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- There was one episode where Reverend Jim's father died and left him a fortune, but it winds up being placed in a trust due to Jim's mental state. The episode ended with Jim going through his dad's personal effects, finding a tape of "You Are The Sunshine of My Life," and listening to it while staring at his dad's old suit draped across a chair.
- File that one as a heartwarming moment also; the look on Jim's face as he listens to the song - and gets the message - is pure contentment.
- In one episode, Jim buys an old racehorse that had outlived its usefulness, and kept it in his apartment. Typical wacky Jim business, but when the horse dies, Jim officiates at a funeral (he is a Reverend, after all) and gives a remarkably perceptive, moving eulogy.
- There was another episode where Alex's sister returened his 16 year-old dog, Buddy, that she had been looking after for several years. An excited Alex goes all out and pampers Buddy through the course of the episode, but he soon dies at the vet's office. Louie, who hated the dog, shows a rare moment of kindness, and gives Alex some time alone to mourn. Alex is normally a very stoic/levelheaded individual so to see him break down and start sobbing is heartwrenching.
- The death of paramedic Bobby Caffey, complete with Bobby as a small boy being led off by the hand to Heaven, by his father, while Enya's "Only Time" plays.
- The end of "After Time", the second post-9/11 episode, when Firefighter Tommy Doyle's body is found at The Pile and brought back to the firehouse, and the whole neighborhood is there in a candlelit vigil.
- And "Two Hundred and Thirty-Three Days," when Alex's father's body is finally found. The episode aired in May, almost nine months after 9/11, which was a continuing theme in much of Season 3.
- It's hard to not get teary watching "In Their Own Words," the special nonfiction episode about first responders to 9/11 that started Season 3 (it aired 10/15/2001). Particularly the interview with Molly Price (Faith) whose firefighter husband was a first responder.
- The funeral for Alex after she dies in an explosion trying to comfort a trapped elderly couple instead of getting herself to safety. And this came just days after she'd slagged off on EMT duty as being a demotion from the firehouse.
"Tell my mother it didn't hurt."
- Doc's slide into a complete nervous breakdown. He's been on the edge for months, and then Alex dies and his first reaction is to go find the guy who'd called in sick, causing her to take his shift, and attempt to beat the shit out of the guy while screaming that he should have been the one who died. Made even more harrowing by Carlos, someone who'd looked up to Doc as a father figure, being the one to have to hold him back and talk him down. It eventually gets to the point that Doc has to quit his job and have himself committed, and we find out from Sully's narration at the end that he's still struggling with recovery.
- One episode of the weird little Canadian children's program Today's Special, had, through a convoluted series of events, each of the characters given one wish. Jeff, a mannequin who comes to life with a magical hat that does not work outside the store (just stay with us here), naturally wants to use his wish to become a real person and finally get to explore the world outside the store. Sadly, because of another convoluted series of events where the other characters waste their wishes without thinking (think of the fairy tale where they say things like "I wish that sausage was stuck to the end of your nose" and you have the idea), Jeff must now use his wish to help his friends. There is a gut-wrenching moment where he hesitates before finally saying "Okay, I wish everyone was back to normal." Then he walks off by himself and the last shot shows him staring out the store's big display window. That's a pretty haunting Downer Ending for something aimed at five-year-olds, isn't it?
The Twilight Zone
- Jack Klugman's monologue in "A Passage for Trumpet" as a washed-up, alcoholic trumpet player.Joey: Because I'm sad. Because I'm nothing. Because I'll live and die in a crummy one-roomer with dirty walls and cracked pipes. I'll never even have a girl. I'll never be anybody. Half of me is this horn. I can't even talk to people, Baron, cause this horn, that's half my language. But when I'm drunk, Baron...oh when I'm drunk, boy, I don't see the dirty walls or the cracked pipes. I don't know the clock's going, that the hours are going by, cause then I'm Gabriel. Oh, I'm—I'm Gabriel with a golden horn, and when I put it to my lips, it comes out jewels, comes out a symphony, comes out the smell of fresh flowers in summer, comes out beautiful. Beauty. When I'm drunk, Baron. Only when I'm drunk.
- While the rest of Night of the Meek is a Heartwarming Moment, the monologue in which the Mall Santa explains his alcoholism is extremely moving.Mr. Corwin: "I live in a dirty rooming house on a street filled with hungry kids, and shabby people. And the only thing that comes down the chimney on Christmas Eve is more poverty! I just wish, Mr. Dundee, that on one Christmas - only one! That I could see some of the hopeless ones, and the dreamless ones... just on one Christmas - I'd like to see the meek inherit the Earth." *shot cuts to black child, then back to Mr. Corwin* "That's why I drink, Mr. Dundee... and that's why I weep."
- When Stuart breaks down at the end of series 2 episode 6. His mother died earlier in the episode, and Stuart insisted that he was fine. But that evening, he goes to phone her and remembers that she is dead. Stuart begins to openly sob, and it is made sadder by Freddie comforting him, putting an arm round his shoulder, kissing his head and reassuring him.
- Even more shocking when you consider this is the end of a comedy series.
- Rex Dies is definitely one, especially when Tori tries to console Robbie after he says that he needed her support. Combined with when Robbie is saying what looks like his final goodbyes to Rex...
- 3 words Emily Lake/Stand.
Pete: "...Please get back to the car."
- "I smell apples."
- Steve's death, when Pete begs Claudia to get back to the car and her scream when she finds Steves body had me sobbing my heart out.
- "I smell apples."
- When HG doesn't know how to save Myka and with tears in her eyes she tells her she's sorry.
- Age Before Beauty, twice: When Myka's grown old, and is in the hospital, and Artie walks down the hall and starts retreating when he sees her, as if to actually try to outrun her impending death. And then, when she's trying to say goodbye to him, and Pete walks in and stops her, all blustery, Artie's looking away and wiping away tears. Artie's such a sarcastic hardass, but he takes what happens to his agents so terribly to heart.
- The end of season 1 finale. The plane blowing up is a bit of a Special Effect Failure case, but the look on Neal's face as he realises what happened and tries to throw himself into the fire in a futile attempt to save Kate is heartbreaking.
Will & Grace
- Within the last few minutes of the last ever episode, Jack and Karen sing 'Unforgettable' to the piano after realising that through all their boyfriends and husbands, they still had each other.
- The episode when Grace marries Leo. Oh, so many moments.
- Will's final words, after he lifts Grace's veil.Will: [to Leo] Take good care of her...okay?
- It becomes even more of a tearjerker when you know that the marriage would fall apart just a few years later—after Leo admitted to Will that he had cheated on Grace.
- Will's final words, after he lifts Grace's veil.
- There was a room in Karen's house which she adamantly refused to show to Jack. When Jack finally breaks in, it is shown to be a nursery from a pregnancy scare Karen had about a season or two back. Karen, in her usual manner, casually remarks how she'll turn it into a wine cellar or something before they leave. With Jack safely in the hall, Karen looks back at the nursery with the most heart-wrenching expression on her face, and shuts the door.
- In one episode, Jack asks Will if he's ever considered a relationship with him. He asks it in typical Jack-style, and when Will laughingly tells him "no", appears to laugh it off in typical Jack-style—except for the split second that we see the genuine hurt on his face.
Wire In The Blood
- Oh, the scene in "Synchronicity" where Carol has to break it to Tony, who's suffering from hallucinations, that the passionate love affair he remembers them having never really happened...
Without A Trace
- There was an episode about a Jr. High kid. He was a reject from Jr. High and a girl told him that she wanted to have sex with him. Okay no problem...that's when he vanishes. Except that when he goes there, the girls strip him naked and take pictures of him, then he decides he's going to hang himself from their swing set because he's just that humiliated and they come there right as he's trying to commit suicide. And people believe that kids should just shut up and deal with their Jr. High stuff?
- There was another episode where the shipments of a video game went missing. The woman who was fostering kids tried to sell them to her brother to help him in his financial debt. She decided she had enough of it and walked off...and he shot and killed her. One can only imagine how bad it was when the foster kids were told where their foster mother was.
- An episode detailed a 16 year old girl who ran away because she was pregnant. She was just hiding out and didn't tell her mother.
- One episode is about a man who has just woken from a coma and goes missing. As the episode progresses, it is revealed that in his pre-coma life, he was a terrible person, but horrified by his past he has sworn, honestly, truly sworn to turn over a new leaf. The odds of waking from his coma are said over and over again to have been astronomically low and he remains in a fragile state. He has been given an almost impossible new lease on life that he plans to use. At the end of the episode, they discover that he has been mugged and beaten back into his coma; the chances of waking again are nonexistent.
- The episode where Martin's aunt dies, Sam finds him and holds him as he sobs. Manly Tears of any sort turn up the sadness Up to Eleven.
- The end of White Balance, Sam goes up to Jack and tells him the two missing kids (A black teen boy and a white teen girl) have been found. One is alive, one is dead. We don't know who, then Elena calls and tells him it's a positive ID. Jack then walks up to tell the moms of the kids, and they are both looking at him with trepidation and hope. It never says which of the two is alive and which isn't.