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Tear Jerker: Roseanne
Roseanne has a few emotional scenes, but the one that truly qualifies at tearjerker is the final episode. In the end Roseanne confesses that all of the events since Dan's heart attack were made up. In fact, Dan died that day. The final shot shows an apathetic looking Roseanne sitting in front of the TV, eating chips, indicating that she might have lost her lust for life. Thus the series ends on a bitter note. If you take that scene along with the voice-over right before, it sounds like she only briefly gave into food and depression, but got out of her funk and chose to be alive when Darlene's baby was premature, making that last scene on the couch more of a Bittersweet Ending.
Before Darlene's wedding, she has a heart-to-heart with her father, in which he talks about her future and avoiding lost opportunities. The anguish and resignation in his voice is more poignant when you realize that from the last episode, we find out that this takes place just before his fatal heart attack.
Darlene: I'm not going to miss any opportunities. David and I are still young enough, so they'll be plenty of time... Dan: No..nononono, you see that where you're wrong, Darlene. Everything thinks that there is plenty of time to do whatever they want. Believe me, there's not. Stuff happens. Darlene: What stuff? Dan: I don't know. Any kind of stuff. All kinds of stuff. See, you plan things, and the clock keeps ticking, and you never do them. And, suddenly, DJ's in high school, and you're having a baby...I haven't talked to my dad in two years.
Their very last words to each other before they walk down the aisle:
Darlene: Are you ready to give me away? Dan: No, I'm not.
"Heart & Soul" has a lot of this. First, Jackie tries to comfort Roseanne after Dan goes to the hospital and all Roseanne can say is "I've been with him since I was 16 years old". Then there's her and Dan's desperate prayers later on...especially Dan's.
The episode around the birth of Darlene's baby, but especially the scene when all the Conner/Harris women gather to take her off life support, and Darlene breaks down. Both Sara Gilbert and Johnny Galecki pull out all their acting chops.
One of the things which must be considered about this episode was that, in the context of the entire last season, this event actually happened and not something Roseanne had made up. Darlene did have her baby prematurely and it nearly died, but in real life the family didn't have Dan nor did they have all that money which Roseanne spent on numerous doctors and specialists to give her granddaughter the absolute best care. Imagine what it must've been like to go through that without as many options as Roseanne had written about.
The scene in the fifth season, after Dan gets home from jail and Jackie calls him out for beating up Fisher. It's both hilarious and tear-jerking, especially Jackie says Roseanne's always helping her with her problems, then Dan responds "It's a big job, we had to expand the department."
The knock-down drag-out fight Dan and Roseanne have after his heart attack, in which he won't change the unhealthy habits that caused it in the first place. It's pretty wrenching to watch in the first place, as this is a couple who for all their ups and downs, have been Happily Married for years. Seeing them fight to the point where one of them outright walks out on the other is stunning. Then when you learn a year later that Dan actually died after his heart attack and you realize that the fight symbolized Roseanne's internal anguish and anger at herself and him, it gets even worse.
If you've ever had a... rough childhood, so to speak, the end of "Fights and Stuff" can be downright hard to watch.
In "Lies My Father Told Me", Dan learns the truth about his mother and her past and spends most of the episode in denial, refusing to believe his mother was anything but perfect and insisting his father was lying. When he finally realizes the truth, he breaks down in tears and says he can't handle it. Roseanne hugs him and says they'll handle it together.
Re-watching how much Dan hates his father in the first 5 seasons and knowing what the truth is, really tugs at the heart.
"To whom it concerns....".
In an early Mother's Day episode, Darlene and Becky treated Roseanne to a spa day at the local beauty salon in an attempt to butter her up so she would allow them to spend the weekend at a rock concert. When Roseanne finds out the real reason why they were treating her so nicely, she's absolutely devastated. Even worse, Becky and Darlene have no idea how badly they actually hurt Roseanne, even when Dan is dressing them down over what they did. Though this turns into a Crowning Moment of Awesome when he subjects them to the Cool and Unusual Punishment of a weekend at Bev's.
In "Wait Till Your Father Gets Home," Roseanne and Jackie's father Al dies. Jackie is much more upset over it than Roseanne, who is haunted by the memories of her father's physical and emotional abuse. Jackie eventually accuses Roseanne of being "selfish" by not hearing Al's side of the story and driving him out of their lives, which hurts Roseanne greatly. Eventually, though, someone has to positively identify the body as Al's before the funeral, and Roseanne volunteers. She then takes out a letter she has written and reads it aloud; the letter is all about Roseanne's anger at her father for what he did and how badly he affected both herself and Jackie. She ends the letter by telling Al that she forgives him, as she needs to move on, and forgives herself for not telling him sooner. The scene alone is a tear jerker, but what truly makes it sad is when Roseanne, preparing to leave the room, turns back and looks at the casket:
Roseanne: (whispering) Thank you for your humor...I love you, goodbye.