Top 22 Heartwarming TV Moments of Each Year (2000-2021)



Top 22 Heartwarming TV Moments of Each Year (2000-2021)

VOICE OVER: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Sammie Purcell
These heartwarming TV moments got us through each year. For this list, we'll be looking at those small screen moments that gave us the warm and fuzzies from each year of the century so far. Our countdown includes "The Office," "Friends," "Ted Lasso," and more!

Top 22 Heartwarming TV Moments of Each Year 2000-2021

Welcome to MsMojo, and today we’re counting down our picks for the Top 22 Heartwarming TV Moments of Each Year 2000-2021.

For this list, we’ll be looking at those small screen moments that gave us the warm and fuzzies from each year of the decade so far. We’ll be leaving out animated moments, since those could have a list all their own.

If we missed any moments that made your heart swell with joy, let us know in the comments below.

2000: Turkey Soldier
“The West Wing” (1999-2006)

“The West Wing” has given us an odd amount of funny and sweet moments with animals. There’s season four’s goat photo op, but for our first entry on the list, we had to go with the turkey pardon to end all pardons. When C.J. is tasked with choosing which turkey will receive the traditional presidential pardon and which will go on the chopping block for Thanksgiving dinner, she can’t decide. She desperately tries to save both turkeys, but it’s not looking good. Then, just in time, President Bartlet drafts the non-pardoned turkey into the armed forces so his life will be spared. A Thanksgiving miracle!

2001: Thunderbirds
“Spaced” (1999-2001)

Just when you thought all was lost, the Thunderbirds theme song saves the day. The short-lived British sitcom “Spaced” has become a beloved classic for some, and has one of the sweetest moments of all time in its series finale. The episode opens to sadness – Twist has broken up with Brian, and he’s utterly heartbroken, unable to bring himself up from the pits of despair. His friend Mike breaks into his house and does the one thing he knows will cheer Brian up – play the Thunderbirds theme song. It completely changes Brian’s mood, and the tone of the episode lifts up into one of happiness from then on.

2002: Rachel Gives Birth
“Friends” (1994-2004)

Over the course of its ten year run, “Friends” gave us more than enough heartwarming moments to probably fill out a list all on its own. But today, we had to go with the tender moments between the friends when Rachel gives birth to her and Ross’s daughter, Emma. There are plenty of amazing little exchanges here, but our favorite is when, before Ross and Rachel have picked out a name, the nurse calls the newborn “Baby Girl Greene.” They may not be settled on a first name yet, but Rachel corrects her about the last one. Ross and Rachel kiss, and while things still might be complicated, it’s a beautiful moment.

2003: Rory’s Valedictorian Speech
“Gilmore Girls” (2000-07)

The relationship between Rory and her mother Lorelai on “Gilmore Girls” is a mother-daughter relationship for the ages. It wasn’t always perfect, but there’s no doubt that the love between the two was strong. So, when Rory thanked her mother during her valedictorian speech when she graduated from Chilton, you can bet there were some waterworks. Rory, who has recently decided to go to Yale, gets up in front of her whole school and begins thanking a few people who have helped her get to where she is. Though, like Lorelai and Sookie, we desperately tried not to blubber, there’s no chance we WEREN’T blubbering when Rory talked about how supportive, inspirational, and loving Lorelai had been for her entire life.

2004: Charlotte Meets Her Daughter
“Sex and the City” (1998-2004)

Charlotte’s struggle with getting pregnant was one of the series’ more heart wrenching storylines throughout the years. When Charlotte and Harry got married in season six, though, audiences were happy to know that at least Charlotte got the man of her dreams. But, in the series finale, we got hit with this tear jerking, heartwarming moment. Charlotte and Harry have decided that they want to adopt, and one night Harry comes home with a photo of their new daughter. He turns the picture to Charlotte, and the look on her face says it all – she immediately starts tearing up, and in a touching moment says, [“That’s our baby.”]

2005: Mother & Child
“Doctor Who” (2005-)

Never underestimate the bond between parent and child – it might just save the world. In “The Doctor Dances,” the Doctor, Rose, Jack, and another companion – a homeless woman named Nancy – are investigating some strange epidemic in 1941 that has caused patients at a nearby hospital to turn into zombies with gas masks for faces. The zombies are led by a strange child named Jamie, who is searching for his “mummy.” It becomes clear to the Doctor that the “mummy” in question is Nancy, who isn’t actually Jamie’s sister. In an emotionally charged moment, she tells Jamie that she’s his mother – and that’s all it takes.

2006: Lee Adama Loves Kara Thrace
“Battlestar Galactica” (2004-09)

The relationship between Lee “Apollo” Adama and Kara “Starbuck” Thrace in “Battlestar Galactica” kept audiences on their toes for years. Will they? Won’t they? Did they already? Well, some of those questions were answered in season three. The audience is treated to a flashback of a moment between Kara and Lee, where they slept together outside underneath the stars. Afterwards, they talk about the future, and Lee stands up and screams his love for Kara to the heavens. Eventually, she joins in and does the same. It’s a beautiful, funny, and heartwarming moment for these two, and one that was a long time coming.

2007: Jim Asks Pam Out
“The Office” (2005-13)

For years, Jim and Pam danced around their feelings for each other on “The Office.” It seemed like they might never figure things out – until the end of season three. Jim is in the running for a corporate job in New York, along with Karen, his girlfriend. But, Jim seems confused – both about Karen and the job. At the end of the episode, just as Pam confesses that she doesn’t think she and Jim will work out, he immediately appears and asks her on a date. Pam’s smile after he leaves is infectious, and her adorable admission that she’s forgotten what she was talking about is one for the books.

2008: Desmond & Penny
“Lost” (2004-10)

“Lost” loved to play with time – seems there was always a paradox or time travel of some kind or another going on at any given moment. But one of the best and most beautiful uses of that conceit came in season four. During the episode, Desmond becomes unstuck in time, and keeps believing that he’s not in 2004, but 1996. To become unstuck, Desmond must find a constant. He decides that will be Penny, but there’s a problem. In 1996, they broke up, leaving her distraught. And in 2004, he’s stuck on a freighter, and Penny is not. Conundrum! But, Desmond is able to get ahold of Penny on the freighter’s phone. The contact stops his time loop, and recements his love with Penny.

2009: Nathan Goes to the NBA
“One Tree Hill” (2003-12)

While Nathan started off as something of an antagonist in the early seasons of “One Tree Hill,” he quickly became a fan favorite and someone to root for. In the later seasons of the show, Nathan’s dream was to join the NBA, and fans definitely wanted it for him. While Nathan worked hard, a number of obstacles kept getting in his way and setting him back, and it seemed like it might never happen. But, at the end of the 6th season, the big dream finally becomes reality. Nathan finds out that he’s gotten called up to the NBA and he and his family celebrate. The look on his son Jamie’s face is enough to make this a perfect heartwarming moment.

2010: Barney Meets His Daughter
“How I Met Your Mother” (2005-14)

Barney Stinson is the philandering ladies’ man of the group on “How I Met Your Mother.” While Barney had a good run with Robin, it never seemed that he would really settle down with one girl. But, in the end he did – although it might not have been the girl we expected. In the series finale, Barney finds out that he got a woman pregnant and she is having a baby. When he finally meets his baby daughter, he breaks down and begins crying. [“You are the love of my life,”] he tells her, filling himself – and us – with unparalleled emotion.

2011: Hail Mary
“Friday Night Lights” (2006-11)

“Friday Night Lights” was such a crowd pleaser of a show, it’s no wonder the series finale had a plethora of moments that made us tear up. But this one moment got us the most. Vince Howard was a bit of a complicated character – he could be arrogant and cruel sometimes – but throughout the series, he proved himself to be a great guy and a true leader for the football team. In the final episode, Vince hurls a Hail Mary pass down the field. The camera tracks to spectators as the football continues to travel, and then it cuts away, leaving us to wonder what happened. But, we’re quickly shown that Vince succeeded – he won the game, and he won our hearts.

2012: Leslie Wins
“Parks and Recreation” (2009-15)

Any loyal “Parks and Rec” fan knows that Leslie winning the City Council election is one of the best moments in the show’s history. After a fierce – and often hilarious – race against Paul Rudd’s amazingly idiotic Bobby Newport, Leslie is waiting for the results of an extremely close race. Ben is trying to keep her mind off things when Ann walks in with the news from the recount – and it’s good. The slow, surprised smile that spreads across Leslie’s face is worth all the anxious waiting. It may be a win by just 21 votes, but it’s still a win.

2013: Dwight’s Wedding
“The Office” (2005-13)

When Michael left “The Office,” audiences were devastated, but also left with questions – would we see Michael again? And how long would it take before he made an appearance? Audiences finally got the answer to that question in the series finale at Dwight and Angela’s wedding. Right before the nuptials are set to begin, Jim tells Dwight that he can’t be his best man. Little does Dwight know, Jim has one last prank up his sleeve. Dwight turns around to see that Michael is back – and he’s willing to stand with him. It’s a tear jerking moment, and even includes one more great use of “That’s what she said.”

2014: Jay Walks Mitch Down the Aisle
“Modern Family” (2009-20)

Mitch’s coming out story with his dad, Jay, was never an easy one. In season one of “Modern Family,” he makes it known that he couldn’t even attempt the conversation until his twenties, and he had to essentially come out to his dad three separate times when he finally did. Years later and his wedding to his long-time partner Cam isn’t going any smoother. But it becomes the perfect, most heartwarming event imaginable when Jay offers to walk Mitch down the aisle. Mitch is visibly touched, and gently rests his head on his father’s shoulder as they walk down the aisle together. Tissues, please!

2015: The Importance of Glee Club
“Glee” (2009-15)

Sue Sylvester always had … let’s say complicated, relationship with Will Schuester and the rest of the Glee Club. Sometimes, it seemed she was on their side, like when she got the Glee Club another year at the end of season one. But, most of the time, she seemed dead set on destroying them. Which is why it was so touching when at the end of the series, Sue dedicated the auditorium to Finn, and gave a moving, heartfelt speech that showed that she finally understood the importance of Glee Club. And she’s right – Glee IS about opening your heart to joy.

2016: Schmidt & Cece
“New Girl” (2011-18)

There have been plenty of beautifully moving television weddings in the 2010s, so we had a lot to choose from. We could have gone with Michael’s adorable use of Spanish in his vows with Jane on “Jane the Virgin,” but we had another wedding in mind. Ever since Schmidt and Cece met on “New Girl,” they’ve been on and off, together and not together, dancing around each other the whole time. So when they finally got married in season five, it was a wedding for the ages. Even if it wasn’t what the two initially expected – and took place in the gang’s apartment – it was just perfect.

2017: Family Game Night
“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” (2013-21)

When Rosa decided to come out to her parents as bisexual in the fifth season of “Brooklyn Nine Nine,” things didn’t go as well as she hoped. After an awkward dinner with her parents and Jake, her parents then call her sexuality “a phase,” which maddens Rosa, understandably. At the end of the episode, her father Oscar tells her that he loves her, but it might take her mother Julia a little more time to accept her. To try and cheer her up, the Nine Nine gang throws Rosa a game night, and decides to make it a weekly event. Sometimes, your chosen family is all you need.

2018: Ted Surprises Alexis at Singles Week
“Schitt’s Creek” (2015-20)

“Schitt’s Creek” might take the cake for being one of the most heartwarming and happy shows in the past couple of decades – but for us, one moment stands out above the rest. In this episode, Alexis is desperately trying to organize a singles week – and trying to ignore her feelings for her ex, Ted – but nothing is going as planned. However, things start looking up during a game of singles’ musical chairs. Ted shows up to the event and sits in the chair across from Alexis, newly single and ready to mingle with one particular person – her. It was definitely a moment that made our hearts feel all a flutter.

2019: Nobel Prize Speech
“The Big Bang Theory” (2007-19)

Sheldon may have not always been the most likable character on “The Big Bang Theory,” but we got used to his quirks and began to love him as the series went on. However, we definitely got a little taste of the old Sheldon in the series finale, if only for a moment. Having won the Nobel Prize with Amy, Sheldon steps up to the podium with a very long, very self-centered speech in hands. But he ultimately decides not to deliver that speech. Instead, he thanks his friends and family, and rightly says that he wouldn’t be where he is without them. Watching Sheldon grow over the course of the series was without a doubt one of our favorite things.

2020: Roy Kent
“Ted Lasso” (2020-)

“Ted Lasso” took the world by storm in 2020, garnering praise for its loving characters and its everlasting optimism. But one character stood out a bit from the rest – audiences everywhere loved Roy Kent, the crotchety, grumpy veteran footballer with a heart of gold. And not just TV audiences – but the show’s football audience too. During the first season’s final match, Roy gets hurt during a play and has to be helped off the field. As he leaves, the crowd erupts into this rapturous cheer: [“Roy Kent, Roy Kent, he’s here, he’s there, he’s every [insert expletive here] where.”] It’s a lovely send off for Roy, and a truly heartwarming moment.

2021: “What Is Grief…”
“WandaVision” (2021)

Setting the tone for the MCU’s new host of Marvel television shows couldn’t have been an easy task, but “WandaVision” was more than up for the job. There were many things to love about the miniseries, but the best might have been the relationship between Wanda and Vision themselves. We didn’t get to see a ton of them together in the films, so it was nice to see not only their love on “WandaVision”, but also their love story leading up to it. The best moment by far was a flashback of Vision comforting Wanda in the wake of her brother’s death, where he uttered this lovely sentiment: [“What is grief, if not love persevering?”] It’s a beautiful, moving moment for the books.