Recess/Heartwarming

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  • Come on, "We shall not, we shall not be moved..."
    • And the reason why Old Rusty was so important to T.J.: That's where he met the other four kids in kindergarten on the first day of school.
  • T.J.'s "best friend" essay in "The Break-Up"
    • And the reason why he had trouble writing it in the beginning of the episode (which caused his friends to leave him): he can't choose which one is his "best" friend, he loves them all the same.
  • I don't know why, but I always get the warm fuzzies seeing Mikey cradling T.J. in his arms (after the latter got a black eye) in "Prince Randall".
  • The first episode, "The Break-In" counts a little. It may be like the average episode, but seeing the other four kids (Gus wasn't in the episode) going through drastic measures to get T.J. out of detention shows how much they care for him, and it kinda warms your heart a little.
  • The ending of "Bachelor Gus"
  • The ending of "Big Brother Chad"
  • The beginning of "Mama's Girl" gives us a really sweet and adorable bonding moment between Spinelli and Miss Grotke that definitely qualifies for this trope.
    • In fact, the whole reason why Spinelli called Miss Grotke "mama" is pretty heartwarming itself. Spinelli feels really close to her, like she's her mom (since Spinelli's real mom usually embarrasses her and forces her into girly activities). Cue awws.
    • T.J. being the first to stand up for Spinelli by calling Miss Grotke "Mama". He eventually gets the rest of the class to join in, making her feel a lot better. Cut to the end of the day, and he's got his arm wrapped around her shoulder, looking into her eyes.
  • The ending of Kindergarten Derby for anyone who's ever been the "fat kid" in his/her class.
  • "Randall's Reform": Randall just got used to being in T.J.'s pack when he finds out that Miss Finster has a new snitch, Douglas. Because of this, Randall is jealous and sad, and goes over onto a swing to cry. T.J. finds him upset, and tells him that he should go back to being Finster's snitch.

T.J.:You only get a few good friends in your life, friends who like you for who you are, friends you like for who they are, and being popular is no reason to give up a friend like that, even if that friend is a 200-pound gargoyle in orthopedic shoes.

    • The sweetest part? T.J.'s being a sweetheart to kids who he would consider his enemies.
  • One Stayed Clean, non-stop. Gus' family has moved a lot so he finally gets a chance to get a school picture, and wants to make his family proud by staying clean. T.J. and the others work together to keep him clean and give him closure, Randall surprisingly (and unintentionally) calms him down with his harmonica music, and by the end of the episode, he sacrifices his clean self for T.J., not to mention the letter T.J. wrote to his dad about picture day, and how he's proud to be his friend. It's an Affectionate Parody of Saving Private Ryan and it works.

Gus' Dad: That's my son, right there in the middle with his first class picture ever. If you asked me, soldier, well... I'd say he's never looked better.

  • "Spinelli's Masterpiece"; in an effort to calm her notorious temper, Spinelli starts drawing on the blacktop with colored chalk, and ends up creating an elaborate piece of art. The rest of the gang fight to prevent anyone from destroying the drawing, inviting all the kids to the top of the jungle gym where they can get the best view of her creation. By the end of the episode, even Mrs. Finster and Principal Prickly are suitably impressed. Spinelli caps off her work with a portrait of herself with her friends. Although the drawing was a labor of love for her, at the end of the episode Spinelli declares, "It's just a stupid chalk drawing."
  • In "A Great State Fair", Gus nearly misses out on his first chance to go to a state fair because his dad forgot to hand back his permission form for the field trip, but T.J. vows that he'll find some way to get him there. Despite being on one of the funnest field trips of his life, and despite being told repeatedly that all of his zany schemes to rescue Gus from the school (including, but not limited to, tying a message to a dove's leg and trying to get to the interstate in a bumper car) are completely ridiculous, T.J. refuses to enjoy himself until he can do it with Gus at his side--which, against all odds, he finally does.

"Guys, this morning I promised my friend Gus I'd get him to the fair. And I will not enjoy myself until I do!"

    • Also, Gus ensuring that his old bully nemesis Gelman (who was in detention with him) also goes to the fair, since he's learned from his dad that "no man gets left behind". This even prompts Gelman to actually befriend Gus.
  • In the movie "School's Out', the gang singing 'John jacob jingleheimer schmidt'. One of the most moving displays of child friendship this troper has seen on TV.
    • Everything concerning TJ and Principal Prickly's relationship in that movie qualifies too.
  • "The Voice" straddles the line between Tearjerker and CMOH. One one hand, Mikey's relationship with Ms. Salimony (the music teacher who teaches him to believe in himself so that he can discover his repressed singing talent) is one big Crowning Moment of Heartwarming. But the end, in which Mikey realizes that he's genuinely in love with an engaged 25 year-old woman, never fails to make me choke up. The final scene, where he sings "Nobody Knows the Troubles I've Seen" while gazing longingly at Salimony and saying farewell to her, hits both ends.