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August 18 2009

SFX Magazine's 26 greatest tearjerkers. Five scenes from the Whedonverse make the list.

I don't think I should've read that at work.
My list would include Trip breaking down in tears in the Star Trek Enterprise "Terra Prime" and the last five minutes of the Doctor Who episode "The Parting of the Ways".

Have to say, Anya's rant gets me everytime.
Anya's rant could be the most blubful bit in all of Buffy (and there're a few contenders) partly because it's a sort of bait and switch - we expect her to go off on one but we expect to be rolling our eyes, not drying them. Then the end of 'The Gift' for me. Even though it walks the hokey line (VO, sunrise, slow-motion etc.), it never quite crosses it IMO, mainly because SMG's performance in the scene is nigh flawless.

From Angel and not mentioned here, SMG crying in "I Will Remember You" sends me off most times. Big jessie ;).

Disagree with the 'Quantum Leap' inclusion though, I wasn't sad at that, I just felt totally cheated, worst misjudgement of the tone of a show ever IMO - you can't take a light, upbeat show and try to force it into a dark box right at the end, you just leave the audience behind.

(and they're spot on about 'Earthshock', shouldn't have been so affecting - did anyone like Adric ? - but was)
I expected to see something from nu-BSG in it, which of course was not included, but thinking about it I can't recall of a big tearjerker moment right now from the show. Maybe the ending.

From so many sad scenes from Whedonverse shows, there's actually a happy scene that makes me balls up everytime. Which is when Buffy receives her class protector award.

And funny how Alyson Hannigan is not even mentioned, but she's capable of making me want to cry with a look. Her face at the end of There No Place like Plrtz Girb and her look in Empty Places comes to mind. Guess that's why she's doing comedy nowadays.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2009-08-18 15:01 ]
Anya's rant always gets me. As does the end of Becoming pt 2 and 'I Will Remember You' - I blub for a good half hour with those two. Becoming Pt 2 should really be on that list, I can't listen to 'Full of Grace' without feeling depressed. And of course, in both episodes Christophe Beck's 'Close Your Eyes' always comes in at the right moment, making me reach for another box of tissues.

The Fred/Wesley scene in 'A Hole in the World' got me too. As for 'The Gift', it was Beck's score which really pushed me into Blubland.

'Chosen' always brings on tears as well.

[ edited by Shep on 2009-08-18 15:05 ]
Oooh. I'm happy that Jurassic Bark is there. I adore that episode of Futurama so much. Possibly the greatest thing Matt Groening has ever produced.

Also, is it weird that my eyes want to cry just reading quotes on Whedonverse deaths? ... Or that may be the open door. I hope its the former.
Just a little bit crying now.
"Jurassic Bark" - saddest episode on TV ever. None of the Whedon sad things made me cry; I kind of acknowledged, "oh, that's really sad". But when I saw Fry's dog's devotion and it made me think of what would happen to my pets if I disappeared... I welled up. Perhaps even one single manly tear.
Great.

Now I have the case of onionvision.

Off to watch Do You Wanna Date My Avatar to get me in another mood.
Since I spent the past weekend watching Xena in its entirety for the first time I have it on the mind. That show has a lot of blubber moments. Here's a few.

In Sacrifice Pt.2 Gabrielle sacrifices herself, killing her daughter to save the world. The look on her face as she goes down with her daughter into the lava pit is heart wrenching.

There are others, but the other notable moment comes at the series finale. Xena is dead, but like in the Whedonverse that's not a big problem. Gabrielle is ready to bring back her "best friend" to life, but Xena's spirit stops her. If Xena comes back 40,000 souls get condemned. Knowing that Xena can't ever come back from this death and that she's leaving Gabrielle alone, causes even the most stoic to crumble.

Alright enough Xena.


A great blubber Buffy moment that got left off was in Passions. This was the first time a regular character got snuffed and didn't come back. When Giles goes to his apartment and sees the rose petals, you want to scream for him to turn around. The way his face changes when he sees Jenny and realizes something isn't right, it's devastating.

As for the moments on the list, all are great for the quiet gentle weeping, but none made me cry more than when Wesley died. I still can't watch that moment without getting misty eyed.
It's weird, all the build up of people saying Jurassic Bark was the saddest thing ever made me go "Oh, was that it?" when I finally saw it. I just welled up reading that quote from the Gift though. Plus Anya's speech gets me every time.

Also disappointed that there's no re-imagined BSG on the list. I can't remember any specific moment besides "I know about farming... you know" right now, but I know that it's the show that got me into tears by far the most times.
I have to say that any list like this which doesn't include the end of King Kong either version but especially the original leaves me a little alienated. I can barely even type "T'was beauty killed the beast" without crying.

The Jossverse had so many that we as a group can never be completely satisfied with this listing; it's just categorical.

I often forget "The Gift." I'm not going to rant about "Seeing Red" not being here, since the last 2 times I've watched it I just stopped the disk when Xander and Buffy are hugging. (Which doesn't work with the Kidman Moulin Rouge since she's established as incurable well before the end, sorry, Willow., but it works for me.)
Good call on Anya and both Wesley scenes from Angel, but I would have chosen Becoming Part 2 over The Gift--or Seeing Red, for that matter. Like both the Serenity death scenes, it was a shocker rather than a tearjerker.

Likewise, good calls from B5 and Star Trek.

Aeryn Sun's death in Farscape was pretty moving--Far more so than the ending of Quantum Leap, as others have pointed out above.
Emma makes me cry like a baby, every time I watch her in that seen. F*ing brilliant.
Wow...
I actually got a little bit misty after reading that...
I think that there is a scene in The Body even more devastating than Anya's speech, and that is when Buffy has to inform Dawn in the hallway outside of her art class about her mom, and we see this from inside the room as Dawn just simply collapses in pain. That is the moment in The Body where I lose it every time. Along with Willow's cloths panic and Anya's speech, and Tara's comments to Buffy in the hospital...

[ edited by Dana5140 on 2009-08-18 18:31 ]
I used that particular clip of Anya in my presentation at SC2...I was in tears, the audience of academics was in tears.... It's powerful and it is pure truth. *nods*

Though, I have to say, out of all of the tear jerking moments in the Whedonverse, the one where Fred starts to sing...Lorne reads her instantly...then she coughs up blood and falls. That particular moment rips me apart possibly even more than her death/transformation scene.

It's that snap moment of "it's coming and it 'aint going to be alright, folks."

Then again, on repeated viewing, I suppose I REALLY know it isn't going to be okay.

I also agree with the moment from "The Prom." I BAWL every single time.

*sigh* Must go find happy place now!
I forgot about the final scene in You're Welcome. That was a weepy one.
Also struggling a little to come up with new BSG episodes that bring on the tears. I think I probably sniffled a bit in Maelstrom "I'm not afraid anymore" and "Just let me go". Also Blood on the Scales "I just want people to know... who I am".

Futurama - Never found Jurassic Bark that upsetting... Luck of the Fryrish on the other hand. Damn Breakfast Club soundtrack.

The picks for Buffy and Angel are pretty much perfect, 'The Gift', 'The Body' and 'You're Welcome' never fail to make me blub - 'Who Are You' usually gets me going when Faith-as-Buffy is freaked out by and doesn't understand Riley's tenderness. Also the end of 'Five By Five'. Will probably think of more soon...

Though it isn't the best of episodes I tend to get something in my eye in Firefly's Safe every time Simon steps up next to River on the stake.
There were a couple of moments in Farscape; John's radioactive sacrifice had me bawling.

B5, "Moments of Transition" Neroon's revelation ...
"No!" cries Neroon as he runs forth. He forces himself into the light, picks up Delenn, and hands her through the light to Lennier. Standing in the flame, he cries out, "I was born Warrior Caste, but I see now... The calling of my heart... is Religious! The war is over! Listen to her! Listen!" The Starfire Wheel opens completely, and the light utterly engulfs him. In mere seconds, he is gone, and only the smoking circle, where he once stood, remains.

OnionVision, great term.
Agreed, jamesthegill. Should have saved this for after work.

Off to watch Do You Wanna Date My Avatar to get me in another mood.
Krusher


Excellent suggestion Krusher! Listening to DYWDMA now.
Though, I have to say, out of all of the tear jerking moments in the Whedonverse, the one where Fred starts to sing...Lorne reads her instantly...then she coughs up blood and falls. That particular moment rips me apart possibly even more than her death/transformation scene.

The first time I saw that scene I watched it over and over again in some sort of masochistic ritual. It's just so perfectly tragic. Everything is happy and sunny and then all of a sudden...Lorne's quick turn/double-take is a split second that is one of my favourite character moments.
Hmmmm. ..just thought of another tear jerker scene in "Amends," where Angel is fighting with Buffy and says, "Am I a righteous man? Am I worth saving?" Gets me every time.
And then there's The Message.
good list. I haven't seen everything but I agree with several,particularly Anya's rant and Wesley's and Fred's death scenes. and the final scenes of Exit Wounds and Doomsday. they all still get me teary-eyed and depressed. but Doomsday does hold the place of the episode that broke my heart into a million pieces. something not even Joss managed.
the end of BSG, particularly Roslin's death also made me cry. I don't remember if there's any other tear-jerkers. most of BSG's sad moments are also shocking so there really isn't time for tears.
Anya's little speech to Andrew in the hospital towards the end of season seven about what it means to be human gets me every time also.

I'm continually surprised that for someone who really doesn't like unhappy endings or sad things in general, most of my favorite shows are some of the most heartbreaking on television: Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Doctor Who, Farscape...

I must be some sort of masochist.
As far as Doctor Who is concerned, "Doomsday" broke my heart, but then "Journey's End" ripped it to shreds. Poor Donna!
Adding to Futurama's unexpected water-worthy moments like "Jurassic Bark" among all the hilarity (although I had the same problem as Pretty_Hate_Machine with "Jurassic Bark"--too many fans had oversold it and I missed it on my initial run through of the series because Fox used to often pre-empt it, so when I finally saw it, it didn't get me), the one about Fry's brother("Luck of the Fryrish", thanks Leaf) and "Leela's Homeworld" are excellent as well (it's the song/scenes at the end that do it, in both).

Since we're talking sci-fi animation too, freely admit there was an episode or two in at least each series within the DC Animation franchise (Batman:TAS, Superman:TAS--actually there might not've been one in Superman--Batman Beyond, and even more in Justice League, plus probably one or two of the animated films).

Early Buffy, "Passion" got me at the time (it's the aftermath of Jenny's death, not the act--Giles walking up the stairs to the opera music and finding her body, Willow breaking down as Angelus watches through a window of the Summers' house).

Simon mentioned Enterprise, I gotta mention "Similitude" from Season 3 (the Trip clone ep, with Phlox as his father figure and some expert casting of child and especially teen likenesses). Major tear-jerker. Is "Terra Prime" the 2-part finale of the series that concentrated most on Trip/T'Pol and their baby ? So that scene at the end then, yeah, that hurt. Even though it wasn't the best series overall (and what we were given as the series coda really blew), I was surprised and encouraged to keep watching by the odd times, especially in the last couple seasons, when they would surprise with genuinely earned emotional elements or actors enabled by a good script to really give it. Who would've thought at the beginning of the series, or even within the first season or so, that Trip would turn out to be one of the more compelling characters(aside from Connor Trinneer being some nice eye candy) ?

Trying to remember if Angel Season 2's "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been?" got me with its ending...seems like it would've, thinking back, even with being able to see the ending coming.

I know what comes right after it totally outdoes it in the grief department, but Buffy Season 5's "I Was Made to Love You" got me a bit at the end there. Shonda Farr is great and Buffy waiting for April while she "dies"/runs out of power, with the setting of the swingset and the sunrise...yeah, it worked. I know she's a robot, but it seemed like Warren (good introductory ep for him too) programmed her with just enough complexity and a tiny bit of self-awareness that you feel sorry for her even before the ending, with his cruelty (by avoidance & dismissiveness) toward her throughout. They should totally power her or the BuffyBot back up 'cause it would be a fitting way to end him in Season 8, with one of his own creations. And Willow, by wiring them up, will have killed him twice (although hopefully indirectly with the bot(s), that one of them chooses to off him, rather than her programming them specifically for that).

Even without Serenity, Firefly got me a few times when it was first aired. "Safe", "Ariel"(it's all the Simon & River stuff), maybe "Out of Gas" & "Objects in Space" too, but I can't remember if the latter two managed to wring tears or just had me awed...I'm a total sap for that series.

Lob a few accolades to Lost as well. At the very least, Season 4's "The Constant". There might've been one or two others, but I can't remember. "The Shape of Things to Come" had a pretty heartwrenching moment in it, but I think I just went from tensed up to a little bit beaten for that Ben/Keamy-the-mercenary face-off scene. Season 5 might've had one or two things in it, can't recall for sure. If the writers play their cards right and successfully execute the sixth and final season, I think 5 prior season's worth of build-up is gonna leave me a wreck.

[ edited by Kris on 2009-08-18 21:18 ]
Is "Terra Prime" the 2-part finale of the series that concentrated most on Trip/T'Pol and their baby ?


That's the one. Enterprise was finally getting its act together by then.
And then they spoil it all by kicking any remaining fans square in the teeth with the whole holodeck nonsense. Trip's death was also pretty cheap IMO.
Very lame, yep. If I was ever to re-watch Enterprise (though unless someone else really wanted to with me or was getting into it for the first time, I'm not sure why I would), it would end at "Terra Prime". Unless maybe that last ep has any scenes worth re-editing into a mini-finale, can't recall (Archer hugging T'Pol and the gimmicky but somewhat fan-pleasing bit with all the major Enterprise captain narrations at the end?).
Phew! thank god I didn't ready this in my Internet Cafe!
Hold it...then again some cute girl may of asked me what's wrong?

Anya's plea causes an unstoppable flood from me.
The whole Episode cause a blubber fest, I find Buffy's reactions so realistic because of a similar personal experience.
Same with me, Dana5140 - I remember Dawn's scene was the one that got me with The Body on the first run-through. I already had blurry eyes every five minutes through that ep, but Dawn's collapse, no words, was the tearjerker for me.

The phone call in 'Passion' with Willow & Buffy, Cordelia in 'You're Welcome', all tearjerky. Compare it all to "I'm sixteen years old, I don't want to die" or even hearing "Goodbye to You" from the end of Tabula Rasa...gosh, watching Buffy is sad.
Wesley and Fred moments always get to me, just like Spike's crying breakdown. Anya's speech is just a killer for me, every time these hot tears just flow. I just felt compelled to post the end Anya's speech:

"And, and Xander's crying and not talking, and, and I was having fruit punch, and I thought, well, Joyce will never have any more fruit punch ever, and she'll never have eggs, or yawn or brush her hair, not ever, and no one will explain to me why."
Whedonverse it's Anya's speech from 'The Body', Fred dying in 'A Hole in the World', Buffy on the bus in 'Becoming pt. 2' ("Now leaving Sunnydale", for some reason, really depresses me every time) and Buffy breaking down and sliding towards the floor in 'Passion' (or possibly Giles finding Jenny from the same episode).

As for other shows... quite a few episodes of Space: Above and Beyond spring to mind, including the incredibly downbeat final episode, which I carried around for weeks after I first saw it.

In non-genre shows, 'The West Wing' regularly moved me to near-tears, but not in the I'm-crying-because-I'm-sad way, but because a lot of the dialogue and events there were just so inspiring. Also: the final episode of 'The Shield'.

As for books: The end to Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy springs to mind. Also: much of 'The Sparrow' by Mary Doria Russell.

I'm sure I could think of much more if I put my mind to it, but these spring to mind right away.
Willow beating Xander with her fists as her power fails and she breaks down at the end of Grave...
I read this at work; not a good idea.

Passions
I Only Have Eyes For You
Becoming Part 2
Life of the Party
Prom
I Will Remember
The Body
There No Place like Plrtz Girb
A Hole in the World
Not Fade Away
The Gift
Once More With Feeling
Seeing Red
Grave
Chosen

I'm sure there are more but those are the standout Buffy/Angel episodes that make me cry, a lot.
I dont have much time before having to run out for the night but had to comment on this...

I literally got to the first page of the list and saw the end of Not Fade Away with the Wes death scene and immediately had to protest! 24th on the list??? Easily top 10 material.

Who didn't cry when she reverts to Fred? Classic verse moment.
I think the list is great, except I would have to include Passion and Becoming Part II for Btvs. I would also have to include the end of You're Welcome for Ats and there needs to be some BSG on there! At least for the final :(
Oh God. Luck of the Fryish makes me sad. I love episodes about the 20th century in Futurama. Fry has a great backstory, which lead me to my love of The Breakfast Club/John Hughes stuff.

I'm gonna go cry myself to sleep listening to Anya now.
Although there's quite a bit of scorn for it, "A.I." (Artificial Intelligence) should be on this list too, considering how almost the whole movie is a real downer, then at the very end, it does a complete 180 and we are both overjoyed and melancholic (but still crying like babies). Also, "The Fountain" has several scenes that bring out the waterworks!
I pretty much just blubbed my way through this list, even for some I didn't see. That dog thing!
The saddest thing about the whole Fred dying arc to me was the end of Shells. When they are showing her driving off all hopeful, with the song....KILLS ME!

I agree with the many of the choices on the list, but also agree the Aprilbot's death was surprisingly moving, and Buffy comforting her, WAH! Said a lot about Buffy.

Willow when Oz left. Anya at the end of Hell's Bells.
Buffy's death in "The Gift." Much of "The Body," but especially when Buffy says "the body" out loud to Giles and Dawn's reaction when Buffy tells her Joyce is dead. Buffy confessing to Tara about sleeping with Spike. Anya and Xander's scene at the end of "Selfless." I forget which episode, but early Season 7 when Xander is trying to apologize to Anya and he says everything so terribly, horribly wrong.

Oh, and toward the end of Serenity, Simon's utter helplessness when Kaylee's hurt, he's shot, his bag's missing, and River's standing over him concerned, is painful to watch every single time.
Ooooh, good on the AI love. That is a vastly misunderstood and underappreciated movie.

"The Message" wasn't particularly sad if you didn't know it was the "wrap" episode for the series.

As far as BSG goes, when Roslin dies my reaction was... "It's about time!" She'd been dying since the miniseries, for crying out loud! I don't honestly think there were any good tearjerker scenes in BSG--all the characters were so corrupted, or the deaths were so shocking, that there was never really a good reason to cry for any of them. Gaeta? Good riddance. Dee? Wow, that was random and senseless. Cally? Yeah, I might have cried if they hadn't turned her character into a nagging bitch long before she got spaced. Really, the only two scenes in the entire series I can think of that gave me a visceral reaction on the level of a Joss episode were Tricia Helfer's performance as Gina from "Pegasus" and Ellen Tigh's compelled suicide.
I think you're bang on with Ellen Tigh. I actually never liked her character much, but that was another great scene of people doing wrong things for the right reasons or the right things for the wrong reasons depending on how you felt about it. It was so conflicted and there wasn't an "easy" way to feel about the whole affair. And to watch Saul have to do it was just heartbreaking.

For me, and only for a specific scene, was Double or Nothing. Fred telling Wesley that they knew why he did what he did, that he was actually wrong in fact, AND to not come back again was probably the coldest moment (and one I'm not sure I've seen replicated) in a series that didn't include killing. I'm not sure it qualifies as a tear-jerker, but it had one a very potent emotional impact to it. That the lines were delivered by Fred makes it even colder. Abandonment is very rarely done well. That time it was.
Music is such a key emotional factor for me, so yeah Beck's score in the Gift pushes me over the edge every time. But the scenes in the Body do it too, with no music, which just amazes me now that I think about it.

I'm just glad Joss never used Claire de Lune, because that piece of music hits me hard. Like in the Ren and Stimpy episode where Stimpy loses his pet fart Stinky, and goes off looking for it in the night to the sounds of Claire de Lune - I get misty just thinking about it.

But I'm weird that way.
That is a vastly misunderstood and underappreciated movie.

I understand that 'A.I.' is incredibly heavy-handed and schmaltzy, what did I 'mis' ;).

As for books: The end to Pullman's 'His Dark Materials' trilogy springs to mind. Also: much of 'The Sparrow' by Mary Doria Russell.

Recently (in the last year) 'The Road' made me blub but 'The Sparrow' is a good call GVH, like 'The Road' it's pretty dark but also kind of beautiful. And the last few issues of 'Y: The Last Man' was a bit of a sobfest, initially for the usual reasons but out of joy and species pride by the end.
It's not usually the tragic scenes that do it for me, but the few and far between moments of bliss and sweetness, usually wrapped around by sad things. The class protector scene in "The Prom." The end of "Shells," with Fred driving away from her home as a proud, independent young woman. Both of those make me weep.

As far as SFX list goes: I would have chosen Theoden (den, not "din")'s death and final few words to Merry, at least as it was presented in the book. But, spot on? "The Iron Giant" - amazing that the self-sacrificial act of a machine with the voice of Vin Diesel reduces me to sobs every time.
So glad The Gift and Fred's death are in here.
'The Iron Giant' is sobby but to me it was more happy than sad - the Giant is becoming himself, which is always lovely to see and more fundamentally, we know that his parts will eventually, inexorably creep back together (though saying that, i've only seen the film once so I may be conflating the book - do we actually see the bit where his hand crawls towards his arm etc. ?). In other words, he ain't dead, he's just in Nebraska ... and Texas ... and Vermont ... ;).
I'd have picked the end of Becoming pt2 over The Gift, although that one gets me too. And more Buffy: Willow sitting on the floor sobbing as Tara leaves, at the end of Tabula Rasa, Xander and Willow at the end of Grave.

So glad to see Sleeping in Light on the list, I pretty much sobbed my way through that one.

And definitely the end of Shells, so unexpected and such perfect music.

As for BSG, I'd go with the entirety of Daybreak part2, and a lot of pt1. The flashback sequences were inspired, the poignancy was almost unbearable at times.
Just remembered from another thread that there are some who haven't seen BSG, so going a bit cryptic .... the big blubber scene for me was Adama talking to Laura about the view from the hill, where he was building the cabin.
And the final scene between Kara and Lee, because it was as beautiful as it was heart wrenching (for this hopeless Kara/Lee shipper). ;)
In a way I'm surprised nobody incldued the last few scenes of "Lullaby;" "You'll tell him that, won't you?" Definite misty territory.
I was gonna mention "Lullaby"...it was powerful. But it didn't get tears. However, it was still sorta sad (even though vamp-Darla is/was really evil and only the baby's soul was altering her feelings a bit), but more than that, the whole scene really got across the gravity of how long Angel and Darla had been linked. I didn't see Darla staking herself coming and then her hand in Angel's, dissolving into dust. The image of Fred and Angel hunched over a crying baby on the pavement, in the rain, is a lasting one.

I forgot to mention "Shells" (that song at the end is one of my favorites on the Angel score/soundtrack), but I can't remember if that got me (rather than just being a beautiful scene) or if toward the end of "A Hole in the World" did. One of the two.

Not getting into a debate over A.I. today. I saw it in the theatre alone and it got me good. Even seeing the flaws, I still think it was a great film (although I agreed with many of the reviews at the time that it probably should've ended 15 minutes earlier than it did, with David pleading with the statue in underwater NY, despite thinking the last sequences with the revelation of the extinction of humanity and the advanced robots--that so many people mistook for aliens for some reason--were cool).

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