"If you ask me, you people are too happy. The essence of drama is conflict... which is why they gave me this tazer!"''
The trouble is that we have a bad habit, encouraged by pedants and sophisticates, of considering happiness as something rather stupid. Only pain is intellectual, only evil interesting. This is the treason of the artist: a refusal to admit the banality of evil and the terrible boredom of pain.
No doubt the truth can be unpleasant, but I am not sure that unpleasantness is the same as the truth.
"And so, the prince and the princess lived happily ever... Happily!? Happiness in stories is at most a trifling matter of a couple of lines at the end — the epitome of boredom. Now, show me a magnificent tragedy! A cataclysm of tears from which not one of the players is saved, and to which a happy ending never comes!"
—Drosselmeyer, Princess Tutu
Neil Patrick Harris: An Internet musical is a wacky idea that's zany! Where did it come from?
"Let's not talk to Joss. He's sad and confusing."
"Well, what did you expect in an opera? A happy ending?"
—Bugs Bunny, "What's Opera, Doc?", Looney Tunes
"It's partly an expression of my teenage angst. But mostly it's a moo-cow."
—Chris Griffin, "A Picture's Worth A Thousand Bucks," Family Guy
"I HATE comedies. The world is so shitty, why pretend it's not." [sic]
—Raven, friend of Tara Gilesbie
Here's something unpleasant: All art comes from demons. Not real demons, in most cases, but demons of angst and horrible memories and sexual frustration. You get beat up in school because, while the cool kids are putting bruises on each other on the football field, you were sitting on the steps writing your science-fiction stories. That fear and tension that winds itself around your soul like steel wire as you try nervously to sneak out of the locker room before the big kids give you a Wedgie and a Tittie-Twister and a Dirty Sanchez, all that builds up into adulthood. Art is how you let it out.
"It isn't gloomy, it's profound."
—Henrik, A Little Night Music
''No one in the world
Ever gets what they want
And that is beautiful
Frustrated and sad
I'm sure a lot of people will not be happy with this ending, but I have to say that I'm impressed with it. The series didn't take the easy way out. Instead it ended on a realistic note, as one of the things that everyone faces in life is having to part with friends as they find themselves on a different path. Not that the ending is a completely down one, as the writers left it open for our heroes, especially Nikki and her love interest Jonesy, to reconnect again sometime in the future. But even with that out series creators Tom McGillis and Jennifer Pertsch must have known the ending would upset some viewers, and one assumes must have considered taking the easy way out. They didn't, and I give them a thumbs up for that.
Sally: I love old things. They make me feel sad.
Kathy: What's good about sad?
Sally: It's happy for deep people.
—Doctor Who, Blink
I am a monopolar depressive descended from monopolar depressives. That's how come I write so good.
...all things in the world, if they are just left alone and paid no attention, are bound to advance in a negative direction. It's on the same principle that we can't stop the universe from getting colder, regardless of what we do. This world is only maintained in existence by a series of logical, common-sense processes; it can never escape the bondage of its physical laws.
Therefore, in order to write a perfect ending for a story you must possess the power to break the chain of cause and effect, invert black and white, and act in complete contradiction to the rules of the universe. Only a heavenly and chaste soul, a soul that resounds with genuine praise for humanity, can save the story; to write a story with a happy ending is a double challenge, to the author's body as well as the mind.
At some point, I lost that power. I still haven't recovered.
"Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief
All kill their inspirations and sing about their grief"
U2, The Fly
"Ooooh... Medical drama. Life and death stakes. Compelling human conflict... RATINGS."
— The Joker, Justice League — "Wild Cards part 2"
You pick me up from school,
You attended all my sporting functions.
You bought me a car,
Gave me use on a credit card.
But how can I feel pain?
How can I feel pain?
How can I feel pain
When you're being so supportive?
—Bill Bailey "How can I feel Pain"
I'm trying to right my wrongs,
but it's funny these same wrongs helped me write this song
—Kanye West "Touch the Sky"
Sugar melts and goes away
But vinegar lasts forever
—The Residents, "Vinegar"
Hawke: Who needs more despair in their diet? What is that good for?
Servant: I've heard that artists are fond of it.
I hate a happy ending.
— Rodge, A Scare at Bedtime, "The Cravings"
Just as bad artists imitate the superficial style of a better artist but miss the fundamentals, bad writers do the same. As a result, we seem to have ended up with an unspoken assumption among many writers and readers that downbeat and grim equals intelligent and somewhat deep. It doesn't. But merely adopting that style gives a book the impression of a depth it simply doesn't have. It's a bit like teenagers wearing black.
"In a time of dismay and dread, is it admirable for filmmakers to depict pure evil? Have 9/11, suicide bombers, serial killers and kidnappings created a world in which the response of the artist must be nihilistic and hopeless? At the end of your film, after the other characters have been killed in sadistic and gruesome ways, the only survivor is the one who is evil incarnate, and we hear his cold laughter under a screen that has gone dark. Your answer, that the world is evil and therefore it is your responsibility to reflect it, is no answer at all, but a surrender."
— Roger Ebert, to David DeFalco on his film Chaos.
"People read books for different reasons. Some read for comfort. And some of my former readers have said their life is hard, their mother is sick, their dog died, and they read fiction to escape. They donít want to get hit in the mouth with something horrible. And you read that certain kind of fiction where the guy will always get the girl and the good guys win and it reaffirms to you that life is fair. We all want that at times. Thereís a certain vicarious release to that. So Iím not dismissive of people who want that. But thatís not the kind of fiction I write, in most cases."