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Sansa Stark, 'Game of Thrones' (2011-present)
Outrageous misfortunes: Forced to stand by while her father executed her beloved direwolf; forced to watch her own father's beheading; beaten savagely and regularly by evil King Joffrey's guards; led to believe her two youngest brothers and possibly her younger sister are dead (they're not); attacked and nearly raped by a gang during a riot; saved from having to marry Joffrey, only to discover that he planned to rape her anyway; missed a chance to escape Joffrey because she was led to believe she would marry dreamy (but secretly gay) Loras Tyrell; discovered instead that she was to marry Tyrion Lannister, the king's scarred dwarf uncle, against her will; endured the humiliation of her wedding, as well as her wedding night; learned that her mother, her oldest brother, and most of their allies were brutally slaughtered at the Red Wedding; unknowingly played a part in assassination of King Joffrey; roped into semi-engagement to tiny terror Robin Arryn; nearly murdered by her jealous aunt; watched said aunt's own murder; betrothed to Ramsay Bolton, a sadistic bastard (literally) and son of Roose Bolton, the traitor who personally murdered Sansa's brother.
The bottom line: Her childhood was idyllic, but Sansa's adolescence is just one tragedy after another — and Song of Ice and Fire readers know that she's got even more heartbreak in store.
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Meredith Grey, Grey's Anatomy (2005-present)
Outrageous misfortunes: Raised by a workaholic, resentful mom who developed early-onset Alzheimer's; shunned by an absent dad who rejected her in favor of his new family; discovered her boyfriend was married; got blamed for her stepmother's accidental death; briefly died after being knocked off a pier; suffered a miscarriage during the Seattle Grace shooting; lost her husband, her job, and her adopted baby (though she eventually got them all back—briefly); injured and stranded after a plane crash; lost her sister in said crash; nicknamed ''Medusa'' by hospital's new interns; almost lost her job again when the hospital nearly went bankrupt; learned that she has inherited genetic markers for Alzheimer's; tripped and fell in the third trimester of her pregnancy; underwent emergency C-section; nearly bled to death afterwards due to unforeseen complications from her fall; suddenly lost her husband.
The bottom line: Nobody escapes Seattle Grace Mercy Death/Grey Sloan Memorial unscathed, but this show's title character takes the depressing cake.
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Jesse Pinkman, Breaking Bad (2008-2013)
Outrageous misfortunes: Estranged from his parents due to his drug addiction; blackmailed into cooking meth with his high school chemistry teacher; kidnapped and nearly killed by an insane drug dealer; had all his belongings stolen; fell through the roof of a Porta Potty; discovered his girlfriend’s dead body; reduced to living in a crack house; severely beaten by a police officer; forced to murder an innocent man; sees another girlfriend’s son almost die after being poisoned; tricked into again teaming up with Walter White, who may be the devil; persuaded by Walter to break up with his girlfriend; watched an associate murder an innocent boy; suffered breakdown due to guilt; initially denied his share of drug money when attempting to leave meth business; arrested after attempting to give away drug money; caught in gunfight; learned that Walter watched his first girlfriend die but didn't try to save her; taken prisoner by white supremacists and forced into meth-cooking slavery; caught attempting to escape meth prison; forced to watch second girlfriend's execution.
The bottom line: Poor, poor Jesse might be the only real ''good guy'' on Breaking Bad, which makes his tragic life even more upsetting.
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Deb Morgan, Dexter (2006-2013)
Outrageous misfortunes: Mother died of cancer when she was 12; father committed suicide; endured humiliation of dressing up like a hooker for Vice stings while yearning to be a detective; fell in love with and got engaged to a serial killer; kidnapped and nearly murdered by said serial killer; removed from an important case due to lack of people skills; shot, along with her much-older lover, who died from his wounds; forced to watch the woman who shot her commit suicide; learned her serial-killer fiancé is her adopted brother's biological brother; driven by trauma to believe she loved her adopted brother; went to confess her feelings, only to discover he, too, is a serial killer; almost killed by a different serial killer; discovered that another man she had feelings for had been murdered; got into a car accident after being drugged by the serial poisoner who killed her last love interest; driven to kill her boss to protect her brother.
The bottom line: Man, Deb has had a rough f---in' life.
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Kelly Taylor, Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990-2000)
Outrageous misfortunes: Raised by an alcoholic, drug-addicted mom; had an absent father who was eventually sent to jail for fraud and embezzlement; coerced into having sex her freshman year of high school; hospitalized after overdosing on diet pills; caught in a fire while attending a rave; briefly sucked into a cult; suffered cocaine addiction; held hostage at gunpoint by insane roommate, who tried to kill Kelly via carbon monoxide poisoning; had AIDS scare; had a miscarriage; shot in the LAX parking lot; suffered amnesia; attacked and brutally raped; faced murder charges after shooting her rapist; saw her mother die on The CW's 90210 spinoff.
The bottom line: The O.C.'s Marissa Cooper has nothing on this definitive poor little rich girl.
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John Locke, Lost (2004-2010)
Outrageous misfortunes: Abandoned by his 15-year-old mother as a baby; led to believe that he was "special" by ageless Richard Alpert, only to be rejected when he failed Richard's mysterious test; had a foster sister who broke her neck; bullied as a teenager; conned out of a kidney by his crooked father; manipulated by his mother into handing over said kidney; rejected by the woman he loved; pushed out an eighth-story window by his father; paralyzed from the waist down after the fall; stranded on a mysterious island after a plane crash; nearly murdered by smoke monster; constantly manipulated by Ben Linus; shot and left for dead in a mass grave; broke leg and transported to Tunisia; discovered that his true love died while he was on the island; saw associate gunned down; crashed car; rejected by Oceanic Six; saved before committing suicide, only to be murdered in cold blood.
The bottom line: We'll tell Locke what he can't do: live in peace and happiness, at least until he gets to Sideways World.
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Jack Bauer, 24 (2001-2010)
Outrageous misfortunes: Watched his wife die in his arms; developed a heroin addiction while undercover; fired due to his addiction; captured and held prisoner in China; discovered his father was working with terrorists; lost his close friend, a.k.a. President Palmer, in an assassination; saw his close friend Tony die, only to find out he's really not dead and may be working with terrorists before he's revealed to be on his own revenge mission; forced that friend into FBI custody; watched a girlfriend descend into a catatonic state; watched a second girlfriend die of a gunshot wound; traded his own life for the safety of Chloe and her family's lives; forced to torture, maim, and kill a whole lot of people.
The bottom line: Jack can barely get through an hour without his life becoming worse. So a 24-hour period in which Jack Bauer doesn't suffer? That'll be the day.
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Dr. Mark Greene, ER (1994-2002)
Outrageous misfortunes: Cheated on, then divorced by his wife; accidentally killed a pregnant woman after misdiagnosing her; attacked in the ER men's room; told his birth was a mistake; watched both his parents sicken and die; nearly lost his new wife and baby daughter when a patient's father went on a killing rampage; nearly lost the baby again when she accidentally ingested ecstasy; suffered and eventually died from brain cancer.
The bottom line:The good doctor couldn't save himself from a life filled with tragedy.
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Elena Gilbert, The Vampire Diaries (2009-present)
Outrageous misfortunes: Barely survived a car crash that killed both her parents; watched her biological mother burn alive; discovered her biological father bleeding to death and her brother attempting suicide on the same night; kidnapped by a vampire; watched her aunt die; briefly died, surviving only because her birth father gave his life for hers; watched her beloved guardian transform into an evil vampire; suffered a cerebral hemorrhage; drowned in the same spot where her parents died; became a vampire against her wishes; subjected to the hunter's curse, driving her to attempt to kill herself; found out she was sired to Damon after picking him over Stefan; suffered the death of her brother; was tortured in an attempt to get her to turn her humanity back on; finally turned her humanity back on only to be overwhelmed by pain and anger; lost her best friend (who would later come back to life); kidnapped by the Augustine society; tortured by the Travelers with visions of the human life she can never have; had her body taken over by her evil doppelgänger; lost her first love (who would later come back to life); blew herself up to get to the Other Side; lost her boyfriend (who would later come back to life); said goodbye to her brother after sending him off to a better life.
The bottom line: Did F. Scott Fitzgerald write The Beautiful and Damned about Elena?
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Kenny McCormick, South Park (1997-present)
Outrageous misfortunes: Raised by abusive, alcoholic, unemployed parents; constantly teased for his poverty; killed numerous ways throughout the series. Causes of death included decapitation, gunshot wounds, microwave oven, dodgeball, chickenpox, spontaneous combustion, giant fan, drowning, falling piano, plague, lava, muscular dystrophy, autoerotic asphyxiation, and boredom.
The bottom line: You bastards!
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Andy Sipowicz, NYPD Blue (1993-2005)
Outrageous misfortunes: Lost his mother during a robbery; raised by an alcoholic, racist father; served intense 18-month tour in Vietnam; suffered from alcoholism; divorced and estranged from his first wife and son; shot six times in an ambush; lost his partner to heart failure; lost his son when he was shot and killed; lost his second wife to a gunman in a courtroom; lost another partner to a Mob hitman; diagnosed with prostate cancer; lost his third wife's pregnant sister when she was killed by her abusive husband.
The bottom line: Watching Sipowicz suffer for 12 — 12! — seasons would give anyone the NYPD blues.
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Tara Thornton, True Blood (2008-2014)
Outrageous misfortunes: Raised by an alcoholic, neglectful, abusive mother; crashed her car into a tree while driving drunk; fell under the thrall of an evil maenad; mourned the accidental death of her murderous boyfriend; attempted suicide; held hostage by a vampire; nearly killed by a different vampire; trapped in an occult shop that was nearly destroyed; shot in the back of the head; turned into a vampire, the thing she hates most; tried to burn herself to death in a tanning bed; captured and imprisoned by the Vampire Authority; murdered by a herd of Hep V-infected vampires right in front of her mother.
The bottom line: If all that happened to us, we might run away to be a cage fighter in New Orleans too.
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Wesley Wyndam-Pryce, Angel (1999-2004)
Outrageous misfortunes: Attempted to kill the object of his affection while under supernatural influence; nearly died after his throat was slit; abandoned by all of his friends; traumatized by one girlfriend's sudden death; traumatized more when a second girlfriend died in his arms; suffered alcohol dependency; mortally wounded while battling demon sorcerer.
The bottom line: On Buffy, Wes was silly, pompous comic relief. But thanks to a string of catastrophes on Angel, he gradually became one of TV's most tragic figures.