Cried So Ugly: The Top TV Episodes for Those In Need of a Good Cry
by Angela Dahl
I’m what you call a weeper; crying over fictional characters is my special area of expertise. So, as an expert, I have compiled the following list of my top “cried so ugly” TV moments, just in case anyone’s ever in need of a weep-a-thon.
Friends: “The Last One” (or any series finale)
Any series finale is enough to get anyone weepy because of the connections that have been built with the characters over the years. A series finale is really the end of a relationship – all you’re left with are the memories of shows past. There has been no show that I have loved more than Friends. It was my first “grown-up” TV love. The hit sitcom established a paradigm that a lot of people fit their own friends into: in my group of friends, for example, we’ve got a Phoebe, two Joeys, a Chandler, and a Ross (with me being the Ross/Red Ross/The Divorcer). The final image of the final Friends episode, with the six keys on the counter in Monica’s empty apartment and the pan to the frame on the door, brings me to tears every time I watch it. Oh. My. God (said in Janice voice).
Angel: “I Will Remember You” (or any “Why can’t they just be together?!” stories)
There’s at least one of these couples in every TV show. It’s what keeps us interested because we want more than anything for these two characters to just be together already! If there is one television couple that personified “Why can’t they just be together?!” it’s Buffy and Angel. There are several reasons why they just can’t be together: One, he’s a vampire and she’s a vampire slayer, so her job is essentially to kill him. Two, if Angel experiences one moment of pure happiness, he’ll lose his soul and turn back into the killer vampire he once was. However, during a Buffy crossover episode of Angel viewers got the answers to a “what if” scenario. Angel, through a special sort of blood transfusion, turns human, and he and Buffy spend a special night together that includes lots of peanut butter and… you know. This happiness is short-lived, though. Angel realizes the danger he’s putting Buffy in by being human because she’ll have to literally fight all his demons for him. Angel asks the Oracles to make him a vampire again, but they warn him that in doing so, they will have to reverse time, and only he will have the memories of the last twenty-four hours, not Buffy. Before their time is up, Angel confesses what he has done to Buffy, leading to their embrace as the seconds wind down with Buffy repeatedly sobbing, “I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget.” She does.
The second season finale of Grey’s is, in a word, a sobfest. Meredith and Derek have to put their dog down, which I originally thought had to be the saddest scene in the episode. Mind you, this is also the episode where Webber throws his seventeen-year-old niece, who’s dying from cancer, a prom at the hospital. However, what is by far the saddest part of the episode is the conclusion of the Denny/Izzie relationship. Denny, recovering from his heart transplant, proposes to Izzie, who accepts and runs off to put on the perfect dress that she intends on showing him before the prom party. And just when you thought there was finally going to be a happy ending for a couple on the show, Denny dies. This brings us to the crying ugly scene: Alex lifts Izzie, who had finally decided on wearing a voluminous pink dress, from the hospital bed with Denny’s body while Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars” begins to play in the background. The contrast of the pink dress covering part of Denny’s body and Izzie looking so small and lost just breaks your heart.
Futurama: “Jurassic Bark” (or any story about a pet)
Any story about a pet or animal is already emotionally-loaded, because animals are essentially furry children: you feed them, teach them manners and how to go to the bathroom, and get really pissed off when someone calls them ugly. In this Futurama episode, Fry finds out that his dog, Seymour, is a fossil at an exhibit about pizzerias. The story oscillates between the development of Fry and Seymour’s bond in the late 1990s to the future where Fry is trying to get his dog back from the exhibit so the Professor can clone him. It’s that bond that most of us have had with a pet that makes this story so depressing. Futurama viewers already know that the premise of the show is that a guy from 1999 is cryogenically frozen for 1,000 years, so the dog and his owner will have to separate. Right before Seymour’s DNA is extracted from the fossil, Fry finds out that Seymour lived to be fifteen years old. Realizing that Seymour had a full life and probably had another owner and forgot about him, Fry stops the cloning. But as we find out through a montage of seasons and years, Seymour sat outside the pizzeria the rest of his life, obeying Fry’s last command to wait for him. The show ends with the old dog finally lying down and closing his eyes. I’ve never seen a sadder ending for a cartoon show.
The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air: “Papa’s Got A Brand New Excuse” (or any time Will Smith cries)
Let me say first that Will Smith equals talent. That is the only math I am confident in. The Fresh Prince writers maintained a good comedy-to-drama ratio for a sitcom, but Will Smith’s performances always took the dramatic episodes to the next level. I don’t know what exactly caused my attachment to Mr. Smith — his charm, his humor, or his handsome – but it’s come to a point where every time Will Smith cries, I cry. In “Papa’s Got A Brand New Excuse,” Lou, Will’s father who left him and his mom fourteen years earlier, shows up while Will is working at The Peacock. They bond, and Lou offers to take him on the road for the summer. Right before they are due to leave, Lou tells Will that he has to cancel because of a job opportunity, but Will and Uncle Phil both know that that means he’s walking out again. Alone with Uncle Phil, Will has an angry tirade and eventual emotional breakdown after he says, “How come he don’t want me, man?” That line, the last line of the episode, is a shot to the heart and Will Smith is to blame. The episode ends with Phil and Will hugging and a close up on the father son statue that Will bought for his father.
What are your “cried so ugly” TV moments?