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I keep a box of tissues by the couch. It’s a necessary precaution because I cry at nearly everything on my TV screen. A reunion, of any kind – on the news, a talk show, in a film – I’m in floods. An advert involving a sweet old man? Gone. I have even been known to dry my eyes during a Maury Show makeover. But the biggest offenders, the TV moments that really make me weep, are those that come from my favourite television series, whose characters I get to know; characters who often – spoiler alert – die. Shows that I shouldn’t be allowed to watch but can’t resist, like The West Wing (R.I.P) – a series that brought me to tears nearly every episode. I’ve always been like this. I am a crier. A softy. Sensitive. Call it what you like, I have been “in touch with my emotions” from a young age. My mum banned me from watching Animal Hospital when I was 10. And when I was 15? She came home to find me so hysterical she thought someone had died. They had – on ER.
There have been many TV scenes that have reduced me to tears – episodes that have left me so distraught I couldn’t possibly imagine laughing again. Ahead, the episodes that catch in my throat and still make me cry my eyes out 16 years later.
Warning: there are plenty of spoilers ahead. If you still haven’t got round to watching The Wire, now might be the time to do it.
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Episode: "Be Still My Heart"
The episode in question of ER that had me hysterically crying an hour after it was over? It’s not the one where Dr. Greene dies. Nope, the one that really made me lose it was when Lucy died after being stabbed by a schizophrenic patient and a severely wounded Carter can’t do anything but watch her bleed out. Inconsolable.
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Fresh Prince of Bel Air
Episode: "Papa’s Got A Brand New Excuse"
If you were born in the ‘80s, you probably watched Fresh Prince. And if you watched Fresh Prince, you definitely cried your eyes out when this happened. The sobs you can hear from the studio audience aren’t canned – Will Smith did this scene in one take and there wasn’t a dry eye on set.
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Episode: "The Interview"
Whether you love him or love to hate him, it’s impossible not to feel sorry for David Brent in this episode as he finally abandons the bravado and begs to keep his job. The pause that follows after he’s been told to leave is so excruciating I’m squirming just thinking about it.
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Episode: "Cleaning Up"
Michael B. Jordan will always be Wallace from The Wire to me. And I can’t look at those eyes without my own welling up when I watch this cruel scene.
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Episode: "The Te of Pacey"
When Pacey tells his drunk tyrant of a father “it’s your job to love me” my teenage heart broke in two. His vulnerability in this scene is so raw, I made it my job to love him after watching it.