You Are Lisa Simpson

To those of you who know me well, this next sentence will not come as a surprise. I cry at everything. Really. I cry when I’m sad. I cry when I’m happy. I cry when I’m hungry. I cry when I’m angry and feel injustice has been done. I cry at adverts. I cry at birthday cards. Yesterday I cried at a HIMYM rerun. Where Marshall turns up at the airport with a marching band for Lily and tells her what he had for lunch? Oh, gosh.

I can understand this can be annoying. I found it thoroughly irritating in family members as a kid, only BAM! puberty hits, and I’m one of them. I have no control over it; is not meant to manipulate or to tug on the heartstrings. I just can’t help it. Believe me, it bugs me as much as it does you. To my friends who asked me to read at your wedding – I’m sorry. I tried so hard. I couldn’t make it through without the bottom lip going and the Claire Danes chin wobbling reliably.

There is one thing guaranteed to send me over the edge. Something that has been a trigger for as long as I can remember. Animated films and TV programmes. Pixar seem to have the monopoly on emotional manipulation; I can’t remember seeing one of their films without turning into The Human Waterfall (an interesting X-Man power, perhaps?) I cannot particularly articulate why this is ~ perhaps because animation is often aimed at children, so fears and upsets are more primal, more simple. Because children represent innocence and to me, the loss of innocence is one of the saddest things of all.

For no particular reason (hey, maybe I’m feeling masochistic) I’ve decided to list my top 5 Saddest Moments in Animation. I would love to hear yours, if you have the time or the inclination to post them. It seems to me that this is a common thing!

In no particular order…

Jessie & Emily – Toy Story 2

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A common one, this. Aided by Sarah McLachlan’s heart wrenching When She Loved Me we see how toy cowgirl Jessie was the love of Emily’s life. They grew together, played together, went everywhere together. Jessie’s face is radiant as she lies contentedly in Emily’s arms. But Emily grows up, as children are wont to do. Jessie is increasingly neglected until, eventually, she is given away. Abandoned, no longer needed. This is the worst one for me. This will set me off for days. An ex-boyfriend soon regretted bringing this DVD home. “What is WRONG with you?” I don’t know, truthfully. I think the idea of loving unconditionally only to be kicked to the kerb is a heartbreaking one. But also – and this is a common theme in this list – children growing up and losing their innocence makes me so very sad. I think I watched too much Peter Pan as a kid.

Jurassic Bark – Futurama

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Have you SEEN this? Honestly, it breaks my heart. Fry (in the future) finds his dog Seymour fossilized. The Professor tells him that there is enough of his DNA to clone the dog, but that he lived for twelve years after Fry disappeared. Fry changes his mind and decides that Seymour must have moved on and found a new owner in that time. Cut to a flashback scored with Connie Francis’ I Will Wait For You – Seymour is shown waiting outside Fry’s pizzeria – for months, seasons, years, waiting for his master, until finally he closes his eyes and passes away. God, I’m crying just writing about it.

Mother Simpson – The Simpsons

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Homer was told his mother was dead, so when they are reunited after 27 years, he is overjoyed. However, it soon becomes clear that Mona Simpson is on the run from the law, and after a tip off from the police, she has to leave her son again. The end credits show Homer sitting on his car bonnet, in the starry night. He says nothing, but stares into the darkness. However old we are, our parents are still everything, aren’t they? For the most part, we never stop needing them.

Wall-E and Eve – Wall-E

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A hard choice between this and Up, but this one – despite the latter featuring actual humans with a beautiful love story, this just did it for me. Again, it’s Wall-E’s unconditional love for Eve, his innocence, his refusal to give up when it seems she is lost and his willingness to wait for her and follow her across the galaxy. Sweet, innocent and beautiful.

Best Friends Forever – The Fox and the Hound

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The original Emily Blub-Trigger. First set me off in 1989. Still doing it today. Two best friends torn apart by circumstance, their place in life and what is expected from them. Another case of innocence lost. Not sure why that is an issue for me…! My childhood best friend (who I know I am friends with on facebook, hello if you’re reading this) moved to France when I was 13 and oddly enough, I watched this film just after she left. It was a mistake!

Honorable Mention

You are Lisa Simpson – The Simpsons

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An honorable mention because it is not a traditional cryfest. Lisa Simpson, lacking any understanding from her family or teachers, is inspired by her substitute teacher Mr Bergstrom (who sounds a lot like Dustin Hoffman). But, as substitute teachers are wont to do, he leaves – onto the next school. Lisa is left crestfallen; how is she supposed to know who she is without his guidance? He leaves her a parting note ‘You are Lisa Simpson’.

Truthfully, it is this particular iconic animated moment that inspired today’s post. As my friends and I approach 30, a new wave of insecurity hits. Are we in the right place? Are we doing the right thing? Who are we supposed to be? I lose count of the friends who have recently poured out worries about their position in life. But for them, I try to take a leaf out of Mr Bergstrom’s book and say this: You are you. And you are brilliant. And don’t worry. It will fall into place. Just keep being you and know that is enough.

I’ve just rewatched all these clips. It was a terrible idea. Thank heavens I’ve already taken my mascara off.