"Cause I love to make you smile, smile, smileBob really likes happiness. Not only for himself or for his loved ones, but for everybody. Since it's often impossible to let everyone be happy, he'll settle for as much happiness as possible to as many as possible. Hence, an entire system of morality based on the pursuit of happiness. Let's, for example, say that Alice is having a great time hurting Charlie. Bob disapproves: It's a good thing that she's doing something she enjoys, but it's not cool that she's doing it at Charlie's expense. Bob has no desire to punish her for her misdeeds, but might do so if that's the most efficient way to make her stop and to help Charlie get his self-esteem back. While Bob might be any average guy, his desire to make happiness possible - and especially the fight against needless suffering that comes with it - might drive him to become a hero. In some interpretations of Order vs Chaos, Bob is a Chaotic Good kind of character who might clash with a Lawful Good hero who disregards For Happiness in favor of having For Great Justice as his only driving principle. A hero who in such a setting embraces BOTH For Happiness and For Great Justice, keeping a balance between them when they clash, is usually Neutral Good, although one can find both Utilitarian-type consequentialists and some fairly strict deontologists among the Neutral Good; and in general the matching of philosophy in this regard with one's position on with Order vs. Chaos is true most of the time, but not in every situation. If the character is also promiscuous or such, it's in an Ethical Slut kind of way. One way of maximizing happiness while keeping the risks of suffering minimal is to make sure that your play (sexually and otherwise) is Safe, Sane, and Consensual. Compare The Needs of the Many, Good Feels Good and The Pollyanna. For more on the philosophy behind For Happiness actions see Ethical Hedonism. Compare and contrast Totalitarian Utilitarian and Happiness Is Mandatory, as well as Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, for when this goes horribly, horribly wrong.
Yes I do
It fills my heart with sunshine all the while
Yes it does
'Cause all I really need's a smile, smile, smile
From these happy friends of mine."
Yes I do
It fills my heart with sunshine all the while
Yes it does
'Cause all I really need's a smile, smile, smile
From these happy friends of mine."
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Anime & Manga
- Medaka from Medaka Box, who is more or less a God.
- Yuya of Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, as an entertainer, makes sure his duels are all about making his audience (and his opponent) happy. It becomes a point of contention with Crow, who believes that a full stomach is more important.
- A darker example is his original, Zarc, who started being ruthless after the audience applauded him when he accidentally injured his opponent and drove him in madness.
- Elmer from Baccano! has this as his raison d'etre: he just wants everyone (particularly his more melancholy immortal bretheren) to smile.
- One of said immortal brethren, Begg Garoto, is developing the perfect drug in the hopes of providing easy, instant happiness to everyone in the world.
- Black Lagoon: Rock has this as his hobby. The rest of the cast thinks he's out of his mind, but they also think it's enough reason to let him live.
- Tomoyo from Cardcaptor Sakura
- Nessa from Fractale, who "loves love and hates hate."
- Love Momozono from Fresh Pretty Cure!. She's born with her Multi-Ethnic Name from her parents (but mainly her grandpa) so she's able to spread love and happiness to everyone, and she took that thing at heart. She's extremely friendly, her Catch-Phrase is "Get your happiness!", attempts to make her friend happy going south (at first) is enough to make her bawl, and if able, she's also reaching out for some of her enemies to reach their own happiness. It works on Eas, culminating her Heel–Face Turn into Setsuna/Cure Passion, and she even attempts that on the Big Bad Moebius to reach his happiness, which backfires when Moebius declared that his happiness is the destruction of the Pretty Cure, even at cost of his destruction. The Cures survive the attempt, though.
- And Miyuki Hoshizora from Smile Pretty Cure!. It's even in her Cure name: Cure Happy.
- In Mobile Fighter G Gundam, Domon and Rain modify the attack call for the God Finger in the Grand Finale to reflect this attitude.
These hands of ours are burning red! Domon: Their loud cry tells us- Rain: -to grasp HAPPINESS! Both: Erupting God Finger! Sekiha Love! Love! Tenkyoken!
- Although he initially seems little more than a self-absorbed Upper-Class Twit, Tamaki from Ouran High School Host Club actually subscribes to this philosophy. He wants to have fun, but he wants everyone else to have fun too.
- Trigun: Vash The Stampede fights with all his heart for LOVE AND PEACE!
- Rentaro from Black Bullet falls into this. This is a deconstructed trope, as he wants everyone he loves and cares about to be happy, at the expense of his own happiness. The reason he withhold the crucial information about the sad eventual fate of cursed children becoming Gastrea monsters to Enju Aihara, a cursed child and Initiator who happens to have 500 days to live as a human (or the fact that Enju is slowly dying), is because he wants Enju to live a happy life in her remaining time as a human. It bites him in the ass during volumes 5 and 6 where he was arrested for a crime he didn't commit. Rentaro told Kisara that he is willing to sacrifice his own happiness and freedom for the sake of Kisara being happy. Needless to say, Kisara broke down in tears simply because Rentaro isn't happy.
- The titular character from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Her selfless dedication to make other happy causes her to pull a Heroic Sacrifice at the end involving removing all despair from witches across time at the expense of erasing her own existence.
- This is deconstructed in Fruits Basket, teaches that a person should strive to make others happy but accept that it's fine to occasionally be selfish in certain regards. Tohru has difficulty with this initially and tries to be so utterly selfless that she does things that are detrimental to her health (avoids discussing her problems with others because she doesn't want to upset them, living in a tent in the woods and getting sick because her grandfather's house was being remodeled and she didn't want to inconvenience her friends, etc).
- In Anatolia Story, Kail wants to become the next king so he can ensure the wellfare and happiness of his subjects. The fact that Yuri always worries about wellbeing of the people she meets, no matter what their social status or situation, leads to him realizing that she might just have the qualities necessary to be the most powerful woman in the entire empire. This inevitably leads to both of them being favored as the new rulers, over the evil queen Nakia.
- In To Love-Ru Darkness, Momo's Harem Plan is pretty much this. There's definitely some selfishness in there, since she seems to feel this is the best way to receive some of Rito's love, but she's also well aware of just how many girls have fallen for him and wants every last one of them to be happy.
- In Little Witch Academia, this is the motivation for both main character Akko Kagari and her idol Shiny Chariot. Chariot's desire became a Tragic Dream, discarding her performace career to become a shy, meek teacher.
- Gabriel the protagonist of Gabriel DropOut was originally a sweet angel, who wanted nothing else but to help the human race... until she discovered Video Games. Turning her into a Jerk Ass Gamer Chick, who couldn't care less about making humans happy.
- In Prime Baby, the sluglike aliens turn out to be "missionaries of smiles and happy feelings". They hold sing-alongs and knit socks for the homeless.
- Superman is a rare The Cape example of this trope, at least with regards to his treasured home city of Metropolis. For the rest of the world, he usually takes a more low-profile For Great Justice route, and even then these can swap around. It's all Depending on the Writer.
- Supergirl has this as her motto: "Hope, Compassion and Help for all". She's more liable to use her powers to make people happy than beating criminals up.
- In the Star Wars Expanded Universe, the Zeltron hat is this... mostly. Justified as they're a race of empaths. If someone's unhappy, the whole block knows it and can feel it. The sociopaths of their species usually travel off-world to get away from the good cheer.
- The Wicked + The Divine: This is Dionysus's philosophy when it comes to his divinity; he'll be dead in under two years, but everyone at his parties will have lasting memories of experiencing joy and release long after he's gone.
- Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality: Harry Potter-Evans-Verres follows this. Rather than settling for less than making everyone become happy, he decided to try to become God.
- Passionate Pragmatism: Erwin and Hange even have this as their stated goal: they want to maximize happiness for humanity.
- Lucina Reacts: Reflet follows this too. She wants everyone to be happy; in her case, she pursues it by playing pranks on people to make them laugh and pairs people up who are both interested in the other to maximise their happiness.
- Amélie, who decides her destiny is to bring happiness and beauty to the lives of others—although she's not above cheating, fabricating, or deceiving to do so.
- Giselle in Enchanted pretty much acts on this as her life philosophy, up to and including impromptu (delightful) musical numbers.
- In Happy-Go-Lucky, Poppy just wants to share the joy and that everyone is happy. That goes so far as trying to cheer up even the grumpiest of people she meets.
- X-Men Film Series: Professor Xavier's modus operandi is to alleviate the suffering of his mutant students and to guide them to become happy, healthy, confident individuals who can achieve whatever goals they set their mind to. In X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Apocalypse, Charles is positively beaming with sunshine and rainbows, and he hopes that with enough education and the tender loving care he offers, everyone he takes under his wing will eventually bask in that merriment as well.
- Johnny Appleseed was famous for this. Although he spent most of his life a simple hermit, he made it his mission to cover the United States territories with apple trees so that everyone could enjoy their flowers and fruit. That and get drunk. Apple cider (what he was best remembered for giving to people) ferments very quickly.
- Kushiel's Legacy: Kushiel's Mercy has Ptolmey Solon, the world's probably smartest man, who holds that happiness is the highest form of wisdom.
- Stranger in a Strange Land had Patricia Paiwonski, who "wanted to sacrifice herself on an altar of happiness for the world."
- Vianne from the novel Chocolat doesn't believe in God or sin or forgiveness. She believes that "The only important thing is to be happy" — and does her best to make it happen with amazing gourmet and possibly magical chocolates. Solid strategy.
- Wicked Lovely has the Summer court, who are described as 'happy by nature' and 'frivolous and passionate'. They oftentimes tell others to 'choose happiness'. However, due to their nature as part of The Fair Folk, they often put happiness before things like morality and loyalty, on one occasion telling Seth to leave Aislinn because he'll be happier that way.
"Sometimes it's not about being happy, but courting happiness." —Siobhan.
- The title character of Pollyanna's reaction to life—so much so that her name has become a synonymous with the concept.
- In Animorphs, the Pemalites fit this trope to a T. Created by The Ellimist to spread life, love and freedom, they did exactly that... until Crayak's pet creation, the Howlers, straight-up slaughtered their asses. It's worth noting that the Howlers are also like this, Crayak just gave them a warped sense of what people find fun.
- Brave New World is a merciless deconstruction: the government makes sure people are basically enslaved to happiness.
"Happiness is a hard master—particularly other people's happiness."
- Jeeves and Wooster: Bertie Wooster is an Upper-Class Twit rolling in the right stuff, unashamed of his useless lifestyle, and spends all his time either going to clubs and golf courses or shopping for clothes. He'll let his exuberant way of life get interrupted for one reason only— if he has to help a pal in distress. As far as that goes, he's willing to survive anything.
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: Voyager: As the self-appointed "Morale Officer", the character Neelix is constantly trying to live up to this trope. The rest of the crew mostly just found it annoying, and Tuvok in particular once used a holodeck simulation to check if he was losing his ability to suppress his urge to kill him (he had).
- The Kamen Rider franchise:
- Yuusuke Godai, the hero of Kamen Rider Kuuga fights to protect people's smiles; likewise his Alternate Universe Expy Yuusuke Onodera from Kamen Rider Decade.
- In Kamen Rider Double, Shotaro Hidari makes it his mission to make sure no one in Futo cries. The fastest way to set him off is to make sombody cry in his presence.
- Gentaro Kisaragi, aka Kamen Rider Fourze, also strives to protect the smiles of his friends. And his goal is to befriend everyone he meets.
- Lampshaded when Shotaro and Gentaro meet in Movie War Megamax. Shotaro is unimpressed that the new Rider is a loudmouth teenager with a pompadour...until Gentaro says he won't forgive the people who made his friends cry. Shotaro responds "You...you're alright, kid", and the two are friends from then on.
- Deconstructed in Kamen Rider Gaim. Mitsuzane Kureshima just wants to make his friends happy. The problem is that he's arrogant enough in his own intelligence to think that he and he alone knows what will bring them happiness, ignoring their own opinions on the matter; and will keep unpleasant information from them even if it's something that's very important for them to know. He eventually gets to the point where he wants to kill his (former) best friend Kouta and crush their mutual friends' hopes in order to keep them safe and "happy". By that point it's clear that "for their happiness" is the lie he tells himself to justify the actions he's taking for his happiness; he's desperate to be seen as the hero that saves everyone, and is intensely jealous of Kouta for receiving that admiration instead (which he gets by actually being heroic).
- In the Doctor Who serial The War Machines, the bartender asks Polly to help cheer up Ben. Polly comments on how reliably she is called on for such measures.
- Bones; Brennan found herself bemused at Angela's efforts to raise money to save a baby pig from the slaughterhouse, but finally donated to her cause. Sweets commented at one point, "Sometimes you don't save the world, Dr. Brennan. Sometimes you just make your friend happy."
- Kasumi of Samurai Gourmet is dedicating his retirement to doing things (generally eating foods) that make him happy. When someone is impinging on the enjoyment of his fellow diners, that's usually when the samurai will step in to inspire Kasumi to take a stand.
- In the Dungeons & Dragons setting Scarred Lands, the titan Gulaben held the powers of granting happiness. The mortal peoples believed her to be For Happiness, and her popularity made her a threat to the Gods' reign over the world. Claiming that her power was merely a sinister kind of Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul, the Gods captured her and destroyed all memories of her so that no one would try to set her free. The official truth is that she was a fickle and cruel titan, who might kill you even as she induces pleasure beyond imagination. The gods simply did what they had to do. And since we no longer remember the real truth about Gulaben, we'll just have to take their word for it.
- Basically the MO of 5e's Oath of the Ancients Paladin; their Oath even obligates them to "Delight in song and laughter, in beauty and art."
- This, hand-in-hand with Doing It for the Art, is what motivates Willy Wonka in the 2013 stage musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. The Impossibly Delicious Food his factory produces, as well as the strange, beautiful factory itself, all stem from his desire to make the world a happier, more colorful place by making all the things his wild imagination dreams up manifest. Beware, though — he is not immune to the darker side of this trope. While he encourages the Golden Ticket tour group visiting the factory to enjoy, explore, and consume its wonders, there are rules that must be obeyed and things that must not be touched, and the four bratty kids learn that his world has a way of dealing with those who would put their own selfish happiness above all else...
- In No, No, Nanette, Jimmy is a rich Bible salesman who loves nothing more than to use his wealth to make people happy. He's a bit frustrated that his practical-minded wife doesn't let him give her money for spending (she sees no point in wasting money on frivolous things) and takes his adopted daughter Nanette to the family's summer cottage when he sees how depressed and stifled she feels (he even prefaces this decision by asking her what will make her happier than anything in the world, giving her money to have some fun, and singing a song, "I want to be happy, but I won't be happy, 'til I make you happy too!") This tendency of his actually leads to the main conflict of the play, as he loaned three greedy young women lots of money to help with their personal woes and then found himself being blackmailed and needing them paid off.
- Darkstalkers: This is pretty much Felicia's outlook on life — pursue happiness, and try to make as many other people happy as possible along the way.
- The child who is the basis for Labrys's personality from Persona 4: Arena.
- Borderlands 2: Claptrap tries to use this to talk some bandits out of beating him up... and ends up convincing himself that the bandits actually have the moral high ground.
Claptrap: Guys, you don't have to beat me up — we can talk this through, right? Here, I'll do it for you! "Hey Claptrap, how are you?" Oh, I'm fine — I kinda wish you wouldn't beat me up, though. "Why?" Cause it really hurts! "You make a good point, Claptrap, but beating you up makes us feel really good!" I know, I know, guys, but it makes me feel really bad! "But Claptrap, you're a robot — are you even capable of feeling pain?" Well, uh, no, I guess I'm not. "So, pummelling you makes us feel good, and doesn't hurt you, there's no harm in us continuing to do it, right?" ...Actually, now that I've talked it all out, I think you guys have the moral high ground, here. Pummel away!
- This is the rallying cry of Hayama Mizuki from ef - a fairy tale of the two..
- Hatoful Boyfriends The King believes this is his motive - it's just that his idea of happiness is too far away from the other characters', so he has to destroy their free will, either by throwing their fears at them until they give up on life or by attacking them. Once they're part of him they'll be so very happy.
- SOON: Robot overl—, er, friends want people to be happy and productive. They'll resort to constant surveillance, reeducation programs and superior firepower to make sure it gets done.
- In Bob the Angry Flower, Bob realizes that he owes a lot of karma. Since being nicer to people would be too much work, he decides to just dump fifty pounds of Ecstasy in the water supply.
- In The Order of the Stick, Elan and his mother both always try their best to live up to this trope.
- One Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal strip starts out by featuring a Straw Character version of For Happiness. He soon becomes a Totalitarian Utilitarian, however.
- It's not entirely straw. The strip is based on a concept called a utility monster. Normally, it's more cost-effective to help poor people, so utilitarianism leads to a generally egalitarian society. However, if some being existed where its happiness went up linearly with money, it would be more cost-effect to just focus on making that one being absurdly happy.
- Care Bears more or less revolves around this trope.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- Aang told Iroh how he'd been told to let go of his love for Katara in order to use his full power, and had refused to do so. Iroh immediately tells him he did the right thing, and that "Power and perfection are overrated".
- Aang himself has something of this, as even though he does understand it is his destiny to beat the Fire Lord and restore balance to the world, he frequently puts that mission on hold in order to let himself and others have fun.
- Finn from Adventure Time wants to solve everyone's problems. In another show, the way this was set up would lead to him realizing he can't, and making most people happy, or giving up but finding that making himself happy makes everyone else happier. But this is Adventure Time, after all. So he does it.
- He does eventually learn that he can't make everybody like him for or by doing so though.
- This is pretty much what drives Wander from Wander over Yonder. His goal in life is to help others and spread joy. This even extends to the villains of the galaxy, and he often tries to help them by converting them over to the side of good.
- This is also the goal of his Arch-Enemy Dr. Screwball Jones...only he tries to FORCE others to be happy by tickling them against their will with a tickle ray.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Pinkie Pie's talent is making ponies happy, often via parties. Her song "Smile Smile Smile" (from the episode "A Friend In Deed") could be the anthem of this trope.
- In My Little Pony: The Movie (2017) Pinkie gets another song like this, "One Small Thing" that once again emphasizes how she sees doing even little deeds to brighten others' lives to always be worthwhile since sometimes small things will lead to big things in their own way, and they'll be important to the person you help. In fact, if Twilight hadn't gone behind everyone's back, Pinkie's song would actually have solved the problem they were having. Not too shabby for one small thing.
- Princess Celestia seems this way, acting like a light-hearted pony who doesn't take herself too seriously and even enjoys a good laugh at her own expense. Over time, we've seen her get more serious, until it's apparent that keeping everyone safe is her main concern, and spreading cheer is what she does in her rare moments of down-time.
- Uncle Grandpa is all about this trope, showing up to help kids out, or just take them on a fun adventure. It went horribly wrong once: a girl he took on a random trip to Mars long ago ended up getting second place at a science fair because he chipped her exhibit and resulted in her becoming his more serious archrival, Aunt Grandma.
- Her introduction did serve as an examination. While Uncle Grandpa offers fantastical adventures, Aunt Grandma offers immediate practical solutions. However, Uncle Grandpa's adventures also lead to the kids learning lessons that will benefit in the long run, which is more valuable than the immediate help Aunt Grandma presented. Furhermore, his whole trip with her was for her to learn how to unwind and not take things so seriously because of how intensely and unheality focused she was on winning.
- This ethical position is an important form of utilitarian philosophy, and has been consistently popular among moral philosophers since the Enlightenment. Jeremy Bentham and John Stuart Mill were both major developers of the theory, although "happiness" may sometimes be replaced with a more generally defined "good" or "well-being", or something else altogether like "freedom" or "beauty".
- Note that there are multiple types of utilitarianism. For instance, while Bentham indicated that one should always do what increases happiness in a sort of general kind of way (called "act utilitarianism"), Mill's definition is rather more complex; most notably, he said that one should always follow the rule that, if consistently applied by everyone, would lead to maximum happiness/the greater good (called "rule utilitarianism").
- Bentham also believed in "pleasure" as the ultimate good, while Mill said that it is "happiness". Modern utilitarians tend to agree on happiness rather than pleasure as the ultimate end, including most of those who agree with Bentham in being act utilitarians rather than rule (act utilitarianism is probably at least somewhat more common than rule utilitarianism).
- This is Older Than They Think, since it was part of Epicurean philosophy in Ancient Greece. Notably, Epicurus believed that happiness came not from simple carnal gratification, but things like friendship and learning. His school, The Garden, was also known as the only place in Athens (or anywhere else in Greece) which welcomed women and slaves in as equals.
- The United States' Declaration of Independence includes "the pursuit of Happiness" as one of man's inalienable rights.
- The King of Bhutan measures the prosperity and success of his nation (and, hence, his rule) in terms of Gross Domestic Happiness. While one of the world's poorest countries when measured in dollars, there are more important things in life than luxuries and the Bhutanese people are considered among the most happy ones with the life they have.
- Note: He is so dedicated to this that he actually gave up power and changed the Government from an Absolute Monarchy to a Constitutional Monarchy
- The people who give out "Free Hugs" on the street, at least ostensibly.
- Random acts of kindness.
- The Wiccan Rede translates to "If it harms none, do what you will." Of course, that means stopping to think about the potential harm of one's actions before undertaking something and taking the route that will cause the least harm and the most happiness when harm cannot be prevented.
- This is really the soul of entertainment. Given, a large portion of it is made for monetary purposes, but the first person to transcribe a story couldn't have done it out of greed, and still those writing for money are outnumbered greatly by those who just hope for somebody to enjoy their tale. And even with the monetary slant, much of that ends up being cost of living. When it comes down to it, any entertainment/creative industry from music to video games has such high levels of risk/reward and employment that if you really wanted to be rich, you're better off being something like a doctor or lawyer.
- Article 4 of the French Declaration of the Rights of Man and Citizen: "Liberty consists in the freedom to do everything which injures no one else; hence the exercise of the natural rights of each man has no limits except those which assure to the other members of the society the enjoyment of the same rights. These limits can only be determined by law."