National Hug Day: TV's Greatest Embraces

Mandi Bierly
·Deputy Editor, Yahoo Entertainment

Jan. 21 is National Hug Day, according to Twitter, and that’s fine by us: It gives us an excuse to remember all the hugs that have moved us on TV shows over the years. We’ll share some of our favorites; then, you tell us yours. Spoiler alert, obviously.


Will and Uncle Phil, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air

After his father leaves him a second time, Will asks Uncle Phil why his dad doesn’t love him. Uncle Phil just gives him a giant hug — and tosses Will’s hat aside so he can get even closer. —Chrissy Le Nguyen


Sherlock and John, Sherlock

John had asked his new bride, Mary, to stop him if he tried to hug Sherlock during the high-functioning sociopath’s surprisingly touching best man’s speech at their wedding reception. Luckily, she didn’t. Not a dry eye in the house… well, except for Sherlock’s. (Runner-up, from the same episode: Young Archie practically tackling Sherlock in the receiving line.) — Mandi Bierly


Buffy and Angel, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

No sooner has she welcomed her vampire boyfriend Angel back from an extended stint as his soulless alter ego, Angelus, then Buffy finds herself having to condemn the guy to a hell vortex. She only has time for a tender hug, a soulful kiss, and some Of Mice and Men-like final words before stabbing Mr. Right right through his chest. —Ethan Alter


Max and Kristina, Parenthood

Max tells his parents that he’s been bullied during an overnight school trip — kids peed (!) in his canteen — and mom Kristina climbs to the backseat and hugs him despite him telling her he doesn’t like to be hugged. Meanwhile, dad Adam can only grip the steering wheel with tears in his eyes. —CLN

Everyone, The Mary Tyler Moore Show

In the final Mary Tyler Moore Show broadcast in March 1977, a new station manager for WJM fires Mary, Lou Grant, Murray, Georgette, Betty White’s Sue Ann — basically everyone… except dumbbell anchor Ted Baxter. The episode culminates in a group hug for all six that served as an emotional farewell for the entire series — punctuated with a laugh of course, as the entire group, no one willing to stop the hug, scuttles over to get to the box of tissues on Mary’s desk, in a great sight-gag. —Ken Tucker

Don and Leonard, Mad Men

After seven seasons of alpha-male stoicism, Don Draper’s emotional breakthrough came at a New Age group therapy session, as he listened to a sad sack named Leonard confess how invisible he felt: “I’ve never been interesting to anybody.” As Leonard cried, a visibly moved Don rose from his chair and wrapped his arms around him, sobbing along with him and finally getting in touch with the wounded Dick Whitman inside. —Dave Nemetz

Oliver and Felicity, Arrow

Even now, years later, you can still find fans on Tumblr making GIFs of this hug. Who cares about rampaging supersoldiers? That hug is what Olicity shippers had been waiting more than a season for. —Robert Chan


Raylan and Boyd, Justified

How would ol’ coal-mining buddies — one a Deputy U.S. Marshal returning to his native Kentucky and the other now the crime king of the holler he’ll spend six seasons trying to put behind bars — greet each other for the first time in the Justified pilot? Arms wide open. It was the beginning of one of TV’s most beautiful, complicated, and funny friendships. —MB

Michael and Jim, The Office

Jim and Pam finally get engaged in Season 5, and Michael shows his enthusiasm toward the couple with this epic tackle-hug. After all, marriage is a sacred union between two people. And Michael Scott. —Mookie Loughran


Leslie and Ron, Parks and Recreation

In the Season 7 episode, “Leslie and Ron,” a three-year feud is buried with one simple hug… and 12 hours of being locked in an office together. “I have three years’ worth of hugs to force upon you against your will,” Leslie tells her former nemesis. The expression on his face suggests he doesn’t mind all that much. —EA

SAMCRO, Sons of Anarchy

The motorcycle club was so fond of man hugs, there’s entire montages, like the one above, devoted to them. There’s a hug for every occasion, the best being heading into jail, coming out of jail, and the Godfather-esque “you’re dead to me now.” —MB


Cory and Shawn, Girl Meets World

Fifteen years after Boy Meets World signed off, Cory reunited with his long lost bestie Shawn on the Disney Channel spinoff Girl Meets World. TV’s greatest bromance was back, although Cory’s kid, Auggie (August Maturo), was almost a casualty of this enthusiastic embrace. —Victoria Leigh Miller

Joey and Chandler, Friends

The most endearingly enduring relationship on Friends was the one between roomies Chandler and Joey, who were not afraid to express their bromantic feelings with many a hug. Many, many a hug. So many, in fact, that the show even poked a little fun — complete with Smokey Robinson soundtrack — at all the huggin’ in Season 6’s “The One with Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.” —Kimberly Potts

Walt and Jesse, Breaking Bad

In the Season 2 finale, “ABQ,” Walt tracked down a distraught Jesse in a crack house, and hugged him as the sobbing Jesse blamed himself for Jane’s death. Sure, we knew it was Walt who had allowed her to die, and we would see Walt sink even lower in subsequent seasons, but here at least, he provided his younger meth-making partner with a smidgen of the fatherly support Jesse so desperately craved. —KP


Adama & Apollo, Battlestar Galactica

BSG’s underappreciated finale was an emotional send-off to all of Galactica’s surviving crew members, human and Cylon alike. But the moment that lingers the most is the final farewell between the Adamas: sometimes friends, occasional adversaries, but always father and son. —EA


Steven Avery & His Family, Making a Murderer

Whatever feelings you may have about his guilt or innocence in Teresa Halbach’s murder, it’s clear that Steven Avery was wrongly convicted for a previous crime, and paid for it with 18 years of his life. Seeing him welcomed home by his family and friends after that first prison sentence is the happiest moment in what becomes a very wrenching story. —EA

Jack and Matt Damon, Will & Grace

Actually, Damon wasn’t Damon, but Owen, a straight guy pretending to be gay to win a spot in the Manhattan Gay Men’s Chorus in Season 4’s “A Chorus Lie.” That was interfering with Jack’s plan to do the same, so he tried to “in” Owen with a hug, which Jack described as heterosexual because of its lack of hip touching. Not so, Owen argued. It’s all about the delts and the shoes. —KP

Lizzie and Red, The Blacklist

It was the happy culmination of a months’ long story arc for Lizzie, and the music track (“Rise Up” by Andra Day) just made for a great scene. And maybe tears. —Jeffrey Pattit

Everyone, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart

The correspondents rushing the departing host on his final show was perfectly fitting — laughter through tears. —MB

Jack and Liz, 30 Rock

The Jack Donaghy Method of comforting someone who’s sick after eating chuckle (aka “the part of a pig between the tail and the anus”)? A few loving pats with the head of a nearby broom. There, there, Lemon. —ML

Your turn. What are your picks for TV’s greatest embraces?