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Tastes Like Diabetes
aka: Sickeningly Sweet

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Lisa Frank, converting your monitor to rainbows, glitter, and balloons.

"Butterfly kisses! I can't take it! It's too cute! It's... it's DISGUSTING!"
Plankton, SpongeBob SquarePants, "Walking Small"


This is an audience reaction to works that are strongly attempting to be kid-friendly— using almost all the tropes of cuteness and idealism, like there's some kind of checklist. 'Saccharine' is the watchword. Viewers react to this with anything ranging from cutesy cuddling to violent revulsion. Always, there will be fun, colorful settings, Narm or generally hammy voice acting, an aversion to anything resembling death except for that one final and dramatic battle (if there are any battles to begin with), and no matter the situation, if you have friends, you will win because you can only win with friends. The sun shines a lot, and when it's night, the moon is full and bright. Also, there is smiling. Tons of smiling. Even when it's not appropriate, there is smiling. The Big Bad (if the show even has any villains in it at all) is Obviously Evil with no attempt to look otherwise, and flips between being born evil (maybe even worse) or redeemable, depending on the story. Chances are, he/she may not like it there.


Keep in mind that levity and sweetness are not necessarily bad. With proper usage, it may result in an enjoyable series where the cuteness is somehow justified or just part of the environment. When it monopolizes the series, or puts being adorable ahead of things like actual plots or likeable characters, then it becomes a problem. Cute in and of itself isn't wrong, but given an audience's general conditioning to the notion that Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!, that Real Men Hate Sugar and Real Women Don't Wear Dresses (a side effect of targeting masculine elements towards women as much as men), even this wiki has something of an aversion to cuteness as an entity as the incredibly long list of examples below attest. This cultural reaction is also one of the core reasons why American Kirby Is Hardcore.


Not to be confused with Sweet Tooth or Sugar Bowl settings in general, as this is an Audience Reaction. Use caution when mixing with Gorn and Crapsack World as Grotesque Cuteness or Wide Eyed Idealism may result, respectively. Repeated consumption of this product may result in becoming a Glurge Addict. Be aware that excessive cheerfulness can be used to disguise a Crapsaccharine World. Also not to be confused with the real-life Types 1 and 2 diabetes, which are definitely not at all cute, sweet, or adorable!

See also Super-Cute Superpowers. A Crapsaccharine World is often deliberately designed to cause this. Contrast with Testosterone Poisoning (for this reaction's opposite on the stereotypical gender roles scale) and Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy (for its opposite on the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism).


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    Comic Books 
  • Deadpool hangs a lampshade on this when reminiscing about his ex-wife: "...all this 'I love you snookie pie' and 'you too honey lips face head mush mush'... go into diabetic shock just walking by the place."
  • Miss Martian of The DCU, which is especially interesting considering she's a White Martian. Which leads to fans thinking she's cuter in her true form.
  • Lampshaded in Mark Waid's Empire with the line "I need insulin listening to you!"
  • Spoofed in the Batman/Judge Dredd crossover Judgment on Gotham, where Scarecrow sprays Judge Death with his nightmare toxin, causing Judge Death to panic wildly over the sight of adorable ponies and cutesy little animals.
  • Carl Barks found Christmas stories with An Aesop like this. Unfortunately, he was so good at it, that he got assignment after assignment.

    Comic Strips 
  • Love Is.... Concentrated and undiluted example.
  • The Family Circus. Almost no one but 6-year-olds and grandmothers actually finds it anything but sickeningly sweet.
  • Rose is Rose.
  • FoxTrot has featured the iMac-parody the iFruit, which resembles a pear and features the sugar-sweet message "Welcome to iFruit. Hug me." When you turn it on.
    Jason: iThink iwill b sick.
  • Monty played with the trope, adding the alarmingly cute Giggles the Bear to the cast. The strip claims readership reached an all-time high, citing letters like "After reading today's 'Giggles' strip, I cut it out and cuddled it - signed, My Inner Child," and "When I saw your new character/product line 'Giggles,' I felt a peculiar stirring in my loins - signed, Comic Syndicate Executive."
  • An in-universe example in Peanuts. Before Linus was old enough to read and write, he would have Charlie Brown take down his letters to Santa Claus, and they were so overly saccharine (Linus admitted he was trying to butter him up), Charlie Brown had to quit writing, claiming he was getting nauseated.
    • Peanuts itself was accused of this trope near the end of its run.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Subverted again in Munchkin Fu with the monster card "Big Eyes, Small Mouse." Its description? "Too cute to live. Your duty is clear."
  • Candyland.

  • "She's in Love" from The Musical version of The Little Mermaid (1989) sung by Ariel's sisters and Flounder about Ariel being in love, a scene that took 10 seconds in the movie.
  • Subverted in the original West End version of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory with Veruca Salt. She's is an adorable-looking, blonde, pink-clad, ballet-loving-down-to-the-tutu tot...and a Spoiled Brat extraordinaire who's All Take and No Give to her forever-accommodating dad. Their mutual "I Am" Song "When Veruca Says" is the cutesiest-sounding number in the show, too, playing up Lyrical Dissonance. When she decides she wants one of Willy Wonka's nut-sorting squirrels though, she learns the hard way that cute is not nice.
    • The Broadway Retool of this musical zig-zags this trope. A Retool deliberately tried to make what was a rather faithful, atmospheric adaptation of Roald Dahl's original novel — one that played up and pushed further the material's Black Comedy — into a Lighter and Softer piece more in line with the 1971 film adaptation, incorporating some of its songs at the expense of some of the West End version's original numbers (though "Pure Imagination" appeared in both versions, albeit in different scenes). The result is a show that swerves from jolly movie songs like "The Candy Man" and "I've Got a Golden Ticket" to setpieces in which bratty children are sent to often Uncertain Doom — and in Veruca's case, torn limb from limb onstage — back to the extremely sentimental Broadway-specific finale "The View from Here", sung by Charlie and Willy Wonka...who's suddenly a So Proud of You Parental Substitute after 2+ hours of misanthropy towards everyone but the Oompa-Loompas.
  • The Sound of Music, despite its success on Broadway, became regarded as treacly and old-fashioned. The movie made some attempts to tone this down (e.g., changing the placements of some songs, casting actors who could try and add dimension to their roles) without completely eliminating it. Christopher Plummer still famously described the film version as "The Sound Of Mucus" because of this trope.

  • Sanrio is famous for overly-cute mascots like Hello Kitty, My Melody, Little Twin Stars, Tuxedo Sam, and the Sugarbunnies.
  • My Little Pony, particularly G2 and G3, is known for being overly cute at times, with cute ponies in pretty much every possible color, cute symbols, pink being one of the most popular pony colors, and some (like Gigglebean) have absurdly cute names.
  • Likewise, Spin-Off franchises Fairy Tails and My Pretty Mermaids do everything My Little Pony does. They just have less to show for it because there's only a minimal amount of fiction to go with the toys.
  • Sylvanian Families, especially outside North America. The toys are often marketed with kids narrating in the ads, and the Western-animated TV show aside (which primarily targeted North Americans), the shorts and OVA releases are largely Slice of Life and No Antagonist with the characters all going about their happy little daily lives and any conflict that arises are usually petty and quickly resolved through The Power of Friendship.
  • Poopsie tries to mix this with Grossout Show, using technicolor aesthetics, slime dispensing baby-like Unicorn dolls, and "cute" Talking Poo keychains.

  • "A Google's Wish" by StickFreeks.
  • What do you get when you mix a cat with a duck? You get Maneki Neko-Ducku, who makes everybody happy.
  • Daria McGrain's artwork mostly shows this trope, but that doesn't excuse the fact that nearly all of her artwork is definitely NSFW.
  • Shimejis are those cute little desktop mascots that run around your screen being practically useless, but utterly adorable. Some of the cutest ones include Pokemon, Homestuck, Hetalia, and etc.
  • The "White Girls" meme apparently going around is probably related to works that evoke this reaction.

    Real Life 
  • Anne Geddes' baby pictures.
  • The streetcar/tram system in Würzburg, Germany has a chorus of little kids announcing the next stop. Downright creepy, not to mention rather difficult for non-native speakers to understand.
  • The Japanese street fashion Lolita has a crazy lovechild between Sweet Lolita and Decora; OTT Sweet Lolita.
    • Almost everything made by the brand Angelic Pretty. With names like "Toy Fantasy", "Melody Doll", and "Sugary Carnival"... yeah. And every print has accompanying big, glittery acrylic jewelry in shapes that relate to the print - ponies, teddy bears, candy, etc.
  • Disney Theme Parks are full of this. "It's a Small World" is the most famous example, but the general "heartwarming and magical" aesthetic of parades, live shows, and so on can be wearying after a while, even for fans of the characters being featured. Even the most adult-oriented of the parks, Epcot in Florida, is occasionally prone to a little too much sugar making the Edutainment go down, though it likely was a lot worse when the park opened (think songs like "It's Fun to Be Free", "Making Memories", "Tomorrow's Child", etc.).
  • Greeting cards. All of them.
  • There's a reason Lisa Frank is the trope illustrator.
  • This Polish children's song (and accompanying video).
  • The literal existence of baby Pandas.

Alternative Title(s): Sickeningly Sweet, Saccharine


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