[[quoteright:350:[[Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/brokensmile350_4457.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350: "Mama...?"]]
-> What's with the face? It is happy, yet at the same time, disturbing.
->-- '''Mark Chang,''' ''WesternAnimation/FairlyOddParents''

Any StepfordSmiler worth her immaculately groomed PowerHair has a smile capable of withstanding a nuclear blast worth of shocking [[TheReveal revelations]] with amazing DissonantSerenity. Anything and everything could happen, the president is assassinated, the detective finds the basement graveyard, [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking the in-laws visit unexpectedly]], and still the smile stands. Then there are times when that perpetual and creepy smile... breaks. Maybe the cookies got burnt, or a lock of her hair has fallen out of place, or her perfectly manicured family just did something dreadfully embarrassing in public. The point is, it's [[RantInducingSlight the last straw]] and her smile, like her composure, has been [[BreakTheCutie shattered]] into so many pieces archaeologists will be puzzling it out for millennia.

Something snaps inside her head; she gets HiddenEyes, and her smile suddenly becomes frozen and forced, with teeth grinding in a rictus of a CheshireCatGrin... [[SlasherSmile or worse]]. The smile is only still there because the sheer shock has prevented any new expression from reaching her face. A deer in the headlights of a sixteen wheel semi has a similar expression. She may develop a [[TwitchyEye twitching eyelid]].

CrossPoppingVeins optional for comedic examples. Usually this is followed either by a HeroicBSOD or something to make those responsible forever BewareTheNiceOnes. Often shown by {{Yandere}}.



[[folder: Anime and Manga]]
* ''{{Shuffle}}'': Kaede displays this around episode 19 where her extreme depression and loneliness starts taking a toll on her sanity.
* Arumi of ''[[Anime/AbenobashiMahouShoutengai Magical Shopping Arcade Abenobashi]]'' usually does this, if only for a second, before attacking Sasshi with her PaperFanOfDoom.
* Seen on Yurika in ''MartianSuccessorNadesico'' after her first taste of three new pilots, generally behaving even more strangely than the crew she's already gotten used to.
* Not really a StepfordSmiler, but Zilba from ''[[MujinWakuseiSurvive Uninhabited Planet Survive]]'' only stops smiling when her cheek is bruised.
* Shown above, it happens to Asuka in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' after [[spoiler: she walks in on what should be the happiest day of her life so far, with what she believes to be [[WellDoneSonGuy proof she is a worthy daughter.]] Only to find that her mother has committed "murder"-suicide, hanging herself with a doll of Asuka.]]
** It also occurs in EndOfEvangelion with [[spoiler: Shinji after Asuka is "killed"]].
** [[http://img32.imageshack.us/img32/3226/shinjiheadshot.jpg Shinji's pretty good at them, too.]]
* In ''Manga/{{Bleach}}'', Hinamori is visited by Hitsugaya and she has one when [[spoiler: she starts ranting about how Aizen might merely be manipulated by Gin.]]
* Happens to Ranka in ''MacrossFrontier'', when she [[spoiler: runs to the deck thinking that Alto loves her... and stumbles into Alto hugging Sheryl, [[NotWhatItLooksLike not knowing]] that it's because Sheryl's illness kicked in.]] "It can't be..."
* Usagi does this in ''Anime/SailorMoon R'' when Mamoru is breaking up with her.
* ''KarakuridoujiUltimo'': Rune has this after his confession to Yamato and during his fight with him.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** Gaara tried to maintain one after discovering his uncle Yashimaru had attacked him, but it was soon wiped off his face by Yashimaru's [[spoiler:faked]] confession of hatred.
** Naruto himself is a StepfordSmiler and does this at times.
** Sakura's had her fair share, namely after Sasuke betrays the village and lands Naruto in the hospital, and much later when [[spoiler: Sasuke comes back, and she's happy and can trust him]]. [[TheUnsmile Sai]] of all people calls the resulting "smile" a lie.
* Menma's mother Irene in ''Anime/AnoHanaTheFlowerWeSawThatDay'', when Jin-Tan, Poppo and Anaru go to talk about [[spoiler: the plan to build a firework in Menma's memory, not knowing that Irene is still mentally broken even after years of Menma's death.]].
* Leo of ''PandoraHearts'' flashes a lot of these after [[spoiler: Elliot's death]].
* In the beginning of ''Manga/BattleRoyale'', a young Shuya and Yoshitoki notice that the girl who won that year's Program is smiling, but she doesn't really look happy. She does look very creepy.
** Also in "Manga/BattleRoyale", Yoshimi's adorable smile at finding Yoji again quickly becomes very creepy when [[spoiler: he's shot in the head]].

[[folder: Comics]]
* {{Transmetropolitan}}: The [[SlasherSmile aptly named]] Smiler devolves into this a few times over the course of the series, almost always at the hands of [[AntiHero Spider]] [[JerkWithAHeartOfGold Jerusalem]].

[[folder: Fanfiction]]
* Gamzee in {{Brainbent}} has a particularly [[{{Tearjerker}} heartbreaking]] one when he thinks he's made Sollux hate him. He's a bit of a type-a StepfordSmiler overall, depressingly enough.
* Spike sports one at the end of Chapter 12 in ''{{FanFic/Zenith}}'' when he discovers that [[spoiler:Celestia knowingly sent Twilight to the location where the Pillar of the Sun was at]].

[[folder: Film]]
* Michelle Pfeiffer's character Velma Von Tussle displayed a wonderful example of this in the 2007 remake of ''{{Hairspray}}'', at the moment when her daughter failed to win the Miss Hairspray contest.
* In ''Film/BrokenBlossoms'', Lucy forces herself to smile like this several times, [[spoiler:including while dying.]]

[[folder: Literature]]
* Gorgas in ''The Belly Of The Bow'' by K. J. Parker: he is confronting his brother who has [[AndYourLittleDogToo killed Geogas' son]] in an unspeakable way. Gorgas decides that there's no sense in crying over spilt milk and confronts his brother wearing a smile like the one the body of his dead son is wearing.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* Richard Hammond's expression of glee on ''TopGear'' gradually morphs into one of these [[spoiler:when the Reliant Robin Space Shuttle's external fuel tank fails to separate and the assemblage plummets to earth in a gigantic fireball.]]

[[folder: Visual Novels]]
* ''[[VisualNovel/FateStayNight Fate/Stay Night]]'' has [[spoiler:Sakura Matou]]. She is not a StepfordSmiler in that she only cares about [[spoiler:preserving her YamatoNadeshiko mask for Shirou rather than her peers in general]], but through a combination of [[LoveMakesYouEvil love]] and [[BreakTheCutie severe abuse]] she eventually [[BewareTheNiceOnes snaps]], learning how to put on that dangerous smile, [[EvilMakeover among other things]].
* In final two routes, ''VisualNovel/{{Tsukihime}}'' 's [[spoiler:Kohaku]] starts to show her broken smile to the protagonist, and plays the StepfordSmiler straighter than the above example.
* ''Franchise/AceAttorney'' 's normally perky (in [[GagBoobs more ways]] [[{{Gainaxing}} than one]]) April May gets this along with a TwitchyEye periodically during the first game's second trial, usually when confronted with a contradiction in her testimony. [[spoiler: Her full breakdown causes her to lose the smile entirely.]]
** In one court section of ''ProfessorLaytonVSAceAttorney'', [[spoiler: Kira]] laughs and smiles maniacal when she starts losing it [[spoiler: knowing that Phoenix keeps getting closer and closer to exposing her murder tricks, aibiet without a concrete evidence.]] [[SuddenlyVoiced Her voice acting]] pins it home how broken she's become.
* ''EfAFairyTaleOfTheTwo'' [[spoiler:has Yuuko in her story with this caused by her traumatic past experiences of being continually raped by her brother figure Akira.]]

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* [[BittersweetCandyBowl Lucy]], along with DissonantLaughter, [[spoiler:when she thinks [[LoveInterest Mike]] died.]]
* PlayedForLaughs in ''Webcomics/NerfNow''; this is the expression the Trainer controlled by [[LetsPlay/TwitchPlaysPokemon the masses of the internet]] wears in ''[[http://www.nerfnow.com/comic/1230 Twitch Plays Pokemon]]''.

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* Joo Dee in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'', a regular old {{brainwashed}} StepfordSmiler, had one of these when Aang and co got off the leash.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' did this, too, with Tahno. Normally a textbook SmugSnake, [[BigBad Amon]] [[{{Depower}} takes away his bending]], putting him into a massive [[VillainousBSOD [=BSOD=]]]. When he meets up with Korra again, he puts on a BrokenSmile and, rather meekly, says "[[CallBack See you around, Avatar]]."
* This is pretty much constantly the expression of Billy's Mom of ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy''. The few times she doesn't have it is when she either goes stark raving, or when there isn't any other character in the room to drive her mad.
* Marianne Smith of ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls''. Her smile broke when the girls ruined her neighborly dinner, and when her husband got out of jail (for threatening to [[CutHisHeartOutWithASpoon blow-dry the professor to death,]] ), she had created a whole supervillain family, kids included.
* [[WesternAnimation/RenAndStimpy Ren]] ends up with this smile as the Happy Helmet takes hold...
* Wilt off ''WesternAnimation/FostersHomeForImaginaryFriends'' is almost always smiling, but if he gets pushed too far, it becomes a broken smile, complete with TwitchyEye.
* [[WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy Eddy]] wore this when [[spoiler:he was savagely beaten up by his own brother in front of everybody else]] in the movie.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' has at least two of these. First up is Pinkie's smile at her tea party of one, complete with eyes drifting in opposite directions and with shrinking pupils. In "Lesson Zero", Twilight goes equally crazy, with increasingly shorter periods of time between each new, insane smile.
* WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants gets one after a {{jerkass}} customer--which he and Squidward had spent ''the entire episode'' trying to get to--refused to accept his order [[FelonyMisdemeanor because they forgot his drink]].
** Even worse, they didn't forget his drink because he didn't order it. [[InsaneTrollLogic He insisted that they should have brought him a drink he didn't order because he would need something to wash his pizza down with.]]