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  • Adventure Time. We often hear characters singing jaunty, cheerful songs at inappropriate times- such as very suspenseful scenes. In "Beautopia,' when the team is on their way to rescue the last possible humans alive from terrible monsters, we have Jake's jaunty Dixieland diddy, "I'm On A Boat." And it comes right out of nowhere. "Ooooh, I'm on a boat with a couple of wackos, Shaking mah hips and dippin' mah fat toe in the wadaaah... Dippin´ in the waddah, this party's gettin' hottah, It's so hot it's stupid!"
  • WALL-E. We hear the uplifting Hello, Dolly tune "Put On Your Sunday Clothes" while being subjected to depressing, horrifying images of the earth drowning in trash.
  • The wrist-slittingly sad animated film The Plague Dogs by the makers of Watership Down set the even sadder ending to the song Time And Tide, a cheerful, Cat Stevens-esque gospel song about dying. "I don't feel! No pain no more!"
  • Futurama's "Time Keeps on Slipping" has a pretty sad ending, but it also ends with the song "Sweet Georgia Brown", which is not exactly the saddest song in the world. Mind you, Bender was whistling it rather wistfully and slowly, and it had a cool echo effect that made it sound all alone in the universe.
    • Futurama additionally parodied the one in Dr. Strangelove in the episode "A Big Piece of Garbage" by also playing "We'll Meet Again" when a giant ball of garbage that destroyed another one is implied to eventually come back to destroy the Earth in the same way the first one did.
    • Then there was the episode which continued this trend, ending on a song with the line "I will wait for you/for a thousand summers", which twisted the theme of ironic end themes in that this one is played straight -- the ending of the episode revealed that after Fry was frozen, his dog was so loyal that he literally waited for him, in the same spot, every day until he died.
      • Oh, really? (Any word on whether it was retconned solely because it was too sad?)
  • In The Simpsons episode "Bart's Comet", Ned Flanders sings "Que Sera Sera" as he waits for the comet to destroy Springfield -- and him, at the same time. Ironic as it is, at least it fits Flanders' character; the scene becomes completely ludicrous when all of Springfield begins singing along.
    • Probably Fridge Brilliance. If you read into the song's lyrics, it's about accepting that fate cannot be changed. Of course, this being The Simpsons (which has lampshaded the Reset Button and Status Quo Is God)...
    • Played with in the previous episode, "War of The Simpsons": the morning after Homer makes a fool of himself after getting drunk at a party, Marge drags him into the car and puts on a tape of the Mexican hat dance and starts arguing with him, presumably so the kids can't hear them. However, they're staring out the window...

Bart: They're fighting in the car again.
Lisa: That music always sends a chill up my spine.

      • Done again in Homer's hallucination in the episode "The Fat and the Furriest". Where the Intensive Care Bear puts on Mexican Hat Dance just before all the bears prepare to tear him apart.
    • This also shows up in "Trash of the Titans". After Homer crashes a U2 concert and rushes the stage, the band's security guards drag him backstage and give him a Jumbotron-projected beating as the band plays "(Pride) In the Name of Love".
    • In "Mother Simpson" Mr. Burns starts playing "Ride of the Valkyries" on his cassette player for a raid on the Simpsons home only for it cut to "Waterloo" by ABBA--which Smithers taped over the original recording--and they commence without turning the music off.
  • The South Park episode "You Got F'd in the A" had a particularly hilarious usage of the trope: all through the episode, Butters has nightmares about the last time he tap-danced (he accidentally killed eleven people). At the end, he pulls through and joins the dance group for South Park: he tap dances fine, until he accidentally kills their opponents. This means the South Park boys win and he is hailed as a hero, all while crying "No... no... NOOOOOO!" The same song plays both in his flashback and the end credits: a cheery, if somewhat Double Entendre-laced jazz song, "There's Something In My Front Pocket".
  • Drawn Together uses this trope quite frequently, especially in montages. Examples include the happy lighthearted tune that plays while the human race is being wiped out by aliens in "Dirty Pranking No. 2", and the song "Winner Takes It All", which understandably plays during Captain Hero's big AIDS-Walk competition... while he is brutally murdering all of the participants.
  • In Harvey Birdman Attorney At Law, as Harvey is being prepared for his execution in "Deadomutt" the song "It Is Such A Good Night" is played.
  • The Great Mouse Detective opens with Olivia's father getting violently kidnapped in front of his daughter, and there are a few moments of silence as she cries out for him after he's gone. Cue the opening credits with confoundingly upbeat music.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted", the super-catchy "Chains On Me"...while the boys are getting their imaginations pounded out of them.
    • Also in "Interview with a Platypus" while Candace is being chased by a heard of angry animals, accompanied by an upbeat song called "Perfect Day".
  • The big series finale of Avatar: The Last Airbender reaches the climax of its Zuko and Azula subplot when the two challenge each other to one final Agni Kai. We expect some epic, fast-paced music to start, but instead, the melody that greets us is a very sad-sounding, slow, beautiful piece called "The Last Agni Kai".
  • Batman the Animated Series has a truly wonderful soundtrack. One of the happiest, cheeriest themes heard frequently throughout the series is a upbeat flute-played tune that would be right at home in a circus... which also happens to be The Joker's theme music. He sometimes whistles it.
  • Happens sometimes during The Backyardigans. A cowboy episode set to hip-hop, or an Ancient Greece episode set to samba, are such examples of that.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog is very fond of this trope. One memorable example involves peaceful nature music being played while savage vegetable-piranha hybrids began to rip each other apart as their gooey remains splattered across the room. Another episode played the same music as the title character is tossed off a cliff.
  • In the episode of Arthur where Buster comes back from being absent for half a season and finds himself locked out from everyone, the guest narrator, a singing moose played by Art Garfunkel, sings at one point (in a happy upbeat tone) "He's a sad, sad bunny/ A sad, sad bunny..." to which Buster yells "Hey, that isn't sad music!". The narrator quickly changes his tone and tempo to a depressing one.
  • Justice League: "Maid of Honor", Part 2. Batman and Wonder Woman fight the Kasnian military to wedding music.
  • Nine: "Somewhere over the Rainbow" plays while 5 is desperately trying to escape a huge and psychotic robot.
    • Made all the more disturbing when it cuts back to the others still playing happily, while in the background you can hear 5 screaming for help.
  • The Street Fighter animated series episode "The Medium is the Message" features a slow build to an upbeat, heroic fanfare. Said fanfare plays while M. Bison is exclaiming his joy at what he thinks is the heroes' imminent doom.
  • In Beauty and the Beast, the original music for the beast's death scene was rejected because it sounded too cheery.
  • Often done in The Venture Brothers, but specifically the overly dramatic music behind Dr. Orpheus.


  • Spark Plug Entertainment's A Cars Life Sparkys Big Adventure had some silly MIDI music that plays when Norbert the gas pump gets set on fire.
  • The song "A Guy Like You" (a cheerful, optimistic song sung by the gargoyles) from The Hunchback of Notre Dame. It's sung during the scene when medieval Paris is literally burned to the ground by the villain as an attempt to force the heroine out of her hiding spot.
    • Some classic music is playing while Fox and Xanatos are sparring in one episode.
  • In the Ben 10 Ultimate Alien episode "It's Not Easy Being Gwen", Gwen's friend Emily play's Chopin's Fantasie-Impromptu while Ben, Gwen, and Kevin defeat Dr. Animo. That's five minutes of laser beams and explosions set to classical piano music.
  • At the end of The Transformers episode "The Golden Lagoon", as Beachcomber sits glumly staring at the beautiful lagoon a recent battle destroyed and laments "We won..." while the other Autobots celebrate more typically, the standard cheery and upbeat-sounding "Autobot Victory!" music plays.
  • A humorous example occurs in the Rocko's Modern Life episode "Pranksters": When Heffer's rocket makes its way to China, Scottish bagpipe music plays in lieu of Chinese music.
  • A very good example is the end of the short film Alma. The character has her soul transferred into a doll and another doll is made for the next victim. All of this is scored to very cheery music.
  • The song "Two Worlds" sung at the very beginning of Tarzan is actually sung over scenes where Tarzan's parents and Kala and Kerchak's biological son are both killed by a leopard.
  • The song played in the cartoon Monkey Love is called "Vahine Anamite", a song written by Eddie Lund about Indo-Chinese women working so very hard in Tahiti... and it's played in a story about Interspecies Romance with a sailor and the monkey princess! Really?
  • From American Dad's episode "The Kidney Stays in the Picture": "Before you can react, a man in a ski mask'll tie you to a chair with an Indian braided belt he got on vacation in Santa Fe. He'll turn on some Huey Lewis...and then cut the damn thing out with a rusty keyhole saw!"
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures cartoon "Out of Odor" ends with happy upbeat music. While Elmyra might have liked the ending, Fifi didn't and noted it stinks.
  • El Manana by Gorillaz is a slow, peaceful song, and the video for it has Noodle sitting on a windmill in the clouds, surrounded by greenery and looking pretty chilled out. Then helicopters arrive and start shooting at her, sinking the island and apparently killing her. Cloud of Unknowing, whilst being very sombre in tone, also has a very violent video.
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