“The Body”—Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Along with The Lion King, the episode of Buffy where her mom dies was super formative in my understanding of death and mourning. This episode is so heart breaking, from the jarring absence of a soundtrack to Sarah Michelle Gellar’s frantic sobs and complete emotional collapse (especially when she screams, “we’re not supposed to move the body!” and covers her mouth in shock as she is forced to deal with the reality of her mother’s death). The scene when Anya, ex-demon turned mortal, expresses her inability to comprehend mortality breaks me every time.
“The Ties That Bind”—The OC
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The OC was my everything in high school and Seth Cohen was my dream babe. I distinctly remember being inconsolable for months when Seth sailed away on his yacht at the end of the first season, running away from his cushy California life after hearing that Ryan was going back to Chino. What if he never came back? Who would be my new alt crush? Who else would name drop Death Cab for Cutie every week? Spoiler: he came back. Spoiler: Marissa dies in season three, but it wasn’t that sad because she was honestly the worst.
“Marge Be Not Proud”—The Simpsons
There are a lot of sad episodes of The Simpsons, especially in the early seasons, but as someone who owes everything to my amazing mother this episode gets me super hard—nothing is as crushing to me as even the mere thought of letting my mum down. When Bart gets caught shoplifting it is the full emotional nightmare that the words “I’m not angry, just disappointed” create. Marge has always been one of my favourite characters because she reminds me of my own mother, and even the end of this episode with Marge getting Bart the wrong video game makes me teary because mothers try so damn hard all the time and don’t get nearly enough credit for their endless love and support.
“Go West Young Meowth”—Pokemon
In this episode we get Meowth’s backstory and an explanation of how he learned to walk and talk—Meowth grew up as a stray on the streets of Hollywood and was initiated into gang life when he was young as a means of survival. One day he met a pretty female Meowth with a wealthy owner and tried to woo her, only for her to tell him that he was and always would be beneath her because of social status. In an effort to impress her he learns to speak Japanese and walk upright, only for her to reject him once again for being “a freak.” Distraught and heartbroken Meowth joins Team Rocket and returns to a life of crime. Shiiiet.
Maybe the saddest piece of animation ever? Even in .gif form the end of this episode is brutal. When Fry finds his old dog fossilized and on display in a museum he petitions for access to the body and asks Professor Farnsworth to clone his pet. During analysis the Professor notes that Fry’s dog, Seymour, would have lived another twelve years after Fry was initially frozen. Deciding that Seymour would have lived a long and fulfilled life Fry puts a stop to the cloning process. In flashback, we find that Seymour lived the rest of his life patiently waiting outside Fry’s work for him to return, eventually dying alone of old age. Someone put this on at a party once and I’m still angry.
Special Mention: “Losing My Religion”—Gray’s Anatomy
Not for me, but my flatmate rewatched all of Gray’s Anatomy lately and Denny dying really affected him—the sobbing was audible through the wall and he went on a low-key bender to deal. Sorry for your loss, Connor. We are all here for you.