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Heartwarming / The Critic

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  • Jay trying to be fair with Valerie Fox while reviewing her acting in the pilot episode: he admits that though she's a horrible actress, she's a wonderful woman. (Though that proves to be untrue, too.)
  • The entire premise of "Every Doris Has Her Day". It's heartwarming for Jay and Doris to become friends (before going back to the Status Quo by the next episode); to the point that they find out that the latter might be Jay's long lost mother by the end of the second act.
    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 (although Jay claims that blood tests are often wrong, and what little information is given about the child heavily resembles Jay. For one thing, he was apparently so heavy Doris had to drag his basket up the stairs, his first words were "Feed me! Feed me!" in the style of Audrey from Little Shop of Horrors and his unnamed father was apparently a short, bald guy who liked to complain about movies) and is nearly fired from telling Duke off from making Jay give a bad movie a good review, Jay doesn't hesitate to give a good review despite what the paper says so Doris can keep her job.
  • 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 took it in stride.
        Alice: Oh Jay, you're the sweetest man who ever called me a super freak.
  • 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.
  • The scenes between Jay and his sister Margo. They have a strong, loving, trusting relationship and always look out for each other.
  • When Jay and Doris discover Jay may have been the baby Doris gave up for adoption 36 years ago, he gives her 36 Mother's Day cards, one for each year they missed together.
  • Duke and Alice's sister Miranda reuniting and marrying at the end of "Dukerella."
    Duke: Scarlett, it's you...
  • The episode Siskel & Ebert & Jay & Alice centres 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.
  • Marty and his girlfriend Carmen bidding farewell to each other as Marty 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.
  • The debutantes' performance of "Going Out Of My Head" in the episode "A Little Deb Will Do Ya".
  • Jay and Alice's romantic relationship overall.
    • 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.
  • 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.
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  • 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 Guernica is as hilarious as it is sweet.
  • 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 one single thing that Jay and his Jerkass ex wife Ardith still share, the love for their son Marty.
  • Penny literally writing a letter to Marty when he and Jay go off to fat camp.
  • 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 aquintance 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.
  • 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: 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. 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", smiles and climbs back into the window and off of the ledge.
  • Jay's parents rebuild their marriage while stranded on a tropical island. Franklin's former self shines through from underneath his Cloud Cuckoo Lander behavior.
  • 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 intro has a couple of sweet moment. 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.
  • 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."
  • A special Stinger was made during Season 2, in which Jay and Alice are making out in the theater. When the usher comes to tell them the show's over:
    Alice: Get away, zit-face!
    Jay: (to camera) That's why I love her!
  • The ending to "All the Duke's Men", where Duke, (rightfully) wanting to go back on his mistake of making Franklin his VP, 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—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!