Break the Cutie/Live Action TV

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  • On Lincoln Heights every single child living in Lincoln Heights without ONE single exception. Most of the adults were broken when they were young as well.
  • "Heart of Fire" in Blood Ties is a good example of this: the ultra-handsome, charming and quirky Henry Fitzroy is physically tortured by a mad priest, who beats, drains and starves the vampire into confessing his sins so the priest can kill him. The priest also enthusiastically Breaks the Cutie by showing him videos of his ex-girlfriend betraying him, trying to get Henry to suck dry his love interest Vicki, and twisting a device that is LODGED around Henry's heart with metal spikes. As the final Break The Cutie moment, he even kills a cute little rat that Henry had spared despite his desperation for blood.
  • Obvious examples come from Mutant Enemy: River from Firefly came conveniently pre-broken, but we got to see the earlier cutie in a very few flashbacks. Or, if you watch the R. Tam Sessions, you get to see the whole process, including a rather jarring look into what River was like before she got broken in the brainpan.
    • Jubal Early's threat to Kaylee in "Objects in Space." Poor, poor Kaylee...
    • The first thing the series did was break the cutie. Joss did it to Mal in the very first scene.
  • Fresh example: Sierra on Dollhouse. Seems a particularly sweet and cute doll, then there's the time she reverts to her base personality and confronts a man who claims to have put her in the Dollhouse. That's left on hold for a bit, until Topher finds out that he really did put her there against her will, and in a rare act of conscience, lets her base personality loose. Her tormentor gets what's coming to him, and everyone else gets a load of guilt. Thankfully, as Sierra, she won't remember anything. It's less clear whether they were able to purge her memories of when her first handler raped her in the innocent doll state repeatedly.
    • Dr. Saunders, perhaps? When the show begins, it's bad enough-she's recently had severe facial injuries inflicted by Alpha, a deranged rogue Active. At the end of the first season's aired episodes, she finds out that she's not even 'real'-she's actually Whiskey, an Active who Alpha hacked up because he liked Echo more. She was 'saved' by the Dollhouse (who wouldn't want to waste an asset), imprinted to replace the recently deceased house doctor. Another Active who was attacked by Alpha is granted extensive plastic surgery to repair similar facial damage, which Saunders/Whiskey isn't offered and isn't sure she wants since it's likely that her face being fixed would result in her being put back into the Active pool. She tries confronting her creator, Topher, which only serves to further break her down, resulting in her fleeing the Dollhouse entirely. If that wasn't enough, as of the future world of Epitaph One, she's clearly and definitively broken-she literally loses her mind, reverting to her base Active state on what appears to be a permanent basis. She is the only Active who never really escapes from the Dollhouse, ultimately committing suicide rather than returning to the world.
    • Topher! Topher! At first he has few moral but is definitely the cutie. He then develops a set of morals and right and wrong only to have everything fall down around his ears!
      • How to crush a character in four easy steps: Step One: his first attempt to do the morally right thing results in someone dying; he has to destroy the body. Step Two: shoot his love interest in front of him, with no warning. Step Three: a device he created brings about the apocalypse. Step Four: every day he doesn't create a device that will destroy what little is left of society, an innocent victim is shot in front of him. In a style reminiscent of his love interest's death. All four (except maybe the second) have enormous amounts of guilt laced into them.
    • Don't forget Bennett. Discovering that her "best friend" Caroline was only her friend because she was infiltrating the corporation she worked for obviously hurt her, but she was so devoted to Caroline that she actually helped her infiltrate Rossum's facility. Then Caroline detonated some explosives - explosives that left Caroline unharmed but dropped a giant hunk of masonry on Bennett's arm, crushing and paralyzing it permanently - and then Caroline ran off, apparently abandoning her. As a result, Bennett is left bitter.
      • That's how the story is told from Bennett's point of view. The viewers get a very different version from Caroline.
    • This is a show that actually uses the word "broken".
  • The title character of Veronica Mars is shown to have already been broken before the first series begins - the flashbacks show an almost painfully-innocent girl lose her best friend and then all the others, her mother, her home, any social standing and any shred of dignity she might have otherwise held on to, and all in the space of a year.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. This is part of the dangers of living over a Hellmouth, and the entire purpose of The First Evil. For specific examples...get a coffee, this is a long list.
    • Wesley, Cordelia and Willow. Heck, for that matter, Buffy herself entered the series only slightly dented, and slowly bent to the breaking point. Even Faith can be put into this camp. A street kid, pursued by the hordes of Kakistos, desperate for someone to trust, constantly betrayed by Watchers and others until she had nowhere to turn when things went wrong, and then ruined by a father figure who got her to commit murders for him. After she came out of her coma, she was in such bad shape that she tried to commit "suicide by vampire".
    • Over seven seasons Willow loses her first lover to the curse of lycanthropy, loses her new lover to a brainwipe, gets her lover back, watches her best friend die, loses her lover to her obsession with magic, gets her lover back, and just as they've finally reconciled loses her lover to a random gunshot that wasn't even intended for her. Bad Things ensue, and the primary focus of her arc in the next season is just putting her back together.
    • Drusilla from Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel also counts towards this; as Angelus considered her to be his finest work. His methods of torture included taking advantage of the fact that she was psychic by pretending to be a priest during confession, saying such things as "Yes, you are evil. It is God's plan for you to be evil, so why not give in to His desire?". Also included was killing her entire family, sending her very nasty gifts and, when she went to a convent for sanctuary, he and Darla killed every nun in the building then had sex on the Altar in front of her. Finally, while Drusilla was utterly traumatised, Angelus turned her, leaving her utterly insane for the rest of her existence.
      • Of course, the results were the complete opposite of his hopes: instead of suffering forever she ended up even more psychotic, the definition of Too Kinky to Torture, and arguably the most powerful and in an odd way least conflicted or unstable vampire in the show.
    • Inverted with Fred: She was introduced as a broken cutie, then was unbroken back into a confident, capable, monster-fighting, and fun-loving young woman. Then her body was taken over and soul devoured by an ancient uber demon. Ouch.
    • Tara is first introduced as shy and insecure with no social contact at all until she meets Willow. Then we learn that Tara's mother died when she was 17, and she needed to deal with all her family's problems while being pschologically abused by her father who convinced her she was a demon. Just as she finds a sense of belonging and grows happy in her relationship she is mentally violated by a hell god that steals her sanity. She is cured later on but then further manipulated by her lover who takes her memories. Worst of all, as she begins to reconcile she gets shot and killed off for real. Break the cutie indeed.
    • When Riley is introduced, he is happy with his job at the Initiative and thinks they're doing good work, and all in all is a pretty normal guy, 'cept the whole demon-fighting thing. Then he falls in love with Buffy, who his boss and mother-figure tries to kill, he learns that Maggie created a Frankenstein-like monster who will take over the world, and Riley is meant to become like the monster too, while he's going through horrible drug withdrawal from all the chemicals the Initiative pumped into him to make him (and every other Initiative soldier) into a Super Soldier. He gets discarded from the Initiative and loses his faith in what they did, and two people he cared about are turned either into zombies or Adam Mk. II by Adam. After that's all over, he comes to realise that no matter how much he loves Buffy, she doesn't feel as strongly about him and never really will. All these issues, especially Buffy's lack of love for him, lead to him masochistically paying female vampires to suck his blood, and eventually he leaves town completely. When he makes a one-episode return in season 6, he seems a lot better.
    • Season 5 dedicates itself to doing this to Dawn, and does not let go. It starts with Dawn finding out that she's the Key—as one fan put it, take your average teen identity crisis, and multiply it by about 3,000. Just as she recovers from that, her mom dies. Then Tara is attacked, injured, and driven insane by Glory because she thought Tara was the newest thing in Buffy's life and therefore the Key—which Dawn blames herself for. Then she's captured by Glory, and it seems that she's going to die. She's rescued seconds too late, and her sister/guardian has to kill herself in order to save Dawn and the world.
      • In season 6, she's dealing with all the grief, until Buffy is resurrected, only to spend the season ignoring her—finally culminating in attempted murder (while Buffy was under the effect of a demon that made her hallucinate). In the episode "Villains", Dawn comes home from school to find nobody there... only Tara's body. She sits with the body for probably three hours, not willing to leave her alone.
      • In season 7, this is mostly absent, except for the entirety of "Conversations With Dead People". But this time, Dawn doesn't break.
    • Don't forget Anya, who spends most of her time on the show as the perky and bubbly comic relief. Then Xander leaves her at the altar late in season 6. She reacts to this by returning to vengeance. She finds herself unable to do it properly at first, but when she does get back into the swing by slaughtering ten frat boys who humiliated a girl, she suddenly realises what she's done and plunges into Death Seekerdom To top that off, when she begs D'Hoffryn to undo it (the price of which would be her life and soul), he instead kills her friend Halfrek in front of her as the payment. He then follows this up with, "Haven't I taught you anything, Anya? Never go for the kill when you can go for the pain.". She survives, and is still comic relief, but she's a little less perky now. And then she gets cut in half.
  • Literally done with Kes from Star Trek: Voyager.
    • Then there's Data. One of the male examples. His "older brother" turned out to be a murdering psycho, he found his long lost father not long before already said father was murdered by psychotic brother. He saw the woman to whom he "lost his virginity" murdered before his eyes for no reason but malice. He had to go to court over his right not to be dismantled, created a daughter who died after they tried to take her away from him and she couldn't deal with the shock. Was kidnapped by some rich guy who drove him to attempted murder (possibly Data's defining Break the Cutie moment), went through the whole Long-Lost Relative plot, tried to kill his best friend under mental coercion (psycho brother's fault again), was possessed a couple of times... Have to say, if he actually had emotions, they would have screwed him to hell and back by the end of season seven.
    • And then he gets emotions in Generations... Frankly, it's surprising how he dealt with that with only one or two guilt trips. The amount of crap he went through wouldn't have been attempted with any other character, specifically because Data couldn't actually be broken. You could kick him around like a football and you're not likely to permanently psychologically wreck him.
      • Unless you count Descent.
      • This troper thinks Data did actually break despite his inability to feel emotion. The troper above already mentioned the instance i am talking about; its the episode where Data gets kidnapped by an "art collector" who threatens to kill his servants if Data attempts to escape. When Data and the servant attempt to escape, the servant is caught by the art collector, who executes the servant in a very painful manner. Data manages to get his hands on the torturous killing device. The art collector then proceeds to torment Data by taunting Data's inability to feel rage or sadness over the servant's death, and gloating over Data's programming that is preventing him from killing the art collector, and then threatens to kill more servants if Data doesnt surrender. After a moment of silence, Data aims the torturous killing device at the art collector and pulls the trigger - just as he is teleported away by the Enterprise. Data's "Breaking moment" is confirmed when Riker tells Data the transporter noticed the weapon discharge, after which Data LIES to Riker by claiming it was a malfunction. Data pretty much never lies; especially to a higher-ranking officer.
      • Alternatively, he was trying to rationalize his breaking moment as a malfunction on his part.
  • Stargate SG-1 did this with a lot of its characters but particularly Daniel Jackson and Colonel Sam Carter. However it resulted in them becoming Cool Badasses.
    • O'Neill losing his son really takes the cake, though.
  • Randy Wagstaff of The Wire. Starts out as a sweet, likeable kid trying to make the best of life in his surroundings but gets fucked over by Herc, causing him to be wrongfully branded a snitch. His house is burned down and his foster mother badly burned such that he has to go back to the group home, where takes numerous beatings from the other kids. By the next time he's seen, he become mean and violent just to survive.
  • The Master of Doctor Who does this a lot in the season finale. By the beginning of the final episode, he's done heavily implied squicky things to Jack and chained him up in the basement of his airship, which is only made more disturbing by the fact that Jack's immortal; done heavily implied squicky things to Martha's family to the point that, just before the cavalry arrives, they're sitting in a circle fighting over who gets to kill him; aged the Doctor's body, done heavily implied squicky things to him, aged his body again, and locked him in a birdcage; and turned his formerly happy (albeit mostly trigger-happy) wife into a battered slave.. Fortunately, everybody gets better except for Lucy by the end of the episode.
    • The next two season finales do arguably worse:
      • In Journey's End, the Doctor has to literally wipe the mind of Donna Noble or risk having the Time Lord thoughts destroy her mind. She is not particularly pleased about this turn of events, and the Doctor is crushed by it too.
      • Then there's The End of Time. The Doctor is already tormented by the prophecy "He will knock four times". But then the Master comes back, beats him to a fare-thee-well and then forces the Doctor to watch as everyone he knows and loves on Earth (with the exception of Wilf and Donna) is turned into The Master (it's never said, but a foregone conclusion that Sarah, Martha, Tegan, Barbara, Ian, Ace and so on were Mastericized by the incident). Then, the Time Lords return, threatening to destroy all of time so that they can gain apotheosis and finally gain a (pyrrhic) victory in the Time War. The Doctor has to send them—all of them and most likely Romana, amongst others—back to the Time War to be annihilated. And then, he gets to see just who the "he" was who would knock four times, heralding his death: Wilf, who was trapped in a radiation-safety chamber that was about to fail. The Doctor has a Heroic BSOD of epic proportions before rescuing him, and is pretty much not the same for the last 20 minutes of screen time left in his life, nary cracking a joke or smiling, but instead paying last visits to old friends before regenerating in the most violent regeneration scene in the show's history. It's said that Ten's personality was as it was because he was born in war. One can only imagine what Eleven is going to be like underneath what we've seen so far...
        • A madcap bow-tie-wearing, hat-loving perma-Woobie.
        • During the more "serious" scenes between the Doctor and the Master, you can see the Master himself suffers this because of the drums. Suffers it horribly, in fact. Which means that everything the Master has ever done was the fault of Rassilon and the Council; he started out as a completely normal child. Poor mad Master.
    • Pretty much the entirety of The Family of Blood is devoted to breaking the character of John Smith (an amnesiac, human Doctor) into teeny tiny pieces after setting him up as a rather lovely bloke in the prior episode. It's effective.
    • Midnight. When a mysterious unseen creature strikes his transport, the Doctor watches helplessly as his "listen to me, I'm clever and I can help" attitude not only fails miserably but starts to turn the rest of the passengers against him and leaves him open to immobilizing Mind Rape, resulting in one of the most intense cases of Humans Are Bastards in the whole series. If you don't find yourself wanting very desperately to give him a hug when it all ends and he's lying sprawled on the floor and clutching his chest gasping "It's gone... it's gone... it's gone..." then I don't know what to do with you.
    • In A Good Man Goes To War, both Amy and the Doctor get pretty broken. First, Amy gets her baby taken away, the baby she hadn't even known she was pregnant with until a month before; then, the Doctor saves her and Melody, only to realize that his entire plan has led them all into a massive trap. Melody is not really Melody but is Flesh!Melody, who then dissolves in Amy's arms. Amy, understandably, freaks out. The Doctor tries to hug her, but she won't let him. That broke him, hard. And then, just to pour salt into his open wound, River shows up and gives him an interestingly inverted version of a "The Reason You Suck" Speech in which she tells him he's getting too good at what he does and becoming a mighty warrior, exactly the opposite of what he wanted, and because of this, it's his fault that Melody was taken. Ouch.
    • There's a subversion with Rory. First his girlfriend snogs another bloke, next they get trapped in some creepy dream world where you can't tell fiction from reality, he discovers the happy home he's been building with Amy is all a big lie and dies while he's there, then he gets killed again before being erased from history, and to top it all off his Plastic Auton self who he somehow remembers being watches over an incredibly powerful reality altering box for two thousand years because his not quite dead yet girlfriend is stuck inside and he wants to stay there and protect her. And yet in spite of all this, he still comes out of it fighting.
      • Don't forget that as part of all that he was unable to resist being forced by his auton body to shoot the woman he loves. So yeah...
    • The Fifth Doctor was the nicest, mildest, friendliest, most trusting and most pacific of all the Doctors. The death toll in his adventures was horrific and frequently claimed all the non-regular cast; Adric, a long-running companion and only a boy, was killed; Tegan ran away because she'd seen enough death. He eventually sacrificed himself to prevent yet another person dying on him. Poor soul.
    • If you think Ten and Eleven had it bad, consider Eight's audio adventures. At the start he's the nicest, most cheerful Doctor in a couple of decades. He saves his newest companion, Charlie from the doomed airship R101, thus creating a paradox. In a heartwrenching scene Charlie begs him to kill her in order to save our Universe from anti-time, which breaks free through Charlie. The Doctor instead chooses to materialize the TARDIS around the casket of anti-time, saving Charlie and sacrificing himself. He then becomes infected with the entity known as Zagreus, who wants to destroy the Universe or something. He becomes basically mad with split personalities. Then it turns out that TARDIS is infected as well and very pissed at the Doctor. Torture ensues. At last, mirroring earlier scene with Charlie, he begs to kill him. Which she complies with much drama. He then fails to regenerate, because for a second, he wanted to die. He eventually survives by accepting Zagreus. He then forced to leave our Universe forever, because otherwise Zagreus will infect our Universe with antitime, which is bad.. He is througly disillusioned with Time Lords, most of whom turn out to be lunatics on his watch. Thus begin his adventures in the divergent Universe, where there is no time, which is highly uncomfortable for the Doctor and he is decidedly gloomier after his experiences and as a result of merging with Zagreus. Eventually, he is able to return. Then it turns out that Davros completely erased his memories of his two companions prior to Charlie as an elaborate revenge plan. Some time after, Charlie leaves on quite the bad terms with the Doctor. The Doctor meets Lucie, and just when their relationship starts being warm and friendly, The Doctor is trapped for 600 years on the planet with the jellyfish people, to whom he gets pretty attached. Who are all slaughtered by the end of the episode. The Doctor becomes even more aloof and gloomy and continues travelling with Lucie, but their realationship has suffered and they distrust each other. Just as things seem to have returned to normal, Lucie discovers that the Doctor lied to her by omission about her past. She leaves in a decidedly unjovial Christmas special. He meets her again during an epic showdown with the Daleks, during which both Lucie and the Doctor's great-grandson die. We've yet to see fallout form that one, but one thing for sure, it won't be pretty.
    • This is Victoria Waterfield's entire character arc. In her first story, the Daleks kill her father and blow up her home. Despite this, she's still reasonably adventurous and confident. By the time she calls it a day in Fury From The Deep, she's a nervous wreck who can't sleep for fear of the Monster of the Week.
  • Happens in Torchwood, in the episode "Adam", the titular memory-changing alien breaks the handsome, soft-spoken, and likeable Deadpan Snarker Ianto by implanting in him false memories of murdering women, but due to the use of Retcon pills none of the characters remember the events of the episode and thus any breakage is temporary.
    • Gwen definitely falls into this category as she is indoctrinated into Torchwood during the first season (and she is thoroughly broken by the time of Miracle Day).
    • They like doing this: Ianto gets broken in "Cyberwoman". "Greeks Bearing Gifts" does the same to Tosh. "Fragments" breaks both Tosh and Owen. And in "End of Days," Gwen loses it completely when Rhys gets killed. He gets better.
    • Esther gets it too over the first half of Miracle Day.
    • Jack. Series 2, 3 and 4 have been one long Trauma Conga Line. Not to mention the time gap between losing the Doctor and the start of the series.
  • At the start of Supernatural, Dean is pretty happy with his life, comic relief to Sam's big ball of angst, and loves the hunt. Sam starts out as basically The Heart to Dean's cynicism. They each end up with a hefty Guilt Complex.

The show is made of this trope.

    • Its various methods of bending Dean to breaking point have included: getting tortured by his possessed father and possessed brother at two different times, making him feel guilty because someone died to save him in the first season and ramping that suicidal guilt up to 100 when his father dies for him in the second season, having his brother die in his arms, sending him to hell at the end of season three, and having enemies taunt him and allies accost him with how worthless he is.

And even all that pales in comparison to what happens to Dean in Season 4: clawing his way out of his own grave, being an (albeit extremely pretty) angel's bitch, getting guilt-tripped from victims he couldn't save, going back in time and apparently causing the events leading to his mother's death; getting infected with a ghost sickness that makes him even more of The Chew Toy, remembering all his forty years of hell, breaking after thirty and enjoying torturing other victims for ten, having suddenly to remember the events of "In My Time Of Dying", having to torture Alistair for information and learning that he was the first seal and that his Dad spent a century on the rack but never broke.

And most of all, finding out he's the only one who can stop "it", and then discovering this isn't referring to the Apocalypse. Instead, he's meant to let the angels engineer the Apocalypse and then end it by having Michael possess Dean and destroy most of the world fighting and killing Lucifer.

    • Sam Winchester got broken down courtesy of having a demon infect him with its blood, his mother die because of him, having a crappy childhood/life, his father disown him, his girlfriend die just to set him on the path to evil, having demonic powers, having his father die, and having to watch his brother break down before his eyes and then pretty much commit suicide for him and then be killed in a hundred different ways and then get ripped apart by hellhounds.

Over half of that was a Corrupt the Cutie plot aimed directly at Sam, which pretty much worked—at least to the extent that they managed to manipulate him into alienating his resurrected brother and doing exactly what the bad guys wanted. Then he began a Redemption Quest to prevent Lucifer from razing the world by taking him back to hell, and even his brother didn't believe in him. Not that Sam believed in himself either.

      • It got much worse. At the end of season five, Sam had to let Lucifer possess him to take Lucifer back into hell's solitary confinement. In season six, when Sam finally got his soul back after being brought back to life, Castiel broke his mind to let the memories of probably 180 years being tormented by Lucifer overwhelm him. In season seven, Sam has been losing his grip on reality at a time when they're facing a threat they can't kill, to the point where he almost dies because a hallucination of Lucifer won't let him sleep. And then has to deal with knowing Castiel sacrificed his mind for Sam's.
    • We can now add John to this list. Once upon a time, he was a naive, innocent, sweet little himbo and look what happened to him. But unlike his sons, who have been broken slowly and horribly over the past few seasons due to numerous events, he just snapped from the one event (his wife dying) and became the borderline abusive, jerkass parent who was so at the end of his rope that he committed suicide for Dean in the most self-righteous way possible.
    • Castiel now qualifies. Oh, how cute, a good little soldier angel that loves his daddy (God), gets nervous around whores, thinks humans are God's works of art, and he just made some new friends (Sam & Dean)! Here's what we'll do: Have his brother murder and corrupt his garrison, then turn on him too; rip him out of his vessel so he can be taught a lesson (No, you may not be friends with Dean!); force him to choose between Heaven and mankind; have his brother smite him to death; resurrect him with most of his powers gone (not particularly helpful in the middle of the apocalypse); then he spends nearly an entire season searching for God (for help, for guidance), only to find out that his daddy doesn't care about him and won't help cue Cas drinking an entire bottle shop... understandably; then we have Dean surrender to the angels, essentially throwing all of Castiel's efforts and friendship back in his face. cue Cas beating the living crap out of Dean in a back alley... again, understandably
      • In an averted future from season five, Castiel is a drug-addicted slut with no powers and no glory, but in season seven, Castiel seemed to die after betraying absolutely everyone in a bid to gain the power to become a new God and save the Earth from Raphael's attempts to restart the averted Apocalypse. This unleashed a plague of very smart body-snatching unkillable shapeshifters with excellent organizational structure on humanity. He literally gave everything he was to the cause Dean promised him was worth it, until there was nothing left of him; and while he did technically save the world twice, it got pretty compromised and pyrrhic.
    • Even Badass Bobby! He is forced to kill his own wife when she becomes possessed, is trapped in a dream-state pursued by a vision of his alternately evil/crying-for-help wife, descended into alcoholism after someone he loves like a son is killed by hell-hounds, is kidnapped and almost killed by the ghosts of children he was unable to save, is possessed by a demon, left paralyzed from the waist down, and artificially aged 25 years, is forced to kill his wife again after she returns zombified (guess we know what Bobby's vulnerable point is), and finally forced to allow the other person he loves like a son (Sam) allow himself to be satanically possessed on the unlikely chance that Sam will be able to overcome said possession enough to commit suicide. Good plan.
      • Also he'd refused to have kids ever a few days before his wife died, and wouldn't explain it was because of deep issues going back to when he shot his abusive dad in the head as a kid. In the kitchen of the same house he lived in until the Leviathans burned it down a few episodes before he died.
    • In summary, all Winchesters come pre-broken, or get broken shortly thereafter, along with any longtime associates. The customary dying seems to be easier. Unless you're Dean or Sam; then, Hell and even Heaven are all about this trope.
    • The fact that Sam and Dean can still get out of bed in the morning after being completely screwed over by Heaven, Hell, their father, most of their human associates (who just happened to find out who started the apocalypse...), and Castiel, who was like a brother makes this extremely impressive. (I mean, really, why not re-name the series 'How to break the cutie (fanservice and fetish fuel included)'?) (All via Sealed Evil in a Can.)
  • A lot of American Gothic seems devoted to doing this to poor Dr. Crower, especially the episodes dealing with his alcoholism and the one where he attempts to kill Buck after learning from a woman who claims to be the sheriff's mother that Buck is the Devil Incarnate. (This is later revealed to be all part of Buck's dastardly plot to discredit him.) The fact Dr. Matt is eventually Put on a Bus, is found to have a creepy stalker shrine to Buck, and is last seen locked up in an insane asylum pretty much clinches his status as broken.
  • The new Battlestar Galactica likes this one:
    • Boomer is a naive young rookie pilot whose parents supposedly died in an accident when she was younger, which left her with a bad case of survivor's guilt nearly leading her to wash out, but for Adama's kindness. Her fellow crew are her family, Commander Adama's like a father, and Starbuck's like a big sister. She's having sex with the chief of the deck and thinking she's getting away with it, and she takes in one of the kids orphaned by the Cylon attack for a time. Then it turns out that she is a Cylon sleeper agent implanted with hidden programming that makes her zone out and commit acts of sabotage she can't remember, and everything goes to hell. She finds herself shooting her beloved commanding officer against her will, gets broken up with by the Chief, lied to, encouraged to suicide, confronted by creepy loving clones, violently interrogated, publically hated on, shot, resurrected among the creepy loving clones, convinced to be a leader in a peace movement that fails miserably, and rejected by her clone's daughter (whose father is her own former co-pilot). Oh, and for a time her face is on the shooting range targets. Not to mention that Athena, her genetic twin, was the one who got the chance Boomer never had and crossed the finish line. Not only did she win acceptance from those who were aware of her true nature, but she got the guy, the kid and the life Boomer wanted. Oh, and Athena also earned the respect from her model number for being the first Cylon to overcome her programming. No wonder Boomer is so bitter. And now, she does some very, very vile things on board Galactica, possibly breaking Athena as a result. Then, in the finale, she finally returns the kid to Athena and is thanked with gut bullets.
      • Athena did break. A big part of Athena's motivation was that she didn't want to be a Cylon. By Season 4, she had pretty much convinced herself that she was human, hence her increasing animosity towards her own people. When Boomer had sex with Helo while she was tied up and forced to watch from the locker, it shatterd that viewpoint into a million, tiny pieces: Her own husband can't tell her apart from other individuals of her model number; She's not human and she never will be human, no matter how much she wants to be. Not only that, but Boomer kidnapped Hera, which means Athena had to go through the pain of losing her child a second time. She breaks down completely near the end of the episode. The next one shows that she has completely closed herself off to everyone, including her husband.
    • Felix Gaeta is/was a good case of this. He was initially an earnest and contentious guy with a case of hero worship (or more) on Gaius Baltar. Then saw his expectations betrayed by New Caprica, the occupation by the Cylons, got himself ostracised, tried and nearly killed for Collaboration despite the part he took secretly in La Résistance. Then lately he lost his leg to friendly fire and gangrene during a mutiny situation. He certainly grew more bitter and sarcastic, but the show reminds us what a woobie he is by showing off his singing voice.
      • He finally broke in the last season. Dee's suicide and his "efforts" on New Caprica being revealed to him as making things worse were the last straws, and he went into a full-blown Face Heel Turn, leading a mutiny on Galactica. The mutiny failed, and he was executed, along with his co-conspirator.
    • And of course, Dee. Losing Billy after turning to Apollo, marrying the latter, having their sham of a marriage wrecked by Starbuck/Apollo shippers, and then Earth's turning out to be uninhabitable was just too much. It didn't help that she was Adama's right-hand during the first three seasons: it's easily one of the most stressful and burdensome jobs in the fleet, and in fact she described it as getting harder, not easier, in one second-season episode.
      • Because of Earth, could be applied to the entire fleet.
        • According to the Word of God , as handed out in the weekly podcasts by the Executive Producer, the Earth arc is intended to be a Break the Cutie for the audience.
    • One Name: Cally. Shown as the cute deck hand and gofer girl to the chief, she stays cute and relatively innocent (like Kaylee from Firefly) up to Kobol and from there takes worse. It wasn't too bad until Nikki started playing up, her marriage was falling apart (like all bsg ones seem to) Then she tried to commit suicide but was murdered instead. This was one uber woobie moment.
  • Happens in a completely mundane, underplayed, and painful way to Peggy Olsen on Mad Men. In the pilot, she's tiny, wide-eyed, hopeful, and naive; since then, she's had a disastrous affair with a Jerkass coworker (which he initiated just days before his wedding), been mocked and sexually harassed on an hourly basis, and gotten pregnant, denied it until she went into labor, been declared an unfit mother, and been forced to hand the kid over. Then her boss came and told her to just go on pretending it'd never happened. Yeah, that'll work. Granted, she's made some great strides on the career front, and become miles more confident than she was in the pilot, but... to sum it up in one heartbreaking word? Playgrounds.
    • What happened to Joan in Don's office with her fiance is half this trope, half Break the Haughty.
    • Sally Draper gets a lot of this in season three, most notably when Grandpa Gene, the only adult who really gives her the time of day, dies. Neither Don nor Betty initially take Sally's reaction into consideration and she's left to quietly grieve by herself, followed by an angry outburst at them when she overhears them laughing and thinks they're not taking his death seriously. They, in turn, send her back out to the living room, where she quietly watches news footage of a Tibetan monk setting himself on fire. It probably doesn't come as a shock to most viewers that in the following episode she displays some antisocial tendencies at school. It only gets worse when Betty decides to name her new son, born soon after Grandpa Gene dying, Eugene, which only serves to further traumatize Sally.
  • Throughout the first 4 seasons of Lost Hurley was the series' comic relief and all-around nice guy, even though he believes he is cursed and still struggles with his food addiction on the island. Once he gets off the island, however, he starts to become haunted by the ghosts of people from the island, and by the end of season four, he's far from the happy-go-lucky Hurley of earlier seasons. He gets better once he returns to the island, however.
    • Now we have Juliet, reduced to a sobbing severely wounded wreck by the end of Season 5.
    • Even Ben, of all people, was a sweet, albeit sad, little kid who seemed like he might turn out alright despite being abused by his alcoholic father... until he was shot by a time-traveling enemy when he was only 14, and then "cured" by a mysterious entity that "took his innocence."
    • Season 6 Claire, who's become a bit insane after being alone in the jungle for three years. Granted, it all happens off screen, but still.
    • Really every single character was already broken at the beginning. It Got Worse.
  • Heroes has not yet broken Hiro Nakamura, but it sure is working on it.
    • It looked like he might finally break, but his reversion to his personality when he was 10 years old has saved him. Hiro Nakamura is Unbreakable.
    • They're definitely hammering on Claire, too.
      • They've stepped up the pace recently. Season 3 has delivered at least one blow per episode so far. 1) Attacked by Sylar. 2) Lost ability to feel pain. 3) Her "lesson" with Meredith. 4) Being forced into a game of Russian roulette with her birth and adoptive mothers.
      • Heroes has the interesting distinction of having shown both Claire and Peter as broken cuties in some of its flash-forward episodes, though because of the nature of time travel in the show, it's impossible to say if those fates are actually going to happen or not.
    • Elle was the one character that was successfully broken.
  • Dr. Kelso in Scrubs does this with Elliot. Dr. Cox literally punches him out of it.
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On the first day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
A drunk who drove into a tree
On the second day of Christmas
My true love gave to me
Two shattered skulls
And a drunk who drove into a tree...


Twelve beaten children
Eleven drive-by shootings
Ten frozen homeless
Nine amputations
Eight burn victims
Seven strangled shoppers
Six random knifings
Five suicides
Four beaten wives
Three O.D.'s
Two shattered skulls
And a drunk who drove into a tree.

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  • In the seventh season of 24, Agent Renee Walker meets Jack Bauer. Within 10 hours, she is shot at, betrayed, choked to unconsciousness, wounded in the neck, buried alive, then resuscitated. Besides that, she almost suffocated a man in the hospital, held a woman hostage, threatened that woman's child, then got a different woman killed after she'd promised that woman's sister to keep her safe. Hour 10 had her point a gun at Jack, then later slap him in the face before collapsing into his arms and weeping hysterically. The cutie, she broke.
    • In the seven hours after that, she: found out the White House was the next target, swam the Potomac, saw a fellow agent murdered in front of her eyes, barely escaped Juma's army, discovered Jack was being held hostage by the dictator of Sangala (who also happened to have nabbed the President), saw a bomb go off in the White House, was told Jack had murdered Ryan Burnett and Senator Mayer, tried to help him, got herself fired, was proved right about Jack's innocence, was reinstated, saw her boss almost die, found out Jack had been infected with a deadly bioweapon, saw him have a seizure right in front of her eyes, and witnessed him refuse the only possible treatment to save his life. Emotional rollercoaster much?
      • After that, she also got to see her dead boss after Tony Almeida betrayed everyone and killed him. She also got to see Jack having more seizures, the Heroic Sacrifce of Bill Buchanan, and after all that her metamorphesis into the female Jack Bauer was complete when she tortured the Big Bad of Season 7, Alan Wilson in the Season Finale.
        • And now as of the premiere of Season 8, she has become an Anti-Hero, chopped off someone's thumb, wants to die and was raped while she was undercover with the Russians before the events in Day 7.
    • President Allison Taylor began her run in 24: Redemption as an idealistic President-Elect who won by a landslide. Since then, her son was murdered, Dubaku corrupted every department of her government, Juma landed on US soil, she was taken hostage, a bomb went off in the White House, her husband was shot and almost killed, the infrastructure of the entire United States was breached, two planes were crashed into each other just outside her window, a biochemical plant was just barely not blown up, her Chief of Staff resigned, she hired her manipulative bitch of a daughter to replace him, her Secretary of State quit, Juma's forces slaughtered most of the Secret Service, Senator Mayer and his traitorous Chief of Staff were murdered (by Jack Bauer, except not), she almost got into a civil war with Starkwood, her daughter also wound up going to Prison for having Jonas Hodges (Starkwoods boss) killed, and her husband divorced her because of it.
      • It Gets Worse in Day 8, in which a peace on which she had built her entire administration implodes and her own inner circle turns against her, leaving her with precisely two people she can truly trust that aren't CTU - Secretary of Homeland Security Tim Woods and Secretary of State Ethan Kanin. Not to mention all the other things that go wrong. Poor, poor Allison has had some really godawful days in the first two years of her administration...
  • The Sarah Connor Chronicles absolutely loves torturing the cuties. Riley, Cameron, Allison Young, Cameron while being Allison Young, and even Jesse all get thoroughly and brutally broken over the course of the second season.
  • Smallville, end of S7 and so far all of S8, seems to be doing this with Chloe Sullivan. Fired, wedding ruined by Doomsday's attack, marriage ruined by her manipulation by Doomsday, new friend and one ray of sunshine in this mire is a serial killer. She actually had a Lampshade Hanging moment at her birthday party when she recounted much of what is listed previously (and more), but it was dropped somewhat by the end of the episode.
    • The series began by breaking three year old Lana while in her fairy princess costume. Every so often we hear about the hole in her heart where her parents used to be.
  • Oz: Tobias Beecher. Shinji Ikari can't even compete with all the shit that he goes through.
  • A number of characters on ER probably qualify, particularly Carter and others who start work with a very naive world view. Probably justified, given the grim/frustrating nature of emergency medical services and the hazards of hospital politics.
  • Degrassi the Next Generation has done this twice.
    • J.T.: Plucky Comic Relief for most of the series, he gets his girlfriend pregnant in season 5. After much debate, they decide to keep the baby, but they don't have the money no matter how hard he works (and he works hard), at which point he gets convinced to sell drugs he stole from the pharmacist (one of his jobs) as it's the only way to get enough money. His girlfriend finds out, his employer is pretty obviously about to find out, the drug dealer he's selling drugs to refuses to let him go, and eventually he tries to kill himself. He fails, his girlfriend dumps him and puts the baby up for adoption against his will, he's obviously still in love with her, and just before they're reunited, he's killed by a random psycho.
    • Darcy: Starts off sweet religious girl, but she's drugged and raped at a party in the season 7 premiere, and... she kind of loses it.
  • On Criminal Minds, this seems to happen to Spencer Reid a LOT. His dad abandons him and his mom when he's ten and he has to put his schizophrenic mother in the asylum when he turns 18. He gets kidnapped by a multiple-personality serial killer (Tobias Henkel) and is beaten and drugged and is forced to dig his own grave. Then he is moody and irritable for most of the rest of the season, even bitching at his teammate when she legitimately is just trying to help with the case, and in "Jones", we finally figure out why: Henkel got him addicted to drugs. He kicks the habit by himself, but then his new father-figure and mentor cracks under pressure and abandons his team, with the only note of explanation being addressed solely to Reid. Then Reid is held hostage in a cult with another team member (the same one he was bitchy to, just to mention) and when the cult leader threatens to shoot him for being FBI, the other team member falls on her sword and gets the crap beat out of her for it. Cue guilt. And then, if he wasn't damaged enough, he gets anthrax poisoning.
    • Don't forget that before he put his mom in a mental institution, he had to live with her for 8 years having psychotic breaks from reality. It was so bad, one of the MANY times he was picked on in high school (he was twelve, btw), he was led to believe a pretty girl liked him only to be ganged up on by the ENTIRE football team, stripped naked, and tied to a goal post. If that wasn't bad enough, when he finally got home (keep in mind that he's by himself, in Las Vegas, at midnight), his mom was having an episode and didn't even realize he was late. It's amazing he can function as well as he does.
    • The Reaper arc in season five is dedicated to doing this to Hotch at warp speed. After Gideon's abandonment of the team and Hotch himself getting almost-blown up (and failing to save the life of another agent) in "Mayhem", he finds himself the target of the serial killer known as "The Reaper" (aka George Foyet, magnificent bastard). Hotch turns down the deal offered by the Reaper (stop hunting the Reaper, and he'll stop killing people), and every subsequent murder (and there are a lot) is on Hotch's conscience. Then, in "Faceless, Nameless", the Reaper attacks Hotch in his home and stabs him nine times. He then drops Hotch off at the hospital, saving his life, only to notify Hotch that he's going after his ex-wife and son next. Hotch must continue to try and hunt the Reaper while his family is in Witness Protection, and he cannot have contact with them, and due to the stress, he is asked to step down from his position as Unit Chief. Morgan takes over, temporarily. All the while, the Reaper is toying with Hotch, letting him know just how easily he's gotten to Hotch. Finally, in "100", Foyet ups the ante by killing the agent assigned to Haley and Jack's detail, capturing Haley and Jack, and shooting Haley while Hotch listens over the phone. Hotch goes understandably apeshit and beats Foyet to death with his bare hands. The rest of the season seems to be devoted to exploring if Hotch can balance single-fatherhood with the BAU.
    • Half of the more sympathetic unsubs are Broken Cuties, also, an excellent example being Jonny McHale. If you really want to see something sweet, memorize exactly where his flashbacks of his life before his psychotic breakdown are, in which he's a successful graphic novelist in a blissful relationship with his beautiful girlfriend, who he gives an overjoyed impromptu proposal to after she tells him she's pregnant (and oh god the look on his face when he realizes what she says). Stop before the part where they're ambushed by thugs who savagely murder and presumably rape her while he's Forced to Watch before they move on to him and leave him nearly disemboweled. No wonder he went completely off his rocker and started hacking their ilk to pieces as a Vigilante Man while too deep in spells of PTSD to even realize he's doing it.
      • Amber Canardo from the episode "The Perfect Storm" comes pre-broken. She was beaten and raped by both her father and her brother throughout her childhood, and her mother covered it up for them and even told the police she was lying when she went to them. She ends up becoming a serial killer herself who does what she suffered to other women, presumably to achieve a sense of fairness. Then there's Samantha Malcolm from "The Uncanny Valley" who was also raped by her father, who bribed her with toys to keep her quiet and tortured her with electric shocks, with Samantha finally snapping after walking in on her father, a psychiatrist, giving away her toys to a patient.
    • In "Lucky", Garcia is shot by her new boyfriend. The following episode, "Penelope" shows the Team's efforts to track him down and stop him.
  • Dr. K in Power Rangers RPM comes pre-broken, having been kidnapped as a young child by the government and kept in a research facility doing military work for them under the pretense of a "sunlight allergy". When they break her, she accidentally causes the apocalypse in trying to escape.
  • In One Life to Live, every time they want to bring Bo and Nora together, something bad happens to Matthew. Lucky for him, this is a Soap Opera, and they're generous with the miracle cures...
  • Any number of characters in Eastenders, although Aidan Brosnan (promising young footballer to homeless drug addict) and Zoe Slater (statuesque beauty to murdering drug-addled prostitute) spring to mind. And we won't even mention what they did to poor bloody Joe Wicks.
  • Gabrielle in Xena: Warrior Princess. The loss of blood virginity (killing someone), non-consensual impregnation by an immortal, having to kill her own daughter, domestic violence, killing her daughter (again) and grandson, crucifixion, killing an innocent teenager, and the death of her partner.
  • The Office: Erin Hannon has a complete mental breakdown in Secretary's Day after being told that Andy has dated Angela. She really didn't take it well.
  • Serial killers Mr. Yang and Mr. Yin attempt to break Shawn in Psych. In the season three finale Yang kidnaps a waitress, and sends Shawn a series of taunting clues warning that is Shawn does not solve them the girl will be killed. Yang then abducts Shawn's mother and straps her with explosives. Shawn realizes that Yang was watching him the entire time and was even in his office, which scares him. In the season four finale, Yang's partner Mr. Yin emerges and sets his sights on Shawn as well. Yin kills two people before kidnapping Shawn's longtime crush Detective Juliet O'Hara and his childhood sweetheart Abigail. Yin arranges for both girls to be killed, and calls Shawn with the information that he has time to save only one girl and that he must choose who means more to him. Shawn chooses to save Abigail; Juliet is saved by Detective Lassiter. When Shawn arrives to rescue Abigail, he finds himself face to face with Yin - he must let Yin go in order to get to Abigail in time. Losing Yin clearly shakes Shawn, as does his guilt at nearly sacrificing Juliet. It's hard to say if this will have any lasting effect, given the nature of the show, but since Yin is still at large Shawn will likely face him again in the future.
    • Shawn is also shot, kidnapped, and held in a trunk in the episode "Shawn Takes a Shot in the Dark."
  • Party of Five: Sarah (played by Jennifer Love Hewitt) started as a nice, cheerful girl and within 1-2 seasons was as morbid and whiny and angst-ridden as everyone else in the show...
  • Seira from Shokojo Sera, a Japanese drama based on A Little Princess. She had always been kind to everyone around her, whether they are poor or rich. But when her father dies, nearly everyone at the school set the wolves on her. From making her into a servant and taking every opportunity to announce her displeasure of Seira (Mimura Chieko the school director) to treating Seira like crap and shooting down every attempt Seira tries to please them (the chef and his wife) to making snide remarks every time Seira was in the same room as her, even going as far as to throw tomatoes at Seira when she was practically on the floor, admitting defeat (Rich Bitch Maria).
  • After he went to jail, Tom Hanson was a lot darker of a character in 21 Jump Street
  • Poor Vila.
  • Played with in a season two episode of Queer as Folk, when they have some sort of annual "fun for the whole family" day at Michael's job, and the newest employee have to stand all day, dressed up as a clown, handing out balloons to the children.
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Michael: So who's the victim this year?
Tracy: Sally, the new cashier.
Michael: She's sweet. At least she was until today. Today we drain her of her soul.

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  • Zack, from Bones, anyone? He was an Adorkable kid who was very socially awkward, but overall well liked and definitely a cutie. Then, we find out that he's the apprentice to a cannibalistic murderer, and he confesses to murdering somebody (although we find out later that he didn't actually kill the guy). He is then sent to a mental institution. Definitely qualifies as breaking the cutie.
  • Wellard in the second Horatio Hornblower series. Also Archie Kennedy, though in his case the breaking took place mostly off-screen (first before the series even started, at the hands of Jack Simpson, and then after he was imprisoned for an indeterminate amount of time, including a month in an oubliette.). Archie at least seems to have recovered from most of his torments by the second series, but Wellard is shot and dies before he has the chance. Additionally, Simpson tries to do this to Horatio in the first instalment, which is what results in the titular duel. (Well, technically a game of cards was what caused the duel—but Horatio wouldn't have made the challenge if it hadn't been for everything else that had gone on.)
  • Sam from Glee seems to be headed this way, due to Quinn cheating on him with Finn, Santana's consistent insults about his mouth and dorkyness, and just general pressure.
    • Aaaand... now he's homeless.
    • Rory From Glee
    • Kurt qualifies too, I think, after being presented as vulnerable and long-suffering and heavily bullied all through season one, when in season 2 the bullying goes to a whole new level and he spends the greater part of the season suffering fear and intimidation and violence at the hands of a closeted bully.
    • Quinn qualifies as of the first episode of the second half of season 3. To recap, she gets pregnant as a sophomore and is kicked off the cheerleading squad that she loves (and was the captain of). Even after she gives birth, she's not allowed to return. She's kicked out of her house until her mother finally comes to her senses and leaves Quinn's father. Now, in season 3, while driving to her friend's wedding, she gets hit by a truck and is in a wheelchair for some time (possibly a long time; it's unclear how much the therapy is helping).
  • Niles Crane on Frasier, in stark contrast to his (and Frasier's) frequent, minor, Played for Laughs Break the Haughty moments, get several of these. Ignoring his Trauma Conga Line of smaller bouts of torture: he seems to already be broken by his mother's death, Frasier's long absence, and a stifling, emotionally-abusive marriage at the series' beginning and gets ground into progressively smaller pieces by the latter during the first two seasons. Then his marriage falls apart and he manages to build himself up again, but Daphne, with whom he is smitten, is utterly oblivious to his feelings and unknowingly shatters his heart over and over. Devastated by this, he eventually gives up and then naively returns to his unstable, Jerkass wife after she "promises" that she'll treat him better this time, only for her to turn around and cheat on him with their marriage counselor weeks later. He eventually pulls himself up by the bootstraps, but then, after he rejects his wife's offer to reconcile again, she tears up their unsigned divorce settlement and proceeds to slowly torture and financially ruin him over several months. Then, when he finally gets rescued from Maris by a savvy divorce lawyer and is about to put his life back together, said lawyer immediately starts dating Daphne, and then broken once more, he flees into the arms of a manipulative carbon-copy of his ex-wife...etc, etc, etc...Thankfully though, this all turns out to be an Earn Your Happy Ending, as Daphne falls in love with him, and heals him after They Do.
  • The critiques, especially from Randy Jackson, after Haley Reinhart's first performance in Top 4 week of American Idol Season 10. It Got Worse after the round was over and Ryan Seacrest called the four finalists out for an overall Round 1 assessment. To top it off, they ruined the surprise of what she was wearing for her second performance (which epitomized Crowning Music of Awesome and showed that the "breaking" didn't quite work). Nigel Lythgoe couldn't have scripted it better...oh, wait...he admitted that he DID script it that way!
  • Most of the characters on Switched at Birth, but especially Daphne. Before the start of the show, she was a well-adjusted and happy deaf teenager. After finding out about being switched at birth (which is a shock on its own), she reconnects with her biological family, though her eager-to-please nature causes some conflicts and tension. Then, she finds out the woman who raised her knew about the switch when she was three, turning her world even MORE upside down. Then, when Daphne realizes that she loves her best friend who's always been there for her, she discovers that the guy is already in love with the girl Daphne was switched with.
    • Not to mention being told by the man thought to be her father that part of the reason for him leaving him was her deafness. Especially after being by Regina told that was the reason him leaving your entire life. Only for Regina to change her views about that to Daphne when Angelo came back.
  • Several characters on Breaking Bad, but most notable among them Jesse. While he didn't exactly start as the most idealistic person, he was getting by making sub-par meth and his worst experiences were a few arrests. Since agreeing to partner with Walt, however, he's inadvertently gotten his girlfriend hooked onto drugs again, leading to her death; seen several other people die in front of him, most of them pretty brutally; and killed a decent man in cold blood on Walt's orders to prevent Gus from killing Walt. At times it seems the writers' main goal is to come up with new ways to break Jesse even further.
  • Shawn Hunter on Boy Meets World started out as out with a fairly upbeat attitude despite his dysfunctional family and life in a trailer park. Then his mom abandons him and his dad leaves to chase after her. His dad keeps extending his absence and ends up being gone a whole year. Eventually he gets both of his parents back, but later on his mom leaves again, his mentor and substitute parent Mr. Turner goes into a coma after being in a motorcycle crash, his dad kicks him out of the house (for Shawn's own good) and stays distant for a while. About a year and a half later his dad returns and promises he will stay this time, only to promptly die of a heart attack. At this point Shawn goes into a full-on Heroic BSOD, though he is able to get over it and by the end of the series he had grown into a well-adjusted young man.
  • Don't forget Caroline in "The Vampire Diaries". Her character's shown as insecure within the first two episodes. And most of the first season is spent with her being abused by Damon under compulsion. Later on in Season two, she's caged by a werewolf and tortured just because she's a vampire. And to top it off, now in season three, she was kidnapped by her own dad, who tortures her in order to get her to stop feeding on blood (remember: she's a vampire!)
  • Happens to the two protagonists, as well as a few other characters, in the 2011 remake of Filipino soap Mara Clara.
    • Clara's (the second half of the titular characters) breaking point comes in the middle of the series, after it was revealed that she and Mara (the first half of the titular characters) were in fact switched at birth and that she was born of a poor family, this would mark her transition into a more antiheroine type character (Clara in the original series is more of a villain). An interesting to note is that Clara didn't actually start as a cutie but more of an Alpha Bitch. She only becomes one when she became friends with Mara.
    • Mara's breaking point, on the other hand, comes after being kidnapped and nearly blown to bits, courtesy of her foster father (and Clara's real dad) Gary. In a later episode, Clara actually takes note of Mara's change of attitude by remarking "It seems that you have become cynical, Mara", to which the latter retorts, "I've already learned my lesson, Clara."
    • Interestingly, series Big Bad Gary (Mara's adoptive, and Clara's real, father) is also revealed (through a flashback to his early teens) to have gone through this when he accidentally killed his own father after seeing him beat up his mother.
  • OK, arguably most of the characters in Flashpoint get broken, and are various levels of cute, but Spike seems to fit the trope best. The goofiest, most happy-go-lucky of the team has had to deal with the deaths of his best friend Lew, his father, and his mentor, has been held hostage twice himself (including once with his kind of girlfriend), and has been hit with an incendiary device and a smoke bomb. Poor guy.