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[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/{{Minus}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/trueartisangsty_4507.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[DarkAndTroubledPast "The butterfly had an abortion as a teenager."]]\\
"Exquisite."]]

->''"It isn't gloomy, it's profound."''
-->-- '''Henrik''', ''ALittleNightMusic''

The experts have spoken! Only the grimmest of {{traged|y}}ies can effectively [[ContemplateOurNavels explore]] the [[WeAreAsMayflies fragility of]] [[HumansAreFlawed human life]], the crushing agony of {{love|Hurts}} and regret, and other life-defining themes, such as [[MommyIssues why mommy never really loved you]] and the [[TooHappyToLive ultimate futility of happiness]]. Anything with an unambiguously HappyEnding is a piece of cheap boring commercial tripe or even [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical propaganda]].

Naturally, [[BlackAndGreyMorality nobody's really]] [[GrayAndGreyMorality the good guy]] in these stories. If there is a [[AudienceSurrogate sympathetic viewpoint character]], don't expect their suffering to be the prelude to a [[EarnYourHappyEnding ultimate triumph.]] No, they've got to be [[BreakTheCutie traumatized for life]], or even [[KillTheCutie killed off]], along with [[KillEmAll their friends.]] Heck, if there is a bad guy, why not [[TheBadGuyWins let 'em win]] and get away with it [[KarmaHoudini scot-free]] while we're at it? That ought to drive home [[{{Anvilicious}} the message]] that [[CrapsackWorld life is suffering]].

Related to ComedyGhetto, OscarBait, MaturityIsSeriousBusiness, DeathByNewberyMedal, SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids, CreatorBreakdown and CreatorRecovery.

Contrast AngstAversion, DarknessInducedAudienceApathy, and SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers.

!!Note: InUniverseExamplesOnly, please.
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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Octave}}'': Setsuko gains some praise for a song she composed during a rough patch of her relationship with Yukino.
* ''Manga/{{Translucent}}'': The philosophy of Shizuka's idol, the visiting stage actress. She sees Shizuka practicing outside by herself, and figures out that the drama advisor must have asked her to hide because of her translucent syndrome acting up. The end of the chapter is the actress talking during an interview where she says she feels angst is important for a developing actress.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Book]]
* ''Comicbook/ArneAnka'': Arne seems to belive this, with most of his work being either incredibly confusing, or dark and depressing.
* ''ComicBook/{{Bamse}}'': Usually, Brum's artwork is pretty cheery, but the trope was invoked in the story where he went through a "dark" period due to a rejection from a girl he liked and was promptly "discovered" as an artist.
* In the final issue of ''ComicBook/FlexMentallo'', the Hoaxer invokes this trope while discussing the nature of comics. He mentions how it's usually the darkest, most depressing books that win the most acclaim, but goes on to argue that the desire to have everything be as bleak and DarkerAndEdgier as possible is just as juvenile as an insistence on constant happy endings.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/FunkyWinkerbean'': The parents who don't like the drama class performing the play ''Wit'' because "School plays are for fun and relaxation, not art."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* In ''Film/TheLifeOfEmileZola'', Zola insists on writing about all the injustices and social ills of French society. When the publisher that Zola works for suggests that Zola write about safer topics Zola reacts with contempt, and the publisher fires him.
* ''Film/MoulinRouge'': How people react to Toulouse-Lautrec's art.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie''. Wyldstyle claims that Batman is a 'true artist' because he's dark and brooding. In addition, his song is pretty much entirely about darkness and having no parents.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Literature]]
* ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'': Balph Eubank is a major proponent of the idea.
* ''Literature/SpesPhthisica'': Helen's art only becomes popular when the dead landscapes of her dreams start entering into it
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheCrazyOnes'': Invoked by Simon in "Sydney, Australia" while he is trying to get Danny Chase, Sydney's stalker-ish former co-worker[[note]]who's subsequently slapped with a restraining order preventing him from getting withing 50 yards of Sydney until 2015[[/note]] (played by Josh Groban), to sell him the rights to the saccharine love song he'd written. Simon succeeds by pointing out that the material written after Sydney broke the co-worker's heart is much better than the song he's trying to buy.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In "Vincent and The Doctor", Dr Black -- Bill Nighy's character -- who is an art expert, explains in Van Gogh's presence how the latter managed to "transform the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty" and "use [his] passion and pain to portray the joy and ecstasy and magnificence of our world". And this is why he is the greatest artist who ever lived.
* ''Series/DropTheDeadDonkey'': Joy's doodles of hideous fates for her superiors are lauded as high art.
* ''Series/TheJoyOfPainting'': Invoked only to be {{defied}} by Ross, who said, "We want happy paintings. Happy paintings. If you want sad things, watch the news."
* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'': Andy thinks the opposite is true.
-->'''Andy''': 'Cause [[NeutralMilkHotel your music]] is sad, and depressing, and weird, and art...is supposed to happy, and fun, and everyone knows that.
* ''Series/SixFeetUnder'': Played straight with everyone but Claire. Claire attains some moderate artistic success with a more upbeat portfolio, but keeps trying to pitch her own work, which is all gloomy shots of gravestones. No one is interested.
* Brian from ''Series/{{Spaced}}'' can only paint when he's unhappy. When he starts dating Twist and becomes very happy, he can't paint anymore, until someone tells him that his uncle died.
* {{Lampshaded}} in the penultimate episode of ''ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'', where the guys discuss giving the show a DarkerAndEdgier KillEmAll finale for the sake of winning acclaim and awards. They specifically cite the similar bleak ending to the final series of ''{{Blackadder}}''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* Satirized in the song ''Miserablism'' by Music/PetShopBoys. TheOtherWiki article suggests that it was aimed at Music/{{Morrissey}}, formerly of Music/TheSmiths.
-->Deny that happiness
-->is open as an option
-->...
-->No happy endings
-->but a message to depress
-->...
-->Just for the sake of it
-->make sure you're always frowning
-->(Angst! Angst! Angst!)
-->It shows the world
-->that you've got substance and depth
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MacGuffinsCurse'': Played for laughs. The Mayor's office is full of abstract paintings, and Lucas is generally unimpressed.
-->'''Lucas:''' "This one's called 'PAIN BEAUTIFUL PAIN' but it's just a bunch of squares. The corners could be sharp, I guess?"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Creator/GenUrobuchi is definitely on the side of those who consider happy stories to be unrealistic, to the point where he has actually suggested that Lighter and Softer stories, by definition, ''contradict the laws of nature'' and are therefore difficult to write and impossible to believe.
-->"I have nothing but contempt for the deceitful thing men call 'happiness', and find myself with no choice but to push my characters, whom I pour my heart and soul out to create, into the abyss of tragedy."
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomic]]
* ''Webcomic/AvasDemon'': Tuls Tenebrose liked a girl named Ranunculae, but then he died before he [[CannotSpitItOut Could Spit It Out.]]He now spends his days in Maggie's DreamWorld, painting portraits of Ranunculae to the point of bordering on a RoomFullOfCrazy.
* ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt'': Kurt "Geisha" Striaeta figured out that not only was it easier to just kidnap, rape, and petrify his victims in order to make his sculptures, it also got him better reviews from the critics too.
* ''Webcomic/TheBirdFeeder'': [[http://thebirdfeeder.com/?p=46753 To sing like Lewis, your soul must be filled with terrible sorrow.]]
* ''Webcomic/PennyAndAggie'': In-universe, Aggie's rigid adherence to this attitude helps her to produce florid poetry and abysmal videos, and blinds her to the fact that she's quite good at drawing.
* ''Webcomic/TrueBelievers'': Joe Quesadilla claims this as his reason ''Spider-Man'' would sell better if Spidey weren't HappilyMarried.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebOriginal/AirHeads'': Claudia Malave's mother states that even as a young child, Claudia would’ve rather “drawn a witch under the moonlight than a princess.”
* During a review of ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
->''As usual there's plenty of angst and gloom:''
-->--'''Strega''', ''TelevisionWithoutPity''
* ''WebVideo/CommentaryTheMusical'': Parodied, of course. (With SelfDeprecation, as Creator/JossWhedon known for putting his characters through the wringer.)
-->'''Creator/NeilPatrickHarris''': An Internet musical is a wacky idea that's zany! Where did it come from?
-->'''JossWhedon''': It came from pain.
* ''WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesofHistory'': Bob accuses Picasso of this and specifically mentions his "Blue Period". This contrasts his own belief that paintings can be happy and loving.
* ''WebVideo/ExtraCredits'': Discussed in the episode [[http://extra-credits.net/episodes/hard-boiled/ "Hard Boiled,"]] where they show that just because ''VideoGame/MaxPayne 3'' is DarkerAndEdgier than its previous entries in its series, doesn't inherently make it more artistic.
* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'': While there's plenty of comedic and uplifting movies he likes, he has a tendency to praise darker (when it's done well and has a point), depressing stuff more.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'': "Legends of the Dark Mite!" takes a hilarious swipe at viewers who complain about the LighterAndSofter feel of the series.
-->'''Fanboy dressed as Batman''': I always felt Batman was best suited in the role of gritty urban crime detective? But now you guys have him up against Santas? And Easter Bunnies? I'm sorry, but that's not my Batman! \\
'''The Creators''': ''[whispering among themselves, eventually handing a note to Bat-Mite]'' Here, read this. \\
'''Bat-Mite''': Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a [[LighterAndSofter lighter incarnation]], but it's certainly no less valid and true to the [[Franchise/{{Batman}} character's roots]] as [[TrueArtIsAngsty the tortured avenger crying out for Mommy and Daddy]]. ''[makes the paper disappear]'' And besides, those Easter Bunnies looked [[WesternAnimation/WatershipDown really scary]], right?! \\
'''Creator/BruceTimm (dressed as [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries Mark Hamill's Joker]])''': Meh.
* ''WesternAnimation/WhatsOperaDoc'': Invoked by Bugs at the {{Punchline}}:
-->"Well what did ya expect in an opera -- [[TrueArtIsAngsty a]] ''[[TrueArtIsAngsty happy]]'' [[TrueArtIsAngsty ending]]?"
* Mocked by ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddparents'', at the end of the episode "Action Packed", when a French kid is given back his fairy godfather: "Now my heart is happy... but my art... will suffer from it...".
[[/folder]]
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