'Parenthood's 10 Most Heartbreaking Moments Of All Time

It's hard to convince people to watch Parenthood . A general version of the argument goes something like this: "It's a drama about family and their relationships and all their issues, like this mom who has an autistic son and then she got cancer, and this other woman who's thinking of cheating on her husband and whose daughter is a brat and whose son used to hate her, and this young couple — Ryber forever!! —who was totally perfect but now he might have to go to jail because of PTSD from the war and..."

Like I said: it's hard. Parenthood is an excellent show, but there's no denying that it's also really, really depressing. Sure, there are plenty of moments of levity in each episode, but overall, it's kind of a bummer. Over the course of the show's five seasons, plotlines ranging from car crashes to chemotherapy have caused viewers to spend an hour each Thursday night sobbing into a box of tissues. And yet that's exactly why we love it; Parenthood knows how to pull at your heartstrings, no matter how cynical a viewer may be.

Although there were many to choose from, we've managed to pick the ten most heartbreaking moments the show's ever seen. Note; there's a lot of Kristina (blame the cancer) and zero Crosby — the guy's just too damn happy all the time. Read on if you're brave, but don't forget the tissues — trust us, you'll need them.

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10. Joel Tells Julia He Will Never Cheat on Her (Season 1)

Way back in Season 1, Julia gets upset over finding out that her father, Zeek, had an affair, while also dealing with her jealousy over a new female friend of her husband, Joel. After she freaks out on him, Joel, being the perfect person that he is, assures his wife that he will never cheat on her. It's a simple statement, but the emotionally-packed scene is just a preview of many tear-inducing Parenthood moments to come.

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9. Drew Breaking Down Over His Dad's Absence (Season 3)

At this point in the series, Drew hadn't had too many storylines of his own, so it was nice to see him finally get some quality screen-time. After his mom urges him to bond with her new boyfriend, Mark, Drew breaks down and cries, admitting that he's still holding out hope that his parents will get back together. It's a realistic, honest scene, in which the teenage Drew doesn't come across naive about how relationships work, just upset that everyone's moving on more quickly than he's comfortable with.

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8. Haddie Finally Getting Angry Over Max (Season 3)

When Max, who has Asberger's, decides to go to the museum alone, he freaks out his parents and sister and becomes the subject of a day-long search. Upon his return home, Haddie tries to get him to understand how worried he made his family, but in typical Max fashion, he doesn't get it. Haddie, who so far has been nothing but calm and mature around her brother, finally flips out, yelling at Max for not caring about others and making things so difficult for the family. "It's so hard, it's not fair! We try so hard to make things normal and it's just not," Haddie says, in an emotional outburst that was likely as draining for her as it was for viewers. Watch here.

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7. Ryan and Amber Break Up (Season 4)

If you think Ryan and Amber's issues are bad now, just give season four a revisit. In a mid-season episode, Amber makes the difficult decision to break up with the troubled Ryan, despite being in love with him. "I watched my mom get completely dragged down by somebody... I just know that's not how to love," she says tearfully, and Ryan's not the only one who looks like he just had his heart torn into pieces.

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6. Victor Getting Told He's Going to be Held Back (Season 5)

This season, Parenthood dealt with an issue faced by thousands of families, and yet is hardly ever talked about on TV — kids getting held back at school. After months of struggling with the decision over how best to help Victor, whose reading skills aren't on par with fifth grade standards, Julie and Joel learn that their son is going to be kept back a grade. In a heartbreaking scene, the parents are forced to tell Victor the news, which leaves him devastated and feeling like a failure.

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5. Haddie's Phone Call with Adam (Season 4)

After Kristina and Adam share the news of Kristina's cancer with their daughter, Haddie, across the country at college, calls Adam in tears. Frustrated, she criticizes her parents for not giving her more information, asking Adam to treat her like an adult. He does, explaining the seriousness of the situation, and the two of them come to an emotional understanding. Watch it here.

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4. Zoe Decides to Keep the Baby (Season 4)

It wasn't unexpected, but that didn't mean it was any less heartbreaking. After months of preparing to adopt a child from a young mother, Julia and Joel learn that the mom, Zoe, is going to parent the baby herself. It's a crushing blow for the couple, who, while aware that disappointment was likely, were this close to having the second child they wanted to badly. When Julia and Joel share that knowing, painful look at the end, it's almost too hard to watch.

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3. Kristina Telling the Family She Has Cancer (Season 4)

Everything about the Kristina-has-cancer storyline was heartbreaking, but the scene in which she reveals her diagnosis to her family was possibly the worst to watch of all. Thanks to an almost complete lack of dialogue, quiet, sad music, and the surprise re-appearance of Haddie, who'd come home to see her sick mom, the scene was one of Parenthood's most moving. You can watch it here.

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2. Zeke's "Don't Mess With My Dreams" Speech (Season 2)

One of the most brutal Parenthood scenes ever happened in Season 2, when Amber finally broke down after the car crash that almost killed her, thanks to the tough-love approach of her grandfather, Zeek. Zeek takes her to the junkyard where the now-wrecked car is displayed, and in possibly the most moving speech Parenthood has ever scene, tells his granddaughter that when he was at war, he dreamed of having grandkids. "You do not have permission to mess with my dreams," Zeek says, and Amber, finally, understands the severity of what almost happened to her. Watch it here.

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1. Kristina's Goodbye Video (Season 4)

In the most difficult scene to watch out of the entire cancer storyline (and that's saying a lot), Adam discovers Kristina's farewell video to her children while waiting for her to wake up in the hospital. In the video, Kristina says goodbyes to each of her three kids, praising them for their accomplishments and lamenting the future experiences she won't get to share with them. It's an incredibly well-acted scene by both Monica Potter and Peter Krause, whose face shows 1000 emotions as he watches his wife prepare for death. Watch it here.

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