What is a Narm Moment? If any of you have seen Six Feet Under, you know that (spoilers) Narm moments take their name from an event that happened to the show’s lead character very, very late in the season run. He had an aneurysm, reached for his arm, uttered “NARM” and collapsed. It was a hugely shocking and upsetting moment. The first time we saw it, anyway. Divorced from the context of the show, however, it’s HILARIOUS. That’s essentially what a Narm moment is: A dead serious, tragic, and/or sad moment that — outside of its context — turns into a gloriously funny one.
Let’s take a look at ten of televisions’ best moments in Narm (note: They are not the BEST ten, because it’s difficult these days to actually find scenes on YouTube for copyright reasons).
The Original, Six Feet Under — I do not deny that this was one of the most powerfully emotional scenes I’d ever seen, the first time around. The episode ended after this scene, and I was speechless, wondering what the f**k just happened. On repeat viewing, however? HILARIOUS. Every time.
Dawson Crying, Dawson’s Creek — This is kind of the gold standard for Narm moments, and it’s hard to remember there was even a time when there was an emotionally upsetting reason (Joey’s rejection) that provoked Dawson to cry. What started out as an a poignant moment in the context of the episode has turned into a meme, one that years later, James Van Der Beek would even own.
Viserys’ Golden Crown, Game of Thrones — There are a many Narm moments from Game of Thrones from which to choose, but my favorite will always remain Viserys’ death. It should’ve been a hard scene to watch, and it was the first time around, but now it’s just hilarious to see Viserys’ get exactly what he asked for.
Is This Because I’m A Lesbian?, Law & Order — One of the best, most awkwardly hilarious moments in television history came when Serena Southerlyn (Elizabeth Rohm) was fired on Law & Order, and what was meant to be a serious moment turned into one of the most tone-deaf lines in the series’ run when Southerlyn asked, “Is this because I’m a lesbian?” Oh, Dick Wolf. Really?
The Suitcase, Mad Men — Yes, at the time, it was a powerful scene, which is why The Suitcase is thought of as one of the series’ best episodes. But watch it again, and you can’t help but laugh at Don Draper’s cry-face, which itself has turned into a glorious Internet meme.
Waaaaaaalt, Lost — Don Draper’s cry face has lots of echoes of Jack’s cryface in Lost (and both are reminders of Dawson’s cry face above), but for all the Narm moments in Lost, the oft-parodied and memed WAAAAAAAALT moment wins for pure, unadulterated Narmness.
Butterfly, Fringe — In context, the first time you watch it, the opening to this episode of Fringe was actually visually awesome. But watch it again, and the full-body freak-out followed by the beautiful, slow-motion plunge to death is hilariously Narm.
Treadmill, Dexter — A Narm list wouldn’t be complete without one of the most laughably terrible scenes of the decade, which saw Harrison hurt himself after falling from a treadmill. Yes, we were supposed to feel bad for Harrison, but all we felt were the giggles. This, actually, was funny the first time, and will never, ever stop being funny.
Marissa Shoots Trey, The O.C. — An amazingly Narm moment made only moreso by the subsequent Saturday Night Live parody. (Marissa’s death, by the by, is also a fantastic moment in Narm).
Rick’s Reaction to Lori’s Death, The Walking Dead — Almost heart-wrenching the first time, it’s now impossible to see without laughing hysterically. CORRAL.
Robin Floating, How I Met Your Mother — Television’s most recent moment of Narm? Ted finally, finally letting Robin go after 9 seasons, in what should’ve been a powerful moment of epiphany. The only problem? They took the metaphor a little too far, and actually had Robin floating away like a balloon (oh, and also, spoilers, it was all rendered moot by the series finale).