Watch Your Feelings: Heartbreak Screen Time

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Take it from me, there are a couple of ways to recover from a heartbreak. I make a habit of getting my heart broken, and I’ve come up with a few coping mechanisms. Perhaps you, like me, find yourself crushed under the boot of the world by daily social interactions. Today, my barista broke my heart when he told me there were no more chocolate croissants. This month, Chicago’s breaking my heart by refusing to shovel the sidewalks after that blizzard. And getting dumped by a few women doesn’t help my blood-pumping organ much either.

But there are cures! My favorite of which is exposure therapy. I spend a few hours (days/weeks/months) lazing about, cramming fictional couples into my eyeballs. The more dissolutions of couples I witness the better I feel. For those of you nursing an achy-breaky heart or just desiring a recess from all the candy and roses, I present to you fourteen shows and movies to get you through the month of love. I’ve sifted out the lesser tears and overly dramatic melodramas to bring you name brand heart soothing. There’s a wide spectrum of relief on this list, so let the healing begin.

Spoiler Warning

Television

1. Skins

Skins - Cook

“I’M COOK!”

This show is about groups of teenagers and how much they can hurt each other. The finale of Season 4 has a lesbian break-up and reconciliation between Emily and Naomi. It’s sad, and then it’s beautiful. Cook pines after his ex, sleeping with a near-clone of her, and then launching himself at his best friend’s killer.

2. Veronica Mars

Veronica Mars and Logan Echols

“Oh, I’m so glad you weren’t actually involved in the death of my best friend/your ex.”

Veronica Mars is about a teenager private detective solving the mystery of her best friend’s murder. And then she gets together with one of the murder suspects/her best friend’s boyfriend when she was killed. The one you’re looking for here is Season 2, Episode 20 “Look Who’s Stalking.” LoVe (Logan and Veronica) are one of my favorite TV couples, and I really love when they break-up so that I can watch them get back together again.

3. Futurama

Futurama

Love me until I forget you.

A small cargo delivery company in the future is always full of original ideas. In Season 3, Episode 14 “Time Keeps on Slippin’,” Fry finally gets to be with Leela, his one-eyed dream lady. Then it’s all ripped away from him moments later in a tragic divorce and the end of a time warp. If someone rearranged the stars to tell me that they loved me, I’d wonder how I could know such a terribly wasteful person.

4. Gilmore Girls

Hold me closer, tiny burger man.

Hold me closer, tiny burger man.

So many upsetting moments in the show, balancing out all of the glory that is the mother-daughter relationship. It wasn’t tough for me to pick one though, because I still feel the sting of betrayal, all these years later. Season 7, Episode 22 “Partings” is when everything goes wrong. No, TV mom, don’t give the best man in the world an ultimatum just because you’re rushing and he’s a turtle. Wait for him! Yes, Lorelai tries to force Luke to marry her, and it does not end in happy tears.

5. Grey’s Anatomy

Freedom looks so sad.

Freedom looks so sad.

Grey’a Anatomy is a “medical” drama; however, the drama always outweighs the medicine in this group of doctor-friends. This episode was so sad that I STOPPED WATCHING THE SHOW. FOREVER. That’s right, this was truly my last episode of Grey’s Anatomy. I’m talking about Episode 25 “Didn’t We Almost Have It All?” of Season 3. Everything is sad and nothing is good in this episode about breaking off a potential marriage and then being abandoned by your fiance. Yang was just feeling pressured, and her sexy older fiance couldn’t wait any longer.

Someone carry me away from my despair.

Someone carry me away from my despair.

Oh, not sad enough for you? I will top the cancelled wedding with the death of your one true love at your own hands as you fail at an illegal transplant. Oh yea, let the weeping commence in Season 2, Episode 27 “Losing My Religion.”

6. The L Word

The L Word - Showtime - Dana Fairbanks

“No. I’m just never having sex again, that’s all.” Oh, Dana, say it isn’t so.

This show is all about ladies loving ladies (and sometimes dudes). There’s a lot of opportunity for drama and psychological chest pains. Two episodes come to mind. Both of them are in Season 3 (the best of all seasons). First, treat yourself to Episode 10 “Losing the Light.” Not only does the much beloved Dana Fairbanks pass away, but Jenny must interact with the truly icky ex-husband Tim, and Helena must deal with the fallout from Dylan. But, let’s face it, Dana’s death is enough heartbreak for two lifetimes.

Carmen on The L Word Season 3 Episode 12

“Birds, Shane. I’m talking about g*****n f*****g birds. I’m asking you to be as civilized as a f*****g bird.” -Carmen, on monogamy

In case you need more tear duct lubrication, see Episode 12 of Season 3. Just months after the women lose their tennis all-star, Shane loses her bride. First your heart is breaking because Shane is soon to be off the market (but what about me, Shane?!). Then you’re snotting up a disgusting tissue because Shane is a complete idiot and can’t hold it together long enough to marry a Maxim model at her super-expensive, but prepaid wedding.

7. Lost Girl

Hale: The Amazons won't listen to me.  Kenzi: Because of your stupid penis?  Hale: I prefer 'untested leadership'.

Hale: The Amazons won’t listen to me.
Kenzi: Because of your stupid penis?
Hale: I prefer ‘untested leadership’.

There is only so much loss one person can take in one episode. Luckily, Lost Girl is coated in dad jokes to break up all the sob fests. A show about a bisexual succubus is basically everything I dreamed of as a child. The best buffet of emotions can be found in Season 4, Episode 11 “The End of a Line” and Episode 13 “DarkHorse.” Kenzi’s true love is viciously murdered and then she sacrifices herself to save everyone. All. The. Tears. Oh, and Rainer dies at some point, but that’s not really upsetting.

 Movies

1. The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex

Bette Davis and Errol Flynn

Even in this colorized version my heart beats for you, Bette.

There has never been another actress like Bette Davis. Off-screen she was all sass and determination. On-screen she was unique and absurdly talented. For Elizabeth and Essex Davis shaved her hairline to look more like the queen and rigorously studied the ruler’s life for understanding her motivations. The (mostly) true story of Queen Elizabeth’s affair is absolutely devastating. It’s everything I want in an anti-love movie. These two people desire each other, and then destroy one another. If you need some exposure to psychological love warfare, this is the movie for you.

2. Purple Butterfly (Zǐ Húdié)

Purple Butterfly - Zhang Ziyi

I hate you almost as much as I love the resistance.

Politics complicate everything. If you two split because of differences in ideology, this is the flick for you. Cynthia (played by Zhang Ziyi) and Itami (Tôru Nakamura) love each other in a pure, fresh wave at first, but the chasm grows between them over time. Eventually standing on the opposite sides of a revolution tests the depth of their love.

3. Sense and Sensibility

Oh, Willoughby, you giant tool.

Oh, Willoughby, you giant tool.

Oh, Willoughby. You of the maiden-saving, horse-riding, sideburn-loving variety. I hate you. You are the worst human being ever. Yet, I have student debt and if someone offered me money to dump my one true love, well…No! I would be with the woman whose curls could rule the world. The tears really start for me (every single time of the thirty times I’ve watched this film) when Hugh Grant comes to see Emma Thompson at the end of the movie. Her crying is the sound of angel-pig wings rubbing together.

4. Blind Chance (Przypadek)

Running toward sadness.

Running toward sadness.

There are three scenarios, three possibilities for life and love. So, basically three ways for your heart to be crushed under the wheels of the fate train. This film is interesting, beautiful, and truly upsetting. One small action can change your entire life, so watch this movie and change it for the better.

5. Kissing Jessica Stein

Oh, what a meet-cute. Now just to have you break-cute my heart.

Oh, what a meet-cute. Now just to have you break-cute my heart.

No! Not the straight woman! Fool! Yes, this is the all too familiar (to gaydies) tale of lesbian meet straight woman, lesbian and straight woman go for it, but, oh wait! She’s straight. Yep. It’ll remind you of every straight girl crush that has destroyed your pillow covers with mascara.

6. Pokémon: The First Movie

Pokemon: The First Movie

But we’re the same!

Sometimes heartbreak comes from within, or from an exact replica of yourself. When these Pokémon are cloned and forced to fight each other no one wins. And yet, the song by Blessid Union of Souls will really clean out the heart pipes. “Brother my brother/Tell me what are we fighting for/We’ve got to end this war/We should love one another/Oh, can’t we just pretend/This war never began/We can try/Brother my brother.” Excuse for a minute, my heart hurts.

7. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Oh, Guy, hold me too.

I will tell you right now it’s a musical, in French. Perhaps you’re groaning, “Oh, Al, why would we watch that?” Shut up and take your medicine, it’s French-flavored. The truest tale of being young and anxious for love and failing at patience that has even been told. Every single word is sung as these two lovers are separated by war, and then by bad decision-making. Oh, and pregnancy. The colors in this film will heal you if nothing else.

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About Author

Editor of Games Section. Expert on chronic/terminal illness. Collector of Illness Comics. Chicagoan. Jewish. Gay.

11 Comments

  1. Spoiler alert: I’ve been watching Star Trek: Voyager for the first time. I’d seen some episodes in bits and pieces years ago when I was still a kid. So, watching the entire show from beginning to end as an adult is a lot of fun. I’m only a few episodes into season four now, but I was really upset about Kess and Neelix’s breakup in season three. I now know why they did it, to help wrap up Kess’ story, but I’m still a bit sad about it.

    • OMG I KNOW!!!!

      I could not decide between like 15 different moments in Star Trek, so I left them off because it was too hard, but that was #2 on my list. :'(

  2. Denny! I rewatch that episode when I need to just let my emotions out. And oh gosh, The Umbrellas of Cherbourg is so gorgeous.

    • Lucky for you, they cut the season into two parts, so you have this huge hiatus to catch up before the last episodes air!!!

      But yes…it was hard to go on.

  3. Laura Harcourt on

    One of my all-time favorite romantic movies is St. Ives! If you enjoy people having romantical hijinks in historical times (and passionate Frenchmen, and sweeping Scottish vistas), it is sure to cure any heartache.

  4. I watched a later season of Grey’s with my sister when I was down for the holiday. What the actual heck? It’s not something I would watch daily or dedicate myself but now I realize why Shonda Rhimes holds so much TV power that woman knows how to create drama and kills you dead inside.

    I haven’t cried during a TV show in years and I cried over Grey’s after only a few episodes with the characters goodness. Also Jesse Williams good lord.

  5. Brenda Noiseux on

    That Pokemon reference reminded me of the first new Muppet movie. When Kermit talks about how he and Miss Piggy aren’t together breaks my heart every time I think about it. I may have choked up in the theater.