YouTube HOF: The All-Sap Highlight Reel
Friday Night Lights — The Crying Parts
Andy Greenwald: Friday Night Lights wasn’t merely one of the finest television dramas of the last decade. It was also the serialized version of chopping onions, an unparalleled tear-inducement mechanism. And so, because it’s the day after Valentine’s Day and maybe those roses are looking a little wilted and those lukewarm “aphrodisiac” oysters you were served at 5:30 p.m. at the only restaurant with an unclaimed reservation as of yesterday morning aren’t sitting so well, I offer you this: It’s a video of all your favorite residents of Dillon, Texas, weeping. While an Oasis song plays. Because, of course it does.
Let it out, fellow romantic. Not even Tim Riggins was afraid to show his sensitive side. (Note: all of Tim Riggins’ sides were sensitive. Amirite, ladies?)
Friday Night Nights (Lights)
Amos Barshad: Basically any given three-minute selection from Friday Night Lights, selected arbitrarily, is my favorite sappy TV moment. But I would never disparage that show’s good name by breaking it down just to its sappy elements. Instead, here’s a lo-fi FNL spoof — two dudes, walking around, saying hella meaningful stuff to each other. “I’m on one of the most important teams in the world” … “In this important world, you’re on the team.” Now wipe away those tears.
Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake, “Someone Like You”
Molly Lambert: What’s better than a Justin Timberlake and Britney Spears OTP fan video for Valentine’s Day Week? A Justin and Britney fan video fitting the upcoming marriages of the former teen sweetheart Mouseketeers/fake virgins to new partners (Jessica Biel and Jason Trawick, respectively) into the “bittersweet moving on with my life but never 2 4get” narrative of Adele’s “Someone Like You.” Remember the king and queen of TRL when they were young, innocent, in love, and wearing matching outfits a lot.
Say Anything — The Boombox Scene
Dan Silver: Cause: He gave her his heart, she gave him a pen.
Effect: At dusk, the sad man throws on his trench coat (rolling up the sleeves, of course), drives to the middle of a public park that looks like it has a spatial connection to his intended target, lifts a boom box above his head, and blasts an emo rock ballad in an effort to win back his love.
Side effect: A generation swoons, and in turn, provides John Cusack years of gainful employment as the “misunderstood, possibly dark, but no matter what … sensitive” love interest (the prehipster hipster). And a Peter Gabriel song is forever redefined.
(Note: Out of context this scene is so sappy it’ll give you a cavity, but in context, I’m man-mush. Oh, Cameron Crowe, where have you gone?)
Delilah Rene, the Queen of Sappy Love Songs
Katie Baker: You can’t do any sort of compilation of “sappy” without the self-styled “Queen of Sappy Love Songs” herself. That’s right, I’m talking about Delilah, who reigns the late-night airwaves with her mellifluous meddling. When did he leave you? When is the baby due? What would you say to her right now if you could apologize? Who’s on your heart tonight? Delilah never judges, she just listens, and sometimes murmurs, and always sends you on your way with some Selena. If calling in to her radio show is a little bit like going to confession, she’s the high priestess who doles out the “I Can’t Make You Love Me”s like they’re punitive Hail Marys.
As a special Valentine’s Day treat, CNN profiled Delilah, and this is the part that matters: “Spotted through a long line of cherry trees is a big feathered symbol of where Delilah’s heart truly lies. Emma the emu was rescued from the local animal shelter that Delilah is convinced has her number on speed dial.” (By the way, if someone can translate the part a couple of paragraphs later about the “fruit bat” and the “small potbelly pig” I’d be much obliged.) This woman doesn’t just trade in sap, she cuts a lovely breaststroke through heart-shaped pools of it. If you’re unsure whether you’re familiar with Delilah, here’s a simple test: If you’ve ever found yourself driving solo through the rain at night, tears rolling down your face, chances are that you were listening to Delilah at the time.
Billy Joel, “You’re Always a Woman”
Bill Simmons: Remember that one mixtape you gave that one girl who whipped you a little too hard that makes you think now, “My God, I can’t believe I did that?” It could be worse … you could be Billy Joel, and you could have these live “You’re Always a Woman” performances haunting you on YouTube for the rest of your life.
Extreme, “More Than Words”
Mark Lisanti: There was this that trick hair metal bands (take a deep breath, Extreme fans, this is more a rhetorical shortcut than official Aquanet taxonomy) pulled where they’d release a mega-sappy power ballad, get momentarily huge on the fumes of all those undulating Bics in their arena audience, and enjoy a couple years of success under that smokescreen of sensitivity. Pretty much every other song on Extreme’s Pornograffiti features Nuno Bettencourt (fun fact: he now frequently plays in Rihanna’s live band) losing his mind inside the Shred Zone, which, you know, was *awesome.* But the sap leaks through all the seams on the woodshed. Fairly high-quality sap, too.
Fancy Feast, “The Engagement”
Tess Lynch: I don’t like to think of love as an ingredient in cat food, because to my knowledge cat food is made only of bones, Jell-O, and the souls of unbaptized babies. If there’s love in the Fish and Shrimp Feast Flaked, unsubscribe me from love forever, because it smells like a can of goo harvested in the Everglades. A man using a white Persian kitten as an incentive to marry him is either a diabolically clever materialist or Cee Lo Green. If Cee Lo Green had played this woman’s boyfriend, I would have forgiven Fancy Feast the love/cat food conflation. As it stands, I can’t. Also, what do you think that room was before it became a monstrously impractical cat haven with high pile green carpet? Forty seconds after the couple finishes their Chinese takeout and simultaneously (!!) feeds their cat Tuna Feast in Gravy, they were huddled on the ground scrubbing the rug with Nature’s Miracle, still haunted by the competing odors of sesame beef and fish aspic. MAWKISH.
The Field of Dreams ending
Jonah Keri: For much of my adolescence, my favorite author was W.P. Kinsella. He wrote beautifully, often about baseball, but also about mysticism, and the struggles of everyday life. (Yup, he’s Canadian, too.) Shoeless Joe isn’t my favorite Kinsella book (that would be The Iowa Baseball Confederacy, though many of his short stories about life on a reservation in Alberta are great, too). But it’s still a great read for anyone who’s a sucker for baseball and history and ghosts who hate Ty Cobb.
Field of Dreams, on the other hand, might be the most divisive sports movie ever made. Even a hardened cynic can get behind Archie Graham showing up on that country road, or James Earl Jones alternating between the curmudgeonly Salingerish role and his frequent belly laughs when crazy things keep happening to Ray. But the ending? Oof. If you grew up on a strained relationship with your dad, the scene with Ray and his father having a catch might hit home, maybe even start the old waterworks. But it’s sappy as hell, maybe too sappy, even for a movie that prides itself on screwing with your heartstrings. Depending on how you rate this scene, you could comfortably slot Field of Dreams among the 10 best sports movies of all time … or relegate it to Ladybugs territory. Either stance is justifiable.
Rudy — The Jersey Scene
Robert Mays: I was 6 when Rudy came out, and being a Chicagoland kid raised on football, that means I have seen this scene approximately 873 times. When I queued it up for these purposes, I did it with the hopes of trying to make a dumb joke. I just can’t do it. I don’t care that this didn’t actually happen. Or that Rudy is now a white-collar criminal. Every time I drive into South Bend, a dumpy Midwestern town that seems to have a cloudy haze overhead even when it’s sunny, I hear that damn music.
“You’re an All-American and our captain. Act like it.”
“I believe I am.”
Every damn time.
Best Coast, “Sun Was High”
Bill Barnwell: Somebody cut a video for this Best Coast song using clips from Un Homme Et Une Femme and it is all about unexpectedly falling in love and unexpectedly sticking in it even though you might possibly want to honor the spirit of your dead husband. That is sappy, right?
Foreigner, “I Want to Know What Love Is”
foreigner – i want to know what love is by kareem93
Rembert Browne: So for starters, the song is called “I Want to Know What Love Is” and they follow that up with the line, “I want you to show me.” That, in itself, makes it a top 10 sappy song. But then Foreigner, not satisfied with their contribution to the genre of sap, decided to make a video that completely blows the lyrics out of the water. For one, the whole thing is practically in slow motion, which means we get dramatic tearing up, dramatic pacing, dramatic showering, dramatic ironing, and, most importantly, extremely dramatic looking off into the distance for 5-10 seconds at a time. Halfway in, the video starts to take a turn for the confusing, as all these Black people start piling into a school bus, but then you realize Foreigner is setting up the sappiest, most dramatic ending to a video, potentially ever.
That bus full of Black people happens to be Foreigner’s girlfriend-summoning gospel choir. As they walk in the room, hugs and handshakes are exchanged, and then they start singing. The beautiful voices travel out of the studio and across town to the lead singer’s lady friend — you know, the one who needs to show him what love is. She follows the harmonious trail until she finds him. Mission accomplished, girlfriend-summoning Black gospel choir.
There’s really nothing more special and sappy than ’80s race relations in slow motion.
Ariel & Zoey & Eli, Too, “Christmas Lullaby”
Michael Weinreb: I bequeath to you a (belated) Christmas song, written and performed by the original composer of “One Shining Moment” and sung by 12-year-old twins who appear to be huge stars in Michigan and also have their own show (along with their little brother, Eli — it’s like the Mannings meet the Mandrells) on a national network called TheCoolTV. Ah, but what is this television show *about*, you ask? “The show is about the USA. The show is about music.”