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Lighter and Softer

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Fans feared this would happen, and this was Blizzard trolling them. Mostly.

Roger Meyers Jr.: So, we figured he could, y'know, just grab Itchy and toss him in a bucket of acid.
Marge: Oh dear.
Meyers: But then we remembered that this might be interpreted as violence which is "morally wrong" now, thanks to you. So, what's your big idea? How do we end this?
Marge: Hrmmm. Let's see. Oh! Couldn't Itchy share his pie with Scratchy? Then they would both have pie!
Meyers: It's different, I'll give you that.

The light twin of Darker and Edgier, when something is Tone Shifted to be more family friendly and frothy than the original source. This can either happen to a show over time, or it can be the result of deliberate Executive Meddling. It could be a deliberate throwback to a pre-Cerebus Syndrome incarnation. Thus, a Lighter And Softer reboot may often follow an incarnation which made a point of being Darker and Edgier. Finally, if an adult or more serious TV show or movie has a spin-off aimed at children, this can be the result. Just like its brother extreme, Lighter and Softer can leave just as bad of a taste in longtime fans' mouths as Darker and Edgier if handled poorly.

At its most extreme it can turn a previously vibrant cast into Flat Characters and remove a lot of the show's appeal or even cause fans to abandon the work entirely. If it shoehorns Black-and-White Morality into the work and makes everyone clear heroes and villains, then expect people to complain about the loss of subtlety in the setting, or feel like the writers are talking down to them.

In music, this may result in an artist merely recording a Surprisingly Gentle Song, or it could lead to the artist having a complete Genre Shift to a lighter genre.

Often found alongside Denser and Wackier (when the work is made sillier and more gag-oriented than what came before), Younger and Hipper (retooling a work so that the characters are younger to appeal to younger demographics) and Kinder and Cleaner (where profanity is toned down if not removed outright). Also often signaled by an increase in wacky humor.

Just like with Darker and Edgier, please keep in mind that Tropes Are Tools. When something is lighter and softer than its initial source material, it doesn't mean it's automatically worse. It usually depends on who creates/writes said material as well as how subtly they make the transition. Executive Meddling may of course be at fault; "We gotta appeal to the kids!" But other reasons include trying to be more mainstream, to change an unpopular run, to appeal to another demographic, to recognize and dispel Too Bleak, Stopped Caring etc. The Lighter And Softer run can end up being positively remembered for years to come. It just depends on who's behind the product and how they execute it.

Compare Bowdlerise (where a work is edited to remove material that can be considered questionable), Disneyfication (making a story more suitable for children by toning down the darker elements), Menace Decay (where a bratty child character becomes less of a troublemaker over time), Badass Decay (where audiences see a cool character as becoming not as impressive and formidable as they used to be), Reverse Cerebus Syndrome (where an initially dark work becomes lighter in tone over time), W.A.F.F. (when a work's whole purpose is to appeal to the audience by being cute and endearing), Adaptational Angst Downgrade (where an adaptation changes a character's backstory to remove the tragic parts), Tamer and Chaster (where a work reduces the amount of nudity and sexual content) and Pacified Adaptation (where the adaptation has less violence).

Contrast Darker and Edgier (where a work is changed to be darker and more serious in tone), Bloodier and Gorier (where the work features more graphic violence than usual), Cerebus Syndrome (where a work defaults to becoming darker in tone over time), Adaptational Angst Upgrade (where an adaptation alters a character's history so their life is more miserable than it was in the source material) and Hotter and Sexier (where a work increases the amount of nudity and sexual content).


Alternative Title(s): Lighter And Fluffier, Light Fluff, Fluffy Reboot