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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 propaganda.

Naturally, [[BlackAndGreyMorality nobody's really 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 and SillyRabbitIdealismIsForKids.

Contrast AngstAversion, DarknessInducedAudienceApathy, and SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* All 1970's shojo, like ''Manga/KazeToKiNoUta''. Extra points for being an ''award-winning'' manga.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', with a bit of TrueArtIsIncomprehensible as well.
** To illustrate this perfectly, the main reason the ending of the manga is so controversial is that it subverts ''EndOfEvangelion'' and [[spoiler: gives the story a HappyEnding]].
** RebuildOfEvangelion 3.0 loves this. The film's supporters point to the focus on Shinji's perspective and attempts to understand this new world in which everybody hates him and every choice turns out to be the wrong one. Its detractors point to pretty much the same stuff.
* YoshiyukiTomino appears to be in love with this trope as part of his KillEmAll tendencies. ''Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam'', ''Anime/MobileSuitVictoryGundam'', ''SpaceRunawayIdeon'', ''AuraBattlerDunbine'', and ''TheWingsOfRean'' all feature events that can only be explained via this trope.
** While YoshiyukiTomino is the man whom is named "KillEmAll Tomino" for good reason, Tomino's idea of art being angsty is sometimes more about trying to show the beauty of humanity in spite of the blood and carnage. Case in point, Tomino surprisingly gave [[{{Ideon}} Be Invoked]] a somewhat optimistic epilogue as the now deceased spirits of the cast prepare to celebrate the rebirth of the universe. Dunbine's message was one of enviromentalism as the Aura Machines were dangerous EmotionEater mecha in their hyper state and they had to make sure every last Aura Machine was destroyed to prevent the same cycle happening to Earth. Likewise, ''[[Anime/MobileSuitGundamZZ Gundam ZZ]]'' and ''Anime/TurnAGundam'' had more or less happy endings, and the ''[[Anime/MobileSuitZetaGundam Zeta Gundam]]'' compilation movies have an alternate BittersweetEnding, instead of the {{Downer|Ending}} one of the original series. Even taking the ending to ''Zeta'' into account, Kamille got better by the end of ''Double Zeta''.
* StudioGhibli almost always consistently proves this trope to be false. There ''is'' angst present, but not by much. Key word: ''almost''. ''Anime/GraveOfTheFireflies'', a Ghibli work, is easily the most depressing Ghibli films ever made.
* MohiroKitoh of ''{{Bokurano}}'' and ''{{Narutaru}}'' fame bathes in this trope and then some.
* A prevalent part of the works of Creator/{{CLAMP}} is the angst. Their still unfinished series ''[[{{X1999}} X]]'' is particularly known for this, and every single other series they've written. Even the adorably sparkly shoujo ones, like Anime/CardcaptorSakura, have some form of soul-wrenching angst in them to some degree.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' is also stuffed with [[TheWoobie Woobies]], {{Fallen Hero}}s, a TraumaCongaLine, BreakTheCutie, and {{Tear Jerker}}s, with one or two StarCrossedLovers thrown in for good measure. And it comes complete with a BittersweetEnding!
* ''{{Mai-HiME}}'' is, oddly, bashed for this trope. Not because it avoids angst (it doesn't, by a long shot), but because the end of series enables [[spoiler:Mashiro to press the ResetButton and restore all the [=HiME=] harmed by the Festival]]. Fan reaction was apparently intensely negative because they saw this as betraying the emotional intensity of rest of the series.
* ''Manga/{{Saikano}}'' is a one giant angst parade.
* One complaint lodged against ''OvermanKingGainer'' was that characters didn't angst enough. The trouble with this is that the anime itself shows that angsting is nothing more than closing yourself off from people.
* Invoked by Drosselmeyer in ''Anime/PrincessTutu''. By his standards, you can't call any story decent [[ShootTheShaggyDog unless everyone dies tragically and entirely in vain by the end]]. [[RageAgainstTheAuthor His characters beg to differ.]]
* ''VisualNovel/{{Clannad}}''. [[BrokenBase Some people]] complain that hitting the reset button and making it a happy ending [[BrokenAesop ruined the message]] of "accepting your losses and making the best of what you have" (basically that Tomoya learned to come to terms with [[spoiler: Nagisa's death]] and decides that being there for their daughter is what he should be doing). Others feel that they were cheated out of their tears only to have it become a happy ending.
* ''Anime/FafnerInTheAzureDeadAggressor'' was basically ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'' and then makes it ultra angsty, anybody can and will die, those who die do not have a pleasant death (A HeroicSacrifice winds up being treated like a pariah to name one). And the Prequel OVA... oh boy, what a depressing tale of DoomedByCanon.
* ''AshitaNoJoe'' has this and True Art Sticks It To The Man as the ShootTheShaggyDog ending [[spoiler:where Joe goes down fighting]].
* The ''RoninWarriors'' third OVA, ''Message''.
* The ''Franchise/WhenTheyCry'' series, the [[Anime/FullmetalAlchemist 2003 anime version]] of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', and ''Manga/ElfenLied'' are all considered modern-day classics. They're good on their own, but this possibly plays a role.
* ''BarefootGen''. Thumbs up for it being based on a real story, and biographical at that.
* UrobuchiGen is all about angsty sad stories. He is also definitely on the side of those who consider happy stories to be unrealistic, to the point where he has suggested that LighterAndSofter 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."
** Even then he is merely poking at the threads of angst and tragedy, despite ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' being an extremely dark MahouShoujo series. It is Gen's way of trying to redo his other most famous work FateZero in his own image-- a tale about how in order to have true absolute hope, there would also have to despair that is equal to it.
*** Judging from his newest work, ''SuiseiNoGargantia'' which he's says in interviews was created to inspire hope, he '''may''' be getting over this...
*** ...ah, who are we kidding? [[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion Of course not!]] (Funnily enough, he actually ''wanted'' to write a happy ending for Rebellion, but [[MisBlamed the director wouldn't let him, and accidentally gave Urobuchi the inspiration]] for its MindScrew GainaxEnding.)
*** Everyone's sitting here with bated breath to see how far he'll go with ''Series/KamenRiderGaim''. On one hand, he's happy to write a Kamen Rider series. On the other, having seen what he's done, people are wondering how far he'll go.
* ''Anime/{{Monster}}'' is as steeped in {{Utsuge}} as it is defended as art.
* The manga version of ''SuicideClub'' represents this well.
* Many anime fans [[{{Hatedom}} lament the perceived overabundance]] of {{Moe}}-centered and/or [[LighterAndSofter light and fluffy]] and [[SweetDreamsFuel happy]] shows, like KOn (to which innumerable anime have been unfavorably compared). Some even [[{{Irony}} get angsty and depressed about the situation]]. These people tend to like Gundam; see above.
* Three more artsy series with incredibly bleak settings: {{Gilgamesh}}, {{Texhnolyze}} and CasshernSins. [[spoiler: The first two end in {{Downer Ending}}s, though the third at least ends on an (extremely) [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet]] note.]]
* The most tragic and depressing of MakotoShinkai's movies by far, ''Anime/FiveCentimetersPerSecond'' (laden with [[spoiler:self-inflicted DidNotGetTheGirl and UnresolvedSexualTension that remains unresolved for the whole story]]), is also by far the most popular and critically lauded one: [[http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/encyclopedia/anime.php?id=6696 nearly half of ANN users gave it the highest possible rating]], which isn't even close to true for any of his less sad (though still pretty sad) movies.
* Much of the praise for ''Manga/AttackOnTitan'' focuses on its [[AnyoneCanDie violent]] [[DiabolusExMachina mercilessness]] towards its characters, as if these were [[TropesAreNotGood what make it good.]]
* This trope is probably one of the reasons why ''Manga/AkuNoHana''--which has ''tons'' of {{angst}}, abuse, DrivenToSuicide, and so on--is [[CriticalDissonance more popular with critics]] than the general public [[BrokenBase (especially the anime)]].
* ''Anime/JewelpetTwinkle'', the second season of ''Franchise/{{Jewelpet}}'', is so far the angstiest season the anime has produced, and it is decidedly the most well-known one. The heroine is one of the most insecure magical girls ever, there's a broken up family seperated by dimensions, the main villain is a not particularly evil woobie whose magic is [[CastFromHitPoints taxing]] and [[DysfunctionJunction every human character has family issues of some sort]].
* ''Anime/WolfsRain'' is absolutely adored by critics and fans alike, in no small part because it's extremely angsty and depressing [[spoiler:and everyone dies in the end.]]

* ''{{ComicBook/Watchmen}}''. A dark, cynical ColdWar drama dealing with some the inherent flaws of leadership. All of the main characters are flawed, and only one has true superpowers. It is a {{deconstruction}} of the {{superhero}} genre, and often cited as one of the first instances of comic books growing up. It received unanimous praise from critics both inside and outside of the comics industry. It was the only graphic novel to be included in ''Time'' magazine's 100 Best Novels list. [[spoiler: Not only do our heroes arrive [[YouAreTooLate too late to stop the "villain's" plans]], but most of the main characters in the end agree with the "villain", including the [[PhysicalGod godlike]] Dr. Manhattan. It's the "villain" of the novel who ends up "saving" the world. This however countered by ''Tales of the Black Freighter'', [[ShowWithinAShow a comic within the comic]] where the protagonist commits a deepening series of atrocities to save his family and hometown from the titular ship. By the time he reaches home, he's well down the road to madness and almost beats his wife to death by mistake. He runs out of town, realizing the freighter was never headed to the town where his family lived, and the only person the ship wanted was himself.]]
* Sortly before ''Watchmen'', FrankMiller rebooted {{Franchise/Batman}} back toward his Golden Age DarkerAndEdgier form again with ''ComicBook/TheDarkKnightReturns''. It and ''Watchmen'' spawned [[TheDarkAgeOfComicBooks a host of reimaginings over the next decade]] of nearly every comic book character into similarly self-doubting, misanthropic protagonists set in a BlackAndGreyMorality. (Even ''ArchieComics''!) By the late-90's, darkness apathy set in, sales plunged, and some heroes that had no business being so dark were retooled again away from this trope. Despite this, you'll still find critics praising gritty comics for being gritty and calling everything else escapism.
* The ''{{Franchise/Batman}}'' comic ''Fortunate Son'' seems to espouse this attitude as a rock musician complains that his music isn't "real" because he came from a normal household and had a normal upbringing, compared to an Elvis {{Expy}} who grew up in a shack and "knew real pain". [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] mocks the attitude as moronic and unrealistic.
* Discussed in ''ComicBook/FlexMentallo''. The villain of the story states that happy endings are for children, but the Hoaxer retorts by saying its just as childish to want everything to be dark for the sake of seeming "realistic" and deep.
** Writer Creator/GrantMorrison also discussed it in the final issue of his ComicBook/AnimalMan run, when the title character ask that he bring his family back to life Morrison refuses due to this trope, although ultimately does.
* This is now a Creator/DCComics ''mandate''. According to Creator/DanDiDio, superheroes can't have normal lives, that they must be 100% committed to their heroic work and that anything else is doomed to fail. A ''very'' good example of this is ''ComicBook/{{Batgirl2011}}'': in the span of 25 issues, Batgirl has: had her returned mother mutilated by [[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker the madman who mutilated her]], her psychotic brother attack and seemingly killed by her hand, her father going nuts and organizing a manhunt for her, abandoning her identity, watching her "surrogate family" crumble apart, her surrogate brother killed and her boyfriend in a coma (though he wakes up an issue later). This is on top of the fact that Batgirl ''just cannot win at all''.
** This explains why the first [[Franchise/GreenLantern Lantern Corps]] to be decimated to such a degree as to be effectively wiped out was the one powered by Hope.
** Nightwing in particular seems to be a target of [=DiDio's=] wrath, with the character getting, in order: Betrayed by his love interest and having his circus destroyed, having it destroyed again by the Joker, being responsible for a super villain causing chaos in Chicago, losing his adopted brother, and having his [[spoiler: SecretIdentity revealed to the world]]. The character is the nicest guy in the DC universe, so of course, he must be broken down ''ComicBook/DaredevilBornAgain''-style.

* ''Film/BruceAlmighty'': Deleted scenes showed that God was trying to invoke this with a bullied school child. The child would use the torment he received as a child to become the next great writer. When Bruce became God, he granted his prayer of athleticism, which turned into a bully, which would lead his life to a dead end as a fast food joint manager.
* ''Film/TheDarkKnight'': A noble, heroic man is twisted via DeusAngstMachina into a psychotic murderer, while the [[SelfDemonstrating/TheJoker villain]] who's responsible for it tries to systematically prove that all morality is a joke; though he doesn't entirely succeed, his efforts still lead to an extremely BittersweetEnding (Batman [[spoiler: saves the day...the cost being that damn near all of Gotham HATES him now]]). The critical praise for the bleakest live-action ''Batman'' movie yet, though, was near-unanimous, garnering it eight Oscar nominations and two wins.
** The film's actual Aesop, that people ''can'' be principled and noble (which is precisely what the Joker wants to disprove), is idealistic and heartwarming. Sure, the movie itself was dark, but it had an uplifting message.
** Part of it also has to do with the stigma against comic books and superhero narratives in general. A lot of the positive reviews for ''The Dark Knight'' referred to it along the lines of "a superhero film for adults" or "a crime drama that just happens to have a masked protagonist."
*** While we're on the topic, ''Batman: The Movie'' (the {{camp}}y 1966 ''Film/BatmanTheMovie'' starring Creator/AdamWest) is often treated as inferior to the later ''Batman'' movies because it is not sufficiently dark and gritty.
* The spectacular failure of ''Film/SpeedRacer'' was blamed on the film being "too campy" and colorful. WB decided that in light of the film's failure and the massive success of ''The Dark Knight'', the LighterAndSofter ''{{Shazam}}'' film that was in the works at the time was no longer worth making. Though it never got off the ground, WB intended to do a DarkerAndEdgier ''Shazam'' movie more in line with the popular, darker superhero films being put out.
* It looks like producers and creators of the ''Film/SpiderManTrilogy'' think that way. Movies are full of angst, especially if you compare them with comics (though, starting in the mid-80s, more angst was added into the Spider-Man comics, most of them are now deep in DorkAge). Spider-Man doesn't even make his trademark wisecracks in the movies.
** Creator/BrianMichaelBendis, writer of ''Comicbook/UltimateSpiderMan'' and ''Comicbook/NewAvengers'' tells an anecdote about how he and Creator/StanLee were asked to write some lines for first movie. He agreed and was wondering why Stan didn't. He found out when he wrote a few jokes about Green Goblin's costume and one of the producers looked at him like he should be burned alive at the stake. None of his lines were made into the movie, of course.
** Ironically, the ''director'', Sam Raimi, may be one of the few involved to '''not''' hold this view, as he is fond of adding a lot of comic relief in the movies (Bruce Campbell, anyone?) In fact, [[UnpleasableFanbase many criticized him]] for not making ''Spider-Man 3'' (the film with the black costume) dark and serious ''enough''.
** Then again, the Spider-Man movies do have so moments that are pretty goofy if you think about it (Doctor Octopus' tentacles talking to him in the second one, the over-the-top evil voice of the Green Goblin in the first one and the part where he sings "itsy-bitsy spider") and these didn't seem to stop critics from liking the first two.
* Subverted with ''Film/TheAmazingSpiderMan2'', however. The movie contains one of the darkest moments in any superhero movie ''ever'', with [[spoiler: Spidey [[ILetGwenStacyDie being unable to save Gwen Stacy]] from falling to her death]], yet is considered the worst Spider-Man movie. One of the major complaints is that the film suffers from complete MoodWhiplash, going from colorful and {{Camp}}y to dark and melodramatic without warning.
* While still talking about the genre of superhero movies: Bruce Banner was more angsty than angry in the 2003 film ''Film/{{Hulk}}''. It was well-received by critics, but its box office records plummeted as audiences shunned it.
* StanLee has publicly stated that he disliked ''Film/{{Daredevil}}'' precisely because of how gritty and devoid of optimism it was.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' was explicitly touted as being DarkerAndEdgier than ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheFirstAvenger'', and was not only better received by critics, but did ''much'' better than its predecessor at the box office as well, with many Marvel fans calling it one of the best (if not ''the'' best) films in the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse. The movie never reaches ''Film/TheDarkKnightSaga'' levels of bleakness, but it does away with the {{Camp}} of the original film in favor of a much more grounded tone and aesthetic and is arguably the darkest film in the MCU.
** The Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse in general gets criticism for ''not'' falling into this by some groups, notably fans of DC's recent live action works such as ''TheDarkKnightTrilogy'', ''Film/ManOfSteel'', and ''Series/{{Arrow}}''. A common sentiment from these groups is basically 'DC is dark realism for adults, Marvel is silly escapism for kids', which is pretty ironic considering how their source material are often known for falling on the opposite side. Of course, it raises the question on if they've even watched these films considering some of the things that happen in the MCU films.
* {{Pixar}} Animation Studios tends to avert this.
** There's the ''[[WesternAnimation/{{WALL-E}} WALL-E]]'' example mentioned down below, some people believe that [[WesternAnimation/ToyStory3 Andy's toys]] [[spoiler:should have died in the incinerator]], there's even a few who think that ''WesternAnimation/{{Up}}'' should have ended with Carl dying of old age. Look, we all want the AnimationAgeGhetto to go away, but we have to set boundaries somewhere.
* ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'' makes a point of having a main character who grapples with angst... then does the right thing, inspires another character to find a hidden reserve of human decency, and gets away with shooting the bad guy. Proponents of TrueArtIsAngsty would have shot all of them, or at ''least'' have forced Blaine to sacrifice his life.
** Rick throws away his one chance at true love, although a critic notes that it's a "flaw" in the ending that he doesn't seem terribly torn up about it.
* ''Film/SinginInTheRain''. ''Film/TheWizardOfOz''. To a lesser degree, even ''Film/LawrenceOfArabia'' averts this trope, in spite of beginning with the protagonist's funeral. And, like ''Casablanca'', all three are on the American Film Institute's top ten list. And while ''Singin' in the Rain'' wasn't nominated for the Best Picture Oscar in its year, unlike the others, that was an issue of Academy politics -- the filmmakers' previous effort, ''An American in Paris'', had been the big winner the previous year.
** The trope is also lampshaded in ''Singin'', when R. F. announces that Monumental Pictures is being retooled for sound:
---->'''Cosmo''': Talking pictures, that means I'm out of a job. At last I can start suffering and write that symphony.\\
'''R.F.''': You're not out of job, we're putting you in as head of our new music department.\\
'''Cosmo''': Oh, thanks, R.F.! At last I can stop suffering and write that symphony.
* ''Film/NoCountryForOldMen''. Really, anything by CormacMcCarthy can be put in here to some extent.
** Subverted by ''Film/TheCounselor'', however. While the film is just as grim as McCarthy's previous works, it received nowhere near the level of good reviews such as ''No Country'' or even ''Literature/TheRoad'' did.
* A common complaint about ''[[WesternAnimation/{{WALL-E}} WALL-E]]'' was that the second half was somehow inferior to the first. This quickly becomes a bit of a misnomer when everyone refers to their favorite scene as either "Define Dancing" or the art history credits, which both occur in the final third of the film. But you see, there is an obvious reason for this hypocritical set of circumstances. These people aren't allowed to admit they liked the second half of the film because it is ... colorful, and it has a -- gasp -- ''happy ending''. Pixar just didn't keep up the angst level enough for the TrueArtIsAngsty crowd.
** There have also been complaints specifically about the ending. [[spoiler: Some people think WALL-E should've lost his memory for good, which would of course subvert the entire message of the film.]]
* Subverted when Creator/AgathaChristie revised the ending to ''Literature/AndThenThereWereNone'' so that [[spoiler:not everybody dies in the end]]. This was subsequently used for all film adaptations, except one. Played ''very'' straight when modern fans of the book tend not to be at all impressed.
* Many of the professional critical reviews for the latter ''Film/HarryPotter'' films praise them for being "{{Darker|AndEdgier}}" as though this were an automatic virtue. RogerEbert is a notable holdout, rating the earlier films higher and [[http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20090722/COMMENTARY/907229997 questioning this view]]. Aside from him, very few critics seem to be able to wrap their minds around the idea that just maybe the early installments were light-hearted children's adventures for any reason beyond making lots of money. What's that, you say? It's ''supposed'' to [[CerebusSyndrome get darker as it goes along]]? No way! It should have been grim and mature from the start! The early ones only weren't because they were directed by that hack Creator/ChrisColumbus. How dare he make kids' films which appeal to kids! He should have skipped that whole wondrous new world thing and divided straight into the deep, meaningful angst! The quality of the earlier movies versus the latter ones is a legitimate issue [[BrokenBase which has divided fans]], but it's a lot more complicated than the critics are willing to make it.
** Having four directors, three during the development and introduction of the magical world to the characters and audience, making for inconsistent art direction and narrative, haven't helped.
* Subverted with ''Film/AllThatJazz'', in which the main character Joe Gideon suffers a deteriorating heart throughout the movie due to his lifestyle. In the end, [[spoiler:his heart finally gives out, and the film ends with Gideon's DyingDream in the form of... an upbeat ([[CrowningMusicOfAwesome and kick-ass]]) musical number]].
* InUniverse example: ''Film/StrangerThanFiction''. The story revolves around a [[ShowWithinAShow novel]] written by a critically-acclaimed novelist, which by some [[MagicalRealism unexplained reason]] [[spoiler:directly affects the life an actual character in the film, and will end with his tragic death]]. Upon discovering this, DustinHoffman's character, supposedly a prominent professor of English literature, commented that it is a [[TrueArt masterpiece]]. [[spoiler: But since to finalise the book that way would kill the poor man, the author [[AuthorsSavingThrow changed the ending]], making it a HappyEnding instead]]. The professor's review is now: "It's...[[SoOKItsAverage okay]]."
** Out of universe as well, as some viewers felt the ending would have been stronger if [[spoiler: Harold had actually died.]]
* The Spanish film ''Biutiful'', a film about a man who is separated from his bipolar wife, struggles with raising their two children (particularly their troubled son), makes money off of desperate illegal immigrants in the underworld, and to top it all off, can see the souls of the recently deceased, who are incapable of moving on. Oh yeah, and he has terminal cancer. [[spoiler: And he accidentally kills a warehouse full of illegal workers by buying cut-rate heaters for them.]] Became subverted when some critics and viewers called it out for being ''too'' depressing.
** Not only ''Biutiful'' but also the other movies directed by Alejandro González Iñárritu (Such as ''Babel'' or ''21 Grams '')tend to be incredibly depressing, and most of them were highly praised by the critics.
* [[http://childrenofthenineties.blogspot.com/2009/08/edward-scissorhands.html This post]] on the "Children of the 90s" blog about the film ''Film/EdwardScissorhands'' seems to imply that only dark films can be deep.
-->''"I don't know about you, but I was big into happily ever afters, which doesn't tend to happen a lot if a film is trying to make a statement in the way that Edward Scissorhands was."''
* Many people have criticized ''Film/SchindlersList'', despite its vivid depictions the depravity of the Nazis and the horrors of the death camps, for ending on a triumphant and optimistic tone.
--> Creator/StanleyKubrick: "Think that's about the Holocaust? That was about success, wasn't it? The Holocaust is about 6 million people who get killed. Schindler's List is about 600 who don't."
* Creator/LarsVonTrier was working on treating his depression before making ''{{Film/Melancholia}}'', and it shows. While there is some happiness in the beginning, it is ''very'' short lived, and there's not an ounce of hope afterwards. The main character, Justine, has a major case of depression, and talks about how life is so short, the earth is evil, how we're all alone in the universe. [[spoiler: Though the surviving characters do spend their final moments together, everyone on Earth still dies when the planet hits Earth]].
* Some viewers criticized ''LaPielQueHabito'' for its ending, where [[spoiler: Vicente/Vera [[TheDogBitesBack gets even]] with Ledgard for [[GenderBender having surgically transformed his body into a woman's]] and kills both him and his maid/mother/accomplice, then managing to return home and prove to his mother and friend that despite the physical appearance, it's actually him]] invoking an ending where [[spoiler: Vicente actually becomes Vera psychologically as well]], which is the ending of the book the movie is based on, missing the point of the movie.
* Some people feel that [[spoiler: Jill should've gotten away with it]] in ''Film/{{Scream 4}}''. These people [[CompletelyMissingThePoint didn't understand a thing about the movie]].
* Two of Creator/MartinScorsese's films, ''Film/TaxiDriver'' and ''Film/RagingBull'', are regularly included in lists of the best films of all time, especially the latter. Both of them are among the darkest and bleakest films in Scorsese's ''oeuvre'', if not in cinema in general.
* The Dutch thriller ''Film/TheVanishing'' was released in 1988 and was a surprise international hit, with critics worldwide praising its innovative structure and dark storyline. The film was remade for an American audience five years later, and was greeted with critical derision and outrage. The two films were practically identical (as one might expect, considering they were made by the same director) except that the ending was [[RevisedEnding changed]] from the original's bleak, horrific DownerEnding to a much happier, upbeat one. Many critics (including RogerEbert) wrote that this not only made no sense in the context of the film, but was also a massive [[ViewersAreMorons insult]] to the American audience the remake was aimed at.
* ''Film/{{Platoon}}'' is arguably one of the most angsty and depressing films about UsefulNotes/TheVietnamWar, edged out just barely by ''Film/ApocalypseNow''.
* Inverted by ''Film/ManOfSteel'' in a complete reversal of the attitude shown to most superhero films above. One cause of the division over the movie is how much darker and angstier they made the film in comparison to all other Superman adaptations. Detractors say that the increased darkness was just an attempt to appeal to the Batman crowd and/or that the atmosphere doesn't gel with Franchise/{{Superman}} at all.
* ''Franchise/StarWars'' examples:
** ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' features a major defeat from the Rebellion, focus on Han and Leia's budding romance as well as his capture by Bounty Hunters, Luke being tempted by the Dark Side and leading to one of [[ItWasHisSled the most iconic reveals of cinematic history]], and a DownerEnding above it all... yet it's widely considered to be the best of the original trilogy and a contender for the best ''Star Wars'' film.
** ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' centers on the Clone Wars at their most violent peak; and the FallenHero storyline of Anakin becoming Darth Vader as well as the mass slaughter of the Jedi Order... it's also the only one of the prequels to have a roundly positive critical and audience reception (Rotten Tomatoes places it at 80%).
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie'' with punk-goth Wyldstyle and her boyfriend Batman, who wrote a rather vapid song about darkness and angst entitled ''Untitled Self-Portrait''.

* ''Literature/TheGreatGatsby'' provides both a straight and a meta example of this trope, being that it's a crushing refutation of the AmericanDream, and has been called by many critics "the definitive American novel".
* The first line of Creator/LeoTolstoy's ''Literature/AnnaKarenina'' -- "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." -- says something similar to Whedon's quote, with the observation that conflict equals drama, and that unhappiness tends to breed conflict. Of course, ''Anna Karenina'', like much of Tolstoy's work, is not entirely a happy work itself.
* ''TheColdEquations'' is esteemed as one of the most important science fiction stories ''ever written'', despite the fact that its central dilemma makes very little to no sense from an engineering standpoint and the author's editor basically forced him to make a DownerEnding happen. But since an innocent young woman dies horribly at the end, it's a well-regarded classic.
* Parodied oddly in Creator/CSLewis' ''Literature/ThePilgrimsRegress'': Victoriana's poetry is not particularly angsty, except perhaps in a "the good times are over" nostalgic way. Victoriana, however, ''is'' angsty; she assumes everyone is persecuting her (which therefore makes her a great artist, because all great artists are persecuted) and slaps, then whines at, anyone who isn't effusively complimentary about her work.
* The final chapter of ''Literature/AClockworkOrange'' (the original Anthony Burgess novel) ends with Alex contemplating how he has outgrown the urge to be a delinquent, but he worries that if he has a child in the future, the child will be like he was at that age. Burgess' American publisher insisted the final chapter be left out, because the book would be better if ended "on a note of bleak despair".
** This is why the film adaptation ends on a decidedly bleak note, as Kubrick was basing his screenplay on the American edition. Even when the existence of the British ending was brought to Kubrick's attention, he disregarded it, as he preferred the "tougher" American ending.
* Some fans of DarkerAndEdgier HighFantasy series like ''ASongOfIceAndFire'' and ''TheMalazanBookOfTheFallen'' will use some form of this argument to lambaste ''TheLordOfTheRings.'' Richard K. Morgan marketed ''The Steel Remains'' in this exact way.
* Though the works of JRRTolkien aren't exactly all bunnies and butterflies either. The whole TheLordOfTheRings series has an uplifting ending, but that doesn't change the fact victory came at great cost and ultimately the regression from a nobler, more mythical age into a more mundane world was irreversible, and Arwen's final destiny arguably counts as a DownerEnding. TheSilmarillion is worse in that regard, where the protagonist factions actually are slowly losing the war against the BigBad with all their heroes and kings dying like flies, and ultimately need the help of the gods of the setting to bring him down (and turn the world upside down in the process). The story of TheChildrenOfHurin, finally, is a tragedy of the bleakest kind.
* This idea seems to be the basis for ''ASeriesOfUnfortunateEvents'', though in this case it's played for laughs.
* ''ParadiseLost'' manages an upbeat ending, and it ends with Adam and Eve being expelled from Eden! Of course, a lot of people consider the first third, crammed with Satan angst, to be the best part.
** This may vary a bit depending on who you are rooting for. Satan has some upbeat parts, and genuinely seeks to find happiness and purpose without the grace of God, but in the end he is shown failing miserably -- for those who identify with him, it's a bleak ending indeed. Meanwhile Adam and Eve are so shallow characters that it's much harder to appreciate their hopeful ending.
* Played straight by Creator/AlanDeanFoster (even as he subverts MostWritersAreHuman), each time his pre-Amalgamation [[HumanxCommonwealth thranx]] poets, Wuuzelansem of ''Nor Crystal Tears'' and Desvendapur of ''Phylogenesis'', seek out contact with the "alien monsters" -- i.e. humans -- because such a disturbing encounter will provide morbid inspiration for their poems. Writing about day-to-day life doesn't do it for either: they want to creep their audiences out, with accounts of freakish soft-skinned mammals. The DownerEnding in one of these two novels suggests the author is subject to TrueArtIsAngsty, too.
* Most recently, all you have to do is look at the various web forums for the ''[[Literature/TheWheelOfTime Wheel of Time]].'' In the wake of the release of ''The Gathering Storm'', you will see a sizable minority who insist the book is now juvenile and childish because [[spoiler:after about five books of spiralling angst by Rand and in the most recent book him turning into an outright ''sociopath'', the end shows him reintegrating his personality and laughing and crying on Dragonmount as he realizes there are things to live for.]] Only pain and angst and darkness are adult, you see.
** Although many object out of the valid view that a series about a youthful ChosenOne breaking under stress and responsibility would have been more interesting than a purely magical personality change.
* ''Literature/LesMiserables''. It's right there in the title but [[spoiler: the ending is ultimately happy and uplifting.]]
* ''Literature/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'', by the same author, is more angsty than Les Mis. At least Les Mis had a BittersweetEnding.
* This trope flies in the face of the fact that [[Literature/DonQuixote the first ever modern novel, believed by many to be the greatest novel]] ''[[Literature/DonQuixote ever written]]'' is essentially a comedy. Although it has a DownerEnding, there's plenty of light-heartedness all over the place.
* ''Literature/TheBellJar'' is about a young woman that attempts suicide; admittedly, it is a bit optimistic in the ending and can actually be comforting to some people.
* The works of Creator/FranzKafka make this work really, really well.
* ''Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh'', the [[OlderThanDirt oldest heroic epic that survives to this day]]. The hero goes through numerous ordeals in a journey to try to achieve something, but ''he fails'', through a really stupid and pointless sequence of events. Finishes with a BittersweetEnding when he realizes that the only way to defeat his own mortality is to make sure that people remember his story after he's gone.
* Gently played with by Creator/AgathaChristie in her ''MissMarple'' novels, in which the title character's nephew Raymond West is a cosmopolitan, ''avant-garde'' novelist with this attitude... only to have dear old Aunt Jane repeatedly show him up by solving brutal murders using insight gained from life in her bucolic small country village.
* Well known Russian and Eastern Europe authors usually wrote rather dark/depressing stories, especially in the field of science fiction.
* ''Parrotfish'' by Ellen Wittlinger, about a F-to-M transgender teen named Grady who transitions during high school, recieves some criticism because it avoids this trope. Grady receives a lot of support from his family, and some reviewers felt that was unrealistic.
* Reviews of the ''Literature/WarriorCats'' series have noted that the large amount of conflict and DysfunctionJunction is what ultimately makes the series deep.
* Creator/JohnSteinbeck qualifies big time. His bibliography, which deals with the [[CrapsackWorld hardships of life]], loneliness, cynicism, and the [[ShootTheShaggyDog pointless and depressing loss of innocence]] has received almost unanimous praise from literary critics around the world. He received both the NobelPrizeInLiterature ''and'' the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his “realistic and imaginative” themes.
* ''[[ThousandOrigamiCranes Sadako And The Thousand Paper Cranes]]'' is a young book about a real life girl named Sadako Sasaki who was a Hiroshima bombing victim and [[{{Determinator}} folds paper cranes up until her death]]. Naturally, this has found itself onto required reading lists partly ''because'' it doesn't feature a happy ending.
* The classic Taiwanese novel, ''Orphan of Asia'', detailing [[spoiler:the protagonist's failing attempts to struggle against the colonial regime in Taiwan and lead a peaceful life before he went completely insane]], fits into this category extremely well.
** Along with GeorgeOrwell and ''Literature/NineteenEightyFour'', who would have experience firsthand the UsefulNotes/SpanishCivilWar. Semi-Biographies are often a good source of angsty literature.
* ''Man's Fate'' is a French novel detailing the Chinese Communists' failed attempt to assassinate Chiang Kai-Shek in Shanghai in 1927, leading to the Shanghai Massacre.
* Many critics consider ''TheAdventuresOfTomSawyer'' to be a dull-ish predecessor to Mark Twain's full display of literary chops in the sequel, ''TheAdventuresOfHuckleberryFinn''. Never mind that ''Tom Sawyer'' is clever, tackles deep characters and themes and has a far tighter plot--''Huckleberry Finn'' has slave angst!
* LiteraryFiction as a genre has been perceived to have taken this stance in modern years with many of the stories (especially the short stories) being horridly depressing. The full-length novels tend to have some uplifting moments and are more likely to have a BittersweetEnding as opposed to an all-out DownerEnding or NoEnding.
* One book in ''Literature/TheFirstLaw'' series has who initially believes this trope but changes their mind. In a LampshadeHanging, this character (a washed up actor) comments toward the end that while he used to think that only tragedies were serious works of merit, he can now see the benefits of a work with a happy ending.
* Creator/ChuckPalahniuk's advice to writers is to write about things that upset them. His own books are largely in keeping with this trope (albeit with plenty of BlackComedy).


[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* JossWhedon is well-known for saying "Happy people make for boring televison." While this assertion is not [[RuleOfDrama without merit]], some fans think he has an unfortunate tendency to go [[{{Wangst}} a bit]] [[DeusAngstMachina too]] [[DiabolusExMachina far]] with it.
* This started happening in the new ''Series/DoctorWho'' sometime around the end of the first season and has gotten worse since. If an episode isn't intended as a comedy romp, it'll probably be plumbing the depths of {{Wangst}}. And even some of the later comedy romps will often have something angsty happen just for good measure. In particular, where the old series had many companions who left the Doctor voluntarily and on good terms, every companion departure in the new series so far has been overpoweringly angsty and often permanently destructive to the character. This goes back to the ExpandedUniverse of novels and audios that launched in TheNineties, after the original show's cancellation, subscribing to this trope -- quite a few new series writers, and ultimately a producer, came from it. In particular, the poor Eighth Doctor's life was one big BreakTheCutie.\\\
It's also perhaps worth noting that the old series of ''Series/DoctorWho'', which was relatively free of angst when compared to its twenty-first century incarnation (and certainly didn't stress the Doctor's [[LastOfHisKind lonely]] [[WhoWantsToLiveForever immortality]], self-hatred and romantic heartaches quite as frequently or enthusiastically as the new series), ran for some twenty-six years without winning a Hugo or BAFTA or any similar kind of award. Then, the new series comes along with a brand-spanking new angsty LastOfHisKind {{backstory}} for the Doctor -- and immediately started being showered with awards.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS29E10Blink "Blink"]], Sally says she likes the sad ambience of the derelict house:
--->'''Kathy:''' What's so good about being sad?\\
'''Sally:''' It's like happy for deep people.
** The above, it perhaps should be noted, is said in a [[HypocriticalHumor rather cheerful tone]], and Sally is in many ways a rather happy-go-lucky and light-hearted character (albeit one in a rather dark episode) [[spoiler: who ultimately gets a happy ending with the man she loves]], thus suggesting a certain amount of irony is in play here. WordOfGod is that this is not Creator/StevenMoffat's own view of life.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E10VincentAndTheDoctor "Vincent and the Doctor"]], this is the view held by the museum's art expert in the episode's [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming extremely heartwarming]] ending, in which Vincent receives a pep talk he would never forget.
--->'''The Doctor:''' I just wondered, [[BlatantLies between you and me]], in about 100 words, where do you think Van Gogh rates in the history of art?\\
'''Art Expert:''' (''flabbergasted'') Well... Um... Big question, but... to me, Van Gogh is the finest painter of them all. Certainly the most popular of the great painters, the most beloved, his command of colour was magnificent. He transformed the [[TheWoobie pain of his tormented life]] into ecstatic beauty. [[{{Wangst}} Pain is easy to portray]] but to ''use'' your passion and pain to portray the ecstasy and joy and magnificence of our world... No-one had ever done it before. Perhaps no-one ever will again. To my mind, that strange wild man of Provence was not only the world's greatest artist, but also one of the greatest men to have ever lived.
* ''KidsInTheHall'''s Bruce [=McCulloch=] enjoys playing the 'tortured artist' in sketches such as "My Art" (dramatically agonizing over his decision to lend his art to an insensitive friend) and "The Art Collector" (selling his Velvet Elvis to an extremely frugal art collector).
* One ''InLivingColor'' sketch has a punk rocker paying a street performer to teach him about TheBlues. The punk makes various assumptions about the blues musician's hard life, which the musician corrects until the punk hands him another wad of cash, at which point he invents tales of being dirt-poor and drug-addicted. At the end, he "informs" the punk that his girlfriend cheated on him with AxlRose, so that the punk can now go make angsty blues songs of his own.
* ''Series/KamenRiderBlack'' had one of the darkest plots of ''Franchise/KamenRider'', needless to say, it was well received. Faiz also had its angsty moments. But what was the most angstiest was perhaps ''Series/KamenRiderRyuki'' where the Evil Riders are not one dimensional lackeys for some big bad but more like horrible humans with a Rider belt serving their own agendas.
** One of the reasons ''MaskedRider'' tanked was because Saban turned it into a fluffy, vapid sitcom. The parent series ''Series/KamenRider'' is fairly dark. Although ''Series/KamenRiderBlackRX'', the show it was adapted from, was comparatively light as far as Kamen Rider went, and one of the lightest and most comedic ''Kamen Rider'' series ever, ''[[Series/KamenRiderDenO Kamen Rider Den-O]]'', is also one of its most enduring and well-liked. As for MaskedRider, it was disliked for ''not being good'' rather than simply not being angsty.
*** ''Black RX'', in fact, is one of the least-liked KR series ever, and it is ''not coincidence'' that there wasn't another full series until 2000. The sitcom elements were very much in the original and were similarly not liked. Throw in Kotaro himself getting in on the comic relief and often coming off as quite OutOfCharacter if you liked him in ''Black.'' You'd think Saban would have seen the writing on the wall instead of doing exactly what ''didn't work.'' Again, though, ''Den-O'' is quite funny and quite popular, so there's a right way to do it and a wrong way.
* On the ''SuperSentai'' side, it seems that the love there is for a series is directly proportional to the darkness. It's also seen in ''PowerRangers'' fandom due to the distate for the [[NeverSayDie censorship]] [[FamilyFriendlyFirearms imposed]] by the networks - what started as a desire to not see good storylines nerfed by the inability to have anything too dark happen has grown into a series only being as good as the number of times we hear "die" as opposed to "destroyed" or "lost," see bullets as opposed to lasers, or have death-death as opposed to DisneyDeath - ''nothing else matters''. More humorous series like ''Series/PowerRangersNinjaStorm'' don't have a chance in hell with the adult fans from day one.
* Brian from ''{{Spaced}}'', a caricature of the angsty artist, and therefore a spoof of this trope. When asked what his work is about, he always answers, "Anger. Fear. Pain. Aggression." When he starts dating and becomes happy, he can't paint anymore. His landlady Marsha reduces him to tears by explaining this in a way that seems mean-spirited and crowing, but she's doing him a kindness: his despair over the cruel irony makes him paint again, which was what he wanted.
* ''Series/{{Supernatural}}''. ''Very'' much so. Though it is immensely hilarious very often, and there is plenty of heartfelt discussions between the main characters on how much they mean to each other, you know teary eyed chick flick crap. "Im all out of love"
* ''Series/{{Mash}}'' couldn't stop winning Emmys after it became a serious war drama. And, yes, it won them in the comedy category. Apparently, you win comedy Emmys by doing hard-edged drama.
* ''Series/{{Torchwood}}: Children of Earth'' just about epitomizes this trope. [[spoiler:On the bright side, 10% of the Earth's children aren't taken by aliens to feed a drug habit, and Gwen is having a baby with Rhys. On the darker side of things... just about everything else.]]
* ''TheWire'', merciless in its depiction of the futility of the war on drugs and the endless self-perpetuation of crime and corruption inherent in society. Considered by many to be the greatest show in the history of television.
* ''Totally'' averted by ''TheWestWing''. Once John Wells got his claws on the show and started to make it in the model of ''Series/{{ER}}'' by forcing the characters to be unhappy, introducing lots of personal conflict and dislike, making the tone more cynical, and trying to be "real" by making sure that real victories were rarely achieved without loads of nastiness, the show was almost universally panned by fans and critics alike. This in contrast to the seasons before Wells, when the cast was a cheery, tight-knit group of TrueCompanions whose squabbles were almost familial, the tone was principled and idealistic (which made the rare drops into bleakness and gloom that much more powerful), all tragedies were buffered by the strength of the characters' friendships, and human decency and common sense never completely failed — and ''The West Wing'' swept the Emmys for best show, best writing, best acting, and best directing while being hailed as one of the best shows ever written.
** Also averted by ''Series/StargateUniverse'', the DarkerAndEdgier sequel to ''Series/StargateSG1'' and ''Series/StargateAtlantis''. It wasn't anywhere near as popular as the other two, largely due to DarknessInducedAudienceApathy, and it was cancelled after less than two seasons. ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' was a similar, but far more successful, exercise in TrueArtIsAngsty.
*** [[http://io9.com/5030662/how-wed-give-farscape-a-battlestar+style-reboot-and-make-a-new-hit This article]] discusses ways in which ''Series/{{Farscape}}'' could be brought back successfully, basically by making it dark and angsty like ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|Reimagined}}'' (as if darkness and angstiness were unquestionably, objectively better).
* At the end of the last episode of ''{{Dinosaurs}}'' (a light hearted comedy throughout), [[spoiler: EVERYONE DIES. They also die in a way that we as an audience can relate to, sort of like nuclear winter except with exploding volcanoes. Sort of a [[FantasticAesop Fantastic]] GreenAesop.]]
* Some contestants on ''Work of Art'', a reality game show, have fallen into this; sometimes the angsty art works, but sometimes it doesn't, for reasons varying from not fitting the challenge to being cliche or showing the artist has little range.
* Both averted and played straight by ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'': on one hand, the show is unafraid to utterly obliterate a lot of tension and suspense or undercut dramatic plotlines by showing (and allowing Future!Ted to cavalierly drop spoilers on the viewers about) how tightly-knit and happy the gang is years and decades into the future -- and in doing so, attracted enormous amounts of critical acclaim for its unapologetically optimistic tone and ballsy approach to television-typical narrative structures, and vastly strengthened audiences' emotional investment in the characters. On the other hand, some of its best episodes and most memorable moments are its saddest and most painful -- which they are allowed to get away with despite being a sitcom partly ''because'' the audience knows for a fact that everything will be fine in the end.
* On ''TheGeorgeLopezShow'', Carmen gets advice on her poetry from a friend, who tells her the poetry needs to be more angsty and she needs to draw from her Mexican heritage of being raped and pillaged.
* {{Defied}} by Bob Ross on ''Series/TheJoyOfPainting'', as [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin you might guess]] from [[TheJoyOfX the title]]. Ross remarked, "We want happy paintings. Happy paintings. If you want sad things, watch the news."
* The penultimate episode of ''ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'' contains a lengthy discussion about this trope. The two leads argue back and forth as to whether or not the show's GrandFinale should be dark and somber for the sake of winning awards, specifically citing the KillEmAll ending of ''[[{{Blackadder}} Blackadder Goes Forth]]''.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'' is one of the most critically acclaimed television shows in history. It's also one of the darkest. This stretches into the show itself. The first season was more BlackComedy in nature and is considered the weakest season. As the show went on, the stakes and tension got higher and higher, and [[CerebusSyndrome the story got darker and less comedic,]] and the critical acclaim shot up with it. The final season is a display of how far [[VillainProtagonist Walter White]] [[ProtagonistJourneyToVillain has fallen as a human being]] and [[LaserGuidedKarma eventually facing the consequences of his decisions he's made throughout the series]], and it is widely regarded as the best season of the show and one of the best final seasons ever aired. In particular, the antepenultimate episode, "Ozymandias" is the DramaBomb [[spoiler:showing the collapse of his empire and family]]. It's been called both one of the most emotionally-draining episode ever aired, as well as one of the best television episodes ''ever made''.
** That said, [[spoiler: in the end, Walter dies with a smile on his face.]] Take that as you will.
* Vince Gilligan, the guy who created ''Series/BreakingBad'', also worked on ''Series/XFiles'', so he ascribes to TrueArtIsAngsty.

* On soundtracks of TV shows/movies/video games/etc., the darker and more dramatic/angsty songs tend to be better-received by those who have listened to them than the more light-hearted ones.
* Parodied in "This Song Would Be Better" by Mike Aaron James. It is sung from the perspective of a straight-edge and well-adjusted musician with a good upbringing lamenting the fact that his good environment and mental state prevent him from making great music.
* Harry Chapin's "[[WhenYouComingHomeDad Cat's in the Cradle]]"
* Comedian/Musician BillBailey's does a similar thing with his song ''How Can I Feel Pain'', a quick parody of a rebelling teenager that has such a pleasant life he has nothing to complain about.
* PaulMcCartney in some ways is a perfect reflection of this trope. As an artist, he is for the most part a notably optimistic, light-hearted performer who writes cheerful, good-natured love songs (see "Silly Love Songs" for what is essentially [=McCartney=]'s mission statement with these songs). A lot of these songs get dismissed as light-hearted fluff, enjoyable maybe but nothing special. However, every so often, he'll have a CreatorBreakdown, such as his first solo album ''[=McCartney=]'' (written after the break-up of Music/TheBeatles) or ''Chaos and Creation in the Back Yard'' (written during his bitter break-up and divorce from Heather Mills). ''These'' albums get critically lauded.
** Averted however, by Music/TheBeatles; almost universally highly praised and held in high critical regard, the list of their most popular and highly regarded albums and songs contain just as many (if not more) optimistic and life-affirming love songs and ballads as dark, brooding and / or angsty songs.
** Conversely, JohnLennon generally gets a great deal more critical regard than [=McCartney=], generally due to the wide-held perception that Lennon wrote all the angsty 'deep' songs and [=McCartney=] wrote all the light and fluffy ones. Which not only does a disservice to the 'light and fluffy' songs, but is something of a myth; whilst Lennon did frequently [[CreatorBreakdown mine his not-untortured psyche for inspiration]], he was just as capable of writing sweet love songs as [=McCartney=] was; similarly, not everything [=McCartney=] wrote for the Beatles was smiles and sunshine. For just one example from each, Lennon wrote "All You Need Is Love", a song about how beautiful and wonderful love is, while [=McCartney=]'s responsible for "Eleanor Rigby", the song about the lonely old spinster who dies alone, sad and miserable.
* The entire subgenre/genre of VisualKei owes much to this. Most of the Visual Shock bands (the first iteration of the scene) such as Music/XJapan, Music/LunaSea, Music/{{Kuroyume}}, Music/BuckTick, and others, created a large body of very angsty work, even in their PowerBallad pieces as well as in their more HeavyMetal or HardRock or punk songs. In fact, it could be reasonably argued that early Visual was mostly about angst, sex, violence, and angst, with the occasional OdeToIntoxication to lighten the mood.
* This could be said to be the reason for the popularity of {{Grunge}} and {{Post-Grunge}} / Music/{{Emo}} in the '90s and 2000s, respectively, along with the appearance of a cyclic [[ThreeChordsAndTheTruth various three chords]].
** Many Music/HeavyMetal fans hold a similar mindset: Anything that might be considered upbeat or positive is immediately dismissed as commercial tripe. Nevermind that bands like Music/DreamTheater and Music/{{Helloween}} have written more than their fair share of "happy songs."
* Kareeminal, a high school Welsh rap artist, invokes this trope for the under-18s. His music highlights the insecurities and troubles of the average teenage boy [[http://www.myspace.com/kareeminal26 as can be seem here]].
* Somewhat averted by AnimalCollective, as their discography consists of some extremely weird and experimental music, yet a lot of it is much happier and up-tempo than what a lot of pop musician would ever dare writing or performing.
* DavidBowie's 1995 RockOpera ''1.Outside'' takes place in a 1999 where performance artists take this trope to an extreme and combine it with TrueArtIsIncomprehensible via self-mutilation, etc. The result is the new craze of "art-crime", a term encompassing such things as "concept-muggings" and, as the story opens, a ''murder'' performed and presented as a work of art.
** As for Bowie's work itself, it manages to have a lot of angst, but it isn't the only reason it's acclaimed. Yes, it generally runs from 4 to 8 on MohsScaleOfLyricalHardness -- even in his ''Let's Dance'' mainstream stretch in TheEighties, which tends to be regarded as his big DorkAge -- and the prospect of the apocalypse is part of his CreatorThumbprint. Yet, due in part to his sense of humor, love of {{Spectacle}} and {{Camp}}, and his empathy for and eagerness to celebrate outsiders of all stripes, even his darkest work feels cleansing/cathartic rather than needlessly angsty. As well, sunny numbers like "Changes" and ''especially'' "Rebel Rebel" are among his most beloved, as is the merely bittersweet ""Heroes"".
* Swedish progressive metal band Music/PainOfSalvation embodies this trope, as do quite a few other prog bands.
* This trope as applied to rock music is directly targeted by BowlingForSoup's "I'm Gay," which treats the happy sort of gay as akin to [[HaveAGayOldTime the other sort of gay]], and encourages the listener to be open about being happy even if other people disapprove.
* ChristinaAguilera 's Stripped record features a lot of this trope. (Minus one or two loves songs, which also feature some angst)
* Music/PinkFloyd's Roger Waters.
* JohnnyCash, although to be fair, Cash had his share of funny songs, especially when he was working with Shel Silverstein. Yes, ''[[Creator/ShelSilverstein that]]'' Shel Silverstein.
* NineInchNails. Everything prior to Year Zero.
* ''Music/{{Knorkator}}'s'' rather atypical [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hhDHQ6kcihs#t=56s "Warum"]] (why) seems to build up to lampshade this trope in their typical nonsensical fashion, only to redeem it and showing that TropesAreNotBad. Asking such questions like ''"Why travels and endless stream of pilgrims to the prophet who never speaks?"'', ''"Why is the lamb born just to be eaten by a wolf?"'', ''"Why is the sword drawn where no enemy is left"'', and ''"Why did I leave you when we were happy together?"'', while playing appropriately dramatic music. However, it ends with:
--> ''And why does the queen cry on her throne quietly and alone''
--> ''And why does no one come to her all mute and pale under the moon''
--> '''''Because this great melody demands pain, longing, and poetry'''''
--> '''''So it can carry these words and touch your heart'''''
* Inverted in the case of PeterGabriel, whose album ''Up'' is generally regarded as both one of his darkest albums (if not ''the'' darkest) and one of his worst (though many fans still like it).
** Also inverted with Music/MichaelJackson. When the child molestation accusations brought against him in 1993 resulted in a massive CreatorBreakdown, the result was the second disc of 1995's ''[=HIStory=]'', which consists mostly of songs about persecution, loneliness, injustice, greed, lost childhoods, and man's inhumanity to man and the planet. Music critics and casual listeners were not impressed by all the angst, and in the U.S. the album quickly fell off the charts. Tellingly it's never been made available as a standalone release, while the GreatestHitsAlbum that made up disc one was in 2001. The remix album followup ''Blood on the Dance Floor'', which is just as dour where the original numbers such as "Morphine" are concerned, wasn't given a significant promotional push in North America and reviews weren't much better.
* Par the course for much {{industrial}}, {{darkwave}}, and {{goth rock}} music.
* ''The Holy Bible'' by {{Manic Street Preachers}}. A dark, intense and draining punk rock album, with lyrics encompassing the Holocaust, eating disorders, racism, isolation, prostitution, depression, serial killers and [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking political correctness]]. Considered their finest work, not least [[WordOfGod by the band themselves]].
* JoyDivision, most notably its frontman Ian Curtis. Some of the praise runs along the lines of "Well, it's depressing but at least he meant it."
* An angry rather than angsty variant: PunkRock came of age amidst the discontent of 1970s [[JamesCallaghan London]] and [[TheBigRottenApple New York]].
* In general this trope seems to have a close relationship to ThreeChordsAndTheTruth, "the truth" being almost invariably miserable.
* Adele's 21 album is one about coping with heartbreak and needless to say, it was an award winner.
* While KoreanPopMusic has always had sexy concepts, when the video is meant for adults only (19+), it has to depict the artist as a "tortured artist" or face the wrath of dislikes and slut shaming.
* Meredith Brook's song ''Pollyanne'' both averts this and undermines it by stating that angsty people aren't really tortured geniuses but are just immature and lack imagination. In one part of the chorus she demands to know "who said dark is deep?".
* Though Music/FleetwoodMac's 1977 ''Rumours'' album was at one point the biggest selling album in the world (before being displaced by the ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'' soundtrack), getting Grammys and some critical acclaim, its critical stock increased, and much of the marketing behind the album was built around, the RealitySubtext of the songs being driven by the [[LoveDodecahedron breakup of guitarist/vocalist Lindsey Buckingham and singer Stevie Nicks, the divorce of keyboardist/vocalist Christine McVie to the band's bassist, John McVie, and the marital strain and later divorce of drummer Mick Fleetwood (who would later date Stevie for a time)]], which lent poignancy to the album.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* The comic strip ''ComicStrip/FunkyWinkerbean'' won several awards over the years for dealing with a character's battle with cancer (which eventually resulted in her death), although it seems a lot of people didn't enjoy actually ''reading'' these strips. The long, drawn-out, angsty nature of the whole thing was parodied in the webcomic ''Webcomic/{{Shortpacked}}!'' with [[http://shortpacked.com/comic/book-5/01-a-talking-car-joins-the-cast/cancer/ Funky Cancercancer]].
** Tom Batiuk was really annoyed with the insinuation that people weren't exactly enjoying watching him slowly torture his fictional characters to death and expressed this in his other strip, ''[[http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20070523&name=Crankshaft Crankshaft]]'', while the cancer plot was winding down. He did it again in ''[[http://www.chron.com/apps/comics/showComick.mpl?date=20070930&name=Funky_Winkerbean Funky Winkerbean]]'' with Les actually echoing the same sentiment and contrasting his words with the image of his dying wife in the hospice bed next to him.
** September 2009 brought a story arc in which Les and Susan have to defend the choice of ''Wit'' (which is about a woman dying of cancer) as the SchoolPlay against parents who [[AngstAversion wanted to see something upbeat and fun]] instead of True Art. The apparent TakeThatCritics got the strip further mocking at the "Comics Curmudgeon" and "Stuck Funky" blogs.
** August/September 2010 brought in a story arc in which Les had to decide on a cover for the book he wrote about Lisa's death; Susan defended the somber cover that more or less matches the one to the real book Batiuk wrote on the grounds that Art should remind people of the bleak, pointless agony that is the reality of human existence.
** An irregular feature on the ''Comics Alliance'' site is commentary on the most depressing ''Funky Winkerbean'' strips - ''that month''.

* Many musical theatre fans are still annoyed today over ''TheMusicMan'' winning the Tony award for Best Musical over ''Theatre/WestSideStory''. ''West Side Story'' has scenes of deadly violence, juvenile-delinquent angst and a DownerEnding, so it has earned the reputation as having been "ahead of its time" (despite being a remake of a musical adaptation of ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'').
* Shakespeare's tragedies tend to be elevated higher than his comedies. Of the comedies, ''Theatre/TheTempest'' is treated as particularly artistic, and it's one step from tragicomedy, as is ''Theatre/MeasureForMeasure'', the bleakest and most unfunny of all his comedies (the main characters don't die at the end, so it only narrowly avoided the traditional definition of tragedy at a time when all theatrical fiction was either "comedy" or "tragedy").
* Of all of the Creator/GilbertAndSullivan operas, which one got the most critical praise for the composer (and even from Sullivan himself)? ''Theatre/TheYeomenOfTheGuard'', their only collaboration with a DownerEnding.
* This is a core belief of the Nowhaus collective in ''PassingStrange.'' When the lead character, The Youth, joins them his music goes from American pop to a dark, brooding number that culminates in his declaration that "I let my pain fuck my ego and I call the bastard ''art!''"
* ''Theatre/{{Wicked}}'' soon goes from a clever little musical about life to a depressing musical revolving around StarCrossedLovers which ends with [[BuryYourGays one of them dead]]. [[spoiler: Or so one of them thinks]]. The source book is almost ''nothing but'' angst, but the musical has its fair share too.
* Ancient Greek Tragedy is all about this trope. ''Theatre/TheOresteia'' is a sample of that genre.
** Paradoxically, since ''Oresteia'' is also a rare example of a Greek Tragedy with a ''happy ending''.
* Creator/CirqueDuSoleil shows like to avert this; even in the more seriously-toned shows (''Theatre/{{Alegria}}'' and ''Theatre/{{Quidam}}'' come to mind) the sadder, crueler aspects of existence are counteracted, if not conquered, by the better aspects of it.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* Video games with ambitions to the epic approach this, making plot points out of tragedies.
** Of course not going [[GrimDark over the top with the story helps]]. There is a difference between making a good tragic story and an excessively dark tale that forces one bad thing after another just for [[SadistShow laughs]].
** There's also a balance needing to be struck in making the game dark and angsty and making it worth playing; since (unlike many of the other mediums presented here) at least part of the appeal of a video game is the sense of accomplishment the player feels as a result of successfully playing it, the player is likely to feel cheated if they invest a lot of time and effort into playing a game only for it to result in a [[DownerEnding downer]] or leaves them feeling that nothing has been accomplished.
* SquareEnix goes back and forth on this, and often uses [[AmbiguousEnding Ambiguous Endings]], which get interpreted in different ways.
** For example, ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII'' ends rather ambiguously. One popular 'artsy' interpretation at the time was that the world was destroyed and [[KillEmAll everyone died]]. Complicating the issue, the Compilation of ''Final Fantasy VII'' later shows the world surviving, at least in the short term.
** The same thing happened with ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyX'' - [[spoiler: while Tidus and Yuna certainly ''believe'' he sacrificed his life, a scene after the credits shows him landing in the ocean in Besaid. Many viewers went for the darker interpretation]]. This ambiguity was decided in the sequel, [[spoiler:which showed Tidus alive and reuniting with Yuna.]]
** ''VideoGame/ChronoCross'' took a much darker take on the ending to ''VideoGame/ChronoTrigger''; whether it was more artistically deep as a result... [[ContestedSequel depends on who you ask.]]
** ''FinalFantasyTactics'' is already a dark game, filled with murder, betrayal, and all those niceties you find in war. Some interpretations of the ending are darker still, such as the question of whether [[spoiler:Ramza and his whole party died in saving the world at the end; the ambiguity is played up, with Ollan wondering whether he really saw Ramza and Alma, or if it was their ghosts.]] Unsurprisingly, the original Final Fantasy Tactics is generally viewed as having a deeper and more artsy plot than its (somewhat) more light-hearted sequels.
** FinalFantasyVI is ''very'' depressing in the beginning of the World of Ruin, and has a lot of [[TearJerker moments that will just break your heart]]; it's also one of the most popular installments in the West.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVIII'' ends with what is, without a doubt, one of the most unabashedly ''positive'' endings in the series. The world is saved, the hero gets the girl, and the Garden sails off into the sunset. The game is also generally less well-remembered than most of the other entries from its era, although it has its fans.
** ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyXIII'' has a dark, angsty story, but ends with the main cast learning to assert their free will and being helped out in the end by literal miracles. [[FinalFantasyXIII2 The sequel]] took the ending itself in a darker direction. Again, which is artistically deeper (or whether the series' angst as a whole made it deeper) depends on who you ask.
** This trope in general might explain the popularity of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI VI]]'', and ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyVII VII]]'' as opposed to ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyV V]]'' and ''[[VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX IX]]''. Even reviews that praise [=FFV=] tend to go out of their way to call the characters flat and the story lacking and opine that the only real draw is the gameplay.
** How about ''KingdomHearts''? First we had these fun adventure games...''Kingdom Hearts'' and ''II'', and ''Chain of Memories'' (and, aside from the outright happy ending of ''II'', they had endings that were [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet at best]], with still alot to feel uplifted about.) And then we had ''358/2 Days'' and ''Birth By Sleep'', both of which have characters who are DoomedByCanon and have the bad guys WIN! WHAT WAS THAT? Not to mention that ''358/2 Days'' contains the only permanent [[spoiler:death of a central protagonist]] in the series. SERIOUSLY. And then they have fans saying that "Square-Enix has grown up". Yes, never mind that there had been darker games made in the past, even before they became Square-Enix and [[VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou afterwards as well.]]
** ''DragonQuest'' has some of this, too, but people aren't as overly critical towards ''DragonQuest'' as they are to ''FinalFantasy'' and ''KingdomHearts''. You might hear someone trashing ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' and ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX'' for being light-hearted, when ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' isn't ''really'' light-hearted compared to ''VideoGame/DragonQuestIX''.
*** ''VideoGame/DragonQuestV'' is probably the most universally praised game in the series for its plot, which is basically 40 hours of the protagonist getting pushed through a HumiliationConga.
* ''KillZone 1'' had a relatively decent ending but ''KillZone 2'' just take this trope and chugs it down. [[spoiler:A hopelessly failed invasion from the start made worse as everyone we knew and loved in the first one died horribly with only one survivor and a DownerEnding where now the ISA is going to definitely lose? Critics loved it, as quoted from another guy "What is the point of completing the single player campaign if you are going to get screwed over?"]]
** ''KillZone 3'' is a step up from Killzone 2 in this regard. Yes, it is still INCREDIBLY GrimDark, but it manages to squeeze optimism back into the story. [[spoiler: that is of course, until the ending. The ISA force of thousands has been reduced to less than sixty soldiers, and the Helghast's home planet was nuked to oblivion. The later is especialy terrible, since Hakha from 1 made it clear that not all Helghast are evil and the intro of 3 even implies the millions of civilians on the planet suffering from the regime. And they are STILL FIGHTING BACK.]]
* Similarly, there's a solid chunk of its fanbase that insist that ''VideoGame/{{ICO}}'' ends with [[spoiler:both Ico and Yorda dead]], despite WordOfGod saying they got a happy ending. [[GoldenMeanFallacy Or of course it could have been both.]]
* ''VideoGame/ConkersBadFurDay'', while primarily a comedy game, ended on a very dark, angsty note. [[spoiler:Conker's girlfriend Berri was murdered, and now he's the King of the Land, surrounded by all the people he didn't like, and only wants her back. Made worse when you remember that [[NoFourthWall he basically blackmailed one of the programmers to give him anything he wants during the final battle,]] but in the heat of the battle, simply ''forgot'' to revive her.]]
* ''Franchise/DragonAge'', one of the most popular and critically acclaimed western [[RolePlayingGame RPGs]] is a DarkerAndEdgier setting, and as such can end up very angsty indeed, depending on the choices you make. However, it's almost always possible to TakeAThirdOption and thus Avert this trope.
** [[VideoGame/DragonAgeII The sequel]] plays the trope straight. The plot consists of the balance of power in the Free Marches slowly tipping out of control while your character's family is destroyed, and it's almost entirely your fault.
** Played for laughs in the "Mark of the Assassin" DLC. When offered Anderfels ham said to "taste of despair", Hawke and Tallis question whether that's possible and who'd eat it if it was. The waitress says it's popular with artists.
* ''VideoGame/RedDeadRedemption'', following Rockstar making a trend of darker and more serious storylines.
** By extension, ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIV''. In this case, however, many fans hated the fact that the main character of the vanilla game spent most of the story [[ContemplateOurNavels waxing philosophical about how being a soldier/criminal sucks]] and how a seedy life will hurt everyone you love in the end, in a game series where exploring VideoGameCrueltyPotential as a VillainProtagonist was one of the main draws. The game's two expansions sought to rectify this, although they still have a lot of moody moments.
* ''VideoGame/{{MOTHER 3}}'', who some have said is the closest video games have come to literature.
* Original Works by {{Cavia}} is pretty much downright angsty. ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard}}'', ''VideoGame/BulletWitch'' and ''VideoGame/{{NieR}}'' are good examples. ''[=NieR=]'' is noteworthy in particular because even though the game's reception was mixed at best, most critics and fans agreed that the storytelling and characters were very above-average and a high point for the game.
** Notable that ''VideoGame/{{Drakengard 2}}'' that was more idealistic and wasn't directed by him there are some fans that like to think that that game never happened.
* The ''Franchise/WhenTheyCry'' series fell victim to FanDumb because of this trope. What makes the series a classic is how it melds tragedy and horror with optimism and lighthearted friendship between the [[DysfunctionJunction screwed up]] protagonists. ''Both are equally important to the plot and characterization,'' and the storyline's entire point is how [[spoiler: a group of damaged, fearful people manage to influence each other for the better and overcome their flaws to build a happy future together.]] Yet to hear the FanDumb talk, it's a good series because it has lots of gore and angst, and for no other reason.
* The tagline to ''VideoGame/HaloReach'' was "From the beginning, you know the end." And how: Reach was [[DeathFromAbove glassed]] by the Covenant even before ''Franchise/{{Halo}}: Combat Evolved'' began. The only thing preventing it from being full-on DownerEnding is [[spoiler:Noble Six manages to transport Cortana to the ''Pillar of Autumn'' and ensures the ship escapes Reach.]] Because of Noble Team, the UNSC won the Human-Covenant War. [[spoiler:[[KillEmAll It doesn't save them]].]]
* Part of the reason ''{{Limbo}}'' received as much recognition and praise as it did. A platform game? Fair enough. An arty platform game set in a grim, bleak DarkWorld where you play a small boy who will suffer a awful lot of gory deaths in an unremittingly hostile but beautifully rendered landscape? Transcendent!
* ''VideoGame/PlanescapeTorment'' is a beautiful piece of artwork with one of the most doomed and depressing plots imaginable. The game has you treading through a miserable immortality, forever being hunted, subjected to endless bouts of, well, torment, and seeing all of the damage and misery you have caused to others in your many, many past lives. The ultimate goal of the game is to die, and [[spoiler:go to hell, so you can fight a war for demons, no matter how heroic you may have been while you were playing.]]
** On the other hand, not only can you actually change people's lives for the better (this game ''adores'' VideoGameCaringPotential), you can also make up for your crimes. Also, if you pick the good ending [[spoiler:you save all your party members who died to protect you, something no other incarnation before could do.]] Also the ultimate goal is not to die, it's to find out who you are and take responsibility for your actions- even if doing so means death. By the end of it, all the protagonists have changed, and endured torment- but all of them are better people, happier for what they've learned. The plot may have ended on a sad note, but by no means was it a [[DarknessInducedAudienceApathy pointless]] one.
* Eric Nylund, the guy who wrote the story of ''GearsOfWar'' wrote several novels on famous FPS franchises which are known for their extreme bleakness.
* ''VideoGame/ArcTheLad'': to put things in perpective: the game starts with its protagonist [[GenocideBackfire witnessing the genocide of his people]]: the rest of the game [[SerialEscalation keeps getting worse]] and every {{HopeSpot}}s the Heroes, and [[VideoGameCaringPotential the Player]] found along the journey are [[PlayerPunch mercilessly crushed]] by the end of the game.
* ''VideoGame/SpecOpsTheLine'', one of the most depressing games you will ever play, loosely adapted from ''Literature/HeartOfDarkness''. Critics praised its story to high heaven.
** ''Spec Ops'' is an interesting case. It's mechanics and gameplay is SoOkayItsAverage, and for the first few missions of the game the story seems typical of a modern military shooter. While it pulls the rug out from under you story-wise, the general gameplay stays the same. The game is imitating a low budget modern military shooter while [[{{Deconstruction}} deconstructing]] the idea of {{Escapism}} and pointing out how disgusting it is to treat [[{{WarIsGlorious}} war as a power fantasy]].
*** Ironically this [[GoneHorriblyRight resulted in poor sales due to people not wanting to play it.]] And due to SoOkayItsAverage game play was overshadowed by other games during award times.
* Inverted by ''Franchise/SonicTheHedgehog''. A great many fans point to the series going DarkerAndEdgier as one of the biggest problems associated with its DorkAge, primarily because of the poor reception given to the stories of ''VideoGame/ShadowTheHedgehog'' and ''VideoGame/SonicTheHedgehog2006''.
** However, when the games got LighterAndSofter with ''VideoGame/SonicUnleashed'' and onwards, out of the woodwork came people who grew up with ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure'' and ''VideoGame/SonicAdventure2'', where the games were getting rather dark, and wanted their serious Sonic back. Some even go as far as to praise ''Sonic 2006'', an otherwise universally hated game, as an example of how Sonic can be taken seriously. Nowadays, you will see few supporters of Warren Graff and Ken Pontac, the writers for the Sonic games that put him back on the light and comedic side. There is also a strangely large amount of Sonic fans who write {{Dark Fic}}s and dismiss anything, from any medium, not as angsty as them or their stories (except for the aforementioned Dork Age, which they consider the pinnacle of the series).
* Inverted by ''Franchise/SpyroTheDragon''. The DarkerAndEdgier, high-fantasy-oriented ''Legend of Spyro'' trilogy earned lower reviews than almost any other games in the series and arguably constituted its DorkAge, to the extent that the series has had one.
* Parodied in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'' by the character of the Pretentious Artist. Some of his remarks on the outfits you can wear to unlock tattoos from him go on about this, but this perspective really shines in the zone unlocked by using a psychoanalytic jar on him, the Pretentious Artist's Obsession. It involves subduing animated kitchen items representing negative emotions in combat, and using them to defeat AnthropomorphicFood representing positive emotions in order to prepare a "mental breakfast" that provides the Artist with inspiration.
* Judging by its success, ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' plays it awfully straight: the story of a brutal ex-Pinkerton detective attempting to pay off his gambling debts by retrieving Elizabeth from Columbia, the plot not only reveals a great deal of angst and misfortune in the main character's past (including his participation in the massacre at Wounded Knee and the death of his wife and child) but also goes on to pile grief and misery on the kind-hearted Elizabeth, from being imprisoned and tortured to accidentally sparking off a bloody rebellion in her attempt to help the Vox-Populi. Things only get worse when the alternate dimensions are introduce, and it turns out that [[spoiler: Booker has been given the job of saving Elizabeth hundreds of times across the multiverse, and has ''always failed.'']] Finally, it turns out that Booker [[spoiler: is actually an alternate version of the game's villain, Father Comstock; worse still, the gambling debt he wants to repay doesn't exist - it's just a garbled memory of him being forced to ''sell his infant daughter to Comstock in exchange for his debts being paid'' and the real reason he's in Columbia is to find and rescue his now-adult daughter. The whole story ends with Booker submitting to a multiversal death in the past in order to save the world from the menace that Comstock would become, also resulting in Elizabeth never being born]]. And then, after the credits, [[spoiler: [[SubvertedTrope Booker finds himself back in his apartment, with his baby daughter implied to be in the next room, and he'll now have the chance to raise her as his daughter]].]]
** [[spoiler: Burial At Sea continues the trend of TrueArtIsAngsty as seen by people's reaction to the second part's depressing ending. Overall ''VideoGame/BioShockInfinite'' is one of the few TrueArtIsAngsty which sells really well.]]
* Criticisms of the MonkeyIsland series after Ron Gilbert left are mostly centered around how the series has become far too comedic and plays Guybrush as a buffoon. The first two games are quite dark and mysterious. Whilst Guybrush is not the smartest person in them, he is far more cunning in them.
* Criticisms of ''VideoGame/FireEmblemAwakening'' are over the fact that [[spoiler: both choices for how to deal with the FinalBoss ultimately give you a happy ending, plus the fact that you can have Emmeryn survive if you download a certain chapter, thus "ruining" one of the most dramatic moments in the game.]]
** Fire Emblem fandom as a whole seems to love this trope, actually. There's a very vocal and sizable fanbase for ''FireEmblemJugdral'''s first game, ''Genealogy of the Holy War''. It's absolutely soaked in tragedy and DramaticIrony.
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' is set in a bleak post-apocalyptic world, where people know their world is a shitheap and the most they can hope for is not being robbed and murdered. Unlike many other games, the moral choice system can be downright sadistic, forcing the player to choose between multiple horrible outcomes. Because of all this ''Fallout 3'' has been praised for its immersiveness, especially the weight that the moral choices carry.
** ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' is generally agreed to be the better game, but one of the major complaints has been that it isn't dark ''enough'', and the characters [[AngstWhatAngst are too happy given how awful the world is]], especially since, unlike ''Fallout 3'', the endings range from "bad" to "worse".
** The ''VideoGame/FalloutNewVegas'' DLC ''Dead Money'', a survival-horror expansion with an extremely dark story and tragic characters, is generally agreed to be the best-written and most memorable of the DLC packs, if not the best part of the ''Fallout'' canon.
* ''VideoGame/BrothersATaleOfTwoSons'' is a particularly egregious example; starts with your mother drowning and your father dying from an IncurableCoughOfDeath, [[spoiler:and ends with your brother getting stabbed in the chest and dying.]]

* Carmen from ''NinthElsewhere'' provides an excellent quote for this trope.
** "''I'm not a very happy person, but who is? Its not like happiness is necesary to create art anyways. Look at how many revered classics are about pain and struggle. I don't want to be a happy person if it means I have to write about insipid happy things. I'd rather be depressed and write something worthwhile, so if you're out to change me then I don't want your help.''"
* The author of the {{Webcomic}} ''Webcomic/MegaTokyo'' is accused of this almost to the point where it's a RunningGag. He even has a shirt about it.
* SaturdayMorningBreakfastCereal: [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=82 Even if it's literally poop on a canvas!]]
** Strangely, the author seems more in favor of this trope in [[http://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=2885#comic this strip]] poking fun at a LighterAndSofter version of ''Literature/TheMetamorphosis''.
* ''{{minus}}'' makes fun of this trope in [[http://www.kiwisbybeat.com/minus123.html this strip.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Bug|Martini}}'' also does this in [[http://www.bugcomic.com/comics/the-muse-of-misery/ this strip.]]
* In ''KevinAndKell'', Danielle managed to reappear ([[ItMakesSenseInContext long story]]) and give her and George Fennec a happy ending. Cue InternetBackdraft and {{Headscratchers}} entries saying they liked the BittersweetEnding better.
* In ''Webcomic/SandraAndWoo'', in-universe, Larisa and her father disputed over this, and her father pointed out that his dark and depressing paintings sold. She drew a bright smiley sun on his dark and dreary landscape, and in {{revenge}}, he painted a skeleton hanging from a flower in her painting.\\
Her mother then sold both paintings at a good price, much to their shock.
* In ''{{Sinfest}}'', [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=4255 the author loses his tortured artist card]].
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/archive_page.php?comicID=2320 God as a moody artist.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/WeimarWorld'' at ''AlternateHistoryDotCom'' invoked this trope with "annihilism", an art form to express beauty in destruction. The in-universe FrenchJerk TropeMaker christened it Vladivostok, named after the city that's supposed to be nuked during the breakup of that timeline's Soviet Union.
* Parodied by JossWhedon (along with a copious amount of self-parody, given his well-deserved appearance in the Live Action TV section) in ''WebVideo/CommentaryTheMusical''.
--> '''NeilPatrickHarris:''' An Internet musical is a wacky idea that's zany! Where did it come from?
--> '''JossWhedon:''' It came from pain.
* Creator/DougWalker of ''Website/ThatGuyWithTheGlasses'' once went through this phase during his high school and college years. Occasionally he makes fun of these nowadays.
** However, both Walker and his character of WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic believe that darkness in a movie or TV show should have a point; and not just exist for the sake of this trope. Though they both believe that everything that can go wrong with it will, they praise proper application of darkness in works such as ''WesternAnimation/SonicSatAM'' and ''Film/TheDarkKnight''.
* Invoked in-story in Literature/SpesPhthisica: Helen's art only becomes popular when the dead landscapes of her BadFuture dreams start entering into it.
* Parodied by [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] in his BlueBeetle Tribute with 90's Kid: "''DUUUUDE!'' Who needs that kids stuff like hope and joy? No, I want ''GUUUUNS'' and lines over people faces..."
* Inverted in petermullinvideo's [[http://tinyurl.com/7d3wwxh rant on high school literature]], where he complains that they're too depressing and that "we should read ''happy books''!"
* Parodied by TheOnion, with [[http://www.theonion.com/articles/general-mills-gives-honey-nut-cheerios-bee-intense,28181/ this]] ([[PoesLaw fake]]) story about a cereal mascot getting a dark backstory.
* One of ''Jimquisition'''s videos, [[http://www.escapistmagazine.com/videos/view/jimquisition/6281-Crying-Through-The-Laughs Crying Through The Laughs]], discusses this trope, arguing that a game that balances out happy and sad moments makes the sad moments all the more effective.
* After the most recent LegendOfZelda games were criticized for being [[SillyrabbitIdealismIsForKids childish]] and outdated, SomethingAwful came up with [[http://www.somethingawful.com/comedy-goldmine/mature-zelda-game/1/ some helpful ideas]] for how to [[DarkerAndEdgier modernize]] them.
-->It seems the only dungeon he could not clear... was the dungeon of man's soul.
* ''LetsPlay/TwitchPlaysPokemonRed'' often whiplashed between absurdly hilarious to bleak deconstruction. When its sequel ''LetsPlay/TwitchPlaysPokemonCrystal'' came about, the Mob became frustrated at the lack of drama and attempted to intentionally kill off their starter [[TheAce Lazorgator]], just like they had accidentally done with Abby in the previous game. While they failed and accidentally killed [[TheHeart the beloved Prince Omelette]] instead, [[TheExtremistWasRight the Mob was right]] in that the storyline quickly took a turn for the tragic, with Lazorgator turning into a HeartbrokenBadass who swore to get revenge on the Mob by killing the gods they worshipped: those gods being the protagonists of the previous run.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' episode "Legends of the Dark Mite" contains an AuthorFilibuster where Bat-Mite slams the fanboys who complained about the show's LighterAndSofter tone. He finishes the speech by stating that not all superhero stories need to be dark, and that a {{camp}}y Batman who smiles and cracks jokes is just as true to the canon as the darker depiction seen in ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''.
** Ironically, even the fandom of the show falls victim to this as well. "Chill of the Night!" is not only the single darkest episode in what is normally a very lighthearted cartoon, but would be quite dark even by the standards of ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries''. It's also considered one of the best episodes in the series.
* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': The [[AssPull dubious foreshadowing]] of [[spoiler:Energybending]] aside, a surprising number of fans are unhappy at Aang [[spoiler: NOT killing Ozai,]] and [[spoiler:NOT losing Katara]] at series end.
* The last arc (and only the last arc) of ''MoralOrel'' is considered a masterpiece. The last arc (and only the last arc) of ''MoralOrel'' is [[DespairEventHorizon possibly the bleakest story in cartoon history]]. Despite that, there are a few bright patches in the episode, and the series ultimately ends on an upbeat note.
* This trope may explain the benign reaction most ''[[{{Sixteen}} 6teen]]'' fans had to the [[GrandFinale series finale]] "Bye Bye Nikki?", where [[spoiler: Nikki moved away to Iqaluit (a real town in Arctic Canada)]]. One of the most [[BittersweetEnding bittersweet]] endings in animated comedy history, and the episode was almost universally ''praised'' by the show's fanbase.
* ''HeyArnold'' "Eugene, Eugene!" goes for this trope along with WriterOnBoard and AdaptationDecay in-universe: a drama critic is directing their school musical, in which Eugene has been cast as the main character and Arnold as the villain. Eugene's enthusiastic about it... until he discovers that there's been some deviation from the source material, by having Arnold win the leading lady instead of Eugene and having Eugene get run over by a trolley, while replacing the upbeat finale song "Keep Your Sunny Side Up" with a song called "Nice Guys Finish Last". Eugene queries the director about all this and gets what is essentially TrueArtIsAngsty (with a dash of WriterOnBoard) in response. After he leaves, we discover the reason behind the WriterOnBoard part of the change, as he weeps on a photo of his ex.
** Thankfully, the kids pull an inversion of ExecutiveMeddling and have Eugene leap out from the trolley-wreck and deliver the original song to raucous applause, disproving the director's opinion.
*** [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Even better]], the directors ex shows up backstage at the end of the play and reaffirms her love for him.
* Mocked by ''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...".
* ''SpongeBobSquarePants'': Squidward ''wants'' to evoke this in his sculptures and paintings, though even his angst is rather pathetic.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
--> People of France! A good-looking, depressed guy smoking a cigarette is not [[LeFilmArtistique a movie]]!
* ''WesternAnimation/WhatsOperaDoc'': Invoked by Bugs Bunny as the {{Punchline}}:
--> What did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'', while not an angsty show, has gotten its immense PeripheryDemographic partially because of the increased amount of angst given to the characters compared to previous generations of the ''Franchise/MyLittlePony'' franchise. It uses angst effectively to give the characters a very realistic depth and to further conflict in its stories. Not to mention that the DarkerAndEdgier adventure episodes also tend to be more hotly anticipated and better received and compared to the usual SliceOfLife episodes.
** The franchise's history with this even predates G4. ''[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyTVSpecials Rescue from Midnight Castle]]'' had quite the positive reception, and it was a very dark special.
* The quality of a ''Franchise/{{Transformers}}'' adaptation is considered among fans to be directly proportional to how the adaptation depicts the conflict. With [[WesternAnimation/TheTransformers few]] [[WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated exceptions]]; fans consider adaptations that delve into the drama and intensity of the conflict, such as ''WesternAnimation/BeastWars'' and ''WesternAnimation/TransformersPrime'' tend to be the best-received, while goofier adaptations such as ''Anime/TransformersRobotsInDisguise'' and the Unicron Trilogy are considered inferior. Even ''WesternAnimation/BeastMachines'', which was a flop when it was first released, has since been VindicatedByHistory among ''Transformers'' fans for having such a dark and complex story.
* ''TheSimpsons'' episode "Brush with Greatness", we see a flashback to Marge as an art student showing her teacher a painting of Ringo Starr. He disapproves it, instead praising a painting of a SadClown by another student.

* Crops up often in [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_guard Winterguard]], where shows using angsty classical music tend to score the highest.
* {{Utsuge}} in general; whether applied sparingly and with purpose, or generously and without restraint. Viewing something that touches the audience's emotions leaves the impression that by the act of viewing it the audience has participated in something greater than mere entertainment. Where one person's Drama is another's Narm, both still recognize this trope at play in the work.
* Commenting on the PBS film ''Imagining America'' about American artists, Jonathan Fineberg, Gutgsell Professor of Art History at the University of Illinois, book co-author and co-creator of the documentary, equated profound insight with unpleasantness and discomfort on public radio: "The artists who really have profound insight of some kind are often unpleasant to look at." It's supposed to be "threatening" and make viewers feel "uncomfortable".
* The Website/{{Tumblr}} RP community ''lives'' on this to the point where it reaches ridiculous levels. It's seen as "not normal" there to ''NOT'' want to see your favourite character in emotional pain. And people wonder why they're considered a weird site...
* The trope was criticized by CSLewis in his non-fiction book ''An Experiment in Criticism,'' in which he remarks that "funeral bells can be as out of place as wedding chimes."
* English classes, especially in high school, almost always have a strong preference for assigning and discussing tragedies, the more brutal the better. Several of Creator/WilliamShakespeare's tragedies will inevitably appear, but the many famous comedies he wrote likely won't even be mentioned. DeathByNewberyMedal is a related phenomenon.
* On the writing TAKS test (Texas Assessment of Knowledge and Skills), the people who graded the essays had a preference for the sad, angst filled essays as opposed to the happy ones.