T.J. himself is pretty much a walking CMOH most of the time.
Same thing with Mikey.
The Break In
It may be like the average episode, but seeing the other four kids (Gus wasn't in the episode) going through drastic measures to get T.J. out of detention shows how much they care for him, and it kinda warms your heart a little.
T.J.: You've done something never done before. You guys are the best friend a kid could ever ask for.
The New Kid
Right after T.J. and the gang finish their tour of the school to Gus, he begins crying because he's been to twelve schools in the past six years, yet no one has ever been so nice to him before.
The gang getting Gus's name back (After having to be called "New Kid" due to the constitution of the playground) by getting all the kids to call him by his name and just making him feel welcome in general, after days of being ignored.
Even though T.J. and Spinelli were grossed out after their Test Kiss, their kiss was still an adorable scene (And it's also implied that they really did enjoy it).
The Great Jungle Gym Standoff
"The Great Jungle Gym Standoff". Come on, "We shall not, we shall not be moved..."
And the reason why Old Rusty was so important to T.J.: That's where he met the other four kids in kindergarten on the first day of school.
Big Brother Chad
The ending, where Vince accepts the fact that Chad is a geek.
Chad: Hey, just because I'm a geek doesn't mean I'm not a cool geek!
Speedy, We Hardly Knew Ye
After Speedy the class hamster dies, T.J. makes sure that they give him a proper sendoff by giving him a funeral during recess. Doubles as a Tear Jerker.
Its even better than that. Its revealed that ever since its foundation, Third Street School has had a hamster class pet for the fourth graders, and that the teachers had quietly been replacing the hamsters as they died of old age throughout the decades. While the assembled mourners, including many adults and even the towns mayor, are at first distressed with the realization that the Speedy they knew and loved had died decades ago, T.J points out to everyone that all of them had had a Speedy, whom they all loved. In the end, they bury the current Speedy with full honors, and King Bob decrees the grave site as The Tomb Of the Unknown Speedy. The episode ends with a small montage of the various Speedy's that have been at Third Street, from the 50's to present day.
T.J. defending Spinelli when everyone accuses her of throwing a rock at Randall during a dirt clod war.
Randall just got used to being in T.J.'s pack when he finds out that Miss Finster has a new snitch, Douglas. Because of this, Randall is jealous and sad, and goes over onto a swing to cry. T.J. finds him upset, and tells him that he should go back to being Finster's snitch.
T.J.: You only get a few good friends in your life, friends who like you for who you are, friends you like for who they are, and being popular is no reason to give up a friend like that, even if that friend is a 200-pound gargoyle in orthopedic shoes.
The sweetest part? T.J.'s being a sweetheart to kids who he would consider his enemies.
The Great Can Drive
The ending: After an entire episode of competing against each other for the can drive, the kids in Miss Grotke's class (The Recess Gang and the other kids in the episode) and Miss Furley's class (The Ashleys are the main concern in the episode) decide to work together to help Mikey with the can drive
The episode straddles the line between Tearjerker and CMOH. One one hand, Mikey's relationship with Ms. Salimony (the music teacher who teaches him to believe in himself so that he can discover his repressed singing talent) is one big Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. But the end, in which Mikey realizes that he's genuinely in love with an engaged 25 year-old woman, never fails to make me choke up. The final scene, where he sings "Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen" while gazing longingly at Salimony and saying farewell to her, hits both ends.
Swing on Thru to the Other Side
Spinelli deciding to join Swinger Girl on the swingset at the end.
T.J.'s "best friend" essay:
T.J.: "My Best Friend": By T.J. Detweiler. People say a best friend is the most important fried a kid could have. That a best friend is someone who makes you laugh. Someone you go to for advice. Someone who can come to you for advice. Well, that's great for people who have a best friend, but I don't. I have no best friend. But there are some friends I do have. One's a great athlete. The most popular kid in school. He can hang out with anybody, but instead, he hangs out with me. Another friend of mine is the smartest kid I've ever met. She could probably build an atom bomb. But instead, she uses her brains to help me when I'm down. And then I got a friend who's so tough, she can take down a guy twice her size. But instead, she stands up for kids who can't defend themselves. Another one of my pals is a big guy. Real big. To a lot of kids, he looks scary. But he wouldn't hurt a fly. In fact, he's got a heart of gold. And then there's my newest friend. Some guys say he's a scaredy-cat, but I know deep down that he's a hero. When I see him swallow his fear and do what needs to be done, it reminds me of why things are worth standing up for. Yeah, some people say a best friend is the most important friend a kid could have. But I say, 'Why pick one?'. All my friends are the most important friends I have. So don't feel sorry for me, I'm the luckiest kid in the world! I don't have a best friend- I have five!
And the reason why he had trouble writing it in the beginning of the episode (which caused his friends to leave him): he can't choose which one is his "best" friend, he loves them all the same.
Also, the ending when the gang all apoligize to each other after calling each other names, and re-affirm their satus as being best friends.
The beginning gives us a really sweet and adorable bonding moment between Spinelli and Miss Grotke that definitely qualifies for this trope.
In fact, the whole reason why Spinelli called Miss Grotke "mama" is pretty heartwarming itself. Spinelli feels really close to her, like she's her mom (since Spinelli's real mom usually embarrasses her and forces her into girly activities). Cue awws.
They might be jerks, but the flashback to how the Ashleys met and became friends as preschoolers was adorable. It starts when Ashley A.'s hat is blown off by the wind while at the playground, causing her to chase after it, and bumping into the other girls all chasing after their hats, too.
Ashley A.: I'm Ashley. What's your name?
Ashley B.: Like, I'm Ashley, too!
Ashley Q.: No way! That's my name! I totally can't believe this!
And because they all wore purple the day they met, they made it a tradition to wear purple every anniversary of that day.
Gus's Last Stand
The ending: "I think little Belgium has earned himself an ice-cream cone"
Preceded by this:
Gus: (dejected) I guess I lost the battle, huh Dad?
Colonel Griswald: Yes son, but it looks like you won the war.
Earlier in the episode- Gelman is beating Gus to a pulp, when T.J. steps in and stands up for Gus, saying that Gelman will have to beat him and the gang up too if he attacks Gus. And then the entire student body joins in. Doubles as a Crowning Moment Of Awesome.
Weekend at Muriel's
After overhearing Spinelli calling her boring, Miss Finster decides to have a luau for them to prove that she's not so boring after all. When it cuts to Miss Finster driving Spinelli to school a few days later, they both talk about how fun their weekend was together.
One of the main reasons why the episode is such a fan favorite was due to Miss Finster showing her nice side, and it shows.
Spinelli decides not to appear in the recital because the rest of the kids made fun of the recital, not knowing she was going to be in it. After noticing that this meant that Mikey would be left without a dancing partner, and not going to be able to perform, she comes back for him.
The use of a highly cliched trope still manages to be a heartwarming moment. As Spinelli improves in her dancing, the tutor keeps mentioning a "little girl from old country" that Spinelli reminds her of. After the recital...
Spinelli: Mom, dad, what are you doing here?
Flo: Your dance instructor called us and told us to come down.
Spinelli: But mademoiselle, how did you know I'd dance?
Madame: Remember "little girl from old country"? Little girl was me. I too had to learn that, how you say 'rep', isn't as important as friends I love.
One Stayed Clean
The entire episode, non-stop. Gus' family has moved a lot so he finally gets a chance to get a school picture, and wants to make his family proud by staying clean. T.J. and the others work together to keep him clean and give him closure, Randall surprisingly (and unintentionally) calms him down with his harmonica music, and by the end of the episode, he sacrifices his clean self for T.J., not to mention the letter T.J. wrote to his dad about picture day, and how he's proud to be his friend. It's an Affectionate Parody of Saving Private Ryan and it works.
Gus' Dad: That's my son, right there in the middle with his first class picture ever. If you asked me, soldier, well... I'd say he's never looked better.
The ending, for anyone who's ever been the "fat kid" in his/her class.
The ending, when it turns out that the kids who buried the "treasure", actually being old toys that made them happy as kids, were Principal Prickly and his friend when they were ten years old.
The Library Kid
The Ashleys of all characters playing jumprope with the shy, bookish Library Kid.
The Ratings Game
The main gang giving out tens to EVERYONE, showing that everyone is equal and that they have every right to hang out with their friends. Special mention, however, goes to one scene in particular:
Randall: *After Mikey has just given him a ten while he was depressed* But...how? Why?
The ending, when Gus's parents find him alone and scared in the playground after he ran away and set up his own home inside Old Rusty, due to him believing that they were moving away again. They explain to him that they were just moving him into a bigger bedroom, and walk home together. The final lines are the sweetest part:
Gus: But dad, there's still one thing I don't get. How did you know where I was?
Gus's Dad:Well, let's put it this way: Gus, you've got one heck of a platoon leader.
(Camera pans to the left; T.J. is shown on his bicycle, smiling at them as they walk off)
In an effort to calm her notorious temper, Spinelli starts drawing on the blacktop with colored chalk, and ends up creating an elaborate piece of art. The rest of the gang fight to prevent anyone from destroying the drawing, inviting all the kids to the top of the jungle gym where they can get the best view of her creation. By the end of the episode, even Mrs. Finster and Principal Prickly are suitably impressed. Spinelli caps off her work with a portrait of herself with her friends. Although the drawing was a labor of love for her, at the end of the episode Spinelli declares, "It's just a stupid chalk drawing."
Spinelli helping Cornchip Girl with her drawing of a cat. It's pretty minor, but Spinelli acting like a big sister figure to her was adorable.
A Great State Fair
Gus nearly misses out on his first chance to go to a state fair because his dad forgot to hand back his permission form for the field trip, but T.J. vows that he'll find some way to get him there. Despite being on one of the funnest field trips of his life, and despite being told repeatedly that all of his zany schemes to rescue Gus from the school (including, but not limited to, tying a message to a dove's leg and trying to get to the interstate in a bumper car) are completely ridiculous, T.J. refuses to enjoy himself until he can do it with Gus at his side—which, against all odds, he finally does.
Also, Gus ensuring that his old bully nemesis Gelman (who was in detention with him) also goes to the fair, since he's learned from his dad that "no man gets left behind". This even prompts Gelman to actually befriend Gus.
The A.V. Kid
T.J. and Vince making up at the end after competing for the position of A.V. kid for the entire episode.
I don't know why, but I always get the warm fuzzies seeing Mikey cradling T.J. in his arms (after the latter got a black eye)..
The moment prior to this, when T.J is sentenced to the Dodgeball wall is equally heartwarming: Instead of begging for help his last words to his friends are: "Find King Bob!" Inches from the worst punishment on the playground, all he's worried about is saving the other kids from Randall and putting the rightful ruler back on the throne.
Prickly Is Leaving
When TJ asks Miss Finster why she hasn't tried to stop Principal Prickly leaving, when she's clearly upset about it, she explains that she's kept silent because Prickly has wanted to be a high school principal for a long time, and when you care about someone, you have to think about their happiness before your own.
The Army/Navy Game
Everything invlovling Gus and Cornchip Girl's friendship.
Lawson and His Crew
The moment where Skeens breaks off from Lawson's crew after Lawson insults Lazy Kid, simply for what he says when doing so:
"Leader, schmeader. I'm camping out with my bud. Them other kids were right about that friend stuff."
Taking the Fifth Grade
The Fifth and Sixth Graders Club. Seeing antagonists like Gelman, Lawson, and the Ashleys getting along with the gang puts a smile on your face.
Former-King Bob returning to his old school after graduating at the start of School's Out to snap Mikey & Gus out of their Acquired Situational Narcissism.