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Gleeful and Grumpy Pairing

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Ernie: [chuckle] I feel so good I'm laughing!
Bert: Me, I'm feeling crosser than a bear.
Ernie: Do do do do do do, I feel wonderful!
Bert: [angrily] And I! Don't! Care!

What happens when you combine The Pollyanna and The Cynic? You get a Gleeful And Grumpy Pairing. Often a source of comedy wherein the gleeful character gets the grumpy character into wacky situations that the former never would have thought of. But they can also be a great source of heartwarming moments, where the optimist can bring out the best in the grump... Or it could backfire, and the grump could bring out the worst in the optimist.

A Sub-Trope of Odd Couple and Red Oni, Blue Oni. Compare Cynic–Idealist Duo (where the dichotomy of the characters comes from their externalized worldviews, rather than internalized personalities), Tomboy and Girly Girl, Sensitive Guy and Manly Man, Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick. Sister trope to (and known to overlap with) Ham and Deadpan Duo and Straight Man and Wise Guy. Smart Jerk and Nice Moron can also, and almost always does overlap with this trope, difference being the duo contrast in intelligence as well as temperament.


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  • M&M's has the main duo of the dim-witted but sweet Yellow and the sardonic Red.
  • The Wilkins Coffee commercials play with this: the Gleeful character, Wilkins, is also a trigger-happy guy who's obsessed with the nominal product and will hurt anyone who says otherwise. On the other hand, the Grumpy one, Wontkins, can't stand the product, but he's mostly all bark and no bite.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bungo Stray Dogs:
    • Dazai and Kunikida have this dynamic. Kunikida is extremely meticulous, serious, and a Perpetual Frowner who is easily enraged by Dazai, who is irresponsible, eccentric, and enjoys pranking Kunikida.
    • Due to their mutual hatred, Dazai and Chuuya have a more extreme relationship as adults. Dazai acts overly cheerful and gets a kick out of messing with Chuuya, who is extremely rude and violent towards Dazai. However, as teenagers, they lacked this dynamic.
  • Chobits: The duo of laptop persocoms, Sumomo and Kotoko, have this dynamic. The former is hyperactive and childish, and the much more serious Kotoko finds her to be insufferably annoying.
  • CLANNAD: Tomoya is rather bitter and sarcastic, whereas Nagisa is more optimistic and courteous, albeit shy. Tomoya eventually comes out of his shell with the help of Nagisa and they become Happily Married by the end of the series.
  • The Dangers in My Heart:
    • Kyōtarō Ichikawa is a pessimistic First-Person Smartass who deconstructs everything around him as a defense mechanism. Anna Yamada is outgoing, childishly playful, and a bit spacey. Usually on covers and art alongside each other, Yamada has a bright smile and appears more comfortable with posing while Ichikawa keeps an annoyed and/or embarrassed frown.
    • Kyōtarō is also this with his older sister Kana, who’s far more positive and arguably an even bigger dork than he is, much to his annoyance.
  • The Fox & Little Tanuki:
    • Senzou is a cynical and bitter fox who's made to take the cheerful and optimistic tanuki Manpachi under his wing.
    • Mikumo is a serious, skeptical, and irritable wolf. His work partner is Tachibana, a goofy and friendly dog.
  • Girls und Panzer: The Absurdly Powerful Student Council is headed by The Napoleon Anzu Kadotani. She has two close assistants: the bright and polite Yuzu Koyama, who ends up doing most of the work; and the terse and unsmiling Momo Kawashima, who could be a bitter secretary at Evil, Inc.. Somehow, they mesh well enough to keep Team Turtle in the Panzer 38(t) an active participant in the sensha-do matches.
  • Doctor Slump: Arale is fun-loving and perpetually happy, while Senbei is moody, irritable, and often annoyed by Arale's Genki Girl personality.
  • Haikyuu!!: Protagonist Hinata is cheerful and outgoing while deuteragonist Kageyama is grumpy and socially awkward. They turn out to be similar in their passion for volleyball and lack of smarts outside the game.
  • Kill la Kill: Ryuko is a brooding, moody, no-nonsense Anti-Hero, while her best friend Mako is an outgoing, happy-go-lucky, scatter-brained Genki Girl.
  • Princess Tutu: The innocent, All-Loving Hero Ahiru/Princess Tutu initially butts heads with Knight in Sour Armor Fakir over perceived intentions towards Mytho. But revelations about Fakir's Dark and Troubled Past, Fakir's discovery of her secret identity, and increasing threats from the antagonists lead them to join forces and bond over their desire to help Mytho. Ahiru manages to bring out the softer side of Fakir, while Fakir gives Ahiru support and strength.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi is a ditzy and fun-loving Genki Girl, in contrast to her more serious and moody younger brother Shingo. She also has this relationship with Rei, who has a Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V: Deconstructed between Dennis Macfield, an entertainment duelist who is actually The Mole for Academia, and Shun Kurosaki, a brooding loner who is actually a Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • My Hero Academia has energetic, fun-loving, Large Ham Present Mic and dour, gloomy, often grumpy Aizawa as Heterosexual Life-Partners

  • Jeff Dunham built his most popular puppet, Walter, around this trope. Jeff is a happy guy who likes cracking jokes, while Walter is a miserable, cantankerous old man who complains about pretty much everything.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman and Superman. Superman is an outgoing and friendly hero who spreads hope for a brighter future wherever he goes, while Batman is a sulking recluse who puts it upon himself to never be truly happy after the death of his parents. They are often paired up as a team, or as enemies.
  • Cloak and Dagger are composed of Dagger, a lithe blonde young woman with Waif-Fu from dance lessons, plus light-based superpowers, paired with Cloak, a sullen and morose young man with a gnawing hunger that feeds upon raw evil. While she's no Genki Girl, Dagger is much more affable than her grim and brooding partner, Cloak.
  • Spider-Man: Newspaper chief J. Jonah Jameson is a grouchy, miserly Mean Boss at the Daily Bugle. Peter Parker is a cub photographer at that newspaper, a bright and capable college student trying to earn sustenance working for Jameson. Jameson, of course, horribly underpays his staff, including Parker. Peter gets some comfort in his alternate persona, Spider-Man, thwarting the many evildoers of New York, often merrily taunting them in the process.
  • Super Sons stars Jon Kent and Damian Wayne, the sons of Superman and Batman respectively. Like their dads, Jon is the cheerful, fun-loving, and energetic one who is just as happy to help cats out of trees as he is to punch supervillains. Meanwhile, Damian is the cynical, witty, and bossy one who is quick to rain on Jon's parade. The two of them frequently engage in Snark-to-Snark Combat because of this, but they're very much Vitriolic Best Buds.
    Jon: [after learning that they're going to the same school] This is gonna be GREAT!
    Damian: This is going to be horrendous!
  • The European Disney Ducks Comic Universe has this dynamic with cousins Fethry (gleeful) and Donald (grumpy). Much of the humour stems from Fethry having some new hobby or mania that he pulls his very unwilling cousin Donald into. Considering that Donald is often the one who has to deal with the consequences of Fetrhy's gleeful craziness, his grumpiness is pretty understandable.
  • Among the many, many, contrasts in the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there is the energetic goofball Michelangelo compared to the short-tempered belligerent Raphael.

    Comic Strips 
  • Agatha Crumm is the dour and pessimistic head of a large corporation, while her personal assistant, Winsome, has a bright smile and cheery demeanor.
  • The titular character of Dennis the Menace (US) is a happy-go-lucky five-year-old boy who looks up to his next-door neighbor, Mr. Wilson, a Grumpy Old Man who just wants some peace and quiet and doesn't care much for Dennis' company.
  • Garfield: Jon's pets, Odie and Garfield, have this respective dynamic. Odie is energetic, affectionate, and simple-minded, whereas Garfield is lazy, snarky, and enjoys kicking Odie off the table when given the opportunity.
  • In On the Fastrack Perky Goth Dethany Dendrobia works closely with forbidding Rose Trellis.
  • Peanuts:
    • Downplayed with Charlie Brown and Sally. While Charlie Brown is a Nice Guy and isn't a total grouch, he is rather melancholic due to his Butt-Monkey status. Sally, on the other hand, is more cheerful and fun-loving, albeit not without her own moments of sarcasm.
    • Played straight with Lucy and Linus. Lucy is a sourpuss who is often rather nasty to others (Charlie Brown in particular), while Linus is more upbeat and friendly.
  • U.S. Acres (as well as its Animated Adaptation on Garfield and Friends) features the friendly and easy-going Bo Sheep and his angry, abusive and mean sister, Lanolin.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Arlo the Alligator Boy: Out of the members of Arlo's gang, Arlo himself is the gleeful and optimistic Blithe Spirit who always sees the good side of things, while Marcellus is the cynical and moody grouch who's also apparently a Child Hater.
  • Finding Nemo: Marlin is a pessimist, Lovable Coward, and very serious, while Dory is very plucky, enthusiastic and optimistic. The two initially are just together because Dory has some idea of where Nemo (Marlin's son) is, but they become friends.
  • Frozen: Anna, a cheerful optimist, and Kristoff, a grumpy misanthrope, work together to save Anna's sister Elsa and their kingdom. Kristoff helps Anna avoid getting in over her head, and Anna helps Kristoff realize other humans aren't all bad and become more comfortable with them.
  • Ice Age sees the happy-go-lucky and outgoing sloth, Sid, forming a one-sided friendship with the grumpy wooly mammoth, Manny. By the end of the movie, though, their friendship becomes genuine, albeit, a bit volatile. Sid also has this relationship with the irritable saber-toothed cat, Diego.
  • The Brother–Sister Team of Violet and Dash from The Incredibles. Dash is an energetic, extraverted kid who loves having superpowers, while Violet is an Emo Teen who gets easily frustrated and tends to lash out when she's upset.
  • Shrek: The titular character starts out as a grumpy and reclusive ogre unwilling to accept friendship or companionship and prefers to remain alone. He then earns the one-sided friendship of Donkey, who eventually helps Shrek come out of his shell and begin to reciprocate his kindness, allowing the two to become friends. Though Donkey remains the more cheerful one of the duo.
  • Ben and his little sister Saoirse from Song of the Sea. Ben starts out as a snarky, cynical Big Brother Bully, while his sister Saoirse is a sweet and loving young girl. Ben does start to warm up to his sister by the film's end, though.
  • Trolls: In a similar manner to the Shrek example above, Branch is a cynic depressed loner who regains his happiness after spending time with the Genki Girl Poppy over the course of the movie, though it takes a bit more time for them to start a friendship. The two eventually become a couple by the end of the sequel Trolls: World Tour.
  • In Turning Red, among Mei's friends, Priya is The Cynic to Abby's Genki Girl.
  • Pictured above from Up: Russell is a cheerful Wilderness Explorer. Only when faced with a threat or with the subject of his deadbeat dad does his mood change. Carl, a Grumpy Old Man trying to fulfill his and his late wife's dream, initially tolerates more than likes him. Eventually, he admits he's fond of the kid and "adopts" him.
  • Wallace & Gromit: Wallace is rather giddy and childish, while his dog Gromit is more serious, often getting annoyed with Wallace's shenanigans.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Big Lebowski: The Dude is a sanguine, laid back, optimistic stoner, while Walter is a gruff and mean veteran with quite the Hair-Trigger Temper, illustrating Serious Business by pulling out a gun during a bowling tournament.
  • Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers (2022): During much of the movie, Chip is shown as someone quite serious and somewhat bitter, while Dale is more cheerful and fun. This mirrors their roles in the series, where Chip is an anal-retentive Straight Man and Dale is his Plucky Comic Relief foil.
  • The Condemned (1976) has this dynamic between Feng Da-gang, a former bodyguard being sentenced to imprisonment after being framed for working with bandits who robbed his former master and killed the master's family, as well as Feng's cellmate, Yang Lin, a pickpocket and thief who have a happy-go-lucky persona. Naturally, Feng is both upset, angry, and constantly quiet due to being the victim of a Frame-Up, while Yang, being The Gadfly, repeatedly cracks jokes in front of his cellmate and tries to troll Feng and get him into conversations which Feng would rather avoid, leading to an absolutely pissed-off Feng trying to smash Yang's brains out with a brick. But as the film progresses Yang becomes sympathetic to his cellmate's condition, and when both men manage to escape from prison Yang then actively helps Feng to clear his name.
  • Deadpool 2 sees the grumpy, goth, and snarky Negasonic Teenage Warhead get a girlfriend named Yukio, who is brightly colored, optimistic, and endlessly cheerful, and always excitedly greeting Wade whenever he's around, while Negasonic is constantly annoyed by him.
  • Dutch: Dutch Dooley, a headstrong and goofy construction worker, volunteers to bring his girlfriend's son home for the holidays. Said son Doyle is a snobby, entitled student. Cue several days of long highways, fighting, learning, and the occasional Groin Attack.
  • Ferris Bueller's Day Off has the titular Ferris Bueller, a carefree slacker, and Cameron Frye, his highly neurotic and insecure friend.
  • Groundhog Day starts with Phil Connors as the grumpy one to Rita's gleeful one, as Phil dislikes everything about Punxatawney and Groundhog Day while Rita finds it charming.
  • Deconstructed in Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Neal Page is a cynical advertising executive trying to get home for Thanksgiving and is thrust into a series of misadventures with jolly shower ring salesman Del Griffith. As we spend time with both characters it becomes clear that Neal genuinely loves his family and is grumpy because of the frustrations that keep hitting him, while Del's cheer is to mask that he's a Sad Clown who lives on the road because his wife passed away years earlier.
  • Tommy Boy has Tommy Callahan, the dopey yet well-meaning son of Big Tom Callahan, and Richard Hayden, Big Tom's stern right-hand man, who, by his own admission, didn't want to go on the road with Tommy to sell brake pads.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit teams up Eddie Valiant, a disgruntled and grumpy private eye with a prejudice against Toons, with the titular Roger, a high-strung, optimistic Toon goofball who has trouble taking anything seriously.

  • A Christmas Carol has Ebenezer Scrooge as the grump, and Bob Cratchit as the gleeful one. Scrooge is a cold-hearted miser who says "humbug!" to Christmas. Cratchit isn't very merry while bookkeeping at Scrooge's loan office, but he brightens considerably at home, warmed by the company of his wife and children.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The protagonist, Greg, is an Easily Embarrassed Youngster and he's very cynical. His best friend Rowley on the other hand is cheerful and carefree, seeing the best in everyone.
  • In Green Eggs and Ham, Sam-I-Am is a happy-go-lucky man who loves the titular food and comes up with many different ways it can be eaten, while the unnamed tall guynote  makes it very clear that he doesn't like Sam or the titular food, and just wants some peace and quiet. He changes his attitude at the end of the book when he finally tries the titular food and decides he likes it after all.
  • My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!: Upbeat and fun-loving Catarina has this relationship with Alan, who is an aloof Jerk with a Heart of Gold. She also has this dynamic with her more serious and down-to-earth brother Keith. As well as her personal maid Anne, who snarks or expresses annoyance at her charge's antics.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Where Mr. Bingley is gregarious and sociable, his best friend Mr. Darcy starts the novel as a snobby Jerk with a Heart of Gold who dislikes parties. It becomes clear over the course of the novel that Darcy has plenty of nobler qualities that would make Bingley appreciate him, and that Darcy is protective of his friend and doesn't want to see him taken advantage of.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrowverse:
    • Oliver Queen as the grumpy one and Felicity Smoak as the gleeful one from Arrow.
    • Oliver also acts as the grumpy one to Barry Allen and Kara Danvers whenever they team up.
    • Cisco Ramon and Caitlin Snow from The Flash (2014) are often this, especially at the beginning of the series when Caitlin is Defrosting Ice Queen.
  • The A-Team: B.A. and Murdock have a Vitriolic Best Buds dynamic thanks to differing personalities. B.A., as implied by his nickname "Bad Attitude", has a short fuse. He doesn't like nonsense, which Murdock takes advantage of by doing all sorts of crazy things to get a rise out of him (including adopting different personas, starting a society for golf ball liberation, and carrying around a variety of Companion Cubes).
  • In Battlestar Galactica (1978), Starbuck is a wise-cracking jokester to Apollo's spiritually skeptical no-nonsense demeanor.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine: The jovial and fun-loving Jake is close friends with the reserved and aggressive Rosa as well as the stern and no-nonsense Captain Holt.
  • Due to the dynamics of the study group, the main characters of Community are often put into such pairs, with Annie, Shirley, and Troy in the role of the Gleeful, and Jeff, Britta, and Abed in the role of the Grumpy. Pierce is kind of in the middle, and can be either depending on who he works off of.
  • Friends: Joey and Chandler are a downplayed example. Joey is more optimistic and excitable, while Chandler is more snarky and pessimistic but not that grumpy, and he and Joey often share enthusiasm for the same things. Played straight, however, when they go to London for Ross's wedding: Joey acts like an overly enthusiastic tourist, while Chandler suddenly becomes an irritable grouch who gets angry at Joey much more often than usual, to the point of being out of character.
  • Beverly and Murray from The Goldbergs. Bev is manic, enthusiastic, and optimistic to the point of delusional, who smothers her children with love and attention (to their great embarrassment); Murray, on the other hand, is a lethargic, cynical lump of a man, who calls his kids "morons" (not without reason) and wants nothing more than to slump on his easy chair after a hard day of work and be left alone.
  • Good Omens (2019): Played straight with angel Aziraphale and his best friend demon Crowley. It's delightful to watch them interact.
  • Downplayed for the title characters of Laverne & Shirley, who are best friends and roommates. Shirley is an optimist and Determinator, while Laverne is mouthy and often complains about Shirley's "balloon never landing". However, Laverne can be optimistic at times as well.
  • Leverage:
    • Nate, who is perpetually tormented and rarely ever seen without a drink in his hand, is involved with Sophie who is always happy when she's tricking someone out of their money.
    • Haunted and scowling Eliot is usually teamed up with Hardison, who is usually geeking out over something.
  • Lost:
    • Several Season 3 episodes pair happy-go-lucky Hurley with Jerkass Con Man Sawyer, including one particularly memorable occasion on which Hurley tricks Sawyer into being nicer to people, which Sawyer describes as "the lamest con in the history of cons."
    • Season 5 pairs Hurley up with Miles, who was initially introduced as a Replacement Flat Character for Sawyer after his transformation into a Jerk with a Heart of Gold. Just like with Sawyer, Hurley succeeds in getting Miles to lighten up and even helps him get over his issues from his father abandoning him as a child.
  • Maggie & Bianca: Fashion Friends: The titular characters. Maggie is a Genki Girl who tries to be friendly and positive, while Bianca is nicknamed "the Frosty Ice Queen" by the other characters, especially before she defrosts. However, even Maggie can be very moody when she's annoyed by Bianca's rudeness.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • April Ludgate and Andy Dwyer, demonstrated by this Memetic Mutation from them:
      April: Someone will die.
      Andy: Of fun!
    • The cheerful and personable Leslie Knope is surprisingly good friends with the grouchy and stoic Ron Swanson.
  • Scrubs:
  • This is Daniel and Vala's relationship in Stargate SG-1. Interestingly, Daniel isn't generally the grump in other relationships (although Vala is irrepressible with everybody). This pairing seems to bring it out in him.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Downplayed for Picard the captain and Riker the first officer. Picard is very serious, no-nonsense, and kind of stern, while Riker is jokey and romantic.
    • Star Trek: Voyager:
      • Downplayed and played with Harry Kim and his best friend Tom Paris in the early seasons. Harry is very optimistic and straight-laced, while Tom is more gritty and cynical, but in a crisis or under stress they swap roles, with Harry getting serious and worried and Tom getting more flippant and using humor to cut tension and keep spirits up.
      • Tom and B'Elanna also become a bit like this when they get married, since she's short-tempered as mentioned, while he's become a bit more of a jokey goofball by that point.
      • As Tom became less serious and Harry matured, they were each often paired in this way with Tuvok. As a Vulcan security officer, Tuvok was as deadpan/emotionless and serious as they come, juxtaposed against either human officer's happier and more friendly disposition
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Jadzia Dax is very quirky, likes to make silly jokes and tell lighthearted stories of her past. One of her closest friends is Kira, who angers easily and is rather serious. She happens to marry Worf, who is even more so those things. He even lampshades this aspect of their pairing during some cold feet before the wedding
  • That '70s Show has the Formans; peppy, fun-loving Kitty and no-nonsense, hardass Red, who won't take any guff from his dumbass son and his dumbass friends.
  • Timeless pairs up the grumpy master sergeant Wyatt Logan with the gleeful history professor Lucy Preston
  • Victorious often pairs up the easily angered Jade with the bubbly and hyperactive Cat.
  • Wednesday has the emotionless, macabre, titular character and her bubbly, brightly colored roommate Enid.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: Bert and Ernie are best friends who live together. Ernie is an optimistic, cheerful guy who enjoys singing and playing games, while Bert is solemn and short-tempered.
  • The Wubbulous World of Dr. Seuss:
    • In the show's second season, The Cat in the Hat and Terrence McBird have this respective dynamic. The Cat is the show's warm-hearted host who encourages both Terrence and the viewers to participate in whatever activity he and the Little Cats have planned for the episode, while Terrence frequently complains and gripes about disliking things and will often refuse to participate in whatever activity the Cats have planned.
    • Fox in Socks and Mr. Knox also have this respective dynamic, albeit to a lesser extent; the former is lively and the latter is moody and easily annoyed.

  • Annie and Mr. Warbucks, as well as Grace Farrell and Mr. Warbucks, in Annie. Though Annie was taken in by Warbucks more as a publicity stunt, and wasn't supposed to be a girl, she manages to soften him to the point of wanting to adopt her within a week, and makes him a bit more altruistic and open towards others, including Grace.
  • The Drowsy Chaperone: Ditzy Mrs. Tottendale and Underling, her grumpy butler, have an entire duet of her gleefully discussing tragic romantic couples while he argues against her analogies. They end the song with her revealing her love for him, and they get married at the end of the show.
  • RENT:
    • Cynical, reclusive Roger and bright, vivacious Mimi are the main romantic pairing of the musical, with contrasting philosophies on leaving a legacy versus living for today.
    • Beta Couple Maureen, a Genki Girl performer/activist, and Joanne, a Closer to Earth lawyer, also act as this.
  • G(a)linda and Elphaba in Wicked, particularly in Act 1. Galinda is the popular golden girl while Elphaba is an outcast in every sense. While they initially loathe each other when paired as roommates, they eventually become friends, though their relationship is tested throughout the rest of the show.

  • BIONICLE: Kopaka, especially early on, is a grumpy, lone wolf type with a bit of a Jerkass streak. Meanwhile Pohatu is gregarious, cheerful, and does his best to try to get along with everybody. In fact, part of the reason the two get along so well is that Pohatu's friendliness even gets through Kopaka's rough exterior.

    Video Games 
  • In the Animal Crossing series, The pelican sisters that run the Post Office, Pelly and Phyllis, are this. Pelly, the younger sister and who works during the day, is cheerful, sweet, and treats clients with respect. Phyllis, the older sister and who works during the night, is grumpy, rude, and insults clients under her breath.
  • The titular duo from Banjo-Kazooie have this respective dynamic. Banjo will try to make pleasant conversation with everyone he meets, even if they're a boss character who's about to try to kill him, whereas Kazooie is very rude and snarky, often getting herself and Banjo into trouble, as several of the bosses wouldn't have fought them (and, in case of Nipper, would be willing to help) if not for her insults.
  • In Dragon Age II, Hawke's younger twin siblings Bethany and Carver fall into this. Bethany is gentle, kind, and sweet; Varric, the narrator, nicknames her "Sunshine" because she's bar none the nicest person he knows. Carver, meanwhile, is a grouch with a chip on his shoulder. They're also Red Oni, Blue Oni.
  • Duolingo Stories features two same-gender versions of this trope: the classmates and best friends Zari (Genki Girl) and Lily (Emo Teen), and the neighbors Vikram (overly friendly guy) and Oscar (snide art teacher). What's better is that all of them know each other already.
  • Sora and Riku from Kingdom Hearts, especially more noticeable after the latter's Heel–Face Turn. Sora is a energetic and kindhearted hero who is always with a bright smile on his face and with a cheerful attitude, and uses light-related abilities. Riku is calm and composed, but also very troubled and brooding due to his past experiences, as such he doesn't smile very often and uses dark-related abilities. This is also reflected in their clothing and hair color and style, with Riku's color palette and appearance always having a much more bleak and dark appearance compared to Sora (save for III, where Sora is wearing all black with red highlights while Riku wears a much cheerier palette).
  • In Soma Spirits, the main duo is Heart, the gleeful guardian of the World of Joy, while his brother Soul is the grumpy guardian of the World of Sorrow.
  • In WarioWare, you have the duo of Ashley and Red, who have this dynamic with each other. Ashley being a reserved, aloof, and quiet witch in training who barely smiles in contrast to her fellow peers, and Red being an incredibly cheerful, energetic, and friendly imp who is always shown smiling.
  • Splatoon gives us Callie and Marie, an idol duo of Polar Opposite Twins (actually cousins, but they look like twins, complete with Identical Twin ID Tags and have a lot of Twin Tropes under their belt.) Callie is a Genki Girl, while Marie is a Deadpan Snarker.
  • Final Fantasy XIV has Hythlodaeus and Emet-Selch appear in Endwalker as the cheerful and grump pairing. The former is both The Pollyanna and The Gadfly, which annoys his friend to no end when he's on the receiving end of his ribbing. Despite the stark personality contrast between the two, they are good friends to one another.

    Web Animation 
  • Homestar Runner often features the peppy and outgoing titular character who enjoys various whimsical activities with the sardonic and petulant Strong Bad who prefers to spend all day abusing and insulting people who annoy him.
  • In Minilife TV, Abel Gutierrez is the jovial student of the snarky Master Quoker.
  • Played with in Red vs. Blue. Cheerful Kindhearted Simpleton Caboose views the grumpy, cynical, misanthropic Church as his best friend; Church, however, outright loathes Caboose and wishes he'd just leave him alone. Eventually, Caboose's Undying Loyalty results in Church warming up to him and becoming something of a Cool Big Bro to him.
  • Played with a few times in RWBY:
    • Played straight and later averted when, during initiation, the energetic and pure-hearted goofball Ruby Rose is teamed with the rude, sassy, grumpy Weiss Schnee. However, as the series progresses, Weiss gradually lets down her guard to become her own sophisticated level of cheerful and friendly, and Ruby learns when to be more serious when she needs to be.
    • Downplayed and also later averted with partners Blake Belladonna and Yang Xiao Long, who were also partnered during initiation; Blake, though generally friendly, starts off incredibly pessimistic, reserved, and gloomy, and Yang is an optimistic, high-energy jokester. Both of them come to terms with their tragic pasts, leading to Blake becoming more open and happy and Yang learning how to become more calm and understanding.
    • Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren, childhood friends, initiation partners, and romantic interests with each other at first downplay this trope, with Nora being a hyperactive, optimistic chatterbox and Ren being quiet and reserved, though still friendly and helpful. However, after a series of tragedies and rifts, Ren grows into much more of a grump, becoming a bitter pessimist that, though still in love with Nora (who has maintained her optimism and general eccentricity), leaves both of them with conflicted feelings about each other.

  • Batman: Wayne Family Adventures: Skylar, Damian's friend from art class, is a bubbly Cheerful Child; Damian is a rough-edged Heroic Comedic Sociopath. Stephanie isn't actually sure how it works; she and Tim theorize that Skylar may secretly be a Kent because they're the only family that can tolerate a Wayne's typical grouchiness long-term.
  • Pixie and Brutus: Pixie, a naïve kitten, rarely feels sad or notes anything nasty about events in her life (though the latter changes slightly during strips in which she's older). Brutus, a Shell-Shocked Veteran, experienced a lot of horrible things during his career and maintains a gruff and occasionally hostile stance even after becoming a civilian pet. However, he slowly unbends under Pixie's influence.
  • In El Goonish Shive, a filler strip inverts this with Grace (or someone in the form of Grace) filling the role of the grumpy quiet calm one while Susan (or someone in the form of Susan) fills the role of the gleeful excitedly playful one.
  • Gabe and Tycho of Penny Arcade have this dynamic. Gabe is a cheerful, excitable goofball, while Tycho is a moody, cynical bore.
  • In Questionable Content, Faye, a recovering alcoholic, becomes this with her robot co-worker Bubbles, who's a former military droid and something of a Shell-Shocked Veteran (it's complicated, however.) Faye's troubles in the past have mostly come from her preference for numbing herself with booze and not talking to others about her problems, so she takes it on herself to be Bubbles' cheerful friend and confidante, not entirely to Bubbles' unalloyed pleasure to begin with. However, it works out in the end: they become close friends and, eventually, lovers.
  • Zimmy the Crow and Stretch-Web Ant in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! are this, with Zimmy constantly serious and grouchy, while Stretch grins, cracks jokes, and does silly things with his Rubber Man powers.
  • Alex and Ethan in Immaterial, not quite to the point of Manic Pixie Dream Girl, but she's a fairly impulsive Plucky Girl who brings the clinically depressed, cautious Deadpan Snarker on the wackiest adventure of his life (to date).

    Web Videos 
  • This is the whole gimmick of the Game Grumps. Arin is the "grump" and John/Danny is the "not-so-grump." They aren't just pretending to fit into these roles, either, as some of the crew's most famous (near) rage quits come from Arin. John, the original not-so-grump, is consistently a jokester while Danny, the second not-so-grump, is famously chill even when he gets angry at a game.
  • I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC: The pairing of serious-but-justice-oriented Rorschach and the psychopathic Deadpool became a meme, resulting in the creation of several buddy cop videos.
  • The Nostalgia Critic regular Hyper Fangirl's sheer enthusiasm for fandom often contrasts against Critic's grumpy, snarky attitude, particularly in episodes like "Old Vs. New: Spider-Man" when she vehemently defends films she loves that Critic mocks as bad. Sometimes Critic brings her in to have a more positive opinion to contrast against his, and other times she scares him too much for him to protest against her fangirling (or she literally kidnaps him).
  • Sanders Sides:
    • Patton (Morality) is generally the gleeful one to Virgil's (Anxiety) grumpy one when they interact. Where Patton is Thomas's heart, and thus is the heart of the Sides, Virgil is the gloomy Goth personification of Thomas's anxiety. While Virgil initially acts antagonistic towards Thomas and the other Sides, Patton's friendliness softens Virgil over time, and Patton eventually starts calling Virgil his son, which Virgil (mostly) appreciates (even though they are technically the same age).
    • Patton and Roman (Creativity) also often act as the gleeful ones to Logan (Logic) when Logan is being particularly stubborn and serious.
  • Bowser Junior and Chef Pee Pee from SuperMarioLogan have this respective dynamic. Junior loves making Chef Pee Pee play games with him, take him to fun places, and cook food for him. Chef Pee Pee, however, hates having to look after Junior, especially because it's one of the many responsibilities that Bowser gives him.
  • The Schue-Horyn twins of Wayward Guide for the Untrained Eye often have this dynamic, where pragmatic, serious Intrepid Reporter Artemis is often frustrated by her laid-back brother's puns and wild theories. When those theories start looking more and more likely, however...
  • Nana and TT from Cream Heroes qualify. Nana is a greatly loving and friendly orange cat who loves to rub around and snuggle up to other cats while TT is a grouchy grey tabby who prefers her own company. Somehow they've become good friends.

    Western Animation 
  • The 7D: Cheerful, upbeat Happy and the deadpan, easily-irritable Grumpy.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • Gumball and Darwin. The former is a cynical, irritable Deadpan Snarker, while the latter is a friendly, optimistic Cheerful Child.
    • Much like Gumball and Darwin, Nicole and her husband Richard have this dynamic as well. While Nicole is often temperamental and serious, Richard is generally a happy-go-lucky Manchild who likes to have fun.
    • Both Mr. and Mrs. Robinson are disgruntled Perpetual Frowners who hate everyone equally. By contrast, their son Rocky is a fun-loving guy who gets along with everyone.
  • American Dad!:
    • Stan and Francine. Stan is a bigoted, temperamental man obsessed with enforcing rules and discipline, while Francine is usually cheerful, playful, carefree, and eccentric.
    • Hayley and Steve have a rather similar dynamic, with the former being a cynical, lethargic Soapbox Sadie and the latter being an enthusiastic, extraverted nerd.
  • American Dragon: Jake Long: The Oracle Twins. Ironically, they see the future outcomes of their opposite personality. Sara, the optimistic twin named "Little Miss Sunshine", sees the bad stuff that's going to happen, while Kara, the cynical twin named "Miss Gloom and Doom", sees the good stuff.
  • The Angry Beavers: Norbert is laid back and affectionate, while Daggett is temperamental and aggressive.
  • Animaniacs:
    • The Warners are annoyingly cheerful, while Dr. Scratchensniff is a Nervous Wreck who has to put up with them, much to his frustration.
    • Pinky is cheerful and carefree, Brain is grumpy and irritable. They are still this in their own show, Pinky and the Brain.
    • Slappy Squirrel is a sarcastic and resourceful old lady while her nephew, Skippy, is a nice and happy young boy (even if he does adopt some of his aunt's mannerisms as the series progresses).
    • Runt is a happy-go-lucky Kindhearted Simpleton, Rita is aloof and sarcastic.
    • Out of the Goodfeathers, we have the cheerful and naive Squit and the cranky, short-tempered Pesto. The latter always beats up the former.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender gives us Mai as the grumpy, goth, Emotionless Girl and her best friend Ty Lee the peppy, upbeat Genki Girl.
  • Invoked in Batman: The Brave and the Bold when The Joker sets out to team up with his Perpetual Frowner counterpart, The Weeper. After Batman busts them, the episode ends with the Joker being brought to tears and the Weeper laughing at the irony.
  • Beavis And Butthead:
    • While both of the main characters are clueless morons, Beavis is rather hyperactive and cheerful, while Butt-Head is more cynical and snide.
    • Of the Highland High staff, the mild-mannered and tolerant Van Driessen has this dynamic with both McVicker and Buzzcut, who hate Beavis and Butt-Head with a burning passion.
  • Best Ed: The upbeat and sociable Ed and the easily irritable but often realistic Buddy.
  • BoJack Horseman:
    • BoJack and Mr. Peanutbutter serve as foil characters due to their different outlooks. BoJack is a snarky, depressed washed-up sitcom star who tends to see the worst in the world due to his harsh upbringing, while Mr. Peanutbutter is a ridiculously peppy former sitcom star who constantly finds success without even trying and treats BoJack like his best friend despite the latter wanting nothing to do with Mr. Peanutbutter. They also double as a Cynic–Idealist Duo.
    • BoJack is also contrasted against his roommate Todd, a cheerful slacker who constantly has wacky ideas that get on BoJack's nerves. However, BoJack's cynical, overly judgmental attitude often makes Todd feel less confident, and part of his story arc is learning to break away from BoJack.
    • Deconstructed with Mr. Peanutbutter and Diane's marriage. While Diane is chronically depressed and always sees the worst in the world (Sarah Lynn even compares her to Daria at one point), Mr. Peanutbutter is very loving and tries to get Diane to have fun, such as by throwing her an incredible surprise birthday party. However, Diane gets frustrated that Mr. Peanutbutter expresses his love in such grandiose ways despite her constantly insisting that she doesn't like that sort of thing, while Mr. Peanutbutter gets offended that Diane never appreciates his optimistic worldview and keeps getting involved in very depressing and risky causes. This inability to reconcile their attitudes eventually leads to their divorce.
  • Dan Vs.: Dan is regularly angry at everyone and everything, and his best friend Chris is a chipper, upbeat Big Eater.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Dexter is grumpy and irritable, while his sister Dee Dee is an overly cheerful Genki Girl.
  • DuckTales (1987): Just about anybody Scrooge McDuck hangs around with will be more cheerful than he is, given his cynical and snarky personality.
    • The kids (Huey, Dewey, Louie, and Webby), are, of course, kids, making them more playful and innocent than their grouchy uncle. It even rubs off a little on him as he warms up to them.
    • Launchpad McQuack, Scrooge's personal pilot/muscle, possesses extreme patience and almost always looks on the brighter side. His kookiness and Scrooge's temper means the older duck spends a lot of screen time yelling and snarking at him, despite the Interclass Friendship between them.
  • DuckTales:
    • Snarky Lena initially befriends gleeful Webby for less-than-honest reasons as part of her Aunt Magica's evil plot to get to Scrooge McDuck. But Webby's unconditional love and self-sacrifice lead Lena to reject this plan.
    • The kids and Launchpad often act as the gleeful ones to grumpy Uncle Scrooge as well.
    • Della Duck is revealed to be the gleeful one with her twin brother Donald, especially when they were kids (though they both inherited the Duck family's Hair-Trigger Temper).
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: The happy-go-lucky and carefree Ed and his perpetually angry sister Sarah. Ed is also a foil to his grouchy and cynical best friend Eddy.
  • Family Guy: Meg, the miserable Butt-Monkey, has this dynamic with her brother Chris, a carefree Kiddie Kid.
  • The Flintstones: Fred Flintstone and Barney Rubble. Barney is a jovial and amiable fellow, even amid adversity, whereas Fred tends to have a short fuse that gets shorter as events start going awry. Barney typically chuckles while Fred usually grumbles. Nevertheless, the two are best buds.
  • The Ghost and Molly McGee features the eponymous duo, the miserable and mischievous Scratch (the ghost) and energetic, optimistic tween Molly McGee, whom Scratch has bound himself to after cursing her to be eternally haunted by him. Despite their differences, Molly is endlessly patient with Scratch's cynical demeanor, and deep down, Scratch genuinely loves Molly for being such a supportive friend, even if he has a unique way of showing it.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Mabel is an optimistic and energetic people person with outlandish interests, while her brother Dipper is intellectual, often snarky, and more down to Earth.
    • Dipper also has this dynamic with the lovable goofball Soos.
  • Green Eggs and Ham: The fun loving and happy Sam-I-Am paired with the grouchy and self-loathing Guy-Am-I. Then, there are the BADGUYS; the serious and grizzled McWinkle, and his Genki Girl rookie partner, Gluntz.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: Billy is the optimistic and cheerful one who's often naïve, while Mandy is the devious, mean, and grumpy one known for wearing an ironically cutesy wardrobe.
  • Hey Arnold!: Deconstructed with Helga and her sister Olga. While Helga is generally a moody Tsundere who doesn't get along with most people, Olga tends to be more upbeat and easygoing. That being said, Olga is revealed to be a Stepford Smiler and Nervous Wreck due to the constant pressure from her parents and their expectations, while Helga is the way she is due to a miserable life of neglect.
  • Hilda:
    • Downplayed with Hilda and Frida. Hilda is a fearless adventurer girl who loves the outdoors and Frida, while friendly, is The Perfectionist and Control Freak who becomes a nervous wreck and loses her temper when things don't go her way. Becomes a deconstruction when it ends up causing a Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure between them. When they reconciled with each other, it became a reconstruction; Frida learned that she doesn't have to be perfect, while Hilda learned to take things into consideration.
    • Following the Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure mentioned above, Frida has this dynamic with Kelly who is grumpy and cynical, in contrast with her affable and sociable personality. It becomes a deconstruction when it's clear that Kelly is only trying to befriend Frida in an attempt to turn her into a Marra, so when the attempt fails she resorts to pushing her towards the Black Hound in order to save her own skin.
    • In season 2, Hilda seems to have this dynamic with her mother, Johanna albeit downplayed as well. While friendly herself, Johanna ends up getting upset about Hilda keeping her in the dark about her adventures that she grounds her as a result.
  • Iron Man: Armored Adventures: Pepper is warm, energetic, and hopeful, while Gene is colder, calculating, and snarky. The two dislike each other initially, but Pepper becomes the only person Gene doesn't want to hurt.
  • Jellystone!: The cheery and energetic Jabberjaw is best friends with the sarcastic and composed Loopy De Loop.
  • Kaeloo: Kaeloo is cheerful, energetic, and friendly, as opposed to her best friend Mr. Cat who is a sarcastic, grumpy pessimist.
  • Kim Possible: Downplayed with Kim and Ron. Kim is friendly and outgoing, but she is quite snarky, overly competitive, and can be easily frustrated. Ron, meanwhile, is an easygoing Keet.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Grumpy Eska (voiced by Aubrey Plaza) and gleeful Bolin spend Book 2 in a relationship.
    • Bolin and his brother, Mako, who's described as a "grouch," also take on this dynamic, particularly in the early seasons.
  • Lippy the Lion and Hardy Har Har form this dynamic. Lippy is always optimistic and doesn't think deeply about things, and Hardy is pessimistic and always complaining.
  • The Loud House: Most roommate pairs of Lincoln's sisters. The irritable and short-tempered Lori with the always happy Leni, the outgoing Passionate Sports Girl Lynn with the borderline nihilistic Lucy, the happy and easy-going Lana and the judgmental and petulant Lola, and the serious and melancholic Lisa with the Cheerful Child Lily. Averted with Luna and Luan. Luan would indeed count as gleeful, but Luna is in no way grumpy, and is nearly as gleeful as Luan, if not more so.
  • Making Fiends gives us the obsessively Cheerful Child Charlotte and the mean and grumpy Enfant Terrible Vendetta.
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack has the gleeful adventure seeking Flapjack and grumpy, lazy Jerkass K'nuckles.
  • Over the Garden Wall: Wirt and Greg. The former is a level-headed and strict Nervous Wreck, while the latter is constantly happy and cheerful and never gives up.
  • The Owl House: Luz forms the gleeful half with her girlfriend Amity. Luz is friendly, joyful, and fascinated by the world around her. Amity is more serious, pessimistic, and condescending, although she does eventually open up with the help of Luz. As of "Thanks to Them", however, the roles switch; Luz becomes a gloomy, self-loathing shell of her former self due to her Trauma Conga Line, while Amity has become almost as upbeat and confident as Luz was, especially when compared to how she started. That said, the Distant Finale has both girls becoming cheerful and upbeat adults after finally defeating the cause of their pain.
  • Phineas and Ferb: Phineas is an outgoing Cheerful Child who loves inventing and having fun with his friends, while his sister Candace is a cynical Fiery Redhead who disapproves of his ideas of fun.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • Jet is a ray of sunshine who is perpetually optimistic, energetic, and friendly. Seannote  isn't all that grumpy, but he can be stubborn, a Nervous Wreck, and is prone to bouts of angriness and upsetness.
    • Mindy and Mitchell's relationship directly mirrors Jet and Sean's. Mindy is a Cheerful Child who is enthusiastic and curious about everything. Mitchell is a snarky, deadpan, egotistical, antisocial know-it-all. Mindy helps draw Mitchell out of his shell and become a better person over the course of the show. Like Jet and Sean, they also have Ship Tease here and there.
  • Regular Show: Benson, a Mean Boss with severe anger issues, has this dynamic with Pops, a scatterbrained Manchild who is almost always in a cheery mood.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: Ren is short-tempered and usually not in the best mood. Stimpy, however, is almost always happy, even when Ren is taking his anger out on him.
  • Ruby Gloom: The adventurous and energetic Iris is often paired up with the dreary and cynical Misery.
  • Rugrats: Downplayed for the adoptive siblings Chuckie and Kimi Finster. Kimi is very cheerful and energetic, but Chuckie, while nervy and a bit of a pessimist at times, isn't all that grumpy.
  • The Simpsons: Ned Flanders and Homer Simpson have this respective dynamic. Ned is very jovial and kind, even when he is being mistreated, and has two well-behaved children. Homer abhors Ned out of jealousy for both his good lifestyle and popularity, as well as Ned's insufferably pious and goody-goody demeanor. Homer is also quick to get angry, especially when his three children (particularly Bart) misbehave.
  • Smiling Friends: the Cheery Pink Keet and all-around Nice Guy Pim (cheery) and the less-enthusiastic, cynical Jerk with a Heart of Gold Charlie (grumpy).
  • South Park: Stan Marsh has this dynamic with Butters Stotch whenever they team up. To a larger extent, Cartman also has this dynamic with Butters when the latter partakes in his schemes.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: The titular character and his neighbor, Squidward. SpongeBob is cheerful and optimistic, and considers Squidward to be his close friend. Squidward is grumpy and cynical, and hates SpongeBob with a passion.
  • Steven Universe: Mr. Smiley, owner of the Beach City Funland amusement park, used to be in a comedy duo with a man named Mr. Frowney. Both their stage personas and their real-life demeanors match their last names. In the show's art book, notes for the episode in which they briefly reunite describe them as having even been lovers.
  • Thomas & Friends:
    • Sodor's two medium-sized tender engines, Edward and James have this dynamic. Edward is kind and patient, and doesn't mind what work he does, whereas James is vain and temperamental, hates doing jobs that are dirty, and prefers pulling coaches.
    • Sodor's two express engines, Rebecca and Gordon, also have this dynamic, perhaps best exemplified in "Gordon and Rebecca, Coming Through!". Gordon has been working on Sodor for a very long time, loves to go fast, hates pulling goods trains, and is sometimes bossy to the other engines, especially if they're on his tracks, whereas Rebecca came to Sodor much later than Gordon, loves to travel at her own pace, doesn't mind pulling goods trains, and is very polite to the other engines, often letting them go ahead of her.
    • The two engines who work on the Arlesburgh/Harwick branch line, Ryan and Daisy, also have this respective dynamic. Ryan is a cheerful and hard-working tank engine who is kind to everyone he meets and doesn't mind what work he does. Daisy, on the other hand, is a classy, sassy diesel railcar who prefers to do just what work she chooses and no more. She spends a lot of her time resting in her shed, doesn't like pulling coaches or trucks, and is particularly rude to coaches like Annie, Clarabel, and Henrietta.
    • Salty the Dockyard Diesel and Cranky the Crane have this respective dynamic whenever they work at Brendam Docks. Salty is a cheerful diesel who enjoys working by the sea and telling tales of the sea to the engines who visit. Cranky, as his name implies, is a cranky harbor crane who works both day and night, never getting a rest (which actually becomes a plot point in "No Sleep For Cranky"), and he doesn't particularly enjoy listening to Salty's stories.
  • Total Drama: formally, abrasive, and moody Goth Girl, Gwen, twice, during the Island season. First with the cheery hopeless romantic, Cody, and then with the fun-loving party dude Geoff.
  • Wander over Yonder: Wander is a happy-go-lucky alien who always acts friendly and upbeat to everyone, even his enemies. His steed Sylvia is more cynical and worldly, and believes that sometimes you have to bust a few heads to get things done. She is often annoyed by Wander's seeming naiveté but is still loyal enough to follow his lead.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Grumpy And Sunshine


Enid and Wednesday

Take Wednesday Addams, one of the most cynical and morbid girls in fiction, and make her roommates with a cheery, blonde werewolf. This is the result.

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / GleefulAndGrumpyPairing

Media sources: