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Tear Jerker / The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee

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  • Mitch's monologue right after Chip's elimination. Doubles as a Moment of Awesome for how unexpectedly profound it is.
    Mitch Mahoney: You can't comfort these kids. They don't yet know that the good don't always win, so there's nothing you can say to cheer them up when they lose. I want to tell them disappointment doesn't last... but from what I've seen disappointment lasts like hell. I want to tell them words don't matter... but from what I've seen words can get you killed! I just want to beat them up a little, so they understand that pain has degrees... and this... this is nothing... this is nothing, you little freaks! ...But that would violate my parole. So I do what I can. I give them a hug... and a juicebox. I'm here to give comfort.
  • Many of the eliminations, but especially Logainne's, since she feels that, having been basically abused by her fathers, she's a loser for being eliminated.
    • Depending on the production, Logainne is also the only one whose elimination doesn't end on a pleasant note; Leaf is proud for making it to the finals, Marcy decides to stop being a perfectionist and always trying to live up to expectations, and at least Chip is last seen with one of the most comedic songs in the play. Logainne, on the other hand, is completely crushed and leaves in tears.
  • Barfée has quite a few lines in "Second" that bring on the tears. The saddest ones: "People are scared of me and no one really likes me" and "Would I be happy second forever ever ever ever, to be always stuck in second."
  • "The I Love You Song", Olive's big number, which goes straight from a raunchy slapstick comedy to a somber, serious discussion on Olive's parents and how the notion of them really loving her is "chimerical": highly unrealistic, wildly fanciful.
    Olive: I think Dad is angry, Ma, and I do not know what to do. Mama, mama, mama. Shanti, Shanti and Om.I think he takes out on me what he wants to take out on you. Mama, mama, mama. How I wish you were home.
  • On the topic of Olive, her original segment of the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue definitely counts: "Olive Ostrovsky went home to an empty house, an uncertain future, and a well-worn dictionary - but a strange new conviction that she would be able to face all three." Note that this also would have been the last line of the play. Fortunately, this was soon changed to a much, much more upbeat segment in which Olive reenacts the bee for her dad during the car ride home.
    • The original epilogue is still in the script though as an option, and many productions use that instead of the happy one. Probably because the happy one comes out of nowhere.
  • In a bit of sad Fridge Brilliance, it’s specifically mentioned that Olive’s mom is on a "nine month spiritual quest.” There’s a reason why the writers included this timestamp; after all, why would a woman in a dysfunctional marriage be taking a ''nine month'' vacation away from her husband? Yeah... an affair is definitely implied. Now it makes even more sense why Olive’s dad is “angry”, and why her mom is being so distant. The situation probably isn’t going to get any better when she returns home, either.


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