Top 10 Saddest Sitcom Moments

Written by Billy Keeley These very special episodes tug at the heartstrings and demonstrate that there’s often more to sitcoms than just canned laughter. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 saddest sitcom moments. For this list, we’re looking at those moments in situation comedy shows that had us reaching for the tissues. Sure, we know them for their comedic plots and loveable characters, but every now and then, they’ll throw in a moment that absolutely tears us apart. Special thanks to our users Ira Sutton, Dylan Joel, Steven Rando, Greg PurpleMonkey Glass for suggesting this idea on our suggest tool at www.WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script Written by Written by Billy Keeley

Top 10 Saddest Sitcom Moments


These very special episodes tug at the heartstrings and demonstrate that there’s often more to sitcoms than just canned laughter. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 saddest sitcom moments.

For this list, we’re looking at those moments in situation comedy shows that had us reaching for the tissues. Sure, we know them for their comedic plots and loveable characters, but every now and then, they’ll throw in a moment that absolutely tears us apart.

#10: Letting Mrs. Tanner Go
“Scrubs” (2001)

One of the more unique sitcoms to grace our screens post-‘90s, “Scrubs” dealt with death and heartache more than most sitcoms thanks to its hospital setting. It showed its dramatic side in season-one when J.D. met Mrs. Tanner. Suffering from kidney problems, her life could’ve been prolonged through dialysis; yet, despite J.D.’s attempts to convince her otherwise, she refuses treatment, saying she’d already lived a full life. Upset to lose a patient, J.D. himself is comforted by Mrs. Tanner in a tender conclusion that won’t leave a dry eye in the house.

#9: Mr. Feeny Dismisses Class
“Boy Meets World” (2000)

George Feeny acted as a constant mentor to Cory Matthews and friends in their frequent times of teenage woe. Starting as their middle-school teacher and progressing all the way into college, Mr. Feeny regularly intervened to keep everyone on the right track, no matter how much they slacked off. It was only natural that he gave them one last, moving lesson in the series finale. After heartfelt goodbyes, Mr. Feeny dismisses the empty classroom, uncharacteristically expressing his love for the students so intertwined with his life.

#8: Brian Dies
“Family Guy” (2013)

Brian Griffin has always been an essential part of “Family Guy,” delighting audiences with his sophisticated humor. So it was a major shocker when he was struck and killed by a car during a game of street hockey. The show’s non-stop gags crash to a halt as the family gathers in the emergency room, grieving as Brian offers them a final heartrending message of love. Filled with pure sorrow, the show’s rare descent into tragedy was unforgettable. Luckily, Brian was resurrected two episodes later when Stewie Griffin travels back in time to save him.

#7: Saying Goodbye to the Apartment
“Friends” (2004)

When long-running sitcom classic “Friends” left the air, there was little doubt that the finale would be emotional, and it sure didn’t let us down. Moving on in their lives with different relationships and commitments, the six friends meet for one last time in the apartment where they shared so many memories. They all solemnly leave their keys, accompanied by one final shot of the now-deserted apartment. It was a poignant end of an era for everyone who had followed the characters for so long.

#6: Finale Revelations
“Roseanne” (1997)

This ‘90s mainstay featured one of the more controversial sitcom endings. In a lengthy monologue, Roseanne admits to reimagining large portions of her life for the show, which was actually a book she’d been writing as a form of therapy. As it turns out, a bulk of the final season never happened: for example, her family never won the lottery, and, most upsetting of all, her husband Dan died from the heart attack he suffered a year prior. “Roseanne” always showcased the realities of working-class life, and it didn’t get more real than this.

#5: The Chicken Story
“M*A*S*H” (1983)

In the TV sitcom world, few have mixed comedy with a somber setting better than “M*A*S*H.” And it made particularly effective use of its Korean War backdrop in its haunting finale. When Army medic Hawkeye Pierce suffers a nervous breakdown during the war’s final days, a flashback shows us the gruesome cause behind it: while on a bus with Korean refugees, he asks a woman to silence a chicken she’s carrying. She complies, but a devastated Hawkeye reveals that it was no chicken, and that she did more than simply quiet it.

#4: Attempted Assault on Edith
“All in the Family” (1977)

The Bunkers suffered their fair share of heartbreak, from losing a family friend in a mugging to Edith’s heartbreaking death. Often unmentioned, however, is the attempted assault on Edith: on her 50th birthday, she’s left alone at home while her family plans a surprise party next-door. The perpetrator disguises himself as a police detective and secretly holds her captive, while her family calls and even visits briefly. Though Edith is eventually able to attack and escape the man, her emotional trauma afterwards is highly powerful, and remains haunting to this day.

#3: Michael Departs the Office
“The Office” (2011)

The UK’s original version of “The Office” featured a rather sad moment with David Brent’s lay-off. The American adaptation followed suit with a tearjerker farewell when Scranton branch boss Michael Scott left the office for Colorado, although this was not the series finale to the dismay of many critics. Deciding to secretly depart a day earlier than expected, Michael spends his workday giving each employee a funny yet painful goodbye. Particularly moving are his farewells to Jim, filled with barely-restrained tears, and his airport parting with Pam, complete with one last “that’s what she said.”

#2: Seymour’s Fate Revealed
“Futurama” (2002)

As a young man accidentally frozen until the 31st century, Philip J. Fry has dealt with many touching discoveries from his past, including his brother’s emotional tribute to him. One discovery that’s not so much touching as it is brutally depressing is the fate of Fry’s beloved dog, Seymour. After Fry finds the dog fossilized, he’s presented with technology that’d allow him to clone Seymour. However, he declines, reasoning that he surely lived a full life after his cryogenic freeze. The audience, however, sees a gut-wrenching flashback reveal that shows Seymour waited for Fry outside a pizzeria for the rest of his life, twelve agonizingly long years.

Before we reveal our final pick, here are some honorable mentions:
- Homer’s Mother Can’t Stay
“The Simpsons” (1995)
- Randy’s Cancer Scare
“Home Improvement” (1996)
- Alex P. Keaton’s Friend Dies
“Family Ties” (1987)
- Sandy’s Accident
“Growing Pains” (1989)

#1: Will’s Father Leaves

“The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” (1994)
While a box-office superstar today, Will Smith first honed his dramatic acting chops in this soul-crushing episode of the sitcom that began his acting career. Trouble begins when Will’s long-estranged father Lou pays him a visit, giving Will hope for possible reconciliation. However, Lou just as quickly gets cold feet and hits the road. Will explodes in the resulting confrontation, perfectly mixing teenage anger, confusion, and sadness. After his angry outburst, Will reveals his true sadness, before collapsing into his uncle’s arms, tenderly capping off this haunting betrayal of the sacred bond between father and son.

Do you agree with our list? What’s your pick for saddest sitcom moment? For more informative top 10s, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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