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Heartwarming / The Critic

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  • The intro has a couple of sweet moments. It's a small sign that this show isn't wall-to-wall cynicism.
    • Jay and Marty seeing a couple pandas at the zoo who look like them. Jay waves at them and the one who look like him winks back.
    • Jay settling into bed at the end of the intro, a satisfied smile on his face. Three seconds of pure Sweet Dreams Fuel.
  • While the eventual conclusion of the relationship was anything but heartwarming, the Beauty and King Dork scene from the pilot was both this and a CMOF as it tied in with an earlier joke about two kids painting the words "King Dork" on Jays car and Jay attempting to pass it off as due to him buying the car from the King of Finland to a valet.
    Parking Lot Attendant: Hey mister, why does your car say "King Dork?"
    Jay Sherman: Uh, I bought it from King Dorkenheiser of Finland.
    Jay Sherman: Just park the car!
    • Jay's attempt to be tactful when critiquing Valerie's performance. He tries to make it clear that though she's a terrible actress, he still loves her very much, and that she can easily improve as she continues with her career. Shame she didn't take it very well.
    • Also from the pilot, when Jay tells Valerie that he loves her in the park where several people are congregating and looking up, not only does he take a bullhorn from one of the police officers standing near them and screams "I love you!" into the mic so that everyone would know how he felt, but the would-be jumper (that neither of them knew about) says "That's all I needed to hear", tearfully smiles and climbs back into the window and off of the ledge.
  • Near the end of Marty's First Date, Marty and his girlfriend Carmen bid farewell to each other as he prepares to leave Cuba.
    • Heartwarming in Hindsight: In December 2014, the United States and Cuba announced plans for normalizing relations between the two nations, meaning Marty and Carmen could be together again.
    • Franklin thinks back on his first date ever. It's exactly the kind of insane sequence you'd expect from him, but he's so sincere when he says to Jay and Margo, "Your mother never looked lovelier."
  • Jeremy Hawke's friendship with Jay, which is strong enough to that he risks his life dealing with Jay's psychotic stalker to save him.
    • Jeremy even explains why Jay's his friend: Jay was the only film critic to give his first movie a good review.
  • The debutantes' performance of "Going Out Of My Head" in the episode "A Little Deb Will Do Ya".
  • The entire premise of "Every Doris Has Her Day". It's sweet for Jay and Doris to become friends before things go back to normal the next episode, to the point that they piece together that the latter might actually be related.
    Doris: (After noting that she put her child up for adoption) It was 36 years ago
    Jay: I'm 36...
    Doris: He'd make the funniest little noise when he'd spit up his milk.
    Jay: Ah, Ach, Ach-um?
    Doris: Son!
    Jay: Mother! (Both happily hug)
    • When it's revealed that Doris isn't Jay's mom note  and is nearly fired from telling Duke off for trying to make Jay give his bad movie a good review, despite what the paper says, Jay doesn't hesitate to give a good review as long as Doris can keep her job.
    • Beforehand, Jay gives her 36 Mother's Day cards, one for each year they missed together.
    • Afterward, Jay notes that whether the paper is right or not, they're lucky to be friends. They then decide to go out biking in the park, once again singing a rendition of "A Bicycle Built for Two" only for Jay to accidentally collide into a horse driven carriage and is flown numerous feet in the air.
    Jay: (Dazed) Ow...
  • After meeting Jay for the first time, Penny punches him in the nose because he gave a negative review of The Lion King (1994). Jay tells Alice it's okay, because Rex Reed gave him the same reaction. However, Penny immediately apologizes and kisses him on the nose. Awww.
  • Jay saving Alice from going back to her country singer ex-husband. He starts singing to her, which is her major weakness, and Jay bursts in with an accordion singing an obnoxious Villain Sucks Song to break the ex's spell. It works.
    • The episode where they met is kind of sweet. It's basically about two unlucky people helping each other out and falling for one another. Overall, Jay and Alice's romantic relationship just screams this trope.
  • The episode Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice centers around Siskel & Ebert breaking up. They each offer to make Jay their partner, which would be a dream job for Jay no matter which one of them he teamed up with. Instead, Jay Takes A Third Option and gets them to reconcile in a very touching scene.
    • It became a Tearjerker after Gene Siskel died in 1999, but it's even more heartwrenching now that they've both passed away. The song they both sang in said episode just makes it even sadder.
    • Franklin babysitting Penny... as he drives around the neighborhood in a monster truck and destroys a priceless piece of art. The scene where he exchanges smiles with Penny after destroying the Guernica is as hilarious as it is sweet.
  • Jay confessing his love to Alice at the end of the episode "Lady Hawke." He gives her a white rose and reads her a poem ("The woman I love will be my best friend. We'll make each other laugh, and I'll never be lonely again. Her name will be Alice, and she'll have a sweet Southern accent, and I hope she'll love me too.") Alice becomes completely touched, and she and Jay share a kiss.
    • CMOF, he accidentally sang "Super Freak" first. Alice takes it in stride.
    Alice: Oh Jay, you're the sweetest man who ever called me a super freak.
    • When Jay breaks up with Olivia Hawke, he tells her she'll find someone who needs her even more than he did. Cue a Kindhearted Simpleton walking up to their table.
    (Olivia obliges, and then he turns around to face her and takes off his hat)
    Man: Thank you, ma'am.
    (Jay smiles as he sees Olivia and her new acquaintance gazing lovingly at each other)
    • Jay's romances tend to veer between humorous, creepy and sad, but the ones he had with Alice and Olivia are truly heartwarming, as they are one of the few people who looks past Jay's dull looks and caustic personality and sees him for who he truly is; a sensitive, highly intelligent man who has been mocked and pushed around his whole life.
  • Even though he did it just to score off somebody who said he couldn't, Duke built an entire preschool - and spent a fortune on teachers - even though he only had one employee with a preschool-age child.
    Duke: The hardest part was teaching the bunnies to hug.
  • Penny literally writing a letter to Marty when he and Jay go off to fat camp.
    Penny: You can read it on the bus!
  • The ending to "All the Duke's Men", where Duke rightfully wants to go back on his mistake of making Franklin his VP, and forces Jay to write a speech for the occasion. Jay, who's been promised whatever government position he wants if he helps get Duke elected, refuses. He doesn't even disagree that Franklin is unfit for office, given that he knows firsthand about his father's Cloud Cuckoo Lander behavior—he simply refuses to hurt his dad.
    Duke: Don't lip off to me, Fyvush Finkel! And where the hell's my speech?
    Jay: I'm not giving you that speech! My loyalty is to my father!
  • Jay's parents rebuild their marriage while stranded on a tropical island. Franklin's former self shines through from underneath his CloudCuckooLander behavior.
  • Duke and Alice's sister Miranda reuniting and marrying at the end of Dukerella.
    Duke: (Surprised) Scarlett, it's you...
    • In a weird way, it's also heartwarming about how he felt for Doris before finding out who Scarlett really was. Given that he literally walked into an open shaft after finding out she had a crush on him in great detail in Lady Hawke, it's sweet that in thinking that she was the woman from the ball, he was able to overlook her older age and appearance if it meant that she was his true love.note 
      Scarlett: You don't mind my winkle?
      Duke: (Referring to Doris) Hey, I was going to marry her, and she's nothing but winkles. Her whole body looks like Reagan's neck.
      Doris: (Flatly) Good one Duke.
  • A special Stinger was made specifically for the end of Lady Hawke (and later reused in Dukerella), in which Jay and Alice are making out in the theater. When the usher comes to tell them the show's over:
    Usher: Excuse me, the shows over.
    Alice: Get away, zit-face!
    Jay: (to the camera) That's why I love her!
  • The scenes between Jay and his sister Margo. They have a strong, loving, trusting relationship and always look out for each other.
  • The one single thing that Jay and his Jerkass ex wife Ardith still share, the love for their son Marty.
    Ardith: (Sincerely) We raised a great kid.