- The scene where Earl is in a coma and his condition is failing. In fact, as evidenced by being almost Put on a Bus in the Dom Com playing in his head, he actually is dying. And Randy is talking to him while Bob Dylan 's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door" plays in the background.
- It's hard to feel sorry for Joy, but two episodes might get you a little misty. In one, she's losing her dreams of fame as "Reflections" (Diana Ross) plays on the soundtrack. In the other, she's watching her kids play at a function where she's not invited, while Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" plays. She asks Earl if she's a bad mother and sounds utterly defeated.
- In "Gospel", Reverend Green's faith in God is shaken throughout the episode to a point where he breaks down and returns to his criminal lifestyle. This impacts people who have gone through similar experiences of redemption but only to be mistreated enough by others to a point where they return to their former way life. Fortunately, the Reverend regains his faith when he finds out that Earl accidentally saved his life.
- Earl's reaction to seeing Earl Jr. in "Guess Who's Coming Out of Joy" counts, even more so since up to that point, he was incredibly excited about having his own son.
- The sequence with Earl taking the fall for Joy and going to jail at the end of season 2 is thoroughly depressing. The commentary points out one particularly sad moment: when Earl is led off, Randy instinctively follows him only to be sent back.
- Perhaps the saddest moment is seeing his supervisor at the warehouse proclaim, "Always a docker". Earl spent an entire episode working like a dog to earn respect and shake the image of a docker, and then it goes up in smoke and it isn't even his fault. And he gets blamed for it anyway, presumably fired, and it becomes All for Nothing.
- Watching Carl and Earl sobbing together about their wives' infidelity in "Monkeys Take a Bath".
- At the end of "Sweet Johnny", Earl circles Johnny's entry as a permanent reminder of what he did to him. Earl tried everything to atone but it only drove Johnny into attempting suicide. Giving a very harsh lesson to the audience; you can't fix every mistake and you just have to move on before you make things worse in an effort to fix it.
- In The Magic Hour, Earl decides to help a man named Buddy who miraculously recovered from cancer and wants Earl to help him make a movie. Despite the trouble with producing the film, they are able to make a movie called "2 the Max" and everyone was excited to attend the premiere. After waiting for Buddy, he learns from Buddy's mother that he had never actually recovered from his disease and had died before the premiere. All the time Earl assumed Buddy was throwing a tantrum when he retreated to his trailer when he was actually taking his medicine. Although Earl is deeply upset, Buddy's mother assures him that Buddy died happy because the movie allowed him to fulfil his final wishes; meeting the president, saving the world, getting the girl, and riding the horse that Earl stole from him during his "Make a Wish" wish.
Tear Jerker / My Name Is Earl