TV fans got hit upside the head in 2016 when This Is Us debuted on NBC. There wasn’t a moment that spared us from dry eyes. Whether it was Randall’s breakdown, learning that Jack Pearson’s death looms over us or the pilot episode when Jack tells Rebecca one of their babies died — we were basically crying every Tuesday for at least 75% of the episode. Jeez, just typing those words have sent me into near hysterics, and those images are reminding me that This Is Us has delivered almost the majority of sad TV moments. While the NBC hit has packed quite the punch to our feels, we can’t forget all the other emotional moments from other TV shows that had us crying like newborns either. Incidentally, they’ve all taken us on quite the emotionally exhausting ride!
1. Jim & Pam’s Wedding on The Office
This is the one and only instance where you are allowed to shed a tear over a Chris Brown song. The fact that it was a wedding was secondary to the fact that we had watched this couple go through way too much to finally get to that point. In fact, almost more emotional than Jim and Pam’s love was the whole office coming together to show their support in such a synchronized manner.
2. Poussey’s Death on Orange is the New Black
No one saw that coming. If they did, they were in denial because while every woman in Litchfield has won our hearts, Poussey was the legit heart at the core of the Netflix series. As a result, it was hard as heck to head back and watch the next season knowing that our girl had left us for good. What made it even tougher to watch was knowing that it was a reference to the Black Lives Matter movement and that unfortunately, this has happened to real people — not just fictional ones on-screen.
3. Bo’s Biracial Stance on Black-ish
Being mixed can be quite the struggle. Speaking from personal experience, it can mean growing up with a skewed perspective on where you belong. Black-ish‘sTracee Ellis Ross is biracial both on and off the show, and the way they tackled the subject was done masterfully. In fact, it really hit home for a lot of viewers who feel lost between the genetics that came from their mom and dad. This is so poignantly displayed when she says, “How come there’s not a box for both?”
4. Kelly Clarkson’s Tearful Performance on American Idol
There is no doubt that anytime Kelly Clarkson opens her mouth, you cry. Her voice is just that good. All things considered though, it was her last performance on the American Idol stage that had us going like there was no tomorrow. Standing there, ready to give birth any second, the OG Idol was doing her thing singing “Piece by Piece” when all of a sudden she was in tears. We get why that song pulls at the heartstrings all on its own — it tells the story of how her dad’s abandonment showed her what a great father her own husband was. So when her tears fell, ours fell even harder from our living rooms. And of course, anytime we want to torture ourselves we can just watch it on YouTube.
5. The Friends Series Finale
Boyz II Men said it best, “it’s so hard to say goodbye.” While we knew it was coming, when watched the series finale of Friends, we still could not stand it. We’d watched these six people live, laugh and love for a decade and all of a sudden we had to come to the realization that we’d no longer have them in our life on a weekly basis. Thank goodness for Netflix!
6. Marissa Cooper’s Death on The O.C.
You know what? This actually wasn’t that bad at the time but as a result of Marissa’s death, the show sort of took a huge dip in fans caring and because of that, we’re crying. Seth Cohen deserved better than to be left out in the woods like that. Oh yeah, in hindsight we wanted Ryan and Marissa to end up together. Sorry, we will ship that couple until the end of time.
7. Alex’s Breakdown on Modern Family
Like Randall on This Is Us, Alex is known as the unemotional brains of the family and that can lead to a lot of unwanted stress. When your family has placed an image on you as this put-together person, doing anything without perfection can feel like being a failure. It wasn’t so much her breakdown at the party or her therapy sessions, but rather her mother learning how much her daughter was struggling for the sake of her image. Being able to see Claire suddenly understand and supporting her daughter with one simple hug felt just a little too relatable.
8. Kristina’s Cancer Journey on Parenthood
TV has always kind of phoned it in when it came to giving a character cancer. They get the diagnosis, they shave their head and they either pass away or are cured! Not the reality of the big C, at all. Parenthood threw those cliches to the wind and really went there with Kristina after she learned of her breast cancer. They showed both the emotional and physical toll cancer takes on a person and each week we were left in puddles watching her struggle and recovery. If there’s a show almost as emotional as This is Us, it’s probably Parenthood.
9. Cece’s Pregnancy on New Girl
There are times when my friends announce they’re pregnant on Facebook and I don’t even blink an eye. I may just roll them a little as I mentally prepare myself for the flood of baby pictures that are to come. Cece though — OMG. How perfect was that episode? Rarely do we see the expecting mother learning about her pregnancy last. All of her friends knowing before her, their reactions and then Schmidt’s big, floral reveal… someone hand me a dang tissue.
10. Michael Scott’s Last Day on The Office
Yes, we’re back at The Office because in reality we could’ve made the list simply with this so-called comedy. This moment will forever be rough every time we watch it. When you say goodbye to the whole show, that’s already hard but to have to say goodbye to the glue and know that the show will go on? It’s kind of like they’re dying in a way. Thankfully Michael Scott did not perish and came back one more time, but his actual last episode in the Scranton office was a tear-jerker because of every low-key moment he tried to have to say goodbye to everyone. Then, of course, you had Jim’s whole spiel and Pam running through security to have that secret conversation. RT if u cri evrytiem.
11. Sheldon’s Proposal on The Big Bang Theory
It’s not like we’d watched Sheldon Cooper strike out with the ladies for a decade. Not at all. Instead, Sheldon was this robotic genius we just all figured would never have sex, find love or get married. That all changed when they introduced Amy Farrah Fowler back in the third season. To see him transition from a sort of man-child with no social skills to a man on one knee? Oh lawd, that was a doozy for our hearts.
12. JT’s Death on Degrassi
Is there an age where it starts to become weird to continue to obsess over Degrassi? Just ~asking for a friend~ because she was, and still is, beside herself, like many others, watching Degrassi decide to take out one of the sweetest characters to ever walk through those cursed high school doors. This show had “gone there” before with Jimmy (*cough*Drake) being shot and Paige being sexually assaulted — and they’ve continued to push the limits with a cancer diagnosis, teen pregnancy, bullying, refugees and then some BUT JT’s death may forever loom at the most gut-wrenching scene ever played out on that show.
13. Murray & Erica’s Rare Moment on The Goldbergs
Fans know Murray isn’t the most emotionally forward man on earth. He often calls his children “morons” while sitting in front of the TV in his underwear wanting nothing more than to be left alone. In any case, the ABC comedy has brought a lot of heart to the character in little spurts since debuting in 2013. One moment though that showed the most heart was when Murray couldn’t cope with the fact that his firstborn, Erica, was going to go away to college. Every parent wants to say they’re 100% okay with their kids getting the heck out of their house when they hit 18, but deep down they are all as attached to their babies as Murray is to Erica.
14. Golden Girls Finale Goodbye
Like Friends, we just can’t with this one. Those four women were OG squad goals. Whether you watched when the show aired or in syndication, when it comes time for Dorothy to say adios to her mother and besties – you’re a dang mess. It’s not like they had a lot of time left in the world, too. So that made the possibility of reunions fall flat and then… you were even more of a mess than the first time.
15. Fiona’s Monologue on Shameless
Shameless continues to be one of the most underrated shows out there, as does their leading lady Emmy Rossum. She is the guiding light of that ensemble each and every season but it was her uh-mazing monologue/breakdown geared at their absent mother, Monica, that will forever have us crying tears of sadness. While it definitely broke our hearts, the moment also gave us a sense of pride as Fiona went in on Monica after the woman thought she could just waltz back into her family’s lives like nothing happened. In reality, Fiona had been there for each and every one of her siblings and gave up her childhood to take care of them — making Monica’s re-entrance all the more off-putting.
16. Terry’s Cop Run In on Brooklyn Nine-Nine
Usually, Brooklyn Nine-Nine is all about the laughs. It’s a show about people who may be the worst/best cops ever. And even for people who don’t get the warm, fuzzy feelings at the thought of the police, this show always leaves us laughing. Well, almost always. That is except the one time they got #real and Terry Crews‘ character had us mopping up our feels from the floor. Sergeant Terry Jeffords was searching through his neighborhood for his daughter’s stuffed animal when a white cop accosted him. This seemed almost ripped from the headlines. We were all just taken aback that this show could showcase such a touching and timely message within the confines of their comedy. Amazing job, FOX!
17. Sterling K. Brown’s Emmy Speech
To be fair, Sterling is on This Is Us and he got his award for being on the show BUT this is not a scene from This is Us so it totally counts! If you’re a TV fan who’s watched basically any show with hype — then you know the difference between an actor who’s okay and an actor who’s everything. Sterling K. Brown’s Randall Pearson is phenomenal. The character, the man, the way the man plays the character — we’re all just straight-up obsessed. The whole cast is noteworthy but Brown’s character steals the show. With that, his award-winning moment at the 2017 Emmy Awards left us awestruck. It was an emotional real-life moment inspired by the show, and for some reason, it just instilled an even more sentimental response in us, as well. You go, Sterling! Here’s to many more awards to come!