Cartoon Moments Everyone Secretly Cried During

Most of the time, cartoon are light-hearted stories with lovable (and marketable) characters offering a moral lesson or feel-good adventure. Occasionally, however, the writers ramp up the emotion, offering poignant scenes that can make even the most hardened tough-guy weep:

The Simpsons: Homer's mom

There have been more than 600 episodes of The Simpsons, though few more heart-wrenching than this one.

The episode "Mother Simpson" finally introduced us to — can you guess — Homer's Mom, Mona. Until this point, Homer had believed his mother dead for 27 years, but it turned out she was on the run from the law. In 1969, she participated in a plot to destroy Mr. Burns' germ warfare laboratory, and was identified while escaping. To keep her family safe, she felt she needed to run. Her story comes out and she is sighted by Burns, who calls in the FBI to take her out.

Once again, Mona has to run away from her son who says, "At least this time I'm awake for your goodbye." For a show that parents once argued should be banned for being inappropriate (they did animate a 10-year-old's wang in the movie), this episode took a turn and showed the world how heartwarming a bunch of dysfunctional yellow boneheads actually could be.

Adventure Time: Marceline and the Ice King

Adventure Time is normally a fun and crazy romp with Finn and Jake through the incredible Land of Ooo. It's fun, silly, and rarely as deep or sad as this particular scene. Towards the end of the episode, "I Remember You," Marceline is sitting on the floor writing and singing as the Ice King looks down. The sadness unfolds as we see flashbacks revealing the past relationship between the two characters.

As the song commences, we see that Marceline and Simon (Ice King's real name) were friends before his magic crown corrupted him. This all plays out as she reads a note on the back of a photograph of her younger self, singing the words as lyrics. It becomes difficult for her to continue helping him write a song, knowing that he no longer remembers what they once meant to one another.

It's too late to change the channel at this point — the sadness is upon you and all you can do is appreciate the depth of the characters in the cartoon you started watching while drinking beer and eating stale pizza.

Futurama: Fry's dog

Futurama had several moments throughout the series' run that pulled the viewer into the character's lives and emotions, to truly engage with the audience. While the show was most certainly a comedy, the writers and animators never shied away from creating stories that were touching and sometimes sad.

In "Jurassic Bark," Fry finds the fossilized remains of his dog, Seymour, and asks the Professor to revive him (which he can, of course, do quite easily). Just before the process begins, Fry learns that Seymour lived to a ripe old age of 15 and died of natural causes, 12 years after Fry disappeared. Choosing not to revive Seymour, Fry smashes the Professor's machine and makes peace with Seymour's passing.

This is when the animators decide to really stick it to the audience, because they show a time-lapse of Seymour sitting in front of Fry's pizza place waiting for him through the seasons, as Connie Francis' I Will Wait For You plays in the background. We see that Seymour faithfully waited for Fry's return right up until the moment of his death, when he lays his head down and closes his eyes.

And you thought you could watch a science fiction comedy about an idiot pizza boy and a belching, larcenous robot without shedding a tear, didn't you?

Rugrats: Chuckie's mom

Rugrats often included morals and compelling plots for kids to learn from and enjoy. In this episode about Mother's Day, Chuckie talks about what he remembers of his mother, even though she passed away shortly after he was born.

After the children are thrown into a dark closet by Angelica, they find a photograph of Chuckie's mom, who later presents it to his father. His dad is clearly saddened just looking at the photo and ultimately decides to talk to his son about his mother. Eventually, they find a diary with a beautiful poem written from a dying mother to her son. Chuckie learns that his mother planted the flowers in the garden and takes his friends there to show them saying, "See guys? I do have a mom! She's right here in the flowers..."

Go ahead. After seeing that, we know what you need to do. Call your mom.

Family Guy: Brian's death

For a series that favors fart jokes and incredibly large amounts of vomit in its comedy, it's rare that a scene takes an emotional turn towards sadness. In a surprise episode during its 12th season, and completely out of the blue, Brian gets hit by a car and is killed. Frankly, there was nothing funny about this episode. We see the beloved dog get mowed down in the street while his best buddy Stewie watches. There's no 30 seconds of "AHHHHH, SSSSSS" to lighten the mood. There is no light.

Right after this, the audience is subjected to seeing him dying on a veterinarian's table speaking to the family. He says, "You ... you've given me a wonderful life. I love you all," and then he dies. Obviously, this is sad in itself, but the subsequent scenes of the family dealing with the loss are heartbreaking — especially where Stewie is concerned.

This was a strange path for the show to take, and it was somewhat shocking. Fans were pissed, and it was anyone's guess whether or not Brian would somehow return to the show. Of course, he came back rather quickly, and Family Guy went right back into its usual gross-out humor, but it's still amazing how, even if it was just one time, the show proved it can be human when it wants to be.

Spongebob Squarepants: "Texas"

In a show about animated sea life living in, among other things, a underwater pineapple, Sandy is the literal opposite of a fish out of water, being a squirrel from Texas who lives in a domed enclosure on the sea floor. She has a nice, big tree in the center of her home and, whenever Spongebob and Patrick visit, they have to don fishbowls filled with water.

It's all quite humorous and adorable, but sometimes, Sandy misses her native Texas. In this scene, she sings about how homesick she is and it's so compelling, people who have never been to Texas ended up missing it, out of compassion for the character. Pretty much everyone at one time or another has felt homesick, and Sandy's song not only touches the audience, but all of Bikini Bottom as well.

If a singing rat who lives in the ocean can't make you even a little sad, you might need to talk to someone about your feelings, you monster.

Regular Show: the series finale

Many fans of Regular Show had spent six years growing up and sympathizing with the show's main characters: a slacker bluejay and raccoon who loved video games and were stuck in a dead-end job at a park. Peppered with 1980s references throughout, it was clearly a show meant for late 20-somethings. So when the show ended after eight seasons, a little part of every viewer died also.

After being trapped in space for a season, the series ends with the death of Pops — the show's most unassuming and positive character — sacrificing his life to essentially save the park and his friends. The crew returns to Earth after three years, reunites with their families, memorializes Pops with a statue, and everyone eventually decides that it's time to move on. Despite sharing a huge portion of their lives together at the park, everyone goes in different directions. Because that's what being an adult is all about, like it or not: people dying, moving away from your friends, and reinventing everything you thought to be true.

On the plus side, everyone seems pretty content, and they're all still friends. On the other hand, Regular Show basically told all of its viewers that they couldn't stay young forever, and that totally sucks. And the kicker? The whole ending scene was set to David Bowie's "Heroes," reminding us of the death of one of our real-life heroes.

Looney Tunes: "Feed the Kitty"

In "Feed the Kitty," a bulldog named Marc Anthony (at least it's more creative than "Fido") believes his beloved kitten has been killed and baked into a cat-shaped cookie. While most dogs might rejoice at the death of a feline, this little (or rather, big) guy just isn't having it. That was his little buddy, and he starts sobbing uncontrollably. In case we weren't on the tear train already, he even places the cookie on his back, in the same way he did with his kitten when she was alive.

Of course, the cartoon doesn't actually play out with a newly-cooked kitten (it's still Looney Tunes, after all), and the little rascal quickly shows up, turning a sad moment into a heartwarming one. The bulldog even gets to keep the kitten, with the owner telling him the same thing we all tell our children when they want something new and cuddly: "You will have to take care of it and clean up after it," which every parent knows doesn't actually happen.

Begrudgingly at first, he accepts his responsibility, and the two are shown snuggling as the short comes to an end. What we don't get to see is the lady bending over and scooping cat crap out of the litter box, all the while cursing her dog. Even if she did though, we'd be too busy alternating between tears of sadness and joy to see her. This was some awfully heavy stuff from a series whose prior bouts with emotion began and ended with Elmer wailing "What have I done? I killed da wabbit!"

Pokémon: farewell, Butterfree

Pokemon is about a kid who runs around collecting lovable creatures, imprisoning them in a tiny ball, and making them fight one another in an arena of doom. Something like that doesn't have much time for sad (unless you're the trapped monsters), aside from the time Ash Ketchum had to say goodbye to a trusted friend and companion.

It makes sense when you think about it. He can't keep the low-powered Pokémon around forever, but this scene where he has to say goodbye to Butterfree makes you wish he could keep them all. Isn't the tagline "Gotta Catch 'Em All" a bit misleading, when he just lets them go and they literally fly off into the sunset? Perhaps not — it's not "Gotta Keep 'Em All," probably for this very reason.

But still, that's his pet, in a way. Butterfree starts sobbing, but the scene doesn't really pull at the heartstrings until Pikachu looks up into the sky with tears in his eyes and calls out "Pikachuuuu" that it really gets you. What follows is a montage of Ash and Butterfree's time together, from it being just a cute little Caterpie, to finally becoming a Butterfree. Then it's all over, and Ash must say goodbye to a giant moth-like creature that somehow made us feel feelings.

Hey Arnold: Mr. Hyunh's daughter

This scene from Hey Arnold, a wacky show most known for a kid who looks like he's half-human, half-football, makes you think you're actually watching a documentary about the war in Vietnam, and it's as real as a cartoon can get.

Mr. Hyunh recalls the story of himself and his little girl in Vietnam, as a montage of imagery depicts the ongoing war. When the Americans begin to pull out of Saigon, they can only take one more person in the helicopter, so he gives up his baby girl to the American soldier, hoping she will be safe. There's no way of knowing if he'll ever see her again and, as he recounts the tale, it's clear he hasn't.

The music that plays as he recounts his story leads to him finally meeting his daughter for the first time since they were separated during the war. If that doesn't make even a single tear, you truly are a cold, unfeeling monster. It's a father reuniting with his daughter after years! What's the matter with you?