Tear Jerker: The Twilight Zone

  • In "The Lonely", a prisoner condemned to live alone on an asteroid is given a female robot for companionship and falls in love with her. When he gets a pardon, there's no room for the robot on the ship home. When he refuses to leave her behind, the ship's captain shoots her. The prisoner comes to his senses and leaves the asteroid. What really clinches it is the closing narration. This robot, which he loved and which saved his life, is now obsolete and abandoned, turning to rust.
  • The fathers plea to his dead mother, through the toy telephone she has supposedly been talking to his son through, after convincing the child to drown himself so they can be Together in Death, pleading with her to let his son (who paramedics are trying to resussitate downstairs) live
    Father: If you really love him, let him live...
  • The ending part of "I Sing the Body Electric". The children, all grown up, have to move on to their new lives and new homes, yet they will still visit their electrical "grandmother" from time to time. It's so heartbreaking, and at the same time heartwarming.
  • "The Passersby" revolves around a household in the South at the end of the Civil War. The people living there come to realize that they're dead, and that the road in front of the house leads to the afterlife. While the Confederate soldier is willing to move on, his wife desperately clings to what little familiarity she has left...that is, until a tall man wearing a stovepipe hat approaches.
    Woman: I'm afraid.
    Lincoln: Of course, you are; I am, too. "Of all the wonders that I yet have heard/It seems to me most strange that men should fear/Seeing that death, a necessary end/Will come when it will come." That's from Shakespeare. Julius Caesar. You see, my dear...I'm dead too. I guess you might say that I'm the last casualty of the Civil War. And I'm the last man on this road.
  • In "A Piano In The House", cruel theatre critic Fitzgerald Fortune discovers that the titular player piano has the power to make people reveal their inmost secrets when certain music is placed within it. He decides to use this power to play a cruel joke on one of the people at his wife's birthday party, a jovial, heavyset woman named Marge. The music makes Marge reveal to everyone that she secretly wishes she was as light and delicate as a snowflake, and likes to imagine herself as a graceful ballerina named Tina. While in her trance she's quite graceful. At first, everyone is laughing, until Marge reveals her secret desires and dreams of being loved by somebody, as she takes his hand into hers and melts away. Once the music is off, Marge comes back to reality and realizes what she's just done. Of course, at that point, the only person who was still laughing was Fitzgerald.
    • Which is followed by Fitzgerald deciding to play a piece intended to "bring out the devil", only for his wife Esther to switch the music with Brahms's "Lullaby". The music causes Fitzgerald to reveal himself for what he really is: a spoiled, lonely, and scared little boy afraid of everything, afraid of love and friendship because he doesn't know how to respond to them. He's hurt Esther because he didn't know how to respond to her love, hurt Marge because he's jealous of how she can be the life of the party with her liveliness, and criticized Gregory Walker, a playwright secretly in love with Esther, because he himself lacks the creativeness Gregory has. The partygoers, including Esther and Gregory, leave, and Fitzgerald throws a temper tantrum—"If you leave me, I'm going to be very naughty!" He runs around the room, destroying his furniture, decorations, and eventually the piano's music, bringing him back to normal. Marvin, the elderly butler of the house, then enters, and Fortune growls "Don't laugh at me."
      Marvin: I'm not laughing, Mr. Fortune. You're not funny anymore.
    • What makes it even worse is that, instead of gloating or treating Fortune's breakdown like a triumph, every guest at the party—including the people he's hurt—realizes just how sad and pathetic he really is, and quietly leaves, rather than mocking him. Even Marge, who is perhaps the most embarrassed by Fortune's cruel joke, looks on him with pity and encourages everyone to go as softly as possible.
  • "The Once and Future King" (1980s episode): An Elvis Impersonator gets sent back in time and accidentally kills the real Elvis Presley. He is forced to take his place to prevent history from changing. The ending shows the man, now in 1977, telling his manager (who had once been his girlfriend before his trip through time, and was historically Elvis' last manager before he died) his story, saying that the guilt of killing Elvis and the stress of his performances is killing him. She doesn't believe him and thinks he's just working too hard, kissing him good night. He sadly looks out the window and at a bottle of pills, most likely contemplating suicide by overdose, while "Are You Lonesome Tonight?" plays.
  • "Little Boy Lost" (1980s episode): A woman is trying to decide if she should marry her boyfriend now or go abroad for several years for her job. She meets a little boy and plays with him, but eventually decides to go abroad, angering her boyfriend. The boy is disappointed. He then explains that he is the son she would have had if she had stayed with her boyfriend. In tears, she says that she will marry her boyfriend, but he says it is too late, even if she has children, they won't be him. He then fades away.
  • In "Night Call" from the original series, an elderly crippled woman is repeatedly called by someone who wants to talk to her. She screams at him to stop bothering her. Later, she gets a call from the operator telling her there was no other line calling her, and tells her a telephone wire fell on a graveyard (during the storm most likely). She goes there and sees a wire fell on her fiance's grave. She recalls to her nurse that she was very demanding at having things her way; one day she took the wheel and lost control, she crashed and he flew through the windshield, and left her crippled. She realized he's calling her so she won't be lonely. She waits that night and he finally calls... to tell her he'll leave her alone, because he always does what he tells her. She begs him to talk to her and she says she didn't mean what she said. Hearing no answer she cries, realizing she's alone again.
  • It's a blink and you'll miss it type of moment, but Jason Foster gets one in "The Masks". At about ten to midnight all his family has to say is about how unbearable their masks are. He asks "is there nothing else you have to say to me?" in a tone of disappointment and he just gets more complaining while being called crazy. From his tone of voice, it sounded as if Jason still had at least one small hope that his family could show some kindness, but instead all they give him is incessant pettiness and cruelty.
    • Also, during his "The Reason You Suck" Speech, he mentions that Emily's marriage to Wilfred "broke the heart of her dear, late mother, in just about every sense of the word." For some reason, this has been omitted from most broadcasts, but just goes to show that Emily's self-absorbed spinelessness affected more than one person for the worse.
  • "The "Big Tall Wish." A washed up boxer is able to win his comeback match thanks to the wish his girlfriend's son made. The boxer discovers this and feels that something like a wish is an impossible explanation, and despite the boy's heartbreaking pleas to believe in it he just can't, and ultimately the wish is undone.
  • "Night of the Meek" is a brutal combination of this and Heartwarming.
  • The end of "The Toys of Caliban".
  • In Real Life the death of TZ writer Charles Beaumont who died tragically at the age of 38 from possibly both Alzheimer's disease and Pick's disease which caused him to mentally deteriorate and age prematurely over the last few years of his life.
  • Watch "Time Enough at Last" and try not to feel your heart die when you see the tragic fate of poor innocent Henry Bemis.
  • A good part of "In Praise of Pip", but especially when Max Phillips first realizes that Pip has been mortally wounded in Vietnam.
    Max: Pip is dying. My kid is dying. In a place called South Vietnam. There's not even supposed to be a war going on there, but my son is dying. It's to laugh. I swear, it's to laugh.
    • Max hugging and kissing Pip and then begging for his life was both the sweetest and saddest thing.
  • "He's Alive". From the realization that Peter is nothing more than a sad child wanting love, to Ernst's constant reminders that Peter's ideas are not as new as he claims.
  • The Reveal at the end of "Five Characters In Search of An Exit" - The characters are simple toys, and that's all they ever were. It does include a Hope Spot at the end where Serling reveals that the toys will be loved and cared for by children.
  • "The Old Man In The Cave". Poor Mr. Goldsmith, left as the last man alive in the ruins of his town, after trying his damndest to save everyone from radiation poisoning that they could have easily avoided if they just listened to him.