I need a synonym for pathetic without such a negative connotation. Something that conveys pity with maybe only a dash of disrespect. Pitiable is doesn't have enough and pathetic has too much disrespect. Also it doesn't have to be one word. it can be a phrase.
Actually after much deliberation. I think the answer is "sad" - "saddest story." It works for me. What do you guys think? The reason I think it works is sad can be pronounced with a negative connotation.