Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Top 10 Tearful Television Moments

10. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition- Anything and everything from this show. There's just too much. The last 15 minutes of this show are always magical, and I could never pick just one, or even 5. There was the man who had a ton of kids whose wife had just died. There was the blind guy. The little girl who couldn't go outside. The family that got a football field. The kids whose military mom was killed. I could go on and on. So this whole show gets its own spot.

9. Grey's Anatomy- This show is sad so much of the time, but it doesn't often make me cry. There was one instance, though, when a patient was finally honest with her teenage daughter about the fact that she wouldn't survive much longer: "Honey, I’ve been sick for along time and the doctors don’t think that I’m gonna get better." This would be bad enough, but she proceeds to impart some motherly advice to her daughter. Then they are both crying, and she finally says, "So you’re going to feel sad for a little a while and that’s okay, that’s fine. But don’t feel sad forever, okay? You can promise me that? You promise me that you won‘t feel sad for too long?" I know that this show can be manipulative, and everyone has a soft spot for dying mothers, but you have to think that somewhere some mother is giving her daughter the same speech for real.

8. Alias- I think the saddest thing ever would have to be witnessing your own funeral. Especially if you were alive and within shouting distance of your loved ones but couldn't tell them you were there. But that's exactly what happened to Sydney Bristow. She's restrained and in a van, but her captors are twisted enough that they force her to watch the grief and anguish of her boyfriend, father, and friends as they eulogize her on the beach. It's infurating and heartbreaking at the same time.

7. Friends- This may be a cop out, but I would definitely have to pick the last scene of the series. The gang leaves the apartment for the last time, and the camera returns to a final pan around the room. Big fans of the show like myself can see all the scenes that happened there over the past decade, and it's so sad to see it empty. Finally the camera lands on the back of the door and the famous gold frame. Nothing sad happens in this scene per se, but it represents a lot more.

6. Sex and the City- When Carrie hears that Miranda's mother has died of a heart attack, she is instantly more emotional about it than Miranda is. But at the end of the funeral, Miranda is walking behind the casket and is crying harder than I think I've ever seen someone cry. Carrie doesn't hesitate at all, she just leaps into the aisle and joins Miranda for the rest of the walk out of the church. As they near the last few rows, they catch sight of friends Steve and Aiden, who just showed up unexpectedly to support Miranda. It's one of the saddest single moments in the series.

5. Lost- For pretty much the entire first season, Sawyer and Jack were constantly at each others throats. There was always something to fight about, and I'm pretty sure Jack was relieved when Sawyer decided to leave on the raft. They tell each other good luck and have a quick second, and at the last second Sawyer decides to tell him a story. Turns out Sawyer had met Jack's dad Christian in Australia just before Christian died. He had told Sawyer all about Jack, and the fact that he was proud of his son, though he had never been able to tell him so. (Over time on the island, Sawyer had put two and two together, and realized that Jack was the son of this man he had met.) Sawyer lays out this story to Jack, and as Jack realizes who he's talking about, he slowly becomes more and more emotional. Finally Sawyer comes to the end: "And this guy, Christian, tells me he wishes he had the stones to pick up the phone, call his kid, tell him he's sorry, that he's a better doctor than he'll ever be -- he's proud, and he loves him." At this point Jack has completely broken down, and you know all the guilt he had over how he had left things with his father is gone, and now he's free. It's a very touching scene.

4. The OC- Kirsten's addiction to alcohol developed slowly, but soon it got to the point where her family knew they had to do something, so they organized an intervention. Her son Seth didn't agree with the thought of sending his mom off to rehab, so he didn't take part ("I just don’t think I can do it. Not to mom"). The rest of the family gathered in the kitchen to confront her, and of course her reaction was that everyone was overreacting. Even after hearing from her husband, sister, and adopted son, Kirsten was still balking. She snaps that she is not going to rehab, and turns to leave. That's when she almost runs into Seth, who has finally shown up to the intervention. "Mom, please. You gotta do this." This is when Kirsten completely breaks down, and knows she has to go. Sidenote: the person who transcribed this episode (for me to get those quotes!) had written by this scene: "this part here was what had me in tears, Seth being there when she turned around was just SO powerful." Excatly.

3. Oprah- I know it's a cliche, but there are so many teary moments from this show. I loved the little boy who had been saving up to go to Disneyland but decided to give the money (about $300) to charity instead. So of course Oprah had him on the show and he got to go to Disneyland anyway. I loved the man from Africa who had seen a girl only one time but was instandly captivated by her. He came to America with just a picture of her and a Bible. Then one day he walked into a church and instantly recognized her. And now they're married. The ultimate tear-inducer, though, is Oprah's little friend Mattie Stepanek, who battled muscular dystrophy his entire short life. He was wise beyond his years, and actually wrote several books of poetry. When he died in 2004, his funeral was attended by over 1,300 people (including Oprah), and his euglogy was delivered by Jimmy Carter. When I saw the footage of all this, I was a mess.

2. Gilmore Girls- After Rory decides to leave Stars Hollow to cover the Barack Obama campaign, Lorelai is quietly heartbroken, but still remains supportive. One night just before Rory is to leave town, Lorelai sneaks into Rory's room to watch her daughter sleep. Soon she is silently sobbing, and the only sound is the familiar and melancholy strummy la-la music. There are no words spoken, but the scene is beautiful.

1. The Office- Most of the time, Michael Scott is a complete idiot. He tries to hard to impress his coworkers, his boss, the documentary film crew, and everyone in between. But every now and then, he calms down enough to have a surprisingly genuine moment, and it always ends up being particularly touching. Whether it's telling Jim not to give up or passing out Halloween candy to some neighborhood kids, he always finds a way to make it heartfelt. One of the best moments came in season 3, when Pam had her first art show. She invited all of her co-workers, but attendance ended up being pretty abysmal. At the last minute Michael comes in apologizing that he is late, and instantly is mesmerized by Pam's drawings. He seems genuinely amazed that she drew them, and exhibits a child-like wonder and awe as he discovers each new picture. Then he pauses and says, "I am really proud of you," and you know he means it. It's one of the most honest pieces of acting I have ever seen, and Steve Carrell carries it out beautifully.


Sunil Kale said...

Very well compiled....My fav is the Lost scene...Both sawyer and Jack looked so real ! Also can u please tell me which episode of The Office has that scene ? ( the No. 1 on ur list) ..season 3 but what episode ?

Valerie said...

That Office scene takes place in the season 3 episode "Business School."

Sunil Kale said...

Well thanks a lot for replying ...i thot u wud never get back to such an old post ...
BTW my name is Sunil Kale and I am pursuing my MBA from UH Clearlake ...