Just like The Simpsons, Futurama is packed with memorable moments, including those that make viewers cry. Unlike The Simpsons, Futurama's tear-jerker moments are more infamous in the fanbase, and one moment (specifically, the ending of "Jurassic Bark") was considered so heartbreaking that the producers got hate mail over it.
The episode "Jurassic Bark" managed to make even the crew cry. The very fitting music "I Will Wait For You" adds to the sadness. Probably one of the greatest pieces of irony ever.
Fry: I'll never forget him, but he forgot me a long, long time ago.
Fridge Tear Jerker: The line after the one Fry forgets in "Walkin' on Sunshine"? "And I don't want to spend all my life, just in waiting for you." It actually gets worse the more you look at it. Becomes more of a Tear Jerker (or less, depending on how you look at it) when you realise that thanks to the time paradox, Lars spent many happy years with both Seymour and his family before the latter was fossilised and the former refroze himself.
"Leela's Homeworld" has a moment which is tearjerking in a heartbreaking way is when Leela thinks her parents are her parents' murderers and is about to kill them, and they just accept it. In particular the line "That would be best". They're so ashamed of what they are, and so sure that Leela would be better off without them, they'd rather Leela kill them than find out the truth.
The fate of Slurms McKenzie in Fry and the Slurm Factory; allowing himself to be crushed by the collapsing cave in order to save the Planet Express crew.
The ending of "The Luck of the Fryrish", when Fry makes a very important discovery about his brother. Mixed with heart-warming tears, as viewers know Fry lives and that his brother honoured him in his nephew, but losing a young brother is definitely a very sad thing.
Yancy: Son, I'm naming you Philip J. Fry, in honor of my little brother, who I miss every day. *sniff* I love you, Philip. And I always will.
The epitah on the gravestone also counts
Fry: Here lies Phillip J. Fry. Named for his uncle, to carry on his spirit.
"The Sting" has a few
The ending: Fry is in shambles; it is revealed that he stayed at the hospital for weeks hardly ever leaving Leela's side, spending the whole time begging her to "wake up". Maybe not as much of a tear jerker as "Leela's Homeworld" or "Jurassic Bark," but still very touching.
Terry's "FAREWELL FROM THE WORLD OF TOMORROW..." said in the exact same over-dramatic tone he uses to give WELCOME to Human Popsicles when they unfreeze. The other one that got me was Farnsworth's "Of course he still exists... as a frozen corpse in outer space! *hearty laugh, quickly turns into near-sobbing* oohh, I Made Myself Sad."
Farnsworth notes at the funeral, "This makes me the oldest member of my family..." and immediately breaks down upon that realization.
From Bender: "Whenever I would say 'Kill all humans', I'd always whisper 'Except one'. Fry was that one. And I never told him so!"
This one was potent enough to spawn an album from a band that were fans of the show, populated largely by Tear Jerker songs.
The end of "Time Keeps on Slippin'": Fry realizing Leela will never know what it was that made her finally fall for him and marry him, combined with Bender's melancholy whistling of the Globetrotter tune. To wit, Fry moved the stars themselves to write Leela a love note, and she will never know.
What really sets this up is the fact that Fry only finds out what finally made Leela fall in love with him is because she was being kind to him about something else he had done for her (learning to fly the ship). If she had just stayed in the pilot's seat, she would have seen it too.
After the Globetrotters tell Bender he can't join them, Bender is in tears.
In Beast With a Billion Backs, when Bender asks if he can go with Fry on the golden escalators to Yivo, and Fry answers, "Aw, sorry Bender. Robots don't go to Heaven." It's just the way Fry says it... Followed up by Bender standing alone in a field, sadly whispering, "Death to all humans."
The ending of "I Dated A Robot". There's supposed to be an anti-piracy moral in there, but watching Fry tearfully blank out his beloved Lucy Liu-bot is just plain... sad. "I'll always remember you, Fry. MEMORY DELETED."
It's really hard to figure out if the message is anti-piracy or if they are pointing out the hypocricy of anti-piracy. Near the end of the episode, Fry's Lucy Liu bot has demonstrated that the is a sentient being capable of heroism, love and sacrifice. The real Lucy Liu, a ridiculously rich person who has lived for more than a tousand years, cruelly demands that the heroic few-days-old enslaved sentient being be destroyed by Fry, the man that has helped save the original Lucy Liu and loves the Lucy Liu-bot, so she, the original can make a little bit more money. Bender kicking his own son to hell to get an army is a morally upright action by comparison. At least he didn't send an innocent relative to hell for small change. If this is a anti-piracy aesop it is ridiculously broken. If it is meant to say that digital rights movement are monstrous it is anvillicious. Pehaps rule of drama, rule of funny and status quo is king are the best explanations. Anyway, it's a tearjerker all right, and an angry-jerker because the original Lucy Liu gets away scot-free with being such a complete monster.
"The Late Phillip J. Fry":
Leela's message to Fry:
Leela: Dear Fry, Our time together was short but it was the best time of my life.
Leela about Fry: "My whole life I have been mad at him, and it wasn't his fault."
Fry, Bender, and Professor Farnsworth watching end of the universe is presented so breathtakingly beautiful, it almost makes one look forward to it.
When they arrive in the year one billion, Fry is insistent that even though all life is extinct, they should keep going forward in the hope of finding a way home, because Leela is still waiting for him. His dejected reaction as Farnsworth tells him there's no hope and this is the end of everything is heartbreaking.
Fry: I made it, Leela. Sorry I'm a billion years late.
Scruffy and Washbucket in Prisoner of Benda. "In another city we could be anyone we want-" "Go. Go now. Before I beg you to stay." It's as poignant as it is utterly, utterly ridiculous.
Nibbler noting that his cute little sailor outfit (his real naval uniform!) in That Darn Katz! belonged to his best friend, who died in it...
In "Godfellas", when the Shrimpkins (the tiny beings who live on Bender) are all killed in a nuclear war. "Look, Daddy! I'm hugging God. Maybe if I hug him real hard he'll save us from—"
Bender's reaction to their deaths. Made worse when he talks to the could-be-God and makes it clear just how much his failure is eating at him.
There's something really powerful about Bender's breakdown at the end of "Lethal Inspection". Over the course of the episode he goes from a complete arrogant Jerkass to being so unable to cope with his mortality that he can do nothing but helplessly punch holes in the wall and cry. Anyone who's thought too hard about their own mortality knows that feeling.
Watching how the story progresses in "The Tip of the Zoidberg" Watching how Zoidberg and Farnsworth became the Cloud Cuckoo Lander's they are today (it was a result of Tritonian Hypermalaria and Yetiism), and how their lifelong friendship was forged can really tug at the heartstrings. Especially when you find out that Farnsworth made Zoidberg promise he would perform a mercy killing on him if he ever started to exhibit signs of Hypermalaria, and when Farnsworth told Zoidberg many years later that he was starting to exhibit said symptoms and he had to uphold his promise.
When Zoidberg is confronted by the Planet Express crew, telling him they hate him, he has no friends and no one wants him around. Hearing Zoidberg break down and say "I'm sorry" is utterly heartwrenching, especially in how it's said. You really get the feeling that Zoidberg truly feels bad about what he's done, he's trying his best, but all it results in is disaster.
Other from that very episode. Zoidberg hiding what he had to sacrifice for the cure in order to save Farnsworth. Sure, it was basically nothing, but it was literally all that Zoidberg had.
Farnsworth:There's one thing I don't understand, Zoidberg. How did you persuade Mom to give you her precious yeti head. Did you have to promise anything in return? Zoidberg:Nothing, nothing at all.
Leela looking out into space at the end of, "A Bicyclops Built for Two", considering her own true origins. Note: The episode aired years before the conclusive, "Leela's Homeworld", did.
"How many planets could there be?"
"A Flight to Remember": Everyone of the main cast has just made it to the escape pod. Bender, actually having fallen in love instead of being the usual Jerkass hungry for wealth, has pulled (with great success) a very daring rescue for his newfound love, Contessa. The escape pod launches off, but is soon caught in a black hole due to excessive weight. Turns out that the excessive weight was Contessa. Horrified, Bender argues rather valiantly to change her mind, but is eventually convinced to let her go to save his life and the life of his coworkers. Despite the Mood Whiplash of a joke that followed (Bender finding out that the Contessa's necklace is a fake), it was truly an unexpected tearjerker from a character that, back then, was not known for many.
In the latest season's episode, "Overclockwise"
Fry: Don't go, Leela. Please. You and me, we were supposed to... Leela: ...What? Fry: I don't know. But some day we'll find out... won't we?
Also in "Overclockwise", the ending where Fry and Leela silently read through Bender's prediction of their ultimate fate together. They make no comments but their varying expressions as they read through the ups and downs of their relationship is enough.
"Overclockwise" again. The entire scene where Fry seeks out OmnissiahBender in the Niagara Falls and asks about the future. The sad look Bender gets after calculating for a considerable amount of time, implying that there is absolutely no hope for Fry and Leela and that he didn't have the heart to tell Fry... for me that was the most hopeless scene on the entire show.
"Where The Buggalo Roam"'s ending. Kif has just managed to rescue the girl of his dreams and the entire heard of buggalo while FLYING THROUGH A DUST TORNADO ON A BUGGALO, A FEAT THAT ONLY THOSE WHO WERE TRUE MARTIANS WERE SAID TO HAVE ACCOMPLISHED, and managed to convince the native Martians to let the Wongs keep their land with very little incident and a fairer deal, yet, despite all his efforts to Amy's parents, they still hate him, and are convinced that Zap was the one responsible for all Kif's achievements.
Fry going back to the past and managing to live in his old time, eating dinner with his family, playing basketball with his brother again and with the seven-leafed clover making a cameo.
Fry also reunites with his dog Seymour, so he no longer died alone, waiting for Fry to come back.
Though since Fry left on a long trip to try and recapture Leelo, a Narwhal that reminded him of Leela, Seymour spent a long time waiting for him, and stayed alive long enough for Fry to come back home. And then was promptly fast-fossilized by Bender trying to kill him.
When Bender, after twelve years of trying to locate Fry, finds and (assumingly) kills him, starts laughing maniacally...only to break down crying.
Fry's Eureka Moment realizing that he's Lars, dashing down the street excitedly, "I'm coming, Leela!"
The ending to "Cold Warriors" features Fry and his father, Yancy Sr., ice fishing. After seeing his father being incredibly tough on Fry throughout the episode, he finally explains to his son that he's hard on him so he'll be able to be strong in the future. It's topped off with the line "Now, bundle up. I don't want you getting frozen."
Spoken as the character is mostly likely being eaten by quintillions of Benders, with his only crime being going on a rampage because he was pushed to the breaking point while trying to apologize for a similar incident earlier in the episode involving a comment about his mother.
The end of The Bots and The Bees this is combined with CMOH when Bender gives up his son's memories of him, just so he can be happy and be a bender like him.
Just remember son, your daddy loves you.
Calculon performing Romeo's death, proving that his unholy acting talent goes far beyond hammy soap operas, making you respect a one-joke character before his death.
What makes it worse is that Calculon went through all that in order to beat his arch-rival in an acting competition and he lost.
"Fun on a Bun". First, there's the fact that Leela is so broken up over not just Fry's apparent death but the fact that she believes she ate him that she erases all of her memories of him. Something similar happens to Fry, but they both see various things during their day-to-day lives that constantly remind them of the other. The only thing that stops this episode from being a total tragedy is that Status Quo dictated a happy ending.
"Naturama." Salmon!Fry overcomes his own instincts (and a cliff, and a bear) in order to travel to Salmon!Leela's stream, fertilize her eggs, and die at her side.
Also from "Naturama", the story of Professor Farnsworth as the last Giant Tortoise of his kind in existence. He goes on a long journey in order to get to a possibly viable female. They successfully reproduce...only for the babies to be crushed by a boulder.
There's more to it: The episode is dedicated to the memory of "Lonesome George", the last ever Pinta Island Tortoise in existence who died in June, after numerous attempts to save the species through breeding with a sub species.
A brief moment from "The Tip of the Zoidberg" when Zoidberg sheepishly says "I'm sorry" when Amy demands he give her her kidney back.
"Parasites Lost". Fry's situation in this episode, wanting to know if Leela was truly attracted to him or only what the brain worms had made him.
Bender overhearing the crew badmouth his poor cooking in "30% Iron Chef".
"The Why of Fry":
Nibbler: What is one life weighed against the entire universe? Fry: (tearfully) But it was my life!
Really, the entirety of that episode is hard to sit through with a dry eye, especially if you too have felt utterly unimportant in the face of the world. The ending itself, when Fry decides that Leela is worth more than his old life, and Nibbler's promise to help him all he can (especially touching when you remember that he doesn't really know Fry) is a tear-jerker of a different kind.
Leela: You know what, Fry? I don't care if you're not the most important person in the universe. It really makes me happy to see you right now. Fry: Then I am the most important person in the universe.
In Calculon 2.0, after he is brought back from the dead, Calculon realizes that no one appreciates his type of acting anymore. He becomes very somber and depressed. He can only get a bit role on his old show, yet his depression does allow him to give a spectacular performance. The saddest line is below.
Calculon: I don't deserve another chance to live. Maybe I didn't even deserve my first.
His speech at the end where he notes not only did people not care he was dead but they were happier without him.
The ending to "Game of Tones", where Nibbler allows Fry to enter a dream of his mother's from the past. As it turns out, she dreamed a lot about him after he disappeared.
Fry's whole desire just to spend a little more time with his family even if it is in a dream. This becomes more saddening when Fry refuses to go along with his mission so he can stay with his family, but the Professor tells him he can't because on New Year's Eve, he wasn't at his house after 10pm. Fry then opens the door and sees an empty white void, letting out a Big "NO!".
Not to mention when Fry finally gets the chance to talk to his mom like he wanted to all episode (courtesy of Nibbler at the end) he just pulls her into a big hug... the first time he's been able to hug her in 1000 years. Then in the past, his mother wakes up and looks at his photo before smiling and going back to sleep.
This line from "Crimes of the Hot":
Bender: You know there's plenty of things I'm willing to kill for: money, jewels, Father O'Malley's weedwhacker, but now I've found something I'm willing to die for.
Just the way he says it.
The ending of "Meanwhile", the final episode. After Fry is saved from a time loop resulting in his death, he accidentally destroys the device causing the time loop, freezing everyone and everything except himself and Leela, permanently. We are then shown that the two live out full and happy lives together. They finally get married, have their honeymoon, and grow old together.. but none of their friends and loved ones are able to see it happen (although at the end, the professor manages to find them and repair the device so that they can all go back in time to the point before the device was built, thus allowing Fry And Leela to relive their lives all over again with their loved ones). The music the montage is set to makes it all the more sad and fitting, considering it's the last episode: it's Chopin's Etude in E Major Op. 10 No. 3.