[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/{{Fanboys}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/cerebussyndrome350px_1436.jpg]]]]
->''"What's the word for when something that started out being funny ends up depressing the hell out of you? Insert that word here."''
--> -- '''Jenny Lawson''', ''Let's Pretend This Never Happened''
%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

A ToneShift towards {{Dramedy}} over the course of a comedy series' run, named for the process undergone by the print comic ''ComicBook/CerebusTheAardvark''.[[note]]It should not be confused with [[IssueDrift the slide from drama to]] AuthorTract which happened much later in the same comic's run, due to CreatorBreakdown.[[/note]] It's any story/series which starts out light, episodic, and comedic, and then assumes dramatic elements and a more coherent [[ContinuityCreep continuity]]. It chiefly occurs in works where parts have been broadcast/published before other parts have been written, as that means the older parts can't be revised into conformity.

Often seen in media where artists are expected to write a few short stories first to see how the public will react, and then start writing longer and more serious story arcs once the magazine/tv channel/company gives the go-ahead. It can also be intentional, with the lighter mood at the beginning allowing readers to meet and become attached to the characters before the story arcs with the dramatic elements begin.

Many newspaper comics undergo the [[ReverseCerebusSyndrome opposite process]] as a cartoonist puts some fairly serious storylines the first few years but then lapses into recycled gags.

This condition also has a temporary version. After a while, many shows will begin to get enough respect to be considered for awards, and will create a specific episode for this. Since there's a ComedyGhetto in effect, an episode of a show made as Emmy Bait will have fewer laughs and will usually tackle a more intense theme. When watching a show on DVD or in syndication, these episodes can stand out.

If the series has previously been fueled by [[WorldOfWeirdness high weirdness]], then the transition can be rocky. Some comics tie themselves in painful knots trying to {{Retcon}} an accumulated pile of weirdness with invented physics. Others [[DoingInTheWizard sweep the stranger things under the rug]] and try to [[ShooOutTheClowns present a more respectable face]]. More often, the weird is left in place, but [[CerebusRetcon retrofitted]] into a more dramatic role. In a good case, the combination of drama and high weird can be invigorating. In a less successful case, it can be excruciating.

An instance of MoodWhiplash. When this entire process happens in a single moment, it's a GutPunch. If the change is only temporary, it's AVerySpecialEpisode. A SuddenDownerEnding incorporates this by default, as downer endings are rarely [[DudeNotFunny seen as humorous]].

May be a case of GrowingTheBeard if it actually works. Otherwise, fans may respond with TheyChangedItNowItSucks.

Compare to ShooOutTheClowns, where the PluckyComicRelief is written out of the show (or possibly killed off) to show that things have become serious. See BigDamnMovie for when this applies to TheMovie of an otherwise episodic series. When this happens to actors in RealLife, it's known as TomHanksSyndrome. Compare and contrast DenserAndWackier and LeslieNielsenSyndrome.

This process may also involve GoingCosmic, with the work beginning to incorporate highly philosophical and theological themes.

Please note that this doesn't automatically mean DarkerAndEdgier, though it often does. It's Cer'''eb'''us, [[RougeAnglesOfSatin not]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cerberus Cerberus]]; [[IThoughtItMeant not that]] [[EverybodyHatesHades the latter's reputation]] helps any.[[note]]Nor the fact that the latter is OlderThanFeudalism whereas the former is Newer Than Nintendo.[[/note]] It is entirely possible for a work to get more serious, but still keep its lighthearted tone. Likewise, a work can get DarkerAndEdgier, but still be just as zany.[[note]]Usually, when this happens, it gets darker in a BlackComedy sort of way.[[/note]]

!!Sub Tropes:
* CerebusRetcon: A retcon turns a joke in an earlier episode into something with much more serious and often grim implications, something like an intentionally created FunnyAneurysmMoment.
* CerebusRollercoaster: A work [[ZigzaggedTrope constantly switches]] between Comedy, Dramedy, and Drama.
* KnightOfCerebus: The shift coincides with the appearance of a new (or [[NotSoHarmless reimagined]]) villain.
* ReverseCerebusSyndrome: A work that is dark and serial becomes lighter and episodic.
* SuddenDownerEnding: A work is entirely comedic up until its [[MoodWhiplash final episode/chapter.]]


%% Examples have to involve a shift from comedy to dramedy. Please don't add non-examples
%% where the only change was a stronger continuity. You may want ContinuityCreep.

* CerebusSyndrome/AnimeAndManga
* CerebusSyndrome/ComicBooks
* CerebusSyndrome/{{Fanfic}}
* CerebusSyndrome/{{Film}}
* CerebusSyndrome/{{Literature}}
* CerebusSyndrome/LiveActionTV
* CerebusSyndrome/{{Music}}
* CerebusSyndrome/{{Other}}
* CerebusSyndrome/PrintMedia
* CerebusSyndrome/VideoGames
* CerebusSyndrome/WebComics
* CerebusSyndrome/WebOriginal
* CerebusSyndrome/WesternAnimation