The 5 Most Heart-Wrenching TV Episodes That Made Us Cry

By Chris Snellgrove | Updated

Thanks to ongoing television shows like The Simpsons and classics like Seinfeld (we’re not the only ones mainlining that show on Netflix, are we?), it’s always easy to find something on the small screen to make you laugh. But what if you’re in the mood to shed a few tears instead of having a few yucks? In that case, you should check out one or more of the following TV episodes that never fail to make us cry.

Friends – “The One Where Ross Finds Out”

For ‘80s and ‘90s kids, the question of whether Ross and Rachel were going to get together on Friends was something we spent way too much time pondering. And even now that stars like Courteney Cox have moved on to franchises like Scream, we can’t help but revisit this show from time to time. And whenever we need a good cry, we pull the show up on Max and begin watching “The One Where Ross Finds Out.”

This was a particularly emotional episode because, as the title implies, Ross finally learns that Rachel has feelings for him, just as she was doing her best to get over him. However, Ross had previously struggled with his own feelings for Rachel and had moved on to a relationship with his new girlfriend Julie. By the end of the episode, Ross and Rachel finally get together, but the emotional rollercoaster ride from Rachel’s drunken call to their passionate kiss at the end always leaves us bawling.

The Office – “Goodbye, Michael”

steve carell

For many fans of The Office, the departure of Steve Carrell’s popular Michael Scott character was reason enough to cry. While the show was originally meant to lampoon what office life is like for an incompetent boss, Scott soon became the heart and soul of the show. And we see that heart gets ripped right out of the series in “Goodbye, Michael,” an episode guaranteed to leave you teary-eyed.

Part of what makes this episode so emotionally enthralling is that we get to see Michael Scott at his inspirational best. He goes out of his way to help Ed Helms’ hapless character Andy make some sales, and he leaves Dwight a heartfelt letter of recommendation. But the real waterworks come seeing Michael say goodbye to Jim and Pam, secretly leaving before he has to face his beloved staff at his own farewell party.

Angel – “I Will Remember You”

If you weren’t worrying about whether Ross and Rachel would get together in the ‘90s, you were likely worrying over Buffy and Angel. Sarah Michelle Gellar’s Buffy was madly in love with the vampiric Angel played by David Boreanz on her series. However, the nature of his curse meant they could never truly be together, which is one of the reasons he left Sunnydale (the other reason, of course, being that he needed to headline a spinoff show).

In the Angel episode, “I Will Remember You,” a quirk of demonic blood gives Angel the one thing he thought he wanted most: to be human again. He takes advantage of this to enjoy his time with a visiting Buffy Summers, and the two are finally able to make sweet, network-approved love without Angel turning into a monster. But once Angel realizes he can no longer save others without his special powers, he begs The Powers to Be to turn back time, which ultimately restores his vampiric self, undoes his time with Buffy, and leaves us all crying our eyes out.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer – “The Body”

While we’re talking about Buffy Summers, it’s difficult to beat the sadness of the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode “The Body.” In this season, Buffy’s mother had been struggling with health issues, but this didn’t prepare Buffy for seeing her mom as a lifeless corpse upon arriving home. And what follows is an episode without any of its usual humor or witty dialogue, leaving viewers to wallow in the immense pain.

While all of the episodes on this list are sad, you should know this episode will leave you weeping from beginning to end. The sadness only ramps up as we see how much pain and suffering this death has brought to the characters we love. And by the time young Dawn sees her mother’s body and timidly asks where her mom has gone, your eyes will likely be twin waterfalls.

Futurama – “Jurassic Bark”

Come on, be honest: you knew this episode was going to be here. It’s basically impossible to discuss sad television shows without touching on the Futurama episode “Jurassic Bark,” in which Fry gets the chance to clone his beloved dog Seymour from his fossilized remains. While the episode has most of the quirky humor you’d expect from this off-kilter cartoon, it’s the end of the episode that usually makes pet lovers break down.

Towards the end of the episode, after finding out his dog lived another 12 years after he was frozen, Fry aborts the cloning process because he reasons that his dog must have found a new owner and moved on. However, in a horrifically sad flashback, we discover that Seymour simply obeyed Fry’s last command to him and stayed waiting in front of a pizza restaurant. We then see the dog get older and sadder over the years until he presumably dies, broken and abandoned (and yes, watching this episode will ruin your entire day…you’ve been warned).