If you’re feeling down, watching your favorite Sitcom is a pretty effective way to put a smile on your face. Be it the reliableness of a classic like Friends or a group of geeky scientists as they journey through life in The Big Bang Theory, dozens of sitcoms have been a surefire way to turn a frown upside down for decades.
The unabbreviated name for Sitcom stands for situation comedy. However, despite being wildly being known for making us laugh, sitcoms have also been known to tug on our heartstrings many times throughout a series’ run. Whether it be from covering heartbreaking topics like death and miscarriage or how much life can throw at us as we age, there have been many times when our go-to hilarious sitcoms have left us sobbing.
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‘Friends’ (1994 – 2004)
Right from the get-go, Friends openly covered some emotional topics, incorporating them into the show’s run throughout its entirety. Phoebe Buffay (Lisa Kudrow) often talked about her difficult upbringing, from her mother’s decision to end her own life to her living on the streets when she was fourteen. While her challenging childhood typically became a focal point of her character’s personality, the show presented other hard-hitting matters that weren’t as funny.
Amidst the classic comedy over its ten-year run, the writers became professionals at warming and breaking our hearts. From the brotherly bond between Chandler and Joey (Matthew Perry and Matt LeBlanc) to Monica (Courteney Cox) and Chandler’s discovery of their infertility and Phoebe’s surrogacy and goodbye to the triplets, not to mention Ross and Rachel’s (David Schwimmer and Jennifer Aniston) on-again, off-again relationship, this wildly beloved Sitcom didn’t hold back on its emotional side. Still in need of a heartbreaking throwback? Watch the reunion. You’re welcome.
‘The Big Bang Theory’ (2007 – 2019)
Distant parents, main character breakups, and bidding farewell to a character who had become a beloved parr of the show were all topics that managed to bring many a tear to our eyes throughout the twelve-year run of The Big bang Theory.
Throughout the show, interactions between Leonard (Johnny Galecki) and his mom were often a focal point of comedy over its twelve years. However, their relationship culminated in a sweet reconciliation before the show ended, which brought a tear to many eyes. Perhaps the saddest moment on TBBT came when Carol Anne Suzi, the off-screen actress behind the voice of Howard’s (Simon Helberg) mom, sadly died, and the show had to say goodbye to her.
‘Scrubs’ (2001 – 2010)
What’s the first thing you think of when you think of the emotional side of Scrubs? Is it Dr. Cox’s (John C. McGinley) breakdown after losing three patients due to rabies? What about Cox’s friend, Ben (Brendan Fraser), who died after going into cardiac arrest while he wasn’t there? Or J.D. (Zach Braff) and his elderly patient suffering from kidney failure?
Whatever it may be, while Scrubs was known for its silly comedy and likable characters, they became professionals at flipping that comedy into heartache quite effortlessly. Scrubs was set in a hospital, so there were bound to be topics like loss and grief, but no matter how often they popped up, they never prepared us for the next one.
‘How I Met Your Mother’ (2005 – 2014)
You may not think of How I Met Your Mother as an emotional show, but over its nine-year run, it definitely threw in some gutwrenching curveballs that left us reaching for the tissues.
From Lily’s (Alyson Hannigan) confession about feeling trapped in what she loves and Robyn’s (Cobie Smulders) reveal that she can’t have children to Barney’s (Neil Patrick Harris) strained relationship with his dad and the loss of Marshall’s (Jason Segel) father after suffering a heart attack, this typically lighthearted Sitcom put us through the emotional ringer on multiple occasions.
‘Boy Meets World’ (1993 – 2000)
Full of life lessons and likable characters, Boy Meets World continues to live up to the name it made for itself. But from devastating topics like death and loss to the struggles of life we all experience as we grow up, this classic and beloved 90s Sitcom is still capable of twanging the heart when you think about some of its most emotional scenes.
From the loss of Shawn’s (Rider Strong) father, breakups and fights, and everything in-between that these friends faced as they stumbled through life, this show often had us ugly crying throughout its almost decade run. If the main stories weren’t enough to make you sad, then rewatch the finale of this iconic Sitcom that came to mean so much to thousands of people. In the wise words of Mr. Feeny (William Daniels), “believe in yourself. Dream, try. Do good.”
‘The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’ (1990 – 1996)
Racial discrimination, gun conflict, and absent parents, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air didn’t lack its tough topics, covering a variety of sensitive subjects that sadly remain an issue even three decades after the show’s initial release.
From Will’s (Will Smith) deadbeat father leaving him again to Will getting shot and he and Carlton (Alfonso Ribeiro) becoming the victim of racial profiling, this early 90s sitcom didn’t hold back on the emotion, and Fresh Prince heartbreakingly tackled these subjects in a way that stuck with viewers.
In one of the show’s saddest episodes, titled “Bullets Over Bel-Air,” Will is shot at while protecting Carlton, leading the latter to purchase a gun for protection. Culminating in a gutwrenching interaction between the pair, Will demands that Carlton hand over the weapon, to which he does, but leaves. Will ultimately broke down crying after unloading the gun, and the silence that accompanied the scene was deafening.
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