get their stuff back but the three all just fight until he sings his sad little song. In "The Creeps" he apparently made PB a sweet sixteen b-day card and she doesn't remember. Then in "Holly Jolly Secrets" Ice King turns out to be formerly human, making Finn and Susan Strong both alone and not alone at the same time. Then in "Dad's Dungeon" he feels like his adopted father never loved him. Add in the above quote from the same episode and it seems like he's having a hard time trusting people. Hopefully this lightens up for season 4.
    • Not to mention the discoveries of Marceline's past that include living in a destroyed world, she and her dad scavenging for food, and a Bastard Boyfriend to add to that!. Plus, there is the implications of Lemongrab being outright abandoned by Princess Bubblegum, when it was clear that he was horrified of existing, and Finn being dumped by her in a rather apathetic manner, which makes one wonder about her true character. Then there's of course the various villains being nastier than in the previous Seasons, excluding the Lich obviously, like the brutal Fight King that made friends and lovers kill each other, Ash the asshole and possessive boyfriend, the Lubglubs that could have also eaten a load of people, Me-Mow the tiny assassin, the fruit witches and the giant shadow beast that possibly killed Joshua, Fire King and his sociopathic daughter, and finally Stag, the freak deer who imprisoned the candy people for an extended period! It's probably on it's way to get darker, until the finale.
  • Sadly, the fourth season opener yanks that dog's chain. Finn can't touch the Flame Princess, nor can he even curb her destructive habits without hurting her. He cries.

Finn: She hugged me then left.
Jake: How did it feel?
Finn: It hurt.

    • The entire episode is just depressing as hell. It presents a rather complicated morality issue: Flame Princess believes her only purpose is to burn and expand her kingdom, so she thinks she's justified in burning innocent people to death. This presents a problem to Finn and Jake of course, who are heroes, but they can't extinguish the flames without hurting her, which is a problem since Finn likes her. This entire issue is what makes him finally break down and cry. There are a couple of sad lines like "Why can't I just like a girl?" and out of nowhere, NEPTR says "Even if everyone burns, you'll still have me, creator," which is heartwarming sure, but it makes the possibility of everyone in the kingdom burning to death that much real. And finally, the resolution to the episode (yes, even the resolution is depressing): Flame Princess thinks Finn is a water elemental since she thinks he constantly cries (which is understandable since, coupled with "Incendium", Finn hasn't been having the best time in his life). Using this reasoning, she believes they can't be together. All of this quells Flame Princess's emotions and makes the fires burning the kingdom go away.
  • In "Five Short Graybles", we find that Beemo talks to his mirror image, "Football", and wishes he was a real boy, Pinocchio style. Yes, it's Played for Laughs, but to this troper, it's depressing as hell.
    • Not necessarily. Perhaps it isn't BMO's wish fulfillment to be human, so much as BMO being bored without Finn and Jake, and letting his strange imagination come up with weird scenarios. He could just be playing around. Don't we all do that when no one's looking?
    • From the same episode, Princess Bubblegum killed a cute little jellyfish just so she could make a sandwich. Poor little thing... *sniffle!*
  • In "Dream of Love", there was serious amounts of Moral Dissonance when everyone tried to break up Tree Trunks and Pig for absolutely no reason. Their song at the end "Dream of Love" shows these two genuinely love each other but all the others want to do is keep them apart. It makes you wonder how loving the Land of Ooo is.
    • In all fairness, the two of them were constantly disrupting the peace, and doing things like breaking into Fin and Jake's house, making out in a baby's carriage, and on Finn's sandwich. Still really sad, though, especially with the song.
  • "In Your Footsteps" has that scene of Finn and Jake arguing, with BMO just sitting there listening, absentmindedly rolling his soccer ball back and forth. The tone of the scene came across exactly like a child watching their parents argue in a dysfunctional family.
    • This scene is a lot worse for kids (or adults) who grew up in abusive and/or dysfunctional households. Even though it's a pretty absurd scene, the mood is definitely there.
  • In "Hug Wolf" Finn and Jake are in library searching for info about Hug Wolfs. Jake finds out there is no known cure for Hug Wolfism and Finn states he is scared and reaches to hug Jake, but Jake slaps his arms away. Finn could have been already before metamorphosis stage, but it still was pretty sad how Jake refused to comfort him right there.
  • "Princess Monster Wife" is pretty much a tear jerker from start to finish. Not only is there the wife, who did nothing to anyone but gets called a monster just because of her appearance, and then has to face the realization that she was patched together out of parts stolen from other princesses, but we also see what the Ice King would do if he ever really got a princess to marry him: he'd be an absolute sweetheart. He does everything in his power to make the wife feel beautiful and loved, and it makes the inevitable conclusion of the story all the more tragic for him, because he ends up losing the one thing that's ever made him happy since becoming the Ice King.
    • It was really depressing when the Ice King just straight up gave up fighting Finn and Jake with tears in his eyes, and for a moment, it made Finn and Jake seem like the bullies.
      • Which is also kind of sad, because they were genuinely in the dark about what's been happening. All they know is the Ice King stole body parts from the other princesses (which he does genuinely deserve punishment for), but never see any real evidence his wife is fully sentient until after she's already given all her components back to their proper owners. They didn't know they were hurting someone with their reactions.
    • When PMW cries, she cries with three voices. Her weeping is the saddest part of the episode, because it sounds so genuinely pained. Who else wanted to give PMW a big, big hug?
    • The ending with MPW giving all her body parts back to the princesses has the Ice King saying "She gave all my stuff away!". While that may be poor taste, it also means that Ice King can't form long term relationships; once they're gone, he doesn't show a remote interest in them, which is a both a tear jerker and a sign of sociopathy.
      • A note on the sociopathy. When was the last time we saw the Ice King play a major role in an episode? "Holly Jolly Secrets". At the beginning he seemed quite like his normal self, but once once we found out about the crown and Simon Petrikov, it looked like he was going to be a Tragic Villain who would eventually become good. This episode wipes the slate clean, seeing that he did the one thing we never expected him to do and that is hurt a princess. This train of thought allows us to see the Ice King slipping further into insanity.
      • oh shit.
  • PB's frazzled appearance in "Goliad." She's normally so prim, well-kempt, and presentable. When we see her here, her hair is tied back into a messy ponytail, there are tired lines under her eyes, and her eyes are so strained that she needs glasses. Her voice sounds shaky, as well.
    • The ending. To defeat Golidad, PB has to make another clone, but this time she uses Finn's DNA to make a bird creature called Stormo. Finn sees the connection and thinks of him as a son. Unfortunately since Stormo and Golidad are psychic equals they'll be having a mind battle for eternity.