The other night I found myself Googling Leona Lewis’ rendition of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow,” one of her final performances before winning the third season of The X Factor UK in 2006. Random, I know, but it’s one of those things that has just stayed with me over the years. I love the song, I love her voice, and so far, I haven’t gotten sick of it. So on that particular night, I was feeling a little lonely, a little down. And sure, a big ol’ bag of Doritos probably would have done the trick, but I figured Leona’s perfectly controlled, melodic voice would be a smarter choice for my girlish figure—I mean, it is #bikiniseason—so down the YouTube rabbit hole I went.
You see, while I’ve seen the clip a thousand times, I still get those butterflies in my stomach. She hits the high notes, gets a standing ovation from the audience, and Simon Cowell professes it to be the single best performance he’s ever witnessed. Can you imagine standing up there, hearing those words? Can you imagine how her mom must feel, looking on? A reality show is a reality show, but you can’t write that kind of live, powerful moment. It was a perfect storm, and it gets me every time.
But it also got me thinking: What other TV moments have created this perfect storm of joy? A Bachelor finale won’t do it, but the first time Ross and Rachel kissed on Friends just might. Babies, weddings, amazing sporting events — they all create great moments, but what’s the top of the top? What gets the blood rushing and the cheeks flushing and the heart fluttering? I hit the ‘net, and here’s what I found:
1. Mindy and Danny kiss on a plane on The Mindy Project
Every girl wanted to be Mindy in this moment. While flying home from a trip where he ended up reconciling with his father, a bit of turbulence led Danny to reach for Mindy’s recently vacated seat. A realization of love washed across Danny’s face as he got up in search of her, eventually finding her rummaging through cans of soda. Mindy turned around, excited to share the tonic she located, when Danny grabbed her face and kissed her as passionately as one can on network TV. The camera pulled back, the two continued making out, and the audience breathed a sigh of relief. These polar opposites were finally on the road to coupledom.
2. Jim and Pam Get Married on The Office
3. Maggie is born on The Simpsons
Homer has the new dad blues, stressed that he has yet another mouth to feed. But the moment he sets eyes on his baby girl Maggie, the fears subside and the Simpsons have another reason to keep on keepin’ on.
4. Kristin Wiig says goodbye to Saturday Night Live
Never has SNL sent off a departing cast member with such aplomb, and never has it been more deserved. Mick Jagger, “She’s a Rainbow,” Lorne… get those tissues ready!
5. Oprah’s Ultimate Car Giveaway on The Oprah Winfrey Show
The queen of feel good moments outdid herself in 2004 when she gifted new cars to her entire studio audience. Millions of happy tears— and memes—followed soon after. #YouGetACar
6. The Miracle on Ice
Before we were asking if Manny Pacquiao really had a shoulder injury, we were asking, “Do you believe in miracles?” The Americans were the underdog in the 1980 Olympics, and the Soviets were on their way to dominating hockey for a solid 24 years. But lo and behold, with the Americans leading 4-3 in the last minute, they ran down the clock to victory.
Feel good moments indeed.