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The Un-Smile

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Sheldon, you're here to see your friend, not kill Batman.

Natalie Teeger: You're freaking people out!
Adrian Monk: No, he'll just think we're in love.
Natalie Teeger: You don't look like you're in love! You look like the victim of an industrial accident!

Those characters that never show any emotion? Or, if they do show emotion, it's always anger and/or despondency? Yeah, every single one of them was at one point told to "cheer up a little". The result? Horrible. It can range from merely discomforting to downright Squick, as they just don't get it. Expect more or less horrified reactions from their friends. Sometimes appears alongside HA HA HA—No when they're especially not buying it.

This trope is often accompanied by audible cracking, and always played for laughs. Not to be confused with Stepford Smiler, though they can overlap. May be the result of Finger-Forced Smile. Compare Slasher Smile, for when the smile goes from merely creepy to horrific, and Grin of Rage, when a person smiles when they're angry. See also Technically a Smile. Opposite of When She Smiles, where a smile is especially nice for a character who rarely shows it.

Here is a compilation with a lot of examples of this trope.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Doraemon has a short where Gian had a crush on a girl, and tried smiling to win over her affections. Unfortunately, Gian's definition of a "warm smile" is closer to "Death Glare with slanted eyes".
  • The first of the Full Metal Panic! Light Novels describes Sousuke's attempt at smiling for a student picture as making him look like he's suffering from facial neuralgia. The effort as depicted in the anime series looks similarly painful.
  • Haikyuu!!: Whenever Kageyama forces himself to smile, like when he attempts to lighten up the mood during a volleyball match, his smile instead terrifies everyone. Emphasis on "forces himself" because his natural smile looks quite normal.
  • Natsuki's 'smile' in Minami-ke. Hilarity Ensues when he tries to do it — plus follow a few other reasonable instructions completely literally — while asking a favour of the Minamis.
  • Sawako's earlier attempts at smiling in Kimi ni Todoke turn out utterly horrifying. Her innately creepy laughter does not help matters.
  • Naka Kaburagi from Nosatsu Junkie wants to be a model, but her smiling face makes her look like a criminal.
  • In Inuyasha, Sesshomaru's expressions normally run the gamut from happy (read: completely impassive) to furious (read: slight frown). He's only shown (in current memory) fully smiling exactly once. And when he does it is a thing of beauty to the viewers. But, given his normal disposition, his retainer, Jaken has a slowly-building panic attack over it, eventually begging Sesshomaru to "go ahead and beat me, but please stop smiling!" More often, if Sesshoumaru starts to smile, it goes from a simple smirk to a Slasher Smile, then literally ear to ear in a horrifying way as part of his transformation to demon dog.
  • In general Amu from Shugo Chara! is capable of smiling normally, but in her "cool and spicy" mode at school when attempting to be friendly to others she has a threateningly disturbing smile...really.
  • Lucky Star: Akira's friend Akuru Nakatani is never shown smiling. She constantly looks mildly peeved, though she's not necessarily angry. When Akuru says she smiles now and then, The Un-Smile is what Akira imagines. (As for what it really looks like? Presumably nice.)
  • Chihaya Kisaragi in The Idolmaster when the producer tells her to smile, though we don't see it. Oddly enough, she smiles in other episodes, though it's a rare sight.
  • Ramen Fighter Miki: Tomoka Kayahara somehow fulfills both this and When She Smiles. When enjoying a bowl of her favourite ramen, Kayahara-sensei has a sparkly bishojo smile. Otherwise, her Un-Smile is the kind of thing that lingers in your nightmares.
  • Every smile Christopher Shouldered from Baccano! gives is unnerving, regardless of the intent behind it. This can be blamed on his maw of sharklike teeth.
  • Sub-Audio stars a stoic Huge Schoolgirl that's mistaken for badass just because she doesn't/can't smile when the situation calls for it (girl talk, a guy offering tissues, etc.,) which really gets to her more than anyone realizes. It takes a "session" with her Cute Shotaro Boy brother to cheer her up where despite a subtle, pleasant smile that comes naturally, her forced smile results in this trope and her brother advises her to stick to being stoic.
  • Bleach: Kensei in the Turn Back the Pendulum Arc, when trying to comfort a young Shuuhei Hisagi. He ended up looking a lot like an alligator.
  • Hetalia: Axis Powers:
    • At one point the very grumpy Switzerland muses that he doesn't seem to have been smiling much, as of late. When he meets Liechtenstein for breakfast, he tries to give her a smile. It comes out very strained.
    • Germany is also this. He tries to smile and be as friendly as the locals when visiting Italy. It ends up scaring the hell out of them.
  • In Gintama, Saitou Shimaru, hoping to overcome his shyness, tries smiling after Gintoki says that it'll make him seem more approachable. It makes everyone think he wants to murder them instead.
  • China Kousaka in Gundam Build Fighters cannot smile without a genuine reason to. Any attempt to do so otherwise results in this.
  • Shinra Kasukabe in Fire Force has a habit of grinning when nervous or facing danger. Said grin looks like a Slasher Smile, which made him a pariah when the habit emerged after his parents died in a fire he was blamed for, further reinforcing the behavior. The times when he genuinely smiles are very far and few between, such that he appears almost like a different person.
  • When Kohina of Gugure! Kokkuri-san tries smiling, her eyes and mouth slide around her face, sometimes falling off. When she manages a genuine smile, however...
  • Yowamushi Pedal: Teshima tells Imaizumi he needs to smile while praising Sadatoki for successfully emulating Onoda's climbing style. The result is... confusing.
    Sadatoki: Nii-chan, was he praising me or angry just now?
    Sugimoto: Even I don't know!
  • My Monster Secret: Any time Akari attempts a genuine smile (i.e. one that isn't a Slasher Smile or Tranquil Fury) she ends up with one of these. It's especially bad when she gets a job at a Maid Cafe and ends up terrifying her patrons.
  • Maika of Blend-S has this as a recurring issue. She's a very kind and pleasant person, but when she gets nervous or anxious she gets a scary look in her eyes and her smiles become terrifying. This tanked numerous job interviews she had until she came across Cafe Stile, which hired her because of this trait. Stile is a Cosplay Café where every waitress has a particular role, such as tsundere or little sister. The manager, Dino, hires Maika to be the "Sadist" character.
  • Abby Earp in Lies of the Sheriff Evans: Dead or Love is a Perpetual Frowner who always looks stern or angry, even when she doesn't feel that way. As a result, when she tries to smile to put someone at ease, she looks like she's thinking about how to horribly murder them.
  • Spy X Family: Not wanting to start anything on the first day of school, Anya attempts to shrug off a boy's bullying by smiling like her mom, Yor, advised her to. Unfortunately, Anya's smile is accidentally one of the most smug looking faces ever put to paper (and later anime). Her bully ends up being freaked out by that smile.
    Anya: Ma's a liar. Smiling didn't help a bit.
  • In ReLIFE, Hishiro can smile just fine when she's genuinely happy. When she actively tries to smile though, the result looks more like a creepy, deformed smirk. It's both Played for Laughs and Played for Drama when her classmate Kariu, whom she's trying to befriend, ends up thinking that Hishiro is making fun of her because she beat her in exams. The two of them solving this conflict is the first major arc of the series.
  • A Justified example in The Rose of Versailles: when the Countess of Noailles and a number of nobles inform the Dauphin Louis and his wife Marie Antoinette they're now the King and Queen of France they're all smiling because protocol demands they show happiness for the rise to the throne of the new monarch, but not only has Louis XV died a terribly painful death of smallpox mere minutes earlier, he's Louis' grandfather, and Marie Antoinette is a smallpox survivor who has already lost a sister and a sister in law to the illness-and they know that perfectly. Thus none of them wants to smile as they announce "The King is dead, long live the King"... But the protocol demands it.
  • Digimon Tamers: The fake Juri starts off with a tiny sort-of smile which is combined with eerily pale skin and dead, expressionless eyes that aren't focused on anything for increasingly terrifying effect. Bearing in mind, when it first appears, Juri had just gone through a severe case of Break the Cutie, so anyone not suspecting a rat might just think Juri has snapped completely.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • Animorphs: When Temrash tells Jake about how great it is to be a full member of the Sharing in The Invasion, Tom briefly regains control of his facial muscles in an attempt to warn him. It's depicted in the graphic novel as a strained, forced smile with tears in his eyes.
  • The Vision from the Marvel Universe has this problem from time to time.
    • During The Avengers (Kurt Busiek), The Avengers become a UN organization, and have to get new photo IDs to go with the change of status. Vision's attempt to smile for his photo at She-Hulk's urging is priceless. He seems to do just fine on the rare occasion that he actually wants to smile, but apparently, photo day is his downfall.
      "I do not like this...'smile'."
    • At one point during Geoff Johns' run of The Avengers, he's asked to smile for a photo. He does so technically, but it's... well, damned creepy looking. So Vis alters the photo to get rid of it.
    • In The Vision (2015), the Vision's fake smile when he greets George and Martha for the first time cannot be unseen.
  • The Smiler from Transmetropolitan. He spends most of the series showing his teeth, but The Unsmile really comes to a point of fracture in the finale where at one point his face is split into two separate panels, one showing a perfect smile and one a pair of eyes clearly set on murder.
  • Spider-Man: In The Amazing Spider-Man (Lee & Ditko), Jameson's smiles creeping people out serves as a Running Gag.
  • Superman:
    • The Krypton Chronicles: In the far distant past, Krypton was invaded and conquered by an alien race known as the Vrangs, who forced their slaves to pretend they were happy, content servants. Several panels show the Kryptonians forcing themselves to lift up their mouths' corners while their eyes remain haggard and tired.
    • In Batman/Superman: World's Finest: When Negative Man manages to filter the Kryptonite radiation out of Superman's blood, Batman's face displays an expression that could charitably be called a smile... even though it creeps the Doom Patrol out.
      Elastic Girl: Is Batman...smiling?
      Robin: It happens.
      Elastic Girl: And you accuse us of looking spooky.

    Comic Strips 
  • Pearls Before Swine: In this strip, Rat's attempt at a "charming smile" doesn't go well.
  • Beetle Bailey normally has no trouble smiling, but this appears once when he's depressed. The camp psychiatrist first tells him to smile but seeing the result asks him to go back to looking sad.
  • In one very early Peanuts strip, Charlie Brown is trying to take Snoopy's picture and is trying to convince him to smile. Snoopy eventually makes a really big smile, causing his owner to roll his eyes and say, "Okay, forget the smile..."
    • On another occasion, Charlie Brown and Linus encounter Snoopy while talking about how the world would be a better place if everyone smiled more. Snoopy gives them a similarly massive (and creepy) grin, leading them to comment that maybe people shouldn’t smile too much.
  • Not from a character known for never smiling, but a scary-as-hell fake smile nonetheless: Seth from 9 Chickweed Lane, suddenly caught discussing sex around a group of children, responds with an "Oh, Crap!" Smile that looks like it was copypasted from SMILEDOG.
    • Pretty much every character in this strip looks like some sort of horrifying deep-sea fish when they smile.
  • A Calvin and Hobbes strip has Calvin's dad ordering him to smile for a photograph. He made a hideous face that was technically a smile since his mouth was upturned.
    • Calvin's done that a number of times for photos. One of them was a strip Bill Watterson said he laughed out loud at. Needless to say, these smiles are always fantastic.
    • There's also a scene at the breakfast table where Dad says that Calvin should have an earlier bedtime because he's so grumpy in the morning. Calvin tries to look happy so that Dad will change his mind. Dad is not fooled.
  • In On the Fastrack, Fistula's unsmile happens to be well-timed with a ringtone that sounds like glass breaking.
  • In Dog Eat Doug, Sophie considers switching from begging to smiling. Doug faints at the sight.

    Fan Works 
  • Bucky Barnes in Bucky Barnes Gets His Groove Back & Other International Incidents is pretty out of practice when it comes to the socializing or civilian life thing, so when he winds up in social situations where a smile is expected, his attempts are generally not received well. He never quite figures out how to smile nicely, so he mostly just avoids people entirely and sticks to a neutral expression.
  • In Dragon From Ash, the Dark Elves emote with their eyes so are horrendously unpracticed regarding facial expressions. When Velandryn tries his hand at grinning, a horrified Lydia briefly compares him to a Daedra popping out of Oblivion.
    Velandryn: Humans tell me I shouldn't smile. I believe them, because it makes children cry.
    Lydia: They... aren't wrong.
  • The Narrator of a Lyrical Nanoha parody here.
  • The Master quickly dusted off his black suit and concentrated on perfecting the "charmingly smarmy" to "death-by-cyanide-rictus" ratio of his smile.
  • The Good Hunter:
    • When Vermut asks Cyril about the things that he hunts, Cyril stiffens a bit, then gives a smile, before answering that he hunts beasts no matter what skin they choose to wear. To Vermut and her compatriots, there is nothing good in that smile and it makes them anxious.
    • In response to Ancalagon's disappointment towards Cyril for not being brutal enough while killing Father Zachariahnote , Cyril replies that he simply did as she asked. Ancalagon then smiles at him, an expression the narration describes as "nothing nice".
    • Cyril smiles when asked by the Wandering Scholar regarding the reason he created the Wild Hunt and stood against monster and man alike. The Scholar internally remarks that there is "nothing good in that expression of his".
  • In In the Interest of Justice, Monkey D. Dragon may or may not made cry the neighbour's baby by smiling at them. He actually manages to make grown-up Marines flinch by doing so at thirteen years old, and Sengoku remembers he was already that way at three, almost four.
  • Little Hands, Big Attitude: The clearest memory Amnesiac Hero Shadow has of Gerald Robotnik is Gerald smiling in an effort to comfort him, but Shadow found - and still finds - his smile unnerving.
  • The Pieces Lie Where They Fell: At one point, Vix-Lei sees Night Blade smiling, and asks him to do another. What he gives is "an all too wide smile on his face, showing off his fangs and sharper teeth in a frightening way". Vix-Lei is amused, but asks him to stop; when he only grins even wider at her, Page has to step in (at Vix-Lei's request) and make him stop by using a spell to make her nose cold, then pokes him in the ear with it.
  • Robb Returns: Stannis smiles at Janos Slynt after reminding Slynt that he's fought and killed far more and far tougher opponents than a single corrupt cop. Jon Arryn describes it as looking like a death-rictus, and it causes Slynt to soil himself.
  • The Simpsons: Team L.A.S.H.: When Simon is getting his school picture taken in "The Heiress Diaries", the photographer instructs him to give a "big smile". Simon then forces himself into an awkward grin that looks more like a Slasher Smile than a genuine expression of joy, which even the photographer says is too forced and extreme.
  • In Superman story Superman of 2499: The Great Confrontation, Alan Kent and his uncle George argue after Alan's appointment. During the argument, Alan's uncle smiles... creepily.
    His uncle George, by contrast, was smiling. Uncle George. Good old George... who was always smiling. The quintessence of a reasonable man; forever pointing out the obvious. Good old Uncle George...
    Whose bright smiles never quite seemed to reach the icy depths of his startling blue eyes.
  • Thousand Shinji. When Rei is trying to learn how to smile, she looks scary.
    Her bandages now mostly off, Rei approaches the three with a huge grin on her face, but it looked like she didn’t know how to smile properly, and instead, it came off as some sort of psychotic killer grin.
  • In Unlimited, Izuku's teacher Kurobayashi's smiles are described as nightmare-inducing due to the fact his Quirk has given him a shark head.
  • A Young Girl's Game of Thrones: Those who pay close attention to Myrcella often note that when she smiles, it doesn't reach her eyes, and it tends to creep them out. The one time her eyes smiled with the rest of her face, it was after Davos told her that the Mountain was executed, and he noted that.
  • Fun was had at the end of the Pegasus arc in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series where Kaiba is genuinely smiling when his Morality Pet little brother is freed and they go home. The parody has everyone stating that this is creepy as hell.
    "Every time Kaiba smiles, a puppy dies."

    Films — Animation 
  • In Beauty and the Beast, when Lumiere tries to get the Beast to smile for his date with Belle, he grins so that all his fangs stick out. It's so bad that Mrs. Potts immediately tells him not to scare Belle.
  • Corpse Bride: Mr. and Mrs. Everglot are barely seen smiling throughout the entire movie. However, when they meet the Van Dorts for the first time, Mrs. Everglot quietly encourages her husband to smile. After a few moments of struggling, he ends up with a part-grimace, part-look-of-unadulterated-pain.
    • His face creaked from the strain. Loudly.
  • Yzma from The Emperor's New Groove does one at the beginning of the film that's part this, part Slasher Smile as she reassures Kuzco that she has no hard feelings about being fired. None whatsoever.
  • Marianne from Strange Magic gives a teeth-gritting fake smile when forced to accompany her father to the Spring Ball.
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, when Hiccup feigns a smile after eating the raw fish Toothless regurgitated for him (It Makes Sense in Context), Toothless attempts to copy him. The result is less scary than you'd think coming from a giant predator, in large part because his teeth are still retracted.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Addams Family Values: After being forced to watch animated Disney movies for the better part of the day, Wednesday is asked to smile. She does. Sort of.
    Amanda: She's scaring me!
  • In La Femme Nikita, Nikita does an awkward grimace in the mirror when told to smile.
  • Mantis from Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a nice, pleasant, cheerful, quite pretty, vaguely-insectoid alien girl, but she isn't experienced at meeting people:
    Drax: What are you doing?
    Mantis: Smiling. I hear it is the thing to do to make people like you.
    Drax: Not if you do it like that.
  • In the movie adaptation of Gypsy, Louise puts one on for a photoshoot right after a fight with Rose. It's not particularly creepy, but it's definitely fake.
  • Happens in Hancock, where he makes a weird grimace-like smile when asked to for a fan, which was good for a laugh. Then he does the exact same thing to a camera, and it goes into hilarious.
  • Gustave, the antagonist of Hugo. One suspects that he's out of practice.
    Madame Emile: Come on, give me your best smile.
    Gustave: [opens mouth a little]
    Madame Emile: [Beat] Your best smile.
  • Displayed by Smith in The Matrix Revolutions, right after he absorbs the Oracle.
  • Alien Orphan in The Specials. Subverted in that he's not averse to smiling; he just hasn't quite got it down yet.
  • Terminator 2: Judgment Day: The eponymous killer robot does this in a deleted scene (if not the Trope Codifier then at least a perfect textbook example): John tries to get him to smile, and so the T-800 scans the mouth of a grinning man talking on the telephone to see how it's done. Since he didn't scan the muscles above the mouth, it leads to a bizarrely creepy smile that has Arnie still affecting a scowl from the cheekbones up. When John suggests that he stop, the "smile" instantly leaves his face.
    • Brought back for Terminator Genisys, with hilarious results. The first time Pops shows it off to Kyle Reese, Sarah even remarks "I've been trying to teach him to blend in. I know, it needs work." Later, Pops does the same thing when getting his mugshot photo taken.
  • As the Theatre section below mentions, Malvolio (the pompous and priggish head servant in Shakespeare's Twelfth Night) is often played this way. In Trevor Nunn's movie of it, Nigel Hawthorne does an excellent version of a forced smile by a man not given to smiling.
  • Played humorously in Warm Bodies. A zombie smiling, even if it is established that he's friendly, is as creepy as you'd expect.
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Judge Doom is interrogating some men at a bar for Roger's whereabouts. One of the barmen plays a joke on him, and everyone except Doom has a good laugh. Judge Doom stares at them for a few seconds, then smiles, causing everyone else to stop laughing.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse: Nightcrawler tries to smile for a fake passport photo. The results are ghastly.
  • Jupiter Ascending: Big Bad Balem Abrasax usually alternates between languid ennui and shrieking rage, but after explaining his Social Darwinist ethos to Jupiter, he tries — slowly, with visible strain — to pull his face into a smile while brushing her cheek. It doesn't help that he sees Jupiter as the reincarnation of his mother, whom he's suffering Sanity Slippage from having killed.
  • Holidays: In St. Patrick's Day, when Liz tells her student Grainne she should smile more, the girl starts giving her creepy, fixed grins.
  • Skyfall: Raoul Silva is at his most unnerving when he's smiling. It turns that he's wearing a prosthetic face implant to cover up the damage caused by a Cyanide Pill that failed to kill him.
  • One of the creepiest scenes in A Field in England is when Whitehead emerges from the tent after being tortured. He slowly walks out, tied to a rope leash, with his eyes rolled back into his head and a huge grin on his face. The other characters are visibly frightened. (For bonus points, this was a Throw It In! by Whitehead’s actor, as the original script had called for a Thousand-Yard Stare. The effect is much more unsettling with the lack of detail given in the build-up.)
  • In Bring It On, Sparky Pulaski tells Missy to smile. When she does, he immediately tells her, "Don't smile."
  • In Partners (1982), Benson, who is straight, wears an extremely pained smile while flirting with men for information on the murders.
  • In Are You Being Served?, Mrs. Slocombe puts on a shocking smile when taking her passport photo:
    Mrs. Slocombe: Is this expression alright?
    Captain Peacock: The authorities don't like you smiling. (Beat) I must say I agree with them.
  • In Holiday on the Buses, Blakey instructs his security staff to give the guests a nice big smile, like he does, leading to all of them giving some rather painful-looking smiles.

  • Isaac Asimov:
    • In The Caves of Steel, Elijah Baley asks R. (Robot) Daneel Olivaw if he can smile.
      R. Daneel smiled. The gesture was sudden and surprising. His lips curled back and the skin about either end folded. Only the mouth smiled, however. The rest of the robot's face was untouched.
      Baley shook his head. "Don't bother, R. Daneel. It doesn't do a thing for you."
    • Several millennia later in Forward the Foundation, he's learned to chuckle. And it took what appears to be weeks of coaching to actually make it seem genuine.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: In The Silver Chair, when Eustace, Jill, and Puddleglum were trying to think of a way to leave Harfang without being caught, part of the idea was to put them off their guard by pretending that they love being there and are looking forward to the Autumn Feast. To this end, Puddleglum tells them they've got to be "gay". During his demonstration, "he assumed a ghastly grin."
  • Discworld:
    • Otto Chriek tries to photograph Nobby Nobbs in The Truth:
      Otto: Smile, please.
      Nobby: I am smilin'.
      Otto: Stop smiling, please.
    • Rincewind often does this intentionally:
      He had put a lot of thought into that grin. It was the sort of grin people use when they stare at your left ear and tell you in an urgent tone of voice that they are being spied on by secret agents from the next galaxy. It was not a grin to inspire confidence. More horrible grins had probably been seen, but only on the sort of grinner that is orange with black stripes, has a long tail and hangs around in jungles looking for victims to grin at.
    • In Reaper Man, Ludmilla Cake (a werewolf) is described as having "the bright, crystalline smile perfected by people who had long ago learned not to let their feelings show."
    • Similarly, Angua from the Ankh Morpork City Watch books is occasionally noted to be "smiling", insomuch as her teeth are bared and she's not actively speaking. As she's generally staring at the jugular vein of the recipient of the smile and is, in fact, another werewolf, the results are generally quite unnerving.
  • The Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures novel Camera Obscura implies this, when the Doctor and Sabbath, his sometimes-antagonist, are interrupted during an argument that's getting a little violent. Knowing the kind of character that Sabbath is, and the fact he probably hasn't beamed sincerely in decades, and the fact the Doctor, possibly half his size, was just shoving him around, will allow you to appreciate the futility of their forcing smiles.
    The station manager, a portly little man in wire rims, crept timidly from the office. "Everything all right, gentlemen?" he asked, more hopefully than sternly.
    Sabbath and the Doctor both beamed at him. The station master didn’t really find this a reassuring sight.
  • The Dreamblood Duology:
    • The master Dream Weaver Sonta-i has never experienced emotion in his life and is usually completely stoic, performing his duties in the waking world without care or concern. When he makes the effort to emote, well...
      To his utter shock, Sonta-i smiled. It was a horrible expression beneath his dead gray eyes, lacking the slightest touch of amusement or pleasure, and the sight of it sent a shiver down Nijiri's every nerve.
    • Tiaanet is an utterly Broken Bird who usually plays the part of Sanfi's demure, beautiful daughter so well that she has a horde of suitors. When she goes through the motions of affecting a smile, they quickly find somewhere else to be.
  • Lady Angelica of Girls Kingdom, is so unused to smiling that the first time she tries it for Misaki and Kirara, Misaki notes that it comes off as a roguish smirk, instead of a friendly smile.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Weaponsmaster Alberich is warned not to put on a false smile. He's scary enough when he's scowling.
  • Johannes Cabal the Necromancer has the title character putting his anti-smile to good use in his demonic carnival.
  • British statesman Lord Chesterfield writes about this trope in Letters to His Son: "both men and women upon whom unkind nature has inflicted a surliness and ferocity of countenance, do at least all they can, though often without success, to soften and mitigate it; they affect 'douceur', and aim at smiles, though often in the attempt, like the Devil in Milton, they GRIN HORRIBLY A GHASTLY SMILE." (letter 189)
  • Les Misérables describes the smiles of Inspector Javert as being rare, quick, and really unnerving, more like a predator's snarl than an expression of pleasure: "Javert, serious, was a watchdog; when he laughed, he was a tiger."
  • In Mortal Engines, Katherine Valentine thinks that Magnus Chrome's smile looks like someone who had read a book on how to smile but has never actually seen one in real life.
  • In the Paradox Trilogy, Creepy Child Ren's face is usually blank and emotionless. She only smiles on a couple of occasions, and Devi describes it as horrifying and painful to look at.
  • Erik in The Phantom of the Opera tries to smile near the end, but his lips are so disfigured it comes out wrong.
  • The Silence of the Lambs: During the scene where Starling and Crawford process a "floater", Clarice notes that victims' teeth aren't bared in pain. Their faces have been gnawed by fish and turtles.
  • In The Wheel of Time:
    • It's often mentioned that Mazrim Taim never smiles, although he has a kind of half-smile without a shred of good humour in it.
    • Lord Talmanes takes being The Stoic to the extreme, and only starts to smile when he takes enough wounds from Shadow-tainted Myrddraal weapons in the Last Battle that only Heroic Willpower keeps him from dying on the spot. The sight of him grinning frightens the Myrddraal, and is generally agreed to be worse to look at than the corruption consuming his body. He gets better, too.
    • After Tarna Feir is forcibly Turned to the Shadow, her eyes become cold and her smile looks like something "on the lips of a corpse."
  • Wings of Fire: After Darkstalker is freed in Escaping Peril, he gives the heroes a smile that is said to be charming yet menacing at the same time.
  • In the Star Wars novel Shatterpoint, Mace Windu tries to smile once. He quickly gives up on it.
  • Harriet the Spy: The science-focused Adorably Precocious Child Janie is known for only smiling when she's angry about something, in which case the expression is bright-eyed, fixed, and a bit disconcerting.
  • Books of the Raksura: The Always Chaotic Evil Fell Progenitor-Queen Ranea's smile is at best a "disjointed" mimicry that she puts on when she tries to act Faux Affably Evil and forgets to stop doing when she drops the affability act.
  • In the Alex Rider book Scorpia Rising, the Big Bad Razim meets his end when the bridge he's making his last stand on gives way and he falls into a massive pile of salt beneath it. As he is pleading for Alex to throw him a rope before he is pulled underneath the salt, he attempts to smile at him, but the narrator describes it as "looking more like a hideous grimace than anything".
  • Imperial Radch: Spaceship AIs usually show no emotion whatsoever through their ancillary Wetware Bodies. Justice of Toren's captain jokes about her smiling, so her nearest ancillary cracks a grin; the captain shudderingly tells her to stop because she looks possessed.
  • Xandri Corelel once caused a diplomatic incident with the Kowari by trying to smile.
  • Harold Lauder in The Stand is a downplayed example. To most people, his smile looks normal but Nick Andros finds it fake and untrustworthy because he notices Harold has a "'smiletight' compartment between his mouth and his eyes."
  • My Dark Vanessa: At Vanessa's high school graduation, her dad tells her, "Come on, at least pretend to be happy." The result looks like an animal about to bite.
  • Language Arts: When Mrs. Braxton bestows a compliment upon Charles, she tries to smile, even though the muscles responsible are nearly atrophied and she's wearing a set of creepy-looking dentures.
  • In the Horus Heresy novels is stated that not a single member of the Night Lords legion "smiled with anything approaching grace" even in the few instances where they are not actively trying to scare someone.
  • When My Heart Joins the Thousand: When Alvie was in third grade, she had to see a counselor, who told her to smile, as "an easy way to be friendly." Alvie bared her teeth at her.
  • Skin of the Sea: In Soul of the Deep, Folasade goes to check on Simidele, who has spent the last six months living at the bottom of the sea with Olokun. Simi, who has been very unhappy there, tries to smile at Folasade but instead only bares her teeth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The Addams Family original series, Lurch's attempts at smiling were only out-creepied by his attempts at flirtation.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • In "The Griffin Equivalency": Sheldon, both with and without teeth. But don't take our word for it; see the page picture.
    • In "The Tenant Disassociation", Stuart shows Howard a new flirty smile he's been using on girls.
      Howard: Now, I don't use the word "ghoulish" a lot, but... I-I just can't think of another word.
  • In one episode of Black Books, Manny attempts to turn the small secondhand bookshop into a chain bookstore and encourages Bernard to smile, so as to appear more friendly and approachable to customers.
    Manny: A bit more — wider — wider...
    [Bernard is pulling a horrific face]
    Manny: No, that looks nasty...
  • Community: Abed, generally an emotional blank, formally greets his friends at his and Troy's housewarming party with a big toothy smile-thing. His friends are a bit startled.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: In "My Blonde-Haired Brunette", Rob is at work trying to figure out why his wife, Laura, seems so upset (occasionally prone to crying fits). Sally and Buddy suggest that maybe she's jealous of someone. Rob dismisses the idea, saying that when she's jealous, she "smiles". They don't understand what he's talking about until he demonstrates by squinting his eyes and showing a lot of teeth.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In "The Sound of Drums", the Master does both an exaggerated smile and exaggerated frowny face while insulting his Cabinet, right before gassing them all to death.
      The Master: You see, I'm not making myself very clear. "Funny" is like this. [makes exaggerated grin] "Not funny" is like this. [makes exaggerated frown] And right now, I'm not like [grins], I'm like [frowns], because you are traitors. YES, YOU ARE! As soon as you saw the votes swinging my way, you abandoned your parties and you jumped on the Saxon bandwagon! So... [sits down] your reward!
    • The Twelfth Doctor does this whenever he smiles while showing teeth, and it's creepy enough. However, in "The Lie of the Land", the Doctor is supposedly Brainwashed and Crazy, and his "smile" this time is utterly creepy.
    • Immediately after regenerating, the Thirteenth Doctor smiles in a similar manner. It's even worse because she's capable of a reasonable approximation of a smile, but this is very much not it.
  • A fantastically memorable one occurs in an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond, where Ray tries to get his equally (if not more so) mopey and pessimistic cousin Gerard to smile. The result is hilariously terrifying.
  • Frasier: Niles is a master of the non-smile. One of the best examples is "The Apparent Trap" when Niles learns that Frasier and Lilith are remarrying (they're not):
    Niles: (frozen smile) What's this joyous news I hear?!
    Lilith: You know, Frederick, you're going to have to give up all of your friends, because we're going to live here in Seattle.
    Freddie: I'd live anywhere to be a family again.
    Niles: [in one single breath] So it is true congratulations to you both good night. [walks to the door without looking at anyone, his whole posture stiff as a board with tension]
    Freddie: Don't you want your coat, Uncle Niles?
    Niles: [still not looking back] No thank you! [storms out]
  • In Friends, Chandler has a nice smile but whenever he gets his picture taken, it turns into a grimace.
  • Game of Thrones: Stannis appears to be trying to smile come Season 5. It's a little unsettling. When he has to spare Davos, his riled smile against a sunset background is memetically creepy.
  • Will Graham of Hannibal doesn't smile much, but when he does it's genuinely sweet — with the memorable exception of "Rôti" during a stroke test. His lips curve upward, but it would have been less creepy if he'd burst into tears. Or thrown up. Or started screaming.
  • How I Met Your Mother: The Captain. Marshall eventually figures out what it is about the captain that creeps them out: even when he smiles, his eyes seem completely serious and empty. Marshall highlights this by covering half of a photo of him.
  • In episode 4 of The IT Crowd season 3, Jen, upon becoming employee of the month, tries to improve Roy's service by telling him to smile more.
    Jen: When you're upstairs, fiddling about with com-puters, would it hurt to smile? Don't you realise what a difference that would make, hey? Come on, let's see a smile now. Come on.
    [Roy attempts to smile]
    Jen: No, more warmth. Warmer.
    [Roy hesitantly tries to widen his smile]
    Jen: No, you're just showing more teeth. That's not warmth. I would say that's more of a threatening look, actually. I'll tell you what, Roy. Keep at it; that's your homework.
    • As this is part of Jen's increasingly Drunk with Power smugness as a result of becoming employee of the month, Roy gets his own back when Jen moments later learns that she will be forced to give a speech in front of the whole company about the IT department — something she has absolutely no knowledge about. Upon delivering this news, Roy has a genuinely big, genuinely happy smile on his face.
      Roy: [pointing] How's that?
  • Kaamelott: Léodagan almost never smiles, which is why Arthur and Co. can't recognize him in a painting. And when he does smile... they find it very creepy.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Kamen Rider Drive's Third Rider, Chase, is The Stoic because he's a Mechanical Lifeform; in his own Direct to Video movie, his attempts to smile draw laughter and cause people to remark that he looks like a mannequin, which contributes to his desire to gain human emotions.
      • The show also has Drive's main partner Kiriko who's very stoic and serious most of the time and rarely smiles. At one point one of the other characters tries to motivate him by saying he's got a "Cute Beauty" looking up to him and Kiriko attempts to humor this by giving a very fake and strained-looking smile accompanied by the sound of breaking metal. Shinnosuke isn't particularly comforted by this frightening sight though which annoys her. Kiriko is however capable of smiling genuinely when she's truly very happy, that's just fairly rare.
    • In Kamen Rider Amazons, Haruka and Takai prepare to go Undercover as Lovers at a restaurant run by Amazons. Haruka encourages Takai to smile so that she'll look more convincing as his girlfriend. The others are unnerved by the result, and Haruka hastily says it's probably better if she doesn't smile.
  • The Last of the Summer Wine character with the Ironic Nickname "Smiler" has occasionally been known to smile. It looks like his face has been twisted the wrong way.
  • Monk does this in one episode, because he's being watched by a killer who can read lips.
  • Bull on Night Court:
    Random woman: He bared his teeth at me!
  • Odd Squad:
    • All the Scientists attending Lab-Con in "Oscar Strikes Back" make these when ordered to by President Obbs. He even remarks on how the smiles are creepy but keeps them regardless.
    • In "Mr. Unpredictable", as Oswald and Orla (disguised as villains attending Villain University) are meeting Tessa Twosie, Orla gives a very unnatural, almost sinister smile that nearly manages to blow her and her partner's covers. Luckily, Tessa doesn't sniff them out and instead heads off so they can begin a tour of the school.
  • In Peacemaker (2022), the leader of the Butterflies complains that every human smiles differently and it needs to be relearned for each host. This is put to good effect later as a crowd of Butterflies with fresh hosts attempt to smile, still-bloody faces sporting a range of unnatural grins.
  • In Reba, Van's "charming smile", which he believes is warm and inviting, is anything but.
    Reba: Van, that's not a killer smile, that's the smile of a killer.
  • Like many elements of human culture, Harry Vanderspiegle of Resident Alien does not completely understand the concept of smiling, looking truly inhuman whenever he tries.
  • In Ressha Sentai ToQger we have Sixth Ranger Akira Nijino sporting this smile.
  • In Roseanne, the normally sullen, cynical Darlene had a boy, Barry, over to study in the hopes of getting him to ask her to an upcoming dance. Becky gives her some tips on flirting which includes smiling and being interested in what Barry has to say. Cue Darlene with a very over-the-top smile and craning her neck to try and get in his line of view. Roseanne sums it up thusly while she and Becky watch on:
    Roseanne: What is she doing?
    Becky: ...Flirting?
    Roseanne: Well, God, I hope she don't hurt herself.
  • Russell Howard's Good News: "Every time Gordon Brown smiles, a fairy dies." (See his page for context.)
  • In the Sherlock episode "The Sign of Three", Sherlock's "smile" to scare off Mary's ex is both disturbing and hilarious (well, at least to the audience).
  • In the Granada Sherlock Holmes series, Jeremy Brett's Holmes rarely grins at all. Whenever a situation calls on him to smile, Brett twitches his mouth muscles for a hair of a second. "A" for effort, Holmes. Like the canonical Holmes, however, Brett is capable of a genuine smile. Except when he does, it usually bodes badly for somebody.
  • In one episode near the beginning of Stargate SG-1, Teal'c tries to smile under duress. You will either wet yourself laughing or be very afraid.
    • Vala also gives a brief one in Prometheus Unbound, when Daniel frees her from the brig.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Whenever Data tries to smile, he really shouldn't, as "Data's Day" shows. He gets much better at it after the events of Star Trek: Generations thanks to his emotion chip.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • Due to his lack of lips, Odo's smiles look... odd to say the least.
    • When a young and impressionable Jem'Hadar makes his way onto the station in "The Abandoned", Odo tries to teach him how to smile. The Jem'Hadar makes an even ghastlier face than Odo usually does.
    • After a Bar Brawl in "Behind the Lines" leads to the deaths of several Cardassians and Jem'Hadar, Dukat and Weyoun both put on smiley faces to look like they're not pissed at each other. They're not fooling anyone.
    • The stress of the Dominion War has a negative effect on Bashir's "boyish smile".
      Garak: Not so boyish anymore.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise has Dr. Phlox, who most of the time smiles normally... unless he's really pleased, or trying too hard to be friendly. Then it becomes terrifying. Think ''Black Hole Sun''.
  • Star Trek: Picard: When F8 grins after a coworker tells him the punchline of a joke, the android's amused expression looks unnatural and it's rather unsettling.
  • Five Hargreeves from The Umbrella Academy (2019) is more likely to "smile" as a threat than in genuine happiness, but his smile to Agnes in the episode "We Only See Each Other at Weddings and Funerals" is hilarious uncanny valley nightmare fuel. It's not the sort of smile that should ever be on a supposed 13-year-old's face.
  • Selina Meyer on Veep suggests that Amy flirts with a reporter for favorable coverage. Amy assures Selina that she can do that, and demonstrates with a horrifying "flirtatious" smile that quickly changes Selina's mind.
  • Over the course of WandaVision, the Vision's smile in the title card grows increasingly more and more strained.
  • Young Sheldon: In "Pish Posh and a Secret Back Room", Sheldon gives Mary a forced half-smile when she asks if he's fine. This makes her worry about him.

  • The album cover for Spiderland by Slint is a black and white photo of the band floating in an abandoned quarry, staring at the camera. They're smiling, but in such a way that their expressions are a new level of creepy.
  • Bad Lip Reading has a congressman react to Mark Zuckerberg smiling as if it were this.
    "Oh, good heavens, that—that—that's just horrible. Stop that, son. For the rest of the day, will you not do that, please?"
  • The music video for Bobby McFerrin's "Don’t Worry, Be Happy" features McFerrin along with Robin Williams and comedian Bill Irwin trying to act happy despite personal difficulties, including putting on some very forced smiles.

  • In Welcome to Night Vale:
    • StrexCorp has the following piece of advice that sums up their mentality pretty well.
      Step one: separate your lips. Step two: use facial muscles to pull back corners of mouth. Step three: widen your eyes. This is how to be happy.
    • Implied of Kevin, as well. "No... that is not a smile."

    Pro Wrestling 

  • In the Cabin Pressure episode "Rotterdam", the smile Carolyn puts on for the welcome address is described as "shark-like".

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Having been called to the principal about the auditorium's destruction, Ciro forces a smile when he sees Shooter that just makes it more obvious how panicked he is.
    • Shooter himself tries to offer a reassuring smile to the students while the police are investigating the school. It actually creeps them out more due to how unnatural it looks.

  • Older Than Steam: Malvolio from William Shakespeare's Twelfth Night is usually treated this way, after being told in a letter (supposedly from his beloved) that his smiles become him.
    "Jove, I thank thee: I will smile; I will do everything that thou wilt have me."

    Video Games 
  • Deadly Premonition: Agent Francis York Morgan is a nice enough guy, if extremely weird, but his smile is permanently caught somewhere between "electrocution victim" and "serial rapist".
  • Final Fantasy:
    • In Final Fantasy VII Remake, after your party breaks from the Shinra building, Cloud on a motorcycle and everyone else on a truck, Barret says that they're home free. Red XIII tells him that he wouldn't celebrate just yet and Barret replies that he needs to lighten up, that he might even try smiling. Red gives a grimace that causes Barret to say that on second thought maybe frowning suits him better.
    • Believe it or not, the infamous Final Fantasy X laughing scene was actually made for the lulz. The voice actors sound like they're doing a bad job, but it's intentional.
      • Played straight after Operation Mi'hen. "Kimari practice smiling."
  • Henry from Fire Emblem: Awakening is a Perpetual Smiler, and his "angry" portrait is no exception, but there's an unnerving tightness to the expression that clearly betrays its insincerity.
  • Stoic Post-Apocalyptic Samurai Uthid in Horizon Zero Dawn is asked to smile by another character in some after-mission dialog, and is accused of grimacing rather than smiling.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts, when they first meet up, Donald and Goofy tell a depressed Sora to cheer up if he wants to come with them because their ship "runs on happy face." Sora responds with this face, and Donald and Goofy nearly die laughing.
      Goofy: That's one funny face!
    • Sora's smile comes back in Kingdom Hearts III as the "Funny Face Special," which he gets to use on Boo in Monstropolis.
  • Mass Effect 2: Commander Shepard seems to have this effect during an infamous scene from Miranda's romance.
  • Sengoku Basara: You'd think that with him being a very pretty young man, it'd be nice to see Mori Motonari smiling for a change. It's not. Sure, it means he's happy, but the reason he's happy is probably that he's devised the perfect method to ruin your life.
  • In Filia's ending of Skullgirls, as Carol (formerly Painwheel) is introduced to her class she gives a smile so big and desperate it's frankly disturbing. Then again, goodness knows when she last genuinely smiled at all.
  • Suikoden V has Sagiri, who was abducted by the assassin group Nether Gate as a child and trained to smile disarmingly all the time. Their logic was that a pleasantly smiling girl would put their victims off-guard. It worked so well that, until the end of the game, she's incapable of doing anything but smiling.
  • From the Team Fortress 2 comic "Old Wounds":
    Sniper: [hands firmly gripping Medic's throat] You were smilin'. The last thing I saw 'fore I bled out and died was your smug, evil grin!
    Medic: I was happy to see you! That's just how I look when I smile! Smug and evil! [grins] See?
  • Medieval Cop: Dregg's smile is so ghastly that he uses it as his Halloween costume every year. It always wins the costume contest.
  • In the Resident Evil 2 (Remake) Claire's attempt at a smile from relief at hearing that her brother Chris wasn't in town when the Zombie Apocalypse hit is marred by her urge to scream at the top of her lungs since her whole reason for coming to Raccoon City was rendered completely pointless.
  • Scarlet Hollow: It's possible to make Perpetual Frowner Tabitha smile. Judging from the results, she seems to be very out of practice.
  • In RoboCop: Rogue City OCP holds a press conference with Robocp on stage. The presenting executive Max Becker tells Robocop to try smiling. Robocop awkwardly pulls his lips to the sides and up to reveal just a bit of teeth. Becker immediately decides not smiling is better.

    Visual Novels 
  • A rather infamous case in Full Metal Daemon Muramasa comes about when the main character Kageaki goes to question some mechanics and attempts to smile to try and appear approachable. The poor mechanic believed he had come face to face with the devil and promptly fled in a panic.
  • Akio Mutou, Katawa Shoujo's resident Absent-Minded Professor, is a nice enough man, but his face is incapable of making a smile that wouldn't "scare little children senseless".
  • Two notable examples appear in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies:
    • In one of her first trials, rookie attorney Athena Cykes tries to smile in the spirit of the Wright Anything Agency's motto, "The worst of times are when lawyers have to force their biggest smiles." Her partner Apollo remarks that her attempt at smiling looked like "a weird mix of terror and creepy grin".
    • Aristotle Means frequently provides attempts at a toothy smile that looks more like he's grimacing, baring his teeth and gums in a way Athena finds unsettling. At the end of his Villainous Breakdown, he grins so hard his teeth shatter.
  • Shih-na from Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth gets a rather unsettling grin when she's nervous.

    Web Animation 


    Web Original 
  • Frog Quest: We aren't shown the main character's smile, because the mirror exploded from the sheer terror of his face. Also, bandits flee and friends ask him never to smile again.

    Web Videos 
  • The Cry of Mann: Agent Martinez, who is serious and struggles with expressing emotion, gave a rather weird "smile" after Berry claimed being around her made her feel safer; her eyes grew wide and her lips apart, with teeth showing, in a very awkward, uncomfortable, "happy" expression.
  • The Analog Horror Parody Commercial "BLUE_CHANNEL: THALASIN", advertising an Emotion Control drug that begins experimenting with creating new emotions, illustrates one of these ("Nage") as a man grinning with his lips peeled back unnaturally wide.
  • Dr Glaucomflecken: The Neurosurgeon (an extreme workaholic) made it his New Year's resolution to learn how to smile; unfortunately, the results only terrify his colleagues.

    Western Animation 
  • In The 7D episode "Oh Happy Grumpy", Grumpy is cursed by a witch so he can't get angry or be turned into melted cheese. After being sung a song by Happy, Grumpy puts on a facade of happiness, sporting a grin that not only creeps out the other 7D but is so huge that it takes up the bulk of his face. Fortunately, the woman turns out to not be a real witch and the curse was a fake.
  • Lemongrab of Adventure Time does this in "Too Young". A perpetually bitter, angry sourpuss, he assumes that a harmless prank was some kind of personal attack. Once he was informed that it was a prank, he tries to understand what a prank is. Not entirely grasping the concept of a joke, he smiles a very quick, little goofy smile...then starts Laughing Mad in a HA HA HA—No sort of fashion. Then he sends everyone in the room to the dungeon. (In later episodes, he is shown smiling rather cutely when he is actually genuinely happy.)
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Lie", seasonal depression causes Mr. Small to forget how to smile, so he tries to force one with tape. Unfortunately, he was a little too generous with the tape, contorting his face into a too-wide grin that wouldn't be out of character for a serial killer. Witness it for yourself.
  • Amphibia: In “Reunion”, Sasha coaches Captain Grime to smile so he can get the citizens of Wartwood to trust him and lower their guard. He responds with a wide, shark-like grin that frightens tadpoles.
  • The Arthur episode "Opposites Distract" features a very irritated Buster briefly trying to reassure Arthur everything's fine with a toothy, narrow-eyed grin. Arthur doesn't catch it.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Villainous sociopath Azula. She can smirk without a problem, but sincere smiling? Interestingly, she can give a real smile, after she practices a bit. She used a charming smile on a hapless partygoer later in the evening, to great effect. Then she went on a tangent about how she and the partygoer would rule the world (in typical Azula style), which ruined the whole effect and sent the poor guy running for the hills.
    • The second season episode "City of Walls and Secrets" brings you Joo Dee and her constant pained grimace. It starts off as merely unsettling, but as the episode goes on, it only gets worse. And then right at the end of the episode, the Gaang meets a second Joo Dee, who has the exact same smile. A later episode shows that there are multiple Joo Dees, each Brainwashed and Crazy, and each making the same creepy smile.
  • General consensus within the DC Animated Universe is that Batman smiling, regardless of context, is creepy as hell.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In "Father Time!", everyone in the Bad Future sports unconvincing, strained smiles. They simply have to smile at all times... or else!
    • After having been put through hell during the Five Days of F.L.A.R.G. to avert an Earth-Shattering Kaboom, Timmy learns to his horror that F.L.A.R.G. ends with a similar Kaboom. Then he has a sudden epiphany...
    Mark Chang: What's with the face? It's happy yet at the same time disturbing...
  • Occurs in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy. In one episode, when Mandy smiles, it causes their universe itself to fall apart and transports Grim, Billy, Mandy, and Irwin into the universe of The Powerpuff Girls. This wasn't because it was ugly but because it "messed with the natural order." Funnily enough, this is only after Flanderization changed her from an Anti-Hero to a Villain Protagonist. At least a couple earlier episodes (including the pilot) ended with Mandy flashing an evil smirk.
  • While teaching her Grunkle Stan to be more attractive to women in the Gravity Falls episode Dipper vs. Manliness, Mabel tells him to smile. The result sends Manchild Soos fleeing in terror.
  • Perpetual Smiler Alastor in Hazbin Hotel tilts into this trope whenever his normally-unflappable confidence is shaken. While he can maintain a smile even in privacy (and it's implied he can't not smile), Alastor's eyes tend to give away his exact mood.
  • The borderline psychotic Jolly Olly Ice Cream Man from Hey Arnold! gives one of these when asked to put on a pleasant smile for customers. It sends the children screaming. Though with a little training from Arnold in one episode, he was able to put on a better smile.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Beezy gives a very forced one when having to pretend to be best friends with a weavil, whom he has serious Fantastic Racism toward.
  • In a Kaeloo episode parodying Dora the Explorer, Kaeloo teaches the viewers words in foreign languages, asks them to repeat what she said, and stares at the camera with a huge, creepy smile. The rest of the cast think she's lost it.
  • If Lisa Loud from The Loud House makes one of these, it's usually a sign that she's trying (and failing) to divert the conversation away from one of her experiments, usually one that involves the unknowing aid of her siblings as subjects.
  • The "Super Evil" episode of Making Fiends has Vendetta attempting to smile like Charlotte after an evil magazine quiz they took rated Charlotte as more evil. After several pained struggles, she finally manages a smile. A Slasher Smile.
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug episode "Ikari Gozen", Marinette is paired off with Kagami in a scavenger hunt. Kagami really wants to make friends with Marinette, and thus keeps smiling at her, but since Kagami is The Rival, has No Social Skills and has only a theoretical knowledge of what a smile is supposed to look like, her smiles just look creepy and menacing rather than warm. After Marinette figures out that Kagami is trying to be nice and makes an effort to be nicer to her, Kagami starts giving more genuine smiles.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Occurs in "Lesson Zero", when Twilight Sparkle has a psychotic breakdown. She starts smiling in a manner somewhere between "Cheshire Cat Grin", "The Grinch", and "utter disconnect from reality".
    • Starlight Glimmer makes everypony in her town put on one of these in "The Cutie Map", while she puts on condescending fake smiles herself. It greatly unnerves all of the Mane Six, especially Pinkie Pie, who notices something's off immediately.
  • Pinky and the Brain: The Brain's smile, at least in one episode. A character actually identifies him his best-effort smile.
  • Ren, of The Ren & Stimpy Show, gets one of these after donning the Happy Helmet in "Stimpy's Invention". And since this series is the poster child of Deranged Animation, when he smiles... FACES SHOULD NOT BEND THAT WAY!
  • Rugrats (1991): In "Bow Wow Wedding Vows", Tommy feels upset because Spike is spending more time with Fifi than with him. When the families have brunch at the Finsters to celebrate Easter, Tommy decides to be happy for Spike by putting on an enormous fake grin (and given that he's a one-year-old baby, he doesn't have any teeth). Phil initially mistakes it for gas and Chuckie eventually admits that it's freaking him out because it reminds him of clowns.
  • The Simpsons:
    • This has happened at least twice with Mr. Burns. First, in "Two Cars in Every Garage and Three Eyes on Every Fish", when he was running for governor, and he's being shown an artist's rendition of his political ad where he's standing tall on a mountain top. He asks "Why are my teeth showing like that?!" to which his advisor responds "Because you're smiling!" Mr. Burns commends him for producing the sort of trickery they were being paid for. Later he actually smiles, and it causes him physical pain to do so.
    • In "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story", Mr. Burns bets his fortune to the Rich Texan over who can get a photo with a kid smiling. He loses because he is so creepy when smiling that all the town's children (and Otto) cry when standing next to him.
    • Moe, beaten down into misanthropy by a hard life, rarely tries to smile, and it always looks forced, desperate, and a little creepy when does.
    • In "Homer vs. The Eighteenth Amendment", Rex Banner, the no-nonsense police officer trusted with keeping Springfield dry when it briefly enacted Prohibition. He tries to laugh at some point but only ends up choking and coughing.
    • In "Last Tap Dance In Springfield", when Lisa takes up tap dancing her instructor, Little Vicky, tells her to "turn your frown upside-down!" and then chastises her when she attempts a smile. "That's a smile, not an upside-down frown! Work on that, too."
  • In one episode of South Park, Kyle discovers that the girls have voted him the ugliest boy in class and is now forced to sit with the other ugly kids during lunch. When he attempts to stir morale up and encourages one of the kids to smile, the result he gets isn't exactly what he was hoping for.
  • Steven Universe: Pearl dons one in "An Indirect Kiss", in the middle of losing it.
    "We could've probably gotten in without hurdling a giant rock [laughs in a less-than-sane fashion] into Rose's most precious sanctuary, but if you're okay with it, I'M FINE, TOO!"
  • Sym-Bionic Titan:
    • Octus/Newton does this at the end of the third episode.
    • Also Lance's driver's license photo.
  • Raven from Teen Titans (2003) is a Perpetual Frowner. The one time she tried to force herself to smile, it was... ugly; the sounds of previously unused facial muscles stretching could clearly be heard as she struggled to pull her lips into position. However, there have been instances where she genuinely smiled and it wasn't so bad.
    • There's also Robin forcing a smile on his "date" with Kitten. This would be the one that made a noise like bones cracking.
  • Tex Avery MGM Cartoons: Droopy usually has to say "I'm happy" to let the audience know, but he did grin in a promotional and it was ridiculous.
  • Happens in Time Squad when the characters have to get Leonardo da Vinci to paint Mona Lisa's portrait. He encourages her to smile, but it turns out she has really bad teeth.
  • Ice Bear usually plays The Stoic on We Bare Bears, giving only small, occasional smiles. Then he gets a job as a cupcake mascot, and his boss insists on a huge, stiff, and overly toothy grin that makes babies cry. It doesn't help that he goes around saying "Cup-Cake" in his usual monotone.
  • Work It Out Wombats!: While Mr. E is capable of a genuine smile, his attempt to smile for the camera in "Zoom In Zadie" makes it look like he's in pain.
  • Young Justice (2010): The Green Beetle pulls one off when trying to endear himself to The Team to gain their trust. It doesn't go so well. What really makes it creepy is that he isn't smiling physically; if you watch closely, he's using his shapeshifting powers to rearrange his face into the shape of a smile.
    "Is this not how humans show friendship?"


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