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Perpetual Frowner

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They don't call him "Old Stoneface" for nothing.

"Staying all serious and scowling every minute of the day is impossible! How can anyone look so mad all the time?!"
Kon regarding Ichigo, Bleach

A character whose default or most frequent appearance/model is him/her with a serious upside-down smile, even in the most pleasant of situations. Though it can be compared to The Stoic, Perpetual Frowner differs in the simple fact that rather than wearing a face of indifference, the character perpetually expresses the biggest, ugliest frown he or she can make on their face.

Usually comes in three varieties: mopey and listless, angry and angsty, or focused and serious. In many cases, the look of extreme tension continues even when they're asleep. For series where character background and development is allotted, it may later be revealed that the person expresses the demeanor as a result of living or having lived a harsh or tragic life.

Extra points if the character also displays a habit of keeping his arms crossed along with the constant frowning for that extra pouty look.

If the Perpetual Frowner actually does smile, it either signifies that the character has found a reason to be happy and enjoy life again, or it is one of the most potent sources of Nightmare Fuel you will ever come across. The smile may also be forced upon another by someone.

If the expression is not voluntary but the result of damage to nerves or the like, it falls under Frozen Face.

Compare the Aloof Big Brother, the Deadpan Snarker, The Comically Serious, and The Eeyore. Contrast Perpetual Smiler. See also the Death Glare and the Clint Squint.

Example Subpages:

Other Examples:

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    Asian Animation 
  • Sarcastic, deadpan Choco from Bread Barbershop rarely ever smiles, to the point that there's an episode ("Choco Smile") based around Bread holding a contest to see who can make her smile after an inspector determines that her frown ruins the workplace joy, which disqualifies Bread Barbershop from receiving government subsidies.
  • Happy Heroes: It's not especially often that Careful S. smiles, particularly in the earlier seasons, and when he attempts to smile on command, it looks quite terrifying.
  • Victor from Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Dunk for Victories has a serious personality and doesn't smile for most of the season, until episode 57.

    Comic Books 
  • Amulet: Trellis' only ever been seen smiling once - whilst playing a game of Othello in Escape From Lucien.
  • Modern depictions of Batman, or at least anything after Frank Miller, portray him with a near-constant scowl, complimenting his overall serious demeanor. Whenever he is seen smiling, it's usually more of a smirk. Though it's worth noting that this was how Batman was portrayed originally, being a much darker, gothic figure in his early Golden Age comics, then becoming more lighthearted and cheery (so as not to frighten younger readers) during the Silver Age, only to slowly transition back into the dark, serious, noir-tinged character he was to begin with, starting from the 70s onward.
  • True to his name, Blacksad is always shown with a frown on his face. Which is pretty justifiable, considering all the terrible stuff he has witnessed during his lifetime. He does smile in some rare occasions, such as non-canon artwork made by the official artist of the comic.
  • Cerebus the Aardvark: The titular character's standard expression rarely varies from a frown or scowl.
  • Extinctioners: Although he shows a variety of other emotions, this expression seems to be Walice Weazels main mood throughout the series (due to him usually irritated by something if he`s not just feeling bitter).
  • The Flash: Zoom is in a constant state of Unstoppable Rage, and his mouth is nearly always twisted into a tooth-baring grimace.
  • Happy Hogan of Iron Man started out like this, simply because that was how he always looked. At one point, he informed the reader that he WAS smiling. He got better before The '60s were through.
  • In Judge Dredd, the titular character has two facial expressions: "Frowning Angrily" (pictured above) and "Shouting". Made all the stronger because he famously never removes his helmet where the viewer can see it, so a scowling mouth really is his main facial expression.
    • There was one time when he returned to Mega City 1 from Luna-1 and hadn't been reinstated as a judge yet. He spent a couple of minutes walking around, waving at anyone, and ignoring crimes because he was technically a civilian.
    • One prog has the extremely tasty and addictive Umpty Candy sweeping the city. The cover shows Dredd with a giant grin while eating. It's as disturbing as it sounds.
  • Any comic character drawn by Rob Liefeld will usually have this as a default expression. Slightly angrier characters will have it with teeth exposed. Still angrier characters will have an open, shouting mouth with the upper half of their face pinched into a painful looking grimace.
  • New Gods: Darkseid has this expression 24/7, and for billions of years, being quite literally stone faced. When he's not scowling, it's either a Psychotic Smirk or Slasher Smile — there's no in-between.
  • The Saint of Killers from Preacher, alive or undead. One character describes his permanent facial expression as someone who's "treadin' through dogshit".
    • He smiles in a flashback when he holds his newborn daughter. This old, hated Civil War veteran not only has a loving wife but now a beautiful daughter.
  • About the only time The Punisher doesn't wear this expression is in flashbacks with his family. To quote the 2005 Punisher videogame:
    (After blasting Bushwacker through a wall) "I don't smile much. Don't smile ever. But if I did, this would be one."
  • Sensation Comics: Dr. Stanton glowers at everyone constantly when separated from Mona Blue, and when he's together with her he still doesn't seem to know how to smile, though he doesn't glower at her and can sort of stop glowering at patients when she's around.
  • Almost everyone in Sin City. If they smile, you should expect it to be a Slasher Smile.
  • Superman:
    • In Superman: At Earth's End, Superman's face is locked in a near-permanent scowl.
    • Batman spends the whole of The Supergirl from Krypton (2004) scowling and frowning. Given that Superman is gushing all over a strange, superpowerful girl who has appeared out of nowhere claiming to be his conveniently amnesic cousin only to be kidnapped by Darkseid shortly after, all of which sounds like a transparent set-up to him, he has little reason to crack a smile.
    • Red Daughter of Krypton: Supergirl spends most of her stint as a Red Lantern displaying angry, sad or moody expressions.
  • Thanos, when he isn't grinning insanely, usually has an angry scowl on his face. Though on rare occasions he's had an easy going smile on his face such as when he's won favour with "his lady", bonding with Gamora when she was little or when he's farming.
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye:
    • Ultra Magnus, stern lawman to a fault, is never seen smiling (except twice, the first he regretted ever since, and the second was to save everyone's life). It's been so long since he smiled that the parts of his face responsible for changing his expression have rusted in place.
    • Ratchet, on account of being increasingly old and grumpy. Just for contrast, a flashback actually shows him smiling, towards Drift, of all people.
    • Helex, of the Decepticon Justice Division, is almost never seen smiling. Usually, he's this or his face is obscured. So much of a perpetual frowner, he doesn't even smile while on the job, except for one time.
  • The main hero of WILQ – Superbohater, which perfectly matches his bad attitude. In rare instances when he actually changes his face expression, it's usually one of shock and disbelief. Or a Psychotic Smirk, when he's about to hurt someone.
  • X-Men:
    • Wolverine typically has a scowl on his face fitting his Anti-Hero nature and other times he has an iconic Slasher Smile and smirk. Averted when Logan is around his friends and very capable of smiles and chuckles when in a good mood.
    • Logan's Opposite-Sex Clone X23 smiles even less than him, mainly due to her Dark and Troubled Past toughening her up and giving her intimacy issues. Averted with later comics where Laura can be seen with the occasional smile on her face, the X-Men have rubbed off on her.
    • Cable hardly ever smiles and usually doesn't have much reason to. One of the few times Cable has averted this, is when he's around his daughter Hope.
    • Apocalypse's facial structure means he does this naturally, in fact the few times he does smile he looks creepy.

    Fairy Tales 
  • In The Brothers Grimm's "The Golden Goose", a local princess is unable to smile, and her father the King decreed that, if a man could make the very serious and unemotional Princess laugh, she'd marry him. She begins laughing when she sees The Hero carrying around the titular Golden Goose... plus a bunch of people that were stuck to him because of the Goose's curse.

    Fan Works 
  • A background character from Mall Rats, a fanfiction of The Loud House, has a "perma-sneer".
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • Downplayed for Sanakan. Her default expression is a scowl, but sometimes grins if she feels like it.
    • Subverted for Kyril. He's a Consummate Professional who leans towards The Stoic with the emotionless visage, giving the impression of seriousness or mild annoyance all the time, but he does give a thin smile underneath his bandanna more than once.
  • In Shinobi: The RPG we have Shimoda Daisuke, who—thanks to his one Charisma—has the emotional range of a statue, the effect of which actively frightens his peers. He's constantly mentioned as frowning.
  • Overlapping with The Quiet One, the ten year old Elesis/Ellie from Tokimeki PokéLive! and TwinBee has one of these of the focused and serious variety on her face when she enters her rarely seen secondary "serious mode" personality. Subverted in that she's usually the smiling, cheerful and talkative type character otherwise.
  • Flowey from Underfell is rarely seen without a frown on his face. This being a classic Mirror Universe, it's in direct contrast to his canon self from Undertale who is a Perpetual Smiler.
  • Ellen Harrison in Zero Context: Taking Out the Trash. Regardless of the situation, be it joining a sibling dogpile on a beloved godparent or curbstomping twenty-six trained fighters at once, she never once smiles.

    Film — Animated 
  • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm: Chuckie Sol. In the book, it's explained that he deliberately cultivates that image because he believes it'll be taken as a sign of weakness if he ever lets anyone see him smile. The one time he ever smiles in the story is explained in the book by his belief that Phantasm, who's the only character seeing him do it, won't live long enough to tell anybody.
  • The Book of Life:
    • Manolo's grandmother hardly cracks a smile.
    • The only time Chakal smiled is when he tries to blow himself up to take the town with him.
  • A Bug's Life's main villain Hopper has only been seen smiling a small handful of times throughout the whole movie.
  • Tim Burton's Corpse Bride: Nearly all the living people.
  • Reggie from Free Birds due to his depressing personality, being a complete doormat and letting the president's daughter abuse him.
  • Roz from Monsters, Inc. is quite extreme in this regard, with her signature dull, sour frown being her sole facial expression throughout the entire film. However, she shows during the film's Hilarious Outtakes that she's still able to joke around and have a laugh with the others.
  • Pocahontas: Kocoum rarely grins at all — so much so that when Nakoma expresses attraction towards him, Pocahontas sarcastically remarks his best feature is his smile. He doesn't even grin at Pocahontas—whom he intended to marry.
  • Ratatouille:
    • Django has his reasons, though he does finally seem happier by the movie's end.
    • Ego spends close to all of the movie frowning, befitting his status as an unpleasable food critic.
  • Miss Sanchez from Shark Tale, mainly because she's annoyed by any stupid thing Oscar did to ruin her life.
  • Disney's Tarzan: The exceptionally serious alpha gorilla Kerchak almost never smiles in the film (except for a few scenes such as when he bonds with his biological son at the beginning) or in any other Disney media, often presenting an indifferent or angry look on his face.
  • Chuckles the Clown of Toy Story 3 is always seen with a frown on his face, as a result of going through exactly what Lotso and Big Baby went through and seeing them corrupted by their experiences. He does crack a smile at the end though.
  • In Turning Red, while she doesn't act glum, Priya's facial expression always bears heavy-lidded eyes and a mild frown, projecting a powerful "cool girl" image.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • One of the biggest criticisms of Superman's portrayal in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is that Clark doesn’t wipe his gloomy frown off his face except when he's with Lois or his mother Martha. Yes, it's part of Zack Snyder Darker and Grittier aesthetic, but seeing the All-Loving Hero Superman have a grim look on his face while saving people was too much for fans. Justice League (2017) corrects this, as Supes readily smiles and chuckles just like in the comics.
  • The Bourne Series: Jason Bourne is like this, due to constantly being on the run and on his guard. The only time he smiles in the original film is at the very end, when he reunites with Marie. In the sequel, Marie is killed in the first action sequence, and he never smiles again.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: Edmund Pevensie seems to do this a lot, even after his Heel–Face Turn.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire: Karkaroff's caricature-esque grimacing.
  • How To Blow Up A Pipeline: Michael never once smiles in the film. He usually frowns, grimaces or otherwise appears dour.
  • James Bond:
    • Oddjob in Goldfinger has constant frown, when he does smile it means 007 is in for a beatdown.
    • Le Chiffre in a good chunk of his appearances in Casino Royale (2006). Daniel Craig’s Bond himself actually averts this, smiling multiple times throughout the film but after Vesper’s death however he almost never smiles again in the following movies even when he smiles it seems like he's scowling. The only time we see him truly smile again is when he’s with Madeline and his daughter Mathilde.
  • Bagheera from The Jungle Book (2016) doesn't smile a lot, even in lighthearted moments. But the only time he smiles in the movie is when Mowgli hugs him after they had been separated.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Strangely enough, Captain America tends to have a frown as his default expression. True, his stoicism is somewhat justified given that he was bullied frequently as a kid, has been through many wars and has almost everyone he knew from the 1940s die, but it is a contrast to his idealistic nature. It's even noted out-of-universe, as Cap's actor Chris Evans is a huge goofball on set, yet when the director calls action, his costars notice that he immediately stops smiling and becomes deadly serious.
    • Nick Fury has this expression 24/7 in later movies. Considering the violence, conspiracies, betrayals and corruption he's seen it's to be expected. Strangely, Fury frequently smiles and laughs in Iron Man 2, though this was before his characterization came in.
    • The Hulk's default expression, just like in the comics, is an angry scowl — in The Avengers (2012) he only smiles when Cap gives him the "Smash" command. Averted in Thor: Ragnarok, as Hulk smiles and laughs like a big overgrown toddler Professor Hulk is also rarely seen frowning.
    • Bucky, much like Cap, rarely feels any indication to curl his lips up and would rather bury his emotion in brooding stoicism. It's a strong contrast to when Bucky was introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger, in which he has an easy-going smile on his face, though Cold-Blooded Torture and being Brainwashed and Crazy for years probably does that to you. Averted in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, by which time Bucky has managed to somewhat go back to how he was before Hydra captured him, even if he still glares and scowls a fair bit.
    • Initially played straight with Drax and Gamora, who have near permanent frowns on their faces just like the comics, but thanks to Star-Lord, they both brighten up immensely. Drax in particular, despite his Dark and Troubled Past, is capable of fits of laughter.
    • Thanos is a mixed bag — like in the comics, he's capable of a Psychotic Smirk and Slasher Smile, but most other times, he has somber frown or a scowl on his face. At the end of Avengers: Infinity War, he has a peaceful smile after killing half the universe.
    • Captain Marvel almost never smiles and has near permanent stoic frown on her face. It's even noted In-Universe as a sleazy biker asks Carol to give him a smile and gives him a scowl in return. It's semi-justified given her part with her difficult childhood and a hard time at the Air Force, so Carol is probably acting aloof as a defense.
    • Nebula is the queen of this trope, as unlike the previous listed, she has distinction of never smiling once; at the most, she'll soften her scowl. She finally smiles (albeit briefly) in Avengers: Endgame while playing games with Tony.
  • MonsterVerse:
  • Star Trek (2009): Karl Urban's Doctor McCoy took until the third movie to crack a smile. Compared to him, Spock looks downright cheerful.
  • Mace Windu from the Star Wars prequels looks like he never learned how to smile, even before the Clone Wars began. According to the novel Shatterpoint, it's been years since anyone's seen him smile; he makes one half-hearted attempt early on, but quickly gives up.

  • Animorphs: Tobias' default form is a red-tailed hawk, so when in human morph he tends to not show much expression and look at people with raptorial intensity.
  • Skeeter Traps from Chronicles Of Magic is a ten-year-old version of this.
  • The Death Gate Cycle: The fact that Haplo tends to maintain a grim expression even while sleeping is remarked upon by other characters. He does smile occasionally, however.
  • Greg Heffley from Diary of a Wimpy Kid is usually shown frowning.
  • Discworld has Commander Sir Samuel 'Sam' Vimes, a.k.a. 'Old Stoneface'. He does smile, occasionally, usually when his son is involved, but a glare, a snarl, or even a roar of rage is much more likely.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • "I snarled", "I glared", "I scowled"... Harry Dresden is very much this. This is notable, given the fact that he spends most of his time cracking bad jokes—though part of it might be to do with the fact that he puts great store by intimidating the monsters he deals with on a regular basis from the off, so they're less inclined to try and have a go.
    • Morgan is practically carved out of granite. He smiles maybe once in all of the books.
  • The titular character in the Eisenhorn trilogy, though not by choice. You see, early in the first book, he gets tortured so horribly (an this is set in Warhammer 40,000, so feel free to imagine just how) that the muscles in his face are irreparably damaged. He can't smile anymore, even if he wanted to.
  • Fate/Zero: Kirei Kotomine smiles very rarely and usually has an emotionless expression on his face. Considering it's a prequel to Fate/stay night, people who started with stay night first, learn how he went from a Perpetual Frowner to a Perpetual Smiler. And indeed, every time Kotomine smiles in Fate/Zero, it's always a wicked smile.
  • Sagara Sousuke from Full Metal Panic!. He is described numerous times to be a very attractive boy... except for the problem that he looks perpetually angry, with his eyebrows slanting down and lips pressed firmly in a grim straight line, giving him a very unapproachable appearance. He's actually pretty well known for never smiling in the story. Here's his attempt at trying to, for the sake of his photo ID. Though more unnervingly, one of the few times he's shown to smile naturally can be seen here. Yikes, Sousuke, you Sociopathic Hero, you.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Kreacher the house elf makes emo kids look optimistic and happy from his introduction in the fifth book until the seventh when he finally sees the light and starts to become cheerful.
    • When he's not smirking, Snape spends his time either scowling, frowning or sneering.
  • Holmes on the Range: Old Red is a reserved, often sour person after the deaths of his fiancée, parents and all but one of his siblings in various parts of The Backstory.
  • Aur from How to Build a Dungeon: Book of the Demon King has this as his default look, properly portraying the kind of man he is; although he sometimes makes gentle expressions towards those he has recruited, mostly women, even flat out manipulating his facial structure with magic to give those who meets him for the first time a false impression that he is a benevolent man.
  • In The Hunger Games, Gale says that Katniss only smiles when in the woods. During the Games, Peeta tells her that she doesn't scowl as much when she's asleep. Katniss herself admits that her smiles are hard to come by.
  • In I Funny, Jamie Grimm's foster family, ironically nicknamed the Smileys by Grimm, are shown frowning mostly.
  • Johannes Cabal: The titular Necromancer is a dour people-hater who's driven only by his supernatural research to resurrect his Lost Lenore. His normal modes of social engagement are stoicism and misanthropic rage; his muscles creak from disuse when he forces a smile; and when he has a giggling fit, people around him are stunned with dismay.
  • Gwendal in Kyo Kara Maoh! is an extreme example, even other characters comment on his perpetual frowning.
  • Monster of the Month Club: Icicle, the January Selection, who's pretty grouchy most of the time. Whenever he's interacting with Rilla, he almost always has a scowl on his face, though he tends to lighten up when he's caught up in a good book (only to switch back to looking grumpy if he's interrupted) or relaxing in the bathtub. He also tries to smile when he first sees Sweetie Pie and develops an instant crush on her, but this doesn't last long.
  • Tahniya in The Path to War is actually described as having a permanent small frown, which always makes her look like something has irritated or troubled her.
  • In Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain, Generic Girl always sounds tired and unhappy, not fitting in with heroes, villains, or middle schoolers.
  • Lord Droon, the villain of Dr. Seuss's early picture book The King's Stilts, is described as a "scowler," mutters that "the lines at the corners of the mouth should go down," and loathes smiles, fun, and anything that seems unserious or undignified — so much that he endangers the entire kingdom by stealing the titular stilts, pushing the king toward the Despair Event Horizon.
  • Tywin Lannister from A Song of Ice and Fire has never smiled since he lost his wife. Even before then, there had only been four recorded occasions of him smiling.
    • Stannis Baratheon is similar to, if not even more so, to Tywin in this regard. It's said, more than once, that he "never learned how to smile." He is constantly scowling, and one of his character tics is, when particularly annoyed by something, he grinds his teeth. A character once said he was so mad about something that "he clenched his teeth so hard I thought they would shatter."
      • However this ties into the theme that there is more to Stannis then first meets the eye. He smiles and laughs a few times, usually when his most trusted man Davos Seaworth is around.
    • In the past, King Aegon III was this from seeing the horrific way his mother died. Never smiled, always wore black to mourn his mother.
  • Star Wars: Kenobi: Mullen Gault. According to his father Orrin, he was born scowling.
  • Bukama from The Wheel of Time prequel novel is one of these. "The older man brightened. Well, his scowl lessened a little. For him, that was as good as a grin from anyone else."
  • In The Witchlands:
    • Stix always seems to be Clint Squinting at people menacingly, though it's later mentioned that she's actually only doing it because she's near-sighted.
    • Vaness deliberately doesn't smile as part of her public persona as the (former) Child-Empress, though she's not much given to grinning in private either.
  • Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights starts out like this, at any rate.

  • Rivers Cuomo of Weezer is notorious for always looking somewhat dismayed. Which makes his obvious happiness in the music video for "Keep Fishin'" rather heartwarming. (Though, granted, it's hard to work with the Muppets and not cheer up at least briefly.)
  • The Backstreet Boys liked cultivating this image of stoic seriousness in any opportunity they could, mainly on their posters/CD covers as well as going for mainly stoic balladry on their music. In fact, the one way you could tell the difference between them and *NSYNC was that *NSYNC adopted the Fun Personified image and smiled while the Backstreet Boys didn't.
  • Kim Wilde ...but that was just part of her image - she didn't want to come over as Dumb Blonde.
  • Terry Hall was well-known for this in The Specials and The Fun Boy Three. The title of his solo album Laugh played on this reputation, and its cover photo of Hall actually laughing stands out as a notable Out-of-Character Moment.
  • "Upside Down Frown" by They Might Be Giants is about a person reassuring another person that he is, in fact, happy about the news they're bringing, despite his expression.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Raven after he came to ECW, due to a deep depression.
  • Kaiju Big Battel's Big Bad, the evil Dr. Cube, is instantly recognizable because of his unchanging expression (it's actually a helmet, as Cube is not a Kaiju)
  • Jim Ross became one after being afflicted by Bell's Palsy. This was initially mocked with a WCW gimmick known as "Oklahoma" and later by Short Stack when he was "repackaged" as Hornswoggle.
  • Sara Del Rey hasn't been one her entire career but has gone through several stretches of it, enough that a frowning face is a fixture of most of her ring gear. During her (three year+!)JAPW Championship run though, it was speculated she wasn't capable of smiling at the time because of two canker sores.

    Tabletop Games 

  • In Jacob Marley's Christmas Carol Marley is described as prune-faced and perpetually sour like he'd just bit into a lemon and didn't enjoy the taste.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Miles Edgeworth sometimes smirks when he believes he has the upper hand in court, but that is as far as he will go to cracking a smile. His seriousness while acting as a prosecutor leads many people to notice how he doesn't seem to let loose. He doesn't even have a proper, genuine smiling sprite until the second game.
    • Even if Barok van Zieks of The Great Ace Attorney were not far too miserable and cynical to smile of his own volition, an assassination attempt has carved a literal furrow in his brow that gives him a permanent Death Glare even at his most relaxed.
      Ryunosuke: His face says 'I hate you,' but his words are... almost jovial today.
  • Peko Pekoyama from Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair is not only this, but she expresses a desire to stop coming across as so grumpy all the time in her free time events. This is because she wants to ask her crush on a date and wants to make a good impression.
  • While Saber's default expression in Fate/stay night can be described as 'neutral with a dash of stiffness', Saber Alter's scowl practically bores into your soul.
  • Natsuhi from Umineko: When They Cry is a Rare Female Example.

    Web Animation 
  • Bee and Puppycat's own Puppycat is always frowning. It's unclear if this is his mouth's natural shape or if Puppycat is perpetually grumpy.
  • Flaky from Happy Tree Friends is a Nervous Wreck who is almost never relaxed enough to genuinely smile.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device has the Emperor himself, who manages to have a frown on his face all the time despite being a skeleton.
  • Inanimate Insanity: Mangosteen, a member of Spoiled Lemon is the lord of this trope, as he is never, ever seen to smile.
  • Mostly, some of the characters from Starshine Carly have these expressions, due to the design of the toys.
  • Strong Bad, from Homestar Runner, has a luchadore mask for a face, giving him a perpetual scowl.
    • Strong Bad has smiled on a few occasions... including one time in which he believed that being flushed down the toilet would turn him into a monster.
    • Strong Sad, who is the emo member of the group, almost never smiles, except for a few occasions (Usually when he gets his revenge on Strong Bad... or when he's had too much caffeine).
    • All of the Brothers Strong (Strong Bad, Strong Sad, and Strong Mad) are often seen with frowns on their faces.
    • The Homestar Runner Wiki has pages for cataloging instances of smiling for all three Brothers Strong,note  as well as The Cheat.

  • AsteroidQuest: Hok adds a resting "mildly annoyed" half-lid to his Pip persona, to set if further apart from his real self's perpetually cheerful expression.
  • Ctrl+Alt+Del — Scowl 3: The Scowling.
  • Tyler in Damaged Tape hasn't smiled once in the entire run of the comic. He's only had two other expressions: yelling, and a typical Nut Shot reaction face.
  • Earthsong's Gwen.
  • Girl Genius: Baron Klaus Wulfenbach looks perpetually unhappy. Then again, given how much he likes his job... A good adventuring fight seems to perk him up a little, though, if this page is anything to go by.
    • Gil is at one point amazed that his father used to get all the ladies back when he was adventuring with the Heterodyne Boys. "Klaus Wulfenbach. His mouth does this all the time."
  • The Suit Guy of Godslave may have several expressions, but they all boil down to "some kind of a frown".
    • As things progress, it seems that suits and smiles are mutually exclusive. It's probably not an actual function of the clothing, but the Blacksmiths at least are almost always equipped with a big frown, especially when Edith starts handing them their matte metal butts on a regular basis.
  • Homestuck:
    • Karkat is the angriest troll. He is just so angry, you don't even know.
    • Karkat smiled once. Eridan smiled never.
    • The Felt, with the possible exception of Clover who doesn't have a mouth but certainly comes off as the Perpetual Smiler type.
    • Every Agent except for CD is this.
    • Aradia is an odd example; she certainly starts out as one, only being shown smiling twice (and one of those was in a flashback), but after going God Tier she inverts the trope completely.
  • The fisher from Legend of Legendary Mighty Knight appears to constantly be annoyed, even when the forest folk start holding a celebration in their honor for inadvertently killing the leader of a gang of brigands. At first, it appears that the fisher might just look that way because of their hat cutting off the tops of their eyes, but later pages show their eyes widening in shock, firmly showing they really are this trope.
  • Lowroad Comics: Butler insists that he has more than one expression, but apparently doesn't look into mirrors often.
  • In Manly Guys Doing Manly Things, perpetual frowning seems to be a possible side effect of Testosterone Poisoning. Parodied in this effusively joyous gathering of friends.
  • Except for the few moments he's shown surprise, Ballister Blackheart from NIMONA keeps a frown of seriousness.
  • Miko Miyazaki of The Order of the Stick has a frowny unibrow as her default expression. One of the indications that some serious shit is about to go down after she overhears Shojo plotting with Roy is that her frown is replaced with a neutral expression.
  • In Our Little Adventure:
  • Prof. Smith of PHD is almost never not scowling.
  • Sabrina Online: Sabrina's mother and father are a pair of frowners, too.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent: Trond, the resident Grumpy Old Man.
  • Unsounded: Lord General Bell is always frowning. The one time he does smile it looks unnatural, his eyebrows are still frowning and he is, of course, laughing about the genocide he's been waging against the Inak.
  • Vampire Girl: Levana was this when she was a vampire, and according to creator Joseph Scarbrough, this was specifically a stylistic choice when drawing her as a vampire to visually convey just how miserable she was being a vampire.
  • VG Cats: Aeris has such a short temper that she's almost always at least annoyed. When she does smile, it's generally not a good sign.
  • Walkyverse:
    • Mike Warner has smiled about ten times over a ten year period of existence. These smiles only appear when he's completely hammered. The comment section following this comic and Amber's reaction kind of says it all. He has smiled twice while not drunk (warning: both links are disturbing) and only looked truly upset once (warning: link contains major spoilers).
    • His daughter Donna shares this trait with him.
  • Mist from Waterworks, most likely due to having a bodily condition that, by the standards of her civilization, makes her hideous.
  • Weak Hero:
    • The protagonist Gray starts the story as a Broken Bird with a perpetually stony expression, only broken by an angry scowl or, on a very rare occasion, a smug smile after defeating one of the local bullies. His Character Development is shown most significantly when he not only starts to smile, but does so regularly.
    • Seongmok, one half of the Mok-ha Duo, always has a deep-set frown, marking him as the serious one. This is in contrast to his partner, Dongha, who is a Perpetual Smiler.

    Real Life 
  • There exists a condition known as Resting Bitch Face, a condition in which the person looks perpetually frowny or bitchy even when they're perfectly content. As the name suggests, people tend to notice it more in women than men, causing no end of frustration when random strangers (especially men) tell them they should smile.
  • As an actor, Ice Cube utilizes the angry scowl so often that when his characters do smile, it looks downright freaky.
  • Withdrawn (not just Shrinking Violet) students.
  • Many politicians!
    • Have you ever seen Senator Chuck Schumer smile?
    • Especially notable in Dick Cheney. It doesn't matter whether he's at the Republican National Convention, the campaign trail, having tea at the White House, apologizing for shooting another guy in the face, getting an apology from the guy that he shot in the face, or even making the official announcement that Bush has won re-election — he always has this look on his face like someone just ran over his pet dog a few hours ago.
    • During his bid for president in 2000 Al Gore was known to be very dry in public and attempts to make him seem more approachable would backfire (such as kissing his wife a little too long as she joined him on stage for a rally). Since losing the election a well-received stint on Saturday Night Live and poking fun at himself in Futurama a couple of times has helped reverse that opinion of being a very serious individual.
  • Silent era comedian Buster Keaton, also known as The Great Stone Face. In his entire film career, he has only smiled once...and he had to push up the corners of his mouth with his fingers to do it.
  • Queen Elizabeth II was once famous for this one, almost never smiling in public if she could help it. In her later years however, she was known for the opposite.
  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel. Although it is not that apparent on press pictures, she seems to have developed some new facial muscles since she has been voted chancellor.
  • Ned Sparks ("I never go anywhere, I never do anything and I never have any fun!).
  • Despite his rather jokey nature, Eminem rarely smiles in covers, interviews or anywhere else really.
    • It's rumored that he made a vow to not smile in front of a camera after Proof died.
  • What about Steven Seagal?
  • Till Lindemann of Rammstein.
    • Which makes the video for "Mein Teil" creepier than it would be otherwise, as he as a rather impressive rictus throughout.
  • Chicago Mafia boss Joseph "Ha Ha" Aiuppa was a notorious scowler who rarely laughed or even smiled.
  • Jason Statham. It's mentioned on his page that all of his good movies could alternatively be titled Jason Statham Drives A Car And Kills People (While Scowling A Lot)note .
    • Pick any movie he's in, he has exactly two expressions: frowning, and frowning with his shirt off.
  • Formula One World Driving Champion Fernando Alonso. His smile practically involves a frown.
  • Supposedly there does exist a photo of Henrik Ibsen smiling. One portrait.
  • Gilmour Dobie (Gloomy Gil) was inducted into the College Football Hall Of Fame with an amazing coaching record of 182-45-15. Somehow, he never let his success affect his negative demeanor. One of his famous quotes is, "There are only two ways you can finish in life. Dead or a loser".
  • Charlie Sheen always looks as though he's scowling, even if he's smiling or telling a joke. His eyebrows seem to be the main factor.
  • Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown always looked miserable (although that was probably justified). Sadly his spin-doctors noticed this and told him to smile more, it didn't really work.
  • Trent Reznor.
  • Young climate change activist Greta Thunberg is usually known for having a serious look on her face almost all the time. But she does smile occasionally.
  • Most birds of prey such as eagles, vultures, and hawks, constantly looked pissed off or dead serious all the time, although this is more due to their facial muscles being more limited in expression that in humans.
    • This trope is the difference between the surprisingly closely related parrots and falcons. Both have hooked beaks and shortish necks, but the latter has a serious look or angry eyes and the former does not (actually, the former looks pretty smiley in comparison).
    • Also with viperid snakes, especially rattlesnakes, who might as well be considered the angriest looking animal in the entire animal kingdom, looking like they're constantly pissed off.
    • In the league of animals, Boxer dogs, English bulldogs, and other large jowled dog breeds look like frowning is their basic look.
    • Many prehistoric animals, most famously small ornithischian dinosaurs likewise had large palpebral bones above their eyes, which likely lent them such a look. But since people like to imagine them as cute, harmless-looking bug-eyed critters, the lovable deer and antelope-analogues of the dinosaur world, most illustrations ignore this feature.
  • Cats:
    • The late Grumpy Cat (real name: Tardar Sauce), a snowshoe cat who became rapidly famous. Her frown was caused by feline dwarfism and an underbite; by all accounts she was very sweet and affectionate.
    • Scottish wildcats have a grumpy frown as their normal neutral expression.
    • Inverted or averted with felids with normal facial structures, however. Feline cats look like they are smiling in their default expression and Pantherine cats have either smiley or neutral default expressions.
  • Inverted with dolphins, especially bottlenose dolphins, as they have about the smiliest default expressions in the animal kingdom. Ditto axolotls, which look like Pokemon critters.
  • Due to Neanderthal face structure — massive and high brow ridges, big lumpy noses, prominent jaws, and small receding chins - they tend to look like this.
  • Bill Belichick, head coach of the NFL's New England Patriots, is well known for his seemingly unmoving frown.
  • Christian singer Aaron Shust. He actually has a very nice smile.
  • Fredro Starr and Sticky Fingaz of the rap group Onyx are rarely seen with smiles on their faces.
  • There are very few pictures of the late Japanese emperor Hirohito where he has a smile on his face. You'd have an easier time finding pictures of a smiling Adolf Hitler. Part of this is due to cultural reasons, as it was (and to some extent still is) considered deeply taboo to depict or capture images of the Imperial family going about their business like normal people.
  • This used to be a common trait among Big Ten college basketball coaches. Jud Heathcote (Michigan State), Gene Keady (Purdue), and Bob Knight (Indiana) rarely ever smiled on the court, if at all.
  • Prolific Japanese actor Takehito Koyasu. Due to having a deformed jaw, his front teeth look crooked as a result. He's very self-conscious about this, so he always defaults to having a frowning expression, although he's a genuinely amicable person in spite of that.
  • East Europeans who immigrate to the West tend to have this reputation because of difference in culture. While it's not unusual for Westerners to put on a superficial smile for strangers and work colleagues, Eastern Europeans tend to find this, well, superficial, and generally only smile for family and friends.
  • Kit Harington isn't a huge smiler, but he admits his reputation for this trope (which became a running joke with Jon Snow) is because his face naturally rests that way. His mustache having a sharper-than-normal downward slant only accentuates his resting frown.
  • H. P. Lovecraft. In nearly all the photos of him that exist, he bears the same frozen expression. The only few pictures of him where he is smiling just look off.
  • Kyrylo Budanov, the Head of the Ukrainian Military Intelligence, has a distinctive scowl.


Video Example(s):


Lara's Smile

Lara, who's usually angry and scary looking, is persuaded by Karen to give out a smile for once. She finally does so when she sees a dog.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / WhenSheSmiles

Media sources: