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Tear Jerker / Rugrats

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"Then you can miss her together" - Didi
The Rugrats Movie
The Show
  • "I Remember Melville" is easily one of the most heartbreaking episodes in the series, featuring concepts of death being explained as Chuckie goes through the loss of his pet bug, Melville. On paper it sounds like a silly idea, but the execution of the episode is nothing less than impressive. It's actually not that sad until Chuckie starts crying over how pudding reminds him of Melville. Poor freaking Chuckie.
  • "Spike Runs Away". Tommy and Chuckie crying over losing Spike is just sad, especially to anyone's who has ever lost a pet. Thankfully, it gets better.
  • While the episode was intended as Nightmare Fuel, "The Mysterious Mr. Friend" is one of the most depressing episodes in the series if you stop to think about it. This toy clown named Mr. Friend merely wants to play with Tommy and his buddies, but creeps them out unintentionally, and he doesn't know better. The poor guy ends up killed in the end.
    • Well, not the original Mr. Friend, who ends up finding friendship with Angelica.
    • On the other hand, Stu has no idea that Mr. Friend scared his son and friends. He's beside himself in joy and pride making a new playmate, and when he sees all the toys broken in the backyard, he's on the verge of tears. They were destroyed the very same babies he made the toy for.
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  • The crying scene in the episode where Angelica thought she was going to move away.
  • The Mother's Day episode, which explains what happens to Chuckie's biological mom: She died of an unexplained but terminal illness. It culminates with a letter the dying woman wrote to her son for him to read when he was older.
    • It's natural to feel bad for Chuckie, but don't forget Chas. He keeps her belongings stored away and doesn't talk about her much. It's clear that up to that point in the series he wasn't yet able to get over what happened to her. The scene where Chas finds that Chuckie has gotten a hold of some of her stuff is downright heartbreaking.
    • When Didi tells Chas that he should begin sharing the memories of his wife, Melinda, with Chuckie, Chas simply replies, "But...I'm just afraid he's going to miss her." But when Chuckie found Melinda's picture earlier, he didn't realize she was his mom; he instead knew her as "the nice lady from my dreams." With this in mind, Chas' comment seems to be less about protecting Chuckie, and more about how even around two years after Melinda's passing, Chas still cannot bring himself to accept what happened to her.
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    • In hindsight, many of Chas' interactions with Chuckie come off rather poignant as a result, as it is blatant how emotionally dependent he is on him due to the loss of his wife. The fact both are Adorkable Nervous Wrecks only punctuates it.
    • In "Chuckie's Wonderful Life", Chuckie has a dream where he was never born. Chas lives in squalor and uses a hand puppet to keep him company. Most of the dream world is over the top, but Chas' downward spiral after his wife's death is believable.
      • Later in the dream, Chuckie imagines Angelica having taken over Tommy's house, reducing him to a broken, homeless wreck completely dominated by Angelica's bullying. Horrified by this sight, Chuckie cries and pleads in vain for Tommy to stand up for himself, even reaching for his hand only for it to go through him.
      • For the record, the reason why Chuckie was dreaming about never being born? He was blaming himself for one of Chas' CDs going missing... unaware that it was Angelica who took it. Even worse, Angelica was the one to get it in his head that everyone would be better off if he was gone. And remember, this is because he was getting the blame for something she did.
    • There's also one episode which makes a passing remark about Chas going to see a therapist.
    • In a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, an earlier episode called "Let Them Eat Cake" takes place during a wedding. Most of the characters are happy for Ben Kropotkin, who is getting married to Elaine, while Chas is sitting there crying his eyes out. At first glance, it just seems like a good-natured joke about how sensitive he is, but after watching "Mother's Day," imagine that he's reminiscing his own wedding knowing his wife died so young. Poor, poor Chas.
  • In "Together At Last," the scene where Phil thinks Spike ate Lil. He opens his mouth and says, "Lil, I'm sorry!"
  • The Flowers for Algernon Whole Plot Reference episode where Chuckie gets an experimental treatment to get rid of his allergies only to have them come back.
  • The "All Growed Up" special where it shows them as preteens. The whole special has a certain air of maturity and the pressures of growing up and experiencing new things. It then culminates at the concert scene, where Tommy and Angelica duet with some big popstar over a ballad that then flashes back to the series as a whole, showing scenes from multiple episodes. The creators did, indeed, write the special as an emotional look at the series.
  • "Acorn Nuts and Diapey Butts", the scene at the cemetery where Chas takes Chuckie to visit his mom's grave.
  • The plane trip in the second movie. Chuckie sees all his friends together with their respective moms, and he's sad because he's the only one without a mom. At one point, he even looks out the plane window and sees clouds shaped like himself and his mom together. The song only makes the scene sadder. I want a mom that will last forever, I want a mom to love me whenever...
    • Before that, the scene where all the kids are dancing with their mothers at Lou and Lulu's wedding reception. And both Chuckie and Chas watch with concealed envy. His line to the "Bob-Father" is truly shattering.
    Chuckie: (excited) Angelica, wait- Angelica I think I know what I want to wish for. I'd kinda like to have a new mommy.
    Angelica: Sorry Finster, that game's over, besides, I'm wanted on the dance floor.
    Chuckie: (sighs dejectedly) But that's my wish...
    • All this is set to the heartbreakingly beautiful song "When You Love".
      • The reprise of the song however stands as the prime example of a Heartwarming Moment for the entire franchise as Chuckie finally dances with his new Mommy.
    • Also Chuckie's emotional breakdown in the warehouse after discovering what kind of woman his soon to be new "Mommy" really is.
  • Chuckie spending an entire episode trying to release his "sea monies" into the ocean, only to become heartbroken when he actually pulls it off. Knowing that they probably died five minutes into the episode doesn't make it any less sad to hear him call out good-byes to them.
  • Anyone who grew up with this show and loves toys along with cute babies are bound to cry during "The Curse Of Reptar's" ending (All Grown Up). Basically It has a flashback at the time they were still babies and playing with Reptar. The end of the flashback has them sleeping under a tree with the Reptar doll with Tommy holding the doll and sucking his thumb. Cut flashbacks, and eventually grown-up Tommy finds the now rusty Reptar, taking it back inside to keep in his box.
  • "Regarding Stuie" manages a pretty impressive Mood Whiplash, ending an episode-long string of Funny Moments with a Tear Jerker climax. In a nutshell: Stu gets a head injury that briefly lets him communicate with the babies, but also screws up his memory and makes him act like a baby. "Stuie" then spends most of the episode wearing a diaper and palling around with Tommy and the gang. At first, Tommy is thrilled to have an adult-sized baby as a friend, but it all falls apart when he realizes that even the coolest baby can never replace his dad—and he seriously believes that he'll never have his dad back. The climax has Tommy quietly sniffling while looking at old pictures of himself playing with his dad, with "Stuie" (who still can't acknowledge the fact that he's Tommy's father) coming in to comfort him as he realizes how much Tommy misses his "daddy".
    • In the end "Stuie" chooses to try to become a grownup again, even though when he finally does get his memories back, he has no memory of his time as a "baby." Keep in mind "Stuie" essentially performed a Heroic Sacrifice just so Tommy could have his dad back.
  • If you take in the interpretation that Charlotte had a miscarriage in "Angelica's Worst Nightmare" (instead of misreading the pregnancy test), the episode suddenly becomes this.
    • In the same episode, Angelica wakes up from a nightmare involving her newborn baby brother terrorizing her and her parents ignoring her. When her father goes to see her, she starts breaking down and telling her dad that she doesn't want a new sibling and to be ignored like she was in her nightmare. Her father reassures her that he and Angelica's mother will always love and care for Angelica since she is their first child and she will never ever be replaced.
  • Everything about this short comic.
    Angelica: (to Chuckie) That's "break your mother's back", you st... oh.
    Angelica: See anything yet, Chuckie?
  • During the Chanukah special, Grandpa Boris finds out that the only reason his old rival Schlomo was so wrapped up in his "fancy schmancy business" was because Schlomo's deceased wife was not able to have children. The fact that the scene has no music underneath it really drives home the scene's magnitude. Boris hangs his head in shame when he hears this.
  • "Weaning Tommy" has an overzealous dentist convince Stu and Didi to wean Tommy from the bottle early. The result leaves Tommy miserable and depressed, becoming increasingly desperate for his beloved bottle and even having nightmares about it. Any parent that has had to deprive their child of something they love for their own good will know this shameful feeling.
    Stu: I feel like a monster!
  • The "Babies in Toyland" special has several moments:
    • Tommy and the gang find themselves in Christmas Land's replica of Bethlehem, where they encounter a Baby Jesus figurine. They feel sorry for him because he has no presents, so they each give him the gifts they found on their journey to find Santa's workshop (Kimi's bell, Lil's ribbon, Chuckie's Christmas walnut, and Phil's ballet shoe). When they're done, the figure smiles (its face was neutral before).
    • Lil's reaction to seeing Baby Jesus sleeping in "itchy hay" and ostensibly cold.
    • Angelica's eventual attachment to Prancie, the little stuffed reindeer a fake Santa gave her.
    • After having an Imagine Spot in which she realizes she's been mean, Angelica gives each baby a special gift, but forgets Dil. She immediately gives up Prancie for him. Tommy then offers her his present, since Angelica is now the only one without one.
    • Angelica says a couple of times she's tried to be good all year. Of course, considering her attitude toward the babies, this isn't reliable. But she's clearly eager to see Santa and expects to get presents (whereas in The Santa Experience, she was afraid of getting coal). The fake Santa she encounters quits, and blames her for it, leaving Angelica genuinely upset and confused. It really makes you feel Santa is a Jerkass, taking out hatred for his job on a three-year-old girl.
  • During "Mother's Day" Tommy reveals the first time he saw his mom... was when he was in an incubator. While it is heartwarming at the ending seeing poor Tommy trapped in a glass tube, connected to machines, is very sad. Even worse when he talks about being alone and scared. This might very well be his first memory: alone, frightened, hurt, and not knowing what is going on. He didn't even realize Didi was his mom... he was just glad he wasn't alone.
    • For Didi too. She can't even hold her baby... all she can do is stare at him and hold his hand.
      • Also considering Dil was born early too, Didi may have had high-risk pregnancies. Probably why she stopped having children after Dil.
      • This whole idea somewhat makes the entirety of Stu's and Didi's parenting style one big Tear Jerker. A premature baby of Tommy's size might have been teetering on will he or won't he when it comes to just staying alive. Their fanatic following of Lipschitz could very well have been because they almost lost him and wanted to do everything in their power to make sure he had a good and happy life. Notice after Dil is born, they start relying a little less on Lipschitz and Didi even decides to go back to school for child development courses to learn how to understand children without a book to guide her, showing that they might not feel like they're one step from ruining their children's lives anymore.
  • "Give and Take":
    • Upon reluctantly donating Boppo to Chuckie, as soon as Chuckie goes home, Tommy begins crying because he misses Boppo already.
    • Once Chuckie is informed that Boppo is a clown, he tries to find a way to get rid of Boppo without returning him to Tommy, for fear of seeming ungrateful. Angelica helps Chuckie let all the air out, which Chuckie is initially happy about, until he realizes how upset Tommy will be upon seeing what happened to Boppo. When Tommy does find out, Chuckie says he understands if Tommy never wants to speak to him again. Though Tommy understands that Chuckie's fears got the better of him, he's still saddened by the fact that Boppo can't be played with anymore. Until Stu reinflates Boppo.
    Tommy: You're the bestest friend a baby could have.
    Chuckie: *ashamed* No I'm not.
    Tommy: Sure you are.
    Chuckie: *almost sobbing* No Tommy, you see when Boppo got too scary, I....I pulled the plug!
  • "Two By Two"'s ending, slightly confusing as it is, deserves mention. Context: after Grandpa Boris tells the kids about the story of Noah's Ark, Angelica (after hearing a weather report) convinces the babies that it's going to rain for 40 days and nights in real life. As such, they make an ark of their own (out of cardboard boxes in the backyard). By the end of the episode, all of the babies are in said ark, but there's no more room for Angelica (since she's the only one who isn't paired with anyone else). Just then, the weather starts to take a turn and, as Angelica tries telling them she made up the thing about the rain, it starts to pour. And so, the episode ends with Angelica trying one last time to get into the ark... which transitions back to the Noah's Ark story, with Angelica being left behind, along with a duck. The rain makes it hard to tell if Angelica is crying or not in the last shot.
    • Even worse? In Boris' telling of Noah's Ark, all of the babies (and Angelica) are given roles. Angelica's role? Noah's wife.
  • For all of Angelica's meanness to the babies, she just wants to be included in their activities but doesn't know how. This becomes apparent when in "Home Movies", she invites the babies to draw their own home movies. When it's Tommy's turn, he talks about all the fun he has with his parents and friends... but not Angelica. She interrupts his home movie with her own, explicitly stating how she was going to stomp them because "they left her out". It's meant to be seen as her being a bully again (especially since her home movie was about her getting all sorts of sweets and becoming a giant) but that one statement reminds us that she's just a girl that doesn't like to get left out.
    • Other strong examples of this would include "The Unfair Pair" when she tells Phil and Lil that there's one favourite kid in each family entirely because they were leaving her out. Or "The Alien" when she told the babies that Chuckie was an alien because she was too big to fit in the new playhouse. It might be a bit of an exaggeration because she's only three, but Angelica might feel that she's too young to be with the adults but too old to play with the babies. Later on, the babies seem to welcome Suzie Carmichael into their group sooner than Angelica. After Rugrats in Paris, she's also the only one of the main kids without a sibling.
    • However, the key example would be from "The Family Tree": When Tommy is staying over at Chuckie's while Stu and Didi go on a cruise, Chas (mistakenly thinking Tommy is upset that his parents are gone) decides to pamper him, causing Chuckie to become upset himself (especially since Tommy and Chuckie had earlier decided to be brothers after learning about the concept of a family tree). As such, Angelica decides to help Chuckie... by getting him to do things that Tommy could get blamed for and get in trouble. Why? Because, when Angelica tried becoming their big sister after they decided to be brothers, Tommy and Chuckie told her they didn't need a sister. And Angelica explicitly cites this when explaining to Tommy why she was helping Chuckie.
      • What's worse is that, not only was getting Tommy in trouble 100% Angelica's idea, but she only got Chuckie to go along with it by provoking jealousy within him by saying that Tommy was the better son than Chuckie. And when Chas doesn't get upset with Tommy over any of Chuckie's attempts, this causes Chuckie to become convinced that Tommy is better than him, and decides to leave and go back to his family tree. So, because she was jealously by Tommy politely declining having her as their sister, Angelica not only indirectly kept getting Tommy in trouble, but also made Chuckie wish he was never bornnote .
  • In "Mommy's Little Assets," Angelica wrecks an expensive model Charlotte is using in a presentation because she thinks it's a toy town. In fairness, Charlotte had explicitly told her to stay away from it. When Angelica gets caught, Charlotte asks, "Now, if you were the boss and one of your employees behaved like this, what would you do?" Angelica tearfully asks if her mommy is going to fire her. It's kind of meta, but considering Angelica's home life, it's possible that she truly fears Charlotte or Drew would "fire" or get rid of her for misbehavior.
  • Considering Angelica's immediate family. Drew and Charlotte have a rather distant relationship with each other as they are both too busy with work. They hardly pay any attention to their daughter and instead spoil her to compensate. No wonder she's such a brat.
  • On that note, "Piece of Cake", though meant to be just hilarious, has a couple of sad moments regarding Angelica's family life. Specifically, after her mother signs her up for a talent show, she's thrilled until she sees Charlotte being called by Jonathan, at which point she sighs dejectedly...only to promptly perk up when Charlotte announces that she's taking the day off to spend time with Angelica. Later, when Angelica inherits a massive candy company, Charlotte tells her "The only thing I love more than corporate domination is corporate domination with my number one girl!" Then comes the reveal that this was all an imagine spot. Again, this was played for laughs, but it also subtly implies that one of the things Angelica really wants is to just have some time to spend with her mother.
  • While "Starstruck" is generally a funny episode with a funny premise (Kimi's going to be in an audition, and when Chas says she'll be a star, the babies think he means a star like from space), there's still the sub-plot with Chuckie being sad as he doesn't want his sister to leave. He even gives Wawa to her so she wouldn't be lonely. Wawa is Chuckie's favourite toy, which is bad enough, but according to Kimi, he can't even sleep without Wawa. Thankfully, Chuckie cheers up and gets Wawa back and Kimi, of course, doesn't go away.
    • Cherry on top? Wawa was given to Chuckie by his birth mother. He's giving the thing that connects him to her the most to his sister, showing how much he loves her and will miss her. In a way, he's asking his first mother to make sure Kimi is safe and never lonely.
  • Tommy's legitimately betrayed reaction to the revelation that Angelica broke his lamp in "The Trial". Compared to the intentional melodrama of the rest of the episode, Tommy's quiet heartbroken tone is rather sad.
    Tommy: Angelica did it? You mean you broke my lamp?
    • Earlier on, Angelica tries to goad a confession out of Chuckie, claiming he direly wanted to break the lamp. Chuckie breaks down in tears, admitting it's true as he was terrified of it. Just the utterly mournful way he explains this makes clear he thinks he's stabbed Tommy in the back just for contemplating such a thing.
  • In "Opposites Attract", Chuckie meets a boy named Freddie who essentially has Chuckie's nerves and Kimi's imagination, which causes him to worry about bizarre things like worms in oatmeal. He accidentally scares Chuckie, which causes Chuckie to get mad at him for scaring him. But poor Freddie didn't mean to scare Chuckie, and a sensitive little toddler like him might feel very bad for accidentally doing something like that.
  • Despite the episode's name, "Aunt Miriam" is in fact Grandpa Lou's cousin, and when they were kids, she did nothing but pick on him, from throwing his favorite ball over the yard to opening the window and making him sick. While he's sleeping, he even breaks into sobs as he has a nightmare about the former incident. It's sad to know that, even at 76 years old, Lou still has PTSD, not from anything that happened in World War II, but from his own Cousin Miriam.
    Miriam: (to Lou) Remember when you got your head stuck in the fence and those two kids we used to play with, Bill and Jill helped pull you out?
    Lou: Yeah?
    Miriam: one would've done that for me. They all liked you.
    Lou: But they respected you.
    Miriam: No they didn't. They were afraid of me!


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