Every good sitcom needs a dumb, doofy character to help deliver the laughs. Some of these characters never grow up or show any emotional depth, but every once in a while, goofy sitcom characters surprise us with serious moments.
These scenes can round out and balance a sitcom's lighter side, showing, for example, that the Friends group truly, deeply are there for each other in their darkest moments. Or that even a malicious baby like Stewie Griffin isn't a total sociopath. Here are some of the most emotional moments sitcom characters have experienced over the years.
- Photo: NBC
On The Office, Michael Scott is the moron boss no one can stand. That lasts throughout the series' run, but sometimes he demonstrates that even though co-workers aren't perfect friends, they can help you through tough times. This becomes obvious in the Season 3 episode "Business School," when no one shows up to Pam's art show (well, except Oscar and Gil, who actively trash it).
Pam starts to doubt herself and sheepishly packs up, ready to abandon being an artist. But Michael, who arrives late, expresses awe at her work and tells her he's proud of her. Sure, the joke is that Michael is likely the only person to appreciate "motel art," but he also means what he says. Pam cries, they hug, and she makes a sale.
Perhaps it's a silly moment, but when he hangs up her watercolor of the office building in his office, it just goes to show how pure this ridiculous guy really is.Emotional moment?
- Photo: CBS
It took 12 seasons for Sheldon Cooper to show humility and empathy without turning his words into a joke by adding a "bazinga." Big Bang Theory fans were more than pleased with the turn of events. In the final episode of the series, Sheldon and Amy win the Nobel Prize in physics, and in his acceptance speech, Sheldon graciously thanks the A-team, his friends, for supporting him over the years. For a guy who often acts pained by his friends' antics, it's a big step.
The showrunners told TVLine the speech was one of the first parts of the series finale they came up with, and built around it:
[Sheldon and Amy] had discoveries that have turned out not to be true in the past, or things that sort of slipped away because we were always trying to live in the world of real science and not break that world by discovering something that didn’t exist. But this being the last season, we didn’t have to live in this world anymore. So that freed us up to let them have this moment.Emotional moment?
- Photo: NBC
Hilary Banks is not known for her critical thinking skills, but when it comes to giving her little sister Ashley relationship advice in the Season 6 episode "Not With My Cousin You Don't," she ends up being the wise big sibling.
Ashley comes to Hilary for advice about her boo Derek, whom she's thinking about sleeping with. After Will and Carlton eavesdrop on her, then give her a speech straight out of a Sexism & Double Standards 101 handbook, Ashley turns to Hil. Although Hilary does compare Ashley's budding long-distance relationship to The Little Mermaid ("she was stuck in the sea and he was stuck on land"), she opens up about the first time she had sex. Hilary tells her little sis, "For as long as I can remember you have been independent, responsible, and smart. I know you're aware of all the issues and whatever decision you do make I'm always here for you." It's the most sincere, mature advice anyone gives her.
The scene suggests there's more to Hilary than just shopping and boys.Emotional moment?
- Photo: ABC
Joey Gladstone, whose character is a stand-up comedian, is naturally the go-to goof on Full House. Uncle Joey also happens to be the guy the Tanners come to whenever they're having a bad day or need someone to help them talk through a thorny issue. And if Joey himself doesn't offer advice, then Mr. Woodchuck sure can, right?
When Joey is asked to open for Wayne Newton, the Tanner girls secretly invite Joey's father, Colonel Gladstone, to see the show, thinking they're doing a nice thing for their uncle. What they don't know is that Joey and his dad haven't spoken or gotten along since Joey's dad divorced his mom (who now works as Goofy at Disney World).
In a dressing room at the show, father and son have an intense and very real talk about how the colonel's disapproval and failure to show up for big moments have hurt Joey. They make up, with each promising to do better going forward.Emotional moment?