Took a Level in Cheerfulness

The world can seem like such a joyless, gray, dark place, empty of hope, where dreams are ephemeral lifelines, where joy and passion seem pointless and fake, and pain is the only thing that's authentic. Yet, sometimes, meeting the right person, witnessing the right moment, can teach one that there's more to life than sufferingócan teach one to smile again. This doesn't mean that they've acquired better morals, or even that they gained hope: they may instead be Conditioned to Accept Horror, stop worrying, and love the bomb.

The character, either a Broken Bird, an Ice Queen, a Shrinking Violet, The Stoic or any other kind of less cheerful character, becomes more cheerful over time. Can be due to Character Development, or a Heel-Face Turn.

Compare Defrosting Ice Queen and Took a Level in Kindness. Lots of Love Redeems stories fall under this trope. The Power of Friendship, The Power of Love and The Power of Trust may be involved, in that the character may feel the need to reciprocate those gifts.


Anime and Manga

Film - Animated
  • Farley Wink's secretary Sawyer from Cats Don't Dance is a Broken Bird, having come to Hollywood with talent and enthusiasm, but was crushed by Hollywood's humanist hegemony. Likewise for many of the Funny Animals sitting morosely in Farley's office. Danny Cat arrives with the same enthusiasm, which ultimately reawakens their performer spirit, and they finish the film glowing in triumph and applause.
  • Violet Parr from Pixar's The Incredibles starts out massively introverted and socially miserable, too imploded to even speak to a boy she likes. After embracing her super side to thwart the villainous Syndrome, Violet emerges from her cocoon and starts making friends.
  • Queen Elsa of Frozen, first when she sings her iconic Let It Go solo, and for the first time in forever releases the energies pent up in her, and later after she truly masters her powers.
  • The titular kitten Oliver from Disney's Oliver & Company starts out as a giveaway kitten in a cardboard box. Evening rain, a sewer of doom, feral dogs ... life sucks for this kitten. By the end of the story, however, the kitten has a name and a home and Jenny Foxworth ... yeah, life is good for Oliver.

Fan Fiction
  • Fluttershy in Royal Business, as Spike notices when he runs into her in mid-air. She's friendly,smiling and even mischievous with Rainbow Dash after they re-bonded and became friendlier than ever before with Rainbow Dash in Dragonshyness. This is Fluttershy's normal reaction to discovering that somepony loves her, as we also see (four years later) regarding Bulk Biceps in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic S4 E24 "Equestria Games"

Film - Live-Action
  • Lydia in Beetlejuice is a very unhappy Goth teenager. Through forming a bond with a couple of friendly ghosts, she becomes much perkier in the end.

Live-Action TV
  • Cohle from True Detective, spends the whole season this close to complete nihilism, yet he manages to find a sense of hope and optimism by the end.
    Rust: [looking up at the stars in the night's sky] It appears to me that the dark has a lot more territory.
    Cohle: You know, you're looking at it wrong, the sky thing... Well, once, there was only dark. If you ask me, the light's winning.

Video Games

  • In Homestuck, when Aradia first enters the comic, she's completely unable to feel emotion because she's actually a ghost. She insists that she doesn't mind this state, but everyone else finds her depressing to talk with. Then she gets better. Able to feel emotion again, she chooses to look at the bright side of everything and becomes unrelentingly happy. So happy that she regularly creeps her friends out.

  • RWBYs Weiss Schnee goes from a grumpy, arrogant, slightly self-centered young lady to one that while still quite uppity, cares about her teammates' well-being, will joke around with her teammates (much to their dismay), and has no problem openly fawning over a Precious Puppy.

Western Animation