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Similar to the commercial break example below, this trope can happen during the break itself. It can be pretty jarring when they show a St. Jude or animal abuse commercial and then go immediately into a normal, upbeat ad.
Mood Whiplash is very much present in the Hunger Games fanficion Some Semblance of Meaning, which tends to fluctuate between humor, heartwarming, and angst, often over the course of a single chapter.
There are two things that Ken Matsudaira is well-known for. One of them is starring as a tough samurai in the Japanese TV series The Violent Shogun, in which he saves village after village from different menaces like corrupt officials. He occasionally did stage shows where the first act involved samurai dramas along a similar line. The second act of his show quickly became the other thing Matsudaira is famous for.
This happens all the time with television commercials. One minute, you're nearly bawling at the sad, dying animals, and then "HAVE YOU GOT DIARRHEA?!?!?!" Cue upbeat music. Yes, you can go crawl in a hole and die now.
Happened during every single commercial break for Kate Gosselin's interview before the final episode of Jon And Kate Plus Eight. One minute you're seeing the Tear Jerker account of a woman whose marriage has come undone in a very public manner, then light-hearted music and previews for the two giant-family shows that'll be replacing hers.
The Hallmark channel is especially guilty of this, particularly during their 2 am-3 am block of sitcoms. They used to have a commercial for St Jude's Children's Hospital, featuring images of children dying of cancer while a very sad (and somewhat creepy) Pink Martini song plays, during every. single. commercial. break. Usually in the break's final slot, making it somewhat hard to laugh at "Frasier" and "Cheers" when we just watched kids going through chemotherapy.
There's a similar commercial for the Humane Society with sad, abused animals in cages, staring at the viewer with Sorrowful Eyes, over captions like "Why do they beat me?" "When will someone come get me?" while Sarah McLachlan's "Angel" plays. Makes it hard to get back to the inanity of Cheers and the like.
This also happens during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which is one of the most dopey-happy annual TV events this side of the Eurovision Song Contest. Sometimes the last slot(s) in the commercial break will be filled with an ad for a more dramatic NBC fare like Believe, The Blacklist and Chicago Fire, a PSA for something like the aforementioned St. Jude's, and/or something just melancholic. Back from commercial, though, and they hit us with a high-energy dance group/cheerleaders, an upbeat and poppy song from whoever's popular at the time, a troupe of tap-dancing Christmas trees, or the Power Rangers. However, this varies depending on which NBC affilate you're watching it from, as they sometimes overwrite ads to air local promos/promos for other networks.
Hulu, which is basically TV online(complete with commercials) has this in spades. So you're watching a dramatic show where the main character just died/killed someone important/reunited with a lost family member when- Bam! A chipper commercial about makeup or iPods whith bright colors and upbeat music. The fact that most of the commercials aren't lined up to places where there originally should have been a break on the initial TV run just makes it all worse.
Similar to the above, radio stations and TV shows that play music videos well also run into this. More often than not, their programming is almost completely random, and even if they stick to a specific genre, the songs will run the gamut from fun and silly to poignant and sad. Country radio and CMT can be especially prone to this, since country music can be especially gut wrenching. You can jump from a very sad, dramatic song about substance abuse or domestic violence like "Blown Away" from Carrie Underwood straight into a more light-hearted song from Taylor Swift or even a comedy party song like "Red Solo Cup" from Toby Keith.
"Pay For Play" events on radio are among the biggest offenders of this trope. These are day-long radiothons raising money for charity, and their main gimmick is that listeners can request any song, regardless of the station's format (which in this case is almost always top 40 radio), as long as the listener also gives a minimum donation to whatever charity the "Pay For Play" is supporting. Common genres that are requested include - but are not limited to - country, oldies (i.e. anywhere from 1950-1999), movie and TV music, hard rock, Christmas music, novelty songs/jingles and overall anything that no other stations in their right mind would play in their free time. One minute you're getting absorbed in something like Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide", Imagine Dragons' "On Top Of The World", or Bette Midler's "Wind Beneath My Wings" when all of a sudden... Rubber duckie, you're the one... For an inverse of this, you can go from stuff like Rebecca Black's "Friday" to stuff like Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You". (This one actually happened during one "Pay For Play" event.)
ABC viewers experienced this while awaiting the start of Game 3 of the 1989 World Series. One moment, the music leading up to the intro is a smooth, James Taylor song...a couple of moments later, the Loma Prieta earthquake hits.
HBO's Comic Relief specials would often alternate between hilarious stand-up comedy performances and solemn "please help the homeless" speeches. Granted, the help the homeless message was the point of the specials, but it was still jarring.
Any sort of music player that allows you to randomly shuffle your music qualifies, as you can go from Ominous Latin Chanting to peppy upbeat pop music or pretty much anything else.
Done in a good way in the short film LOVEFIELD, available here.
In Luminosity, vampires or werewolves apart from their mates grow steadily more depressed, and their mates dying can be cause for a Despair Event Horizon. Meeting up with a mate creates instant euphoria. Combining the two once took Jasper from half-mindless killer to incredibly happy, intelligent and devoted husband.
A National Geographic article about women in Afghanistan had photos that went like this: A thirteen year old girl who tried to commit suicide by setting herself on fire; an Afghan wedding where the ladies are wearing fancy Western-style dresses and what appears to be the entire country's supply of makeup; then another teenager who tried to escape an abusive marriage and had her ears and nose cut off (this is apparently a common thing; another photo on NGS's site echoes the famous "Afghan Girl" photo, only the subject has no nose); then some young girls from the wedding getting prepped at a beauty salon.
This entry for the Wacom Bring Your Vision To Life: Dreams Contest. On the top left corner, we have a boy's parents mourning in front of a doctor at a hospital; and on the right, we have three little animals greeting that boy at a stairway to a potentially pain-free world.
Past Sins uses it to mark the point where things start to go downhill....
Suivre la parade, the second major touring show by comedian Louis-Josť Houde, takes a pretty dark turn in the second act: it goes from rapid-fire observational humour and crazy anecdotes to Houde recounting the story of his girlfriend's abortion. The jokes in this section are, understandably, fewer and much less "zany."
There's this British driving PSA called "Crash". It starts off looking like a car commercial from the point-of-view of the driver - happy, bright, and peppy. Around half way the driver begins to nearly hit several people but it looks like it'll be played the laughs... Until the end where he hits a guy and the music stops.
Turnabout Storm has constant minor examples of these, par the course of one of the series involved in the crossover, swinging constantly between comedic, serious, and suspenseful mood. Part 4 has the most extreme example, which at one point goes from a really sad and heartwarming scene to a hysterical fit of rage.
A PSA about buzzed driving shows paramedics working on a guy in the back of an ambulance. His friend is riding along and crying while saying "This isn't happening! I just had a couple of drinks! I wasn't drunk! I was just buzzed!" One paramedic stops and says "Oh. Why didn't you say so?" Another says. "Yeah, that changes everything. This isn't happening." The guy sits up, tubes still attached, and says "I feel much better now!" The friend says "Really?" They all say "Nope!" The guy falls back on the gurney and the paramedics go back to work.
In NASCAR, Michael Waltrip took the checkered flag in first at the 2001 Daytona 500, then learned a half hour later that Dale Earnhardt had crashed in turn 4 and had been killed instantly.
Similarly, at the 1994 San Marino Formula One Grand Prix, Ferrari's test driver Nicola Larini (substituting for the regular driver Jean Alesi) finished second - his career best result at his team's home circuit. He drove the slow-down lap waving to the crowd and flying a Ferrari flag, only to learn that Ayrton Senna had died after a crash earlier in the race.
On August 31st, 2013, Toonami aired Evangelion 2.22, a very serious, dark, and depressing movie. They followed this up with a special "treat" that would air right after the movie and again after Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Big O. What was this "treat"? Kick-Heart, a comedic and surreal animated short produced by Production I.G.
Chapter 43 of Hivefled consists mostly of the human gang watching terrible troll porn, complete with riffs from the boys, and then suddenly they see something which misleads them into believing they are harbouring a rapist.
Happens in this commercial. A group of students decide to blow off school, and hang out at a beach. They're having a good time, and we have upbeat music playing... and then the music stops, and the students start blowing up. The "beach" was an explosives testing site. The message is "This is what happens when you slack off".
Pleasant Meadows begins as a COYA fanfic featuring many underappreciated Touhou characters, written on the same board as A Wizard Is You. After the main character, a butler, gets a chance to meet all of said characters, the host of the gathering, Yukari Yakumo, is bloodily murdered, and the rest of the fanfic plays out as a slasher-film-style survival fic. The Whiplash strikes again at the end; because voters couldn't decide between the MC ending up with two different characters, the author made it so both happens through a Phlebotinum Breakdown, and the fic ends with four characters, including two clones of the main character, yelling at Yukari for screwing things up.