15/03/2018 14:29 SAST | Updated 15/03/2018 14:29 SAST

5 TV Shows That Will Help Bring On Your Ugly Cry

Because we all need an ugly cry now and then, here are some suggestions of shows to turn on the waterworks.

Big Little Lies
Big Little Lies

Did you know that there are many physical and psychological benefits of having a good cry? Tears release toxins and stress hormones, which can reduce tension and elevate your mood, and they can even boost communication in your relationship by conveying your feelings without needing to explain them in words.

The Handmaid's Tale

If you feel like you could do with a good cry to release tension and boost your mood, it's probably time to binge on a heart-wrenching drama on TV. These 5 tear-jerking series on Showmax are guaranteed to turn on the waterworks:

1. Grey's Anatomy

Fans of this long-running Shonda Rhimes medical drama know that it's become a phenomenon for good reason - and not only because it's got no shame in bringing viewers to tears at least once per episode. From Izzie and Alex's wedding (S5, episode 22), Meredith telling Derek, "Pick me. Choose me. Love me," (S2, episode 5); to Cristina saying to Meredith before she leaves for Zurich, "You're my person. I need you alive," (S10, episode 24) there are a great number of memorable ugly cry moments.

2. HBO's Big Little Lies

This award-winning series about five women living in the wealthy town of Monterey, California whose lives aren't as perfect as they seem may not be an obvious choice as a contender for the biggest tearjerker on TV, but trust us, it has its fair share of scenes that you'll struggle to get through without shedding a tear. It might be when a beaten-down Celeste (Nicole Kidman), usually so erect and proud, is sitting opposite a no-nonsense therapist who's just waiting for her to come to terms with the truth of her marriage; or when Jane (Shailene Woodley) sprints down the misty beach, day after day, her face full of fear and desperation as she tries to outrun her past; or maybe when firecracker Madeline (Reese Witherspoon) discovers the horrendous truth about her daughter's after-school project and is, for once, rendered speechless. At some point in the 7 brilliant episodes, there will be tears.

3. Call the Midwife

It's no surprise that this BBC drama about a team of midwives and nuns operating in the poor East areas of London in the 1950s and 60s is a safe bet for those looking for excuses for an ugly cry. For one thing, the circumstances women found themselves in as little 60 years ago as portrayed by the midwives' patients are heartbreakingly dire, with no easily accessible contraception, no neonatal scans, no NICU, and birth defects and stillbirths being devastatingly common. But the midwives' and nuns' struggles have also brought tears to our eyes more than once, from our beloved Delia's accident at the end of Season 4, to happy-go-lucky Trixie's confession of her alcoholism in Season 5, to the tragedy at the end of the fifth season (no spoilers here, but be warned: you'll have to say goodbye to one the show's most well-loved nuns).

4. The Handmaid's Tale

In the dystopian future, a woman who used to be called June (Elisabeth Moss) is now called Offred. She's one of the Republic of Gilead's Handmaids, which means her sole purpose is to bear children for one of the state's powerful generals and his wife. The setup, based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, is devastating enough, but the terrifying aspects of the regime (the way Handmaids are forced to attack and kill prisoners with their bare hands, or to stone them to death; the practice of plucking out Handmaids' eyes if they disobey or rebel against the system) are so expertly portrayed that they'll leave you feeling sick to your stomach. It's in Offred's flashbacks to her previous, happy life with her husband and daughter, who was stolen from her, and in her exchange with her best friend Moira (Samira Wiley), who used to be a Handmaid but is now a prostitute, when they meet unexpectedly at an underground brothel, that will bring you to tears.

5. Being Mary Jane

Being Mary Jane is about a successful TV news anchor, Mary Jane Paul (Gabrielle Union), who finds herself dissatisfied with her life, even though she's got everything she thought she wanted. Her dysfunctional family expects her to carry them, her network expects her to sacrifice her life and her ethics for the show, her friends expect her to be there whenever they need her, and not vice versa, and her boyfriend expects her to be okay with him having a wife. We're rooting for Mary Jane from the very beginning, because she's flawed, but trying to be better (does that sound familiar?), and so her defeats throughout the series make us feel really sorry for her. But if you think the show has its sad moments, you ain't seen nothing until the opening episode of Season 3.

Watch these series for your next ugly-cry binge session on Showmax.

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