The song of DOOM! Whenever anyone sings this song, disaster follows. It helps that despite the sunny music, the lyrics are about a man so down on his luck that all he has is his girlfriend, and now he's reduced to begging her not to leave him as well. And it doesn't work. Despite the Lyrical Dissonance, most viewers and creators still see the official state song of Louisiana as a cheery song. Tragic Spoilers follow.
- Used to be used as the jingle for French's Mustard. To those of us who hate mustard, it'd be a disaster to use it...
- In The Return one character openly mocks the unfortunately named succubus, Sunshine, with this song. Pretty soon she is kidnapped, tortured, mindraped, transformed into a succubus herself and then eventually ends up being Sunshine's demonic daughter.
- In the Crossover Fan Fic Stars Above, the title of the side-story My Sunshine is a reference to this song. "Sunshine" is what Mami's late mother sometimes called her, and she used to sing the song to Mami as a child. Since her parents' death, being called "Sunshine" is a sure-fire way to get Mami angry. Kyoko uses this Berserk Button as a last-ditch effort to snap Mami out of Demon-induced catatonia. When Mami no longer recognizes its significance, it's a sign that of how far the erasure of her memories has progressed. Kyoko sings the song to her just before granting her a Mercy Kill.
- Annabelle: Creation uses the song as the central focus of the plot as well as the Leitmotif of Annabelle. Samuel Mullins has lost his daughter as she was hit by a car when trying to pick up a screw on the road. He's so desperate to see his daughter again to the point he invited a demon to possess a doll. It works in a very wrong way. At first, the demon acts like the Mullins' daughter and the family is glad that their "daughter" is back, however, as the demon grows stronger and starts showing its sinister side, the Mullins starts making an attempt to seal the demon in their daughter's room. However, not only did they fail to seal the demon, it starts using the dollmaker's house to lure hapless prey into the house and feeding on their souls. It's also played on a vinyl record player and is used as the credit song.
- Beaches — Sung in the final happy moments before the "Wind Beneath My Wings" Death Montage.
- Used in O Brother, Where Art Thou?; fits mainly because it's set in the depths of the Great Depression.
- The Worlds Fastest Indian — After singing this song the Bert has a heart attack.
- An unusual example in the Tunnels book series: Rebecca actually sings this, especially at the most inappropriate times.
- All My Children — Dixie Martin's song. It plays in the background when she dies.
- Angel — Fred sings this just before spitting blood, falling into fever, having her soul destroyed, and her body used as a vessel for an Eldritch Abomination to claw its way back from death.
- Which actually makes the song super appropriate considering what the song is actually about
- In a Season 1 episode of The A-Team, Face and Hannibal sing this in cheery harmony as they distract and then knock B.A. out to get him on the airplane. This song makes it seem a bit mean-spirited.
- Face and Hannibal just seem to like this song. They sing it a couple of other times during the series as well, usually when they're in some sort of danger.
- Used in the ending montage of the Cold Case episode "The Goodbye Room".
- An episode of The L Word has Alice buying a plush sunflower for her cancer-ridden girlfriend Dana that sings it when you push a button on the bottom. Alice does not reach Dana in time and as she drops the sunflower as she falls to the floor, it sings the tune over Alice's hysterical crying.
- The Muppets — Hugga Wugga blows off the yellow puppet's head for singing it.
- But the puppet survives and gets his revenge...
- An episode of Star Trek: Voyager has the Doctor trying to help Seven of Nine improve her social skills, and one of the things he does is teach her this song. And things don't work well throughout the episode.
- Well, he falls in unrequited love with her, but he is successful in teaching her how to interact with people better, so the tone is kind of bittersweet.
- The Twilight Zone (1959) TOS episode "It's a Good Life". Dan Hollis sings a few bars of "You Are My Sunshine" at one of Anthony's "parties". One minute and 40 seconds later, Anthony turns him into a human jack-in-the-box and sends him to the cornfield. Watch it here: the song is at 0:45 and the punishment is at 2:25.
- There's actually some dissonance between the music and lyrics of this song all by itself. It is not a happy story.
- Brian Wilson uses it in his Smile album, in a very slow, minor-key rendition with altered lyrics (You were my sunshine...how could you take my sunshine away?)
- B.G. James' last entrance theme in TNA actually starts with him reciting the line, "You are my sunshine, my only sunshine..." in a pained voice before launching into a vaguely rap-metal beat.
- Another aversion: This heartwarming legend where a boy sings the titular song to his dying baby sister, and she makes rapid recovery immediately.
- In the episode of The Simpsons "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson", where Bart and Lisa get shipped off to military school, Marge sends the two of them a tape of her singing to cheer them up. At this point Bart has been accepted while Lisa has been shunned by the other recruits. Bart rejects Lisa's offer to listen to the tape together and she listens to Marge singing the song while she's alone in her dormitory crying.
- Averted in VeggieTales' "The Wonderful World of Auto-Tainment, in which a variant of the song is sung about remembering that God will always show his love for you.
- An aversion: In real life, this song (or the first portion of it) is frequently used as a lullaby to sing to babies, and has been recorded on a lot of children's albums.