Feel-good TV

The Top 5 inspiring moments from Gabrielle Giffords 20/20: From Lauper to mom to love

The Top 5 inspiring moments from Gabrielle Giffords 20/20: From Lauper to mom to love

News_Mark Kelly_Gabrielle Giffords_20/20
Mark Kelly and Gabrielle Giffords on 20/20 Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC
News_Gabrielle Giffords_Mark Kelly_Diane Sawyer
Photo by Ida Mae Astute/ABC
News_Mark Kelly_Gabrielle Giffords_20/20
News_Gabrielle Giffords_Mark Kelly_Diane Sawyer
News_Gabrielle Giffords_20/20

Think Americans only want to watch trash TV? Not so much.

On Monday night, 13.4 million people tuned into 20/20 to watch Diane Sawyer's interview with congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords and husband Mark Kelly, making it the most-watched show of the night. The program was a tearjerker from beginning to end, chronicling Giffords' rise in politics and marriage to Kelly, the day of her near-fatal shooting and exclusive home video of her grueling recovery process.

The full episode is available here, but let's take a closer look at the highlights:

5. Giffords singing "Girls Just Want To Have Fun"

The home videos of Giffords' therapy sessions at Houston's TIRR Memorial Hermann are some of the most touching moments onscreen, as they show not only the difficult path of the congresswoman as she struggled to recall words and at one point collapsed into frustrated tears.

But they also show how her therapists use music and rhythm to spur memory and speech, and Giffords singing "Girls Just Want To Have Fun," unassisted is about the cutest thing in the world.

4. Giffords cannot be tricked into liking football.

Doctors don't know where personality, charm, charisma and a sense of humor come from in the brain, according to 20/20. So while it may have been a question for some months how much of her spirit Giffords would recover, the interview showed a few moments with her sense of humor, including a home video in which she suggests her husband hyphenate his name Mark Kelly-Giffords.

But my favorite teasing moment between the couple came when Sawyer asked Giffords what makes her happy now. After Giffords said Africa — she and her husband are planning a trip there in the next year — Kelly threw out football. Giffords responded with a vehement "No, no, no, no, no, no," and described football season as "awful."

I can't blame her, she's probably an Arizona Cardinals fan.

3. Giffords and her mother

Gloria Giffords has been by her daughter's side from virtually the moment she heard about the shooting in Tucson. But the 20/20 cameras afforded some poignant insight into their relationship, from Giffords playfully repeating her mother's words as she watched Gloria being interviewed on a monitor, to Gloria breaking into "Tomorrow" from Annie while off camera, only to be joined by her daughter.

2. The power of forgiveness

There is much talk from Kelly about setting goals and the power of hope and a positive outlook, and it's obvious those aren't just platitudes to this couple. When Sawyer asked about shooter Jared Loughner and whether Giffords feels angry about what happened to her, the congresswoman said "no ... [that's] life."

Kelly elaborated that it was obvious that Loughner had serious mental health problems and he only wished that he had gotten help before the shooting happened.

1. 'In sickness and in health'

The relationship between Kelly and Giffords is on full display and it was truly heartwarming to see their love for each other and how it motivated them. There was Giffords fingering their wedding rings only days after the shooting and describing him as "brave" to Sawyer (before giving him a kiss), plus video of Kelly's sign-off from the space station: "Tell my wife I love her . . . she knows."

Did you watch the Gabrielle Giffords interview? What were your favorite moments?

ADVERTISEMENT
Learn More