Wah, wah, wah

October 24, 2013
(Showtime)
(Showtime)

Claire Danes is famed for her crumpled cry face. As bipolar CIA agent Carrie Mathison on “Homeland” (9 p.m. Sundays on Showtime), she has a lot to cry about: terrorist attacks, job tensions, her unstable lover Brody.

But she’s not TV’s only famous crier. Lucille Ball was a primo wailer. Who deserves the crying crown?

Danes

Sample trigger: Confinement in a mental institution.
Cry face: Chin quivers and trembles, brow furrows, eyes bug out, mouth looks like it tasted spoiled milk.
Cry sounds: Henh, henh, henh.

Ball

Sample trigger: Lucy, who always wanted a mink coat, learns that best pal Ethel just got a fur.
Cry face: Eyes squint; mouth opens wide, turns down like the mask of tragedy. Bonus: stomps feet.
Cry sounds: AwwaAHHHH. Wah. Wah. Wah.

Assessment: Lucy’s cry sounds are superior, but Carrie’s cry face is killer. Personally, I prefer the less-crying-is-more style of “Homeland” actress Morena Baccarin as Jessica, wife of Brody. She emits a sublimely delicate sniffle cry when suicidal daughter Dana says she is no longer suicidal.

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.
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Brian Oh · October 24, 2013