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Top Five Pop Culture Moments That Made Us Cry in 2018

Let's get ready to (emotionally) crumble!
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There’s nothing like a good cry: it’s a cathartic, physical manifestation of feelings we often try so hard to bury. Sometimes we cry because of real life events, and other times we experience a piece of art or entertainment that touches on an emotional truth we’ve lived.

Not gonna lie, I’m a big fan of crying and I will cry at all the things. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again? I cried. The trailer for Frankenweenie? I cried. The critically panned 2004 Kate Hudson film Raising Helen? I sobbed throughout the whole damn thing.

As we look back at the emotional wreckage of 2018, I’ve singled out the top five pop culture moments that made it rain on my face. Get your hankies ready, here comes the weep-down:

1. The Ending of Avengers: Infinity War

tom holland

(image: Marvel)

Thanos’s Snapture at the climax of Infinity War was the ship that launched a thousand nerd tears. Fans sat shocked as beloved characters like T’Challa, Sam Wilson, Bucky Barnes and Groot dissolved into nothingness. But the most poignant dissolve was easily Peter Parker, who turned to dust in Tony Stark’s arms. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house when baby-faced Tom Holland says, “I don’t want to go. I don’t want to go, Mr. Stark. Please.” Yes, we know that most of these folks will get resurrected in Endgame, but that ending was as brutal as it gets in the MCU.

2. Billy Porter and MJ Rodriguez Duet on “Home” in Pose

Pose was one of the breakout series of 2018, which is no easy feat in today’s overcrowded peak TV landscape. The FX series follows an ensemble of trans women of color as they compete in the ballroom culture of the 1980’s. The drama quickly earned rave reviews and a strong fan following thanks to sharp writing and masterful performances from its cast.

In episode six, “Love is The Message”, emcee Pray Tell (Billy Porter) hosts a cabaret in the AIDS ward of the hospital where his lover is dying. Joined by house mother Blanca (MJ Rodriguez), the two sing an emotional rendition of “Home” from The Wiz for the patients. The sequence is made all the more emotional because Blanca and Pray Tell are both HIV positive and contending with their own mortality. It’s a powerhouse scene in a stunning first season of television.

3. Waverly Fights Her Demon(s) in Wynonna Earp

wynonna earp

(image: Syfy)

Wynonna Earp‘s emotional third season had several standout moments, but episode five, titled “Jolene”, might be a series best. Lost Girls‘ Zoie Palmer cameos as Jolene, a demon who has been stalking Waverly Earp ever since she was born, nearly driving her mother to madness. Once Jolene manifests, she quickly sets about destroying relationships within the crew, isolating Waverly, and encouraging her to end her own life.

Waverly manages to bring herself back from the brink because she knows her family and friends love her. She tells Jolene, “I am here and I stay and I love them back and I never, never, never give up on them.” The quote is a powerful rallying cry for anyone struggling with depression and anxiety.

4. Literally All of Dumplin’


(image: Netflix)

I tried to pick out one scene from Dumplin’ that really got my water works going, but reader, I was bawling throughout this film from beginning to end. Dumplin’ touches on so many quick-to-cry tropes: mother-daughter relationships, body image, losing a loved one, finding your true self … it’s like someone took everything that makes me tear up and threw it all into one winning movie. Is this film emotionally manipulative? Probably. Was I a goddamn basket case regardless? Oh yes.

5. Patrick Serenades David with “Simply the Best” in Schitt’s Creek

Schitt’s Creek has low key become one of the most romantic shows on television, with season four introducing us to David’s down to earth boyfriend Patrick. When the guys decide to host an open mic night at Rose Apothecary, David fears that Patrick will embarrass the both of them with his acoustic guitar skills. Instead, we get one of sweetest, most heartfelt moments of the year.

Schitt’s Creek is one of the few shows that gives us genuine gay intimacy, which is something I had no idea I needed until this show blessed us with it. Even the jaded, cynical Roses are powerless to resist Patrick’s earnestness and sincerity. The only thing better is when David surprises Patrick with a lip sync to the very same song. Nothing but tears.

What pop culture moments got you sobbing in 2018? Share your faves in the comments.

(image: Marvel)

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Image of Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea Steiner
Chelsea was born and raised in New Orleans, which explains her affinity for cheesy grits and Britney Spears. An pop culture journalist since 2012, her work has appeared on Autostraddle, AfterEllen, and more. Her beats include queer popular culture, film, television, republican clownery, and the unwavering belief that 'The Long Kiss Goodnight' is the greatest movie ever made. She currently resides in sunny Los Angeles, with her husband, 2 sons, and one poorly behaved rescue dog. She is a former roller derby girl and a black belt in Judo, so she is not to be trifled with. She loves the word “Jewess” and wishes more people used it to describe her.