Tear Jerker / Roseanne

  • It 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, indicating that she might have lost her lust for life. Thus the series ends on a bitter note. However, there's something of a Hope Spot: 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, whereas Darlene's baby was born prematurely had no choice but to fight for her life and survived. It makes 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's where you're wrong, Darlene. Everyone 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."
    • Similarly, the series of scenes where the family discovers that Jackie has been abused by Fisher is tear-jerking. Darlene accidentally finds out by opening the bathroom door while Jackie is inside; Jackie's anguished screams of "CLOSE THE DOOR!", coupled with Darlene's genuinely stunned face, begin the painful moments. When Roseanne demands that Jackie tell her what happened, her sister tries to make excuses, only to eventually completely break down, sobbing hysterically in shame and fear.
  • 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. In short, if you had a... rough childhood, so to speak, the end of "Fights and Stuff" can be downright hard to watch.
  • Dan and Roseanne reconciling towards the end of Season 9 is even more poignant when you learn that he actually died after having his heart attack. When she mentions that the premature birth of Darlene's baby is what forced her to snap out of mourning and remember that they reconciled right before this happened, you realize that this means that she had actually finally come to peace with his death.
  • 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.
  • In "Brain Dead Poets' Society," Darlene wins a prize for a poem at school, and has to read it in front of an assembly. Roseanne is genuinely interested, but Darlene continues her normal snarking and complaining. When she finally does read the poem, though, it reveals just how much being rejected and ignored by virtually everyone at school hurts her.
    To Whom it Concerns/ I just turned thirteen/ Too short to be quarterback, too plain to be queen...
  • 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.
  • David's abusive mother. Dan asks Roseanne why she suddenly took him in after wanting him away from Darlene. It was because she was reminded of her own abusive father.
    • What makes the scene work is that, all through the argument, Dan is adamant that David cannot live with them, until Roseanne mentions that it's just like the way she grew up. The wind goes out of Dan's sails, and he just sits down on the bed; "That bad, huh?"
  • Death and Stuff had a door-to-door salesman dying inside the kitchen when Roseanne lets him in for a glass of water. The entire episode focuses on the family waiting for paramedics to take the guy's body away and of course the episode make jokes about there being a dead body in the kitchen, but Becky is legitimately bothered by what happens and has to be comforted by her parents. There's also the fact that they never knew who this man was, and Roseanne apologizes to him as they wheel his body away. There is, however, a rather sad Crowning Moment of Heartwarming in the mix. When the salesman first showed up at the door, Roseanne didn't really have to let the guy in but she did anyway, and if she hadn't, there's a chance he could've just dropped dead on the street completely alone. At least he got to experience a small token of kindness before he died.
  • In "The Driver's Seat", DJ steals the car as part of a dare from a friend and doesn't report it to anyone when he wrecks it. He is found out when the police are brought in and Roseanne, already on the end of her rope from the stress of work verbally bashes DJ before violently spanking him when he tries to dodge responsibility. When she pulls herself together she is utterly mortified at what she did and Jackie even says "It was just like Dad!" Guilt-ridden that she lashed out like their father had through childhood, Roseanne can't bring herself to face everyone. Finally, she calls DJ down and gives him a tearful apology, admitting to him that his own grandpa hit her a lot as a child and that she was always bitter over his lack of remorse for it. Although hurt and shaken, DJ shows sympathy to his mother and Roseanne vows never to make that mistake again. Anyone to experience such a thing as a child can strongly relate to how frightening and painful it is to have a loved one yell and lash out when things get tense.
    DJ: Mom, I'm sorry you got hit.
    Roseanne: Yeah, well, I'm sorry you got hit.
  • In "Guilt by Disassociation", Roseanne goes for her latest interview with high hopes that she'll land a job. Needless to say, she and the family are ecstatic when she gets it.....Until she admits that she doesn't know how to operate a computer. Having phoned them the earlier news, Roseanne comes home to find that Dan and the entire neighborhood have thrown her a huge party to congratulate her. Needless to say, her friends and family are absolutely devastated when she breaks the bad news to them one by one. Feeling like a failure, Roseanne lashes out at Dan for supporting her decision to quit Wellman's, and the two argue until Roseanne admits she's angry with herself, and feels that she let her whole family down when they needed her most. By the time she breaks down, all of the partygoers who turned up to congratulate her have bailed out. With a little encouragement from Dan Roseanne picks herself back up and carries on, but it's impossible not to want to give her a hug when you see someone so headstrong and determined as Roseanne brought down to a point where she feels like she's failed everybody around her.
  • "Let Them Eat Junk" has Roseanne and Jackie getting into a fight over the former letting Andy eat junk food despite the latter specifically saying not to. The real clincher comes from how Jackie makes a statement over how she doesn't want Andy to be like Roseanne's kids.
    • Throughout the series, Jackie has been a Cool Aunt to her nieces and nephew, but this argument has her say some vicious things about them.
    Jackie: Maybe I don't want my kid turning out the way yours did. Like your... smart-assed high school drop out, trailer trash, dark clothes wearing, boyfriend's in the basement, too-soon-sex doing, four-letter wording, hoodlum Oreo eaters!
    • The saddest part? Jackie is right. There's no doubt she loves her nieces and nephew, but they have done a lot of questionable and irresponsible things in their life because of how Roseanne raised and disciplined them.
    • Later in the episode, Bev, noticing Roseanne feeling depressed after her fight, comes in with a big bowl of ice cream to cheer her up. When Roseanne starts happily eating, Bev mentions that she's been using sweets to calm her down since she was a little girl. Roseanne, remembering Jackie's reason for not wanting to give Andy junk food—basically, that using food to accommodate feelings instead of trying to sort them out is a bad idea—asks her mother if she ever bothered to talk with her about feeling sad instead of bribing her. Not only is it a Not So Different moment for Roseanne, but it's also a moment where Bev seems guilty over her own parenting, trying to justify it ("You know how it is with kids") while she's clearly upset.
    • Right before this happens, Bev overhears the argument, immediately sides with Roseanne whilst not even bothering to hear or comprehend Jackie's viewpoint and rather rudely throws her out of the house. For all the times that both women's straight up abuse of her is Played for Laughs (for some reason), this is one of the few times it isn't and makes you want to give her a big hug. In addition, not only was Jackie apologizing to her for blowing up when their mother stuck her nose in their business, hearing Roseanne joyfully brag about how "weird" and unlike the two of them she is is also rather knife-twisting.
  • At the end of part two of "Terms of Estrangement," after Becky gets married. Becky and Roseanne have spent most of two episodes engaged in Snark-to-Snark Combat , and Dan is giving Becky the silent treatment and barely speaking to Roseanne. Becky gives Roseanne a final hug, and says in a tiny, almost-breaking voice "Say bye to Dad for me, okay?"
  • In one episode, David makes some insensitive comments about DJ looking up to Mark as a good influence. Dan becomes genuinely upset and chews David out for his high and mighty attitude, pointing out that David isn't exactly a great role model either—he has a menial part-time job and spends most of his time judging other people. David is surprised at Dan's sensitivity towards the subject, and Dan tells him to think about it for a second: why might he be upset at David looking down on someone who's not traditionally intelligent, doesn't have a college degree, made some mistakes in his life, and has to do manual labor to provide for his family? It's one of the few times we see Dan's vulnerability on display, and it hurts.
  • "Her Boyfriend's Back". While her parents were gone, Beck and Mark took a ride on Dan's bike and Mark actually fixed some problem with the bike. When Roseanne and Dan are about to go bike riding, Dan notices the change and confronts Becky about it. In one of the rare times, Dan is angry. He then gives his daughter a "The Reason You Suck" Speech for how much of a pain she was being over getting a new car and how he was in her corner, but after this stunt he won't be anymore. And when Becky tries to apologize, Dan coldly tells her to go away. The interactions between the two for most of the episode are Dan giving Becky the cold shoulder and her visibly trying to get him to talk to her again. Needless, to say this is hard to watch.
    • It gets even worse when Dan offers to make him and Darlene milkshakes and Becky, who was in the room with them, just stands there hoping that Dan would ask if she wanted one, but he doesn't. This becomes too much for Becky as she looks like she's about to cry and runs upstairs to her room. Luckily, Dan realizes that he went too far and goes to apologize.
  • The fact that Glenn Quinn, who played Mark, died of a drug overdose in 2002 qualifies as this on a meta-level.
    • To further hammer the point home, the revival season confirms that The Character Died with Him, leaving Becky to fend for herself. It gets even sadder in the episode "Eggs Over, Not Easy", where Becky is told that her chances of naturally conceiving a child at her age is incredibly small, and she's forced to contend with the fact that the years have caught up with her and she hasn't really moved on.
      Becky: (to Darlene) My life wasn't supposed to turn out like this. Mark and I were going to have kids. [...] I just never met anyone after [he died] who I wanted to have them with.
  • "Darlene v. David" reveals exactly why David and Darlene broke up. They just weren't a good couple together, despite how madly in love they were in with other; Darlene being Roseanne' daughter was very domineering and insisted on always having the last word — David always resented that which lead to countless arguing. And then Mark died and David just couldn't handle it anymore.
    • The fact that Dan has now nothing but contempt for the boy who was essentially his second son.