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Quotes / Stepford Smiler

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    Anime and Manga 
"Lying tears hurt others; lying smiles hurt only oneself."

"I'm smiling now...right?"
Wolfgang Grimmer, Monster

Sumire: As always... your salesman smile is absolutely cruel..
Teru: Oh...? You know, there's quite a few people I'm actually grateful to. I wasn't lying...
Sumire: Right, but it's just too different from your normal self.
Saki, after Teru puts on a cheerful and polite face at a press conference.

"I'm supposed to be the guy who's always smiling, right? I'm the symbol of peace. People everywhere have to think I'm never afraid. But honestly, I smile to hide the fear inside. It's just a brave face I put on when the pressure's high. This job isn't easy."

    Comic Books 
Downstairs are a couple named Ken and Barbie - they're normal. Terrifyingly, appallingly normal - like they've gone through normal and come out the other side. The Stepford Yuppies.
The Sandman: Moving In

    Fan Works 
"I think he still blamed himself," she says in the blandest tone, "even though I told him I was okay."
"He does that sometimes," you agree. "But I don't think you were really okay, and even though you lied to yourself, I think you couldn't lie to him."
She turns to look at you, her face as blank and expressionless as her empty eye sockets.
"But I'm okay," she says, her voice still lacking inflection. "I was okay. I'm okay," she repeats, and blinks rapidly.
You brush a lock of hair back from her face, and the contact surprises her, even though you had your hand on your shoulder just a minute ago.
"Are you really, though?" you ask kindly, and she hiccups. Fat, reddish tears start rolling down her cheeks.

But he got it now. He got what everyone was looking for. It wasn't for him to be happy, and he wasn't trying to be mean thinking about that. People wanted other people to fit into a nice, neat package with smartly tied bows that were the right color to match the wrapping paper. People wanted to be able to classify other people, and for them to behave according to code.
Light found his code.
His role is son, older brother, protector, student, genius, role model, kind, earnest. His role is to be perfect so they don't have to worry again, so they won't say he's abnormal, strange, worrisome (all whispered in the dark night across the kitchen table when they thought he was asleep).
Solitude, a Death Note fanfic.

Ruby, on the other hand, acts like she doesn’t come back to the dorm looking pensive on most nights, leaves and flower petals stuck to her hair; acts like she doesn’t shift closer to you in bed on others. Ruby acts like what happens past midnight happens on a different plane, another reality even, like she wants to keep the part of her that wolfs down cookies and swings around gun-scythes with pinpoint precision and playfulness separate from the part of her that shuffles to bed with you during the early morning hours.
It's worrying.
It's worrying and you understand why she does it.

"He won't stop crying."
"And you're going to stop him by killing him?" Hastur said.
Zirah stared at him in wide-eyed innocence. He looked puzzled.
"Why not?"

Some of your friends are surprised by how excitable and confident you seem, and you don’t blame them at all. That’s not you. You try to force yourself to be as happy as you possibly can all the time, but that’s only a distraction. She’s still there in your head, still talking to you. Telling you how weak you are. How you’re not good enough. How you’ve never been good enough for anything. How you won’t win this one. You can’t win this one. You’ve never won anything in your life. You know none of it’s true, but that doesn’t stop you from worrying, a nervous feeling eating away at you. What if you aren’t good enough for this? What if you can’t win? After all, she knows you as well as you know yourself.

Frigga appeared the perfect caregiver. She walked through the castle, gave comfort where it was needed, and did not let her face slip.
Narration, "Enduring", a Thor fanfic

Light pulled himself up to the counter, putting on his, 'I'm completely normal and if you don't believe me, I'll kill you,' façade.
The Faceless, a Death Note fanfic.

Earn your worth with your devotion, sacrifice and strive
Another set of orders is another day alive.

Though his Pokemon noticed his determined grin, he did not let them see his eyes. He could certainly say it and force himself to at least appear confident, but inside he was still a raging bundle of emotions that he was still trying to tamp down. He'd lost people he cared about, his Pokemon had too and they were probably suffering just as much as him, but he knew he needed to at least pretend to be strong…for their sake.
He could not let himself dwell on dark thoughts, yet despite his forced enthusiasm, his Pokemon merely and silently exchanged looks and agreed.

Sakura took a deep breath. And then, as Saber watched in amazement, her face began to shift. There was no magic involved, yet in a matter of seconds, she became a different person. All the tears, all the distress melted away, leaving behind a half-smile that had to be fake...but would have fooled Saber, had she not watched it take form.
Sakura turned at last, false smile firmly in place.

"What? I'm not afraid! It's just better sometimes to take all those bad childhood memories and all of their consequences and bury them deep down inside of you, so instead of getting any release, they can just slowly eat at you from within over the course of several decades."
Nora, Let Us Be Your Poison, a ''RWBY fanfic

    Film — Animated 
Don't let them in
Don't let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Don't feel
Put on a show
Make one wrong move, and everyone will know
Queen Elsa preparing for the day, Frozen (2013)

Any idea is a good idea, except the not-happy ones. Those get pushed down deep inside, 'til you'll never, ever, ever, EVER fiiiiind theeeem~
Unikitty, The LEGO Movie

    Film — Live-Action 
"Everyone smiles with that invisible gun to their head."

"Not a lot of people know what it feels like, do they? To be angry. In your bones. I mean, they understand. Foster parents. Everybody understands. For a while. And then, they want the angry little kid to do something he knows he can't do. Move on. So after a while, they stop understanding. They send the angry kid to a boys’ home. I figured it out too late. You gotta learn to hide the anger. Practice smiling in a mirror. It's like putting on a mask. So you showed up this one day in a cool car, pretty girl on your arm. We were so excited - Bruce Wayne, billionaire orphan. I mean, we used to make up stories about you, man. Legends. And you know, with the other kids that's all it was, just stories. But... right when I saw you, I knew who you really were. I’d seen that look on your face before. It's the same one I taught myself."
John Blake, The Dark Knight Rises

Ikeda: You're forcing it.
Yoshida: Don't say that. We must pretend we're happy. It's scary if another disaster strikes again.

"I mean, I'm smiling, but I'm very fucking furious!"
Field Marshal Georgy Zhukov, The Death of Stalin

A sociable smile is nothing but teeth.

She was a master of bluffing, wore a mask better than anyone I knew, and she’d adopted her persona in a way that nobody else in the Undersiders or Wards had. In the midst of all of this, she’d been a pillar, a source that everyone had been turning to when they had questions.
But where was someone in that position supposed to turn to when they needed support?
A minute passed before she broke away. She turned her back to me before I could see her face.
“All good?” I asked.
Peachy,” she said, without looking at me.

"He always smiled, and he always chuckled, but inside he did not notice anyone, did not care; it was his body that smiled, nodded and shook hands. Nothing touched his mind, which remained remote."

It was there,
she crafted her first mask;
imbued with betrayal and hurt.
She named it confidence
and put it on''
— "Masks" a poem by MaroonLynx

I had become a perfect fake human, saying the stupid and pointless things that humans say to each other all day long. No one suspected what crouched behind my perfect imitation smile.
Dexter Morgan in Dearly Devoted Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

She seemed like a creature made to attract everyone and express nothing real
Magnus Bane The Bane Chronicles

Plus, humor was a good way to hide the pain.
Leo Valdez (narration), The Heroes of Olympus

It was sung very boisterouly, and with a forced attempt at merriment; but no wail of despair, no words of impassioned prayer, could have had such a depth of woe in them as the wild notes of the chorus. As if the poor, dumb heart, threatened,—prisoned,—took refuge in that inarticulate sanctuary of music, and found there a language in which to breathe its prayer to God! There was a prayer in it, which Simon could not hear.

I was almost at the front door when Mrs Harmon appeared on the landing above my head. She smiled emptily at me, seemingly lost in a pharmaceutical haze, but the smile didn't extend farther than her lips and her eyes were full of unspeakable things.

During the latter half of his senior year, an odd impulse came over him - one which as frightening to Todd as it was irrational. He seemed to be clearly and firmly in control of it, and that at least was comforting, but that such a thought should have occurred at all was scary. He had made an arrangement with his life. he had worked things out. His life was much like his mother's bright and sunshiney kitchen, where all the surfaces were dressed in chrome, Formica and stainless steel - a place where everything worked when you pressed the buttons. There were deep and dark cupboards in this kitchen, of course, but many things could be stored in them and their doors still be closed.
This new impulse reminded him of the dream in which he had come home to discover the dead and bleeding wino in his mother's clean, well-lighted place. It as as if, in the bright and careful arrangement he had made, in that a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place kitchen of his mind, a dark and bloody intruder now lurched and shambled, looking for a place to die conspicuously.

In horror fiction, every culture has its own supernatural menace. African Americans get voodoo. The Chinese get fox spirits. And WASPs get the all-American boy sporting a varsity letter jacket and blinding-white smile that mask the howling maniac on the inside.
Living in exclusive Connecticut neighborhoods or affluent New Orleans suburbs, these families have names like Stuyvesant and Scarborough. The fathers are successful doctors, lawyers, and insurance brokers; the mothers run fashionable boutiques or, preferably, don't work at all. The children attend only the best schools. They love to ski, and their problems are handled by therapists with German accents and names like Dr Reisenkonig.
All my unspoken instincts, my vague suspicions, suddenly took shape and centered upon the naturalist. In that impassive, colourless man, with his straw hat and his butterfly-net, I seemed to see something terrible—a creature of infinite patience and craft, with a smiling face and a murderous heart.

Cassie: Nothing is normal here. Can't you feel it? All these so-called full members, they're all being so perfectly nice. So perfectly helpful. They're so perfectly normal it's abnormal. And all the time their eyes are following you, watching you. Watching you like... like a hungry dog watching a bone.
Rachel: Creepy. Like if you took cheerleaders, combined them with gym teachers, and made them all drink ten cups of coffee.
Marco: They are all just a little too happy, aren't they? People keep telling me how all their problems disappeared once they became a full member of The Sharing. It's like some cult or something.
Animorphs #1: The Invasion

You work on this Hub for nineteen hours, ten days a week, twelve years a life; you serve abusive consumers; you abase yourself to a Seer, Aides and a Logoman; you obey our Catechisms; do all these, then tell me fabricants are the happiest stratum in the State. We smile because we are genomed to do so. "Happy," you call us? I would end my life now, but all the knives in this prison are plastic, Madam.
Yoona-939, Cloud Atlas

    Live-Action TV 
Donna Noble: You alright?
Tenth Doctor: I'm always alright.
Donna Noble: Is 'alright' special Time Lord code for 'really not alright at all'?
Tenth Doctor: Why?
Donna Noble: 'Cause I'm alright too.

Hal: My God, Annie. Yours is even better than mine.
Annie: My what?
Hal: Your mask.

No, Orson Hodge isn't exactly the guy I'd have picked to head my family, but I'll give him one thing... he's got the smile down cold.
Rex Van de Kamp, Desperate Housewives

Jack: You always believe that everything is going to work out. How do you do it?
Kenneth: Well, I'll tell you my secret sir! (leans in close) I lie to myself. Every day, when I wake up, I say "everything's gonna be ookay," but I'm lying. (Jack tries to stand up, Keenth grabs his shoulder and forces him to sit back down) And I don't know. How much longer. I can do it. (pained squeak as smile returns) Have a swell night, sir!

I'm smiling but I'm dying
—"Nothing", The Script

There's a crack in my soul
You thought was a smile

If it's getting harder to face everyday...
Don't let it show... don't let it show...
—"Don't Let It Show", The Alan Parsons Project

At first when I see you cry
It makes me smile
Yeah it makes me smile
At worst I feel bad for a while But then I just smile
Yeah I go ahead and smile
— "Smile", Lily Allen

You are scum, you are scum and I hope that you know
That the cracks in your smile are beginning to show
Now the world needs to see that it's time you should go
There's no light in your eyes and your brain is too slow
Can't believe you were once just like anyone else
Then you grew and became like the devil himself
Pray to god I can think of a nice thing to say
But I don't think I can, so fuck you anyway
—"Fuck U", Archive

I'm a tour guide on the Jungle Cruise ride
Skipper Dan is the name
And I'm doin' thirty-four shows every day
And every time it's the same
Look at those hippos, they're wigglin' their ears
Just like they've done for the last fifty years
Now I'm laughin' at my own jokes but I'm cryin' inside
'Cause I'm workin' on the Jungle Cruise ride
—"Skipper Dan", "Weird Al" Yankovic

How is it that I smile when I am sad?
From what resource do I derive this strength?
—"Blackbird Sonnets, III", Emilie Autumn

Even the people who never frown eventually break down
—"Pushing Me Away", Linkin Park

What Megaman and my brothers don't know, is this flash is all for show
'Cause inside, there's nothing there, and there's nothing to me,
I'm empty, and I'm hollow
— "Flashman", The Megas

I always wear a smile
Because anything but a smile would make me have to explain
And they wouldn't understand anyway
I conceal my feelings so I won't have to explain
What I can't explain anyway
—"Can't Decide", Black Flag

We wear the mask that grins and lies
It hides our cheeks and shades our eyes
This debt we pay to human guile
With torn and bleeding hearts we smile,
And mouth with myriad subtleties
—"We Wear the Mask", Paul Laurence Dunbar

You was raised without a daddy,
You're really not happy,
You only smile to cover the rain...
GemStones, Skeletons

"It's okay," he smiles and says
Though his loneliness is driving him crazy
He don't show what goes on in his head,
But if you watch very close, you'll see it all
— "Lonesome Loser", Little River Band

With a smile, I'm dying inside
But I know, I'll be just fine
"Just the Thing", Paul Mac

Hold on, baby you're losing it
The water's high, you're jumping into it
And letting go
and no one knows
That you cry, but you don't tell anyone
That you might not be the golden one
And you're tied together with a smile but you're coming undone
Taylor Swift, Tied Together With A Smile

All that great heart lying still
In silent suffering
Smiling like a clown until the show has come to an end
Nightwish, Song Of Myself

I won't scream in my head
And let it isolate me
— "I Won't Be Left", Tegan and Sara

So silent
No violence
But inside my head
So loud and clear
You're screaming
You're screaming
Covered up with a smile I've learned to fear...
— "Still Alive", by Lisa Miskovsky

That sugar cane that tasted good
That's who you are, that's what you could
C'mon, c'mon, no one can see you cry
R.E.M., "Imitation of Life"

I may seem alright, and smile when you leave
But my smiles are just a front
Just a front
Macy Gray, "I Try"

We got the bubble-headed-bleach-blond
Who comes on at five
She can tell you 'bout the plane crash with a gleam in her eye
It's interesting when people die
Give us dirty laundry
Don Henley, "Dirty Laundry"

If I smile with my teeth,
bet you believe me.
If I smile with my teeth,
I think I believe me.
Oh, please, don't ask me how I've been.
Don't make me play pretend.
Oh, no, oh, what's the use?
Oh, please, I bet everybody here
is fake happy too.
Paramore, "Fake Happy"

Step one: separate your lips.
Step two: use facial muscles to pull back the corners of your mouth.
Step three: widen your eyes.
This is how to be happy.

Smile! (no response) Little girl, this is an adult speaking! I order you to smile.
Albert, Bye Bye Birdie

When you start to get confused
Because of thoughts in your head
Don't feel those feelings!
Hold them in instead
Elder McKinley, The Book of Mormon "Turn It Off"

    Video Games 
Sorry about the mess. Everything Jack kills, he dumps here — bandits, Vault Hunters, Claptrap units... If I sound pleased about this, its only because my programmers made this my default tone of voice! I'm actually quite depressed!
Claptrap, Borderlands 2

That's how the family works. Daddy brings home a paycheck and goes away with his secretary, while Mommy cooks dinner and keeps a brave face on things. All the while, her heart is breaking. Where are my pills...
Jan Brown, Vice City Public Radio panelist.

Hawke: I have a smile on my face. That should be enough for most people.
Aveline: That doesn't work on me.

And I've been telling Yuna... Let's go to Zanarkand together! Let's beat Sin! I told her all the things we could... we could... And all along, the whole time, I didn't know anything! But Yuna, she'd... just smile.
Tidus, Final Fantasy X

You said it made you happy when I smiled, didn't you? But really... I was afraid. I was always afraid.
Oerba Dia Vanille, Final Fantasy XIII.

His easy smile is striking... But that smile doesn't reach his eyes...
Byleth's first impression of Claude, Fire Emblem: Three Houses

No, no... I shouldn't be laughing. Nothing's funny.

Seek alternate subject. Initiate analysing scan: Philip Marquard.
Look, sweetling. See the pretty picture: the charismatic leader of Morninglight and his beautiful family, a symbol of the new era of humanity. The patriarch, Philip, handsome and earnest of smile. His wife, Elisa, equally photogenic. Their two children — Alexandre and Kathrine, eight and eleven years old, pretty little replicas of their parents. And, of course, there is a beautiful, purebred dog. A lovely portrait. But the photo album pages are stuck together with blood and worse. Down in the basement...
The Buzzing, The Secret World

I don't trust a man that doesn't have something strange going on about him, 'cause that means he's hiding it from you. If a man's wearing his pants on his head or if he says his words backwards from time to time, you know it's all laid out there for you. But if he's friendly to strangers and keeps his home spick-and-span, more often than not he's done something even his own ma couldn't forgive.

Back in those days I was just desperately following people around to protect myself. I was so scared of being alone. I'd smile all the time, so people won't hate me, cling to them with all my might... But... People always end up doubting me...

    Visual Novels 
"[The Misha you know is different from the one I think of, when I think of the time we first met. Even though I think she looks better cheerful and smiling, that isn't how she typically is.]"
Shizune Hakamichi, Katawa Shoujo

"I interrupt her. 'I'm ok Mads. Really. You don't have to worry.' I flash her the old grin and finger guns. I've done it so many times on camera when I was sick or tired that I don't think even Maddie can see my heart isn't really in it this time. At least I hope not."
Tara narrating, Heart of the Woods

"When I giggle, it's like I'm forcing myself to do it. I wonder if it sounds as painful as it feels."
Amber narrating, Highway Blossoms Next Exit


Wolfe: You seem to be managing well.
Sidney: Pffh! Do I?!
Wolfe: ...Until you made that noise, yes.
Sidney: Pffffffhahaaaah [slumps against the window]

    Web Original 
Camille Cosby pretty much made it clear where she stands when she put on a manufactured, creepy, Stepford Wife smile as her husband got pissy with an AP reporter for asking him about all the sexual abuse allegations against him. Camille Cosby didn’t need to say shit. We all know that she’s been putting her fingers in her ear holes and singing, 'Stand by your maaaaaaan,' at the top of her lungs as accuser after accuser after accuser after accuser comes out. Camille is Ride or Die all the way even if the ride is filled with women he’s drugged up.
Michael K., "Bill Cosby’s Wife Thinks He’s The Real Victim"

This character, she didn’t make the jokes because she thought nothing of it, or because the experience was funny. She told the joke because she knew that the alternative was people looking at her with pity, or disinterest, calling her dramatic or a fool for staying. So she willingly became the fool. She knows that if she lets that mask slip, if people see the scars beneath the innocent facade, they won’t love her anymore. So she tries extra hard. I sat there for the first act whilst she ran around, singing and dancing. I watched as they whispered about how stupid she was. And I thought, ‘no’. This is a woman who is screaming inside. Maybe she’s not even screaming anymore. Maybe she’s dead. And she just makes this physical shell of herself keep laughing and flirting and dancing, because if she didn’t, she’d see that look in her best friend’s eyes. She’d hear that word- ‘victim’. And maybe that would be worse than death.
She was the most intelligent character in that play. And somehow she could still carry on as the most light hearted. She took all that darkness inside her and kept the lights shining for everybody else.
— Blogger thebjdhotel

    Western Animation 
Well, it doesn't matter how you feel inside, you know? It's what shows up on the surface that counts. That's what my mother taught me — take all your bad feelings and push them down, all the way down, past your knees until you're almost walking on them. And then you'll fit in, and you'll be invited to parties, and boys will like you, and happiness will follow!
—-Marge Simpson, The Simpsons

"I know smiles, and those smiles... they're just not right!"

I know I'm smiling right now, but the light inside of me is dying.

    Real Life 
I think we all have a dark side to us. I find that I can't trust sunny-natured people, people who are constantly sunny. I think that's major denial.
—Actor Gordon Tomson

I want to be remembered as the girl who always smiles even when her heart is broken, and the one that could always brighten up your day even if she couldn't brighten her own.
Anonymous, viral Internet quote

Anyone who has a continuous smile on his face conceals a toughness that is almost frightening.

That's what interests me about the [Eleventh] Doctor because, actually, look at the blood on the man’s hands. 900 years, countless very selfish choices, and he's literally blown planets up. His own race, you know, that’s all on his hands. Which is why I think he has to make silly jokes and wear a fez. Because if he didn’t, he'd hang himself.
Matt Smith (the Eleventh Doctor), Doctor Who


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