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Tear Jerker: Live Action TVT-Z
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There was one episode where Reverend Jim's father died and left him a fortune, but it winds up being placed in a trust due to Jim's mental state. The episode ended with Jim going through his dad's personal effects, finding a tape of "You Are The Sunshine of My Life," and listening to it while staring at his dad's old suit draped across a chair.
File that one as a heartwarming moment also; the look on Jim's face as he listens to the song - and gets the message - is pure contentment.
In one episode, Jim buys an old racehorse that had outlived its usefulness, and kept it in his apartment. Typical wacky Jim business, but when the horse dies, Jim officiates at a funeral (he is a Reverend, after all) and gives a remarkably perceptive, moving eulogy.
There was another episode where Alex's sister returened his 16 year-old dog, Buddy, that she had been looking after for several years. An excited Alex goes all out and pampers Buddy through the course of the episode, but he soon dies at the vet's office. Louie, who hated the dog, shows a rare moment of kindness, and gives Alex some time alone to mourn. Alex is normally a very stoic/levelheaded individual so to see him break down and start sobbing is heartwrenching.
The death of paramedic Bobby Caffey, complete with Bobby as a small boy being led off by the hand to Heaven, by his father, while Enya's "Only Time" plays.
The end of "After Time", the second post-9/11 episode, when Firefighter Tommy Doyle's body is found at The Pile and brought back to the firehouse, and the whole neighborhood is there in a candlelit vigil.
And "Two Hundred and Thirty-Three Days," when Alex's father's body is finally found. The episode aired in May, almost nine months after 9/11, which was a continuing theme in much of Season 3.
It's hard to not get teary watching "In Their Own Words," the special nonfiction episode about first responders to 9/11 that started Season 3 (it aired 10/15/2001). Particularly the interview with Molly Price (Faith) whose firefighter husband was a first responder.
The funeral for Alex after she dies in an explosion trying to comfort a trapped elderly couple instead of getting herself to safety. And this came just days after she'd slagged off on EMT duty as being a demotion from the firehouse.
"Tell my mother it didn't hurt."
Doc's slide into a complete nervous breakdown. He's been on the edge for months, and then Alex dies and his first reaction is to go find the guy who'd called in sick, causing her to take his shift, and attempt to beat the shit out of the guy while screaming that he should have been the one who died. Made even more harrowing by Carlos, someone who'd looked up to Doc as a father figure, being the one to have to hold him back and talk him down. It eventually gets to the point that Doc has to quit his job and have himself committed, and we find out from Sully's narration at the end that he's still struggling with recovery.
One episode of the weird little Canadian children's program Today's Special, had, through a convoluted series of events, each of the characters given one wish. Jeff, a mannequin who comes to life with a magical hat that does not work outside the store (just stay with us here), naturally wants to use his wish to become a real person and finally get to explore the world outside the store. Sadly, because of another convoluted series of events where the other characters waste their wishes without thinking (think of the fairy tale where they say things like "I wish that sausage was stuck to the end of your nose" and you have the idea), Jeff must now use his wish to help his friends. There is a gut-wrenching moment where he hesitates before finally saying "Okay, I wish everyone was back to normal." Then he walks off by himself and the last shot shows him staring out the store's big display window. That's a pretty haunting Downer Ending for something aimed at five-year-olds, isn't it?
The end of "I Will Rise Up". Godric's calm, joyful acceptance of his impending death and Sookie's tears for him. Also, when Sookie asks Godric if he's very afraid and he replies: "No, no! I'm full of joy!". It's the delivery that makes it so affecting.
Eric, who all Season 3 has apparently been willing to throw anyone under a bus in order to get his 1000-year old revenge, finally shows his true colours by handcuffing himself to Russell and staying out in the sunlight to take the bastard out with him, saving Sookie and Bill in the process.
In the first episode of season three, after Bill feeds from the old lady, he glamours her into thinking her son showed up.
In "Me and the Devil" when Tommy accidently kills his mother. His reaction is absolutely heartbreaking.
In late season two when a desperate Anne Boleyn begins to understand what will happen to her, and how it will affect her daughter, and she chases after Henry in the gardens, begging him for mercy, holding Elizabeth in her arms.
The entire season two finale is really one long tear jerker, but the strongest moment happens when the execution of Anne Boleyn has been postponed and Cromwell goes to church. James Frain's acting is superb in this scene, when he attempts to beg for forgiveness for his sins. He doesn't speak a word, yet it's clear that he is overcome with the feeling that he doesn't deserve forgiveness, and just sinks down on the floor.
The execution of Thomas More in season two. What especially brought it home was that the cry of anguish doesn't come from the person being executed, but from the person who was responsible for it.
At the end of the episode "Lady in Waiting", you hear Anne's blood chilling scream, and her ladies run into her room, to an utterly devastated Anne screaming, "No! No, no, no, NO!" and futiley trying to stop the bleeding as she miscarries her fourth child. Then Henry, likewise devastated but also furious, charges into her room and tells her in this horribly quiet voice, "You've lost my boy... She cuts him off with, "It is not all my fault. You have no one but yourself to blame for this!"
The death of Katherine of Aragon, and how her lady in waiting, handles it.
She hallucinates her daughter beforehand.
Anne watching her brother being beheaded in episode nine of season two. Her pain and horror is truly heartbreaking, and the fact that her father hears her but doesn't seem to care at all makes it even worse.
Just put all of Anne's scenes from the season 2 finale on the list. What makes it even more of a tearjerker is that a great portion of her dialogue from this episode comes from what the real Anne Boleyn supposedly said when it all actually happened.
More of a bittersweet one, but there's two scenes in season three with Mary and Elizabeth, one where after Elizabeth is presented to Henry at Christmas, she ends up sitting on her older sister's lap, and another where they're about to go to sleep and are talking to each other. You can see how close they are, despite it all - it would be wonderful, except that anyone who knows their history knows how bad their relationship is going to go.
Cromwell's death was heartbreaking - and disturbing.
Katherine Howard's execution. Yes, she brought it on herself with continual possession of the Idiot Ball, but when you watch her practicing with the block the night before in her cell, and her last words - "Life is so beautiful" - it's hard not to feel choked up.
When Mary is crying in the hallway after Philip of Bavaria is sent away. That poor girl had been through hell and back already, and had just started to fall in love with this guy, and suddenly he's gone. Even worse is how she stays strong until she's in the corridor, and then the mask just... falls away.
There was something very sad about Henry's attempt to 'cure' Brandon in the series finale. It's this desperate attempt by a man who's losing it completely to keep the one friend who's been there since the beginning. It doesn't work.
Charles and Henry's last conversation is full of this. For all his callousness, Henry comes off as really sentimental when they reminisce about their past, especially when Charles remembers the day his king made him a duke.
And speaking of Brandon, after his death, we see his mistress left with no place to go, completely unacknowledged by Brandon's wife - understandable until you remember that Catherine left him and he tried to win her back; she's more like the ex-wife and Brigitte was the new wife, practically speaking. The heartbroken look on Brigitte's face when she realizes she's got nothing left is terrible.
Anne Askew's torture and death was wrenching.
Mary getting the news of Chapuys' death.
The Twilight Zone
Jack Klugman's monologue in "A Passage for Trumpet" as a washed-up, alcoholic trumpet player.
Joey: Because I'm sad. Because I'm nothing. Because I'll live and die in a crummy one-roomer with dirty walls and cracked pipes. I'll never even have a girl. I'll never be anybody. Half of me is this horn. I can't even talk to people, Baron, cause this horn, that's half my language. But when I'm drunk, Baron...oh when I'm drunk, boy, I don't see the dirty walls or the cracked pipes. I don't know the clock's going, that the hours are going by, cause then I'm Gabriel. Oh, I'm—I'm Gabriel with a golden horn, and when I put it to my lips, it comes out jewels, comes out a symphony, comes out the smell of fresh flowers in summer, comes out beautiful. Beauty. When I'm drunk, Baron. Only when I'm drunk.
In the season 2 finale, Weevil almost graduates - then Sheriff Lamb shows up to arrest him. Weevil pleads for 10 minutes, so he can walk across the stage (that being his grandmother's dream) and Sheriff Lamb doesn't listen.
Also in the season 2 finale, Cassidy committing suicide by jumping off the roof of the Neptune Grand. Okay, yeah, he was the Big Bad who killed a dozen or so people and raped a girl, but there's something unbearably tragic about his story (ie. he has a good Freudian Excuse). Especially this exchange:
Logan and Veronica are both speechless, unable to give him any reason to live
Cassidy: That's what I thought.
A season later Cassidy's brother finally finds himself having to deal with all this, in two different scenes that kinda break our hearts.
The scene with his father, where he asks why his father didn't come back to the US for Cassidy's funeral, and asks/screams "You ever think he's dead because of us? Or that he killed those people because of us?"
The scene with Logan, where he asks if Logan tried to stop Cassidy jumping, and talks about this time when he duct-taped his brother to his bike.
Rex Dies is definitely one, especially when Tori tries to console Robbie after he says that he needed her support. Combined with when Robbie is saying what looks like his final goodbyes to Rex...
Steve's death, when Pete begs Claudia to get back to the car and her scream when she finds Steves body had me sobbing my heart out.
Pete: "...Please get back to the car."
When HG doesn't know how to save Myka and with tears in her eyes she tells her she's sorry.
Age Before Beauty, twice: When Myka's grown old, and is in the hospital, and Artie walks down the hall and starts retreating when he sees her, as if to actually try to outrun her impending death. And then, when she's trying to say goodbye to him, and Pete walks in and stops her, all blustery, Artie's looking away and wiping away tears. Artie's such a sarcastic hardass, but he takes what happens to his agents so terribly to heart.
Watching CJ wander aimlessly through New York, shocked that the Secret Service agent who'd been protecting her (and whom she had started to fall in love with) had just been killed when he walked into a minimart hold-up. The fact that "Hallelujah" is playing over the scene makes it doubly bad.
"Leo? Leo? LEO!" Not that spectacular in itself, but when combined with the fact that it was necessitated by the actual death of John Spencer? Kind of traumatizing. As was Josh's trip to the hospital.
Everything associated with that was heartbreaking, but Josh at the end really does it. "Thanks, boss."
Other moments were the moments CJ had to go into the oval office and break the news to President Bartlet that first Leo had had a heart attack, and then later that he had died. This latter scene in particular was heartbreaking; CJ walks in without saying anything; Bartlet sees her expression, knows immediately that Leo's gone, thanks her, and turns away with tears in his eyes.
The homeless Korean veteran's funeral was rather stirring.
How about Mrs. Landingham explaining why she gets a little down around the holidays in that episode?
The end of the last episode of Season 4 with the Bartlets in the church, and Josh and Donna standing at the massive amount of flowers people are leaving for Zoey in front of the White House.
Bartlet's CMOA when condemning God in Latin in "Two Cathedrals" doubles as a Tear Jerker as you can see how distraught he is how God treats those closest to him.
Both the CMOA and Tear Jerker are combined again at the end of the episode as they all go to the press conference.
Leo (sotto voce): Watch this ...
Leo's funeral in "Requiem".
All of "Bartlet for America," particularly in the opening teaser during this exchange:
Josh: I'm gonna help you out and you know why?
Leo: Because you're so worried about everybody you love dying that you're a compulsive fixer?
Josh: Nah, it's because a guy's walking down the street and he falls in a hole, see?
"That was a nice thing you did."
Santos' speech announcing his candidicacy, superimposed with President Bartlet walking across the Oval Office with braces and standing for the first time after a particularly debilitating MS attack.
From In the Shadow of Two Gunmen, which is practically a goldmine for Tear Jerker moments:
Sam frantically shouting "Josh, I'm here!" as Josh is wheeled into GW after being shot at Rosslyn.
The scene where Donna comes to the hospital after the shooting.
When Bartlet kisses Leo on the cheek before going into surgery.
The look on Toby's face after he yells at Josh from behind for fooling around behind the gate, then reaches him and realizes he's been shot. To put it simply, Richard Schiff is an astounding actor.
When CJ finds out that Sam was the one who pushed her out of the way of the bullets.
When Toby loses it and starts screaming at CJ about wanting to hunt down every white supremacist organization in the country.
Bartlet to Leo, while watching Josh's surgery: "Look what they did."
The end of "The State Dinner", where President Bartlet is talking on the phone to the sailor on a fuel tender that services the John F. Kennedy, whose entire battle group is in the middle of a hurricane, and Bartlet knows that there's no way the small ship will survive. The static-y, broken-up description of the storm by the sailor, who is awed to speak to his Commander-in-Chief even though he's in the middle of it, coupled with the look of total despair and helplessness on Bartlet's face.
And that gets mentioned in Bartlet's tirade against God.
Bartlet:They say we haven't had a storm this bad since you took out that tender ship of mine in the north Atlantic last year, 68 crew. Do you know what a tender ship does? Fixes the other ships. Doesn't even carry guns, just goes around, fixes the other ships and delivers the mail, that's all it can do.
When Bartlet gives Charlie the carving knife: "Charlie, my father gave me this knife, and his father gave it to him, and now I'm giving it to you." The implication of the words strikes the audience and Charlie just dead-on. And god, the expression on Charlie's face when Bartlet adds that the knife was made especially for the Bartlet family "By a Boston silversmith named Paul Revere."
"Sam, you're going to run for President one day. Don't be afraid, I believe in you."
The end of "Posse Comitatus", when Bartlet hears the news that the terrorist-sponsoring foreign defence minister, whose assassination Bartlet ordered against all of his moral convictions, has been killed. While Bartlet's favorite song is performed on the stage inside the theater hall: "And the victorious in war shall be made glorious in peace."
The entire speech Toby gives in 25, starting with, "I didn't realize babies come with hats" and ending with, "This isn't going to mean anything to you, but... Leo was right. Leo was right."
The episode "Han".
Zoey dealing with her kidnapping in "Jefferson Lives".
The President telling Ellie "The only thing you ever had to do to make me happy was come home at the end of the day" in "Ellie".
"18th and Potomac," which led to all those tearjerkers in "Two Cathedrals".
Charlie: Leo, there was an accident at 18th and Potomac. Mrs. Landingham was driving her car back here.
Leo: What happened?
Charlie: There was a drunk driver, and they ran a light at 18th and Potomac. They ran it a high speed.
Leo: Charlie, is she all right?
Charlie: No. She's dead.
The episode "Noel":
Stanley: You have Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Josh: That doesn't sound like something they let you have if you work at the White House.
Josh: Can we have it be something else?
The end of season 1 finale. The plane blowing upis a bit of a Special Effect Failure case, but the look on Neal's face as he realises what happened and tries to throw himself into the fire in a futile attempt to save Kate is heartbreaking.
Will & Grace
Within the last few minutes of the last ever episode, Jack and Karen sing 'Unforgettable' to the piano after realising that through all their boyfriends and husbands, they still had each other.
The episode when Grace marries Leo. Oh, so many moments.
Will's final words, after he lifts Grace's veil.
Will:[to Leo] Take good care of her...okay?
It becomes even more of a tearjerker when you know that the marriage would fall apart just a few years later—after Leo admitted to Will that he had cheated on Grace.
There was a room in Karen's house which she adamantly refused to show to Jack. When Jack finally breaks in, it is shown to be a nursery from a pregnancy scare Karen had about a season or two back. Karen, in her usual manner, casually remarks how she'll turn it into a wine cellar or something before they leave. With Jack safely in the hall, Karen looks back at the nursery with the most heart-wrenching expression on her face, and shuts the door.
In one episode, Jack asks Will if he's ever considered a relationship with him. He asks it in typical Jack-style, and when Will laughingly tells him "no", appears to laugh it off in typical Jack-style—except for the split second that we see the genuine hurt on his face.
Wallace crying and begging for his life when his best friends Bodie and Poot murder him.
Ziggy genuinely seemed to care about his duck, and his reaction to its death was sad.
Ziggy snaps and commits murder, breaking down afterwards. He says that he did it because he got tired of being the punchline to every joke.
Nick Sabotka's teary, drunken lament to Ziggy, who lost his temper for the last time and committed a murder. Frank (Ziggy's father) has to go State's Witness just to get him transferred to a distant prison where Ziggy won't be killed, and as a result Frank is murdered. The last shot of Nick in Season 2 is him looking through a rusty chain-link fence at the deserted Baltimore docks.
Frank Sobotka's tearful speech on the death of American industry as he sees his plans to revitalize Baltimore's stevedores come to nothing: "You know what the trouble is, Brucie? We used to make shit in this country, build shit. Now we just put our hand in the next guy's pocket."
That scene was where he cemented his status as a truly sympathetic Anti-Villain.
"Your way... It won't work."
Officer Russell learns the final fate of Frank Sobotka while at the harbour.
Bubbles discovering that he accidentally poisoned Sherrod, and then confronting his demons with his sponsor.
The saga of Randy Wagstaff in the final stretch of season four, from the scene in the hospital after his house has been burned down and his foster mother is in critical condition to his ending up in the foster home, and Carver's emotional breakdown in the car after dropping him off there. All of this is only made worse by what's become of Randy by the time we see him for the last time in season five.
Bubbles constantly getting beaten and robbed by another street junkie in season 4. Even worse that his attempts to stop it lead to Sherrod's death.
In the episode "Corrections": in the scene before Omar dies, he robs a Stanfield stash house, with not nearly the same ease or effectiveness that he did in the first and second seasons. After taking the stash, Omar stands at the now-deserted corner and yells, "Marlo Stanfield is NOT A MAN FOR THIS TOWN!" and there's complete silence. He stands there, looking like he's about to break down in the futility of his words. Finally, he goes to the store to buy a pack of "Newpo'ts", only to be shot and killed instantly. The real tearjerking moment is the final shot of the episode, when a coroner zips up Omar's body bag for the last time.
Snoop's last words. "How's my hair look Mike?" "You look good, girl."
Michael's little brother Bug was his Living Macguffin right from the start of his plot line, and protecting him was the reason he got into the drug trade in the first place. After killing Snoop, they part.
Dukie, at the end of the series, is implied to be heading down the road of drug addiction that Bubbles has just escaped.
Dukie's last scene with Presbo, where Dukie pretends to be borrowing money for schoolbooks. Both know it is a total lie, but they keep pretending.
Very heavily implied, infact, as Dukie is wearing a shirt with bubbles on it.
Michael and Dukie's final conversation: "You remember that day, one summer past..."
The final flash-forward montage in each season. Special mentions for seasons 3, for its Crowning Music Of Heartwarming, and 5, for structuring itself as a long farewell to the series.
"Let's go home" and the lingering, final shot of Baltimore itself.
Season one, episode 11. Kima has just been shot, McNulty is falling apart, and... just him uttering his catch-phrase of the show ("...the fuck did I do?"), only this time it's devastating, not kinda funny.
Wire In The Blood
Oh, the scene in "Synchronicity" where Carol has to break it to Tony, who's suffering from hallucinations, that the passionate love affair he remembers them having never really happened...
Without A Trace
There was an episode about a Jr. High kid. He was a reject from Jr. High and a girl told him that she wanted to have sex with him. Okay no problem...that's when he vanishes. Except that when he goes there, the girls strip him naked and take pictures of him, then he decides he's going to hang himself from their swing set because he's just that humiliated and they come there right as he's trying to commit suicide. And people believe that kids should just shut up and deal with their Jr. High stuff?
There was another episode where the shipments of a video game went missing. The woman who was fostering kids tried to sell them to her brother to help him in his financial debt. She decided she had enough of it and walked off...and he shot and killed her. One can only imagine how bad it was when the foster kids were told where their foster mother was.
An episode detailed a 16 year old girl who ran away because she was pregnant. She was just hiding out and didn't tell her mother.
One episode is about a man who has just woken from a coma and goes missing. As the episode progresses, it is revealed that in his pre-coma life, he was a terrible person, but horrified by his past he has sworn, honestly, truly sworn to turn over a new leaf. The odds of waking from his coma are said over and over again to have been astronomically low and he remains in a fragile state. He has been given an almost impossible new lease on life that he plans to use. At the end of the episode, they discover that he has been mugged and beaten back into his coma; the chances of waking again are nonexistent.
The episode where Martin's aunt dies, Sam finds him and holds him as he sobs. Manly Tears of any sort turn up the sadness Up to Eleven.
The end of White Balance, Sam goes up to Jack and tells him the two missing kids (A black teen boy and a white teen girl) have been found. One is alive, one is dead. We don't know who, then Elena calls and tells him it's a positive ID. Jack then walks up to tell the moms of the kids, and they are both looking at him with trepidation and hope. It never says which of the two is alive and which isn't.