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Tear Jerker / It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

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As a Moments subpage, all spoilers are unmarked as per policy. You Have Been Warned.

While the show is largely comedic, some episodes can hit hard.
  • From "The Gang Gets Extreme: Home Makeover Edition," the gang, in a misguided attempt to do good deeds, end up terrorizing a hapless Mexican family, who spend the episode scared out of their minds because they think that they're going to end up getting killed. At one point, they use the father's credit card account to put him into crushing debt and utterly destroy their new home . At the very least, they gain the Reynolds' mansion, but end up losing it due to taxes.
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  • Ben the soldier breaking down and confessing to Mac and Charlie that Dee has been verbally abusing him in order to sexually manipulate him. The guy is a rape victim and has no idea how to deal with it.
  • Although it's always Played for Laughs, Mac's relationship with his parents can be this as he constantly deludes himself into thinking that they love him, even though they outright tell him that they don't. Whenever they're around, Mac regresses into an even more childlike state, craving their affection.
  • In "The Gang Broke Dee", the episode opens with the rest of the gang making fun of Dee, who appears to be legitimately depressed; downing month-old birthday cake and cheap hooch while dejectedly accepting their insults. It's one of, if not the only time she's ever been a straight-up Woobie in the series to date.
    Dee: I'm just going to go home.
    Charlie: Good! Go home! I hope you-
    Dee: You hope I get hit by a bus?
    Charlie: Dee, come on-
    Dee: What difference does it make? I can't get any lower than I am already. I might as well throw myself in front of a bus, because I'm so ugly I can't even get a bus to hit on me.
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  • While Schmitty has his own issues, this Reddit post adds an element of sadness to his debut episode in hindsight. In short: He was looking forward to a reprieve from his emotionally exhausting caretaker duties, and was met with a surreal cascade of meanness, immaturity, and dysfunction.
  • A real gut-puncher comes from "The Gang Goes To The Jersey Shore" in Charlie's sub-story with the waitress. After meeting her on a beach in New Jersey and her being oddly friendly towards Charlie, Charlie and The Waitress spend the night together on the beach collecting 'sea specimens', finding a "jewel" on the beach and playing with stray dogs. It seems this is Charlie's perfect night however it really hits you in the stomach when it turns out that The Waitress was actually high on ecstasy the entire time and cannot remember the night and instantly returns back to her normal self. Charlie keeps the "jewel" (actually a piece of broken glass bottle) from that night as a reminder of his most happiest night and tells himself 'I guess that's just summer love'. Charlie then proceeds to accidentally drop the jewel at the end of the episode as the gang speed away from the Jersey Shore which is a little bit extra gut punching.
  • Frank's mental breakdown in "The Gang Gets Analyzed" where he remembers his traumatic stay at a mental asylum when he was a kid is genuinely sad while also being completely ridiculous.
    • Again in "Psycho Pete Returns", Frank again has traumatic flashbacks when revisiting the now abandoned mental asylum he went to as a kid and even though this was a product of his mental disorder, he seemed to show genuine care for "The Frog Kid": his supposed roommate who was half frog. He seemed genuinely panicked when he spent the episode trying to find him.
  • From "The Gang Gets Analyzed," Mac reveals that he's acutely aware that the other members of the gang don't like him very much. This fear isn't without merit since the gang has stated on a few occasions that they actually hate him and find him annoying. He then proceeds to deny it, denial being a cornerstone of his personality.
  • Being inspired by Up, The Waitress' death scene from "The Gang Saves the Day" can be surprisingly poignant.
  • Frank sobbing while hugging the mannequin he dressed up as Charlie while telling it "I like you too Charlie," when he believed Charlie was dead is equal parts sad, disturbing and hilarious.
  • Bill Ponderosa may be a scummy Jerkass that even the Gang finds sketchy, but him becoming suicidal in "Mac Kills His Dad" is both hysterical and upsetting.
  • The Lawyer crying about his divorce in "Paddy's Pub: Home of the Kitten Mittens". Even the Gang seems touched.
  • As funny as Rickety Cricket's situation is, it's also heartbreaking to see things get worse and worse for him every season.
    Mac: This is Cricket. He has the worst life imaginable.
    Cricket: (proudly) It's true.
  • The Gang Goes To Hell: Part 2. Mac just collapsing when he finds out Dennis had been keeping his father's letters from him. Especially when Dennis admits that his dad never said that he loved him. He can't even bring up the energy to attack Dennis over it.
    • The Gang in what they believe to be their last moments in the sinking ship. Dennis tells Dee he loves her before going underwater; she rolls her eyes but still holds hands with her brother and father as they wait to drown. Last to dive under are childhood friends Mac and Charlie. "Let's go be with the gang."
  • The Old Black Man is revealed to be estranged from/lost his wife and he just wants the gang to help him find her.
  • From "The Gang Tends Bar," Dennis gets increasingly frustrated that the gang aren't doing anything to help out with the bar, believing that he's running some sort of scam. They then keep taunting him about not having feelings before he starts tearing up, telling everyone that he does have feelings and that they hurt him every Valentine's Day, which is why he hates it.
  • Dennis saying goodbye to Brian Jr. in "Dennis' Double Life". He holds him tight before giving him to Mandy, his one-night stand, and Brian waves bye to him. Back in the bar, he stares into space before announcing his need to be Brian's father, because he didn't want to hurt his own son the way Frank did.
  • Charlie's devastated, tearful expression at the end of "Mac Bangs Dennis' Mom" while he watches how the Waitress rants about how she slept with Frank to get back at Dennis. It's not a leap to suppose that Charlie is not only upset by the Waitress sleeping with Frank and that his machinations the whole episode ended up Going Horribly Right, but at the pain she was in.
  • "Mac Finds His Pride" hits this hard. Mac's struggle to truly accept his sexuality and tell his dad he's gay is clearly extremely hard on him, and when he finally comes out partly via an elaborate dance performance, Luther leaves in disgust. Mac sits on the ground sobbing for a moment before the dance resumes. Making this even worse, it seems like this was a scripted moment In-Universe, as the noise, rain effects, and female dancer all continue undisturbed—meaning Mac was so sure Luther was going to reject him he wrote it into the choreography ahead of time. It helps that the whole thing is scored to Sigur Rós' breathtaking "Varúð" and features easily the most stunning cinematography ever seen on Sunny.
    • Special mention also goes to Frank's beautifully understated reaction:
      • To clarify, Frank has spent the whole episode making outrageously homophobic comments and saying that he doesn't really "get" Mac or "the whole gay thing" in general. Luther also tells Mac in an earlier scene, "I never really got you, you know?" Frank saying he now gets it isn't just Mac finally being understood, it's Frank being a Parental Substitute to Mac, who's spent his whole life looking for parental love and approval.
    • Frank is extremely emotional after the performance; he is clearly fighting back tears. Frank is probably the least likely of the gang to cry, so this makes the scene even more intense.
    • "God" spends the brief interlude and the end of the performance comforting a sobbing Mac. It's hard to tell how much of this is part of a choreographed performance and how much of this is Mac's dance partner comforting a man who was just came out to his father and was met with bitter rejection.

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