Fluffy Cloud Heaven
Fluffy Cloud Heaven is taking millennia of belief and art on "Heaven", and boiling it down to a Hallmark card. Don't expect to find this description in any religious text. Nowadays the use of this depiction is usually meant as satire. The exceptions almost invariably treat the depiction as a simple visual short-hand.
Heaven takes place in the clouds, which are solid enough to walk on. Humans become angels after they die. They are given wings, a long white robe, a lyre/harp and a Holy Halo that is literally a golden glowing ring that floats over their heads. Smaller Super-Deformed cherubs à la Cupid may float around too. Other than that, it's not exactly clear what people do. If God exists in Fluffy Cloud Heaven at all, he's a giant white-haired, bearded man wandering around or sitting on a huge white marble throne. There is often a line in front of the "Pearly Gates" of people wanting to get in, with an angel based on St. Peter who acts as a bouncer. He'll read his book about all the naughty and nice things someone has done, and then either let them in or send them to Hell via a Trap Door. Often he has a desk right in front of the gates. Sometimes there's even a computer on it.
In a Rage Against the Heavens setting, Fluffy Cloud Heaven will have its tackiness emphasized: Halos are tacky and hung up via a metal strip at the back of the neck, like in a child's school play. Elements of Fluffy Cloud Heaven may be used as a disguise for "the truth." In other, more beneficent settings, heaven is whatever is pleasant to its inhabitants; if they want Fluffy Cloud Heaven, they get Fluffy Cloud Heaven; however silly.
Fluffy Cloud Heaven may be the home of Hollywood angels, who are less like something out of any established religion and more like fairy godmothers and godfathers. Some only offer banal homilies to their clients; others provide supernatural aid, but none of them smite the unrighteous, old testament style.
See also Fire and Brimstone Hell. Not to be mistaken for Bubbly Clouds, which may be fluffy but is still very terrestrial. Characters who die in a story often Died Happily Ever After before coming here.
- A Nespresso ad shows George Clooney being killed by a falling piano and arrives at the Pearly Gates, with John Malkovich as either St. Peter or God.
- The Nespresso commercial was accused of plagiarizing a commercial from Lavazza, an Italian company, which also showed characters in a fluffy heaven which has seemingly nothing better to offer than coffee. The commercial received some negative attention due to a series of interviews to elementary school children who claimed in a worrying number that heaven was "a place where you drank coffee".
- The ads for Philadelphia Cream Cheese.
Anime and Manga
- Magical Pokaan sends Yuuma to the Fluffy Cloud Heaven, to the extent that she even says "Ahhhh, it's so fluffy and comfy!". She ends up getting bored, though, so she's simply sent back to Earth.
- In Dragon Ball Z, there is a variation on this. Fluffy clouds abound, and when a character dies they get a halo over their head. Heaven itself is run in a modern fashion. Everyone who works there wears white collar clothing typical of an office setting, and everyone seems extremely stressed. From the check-in point (where one awaits judgment) good beings are flown on a plane to a paradise, while bad beings are dropped through the clouds and into
HellHome For Infinite Losers. The true warriors are allowed to visit Gods for training and an eternity of exercise.
- A standard Fluffy Cloud Heaven appears as the home of Nanael in Queen's Blade, complete with Greco-Roman architecture lying about.
- DC Comics have sometimes featured Fluffy Cloud Heaven, often with the justification that Heaven doesn't really look like this, but it's something mortals can comprehend. In the Crisis Crossover Day of Judgement a side-door in Fluffy Cloud Heaven leads to Grey Cloud Purgatory.
- It's also established in the DC Universe that the afterlife tends to be what the deceased wants, so if a good person expects Fluffy Cloud Heaven and desires it, that is what he will get.
- The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck features this version, complete with pastel colors and a fluffy cloud golf course.
- Subverted in Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, where the entrance to Fluffy Cloud Heaven is covered in filth and grime. Heaven itself is fairly standard.
- Jack Chick uses Fluffy Cloud Heaven in some of his infamous tracts, such as "This Was Your Life".
- This being the Jack Chick, however, he's far more interested in Fire and Brimstone Hell
- Chronicles of Wormwood by Garth Ennis. The Anti Christ visits Fluffy Cloud Heaven with the permission of Jesus (who is a brain damaged black man, no really). It's the typical sort, with a few inversions. It acts as the De Facto hell for terrorists, who are the nannies for babies' souls in Heaven. Each terrorist gets seventy babies to take care of. Think about it.
- R. Crumb's Mr. Natural has him getting hit by a car and waking up in Fluffy Cloud Heaven. He's amazed at the angels singing hymns, "the whole shtick!" God greets him and asks how he likes it, and Mr. Natural chuckles that it's a little corny and outdated. God is insulted and has him booted back to earth.
- Parodied by the Belgian one-page series Passe-moi l'ciel!.
- Heaven in The Frighteners is half this, half bright-white-light. Hell, on the other hand, is half fire 'n' brimstone, half gigantic Lovecraftian worms that gobble souls up and then dive back into the abyss.
- In Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey Bill and Ted go to Fluffy Cloud Heaven to talk God into helping them find someone smart enough to defeat their Evil Robot doubles.
- That Fluffy Cloud Heaven is a tribute to that in the 1946 film A Matter of Life and Death, in which David Niven's character shuttles between our world and Heaven as a result of a bureaucratic mix-up.
- The ending to Casino Royale 1967 sums up the tone of the movie - a huge explosion sends all the principal characters to Fluffy Cloud Heaven as harp-playing angels.
- All except Jimmy Bond, who instead goes to "a place that is terribly hot."
- In Stardust Memories, Woody Allen's filmmaker character is incensed when behind-his-back Executive Meddling slaps a happy ending in Fluffy Cloud "Jazz Heaven" to his deliberately somber movie.
- In the historical film Black Robe, Christian missionaries in the year 1634 have a lot of difficulty converting Native Americans because this is how they describe heaven to them. The Native Americans find the concept immensely unappealing.
- In Ice Age 2, Scrat dies and goes to fluffy cloud squirrel heaven where he encounters an enormous golden acorn. Unfortunately, that acorn proves just as frustratingly elusive to him as all the rest, as Sid performs CPR on him and brings him back to life just as he is reaching out to touch it.
- Subverted in Robert A. Heinlein's Job: A Comedy of Justice. Protagonist Alex dies and goes to Fluffy Cloud Heaven, only to learn that it's deadly dull and overrun with Celestial Bureaucracy.
- The scene is taken directly from Heinlein's favorite book, Jurgen: A Comedy of Justice by James Cabell. Except that it's run by the hero's grandmother, who lambasted the god-above-God into making it this way.
- In For Love Of Evil, Satan is trying to take over partly because he's seen that heaven is a fluffy totalitarian police state and wants to free the souls there.
- Mock-Heaven in Hell is also a Fluffy Cloud Heaven in the same book
- In Mark Twain's Captain Stormfield's Visit to Heaven, Heaven at first is like this - but it is later revealed that this is because that's what most people expect, and Heaven tries to make people happy by giving them anything they want. Most people eventually wise up and develop more interesting lives in Heaven later.
- Mark Twain also lampoons Fluffy Cloud Heaven in Letters From The Earth, written from Satan's perspective while visiting Earth.
- The Onion's book Our Dumb Century features a spoof headline from the week after the airplane was invented, about the government planning airplane expeditions to Heaven. The story reveals that within ten years, it will be possible for the average American to vacation there.
- The Wish List by Eoin Colfer (of Artemis Fowl fame) features a heaven much like this, including St. Peter examining case files by computer (it's played for laughs to an extent). The Fire and Brimstone Hell, needless to say, is even sillier.
- In the Anne of Green Gables stories young Davy has been studying this concept of heaven. He remarks that he doesn't want to go there until he's really, really old, and wonders if they'll let him play a harmonica instead of a harp.
- The Divine Comedia has fluffy clouds in some parts of heaven but otherwise follows nothing of this trope. Mostly, Paradisio is too perfect to really describe.
- C. S. Lewis subverts this trope in The Great Divorce where instead of an ethereal and possibly boring fluffy cloud heaven, heaven is a beautiful country that is much more real than Earth (which is described as merely a shadow of heaven). When spirits from Earth or Hell try to walk on the grass in Heaven, it stabs through their feet, because everything there is more real than them. In this book, it is Hell that is described as insubstantial and dreadfully dull.
- This is more or less how he describes "Aslan's Country" in The Chronicles of Narnia as well.
- In Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Rowley draws a cartoon where the character goes to Fluffy Cloud Heaven. The character foolishly reminds St. Peter of the time he stole candy as a child and gets tossed off a cloud, shouting the comic's Catch Phrase "ZOO-WEE-MAMAAAAAA!"
- A short story collection by Anthony Horowitz includes Howard's End; a story about a bully who dies and cheats his way into Fluffy Cloud Heaven. He swiftly gets bored of the endless and uneventful world, feeling himself begin to lose it, and shouts that he lied to get in, shouldn't be there and deserves to be in Hell, which he imagines to be more eventful. St. Peter simply turns around and tells him that he already is.
Live Action TV
- The concept is mentioned in Blackadder;
Edmund: You see, the thing about heaven is that heaven is for people who like the sort of things that go on in heaven. Like, well, singing, talking to God, watering pot(ted) plants.
- Stephen Colbert, as a right-wing satire created by a devout Catholic, naturally has a very stereotypical (and more than slightly mangled) view of religion, and of Heaven:
- Lenny Henry imagined the 'House Band in Heaven' on his show - Elvis, Otis Redding, Karen Carpenter, Hendrix, Kurt Cobain... and George Formby on ukelele; "'Ey up Mr Hendrix can I 'ave a go? (sings) 'Ey Joe... where you goin' with that gun in yer 'and?'
- In Mahou Sentai Magiranger, the Heavenly Saints live in Magitopia, a Fluffy Cloud Heaven-like Alternate Universe. There are buildings here, actually: expect the inside to be endless with no signs of walls or doors, and stark white all around (including the pillars and any furniture.) However, this being Sentai, the Saints themselves are People in Rubber Suits instead of Winged Humanoids. Some of them command Humongous Mecha while others just become giant sized on their own.
- Notably averted in the HBO adaptation of Angels in America; whether or not it is played this way on-stage can vary by production.
- In an animated skit on Monty Python's Flying Circus, the gentlemen end up on a fluffy cloud in heaven... While women on a cloud below beg them not to jump. They are eventually rescued by firemen. Arriving on a fire-fluffy-cloud.
- An entire season (all ten episodes) of the Norwegian comedy show Fleksnes Fataliteter revolved around the main character dying and ending up in front of the Pearly Gates. But St. Peter doesn't allow him entrance, and instead makes him watch various scenes from his life (which partly includes footage from earlier seasons).
- In Charmed, the whitelighters' domain ("Up There") looks like this, with clouds, white pillars, and a white-robed dress code (that Leo ignores because jeans are more comfortable).
- Referenced in the Scrubs episode, "My Way Home," where J.D. and Turk discuss their plans to meet up "by the milkshake stand on the lesbian cloud" in Heaven after they both die.
- Saturday Night Live heartwarmingly played it straight in a tribute to Rodney Dangerfield. In the sketch, St. Peter reads a list of questions to the late comedian, then simply says, "Okay, you can get in." RD is amazed at this, and St. Peter admits, "I just wanted to hear those jokes one last time." RD is nearly reduced to tears upon realizing that he has finally gotten some respect.
- Invoked and rejected by Rammstein's song "Engel". The chorus, translated:
First if the clouds have gone to sleep
- Played with by Talking Heads:
Heaven / Heaven is a place / A place where nothing / Nothing ever happens...
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's song Everything You Know Is Wrong has him dying as a result of an infected paper cut and winding up in Heaven where he get the room next to the noisy ice machine for all eternity.
Massive Multiplayer Online RPG
- Maple Story has Orbis. It has clouds, heavenly music and angels. However, there are monsters that can quickly kill you if you're not at a high enough level.
- Parodied to... well, death, in The Far Side:
- "Welcome to Heaven. Here's your harp." "Welcome to Hell. Here's your accordion."
- Two dead people standing on a cloud. One has a shotgun and is bringing down live birds. "Are you sure you're supposed to be doin' that?"
- Someone gets sent to "hog heaven". It's Fluffy Cloud Heaven WITH PIGS!
- "... wish I'd brought a magazine..."
- Life on Cloud Eight.
- Colonel Sanders has an unpleasant surprise, upon finding statues of chickens outside the Pearly Gates.
- Cartoonist Gahan Wilson is also fond of this trope. One of his cartoons shows some angels standing around in a small grubby room labeled "Heaven", with one of them commenting "I expected the place to be a lot more classy!"
- Played straight in The Family Circus. Also, dead relatives return to Earth to talk to the living.
- Sherman goes here in Sherman's Lagoon after being hit on the head with a speedboat.
- Frank and Ernest: "I'm driving the Air Force nuts with my Frisbee!"
- In the video game Cave Story, the final enemies are demons who disguise themselves as Cupid-esque cherubs; the truth is revealed after they are killed.
- At the end of Blue's Story in Video Game/Saga Frontier for the original PlayStation, Hell resembles Fluffy Cloud Heaven...until Hell's Lord shifts from his humanoid form to his monstrous one.
- Celestia in Disgaea resembles this.
- As does the heaven visible in Soul Nomad and The World Eaters.
- Super Paper Mario has the "Overthere", a land of clouds and Nimbis for Good Players who got their Game Over. Not to be confused with other more mortal cloud lands in the Super Mario Bros. universe, of which there are quite a few.
- In Afterlife, you build a Fluffy Cloud Heaven, though the angels are the working force instead of the residents (and some souls can become angels through training).
- The angels can also be residents as well (if you don't want them commuting from some other universe's Heaven), though they're segregated away from regular souls into their own special residential complexes. Got to be a trope in that somewhere...
- The Simpsons Game plays this concept fairly straight. Cloud hopping and angelic versions of enemies from previous levels run rampant.
- The Disc One Final Dungeon of Persona 4 is a variation of this with a somewhat melancholy ballad as the theme music. This is because it was made from Nanako's desire to see her dead mother again.
- Part it also manifested from Namatame's messiah complex.
- While it's probably not actually supposed to be heaven, Skyworld in Kid Icarus certainly looks the part.
- Romancia: Dragon Slayer Jr. has this as one of its areas.
- The Rooster Teeth webcomic showed this in one comic, where some recently dead celebrities were moping about being forgotten since MJ just died.
- Used in Order of the Stick, when Roy Greenhilt dies. This is just a sort of proto-heaven adventurers go to so that they can get sorted out in the great bureaucracy of the Afterlife; if you're approved, you get to go hang out in the first level of real Heaven until being raised or the desire for more spiritual fare sends you elsewhere. If not, you have to stay in Fluffy Cloud Heaven until that assessment changes.
- It's implied that the Lawful Good heaven ascends to spiritual heights that mortals would only achieve after a long period there, but at least the entry has all the trappings of this trope. There's fluffy clouds, pearly gates, spirits peering down on the lives of the living. No St. Peter, but there's a morality-auditing angel with desk and computer.
- And when Gary Gyrax died, there was a special homage cartoon where he showed up and had a chat with Roy. Also, an archon warned him not to go near the Hall of Characters Who Died without a Saving Throw...
- Dresden Codak employs a variation of this, known as Secular Heaven, an afterlife specifically reserved for people who don't believe in an afterlife. With dragons.
- Subverted partially in Narbonic, when a bunch of monstrous creatures turn out to be cherubim: they, unlike the traditional babies with wings, more closely resemble the Ezekiel description. (Imagine a ball of eyes with six wings and insectoid jaws, and you'll have a pretty good idea.)
- Subverted in this strip from Brawl in the Family. That was mean, Lakitu.
- Blip. The clouds won't support anyone who isn't sufficiently holy.
- In Sinfest, a Star Wars parody features the Cloud World Heavendor.
- Two Lumps had this fanart tribute after Raistlin's death.
- Nearly any North American cartoon, especially The Gary Coleman Show.
- Spoofed in The Simpsons. One chapter of the former shows the difference between the "Protestant Heaven", a great gala of classy British and American gentlemen, and the "Catholic Heaven", with Latinos breaking piñatas and Irish dancing like Michael Flatley.
- Spoofed further in another episode where Marge forces the family to watch a Christian sitcom "about the everyday lives of angels" called Good Heavens. It depicts a middle-aged angel couple sitting on clouds reading, their dull routine only broken up by the wife telling the husband that Jesus called that afternoon ("He DID?!!?")
- "Cloud goes up; cloud goes down; cloud goes up; cloud goes down ..."
- Principal Skinner mentions that his vision of heaven "wasn't clouds and angels playing harps, like at the end of so many Three Stooges shorts".
- Family Guy: Seen in many spot gags, with the Abrahamic, Western world version of God often featured. "God" was frequently seen with a prostitute (as part of the show's satrical look at religion).
- In the aptly named South Park episode "A Ladder to Heaven", the boys try to build a physical ladder to Fluffy Cloud Heaven to contact the deceased Kenny so he can tell them where he hid a raffle ticket. They do succeed in reaching the clouds, but find no one there. The actual Heaven turns out to really be a Fluffy Cloud Heaven.
- Also shown in the episode "Best Friends Forever", where Kenny controls Heaven's army by PSP.
- Saddam Hussein, who has been stalking his ex-lover Satan and simply ends up back in Hell every time Satan kills him is given the ultimate punishment of sent to this Mormon Fluffy Cloud Heaven, and is borne away screaming by cheerful Mormons who want him to "join our play about why it's wrong to lie."
- In the movie, Kenny is about to be welcomed into Fluffy Cloud Heaven complete with topless angels before he falls into Hell. He gains re-entry with his Heroic Sacrifice.
- In Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs, it is revealed that this version of Heaven takes place on a planet-sized, tentacled alien from another universe.
- The idea is played with when Leela says it's boring because everything is so wholesome, and we then see that people indeed have regular orgies.
- The racist Uncle Ruckus dreams in The Boondocks episode "The Passion of Reverend Ruckus" of briefly visiting "White Heaven". He is met by Ronald Reagan, who explains that there are many "separate but equal" heavens for the various races, but strongly hinting that White Heaven is better.
- Robot Chicken mocked this heavily as one skit featured a Fluffy Cloud Heaven that had people being regularly sucked into airplane jet engines.
- In Beavis and Butthead, Beavis is (temporarily) dead after running head-on into a wall. He rises through the clouds hearing angelic choirs ("This music sucks!") and encounters St. Peter, who reads all Beavis's bad deeds recorded in his life journal...this ends up going on a long time with no sign of ending. Beavis: "Uhh, this is beginning to suck. Do I get into Heaven or not?" - St. Peter: "...umm, no."
- All Dogs Go to Heaven has this in spades. The sequel makes no attempt to hide how boring it could be to spend an eternity in a heaven like this, complete with a song called "It's Too Heavenly Here".
- This was a very common trope during The Golden Age of Animation, showing up a lot in Looney Tunes, Tom and Jerry, and others.
- There are a million jokes which begin with people standing in front of St. Peter at the Pearly Gates.
- It has been noticed that whenever a famous person (naturally, only people who were famous for doing good things) dies, there will be an editorial cartoon showing that person in Fluffy Cloud Heaven, either making some wisecrack to the angels/other dead people about what they're famous for or discovering that the angels/other dead people are fans of theirs.
- One that turned up in USA Today had late comedian George Carlin arriving here with the implication he was in trouble for having deconstructed religion so often in his act, which seems like a cruel Take That.
- Also, when Richard Nixon died, he went here but apparently had to listen to the Watergate tapes for all eternity.
- Another shows Rosa Parks being invited to sit in the front of a heaven-bound bus.
- James Doohan had a great one in the British Daily Mirror, where St. Peter phones God to tell him "I've just beamed up Scotty".
- One cartoon after Johnny Carson's death showed him standing at the Pearly Gates where St. Peter assures him that "Every cartoonist who draws me saying 'Heeeere's Johnny!' will be going straight to Hell."
- When radio cricket commentator Brian Johnston died, a Private Eye cartoon paid homage to his usual nicknaming habit by showing him entering the Pearly Gates and cheerily saying "Morning, Godders!" to the Almighty.
- When Billy Mays died, Ctrl+Alt+Del made a comic about it.
- Shortpacked has one about Christopher Hitchens, complete with Lampshade Hanging.
- This trope is at least partially justified by linguistics. In each of the Hebrew, Greek and Latin languages, the word for sky is also used as the word for heaven. Hebrew has שמיים (shamayim), Greek has οὐρανός (ouranos), and Latin has caelum. It still applies in many modern languages, with French having ciel, German having Himmel, etc. Even in English, "the heavens" is an old-fashioned word for the sky. There is a great deal of Judeo-Christian symbolic association of heaven with the sky.