TV Episodes To Watch If You Need a Good Cathartic Cry

In need of some stress relief or just a big old cry? We've got you covered with some of the most emotional moments from our favorite TV shows.

By Lauren Piester Jan 21, 2021 11:00 PMTags
Watch: TV Shows That Got Us Through 2020

Sometimes, you just gotta cry it out. 

It might be an understatement to say we've all been through a lot lately, and emotions are flying all over the place. Some of us have been stuck inside, some of us have been at work during a pandemic, and most of us aren't handling it all that well. Plus, we all just got a new president, and that's a lot to take in. 

If you haven't had a good cry yet, we'd like to recommend it and offer you a selection of TV episodes that might just help give your cry the fictional support it needs. You don't have to cry over real things if you don't want to, but why not cry over a few TV characters? 

In the below list, you've got your pick of happy cries, sad cries, death-related cries, romantic cries, and everything in between. Get the tissues ready, and maybe a pint of ice cream or two! 

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2021 TV Premiere Dates

Scroll down to see the full list below!

Six Feet Under - Series Finale (Season 5, Episode 12)

There's a good chance that if you ever watched this show, you thought of this episode when you saw the headline of this post. Six Feet Under was a master of dealing with death and grief, so it's no surprise that it nailed its own ending. To the sounds of Sia's "Breathe," Claire (Lauren Ambrose) drives off to begin her life while a montage reveals how she and each of the members of her family eventually live out their lives and die, years in the future. We still can't hear the opening notes of that song without crying.

The Good Place - Series Finale (Season 4, Episode 14)

The Good Place took what Six Feet Under did and turned it on its head, showing how all the main characters lived out their afterlives before finally moving on. Demon Michael (Ted Danson), meanwhile, gets to become a human and begin his life for the first time and it is simply a sob fest.

Schitt's Creek - "Open Mic" (Season 4, Episode 6) and "Olive Branch" (Season 4, Episode 9)

Nothing was more mortifying to David (Dan Levy) than watching his boyfriend embarrass himself during an open mic until Patrick (Noah Reid) actually opened his mouth and started singing. Turns out he has the voice of an angel and the ability to turn "Simply the Best" into an indie lullabye for the love of his life. To complete the cry, skip to season 4, episode 9, "Olive Branch," to see David's lip-synced reply.

The Office

It was hard to choose just one episode from The Office for this list, so we chose three. First, there's season five's "Company Picnic," which ends with Pam (Jenna Fischer) and Jim (John Krasinski) discovering that they're having a baby in a dialogue-free scene, filmed from afar. Then, season six's two-parter "Niagara" features Jim and Pam's wedding, first on a boat at Niagara Falls and then in a church surrounded by badly behaved coworkers. Finally, there's season seven's "Goodbye Michael," which should be pretty self-explanatory. Michael (Steve Carell) and Pam saying goodbye at the airport…we cry forever.

Friday Night Lights - "The Son" (Season 4, Episode 5)

The series finale is a worthwhile tearjerker, but if you really wanna get in your feelings, allow Matt Saracen's (Zach Gilford) struggle over his absent father's death to really and truly destroy you.  

Buffy the Vampire Slayer - "The Body" (Season 5, Episode 16)

There are a lot of moments on Buffy the Vampire Slayer that kill us (her death, her resurrection, her singing about her death and resurrection in the musical episode) but on this supernatural, magic-filled show, it was Joyce's (Kristine Sutherland) death that really hit hardest. Not even the slayer can beat a brain aneurysm.

Glee - "The Quarterback" (Season 5, Episode 3)

We must offer a warning for this episode, since it only happened because Cory Monteith passed away. But if you're looking for catharsis, you'll find it here. It was a beautiful way to honor both Monteith and his character and features two of the most emotional performances of this entire series thanks to Naya Rivera and Lea Michele.

Grey's Anatomy

It's impossible to choose just one cry-worthy Grey's Anatomy episode, so here's a selection. So sorry, someone dies in every single one of them.

Season 2, Episode 6, "Into You Like a Train" – Two patients in a train accident are stuck on a pole together and it's absolutely devastating.

Season 2, Episode 27, "Losing My Religion" – Denny dies, and Izzie finds him when she goes to show off her prom dress.

Season 5, Episode 24, "Now or Never" – All you need to know is this: 007.

Season 8, Episode 24, "Flight" – The plane crash.

Season 11, Episode 21, "How to Save a Life" – This is the ep where Derek dies. That's all.

(If you want happier options from Shondaland, might we direct you to this list right over here.)

Station 19 - "Always Ready" (Season 2, Episode 15)

Station 19 was still finding its footing in season two, but that didn't mean that we didn't find ourselves incredibly attached to Vic (Barrett Doss) and Ripley's (Brett Tucker) secret romance. When he suddenly died of exposure to a dangerous chemical after one last goodbye to his new fiancée, we were practically inconsolable.

Scrubs - "My Screwup" (Season 3, Episode 14)

You know the line: "Where do you think we are?" Scrubs was excelled at mixing comedy and drama in such a way that the drama always hit extra hard, and this episode is no exception.

Friends - "The One With the Proposal" (Season 6, Episode 24 and 25)

You could watch the series finale to see Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) get off the plane (giving up her dream job in Paris for Ross (David Schwimmer), of all people) if you really want, but our pick is the episode where Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler (Matthew Perry) get engaged. Monica tries to do it first, and by the end they're both down on their knees professing their love to each other. Could it BE any cuter?

The West Wing - "Two Cathedrals" (Season 2, Episode 22)

Yep, it's the Mrs. Landingham episode. President Bartlett (Martin Sheen) said goodbye to his old friend through a series of flashbacks and we have simply never forgotten it. You could also watch season seven's "Election Day" episodes, which include the death of Leo after John Spencer's passing, but only if you want to do that to yourself. 

Parks and Recreation - "Halloween Surprise" (Season 5, Episode 5)

Anything related to Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ben Wyatt (Adam Scott) is likely to get us a little misty-eyed, but his proposal is top-notch. She doesn't even let him get the words out, and it's perfect.

The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air - "Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse" (Season 4, Episode 24)

30 years later and we're all still talking about Will Smith, James Avery and that scene: "How come he don't want me, man?" A classic.

New Girl - "Landing Gear" (Season 5, Episode 22)

Cece (Hannah Simone) and Schmidt (Max Greenfield) didn't quite get the wedding of their dreams since he was stuck on a grounded plane, but they made it work via FaceTime. Then, when Schmidt returned to find that a second, more intimate wedding had been set up in the loft? We cried like a baby.

This Is Us - "Memphis" (Season 1, Episode 16)

This Is Us loves to make us sob, but no full episode has gotten us in the way "Memphis" did, as Randall (Sterling K. Brown) took the dying William (Ron Cephas Jones) on one memorable father/son road trip. When Sterling K. Brown cries, we cry.

Supernatural - Series Finale (Season 15, Episode 20)

Say what you will about the way Supernatural ended, but you cannot deny that Dean's (Jensen Ackles) sudden death, his final speech to Sam (Jared Padalecki), and the montage of Sam living on without him are not absolutely cry-worthy.  

Lost - "The Constant" (Season 4, Episode 5)

One of the best episodes of the entire series, "The Constant" finds Desmond (Henry Ian Cusick) jumping back and forth between time periods and desperately trying to survive it with help from his ex-girlfriend, Penny (Sonya Walger). It was a full time travel romance movie condensed into one TV episode, and it's a tearjerker.

Game of Thrones - "The Door" (Season 6, Episode 5)

Of all the deaths and twists over the course of the HBO series, it's Hodor's (Kristian Nairn) tragic demise (and tragic life) that hit us hardest. He did not deserve that fate!

Pose - "Never Knew Love Like This Before" (Season 2, Episode 4)

It's already hard to watch the funeral of Candy (Angelica Ross) and becomes even harder when you hear what was going on behind the scenes of the episode. Before filming, Ross read off the names of real trans women who had been killed that year, so all the tears were real. 

The Vampire Diaries - "Nostalgia's a Bitch" (Season 8, Episode 10)

There are a LOT of cry-worthy moments on The Vampire Diaries, many of which involve tragic deaths. But there are also some beautiful moments that deserve your tears too, like Damon's (Ian Somerhalder) letter to his BFF Bonnie (Kat Graham) when he knocked himself out and didn't tell her first. Damon and Bonnie's friendship was one of the best parts of the show (we will not be accepting arguments at this time), so another option is their post-prison world reunion in season six, episode 15. 

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