The seven instances of my crying below from television are symbolic of a catalog that would probably go to 700 at least. But in order to seem rational, I'm cutting myself off. Tell me your criers in the comments section!
Every Second of "Parenthood"
If I listed the total number of times Parenthood made me cry in 2012, you would call the police. Like, I wouldn't want to see that list either. Going into this season, I certainly didn't think the show could make me cry more than it had for its first three seasons, but Season 4 has brought us the Kristina breast cancer storyline, and oh lord – mess! Monica Potter has been stunning from diagnosis through her near-death infection during the Christmas episode. As The Huffington Post's TV critic, Maureen Ryan, recently wrote in her column, "Good God, the woman has slain me during every single episode this season." Are Parenthood creator Jason Katims and his writing staff emotional assassins trying to cry us to death? Possibly.
I've chosen two Kristina-related scenes out of the one billion options that come to mind.
1) Haddie + Adam = Me Weeping
As Kristina's husband, Adam, Peter Krause has been amazing. In this scene, their daughter Haddie (the wonderful Sarah Ramos), newly at Cornell, calls to ask for straight talk about Kristina's treatment. I have no words; just watch it.
2) Kristina's Video!
During the Christmas episode, Kristina is hospitalized with a possibly deadly infection as a result of her chemotherapy treatments. She has told Adam that if the worst happens, she's left their three kids – Haddie; Max (Max Burkholder), who has Asperger's; and baby Nora – a video message on their computer. Worried Kristina won't live through the night, Adam watches it. "I'm so lucky I got to be your mom," she says, among other tear-jerking moments. I'm literally crying as I describe this scene! (P.S. She recovers – for now.)
3) The Death of Sammy the "Revenge" Dog
I'm not a huge fan of the Jack (Nick Wechsler) and Amanda/Emily (Emily VanCamp) relationship on Revenge, but this scene with them and Sammy the dog close to the end of Season 1 almost killed me. Sammy was Amanda's childhood puppy before her father was framed for a terrorist attack – never mind. I once did the math of how old Sammy must be now that Jack and Amanda (now Emily) are adults, and I believe I came up with 102. So it did make sense to me that he died finally. Watch and weep, particularly if you've ever said, "Thank you for being such a good friend" to a dying pet. Both actors are at their best here, too.
4) Eminem's Chrysler Commercial
I have no explanation for why it moves me that people from Detroit love their city so much, but it does. And therefore, I was a wreck when this Eminem Chrysler commercial made its debut during the Super Bowl.
5) Meredith and Cristina's "Grey's Anatomy" Reunion
There are many things I continue to love about Grey's Anatomy, now in its ninth season. But what I appreciate most about the show is the value it places on friendship, especially Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Cristina's (Sandra Oh), which drives the narrative. There are entire Tumblrs devoted to their "You're my person" mantra. Female friendship: So common in life, so rarely represented in popular culture! In the clip above, from the fifth episode of this current season, Cristina returns to Seattle and Meredith after her stint in Minnesota; we knew it would happen, but still.
6) Sasha's Dance on "Bunheads"
I was such a fan of Gilmore Girls, so I had high expectations for Amy Sherman-Palladino's Bunheads. It exceeded them. It's an esoteric show, and I'm happy that the young viewers of ABC Family like it enough for it to continue. In one of its odd moments, troubled teen ballerina Sasha (Julia Goldani Telles) closed the sixth episode by dancing to They Might Be Giants' "Istanbul (Not Constantinople)." The dance both was and wasn't outside of the episode's narrative; we had seen Sasha having a tough time with her self-involved parents, and know that she's full of rage. But it came without explanation, and was atypical for the way dance is incorporated in the show; it's also only one continuous shot. I was undone. Bunheads!
7) Castle and Kate Get Together
Castle, which doesn't get enough credit, was good at keeping its two leads apart for four seasons, and, unlike other shows, it's been good since they've gotten together, too. I was happy when Castle (Nathan Fillion) and Beckett (Stana Katic) finally confessed their love!
I also would have loved to have included movies, but in the absence of video for these selections, I'll just list my top tear-jerkers in order: End of Watch, Les Misérables, Dark Knight Rises, Beasts of the Southern Wild, Lincoln, and Silver Linings Playbook.