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Getting Smilies Painted on Your Soul

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"Now you'll always be happy."
Zim: Ah, yes, ummm... "Nick". Neural experiment #231. And how is the happiness probe in your brain doing today, filthy human?
Nick: It's great! I never want to leave this magical place! I'm so happy!

A character is made happy against their will. Although maybe unwelcome, the happiness is real: the character is actually happy, not merely being forced to pretend. This may be done by drugs, Psychic Powers, Brainwashing for the Greater Good or simple persuasion. This trope comes in many flavors: The happiness can be blissful, romantic, purely sexualized, or whatever.

Related to Lotus-Eater Machine, but the character is aware of what's happening to them and isn't entirely disconnected from the surrounding world. Also related to Love Potion, although that one is usually not pleasant, and Glamour, where a crowd is made to perceive a character as beautiful and perfect and their very best friend. Not to be confused with Happiness Is Mandatory, which doesn't actually help people to be happy — but if they are, then it's Happiness in Mind Control.

Sometimes done by a Totalitarian Utilitarian person or organisation. Dystopia Is Hard, what with The Evils of Free Will and all, but this eliminates a lot of the potential headaches in one fell swoop. When done on a sufficiently large scale, it usually results in a Crapsaccharine World or Assimilation Plot... or both. When used as a weapon, this is a Care-Bear Stare.

Super-Trope of Electric Instant Gratification.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Danganronpa 3: The End of Hope's Peak High School, this is the final plan for Kazuo Tengen. After coming to believe that all traces of despair must be eradicated, including feelings of sadness, anger, and fear, he devices a plan that would push Ryota Mitarai into using his animation skills to permanently brainwash the entire world into feeling nothing but hope. Tengen knows that he's doing what Junko did to create the Ultimate Despair, but he doesn't care anymore. He just wants despair to end no matter the cost.
  • In Himenospia, Himeno is a wasp mutant with an ovipositor sting. Women pierced by the sting become kinder, more confident and retain their autonomy, but also fall head over heels for their queen and become willing to do anything for her sake. Himeno starts out very concerned about how genuine her soldiers' affections towards her are, but her background as a victim of ridiculous abuse and a bloody conflict against the police causes her to go ahead and convert a ton of women to establish a feminist utopia within Japan.
  • Karin:
    • Benevolent example: Karin has an affinity for unhappy people, and when biting them (which injects blood instead of sucking it out, because she's an unusual kind of vampire), she induces a temporary state of wellbeing, overflowing energy and general happiness. From what we've seen, this effect can linger for well over a week. Fortunately, the rest of her family can perform Laser-Guided Amnesia, and will generally 'clean up' after her, so her 'victims' don't remember anything — they just wake up somewhere feeling really, really happy!
    • Her brother qualifies too, as while drinking blood, he also drinks stress, relaxing those he feeds on.
    • While Karin's ability to devour unhappiness proved beneficial to some characters, its potential dark side is also shown in one incident when Karin winds up draining the unhappiness of a girl who has run away from home, gotten caught up in underage prostitution, but was about to run back home when she met Karin. If it means anything, she probably went back home after the euphoria wore off.
  • In Naruto, the Big Bad's goal is to create a new world in which everyone will be happy, through forcing them all into an endless illusion. What he doesn't know, however, is that the endless illusion is only part of the true Big Bad's goal to turn everyone into obedient White Zetsu soldiers.
  • One Piece:
    • Miss Goldenweek has "color traps" that induce a particular emotion in their victims. Luffy is recipient of two that replicate this trope, the first of which makes him laugh uncontrollably, and the second of which makes him sit down peacefully and enjoy some tea... while his friends are slowly getting turned into wax statues. The visible strain on his face as he tries to fight it while still saying "This... tea... is... DELICIOUS!" through gritted teeth borders on terrifying.
    • The synthetic SMILE Devil Fruits have a very low success rate: nine recipients out of ten completely lose the ability to express emotions properly, leaving them unable to do anything but smile and laugh, though their actual emotions aren't changed. Even if a loved one should be killed right in front of them, they can do nothing but smile and laugh, with only their tears, and the context of the situation, to convey their true feelings. Shogun Orochi introduced the dud SMILE Fruits to the starving citizens of Wano in order to create a façade of a happy country.

    Comic Books 
  • This is what being a Phalanx Select entails Annihilation: Conquest. You're enslaved to their hive mind, and will sing its praises, even (as Drax demonstrates) while still being pissed about having it done to you in the first place.
  • In the finale of The Black Ring (Action Comics #900), Lex Luthor merges with a powerful Energy Being from the Phantom Zone that grants him godlike power. As a demonstration of his new power, he sends a wave of pure bliss through all of creation. Of course, it doesn't last. One of the conditions for keeping this new power is that it can't be used to do anything negative, such as killing Superman, and Luthor, being Luthor, can't accept that.
  • Milo Manara's Click is a porn comic that revolves around a remote control and brain graft that can somehow control how turned on a certain person is.
  • One Deadpool arc has Deadpool face the "Messiah", a giant alien being whose mere presence creates a state of bliss, which eliminates free will in the process. Deadpool himself is immune due to his cancerous, constantly regenerating brain, and manages to kill it.
  • The Flash villain Psycho-Pirate has the ability to control emotions, and he'll often use this Trope to sort out problematic people. When he winds up resurrecting a number of characters who died in the recent Crisis on Infinite Earths, he keeps them from being taken over by the trauma of their own deaths by saying, "Smile. Smile and be happy." — an unusually benevolent version of his trope.
  • Delirium, the Anthropomorphic Personification of madness in The Sandman (1989), once encountered a little girl who paid her a compliment. "So I did something to her. Something so that she'll always be happy. Always be happy forever and ever and ever." Different from most examples of this trope, in that Delirium did this not for ulterior motives, but because of her Blue-and-Orange Morality born of madness.
  • In Supergod, this is one of the creepiest aspects of Morrigan Lugus. In spite of being a huge fungal undead abomination, its presence biochemically forces human brains into a state of religious and sexual ecstasy, making the humans kneel before it in prayer and masturbation. Oh, and the same spores that have this effect on the brain also destroy the lungs — the first batches of scientists died.
  • Revka Temerlune Edifex Scyros III a.k.a. The Psycho-Man from Ultimate Fantastic Four uses his powers to make people feel blissfully happy while worshiping him as their master.
  • Nate Grey becomes disturbingly capable of this on his return in Uncanny X-Men (2018), thanks to being an immensely powerful telepath.
  • Wonder Woman (1942): In The Golden Age of Comic Books, the Amazons lock their prisoners into Venus Girdles which force them to obey every order and be happy about it. The only heroic character who ever even seems uncomfortable about mind controlling their prisoners is Mala. The only prisoner to manage to hold onto her own fury at the injustice of her imprisonment and do anything to subvert the girdles while locked in one — outside of eagerly asking for its removal when given a chance — is Byrna Brilyant, who manages to secretly build a new and improved set of Powered Armor while imprisoned on Reformation Island.

    Fan Works 
  • In many recursive Deconstruction Fics of The Conversion Bureau, the ponification potion tends to do this to the human converts, or newfoals as they're called in the universe. In mild cases, it makes the imbiber more likely to be happy. In more extreme (and creepy) cases, it makes the imbiber unable to feel any other emotion besides happiness. More specifically:
    • In The Conversion Bureau: Not Alone, the newfoals are capable of feeling sadness and frustration, but they're generally unable to really get angry and are noted to be very passive and unassertive. In the end, it's revealed that this is due to the potion wiping away the human convert's original personality and replacing it with a new one.
    • The Conversion Bureau: The Other Side of the Spectrum is one of the more extreme and creepy cases: not only is it nigh-impossible for them to feel any other emotions besides constant happiness (though they can be angered if their Berserk Button — that is, insulting Celestia and Equestria — is pushed), but they also have no free will or ability to resist commands of native Equestrians, they have virtually no sense of self-preservation, they look brain-dead, and one character questions if they have any higher brain function. Which isn't even going into the horror of what happened to the TCB universe versions of the Mane 6 — their bodies have been taken over by sentient, twisted mockeries of the actual TCB Mane Six, who are kept enslaved and tortured in their own minds, while a homunculus drives their bodies around to carry out their master's will.
    • In The Negotiations-verse, the newfoals are described as being creepy Perpetual Smilers who constantly sing Celestia praises all day long in addition to being Extreme Doormats who can't resist the commands of a native Equestrian. Even when she completely trusted Celestia's judgment, Twilight admits in the first story that she always found the newfoals to be "too nice" and even likens them to Starlight Glimmer's "equalized" ponies. Celestia tries to justify it on the grounds that she wanted to rid the humans of their violent urges but insists she never intended for the potion to turn them into doormats devoid of any personality.
  • Celestia threatens to do this to Navarone in Diaries of a Madman, to put a stop to his increasingly self destructive attitude. She only stops when Nav tries to kill himself, rather than have his personality altered.
  • In Friendship is Optimal, most humans are successfully uploaded into a simulated world that promises to "satisfy your values through friendship and ponies", and several epilogues show that this promise was followed through on. Many of the humans have their lives manipulated with total disregard for ethics to coerce them into uploading. This caused around four hundred ponies to petition for death, death being the only possible means of escape, and Princess Celest-A.I. agreed that death would satisfy their values in only 86 cases.
  • In Gaz and the Sinister Social Club, it turns out that the school's social clubs are brainwashing its members into being cheerful and preppy. This is mostly done by constantly making them do repetitive activities that reinforce those attitudes into them, but in extreme cases where the student is able to resist this, they're put in "the Chair," a device straight out of A Clockwork Orange in which they're forced to watch and listen to a nonstop stream of images and music that break down their free will and force them to be obediently cheerful.
  • In Ginny Weasley: Double Life, while Ginny is hypnotized to consider the snake Milikan her mistress, it is made repeatedly clear that Ginny's mind is otherwise unaffected and she has been given fake memories that make her genuinely happy to be Milikan's 'servant,' with her only fear being the possibility of letting her mistress down or being forced to choose between Milikan or Harry, as she doesn't want to give up either. The hypnosis also makes Ginny feel more genuinely happy overall, to the extent that she is noted as always being slightly horny whenever she thinks about Harry while under its influence or when in Milikan's direct presence.
  • Lines and Webs reveals that the Elements of Harmony have been tooled by Celestia to subconsciously do this to all ponies in Equestria as part of her Utopia Justifies the Means plan to end all violence and negative emotion in the world. The most prominent example is Twilight, who after figuring out the plan and trying to resist it, is (in the prologue) blasted by the elements and made to accept.
  • In Lucid Twin Dragons, Emmet is the avatar of Zekrom, dragon god of Ideals, which gives him the power to consume the wills of others and replace it with his own. His victims happily do his bidding, smiling all the while. Elesa finds this horrifying, and he stops for her sake.
  • One step backwards and Three forwards: Among the reality-altering Wishes Hawkmoth and his supporters made was one for Emilie and Adrien to be happy. As a result, both are compelled to be happy, and not question things too closely. When Emilie starts thinking about how her sister and nephew were killed in an accident, this compulsion causes her to briefly blank out entirely.
  • A downplayed, Played for Laughs example is the Herbal Tea of Ultimate Serenity in The Parselmouth of Gryffindor. A potent mix of several calming and cheering potions, it is used on Professor Snape to hilarious effect in Chapter 35.
    "No..." Snape said slowly, resisting, with every fibre of his being, his sudden urge to smile widely and hum a tune. "This... potion... it... is... an... insult... to... the... Art..."
    "Just... leave me... alone... and... let... me... die..." Snape mumbled, almost choking as he held in his impulse to whistle in the sunshine and pet a unicorn.
  • Combined with Light Is Not Good and Played for Laughs in Sith Academy. Obi-Wan Kenobi was a rebellious punk Jedi sent to the Happy Farm mental hospital and forced onto the super-Prozac-esque drug Perkium.
  • Re-education works this way in The Strex Family. It's not surprising given the home continuity and what concept they're based off of — that is, the idea of the "doubles".
  • In the Doctor Who fanfic "Time and Space," it is revealed in Chapter 6 the Monster of the Week is feeding on the negative emotions of the passengers of a cruise ship set adrift, leaving only the positive ones. The results are creepy.
  • Played for Drama in What Tomorrow Brings. After delving deep into Tom's memories, Temrash 114 sets off his pleasure receptors as a "reward" for not resisting, which only makes Tom feel worse. Later, Visser Three does the same to Alloran when they're "reunited" in the splinter universe.

    Films — Animation 
  • More is about a dreary and dystopian world where people buy a product called Happy to escape from reality. The protagonist invents a better product called Bliss, which is a pair of electric goggles that transforms your surroundings into a technicolor dreamland. Because he sacrifices his inner spark (implied to be his childhood innocence) to create it, neither his product nor his resulting riches can cure his depression.
  • Jack Frost from Rise of the Guardians has a less sinister version of this power. By directing a snowflake to fall on someone's nose, it draws out their inner joy, allowing them to appreciate the fun in life. This is because it's revealed that he's the Guardian of Fun and as such, his snow can bring out the cheer and fun-loving side of people. This was hinted when he used this back when he was human so his younger sister would not be afraid.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The title character of Bruce Almighty tries this on his girlfriend to make her fall back in love with him after she leaves him, before remembering that he can't affect free will.
  • Ella Enchanted, like the novel it's based on, has a part where Ella (who's under a supposed blessing that makes it impossible for her to disobey an order) is ordered to be happy about her curse and goes around being terrifyingly cheerful until someone gives her another order to snap her out of it.
  • In Lethal Weapon 4, Riggs and Murtaugh get information out of gangster Uncle Benny by dropping in during a dental appointment and turning up the nitrous oxide (Laughing Gas). Unfortunately, the valve breaks, and they all end up getting high with him.
  • In the backstory of Serenity (2005), the Alliance flooded a planet's atmosphere with a drug called Pax that was intended to induce submissive contented non-aggression in the populace. It worked. By the time a survey team arrived, the vast majority of the planet's population had grown so utterly peaceful that they'd stopped feeding themselves and died of starvation. Additionally, one tenth of a percent of the population's bodies reacted by stimulating aggression and became the Reavers.
  • In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the Vulcan Anti-Villain Sybok uses his telepathic powers to remove people's emotional pain and replace it with euphoria, which causes them to be so thankful that they instantly become his devoted followers.
  • Slightly subverted in Whats So Bad About Feeling Good. The virus does this to people, but it's purely a side effect; the seeming happiness infection is perfectly random in its ultimate source. Nevertheless, the Health Dept. considers this a threat and takes measures to confine it.

  • In Across the Universe (Beth Revis), the Generation Ship Godspeed has drugs in the water supply to keep everyone permanently happy and content. Eldest believes that it's a necessary precaution to stave off Space Madness.
  • After the Revolution: Shortly before the outbreak of the Second American Civil War, the US army created Cyborg Super Soldiers whose pleasure centers were re-wired to give them a high whenever they killed people. Unsurprisingly, it didn't take them long to realise any sort of killing would trigger the high, with predictable (and very, very unfortunate) results for the US civilian population.
  • Mr. Happy in Armadillo Fists suffers from this due to a neurological disorder. He's always happy, all the time. That is why he, despite being a Nice Guy back before the illness set in, now spends his time burning people alive — because the tiny hint of shame he feels for his cruelty is the only thing that even slightly interrupts his non-stop happiness.
  • Barefoot In The Head by Brian W. Aldiss is set in the aftermath of a European war involving mass bombing with psychedelic drugs instead of nukes.
  • In Behind Blue Eyes, this is what happens to the Guardian Angels, a group of cyborg assassins, as they are too dangerous to be allowed to think for themselves. They are all Brainwashed and Crazy and monitored for deviation from the norm but are given vast amounts of power as well as pleasure to keep them docile between missions.
  • In The Belgariad, Polgara explains that the Mad God Torak wants her for his bride — out of covetousness rather than any sincere affection — and that, under his power, she would be deliriously happy as his wife... except for some tiny part of her that would be screaming in horror at having her free will stripped away. Fortunately, she's able to defy him.
  • This is one way soma helps maintain the status quo in Brave New World. When the Savage starts to incite rebellion, the police respond not only with water pistols but with bursts of soma vapor and a prerecorded soothing voice. In fact, the riot began because the Savage disrupted the normally scheduled distribution of soma pills (a routine analogous to payday for the lower castes). Citizens are also engineered and conditioned from birth to love and accept their roles in society and to believe that their tier is the best tier to belong to. For example, Betas are conditioned to be glad they don't have to deal with all the responsibilities of Alphas, while still enjoying perks and advantages unavailable to Gammas and Deltas, such as nicer clothes.
  • In the Daihasei Festival arc of A Certain Magical Index, this is the attempted goal of Lidvia Lorenzetti and Oriana Thompson. Using the Cross of St. Peter, they planned on forcefully converting all of Academy City to Roman Catholicism, with a side-effect being that no one would ever again feel anything but happiness and contentment. Their plans end up foiled when the alignment of the stars, necessary in triggering the spell, are blocked out by the festival fireworks that just so happen to go off at that exact moment.
  • In Coda (2013), the Corp's mandatory music can create artificial highs. Anthem uses this aspect of it frequently.
  • The fury-crafted collars from Codex Alera qualify as this; when the victim does what the controller wants them to, they get pleasured. If they refuse, things get bad.
  • In Count to the Eschaton, dissenters in Nymph society would usually get this (some were allowed cryogenic slumber until a time more palatable to them).
  • In The Dark Tower (2004), after Eddie is mortally wounded in the assault on Algol Siento, Ted and Dinky use their "good-mind" to ease Susannah's grief and make her artificially calm and happy. She reprimands them for it, saying she wants to experience her grief to the fullest.
  • Deathstalker has a religious sect called the "Ecstatics" who have their brains modified to be in a continual state of orgasm.
  • In the Divergent book Insurgent, we learn that one of the reasons members of the Amity faction stay so calm and happy is regular doses of a calming drug. After getting into a fight with Peter in Amity, Tris is given the drug, but because of her slight build, it has a stronger effect, temporarily blissing her out. Also, the entire Amity compound's food supply (specifically the bread) is infused with small amounts of it.
  • In Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, there's a home consumer product called a "mood organ" which allows you to change your mood, and most people use it to be happy all the time. Technically, they do that voluntarily, but really their lives are so miserable they don't have much choice (although there is one character who makes a point of setting aside a regular time, twice a month, to succumb to utter despair for a couple hours).
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Any mental manipulation, even for good reasons, tends to cause catastrophic harm to the subject (the human brain knows that it's being manipulated and fights against it, resulting in severe PTSD under the best case scenario). It's also highly addictive: once you do it you're more and more prone to doing it over and over. As a result, painting a proverbial smiley on someone's soul will get you executed by the magical authorities.
    • Some White Court vampires can do this (specifically the ones that feed on lust). They use it to control and manipulate their victims, since the process also drains Life Energy. Red Court vamps use their narcotic saliva for much the same purpose; since it's addictive, they'll end up with a whole gang of junkie thralls who will do anything for them.
    • In Summer Knight, the Summer Lady Aurora does this to Harry in an effort to convince him to abandon the task given to him by Queen Mab and the White Council to find the Knight's killer. Her motivations are altruistic; she sees Harry is deeply hurt by the events in the previous book, and believes that his interference in the events surrounding the Summer Knight's murder will get him killed, so she offers him a chance to find comfort and peace away from his own inner pain. It would also, of course, get Harry out of her hair so she could complete her plan to use the power of said Knight, whom she helped murder, to destroy the balance between the Faerie Courts and doom the world to a Neo-Ice Age.
    • In the short story "Love Hurts" from Side Jobs, a villain experimenting with redecorating people's minds to make them fall in love causes a number of mysterious suicides.
  • Ella from Ella Enchanted is under a curse that makes it impossible for her to disobey an order. She is once ordered to be happy about this curse. The results are downright creepy.
  • In Eragon, the title character is briefly imprisoned and drugged with some kind of potion that makes him, to be frank, too stupid to realize that he's in danger, replacing fear with mindless happiness. When his jailer enters with a tray of food, all Eragon can think is "Wasn't that nice of him?" He then spends hours staring at the wall in perfect contentment.
  • In Mary Andrew's Fireborn Chronicles, the criminal elements of the universe are sent to a hive planet where they are addicted to a wonderful drug that can only be earned by working, but which the workers are completely content to work for in order to receive. In the second book this addiction accidentally happens to Ira's sister, and she comes to be much more accepting of her new life than he is.
  • In The Forgotten Beasts of Eld, this is the ultimate goal of the Mind Rape that the wizard Mithran attempts on Sybel. He wants to destroy who she is, leaving her still powerful, but happy and content to serve King Drede in all ways.
  • In Good Omens, Crowley (a demon) uses this trope to convince Aziraphale (an angel) that he really doesn't want to go back to heaven.
    Crowley: There's this big mountain, see, a mile high, at the end of the universe, and once every thousand years there's this little bird... flies all the way to this mountain and sharpens its beak on the mountain... When the bird has worn the mountain down to nothing... then you still won't have finished watching The Sound of Music. And you'll enjoy it. You really will. You won't have a choice.
  • Harry Potter:
    • The Cheering Charms probably work this way.
    • Harry seems to be in a state of utter contentment while under the influence of Felix Felicis, a good luck potion. It's mentioned that too much at a time can cause giddiness and overconfidence.
    • The Imperius Curse works this way to the victim; it's a mind-control spell that's described as gently brushing away every thought in the victim's head, leaving them blissfully willing to do whatever the caster wants.
  • Industrial Society and Its Future: Kaczynski expresses fear that with more refined drugs or genetic treatments people could be made happy with the system against their will.
  • The short story "The International Smile" by Brian W. Aldiss concerns the discovery of a drug called "polyannamine", which induces a sense of happiness and wellbeing in anyone who takes it. A permanent sense, as it also causes the person's body to start secreting it themselves. Various characters are dosed or covertly injected with the stuff, culminating in the British Prime Minister making a cheerfully insulting phone call to the Soviet premier, which almost results in war breaking out... until the UK arranges to release a cloud of polyannamine directly over Moscow, resulting in their relationship becoming an exchange of friendly insults. At the end, the US president observes that nobody actually took polyannamine voluntarily, and admits that he and the rest of the world aren't sure whether to envy those who will be happy for the rest of their lives. However, the PM's wife then reveals one detail which was only just discovered: the effects of polyannamine are contagious, meaning that soon the entire human race will be permanently happy...
  • In the Journeys of the Catechist novel Into the Thinking Kingdoms, the Kingdom of Yellow is a place of eternal happiness and laughter. Naturally, beings from outside the Kingdom of Yellow are not like that, so the people who live there "help" by using the merrygolds on them. This causes a person to laugh uncontrollably. It's described as "being fun for about a minute, then being hilarious agony." After a few minutes, you'll end up laughing yourself to death.
  • In Kino's Journey, Kino was born in a country where everyone is happy and content and loves their government... because they all receive a partial lobotomy in their early teens to eliminate discontent. The end of the Whole Episode Flashback has her escaping her knife-wielding parents' cheerful attempts to carry out her death sentence for non-compliance.
  • Known Space:
    • A device called a tasp activates the pleasure center of the brain of anyone it's aimed at, causing the target instant, senseless bliss. It is very dangerous, with even a moment of exposure carrying the risk of addiction, and if used long or frequently enough, could make the target the willing slave of the user. Tasps are outlawed, but pranksters are known to use tasps to target random passersby and "make their day." Pierson's Puppeteers, known for manipulating other species, have been known to use high-powered tasps to condition and control humanoids.
    • The "upgrade" to the tasp is the "wire", a surgically implanted device that can cause the same complete bliss as a tasp, acting much like a drug. Addicts are called wireheads, and sometimes take up the habit after having their day made with a tasp. Wire current is often set a bit lower than a tasp so the user is not so completely lost in euphoria that they're unable to perform basic actions, while still being completely dominated by the "current." Breaking current addiction is extremely difficult, and is a major plot point in Ringworld Engineers, which starts with protagonist Louis Wu as a wirehead after a tasp user made his day in the time since the previous novel.
  • In The Lunar Chronicles, Winter recounts that when she was younger, she found an abused servant trying to kill herself, and used her gift to make her happy. The servant later killed herself anyway. This is what made Winter stop using her power, even at the cost of her sanity, as she no longer believes that the gift can do any actual good.
  • In Masques, the ae'Magi routinely does this to his victims. When he kills people to obtain magic power, they die smiling, happy to be able to be of use to him. Aralorn, who has witnessed some of his murders, still finds herself unable to fight the happiness she feels when he touches her. She's a spy, so that's a good thing, but she's worried that she wouldn't be able to resist even if she tried to.
  • Whenever Ruin in Mistborn: The Original Trilogy takes full control over someone, they start to see things as he sees them: death, destruction, and decay look beautiful in his eyes. Marsh, one of his unwilling minions, is horrified at the murders he carries out on Ruin's orders, but his horror turns to bliss whenever Ruin assumes direct control.
  • In the Mode series by Piers Anthony, Darius is in a position of leadership ("King of Laughter") in his home society, and his qualification is his ability to "multiply joy", making everyone feel the same joy that his wife does. No character ever seems to think that this practice is suspect because the happiness of the masses is "not true happiness", though Darius is bothered by the fact that it has adverse effects on the king's wife's capacity for joy — although even the wife is fully consenting to these adverse effects.
  • In Mostly Harmless, Ford captures a robot and disables the chip that controls access to its "happy module," replacing it with a short piece of wire, thus forcing it to be happy doing anything at all, including intervening between Ford and a missile.
  • In The Mysterious Benedict Society and the Perilous Journey, and the second season of the live-action series which adapts that book, this is Curtain's new plan. He uses a specific pattern of hand movements to make viewers blissfully happy, friendly, and suggestable. It has adverse effects even beyond taking away their autonomy, since a few weeks later, anyone this happens to becomes catatonic, unable to speak or move.
  • Patternist: The titular Supernatural Elite "program" their "mute" Muggle slaves to be happy and obedient — one character notes that it's impossible for a mute to dislike any Patternist, even the horrifically abusive ones. A careless Patternist can reduce a mute to an Empty Shell over time by instinctively pushing any inconvenient thoughts out of their head.
  • In Greg Egan's short story "Reasons to be Cheerful", the protagonist starts out afflicted with a brain tumor that makes him feel, not pleasure, but genuine happiness.
  • Unity does this by way of a collective consciousness in one of the Repairman Jack novels. It can be resisted if the person infected is in the presence of a microwave, but Kate (who becomes infected) knows that prolonged exposure to the Unity will eventually cause her to enjoy her condition and do everything the collective tells her to do.
  • "Search by the Mule": Han Pritcher was Brainwashed by the Mule in the previous story in The Foundation Trilogy, "The Mule". Several times during this story, Pritcher thinks to himself about the way he wants to be loyal to the Mule, and trying to think about the way he used to hate the Mule bothers him. His biggest concern is the way the Mule has described those who have undergone the brainwashing are somehow less capable than before the brainwashing, and being less useful to the Mule than someone who hasn't been brainwashed bothers Pritcher.
    The very contentment with the Conversion was a prime symptom of it, but Han Pritcher was no longer even curious about the matter.
  • In The Silver Chair, the villain uses a combination of supernatural incense and Magic Music to bewitch the heroes into bliss so that they forget their pasts and goals.
  • The aphrodisiac used in Slave World to induce compliance and severe Stockholm Syndrome.
  • In Stars In My Pocket Like Grains Of Sand by Samuel R. Delany, people can actually volunteer for this, and be guaranteed happiness for the rest of their lives. The downside is that they must volunteer for slavery as payment. But they'll be happy slaves. The procedure is called "Radical Anxiety Termination", and the resulting slaves are therefore referred to as "rats".
  • The Stranger Times: The Pinter Institute is rehab centre and mental health resort that churns out happy and fulfilled patients. While the Institute attributes their success to a rigorous program of colonic irrigations and hot yoga, the secret brainwashing is a much more effective treatment.
  • In This Perfect Day, the populace is given regular injections of happiness-inducing drugs.
  • Touch (2017) has Father, an important (anti-)villain. His main power is creating an aura of unbelievable happiness, which he's used to start a cult made up largely of child prostitutes/Sex Slaves. What's interesting is that Father himself seems rather oblivious to why anyone would consider him a bad guy; Casper is the only person to ever successfully resist his power, and Father is surprisingly upset to find someone who finds his "light" disturbing instead of enjoyable.
  • The Twilight Saga:
    • This is an obvious use of Jasper's emotion-controlling powers, and we see it used on Bella in the first book.
    • This is also seen with two members of the Volturi, mentioned in the official guide. One is Aro's (deceased) sister Didyme, who has the power to make all around her feel happy. The other is Corin, a current Volturi member who can make people content. While Didyme's power is seemingly automatic (it happens to anyone in her presence), Corin has the ability to control hers. Too much exposure to Corin's power can also result in addiction to it.
  • In the Uglies series, brain alterations are performed on the pretties to make them cheerful and stupid. Almost all transformations in this series are accompanied by some form of brain alteration to make sure the subject accepts the change without question.
  • The Bernard Werber novel The Ultimate Secret has a scientist get hooked on electrical happiness. Things degenerate after his death, and near the end his apprentice plans to implant the device to the captured protagonists to enslave them through addiction.
  • The Vazula Chronicles has a non-villainous example. Heath and Percival's older sister Laura has the magic power to make people happy.
  • Velveteen vs.: The ultimate wish of Super Patriots Inc. A world full of trademarked everything, a smile on every face and a thousand screams behind every eye. It's no wonder they're on Santa's "Naughty" list.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Semirhage finds that stimulating the pleasure centers of a subject's brain works better than stimulating the pain centers for torture, but it bores her.
    • During his final stand against the Dark One, Rand imagines a world without the Dark One and without evil. It turns out that this is equivalent to inflicting this trope on the whole world.
  • In Jack Williamson's novelette "With Folded Hands...", anyone who expresses unhappiness with the overprotective nature of the robots in the story will be made happy, via the futuristic equivalent of a lobotomy.
  • In the Zachary Nixon Johnson novel The Frost-Haired Vixen, the villain's evil plan is to release a virus that would cause everyone to be happy all the time.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hive from Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. is able to control Inhumans when its spores infect their brains which causes the victim's emotions to be heightened and Hive's presence filling a resulting emotional need (someone with a longing for family will come to see Hive as representing a family for them to belong to, for example), as well as controlling their dopamine levels so they feel pleasure from following Hive. They are thus doubly addicted: following Hive literally feels good and they think it's filling a missing part of themselves, an emptiness Hive itself created.
  • One of Ally McBeal's clients is a businessman who is perpetually happy due to a non-malign brain condition. His son sues to force him into restorative surgery because he has also lost his business instinct and lost money for the company. He ultimately undergoes the surgery voluntarily after his wife dies and he can't grieve for her.
  • The Alphas episode "A Short Time in Paradise" features an Alpha who can change people, possibly by affecting a pleasure part of their brain, and uses it in establishing a cult. Two main characters, Cameron and Nina, fall for it. The side-effect is that people who experience it become sick and die.
  • Angel:
    • A woman who wants Angel to sire her as a vampire tries to loosen him up with happy pills. Unfortunately, Angel and perfect happiness don't mix well, and his evil Angelus personality resurfaces.
    • Jasmine also does this to people just by being around her. It's part of the massive Glamour she projects.
  • One episode of Bewitched features Aunt Clara inadvertently summoning a real flying saucer while trying to call back Tabatha's toy version. The doglike aliens inside are armed with "N-Guns." As it turns out, the "N" stands for "Niceness": a single zap can make anyone pleasant and cheerful, even if they were outraged or panicky seconds before being hit. The aliens demonstrate the weapons on Mrs. Kravitz, who goes from trying to call the Air Force on them to happily picking flowers as a present.
  • Mentioned in an episode of The Big Bang Theory. Amy, who is a neurobiologist, tells Raj that if he let her pierce his brain with a hot needle in the right place, he would be happy all the time.
  • In Season 4 of Blake's 7, the Terran Federation is suddenly able to reconquer several planets they lost during the upheavals of the past year. It turns out that they've developed a drug called Pylene-50 that blocks the production of adrenaline. It's hard to resist a tyranny when you can't get angry or aggressive about it.
  • Brave New World: New Londoners are conditioned and drugged to always feel happy from birth. However, it doesn't work for everyone. When that happens, they get reconditioned, drugged more, or exiled.
  • Charmed (1998):
    • Leo does this to Piper to ease the pain of his promotion to Elder and consequent withdrawal from earth. He would have undone this in stages to let her grieve if Chris hadn't sent him to the Amazons.
    • When the Three accidentally upset the balance of good and evil with their Mirror Universe the entirety of Earth becomes like this. Everyone is perpetually happy and upbeat to a painful degree, and anyone who performs an even slightly evil act (like parking in the wrong place) is treated like a dangerous criminal. Piper, having been overcome by the happiness, casts a spell to make her sisters just as happy so they won't get in trouble.
    • It ultimately turns out that this is the Avatars' plan to maintain their Utopian rewrite of reality. Everyone's negative emotions are suppressed, making them calm and happy about everything. Anyone who isn't affected by the spell and can still cause conflict is removed.
  • Dinosaurs: "A New Leaf" was meant as a parody of hamfisted "issue" episodes that tell children everywhere that Drugs Are Bad. The drug in question is a leaf that, when eaten, causes dinosaurs to be completely relaxed and happy, even as they ignore all of their responsibilities. When the whole family, save Fran and Baby, gets hooked, she leaves them, and they eventually realize just how bad things have gotten when the leaf wears off. The parody comes in when son Robbie talks to the audience at the end and begs kids not to do drugs, so that programs will stop producing stupid anti-drug episodes.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "Underworld", Leela and another character are about to fight, but a guard shoots them with a "pacifier" gun. Apparently, the effects of the ray are to make people happy, so they stop fighting (the gun was invented too late to stop their civilization from destroying itself in a war). Leela becomes so happy the Doctor gets annoyed and hypnotizes Leela back to her usual savage self.
    • In the backstory of "Gridlock", pharmacists on New Earth developed mood patches to achieve this effect, which the Doctor despises. Unfortunately for the inhabitants, a virus spread through a mood patch called "Bliss" and killed just about everyone on the surface.
  • Farscape:
  • In one episode of The Genie from Down Under, the protagonist hands the Literal Genie a 27-page wish, highly detailed to basically create her preferred life, complete with good things for all the people she cared about. Amongst them is the nanny/housemaid character, who is generally The Eeyore. The girl wishes for her to 'be happy'. And she is happy, merrily singing a tune while dusting the mansion... by the end of the episode she's been carted off to a sanitarium for being ceaselessly, irrepressibly, and even annoyingly happy, all the time, no matter what. Good thing the show's genie happens to be a walking Reset Button with an Australian accent.
  • The eponymous character in House is dosed with anti-depressants by Wilson and becomes aware of the fact when he catches himself smiling when he tries to tell a patient why he believes she's going to die. He insists on calling his state of mind "hazy" and claims it could have impeded his faculties.
  • In Kamen Rider Decade, one world has this done to much of the population. Basically, half the people are cheery and helpful Stepford Smilers due to basically being lobotomized into it, and the other half act that way for fear of having it done to them at the first sign of any rudeness or negativity, as is law on that world.
  • In one episode of The Late Late Show, Craig Ferguson describes taking LSD as basically this trope.
  • In Lexx, Kai and Xev are inducted into the court of The Fair Folk, where they joyfully sing the praises of King Oberon. Kai insists he is truly happy but, since Kai is otherwise an Undead Empty Shell, this happiness seems to be magically induced.
  • The Painkiller Jane episode "Something Nasty in the Neighborhood" has a Neuro with this as a power: anyone exposed to a frequency she naturally produces will become a walking 1950s American sterotype, cheerfully baking pies or getting excited about neighborhood events. The Neuro takes over a small gated community by putting on a Martha Stewart-esque persona and hosting a "Household Hints" local TV show that ensnares anyone who watches.
  • In the final episode of Penny Dreadful, Victor plans to enact this trope by injecting Lily with Jekyll's serum, forcing her to become pleasant and docile by wiping all pain, malice, and bad experiences from her brain. She persuades him not to do it by describing how, during her life as a prostitute, she had an infant daughter named Sarah who died. No matter how painful it is, this memory is precious to her and she cannot bear to lose it, alluding to the fact that suffering is as vital to the human experience as happiness.
  • The Professionals: In "Servant of Two Masters", Cowley plans to illegally sell an experimental nerve gas called PS2 to a foreign dictatorship. The gas removes all will to resist and makes the subject highly cooperative, making it a useful tool for fighting extremists, and of course suppressing the general populace. It turns out that the gas doesn't exist, and Cowley is just running a sting operation.
  • In the Sliders episode "Just Say Yes", the group ends up on an Earth where everyone has to wear a drug injection device on their arm that keeps them calm at all times. The promo for that episode was great: "The Sliders land on world where the government controls drugs... BY GETTING EVERYONE HOOKED ON THEM!"
  • In Space: 1999, the crew of Moonbase Alpha encounter a planet whose "guardian" plunges all of them into euphoria, then apathetic bliss.
  • The Stargate Atlantis episode "Irresistible" features a character who emits pheromones that work directly on the part of the brain controlling positive emotions. The result is a terrifyingly cheerful cast, including some rare smiles from the Perpetual Frowner and the Implacable Man.
  • The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Wire" reveals that Garak became a victim of this. Originally, he had an implant in his head that would give him euphoric hormone rushes if he was ever subjected to torture (so that he could never be forced to reveal important secrets). Living in exile on the station, he is miserable and has little hope of ever returning home. So he built a controller that would let him turn on the euphoria device whenever he wanted... and, one day, he turned it on and never turned it off. Unfortunately, the device was neither intended nor designed for long-term use; Garak, having become completely dependent on the device to even feel normal, is left in near-crippling pain as it breaks down. The worst part is that he is still dependent on it even as it slowly kills him: his mind doesn't clear from the euphoric effects until the device is turned off to stop the damage it's doing to his nervous system.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • "This Side of Paradise" sees an entire human colony and most of the crew of the Enterprise under the influence of a strange pollen, keeping them all in a perpetual state of bliss until some strong negative emotion overrides the effects.
    • In "The Trouble with Tribbles", the titular creatures have the ability to cause calmness and euphoria in whoever is nearby — with the exception of Klingons, which make the little fluffballs screech in fear and pain. The Tribbles' natural mood-boosting is part of what makes them dangerous — even those aware of their Explosive Breeder tendencies can't resist them and have to make a mighty effort to overcome their pleasant side effects.
    • "Plato's Stepchildren" has the crew captured by the usual omnipotent aliens, who try to break their wills by telepathically forcing them through various humiliating actions. This includes making Spock laugh, which McCoy says will kill him if it goes on too long.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): "Number 12 Looks Just Like You" has the conversion process to make you one of The Beautiful Elite make you blissfully happy about it in the process. Earlier on in this same episode, the young lady who didn't want to become homogenized to look as good as everybody else was told by her mother to "have a cup of Instant Smile." It was pretty clear that "Instant Smile" was far more than just a brand name for hot chocolate.
  • In V (2009), this is called "bliss". The leader of the Vs, Anna, will stand in a special area and tell them calming things, and they become happy. Unfortunately, if Anna tries to do this to humans, she will almost bleed to death. In the second season finale, it is discovered that Ryan's Half-Human Hybrid daughter can bliss humans without dying.
  • In WandaVision, this is used twice. It's first revealed that the people of Westview had separate lives before Wanda created a sitcom fantasy using her Reality Warper powers — her magic turned them all into pleasantly cheerful "characters" in that sitcom, but their actual minds were aware of their own imprisonment, but powerless to do anything about it. It's also the ultimate fate of Agatha Harkness. Agatha is the only person not under the effects of Wanda's magic — rather, she came to Westview by choice and assumed the persona of "Agnes", a Nosy Neighbor, to secretly manipulate events in the hopes of stealing Wanda's power for herself. When Wanda defeats Agatha, she subjects her to the same fate as the others by permanently turning her into Agnes, locking the real Agatha away in the mind and body of a sunny, happy person forever.

  • From Dead Kennedys' "California Über Alles":
    You will jog for the master race
    And always wear the happy face
  • "The Soul Doctors" from Fireaxe's album Food for the Gods is about this being done by Church Militants to save mankind's soul. It ends badly.
  • Jhariah's "The Marching Dolls", from The Great Tale of How I Ruined It All, describes an Apocalypse Cult who have indirectly brought ruin to the town. The cult members choose to ignore it and "happily police the streets with vacant eyes and plastic smiles". They are forcibly enslaving others, as another survivor implores the protagonist to join him or "they'll soon do to you what they've done to me!"

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Dungeons & Dragons, the cursed "Helmet of Opposite Alignment" specifies that the wearer is completely satisfied with their new alignment, and views the prospect of undoing it as horrible. In other words, a Balor (one of the most powerful generic demons) will become a dedicated follower of law and goodness, and does qualify for paladinhood.
  • The Path of Inspiration of the nation of Riedra from Eberron is ruled/led by extradimensionally-possessed psionics making the masses feel content about their respective roles in society, among other things.
  • Feng Shui:
    • In 2056 juncture, the Bureau of Happiness and Productivity specializes in producing happiness drugs for the Buro. And that's the very least that these guys get up to.
    • One of the products of BHP is the Bonechills, a group of chemically and surgically 're-educated' individuals who are happy to commit unspeakable acts for their Buro masters. If a co-conspirator looks genuinely happy (as distinct from the Happiness Is Mandatory smile most people have) it's generally best to shoot him before he happily sets off his bomb-belt.
  • Some GURPS sourcebooks have stuff in them which fits this trope. Such as rewiring a person's brain so that the mathematical center is connected to their pleasure center, and thus working out mathematical problems gives them pleasure.
  • Paranoia:
    • While not drug-induced on its own (but see below), "Happiness Is Mandatory" is one of Friend Computer's rules. Failure to comply will result in termination!
    • The Acute Paranoia supplement introduces the drug Gelgernine. The Computer often requires citizens to use it, which causes the lucky recipient to be blissfully happy until it wears off. The Computer also uses it as an aerosol for riot control, with 30% projected casualties. And Gelgernine is the safest happiness drug in Paranoia.
  • Traveller: The Zhodani Consulate has telepathic "Thought Police" who not only scan people for thinking about crime or rebellion, but for depression as well. If they find someone depressed they're brought in for re-education that leaves them all too happy with their lot in life and a little weaker willed. On the other hand Zhodani are brought up to think of the Thought Police as their friends and will often turn themselves in to them at the first sign of depression instead of trying to "tough it out" like many Terrans do.
  • Vampire: The Masquerade has, in addition to several other mindfucking Disciplines, the blood bond. Tasting the blood of a vampire, even if you're also a vampire, instills a great sense of loyalty and devotion. One taste means you feel fondly towards them; three tastes, over three nights, means you treasure them greatly and may even die for them. It doesn't matter that, intellectually, you know they have you in servitude and view you as a puppet; the blood tells you that you love them.

    Theme Parks 

  • Orde, a Toa of psionics in BIONICLE, was assigned to work with the Zyglak and was supposed to "calm them down", which may have involved something like this. However, due to his own violent temper, Orde ends up inverting this trope and putting them into a permanent state of Unstoppable Rage.

    Video Games 
  • Aven Colony has the 'unity' artifact, which is described by one of your coworkers as "Buddhist enlightenment at the flick of a switch". In-game, it provides a massive boost to colony moral for a short time.
  • In Beyond A Steel Sky, this is the result of a treatment in the Reflection Spa. In this, unhappy memories of the subject are replaced with happy ones.
  • In the BioShock series, the Little Sisters are mentally conditioned to make them more compliant in their job of extracting and recycling ADAM from dead Splicers, made to perceive Rapture not as a broken-down, crapsack hellhole at the bottom of the sea, but a whimsical, fairy tale-esque paradise. While this was made with good intentions (or at least as "good" as the demands can allow), it's not perfect, and occasionally the illusion falters before snapping back in place, leaving an increasingly traumatic effect on the girls (by the time of BioShock 2, those who have matured into becoming Big Sisters have reached a point of completely breaking down into murderous insanity). The moments when the Little Sisters become aware of Rapture's reality are tragically also their most lucid ones: "Why am I smiling? I don't wanna smile!"
  • In Judgment Rites, this happens to Spock thanks to an alien entity that has suppressed all emotions except joy. Paradoxically, Spock seems to be in agony about it.
  • In Knights of the Old Republic II: The Sith Lords, it is possible to install a pacifist module on Robot Buddy HK-47 (ordinarily a Robotic Psychopath who loves killing). He is so happy with his new, peaceful self that even a Light Side protagonist is creeped out and removes it a minute later. He is then horrified by what he briefly became.
  • Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 has assimilation into the Fold feel like this: your own desires become the desires of the collective consciousness, and in cases like the Tinkerer, fulfilling those desires makes you blissfully happy.
  • In M.U.G.E.N, this is SCP-999's method of "combat." It raises an opponent's happiness meter via simple contact, and hugging them increases it much faster. Any opponent, no matter how vicious or bloodthirsty, will become happy and start dancing to "Happy Happy Joy Joy" for the rest of the round once their happiness meter fills up, essentially KOing them.
  • In Oddworld: Abe's Exoddus, Laughing Gas will do this to Mudokon slaves, who'll run around, laugh constantly, and follow you relentlessly. Their utter lack of stealth and refusal to follow your orders will easily get them and you shot by security.
  • OMORI features forced happiness as part of the game's Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors battle mechanics. Characters in battle can experience one of four emotions: Neutral, Happy, Angry, and Sad, and can inflict emotions, including Happy, on friends and foes alike (in addition to themselves). Happiness isn't always a good thing; it raises turn speed and Luck and enables additional damage to Angry targets, but it also reduces hit accuracy and makes attacks from Sad characters do additional damage.
  • In Persona 5 Royal, all of mankind is put by Arc Villain Dr. Maruki into a Lotus-Eater Machine where disagreeable people have their personalities completely overwritten for the sake of the happiness of themselves and those around them as everyone gets what they want out of life, because Utopia Justifies the Means. In fact, as a homeless man in Shibuya points out, all of the NPCs have creepy smiles on their faces to boot.
  • The Christmas mode of Plague Inc. involves doing this to everyone in the world instead of killing them as in normal gameplay.
  • Sam and Max Save the World: In "Bright Side of the Moon", the Big Bad Hugh Bliss decides to nullify Max, whose chaotic nature makes him a threat to the villain's plan to brainwash everyone in the world into being happy and blissed-out by "separating your bliss". This involves magically removing the body parts that represent Max's greatest vices: Wrath (Max's hand), Gluttony (Max's stomach), and Sloth (Max's tail). The disembodied parts become rampaging clones of Max, while the original Max goes from being a lovably sociopathic and cynical rabbity-thing to a cheerful and optimistic goody two-shoes, much to Sam's horror.
  • A favorite tactic of Law in Shin Megami Tensei. Their idea of paradise is a world where humans do nothing but sing God's praises for all eternity, and the easiest way to accomplish this is to wipe out the inconvenient things that get in the way, like emotion and free will.
  • StarCraft: The process of neural resocialization (often called "resoc") involves overwriting violent, unhappy memories with happy Fake Memories, and is used to forcibly conscript criminals into various Terran armies by deluding them into thinking they are socially adjusted people that enlisted of their own volition. The effects of neural resocialization, as well as what happens when it gets broken, were seen in several Expanded Universe novels and short stories. In "Firstborn", the prison guard was a cannibal that went berserk and killed everyone on the ship after Zamara broke his resoc. In "The Education of PFC Shane", the Zerg hive mind gradually broke down his resoc to wear him down into accepting assimilation.
  • Implied in Star Wars: The Old Republic with Killiks, an alien insectoid species that use pheromones to absorb non-Killik species to Join their Hive Mind. While every Joiner is shown to feel peaceful, serene, and content to be part of "the Nest," and decline all offers to find a cure, most non-Joiners express horror and revulsion at the idea of being mind rapeed and brainwashed by alien insects, and many contented Joiners are implied to have not first undergone the Joining willingly. Given how the Joining involves chemically and psychically flooding the Joiners' minds with the thoughts and feelings of the entire Hive Mind until their own thoughts and feelings are completely drowned out, it has some pretty disturbing implications for most seemingly content Joiners...
  • Downplayed in Stellaris with the Loyalty Circuits. Cyborgs and Ridiculously Human Robots can have the aforementioned Trait installed across their entire species or subspecies which gives them a permanent 10% boost to their happiness, although if your administration abilities are poor enough, it won't do you much good.
  • String Tyrant has a lot of this. All of the enemies are very happy to be in the mansion, no matter who they used to be. It's also a feature of every game over sequence, wherein Mary has her will taken away.
  • In Tomba!, one of three variants of mushroom in the aptly named Mushroom Forest will do this to you if you're foolish enough to touch one. Tomba will laugh uncontrollably every so often at random... and when you try to attack. The other one is the polar opposite and makes you cry instead of laugh, and the third one serves as a cure. Typically, you want to avoid them, but there is a pair of doors in the game that only open up for Tomba if he laughs or cries, respectively.
  • Twisted Wonderland:
    • Fellow Honest's unique magic causes the target to briefly feel joyful without their being aware, making them easier to manipulate.
    • Malleus's unique magic forcibly puts targets in its Area of Effect to sleep and gives them happy dreams tailored to their experiences, effectively trapping them in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • In We Happy Few, the people of Wellington Wells take a medication called Joy to ensure they're in a constant state of buzzed bliss, so that they can forget the Very Bad Thing they did. People who refuse to take Joy are called Downers, and don't tend to last very long. The announcement trailer takes this up as notch, as it depicts Arthur getting caught. He's hit over the head, then held down by a Bobbie as a Doctor forces a Joy-pill in his mouth. The camera then pulls back as people walk away, and Arthur is still on his back on the ground, with a dopey smile on his face.
  • Witch Hunter Izana: Those afflicted by Verand's curse cannot help but love, obey her and view the curse as a great thing. Even if they hated her before. Happens in most of the bad ends to the heroes.
  • In the Murder on Eridanos DLC of The Outer Worlds, the titular planet is the home of parasitic worms that infect their hosts and flood their nervous systems with pleasure signals as well as making any negative emotions actively painful. This effectively conditions the host to always be happy. Unfortunately hosts are liable to go insane and attack anyone nearby. This being the corpocratic dystopia that is the Halcyon Colonies, the Rizzo Corporation is deliberately infecting their employees with said parasite to enforce positive morale, with Rizzo executive Quinton Ludovico planning to infect the entire colony with the parasites by using them as tequila worms in their newest product.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Holiday Star in the second Hatoful Boyfriend started with one lonely spirit building a little world with which to attract friends. But any new friends inevitably disagreed with each other or tried to leave, so he absorbed them, either painting the rest of reality as painful and hopeless so they would agree to forget, or attacking them and forcing them to become him. All these new Kings are so happy. But of course, this happiness is not complete... the King is alone, and wants friends.
  • Mindhack centers around the main character, known as The Doctor, literally hacking into the minds of evildoers such as gang and cult leaders in order to replace "bugs" like traumatic childhoods with flowers and turn them into productive members of society. Patients, once the procedure is over, all describe what they went through as "Good for the body, good for the soul!"

    Web Animation 
  • In the Camp Camp episode "Cult Camp", every camper who Daniel has brainwashed is perpetually happy and declaring their love for him as a side-effect — even Max, which causes David to realize that something is wrong.
  • DarkMatter2525: In order for people to stay happy in Heaven with their loved ones burning in Hell, it's theorized they need to be made happy by God and worship him lovingly afterward for eternity. For instance, "Why Is Murder Wrong" has a man in Heaven along with his wife's murderer since they were both Christian and repented, while made perfectly content with it by Jesus. One of the damned in Hell remarks that "at least here you keep your mind" while we see the pair happy together.
  • In the Homestar Runner cartoon "Happy Hallow-day", the extended absence of Halloween night, and thus the perpetual day it creates, forces Strong Sad out into the sunshine and denying him his daily dose of doom and gloom. At one point, he complains that "something funny's happening to the sides of my mouth", and indeed it is; they're turning up. Later, wearing an expression of blessed contentment, he begs for someone to shoot him.

  • In Corgi Quest, Puffington's Breath Weapon makes the victim deliriously happy.
  • Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures: One of 'Cubi's several powers is emotion jamming, which can have shades of this.
  • In Dragon Tails, during the superhero arc, Lemuel's super-power is happiness sparkles, which makes whoever he hits with happy. Zig-zagged in that it doesn't change the subject's actions, it just makes them happy about whatever they're doing, whether it's fighting a losing battle against a demi-god, or beating up Lemuel.
  • This is the apparent effect of getting the "safe" taint from Snadhya'rune in Drowtales, as the two characters we see before and after getting it are both Perpetual Frowners and their state after it's done have them behaving completely uncharacteristically. Whether this state persists permanently or just happens soon after the ritual isn't clear, but it's certainly worrying to characters in-universe who know them.
  • Freefall:
    • Practically a textbook example, done to Florence by Mayor. Florence is then asked how she feels.
      Mayor: You still look terrified. Okay, direct order. You like me. You trust me. You want to make me happy. End order.
      Mayor: Better now?
      Florence: Emotionally, much better. Intellectually, I think I'm screaming.
    • The order is removed much later, after...
      Florence: The mayor gave me an order to like her, trust her, and want to make her happy.
      Mer: Do you want it removed?
      Florence: No. I trust the mayor. Removing the order would not make her happy.
      Mer: I'm pulling it. You've obviously hit a limit on self-diagnostics.
  • In Girl Genius, this is how the Nepenthes Dulcis plant lulls its prey.
  • In Homestuck, this seems to happen when characters enter Trickster Mode. They become hyperactive, candy-themed versions of themselves that babble on about being happy and having babies like kids on a sugar high. The one person it doesn't work on is Dirk.
  • Implied to be the case for Good Girl in League of Super Redundant Heroes.
  • This comic by Merryweatherey spotlights the Fridge Horror that if humans do things only in the pursuit of happiness, this trope is the end goal.
  • minus.: After a man inspires her to smile more, minus smiles at a stranger, who smiles back. Then when he smiles at someone, they start smiling too, until it very quickly spreads to everyone around having an ear-to-ear grin. Much later, "a mob of grinning zombies" is mentioned among a bunch of disasters that minus had been inadvertently causing.
  • Early in Mob Psycho 100, Dimple uses hypnosis and his spiritual powers to induce people to laugh and forms a cult around himself. We see the effect taking root from the perspective of a victim, as she struggles to keep from laughing. Much later, he takes advantage of a giant broccoli becoming a place of worship to start over and brainwashes the entire city into a state of peace and happiness. While Dimple has no actual ill intentions, protagonist Mob is still disturbed by his actions and bitterly fights to make him stop — especially when Dimple sics a brainwashed Teruki against him.
  • A guest strip of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal follows a man who wishes to always be happy. Then his wife is murdered...
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • Professer Pau has done this via Electric Instant Gratification to the numerous people he abducted off the streets as part of his medical nannie-farming operation. Though the way he phrases it seems to imply he believes that doing this merits some sympathy in spite of all the above.
      Pau: They're happy. They are unaware of their physical state, and are enjoying full-immersion sims. You don't think I'd hang people from the ceiling, bloat them with chemicals, harvest their blistered hides, and then leave them miserable, do you?
      Ennessby: Sorry. Our bad. We'll get your sainthood application processed right away.
    • Para Ventura hacked AI by injecting "fond memories" of herself. As a result, she can explain it in detail in their hearing range and remain loved. She considers this better than the guy who hacked one bot by reducing it to a mindless automaton.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Riff shoots Bun-bun with a euphorant-tipped dart to keep him from killing Kiki. Bun-bun gleefully mangles him and Torg. Torg, previously dosed with the same drug, is thrilled about the lacerations.
    • In alternate dimension arc "4U-City", the entire population is kept under the effects of such a drug, with good reason — all of the citizens in the city survived a war and subsequent interdimensional invasions, many would be suffering from PTSD if not medicated. Even Riff can't handle it sometimes.

    Web Original 
  • The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids's titular critters are clockwork cherubs who have this as their goal, the venue chosen being to make sure everyone in the multiverse is head-over-heels in love with everyone else. They outright flaunt that they know how to "override pesky conditions like free will".
  • The Creepypasta "Happy Puppet Syndrome" starts off with an attempt to do this via genetic engineering. It... doesn't go well.
  • One of the more disturbing "if you think about it" aspects of Monster Girl Encyclopedia is that the Overlord is basically doing a lust-based variant of this, to the extent of spreading her corruption not just over former flesh-eating monsters, but also over races that were originally on relatively amiable terms with humanity, such as elves, fairies, dwarves and mermaids.
  • "The Prison of Forgetting" deals with "the trauma of remembering and the horror of forgetting." The story changes completely when large blocks of text disappear, but whether the narrator realizes that they're trapped or is being healed of their paranoia is left to interpretation.
  • The Superhappies in Three Worlds Collide want to do something like this to humans, by removing their ability to feel pain or any other 'negative' sensation. In the normal ending, they do. It's treated as a tragedy.
  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • Played horrifyingly straight with StrexCorp, as summed up by Kevin:
      "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."
    • In episode 73, Triptych reveals that Kevin — who has so far been a terrible, terrifying character — was once as normal and caring as our narrator Cecil and had tried valiantly to fight Strex.
      "I remember being a real grumpster, just a grouch and a half about everything! Mister Frowny Face, I'd call myself now, if I were talking to myself then. But Strex bought out my radio station, and everything changed for the better. Ha-ha! Can you believe it, I actually tried to stop them from buying it! I tried very hard. I put my own body, this fragile thing, in between the Strex representatives and the entrance to the building, but they forced their way past me using ethically brutal methods that left me forever physically changed. What a silly old hen I was about all that! Once Strex entered my life and showed me the power of the Smiling God, why, nothing was the same for me ever again! I felt so much happier. I did terrible things. I felt so much happier! I tore and bit and growled — I felt so incredibly happy! My skin rent, blood drops on the ceiling, someone's throat — whose? — in my hand! So deliriously happy!"
  • Cavalier and Skybolt of the Whateley Universe apparently got this treatment to the point that they were absolute mind-slaves to some of the bad guys of Whateley Academy. To say that they didn't react well to it once it finally wore off is an understatement.
  • Worm has a particularly horrific example in Cherish, who has used her Emotion Control powers to make parents murder their children and enjoy it.

    Web Videos 
  • The Candy Queen in Heather Feather's video "The Candy Queen" uses something called "Gummy Worm Tongues." These things crawl in through the ear and nest in the brain, whereupon they whisper "happy thoughts" — "My happy thoughts", as she puts it — for the rest of their victim's life. She does this to ensure that her hired help (the viewer) doesn't refuse to help her frame the King so she can rule.
  • In his Captain Planet review, The Nostalgia Critic puts on the heart ring and is made to feel perfectly relaxed and happy before a ruler to the head snaps him out of it.
  • Unwanted Houseguest: Doctor Litchfield is a variant of this. He doesn't actually care about his patients being happy, he simply cares that they're totally incapable of experiencing mental illness.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of 101 Dalmatians: The Series has the three dalmatians, Spot the chicken, and their owners finding themselves in a medieval town that appears every 100 years. It's revealed that Cruella's ancestor ruled the town with an iron fist, and when no one stood up to oppose him, the town's witch (who also looks like the nanny's ancestor) puts a curse on the town that makes everyone and anyone who enters it mindlessly happy, making Cruella's ancestor all the more miserable in comparison. One by one, all the characters (except Spot, who was exempt from the curse because the witch had a pet chicken, and Cruella, who was her ancestor's descendent) fall under the spell, gaining mind control swirly eyes and becoming completely complacent. Spot manages to break them out of their spell by kissing them (also dispelling a fellow medieval puppy who thought Cruella's ancestor was a kind and loving man, who then vows to prevent Cruella's ancestor from making trouble, as he had planned to use Cruella as a replacement for the town so he may escape) and run out of the town before it disappears for the next 100 years.
  • Happens in The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius when an alien (who looks like and acts like a kindhearted granny, complete with cat-looking minion) uses mass hypnosis to make the population of Retroville mindlessly happy (complete with unblinking eyes, stiff movements, and wide unbreakable smiles).
  • During the Adventure Time's "Elements" mini-series, Princess Bubblegum turns into a giant tower of gum and forcibly transforms one-fourth of Ooo's population into perpetually happy candy people.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball has Richard unwittingly do this to his own two sons in the episode titled "The Joy". In order to help them cheer up on a Monday morning, he gives them a "Wonder Hug", which, according to him, contains "all the love and happiness in the world!" Doing so, he infects them with a biological disease simply known as "Joy". Symptoms of Joy, in chronological order, include Perpetual Smiling, expanding irises, spontaneous singing and dancing, hysterical laughter, a combination of audio and visual hallucinations with a side of delirium, heart failure, and finally, rising up as a madly laughing, running zombie that drools an unidentifiable, rainbow-colored sludge and goes off to infect the living with hugs and kisses. It's considerably easier to reverse than the other examples on this page, though: just play really sad music.
  • The Care-Bear Stare has this effect in the original DiC seasons of Care Bears (1980s) and Adventures in Care-A-Lot. Everywhere else, it's used for its evil-smiting properties.
  • Grojband: In "Grin Reaper", the happiest man in the world comes to Peaceville and gives everyone bracelets causing them to love and be overly happy about everything. He then drains their happiness and turns them into piles of dust.
  • Hazbin Hotel: In the pilot's musical number "Inside of Every Demon is a Rainbow", a demon is injected with "love + fun" via Giant Medical Syringe. This forces them to go sparkly-eyed and grin, despite the tears in their eyes and the strained look on their face.
  • In Invader Zim, one of Zim's prisoners is a kid named Nick who has a thing stuck in his brain that makes him happy at all times. He's fully aware of what's going on, but doesn't take any issue with it. It's hilariously creepy.
  • Kaeloo: Apparently, in Smileyland, if your friends play Zumba music, it makes you dance along and become extremely happy and loving. Naturally, Kaeloo, Stumpy and Quack Quack do this to Mr. Cat in an attempt to make him nicer. He tries his best to resist, but ultimately fails and winds up being forced to be happy.
  • Kim Possible:
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "The Cutie Map - Part 1/Part 2", Starlight Glimmer removes the cutie marks from ponies under the belief this will make them happy. Subverted with the Mane 6, who do not immediately become happy when their cutie marks were removed, causing them to be locked up in a room for several hours while Starlight gives them "inspirational" speeches. It turns out that it doesn't really work on anyone; the townsfolk are just pretending to be happy.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Super Zeroes", Bubbles, who has reinvented herself as "Harmony Bunny", tries this with what she dubs "Happy Stickers". They have no effect.
  • Daemon from ReBoot does this to those she infects, turning programs into ever smiling members of her Cult of Personality.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: In "Stimpy's Invention", realizing that Ren is always unhappy, Stimpy gives him a Happy Helmet that makes him perpetually happy against his will. Once Ren breaks it off, he reveals that being able to get pissed at Stimpy again makes him happy.
  • The Smurfs (1981): In "Swapping Smurfs", the Well Wizard turns Smurfs who go down to the bottom of the well into very happy zombies, all for the purpose of getting one of Papa Smurf's spellbooks so that the wizard can break the spell that keeps him trapped in the well. Given that the very happy Smurfs also have the floppy part of their hats standing straight, one must wonder what the Well Wizard actually did with the Smurfs to make them appear that way.
  • Steven Universe: Future: Blue Diamond was originally shown to induce sadness and despair onto other Gems with her emotional powers in the original series. As of "Homeworld Bound", she has developed new powers that correspond with her happiness as well by creating blue clouds that induce happiness onto other Gems. She sends them across Homeworld to bring joy to others. The Gems are all fully aware of what the clouds do, and treat them like a means of relaxation. Steven, however, shows that the clouds' effects can be fought off.
  • The Transformers: In "Changing Gears", the Autobot Gears, a perpetual grouch, is kidnapped and has a circuit stolen that controls the evil plan of the week — and turns him cheerful. After the rescue, the Autobots consider leaving it out, but Gears insists on reinstalling it.
  • Unikitty!:
    • "Sparkle Matter Matters" has Richard being subjected to a serum that forces him to be overly happy. It wrecks his body and causes damage to his surroundings, thanks to bad materials in the serum causing his sparkle matter to come out in gigantic chunks of increasing size.
    • "Too Many Unikitties" has Dr. Fox inventing the Happy Horn, which makes one as happy as Unikitty. Unikitty puts it on all her friends, but soon finds out that everyone acting like her leads to a lot of problems, like Hawkodile not keeping away intruders, or Fox not being able to stop a reactor meltdown.
  • In The Venture Brothers, Dr. Jonas Venture, as part of a state-of-the-art nuclear fallout shelter, included a system designed to occasionally dispense mood-altering drugs, considering there was a good chance any survivors of any nuclear war could conceivably end up traumatized. However, the AI assigned to run the complex disagreed, and, well, Dr. Entmann compares the conclusion she arrived at to a mother making her child smoke the entire pack of cigarettes she caught him smoking so he'd never smoke again (releasing a huge batch of the drugs via the ventilation system). It wound up being a total disaster, and Jonas didn't think twice in just vamoosing and bricking up the shelter. With a group of orphans left inside.
  • Dr. Screwball Jones of Wander over Yonder wants everyone to be happy... even if it is by force. In "The Boy Wander", he tries this through Tickle Torture.
  • In Winx Club, the fortress of Light Rock is dedicated to redeeming insane villains by exposing them to excessive positive feelings until they break down and become incapable of proving anything negative. The Trix sisters, who had become the Big Bads of season one out of power-induced madness, are brought there... and as they're far more resistant (and less crazy) than the average inmate, all their permanence achieves is to make them more insane and evil out of the trauma and sheer spite.

    Real Life 
  • A few types of drugs can do this to a person for a short time. They include opioids, such as morphine and heroin, and drugs that affect the brain's dopamine system, such as cocaine and methamphetamine. After a while, however, the drugs start to become less and less effective at producing pleasure, because the brain tries to maintain homeostasis: it has systems that will keep trying harder and harder to compensate for the drug's effects and return it to "normal", like a spring pulling back to its original shape. Once the "corrections" have kicked in, it takes a long time, if ever, to get rid of them if you ever stop taking the drug, so after a while, instead of feeling good when you're on the drug and normal when you're not, you feel "normal" when you're on it and miserable when you're not.
  • Antidepressants, if they fail to artificially elevate your mood, often at the least dampen feelings of depression by directly modifying processes in the brain related to the formation and regulation of emotion. This is very useful in making the illness more bearable even if the antidepressants are not successful in treating it, making it a useful part of any regimen for treating depression. (Counseling or psychotherapy is really important in treating any mental illness, and any therapy should also include some counseling.)
  • Depression itself is essentially an inversion of this trope — "getting smilies scraped off your soul", if you will.
  • The hypomanic episodes that come part and parcel with cyclothymia (bipolar disorder's little sibling) can and often do feel the same way. It's not fun to feel simultaneously very refreshed and happy and totally petrified that it's only because you're within days or even hours of a cripplingly intense panic attack or a horrible bout with depression. (Full mania, while still dangerous and frequently regretted afterward, tends to totally overwhelm the brain's processes, so the energy and euphoria feel normal- which can be either better or worse, depending on how you look at it.)
  • There is a case of a man who lost his ability to feel negative emotions after suffering a stroke that damaged his limbic system, the parts of the brain involved with generating and regulating emotion. He is now constantly happy, unable to feel anything other than happy even when his close friends and relatives die, having essentially had smilies branded onto his brain. How does he feel about this? Happy, of course.
  • Electrical stimulation of certain regions of the brain appears to do something similar to this, although dystopian projections of everyone being wired and addicted to the shocks, as is often done with lab animals, may not be feasible due to human brains being built to process a very wide variety of pleasure, with no one single centralized "pleasure zone".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Made Happy


Ren & Stimpy - Happy Helmet

Stimpy invents a helmet that turns his friend into a happy maniac.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (37 votes)

Example of:

Main / GettingSmiliesPaintedOnYourSoul

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