Sitcoms have one primary purpose: to make you laugh.
For the most part, the good ones succeed: they're funny, don't take themselves too seriously, and offer either lighthearted escapism or welcome relatability. But the truly great ones do much more.
A great sitcom really allows you to connect with its characters; to form emotional bonds that last. And few things in TV leave a lasting impact like when a 'funny' show suddenly decides to get serious. It could be a death, a break-up, some other sense of finality, or just a really tragic moment, but whatever happens, it cuts extra deep when it's a sitcom that twists the knife.
A number of series have done this brilliantly (well, horribly really) over the years, and left us with a number of heart-breaking moments when the shows that are supposed to make us laugh, made us cry instead. Contains spoilers.
13. The Double Hug - Community
Community had so many near-cancellations that there are a few episodes which could've served as the series finale, but the one we ultimately got is pretty much perfect.
After imagining a potential seventh season the group go their separate ways (and that group hug is rather emotional itself), and picks up a little while later with Jeff saying goodbye to Annie and Abed.
That's painful enough, but what really makes it is the way Jeff hugs Abed for a second time right as the music (Ends of the Earth by Lord Huron) swells. It's a brilliant emotional beat that not only expertly encapsulates the bond the two characters shared across the show, but beautifully captures the sense of melancholy at it ending as well. It's a goodbye, a see you later, and a thank you. Emotional consequences of broadcast television indeed!
NCTJ-qualified journalist. Most definitely not a racing driver. Drink too much tea; eat too much peanut butter; watch too much TV. Sadly only the latter paying off so far.
A mix of wise-old man in a young man's body with a child-like wonder about him and a great otherworldly sensibility.