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Top 10 Simpsons Moments That Will Make You Cry

VO: Rebecca Brayton WRITTEN BY: Laura Keating
It may be one of the funniest shows around, but it can still manage to break your heart. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Simpsons Moments That Will Make You Cry. For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the saddest and most poignant moments from this legendary show that really tugged at our heartstrings. We will only be counting scripted, in-episode moments, as touching as real-world farewells may be.
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It may be one of the funniest shows around, but it can still manage to break your heart. Welcome to WatchMojo and today we’re counting down our picks for Top 10 Simpsons Moments That Will Make You Cry.

For this list, we’ll be taking a look at the saddest and most poignant moments from this legendary show that really tugged at our heartstrings. We will only be counting scripted, in-episode moments, as touching as real-world farewells may be.

#10: Bart's Gift “Marge Be Not Proud”


Happy homemaker and mom supreme, Marge Simpson just wants one thing for Christmas: a nice family photo. This year, however, Bart’s got a bigger reason for not wanting to be part of the family portrait: he was caught shoplifting. When Marge finds out, her positive view on her mischievous son is broken and she wonders if she’s spoiled him. Bart, feeling adrift, decides to show them just what sort of person he really is. Returning home, it seems he’s disappointed his mother again – until he reveals what he’s done. It’s such a surprisingly thoughtful moment that it’s hard not to feel moved.

#9: Lisa Tries to Help “The Squirt and the Whale”


This later-seasons episode has a real classic feel. Following a storm, a whale washes up on shore at Springfield Beach, and idealistic Lisa tries to lend assistance. When the town can’t help, she tries emotional support. She reads to the marooned mammal and stays with it throughout the night, certain that things will be alright in the end. But by morning, there is nothing more she can do; and despite her dreams, poor Lisa finds the whale has died in the night. The most well-meaning and innocent member of the Simpsons family, Lisa, learns a hard lesson that sometimes, despite hope and good intentions, nature is cruel.

#8: Baby Talk “Lisa's First Word”


Throughout this flashback episode, we see that when Lisa was first born, Bart hated her. Jealous of the attention the new baby was getting, Bart did everything he could to get rid of her. Finally, little Bart decides their house just isn’t big enough for the two of them and plans to run away. That is, until Lisa says her first word. Excited, Bart tells Homer and Marge that he’s her first word. Then we flash-forward, after an episode of Homer getting teased by his kids, and Maggie says her first word (without anyone hearing). It's "Daddy," making for a one-two punch of adorableness.

#7: Maude Dies “Alone Again, Natura-Diddily”


The Flanders crew was always the perfect foil to the unruly (albeit more-relatable) Simpsons. Squeaky clean, always honest, and good-natured to a fault, Ned seems like the happiest guy on Earth. But during a day at the raceway, Maude is struck by a barrage of t-shirts thrown from the bleachers, and dies as a result of the freak accident. While she was always something of a secondary character, she was still the first truly major death in the series, and it shakes Ned's faith to the core. There is something so sad about seeing the unflappable Flanders and his kids brought so low.

#6: Barney's Film “A Star Is Burns”


The Springfield Film Festival is all anyone can talk about in this episode, and everyone wants a chance at the grand prize. Most entries are either silly or over-the-top. When local souse Barney Gumble’s film comes up, the audience assumes it will be more of the same. However, his entry is a surprisingly poetic musing on his life as an alcoholic (with comedic elements: it is “The Simpsons,” after all). Comic relief aside, alcoholism is an immensely serious affliction, one which impacts thousands of peoples’ lives. This black-and-white short film humanizes an otherwise punchline of a character, and manages to (within the laughs) signal that he is not just a joke.

#5: Bart’s Test “Bart Gets an "F"”


It’s no surprise that Bart is not a world-class student, but when Mrs. Krabappel tells him he’s got to pass the next test or repeat the fourth grade, he begins to get serious. For once in his life, and despite all temptations, he studies hard. After the test, Mrs. K thinks this is business as usual and marks the paper on the spot. Bart finds out that even with his best efforts he still failed. His sincere hurt and disappointment is nothing short of heartbreaking. It becomes a great moment of character for both Bart and Mrs. K, but first it’s just a ten-year-old kid crying his eyes out.

#4: The Note “Lisa's Substitute”


Lisa has always been the odd one out in the Simpsons household. Although brainy and independent, Lisa lacks a certain confidence and, as she sees it, also a male role model she can truly look up to. When her teacher is out sick, Mr. Bergstrom seems like the mentor she has always craved. But as a substitute teacher, it’s not long before it’s time for him to leave. Devastated, she asks him not to go. In a final lesson, he hands her a note that he promises will help. The simple message has resonance for lonely kids (and adults) in need of guidance everywhere.

#3: Homer’s “Death” “One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish”


After consuming deadly fugu, or blowfish, Homer is told he only has one day left to live. He tries to live his last day to the fullest, making a checklist and trying to get it all done. He’s waylaid and doesn’t get to do everything, including spending more time with his kids. The real heartbreak occurs at night; after spending what he thinks is a last moment with his loving wife, he goes from room to room saying goodbye to his children. He then goes off to face his impending death alone. Fortunately, Homer lives to see another sunrise.


#2: Do It for Her “And Maggie Makes Three”


In this flashback episode, a story about why there are no pictures of Maggie at home, we see that Homer had actually made it in life: he managed to land his dream job and quit his gig at the nuclear plant. But when Marge became pregnant with Maggie, he was forced to return to the better paycheck at the power plant. Gloating, Mr. Burns writes a sign for him to stare at: "Don’t Forget: You're Here Forever." However, we see at the end that Homer has covered it with pictures of little Maggie so that it reads instead, "Do it for Her." It's sudden, sweet moment that will have you reaching for the tissues.



Before we unveil our number one pick, here are a few honorable mentions:

Maggie Chooses Marge
“Home Sweet Homediddly-Dum-Doodily”


Grandpa Spends His Money
“Old Money”

Lisa's Sax
"Lisa's Sax"

"Bart Gets His Dog Back"
"Dog of Death"


Bleeding Gums Plays with Lisa
“‘Round Springfield”


#1: A Farewell “Mother Simpson”


Homer thought his mother was dead for most of his life. When he unexpectedly gets her back, he learns the truth: that she loved him, but was on the run from the law. The pair are looking forward to making up for lost time, but no sooner is Mother S. back then she is forced to leave again. Homer gets her out in time, but must say goodbye once more. After she is gone, Homer sits sadly on the hood of his car, staring at the stars. The stillness and reflection of the moment as the credits begin to roll makes this one of the most poignant, tear-jerking, and memorable scenes in the entire series.
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