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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."]]\\

->''"It isn't gloomy, it's profound."''
-->-- '''Henrik''', ''Theatre/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 [[FreudianExcuse why mommy never really loved you]] and the [[TooHappyToLive ultimate futility of happiness]]. Anything with an unambiguously HappyEnding is a piece of cheap boring commercial tripe or even [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotPolitical propaganda]]. (And outright [[ComedyGhetto comedies]]? Bourgeois garbage!)

Naturally, [[BlackAndGreyMorality nobody is really]] [[GrayAndGreyMorality the good guy]] in these stories. If there is a [[AudienceSurrogate sympathetic viewpoint character]], don't expect their suffering to be the prelude to a [[EarnYourHappyEnding ultimate triumph]]. No, they have 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 them win]] and get away with it [[KarmaHoudini scot-free]] while we are at it? That ought to drive home [[{{Anvilicious}} the message]] that [[CrapsackWorld life is suffering]].

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

Contrast AngstAversion (though they can overlap) and SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers. DarknessInducedAudienceApathy is an audience reaction voicing emphatic disagreement with the creator's notion of this trope.

!!Note: Administrivia/InUniverseExamplesOnly, please.

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

[[folder:Comic Book]]
* ''Comicbook/ArneAnka'': Arne seems to belive this, with most of his work being either incredibly confusing, or dark and depressing.
* ''ComicBook/{{Bamse}}'': Usually, Brum's artwork is pretty cheery, but the trope was invoked in the story where he went through a "dark" period due to a rejection from a girl he liked and was promptly "discovered" as an artist.
* In the final issue of ''ComicBook/FlexMentallo'', the Hoaxer invokes this trope while discussing the nature of comics. He mentions how it's usually the darkest, most depressing books that win the most acclaim, but goes on to argue that the desire to have everything be as bleak and DarkerAndEdgier as possible is just as juvenile as an insistence on constant happy endings.
* ''ComicBook/XMen:'' An anthology story had [[GentleGiant Colossus]] running into someone who believed this at an art exhibition, criticising Piotr's initial artwork for not being nihilistically depressing. For whatever reason, Piotr decides this guy has a point, and paints another piece while thinking about his dead little sister. The gloomy art critic approves of this second piece.

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

* In ''Film/TheLifeOfEmileZola'', Zola insists on writing about all the injustices and social ills of French society. When the publisher that Zola works for suggests that Zola write about safer topics Zola reacts with contempt, and the publisher fires him.
* ''Film/MoulinRouge'':
** How people react to Creator/HenriDeToulouseLautrec's art.
** Also the ending itself, as what starts out as a happy love story with humor to spare eventually evolves into a tragic drama (though the framing narrative reveals at the start that it will end this way); Satine's consumption is only brought up in the third act, the doctor told ''others'' before her, and it guarantees that she'll die at the end.
*** Most likely because the whole plot is heavily inspired by the opera La Traviata, by Giuseppe Verdi, where Violetta (Satine's opera counterpart) also shows mild symptoms during Act 1, but is only severely ill and dies at the end, just minutes after her lover reconciles with her.
* Parodied in ''WesternAnimation/TheLEGOMovie''. Wyldstyle claims that Batman is a 'true artist' because he's dark and brooding. In addition, his song is pretty much entirely about darkness and having no parents.
* In Film/TheThirdMan, Harry Lime makes the remark (which was written by OrsonWelles):
--> You know what the fellow said – in UsefulNotes/{{Italy}}, for thirty years under Series/TheBorgias, they had warfare, terror, murder and bloodshed, but they produced [[Creator/MichelangeloBuonarroti Michelangelo]], Creator/LeonardoDaVinci and UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance. In UsefulNotes/{{Switzerland}}, they had brotherly love, they had five hundred years of democracy and peace – and what did that produce? The cuckoo clock. So long Holly.
* At the start of ''Disney/{{Bolt}}'', a woman from the network tells the director of Bolt's ShowWithinAShow that the show is too formulatic and optimistic. They are losing the 18-35 audience because the show is too happy for them.

* ''Literature/AtlasShrugged'': Balph Eubank is a major proponent of the idea.
* ''Literature/SpesPhthisica'': Helen's art only becomes popular when the dead landscapes of her dreams start entering into it
* ''Literature/LifeOfPi'' plays with this trope. The main story is a fantastical one about Pi surviving 227 days on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger. The officials do not believe this account, so Pi tells an alternate, but similar story in which the [[HumansAreBastards animal characters are replaced with humans who cannibalize each other]], with the audience implicitly being posed the question of which one is true. Those who believe in this trope may be more inclined towards the human story.
* Mocked in ''Literature/{{IT}}'', which, like many Creator/StephenKing stories, features a writer as a major character. Bill Denborough, one of the novel's leads, attends a writing program in college in the late 1960's/early 1970's, and finds himself butting heads against the other students in the class and even the teacher, who insists on analyzing every detail of every story in an anti-war, psychosexual model (the same teacher praises another student's play, which lasts for hours and consists of a cast of actors repeating individual words--one word each--that eventually become a sentence against capitalism). When Bill finally gets tired of the constant insistence on finding deeper meanings in everything they write, he asks, "Can't you guys just let a story be a ''story?''" Notably, [[TakeThat he's the only one in his class who becomes a major success.]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheCrazyOnes'': Invoked by Simon in "Sydney, Australia" while he is trying to get Danny Chase, Sydney's stalker-ish former co-worker[[note]]who's subsequently slapped with a restraining order preventing him from getting withing 50 yards of Sydney until 2015[[/note]] (played by Josh Groban), to sell him the rights to the saccharine love song he'd written. Simon succeeds by pointing out that the material written after Sydney broke the co-worker's heart is much better than the song he's trying to buy.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'': In "Vincent and The Doctor", Dr Black -- Bill Nighy's character -- who is an art expert, explains in Van Gogh's presence how the latter managed to "transform the pain of his tormented life into ecstatic beauty" and "use [his] passion and pain to portray the joy and ecstasy and magnificence of our world". And this is why he is the greatest artist who ever lived.
* ''Series/DropTheDeadDonkey'': Joy's doodles of hideous fates for her superiors are lauded as high art.
* ''Series/TheJoyOfPainting'': Invoked only to be {{defied}} by Ross, who said, "We want happy paintings. Happy paintings. If you want sad things, watch the news."
* ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'': Andy thinks the opposite is true.
-->'''Andy''': 'Cause [[Music/NeutralMilkHotel your music]] is sad, and depressing, and weird, and art...is supposed to happy, and fun, and everyone knows that.
* ''Series/SixFeetUnder'': Played straight with everyone but Claire. Claire attains some moderate artistic success with a more upbeat portfolio, but keeps trying to pitch her own work, which is all gloomy shots of gravestones. No one is interested.
* Brian from ''Series/{{Spaced}}'' can only paint when he's unhappy. When he starts dating Twist and becomes very happy, he can't paint anymore, until someone tells him that his uncle died.
* {{Lampshaded}} in the penultimate episode of ''Series/ThatMitchellAndWebbLook'', where the guys discuss giving the show a DarkerAndEdgier KillEmAll finale for the sake of winning acclaim and awards. They specifically cite the similar bleak ending to the final series of ''Series/{{Blackadder}}''. To that end, they seek out and kill the cheeriest cast member they can find for the sake of "Narrative Purposes".
-->'''Robert Webb:''' If this series is to mean anything, ''someone's got to die!''
* Humorously parodied in [[http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/search/high%20school%20theatre these sketches]] from ''Series/SaturdayNightLive.'' Six high school students put on a bizarre, supposedly symbolic show about contemporary life, including the all-white cast pretending to be shot and declaring "AND WE WERE ALL BLACK" and [[NoFourthWall annoying audience interaction]]. Their parents, and even the drama teacher (who's seen [[INeedAFreakingDrink chain-smoking cigarettes]]), are all confused and occasionally offended by the "artistic" piece.

* Satirized in the song ''Miserablism'' by Music/PetShopBoys. Wiki/TheOtherWiki article suggests that it was aimed at Music/{{Morrissey}}, formerly of Music/TheSmiths.
-->Deny that happiness
-->is open as an option
-->No happy endings
-->but a message to depress
-->Just for the sake of it
-->make sure you're always frowning
-->(Angst! Angst! Angst!)
-->It shows the world
-->that you've got substance and depth
* The song [[http://thefump.com/fump.php?id=1843 "Fueled by Angst"]] by Worm Quartet is about the performer's life becoming so good that he no longer has anything to complain about.
* Music/FrouFrou's song "The Dumbing Down Of Love" contains the line "Music is worthless unless it can make a complete stranger break down and cry".
* Mocked rather ruthlessly in Music/BowlingForSoup's song "I'm Gay."
-->''I think rock and roll is [[{{Narm}} really funny]] when it's serious.''\\
''[[SillyRabbitCynicismIsForLosers Don't hate us 'cause we're happy,]]''\\
''don't hate us 'cause we're beautiful!''\\
''Don't hate us if we make you smile,''\\
''or if we go the extra mile''\\
''to make someone feel better on a really shitty day.''\\
''If you're hearin' what I'm sayin', then I want you to say:''\\
''[[HaveAGayOldTime I'M GAY!]]''
** Most of the band's work in general makes a point to avert this -- even their sad/angry songs tend to have a silver lining to them, or at least a bit of comedy to take the edge off.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MacGuffinsCurse'': Played for laughs. The Mayor's office is full of abstract paintings, and Lucas is generally unimpressed.
-->'''Lucas:''' "This one's called 'PAIN BEAUTIFUL PAIN' but it's just a bunch of squares. The corners could be sharp, I guess?"
* In ''VideoGame/AliceMadnessReturns'', in the oriental level, the Cheshire Cat has this to say about one of the paintings.
--> The artist obliterated the distinction between poetry and pessimism.

* ''Webcomic/AvasDemon'': Tuls Tenebrose liked a girl named Ranunculae, but then he died before he [[CannotSpitItOut Could Spit It Out.]]He now spends his days in Maggie's DreamWorld, painting portraits of Ranunculae to the point of bordering on a RoomFullOfCrazy.
* ''Webcomic/LastRes0rt'': Kurt "Geisha" Striaeta figured out that not only was it easier to just kidnap, rape, and petrify his victims in order to make his sculptures, it also got him better reviews from the critics too.
* ''Webcomic/PennyAndAggie'': In-universe, Aggie's rigid adherence to this attitude helps her to produce florid poetry and abysmal videos, and blinds her to the fact that she's quite good at drawing.
* ''Webcomic/TrueBelievers'': Joe Quesadilla claims this as his reason ''Spider-Man'' would sell better if Spidey weren't HappilyMarried.
* In ''Webcomic/TheBirdFeeder'' [[http://thebirdfeeder.com/comic/143 #143]], Lewis states that to sing as well as him, your soul must be filled with terrible sorrow.
* 'Sarah's Scribbles' rejects this in one of her [[http://www.gocomics.com/sarahs-scribbles/2017/07/26 webcomics]], arguing that a happy artist makes great art.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebOriginal/AirHeads'': Claudia Malave's mother states that even as a young child, Claudia would’ve rather “drawn a witch under the moonlight than a princess.”
* During a review of ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
-->''As usual there's plenty of angst and gloom:''
--->--'''Strega''', ''Website/TelevisionWithoutPity''
* ''WebVideo/CommentaryTheMusical'': Parodied, of course. (With SelfDeprecation, as Creator/JossWhedon known for putting his characters through the wringer.)
-->'''Creator/NeilPatrickHarris''': An Internet musical is a wacky idea that's zany! Where did it come from?
-->'''Creator/JossWhedon''': It came from pain.
* ''WebVideo/EpicRapBattlesOfHistory'': Bob Ross accuses Picasso of this and specifically mentions his "Blue Period". This contrasts his own belief that paintings can be happy and loving.
* ''WebAnimation/ExtraCredits'': Discussed in the episode [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lzU8wM_S2Ks "Hard Boiled,"]] where they show that just because ''VideoGame/MaxPayne 3'' is DarkerAndEdgier than its previous entries in its series, doesn't inherently make it more artistic.
* ''WebVideo/TheCinemaSnob'' parodies this as part of the character, such as insisting that if you have a movie with a plot similar to ''Film/{{Xanadu}}'' it should take itself a lot more seriously. Though he also parodies the inconsistent application of this mindset when it comes to certain genres, such as {{Slasher Movie}}s.
* [[http://www.scp-wiki.net/scp-3817 SCP-3817]] from the [[Wiki/SCPFoundation SCP Foundation]] is an immortal clone of deceased German composer Felix Mendelssohn whose body has numerous self-inflicted injuries. He has no intention to end his existence, but instead embraces his suffering because he believes it enhances his artistic merit, owing the decision to the other great artists whose difficult lives inspired their work.
* Parodied in ''[[WebAnimation/AwesomeSeries Awesome Fantasy VII]]'' where Cloud and Vincent act hilariously emo, ending with an old man telling his grandson "And that's why it's the best game ever!"

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'': "Legends of the Dark Mite!" takes a hilarious swipe at viewers who complain about the LighterAndSofter feel of the series.
-->'''Fanboy dressed as Batman''': I always felt Batman was best suited in the role of gritty urban crime detective? But now you guys have him up against Santas? And Easter Bunnies? I'm sorry, but that's not my Batman! \\
'''The Creators''': ''[whispering among themselves, eventually handing a note to Bat-Mite]'' Here, read this. \\
'''Bat-Mite''': Batman's rich history allows him to be interpreted in a multitude of ways. To be sure, this is a [[LighterAndSofter lighter incarnation]], but it's certainly no less valid and true to the [[Franchise/{{Batman}} character's roots]] as the tortured avenger crying out for Mommy and Daddy. ''[makes the paper disappear]'' And besides, those Easter Bunnies looked [[HairRaisingHare really scary]], right?! \\
'''Creator/BruceTimm (dressed as [[WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries Mark Hamill's Joker]])''': Meh.
* ''WesternAnimation/WhatsOperaDoc'': Invoked by Bugs at the {{punchline}}:
-->"Well what did ya expect in an opera -- a ''happy'' ending?"
* Mocked by ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'', at the end of the episode "Action Packed", when a French kid is given back his fairy godfather: "My heart she is glad! But my art...she will suffer...".
* Parodied in one episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Kaeloo}}'', where [[TooDumbToLive Stumpy shoots his own head off with a bazooka]] after making art, since Mr. Cat told him that artists revel in pain.
* During ''WesternAnimation/BoJackHorseman'' season 2, Bojack and film director Kelsey Jannings try to make a gritty, realistic and tragic movie about the life of the racehorse Secretariat. The studio eventually develops some reservations about the movie, leading to Kelsey getting fired and a script rewrite making the movie more sentimental and optimistic with a new director attached. This is portrayed as a creatively bankrupt decision made entirely with money and audience accessibility in mind, with the new direction being treated as trite and hackneyed compared to the honest, emotionally weighty movie that Bojack and Kelsey wanted to make.