Quotes: Stepford Smiler

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    Anime and Manga 

Lying tears hurt others; lying smiles hurt only oneself.

I'm smiling now...right?
— Wolfgang Grimmer, Monster

"[The Misha you know is different from the one I think of, when I think of the time we first met. Even though I think she looks better cheerful and smiling, that isn't how she typically is.]"
Shizune Hakamichi, Katawa Shoujo

Sumire: As always... your salesman smile is absolutely cruel..
Teru: Oh...? You know, there's quite a few people I'm actually grateful to. I wasn't lying...
Sumire: Right, but it's just too different from your normal self.
Saki, after Teru puts on a cheerful and polite face at a press conference.


“I think he still blamed himself,” she says in the blandest tone, “even though I told him I was okay.”
“He does that sometimes,” you agree. “But I don't think you were really okay, and even though you lied to yourself, I think you couldn't lie to him.”
She turns to look at you, her face as blank and expressionless as her empty eye sockets.
“But I'm okay,” she says, her voice still lacking inflection. “I was okay. I'm okay,” she repeats, and blinks rapidly.
You brush a lock of hair back from her face, and the contact surprises her, even though you had your hand on your shoulder just a minute ago.
“Are you really, though?” you ask kindly, and she hiccups. Fat, reddish tears start rolling down her cheeks.

But he got it now. He got what everyone was looking for. It wasn't for him to be happy, and he wasn't trying to be mean thinking about that. People wanted other people to fit into a nice, neat package with smartly tied bows that were the right color to match the wrapping paper. People wanted to be able to classify other people, and for them to behave according to code.
Light found his code.
His role is son, older brother, protector, student, genius, role model, kind, earnest. His role is to be perfect so they don't have to worry again, so they won't say he's abnormal, strange, worrisome (all whispered in the dark night across the kitchen table when they thought he was asleep).
Solitude, a Death Note fanfic.

Ruby, on the other hand, acts like she doesn’t come back to the dorm looking pensive on most nights, leaves and flower petals stuck to her hair; acts like she doesn’t shift closer to you in bed on others. Ruby acts like what happens past midnight happens on a different plane, another reality even, like she wants to keep the part of her that wolfs down cookies and swings around gun-scythes with pinpoint precision and playfulness separate from the part of her that shuffles to bed with you during the early morning hours.
It’s worrying.
It’s worrying and you understand why she does it.

"He won't stop crying."
"And you're going to stop him by killing him?" Hastur said.
Zirah stared at him in wide-eyed innocence. He looked puzzled.
"Why not?"

Some of your friends are surprised by how excitable and confident you seem, and you don’t blame them at all. That’s not you. You try to force yourself to be as happy as you possibly can all the time, but that’s only a distraction. She’s still there in your head, still talking to you. Telling you how weak you are. How you’re not good enough. How you’ve never been good enough for anything. How you won’t win this one. You can’t win this one. You’ve never won anything in your life. You know none of it’s true, but that doesn’t stop you from worrying, a nervous feeling eating away at you. What if you aren’t good enough for this? What if you can’t win? After all, she knows you as well as you know yourself.

Frigga appeared the perfect caregiver. She walked through the castle, gave comfort where it was needed, and did not let her face slip.
Narration, "Enduring", a Thor fanfic

Light pulled himself up to the counter, putting on his, 'I'm completely normal and if you don't believe me, I'll Kill You!,' façade.
The Faceless, a Death Note fanfic.

Earn your worth with your devotion, sacrifice and strive
Another set of orders is another day alive.

    Film — animated 

Don't let them in
Don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Don't feel
Put on a show
Make one wrong move, and everyone will know
Queen Elsa preparing for the day, Frozen

    Film — live-action 

Everyone smiles with that invisible gun to their head.


"He always smiled, and he always chuckled, but inside he did not notice anyone, did not care; it was his body that smiled, nodded and shook hands. Nothing touched his mind, which remained remote."

It was there,
she crafted her first mask;
imbued with betrayal and hurt.
She named it confidence
and put it on
— "Masks" a poem by MaroonLynx

I had become a perfect fake human, saying the stupid and pointless things that humans say to each other all day long. No one suspected what crouched behind my perfect imitation smile.
Dexter Morgan in Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

She seemed like a creature made to attract everyone and express nothing real
Magnus Bane The Bane Chronicles

Plus, humor was a good way to hide the pain.
Leo Valdez (narration), The Heroes of Olympus

    Live-action TV 

Donna Noble: You alright?
Tenth Doctor: I'm always alright.
Donna Noble: Is 'alright' special Time Lord code for 'really not alright at all'?
Tenth Doctor: Why?
Donna Noble: 'Cause I'm alright too.

Hal: My God, Annie. Yours is even better than mine.
Annie: My what?
Hal: Your mask.

No, Orson Hodge isn't exactly the guy I'd have picked to head my family, but I'll give him one thing... he's got the smile down cold.
Rex Van de Kamp, Desperate Housewives


I'm smiling but I'm dying
—"Nothing", The Script

There's a crack in my soul
You thought was a smile

If it's getting harder to face everyday...
Don't let it show... don't let it show...
—"Don't Let It Show", The Alan Parsons Project

At first when I see you cry
It makes me smile
Yeah it makes me smile
At worst I feel bad for a while But then I just smile
Yeah I go ahead and smile
— "Smile", Lily Allen

You are scum, you are scum and I hope that you know
That the cracks in your smile are beginning to show
Now the world needs to see that it's time you should go
There's no light in your eyes and your brain is too slow
Can't believe you were once just like anyone else
Then you grew and became like the devil himself
Pray to god I can think of a nice thing to say
But I don't think I can, so fuck you anyway
—"Fuck U", Archive

I'm a tour guide on the Jungle Cruise ride
Skipper Dan is the name
And I'm doin' thirty-four shows every day
And every time it's the same
Look at those hippos, they're wigglin' their ears
Just like they've done for the last fifty years
Now I'm laughin' at my own jokes but I'm cryin' inside
'Cause I'm workin' on the Jungle Cruise ride
—"Skipper Dan", "Weird Al" Yankovic

How is it that I smile when I am sad?
From what resource do I derive this strength?
—"Blackbird Sonnets, III", Emilie Autumn

Even the people who never frown eventually break down
—"Pushing Me Away", Linkin Park

What Megaman and my brothers don't know, is this flash is all for show
'Cause inside, there's nothing there, and there's nothing to me,
I'm empty, and I'm hollow
— "Flashman", The Megas

I always wear a smile
Because anything but a smile would make me have to explain
And they wouldn't understand anyway
I conceal my feelings so I won't have to explain
What I can't explain anyway
—"Can't Decide", Black Flag

We wear the mask that grins and lies
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes
This debt we pay to human guile
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties
—"We Wear the Mask", Paul Laurence Dunbar

You was raised without a daddy,
You're really not happy,
You only smile to cover the rain...
GemStones, Skeletons

"It's okay," he smiles and says
Though his loneliness is driving him crazy
He don't show what goes on in his head,
But if you watch very close, you'll see it all
— "Lonesome Loser", Little River Band

With a smile, I'm dying inside
But I know, I'll be just fine
"Just the Thing", Paul Mac

Hold on, baby you're losing it
The water's high, you're jumping into it
And letting go
and no one knows
That you cry, but you don't tell anyone
That you might not be the golden one
And you're tied together with a smile but you're coming undone''
Taylor Swift, Tied Together With A Smile

All that great heart lying still
In silent suffering
Smiling like a clown until the show has come to an end
Nightwish, Song Of Myself

I won't scream in my head
And let it isolate me
— "I Won't Be Left", Tegan and Sara

So silent
No violence
But inside my head
So loud and clear
You're screaming
You're screaming
Covered up with a smile I've learned to fear...
— "Still Alive", by Lisa Miskovsky


Step one: separate your lips.
Step two: use facial muscles to pull back the corners of your mouth.
Step three: widen your eyes.
This is how to be happy.


Smile! (no response) Little girl, this is an adult speaking! I order you to smile.
Albert, Bye Bye Birdie

    Video games 

If I sound pleased about it, its only because my creators made this my default tone of voice. I'm actually quite depressed!
Claptrap, Borderlands 2

That's how the family works. Daddy brings home a paycheck and goes away with his secretary, while Mommy cooks dinner and keeps a brave face on things. All the while, her heart is breaking. Where are my pills...
Jan Brown, Vice City Public Radio panelist.

Hawke: I have a smile on my face. That should be enough for most people.
Aveline: That doesn't work on me.

And I've been telling Yuna... Let's go to Zanarkand together! Let's beat Sin! I told her all the things we could... we could... And all along, the whole time, I didn't know anything! But Yuna, she'd... just smile.
Tidus, Final Fantasy X

You said it made you happy when I smiled, didn't you? But really... I was afraid. I was always afraid.
Oerba Dia Vanille, Final Fantasy XIII.

No, no... I shouldn't be laughing. Nothing's funny.
Laughing Octopus, Metal Gear Solid

    Web Original 

Camille Cosby pretty much made it clear where she stands when she put on a manufactured, creepy, Stepford Wife smile as her husband got pissy with an AP reporter for asking him about all the sexual abuse allegations against him. Camille Cosby didn’t need to say shit. We all know that she’s been putting her fingers in her ear holes and singing, 'Stand by your maaaaaaan,' at the top of her lungs as accuser after accuser after accuser after accuser comes out. Camille is Ride or Die all the way even if the ride is filled with women he’s drugged up.
Michael K., "Bill Cosby’s Wife Thinks He’s The Real Victim"

This character, she didn’t make the jokes because she thought nothing of it, or because the experience was funny. She told the joke because she knew that the alternative was people looking at her with pity, or disinterest, calling her dramatic or a fool for staying. So she willingly became the fool. She knows that if she lets that mask slip, if people see the scars beneath the innocent facade, they won’t love her anymore. So she tries extra hard. I sat there for the first act whilst she ran around, singing and dancing. I watched as they whispered about how stupid she was. And I thought, ‘no’. This is a woman who is screaming inside. Maybe she’s not even screaming anymore. Maybe she’s dead. And she just makes this physical shell of herself keep laughing and flirting and dancing, because if she didn’t, she’d see that look in her best friend’s eyes. She’d hear that word- ‘victim’. And maybe that would be worse than death.
She was the most intelligent character in that play. And somehow she could still carry on as the most light hearted. She took all that darkness inside her and kept the lights shining for everybody else.
— Blogger thebjdhotel

    Western animation 

Well, it doesn't matter how you feel inside, you know? It's what shows up on the surface that counts. That's what my mother taught me — take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down, past your knees until you're almost walking on them. And then you'll fit in, and you'll be invited to parties, and boys will like you, and happiness will follow!
—-Marge Simpson, The Simpsons

"I know smiles, and those smiles... they're just not right!"

    real life 

I think we all have a dark side to us. I find that I can't trust sunny-natured people, people who are constantly sunny. I think that's major denial.
—Actor Gordon Tomson