"Pepperland is a tickle of joy on the blue belly of the universe... It must be scratched."—The Blue Meanie, Yellow Submarine
Not quite. A popular subversion and parody of the Sugar Bowl setting and its overly cute residents is to have them get hilariously and painfully massacred. Whether it's "Mr. Meanie" going stir crazy, invading armies, firestorms, disasters, or other acts of Powers That Be, the residents will suffer for their adorableness with pain.
The inverse of this parody is when the cute critters decide to take the offensive. Whether they're really a gang of Killer Rabbits, or secretly evil and planning to conquer our world, they mean our heroes harm in lovably cute musical numbers.
It should be noted that this can be played seriously in the case of a Vile Villain Saccharine Show or Knight of Cerebus making themselves know. In this case, it's not for parody and is instead showing the new villain is not to be taken lightly. Done right, this version is normally downright heartbreaking.
See also Subverted Kids Show, Superweapon Surprise, Crap Saccharine World, Surprise Creepy, Troubled Backstory Flashback, and Sliding Scale of Comedy and Horror. Vile Villain Saccharine Show is when the show has a villain that by all rights should cause it, but doesn't... most of the time.
- The page picture is part of a UNICEF campaign in Belgium using The Smurfs to raise awareness of child soldiers in Africa. The full commercial is here. UNICEF had to run the advert late at night to avoid scarring any children for life with it. The words at the end are something to the effect of "Don't let war destroy the world of children."
- It's effective, heartbreaking, and had to be done.
- If you're familiar with other UNICEF ads, you probably won't be surprised to hear that they seem to have thing for this trope. Among other things, they had a little girl play with her dog and step on a landmine (all done in what appears to be crayon drawings), followed by a picture of several heavily bandaged, realistically drawn children. Or the other one where storks drop several babies over a city, they slowly land with parachutes, smiling while looking down on the city or up at the sky with those big eyes, then a squadron of evil looking airplanes show up, carpet bombing the entire city, using bombs with psychotic grins painted on them. The ad ends with the babies landing on the smoking ruins of the city, looking frightened and hopeless. You can tell something like this leaves a big impact if someone can recall it after 12 years with great detail, after seeing it exactly once.
- In an old issue of Nintendo Power, there was a full-page ad for the Nintendo 64 game Battle Tanx: Global Assault which featured tanks blowing up a world of absolutely-not-Teletubbies-honest.
- Likewise, TV ads for the game had the so-totally-not-the-Snuggles-fabric-softener-bear chased down and mauled by one of the tanks.
- The initial advertisement for Super Smash Brothers was Nintendo's mascots kicking the crap out of each other the tune of "Happy Together".
Don LaFontaine: "Something has gone wrong in the happy-go-lucky world of Nintendo."
- An infamous animated promo for a 1983 special report entitled “Green Street Reds” for the KGO (San Francisco ABC affiliate) local evening news showed Soviet ICBMs shooting Santa Claus and his sleigh out of the sky. This resulted in many angry calls from parents with inconsolable children and the offending clip was quickly pulled. You can watch the clip here.
- This ad for 13eme rue, a French action and thriller network. The statement translates to "This is how we'll do a children's show if we have to do one".
- The "Let's All Go to the Lobby" promo parody, Follow the Sun...
Anime and Manga
- Excel Saga has the cute little Puchuus, who are actually violent and imperialistic. When they get injured or killed they shift from cute to plain ol' hideous, resembling Golgo 13. There is also a sudden shift from their tiny, adorable cries of "Puuchuu!" to overly dramatic broken English. "Ow that hurt! You make-a me bleeeeeed!". The protagonists seem to enjoy blowing them up and kicking them around.
- Arguably the entire plot of Higurashi no Naku Koro ni.
- Hibiki no Mahou It features extremely cute character designs, some of them very Moe. But the subject matter and overall tone of the series is dark, considering it's a Deconstruction of the magical school genre.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica, another Magical Girl deconstruction, takes this trope to horrific and heartbreaking levels. Do NOT be fooled by Ume Aoki's colorful hair and Tastes Like Diabetes character design.
- Occurred in Mario & Luigi: Partners In Time where the Shroob conducted an Alien Invasion and left some parts of the Mushroom Kingdom in ruins.
- This is the objective of Smithy in Super Mario RPG.
-- I'll rid this world of Wishes and fill it with Weapons.
- The entire point of Eversion.
- The Adult Swim game Candy Mountain Massacer is the essence of this trope. You go play as a Badass character with a gun in a Tastes Like Diabetes land killing everything in sight.
- The little known shareware game Blip & Blop: Balls of Steel by defunct software house Loaded Studio is all about this: the titular balls start by murdering an entire village of Smurfs (which, incidentally, killed the "great scientist" Gargamel), then destroy (very) thinly-veiled expies of Care Bears, Snorks, Lemmings and various other videogame and cartoon characters. Which are almost all equally evil and murderous.
- The end of Doshin the Giant: The final monument is the Tower of Babel, which blocks out the sun. Since Doshin is an embodiments of the sun, that's bad news. Barudo Island begins to collapse, and the villagers flee in terror while Sudoru ponders the nature of life and death. Doshin holds up the tower to let them escape, but since we've never seen any other land mass, we never see anyone actually get to safety, and it's possible for Doshin to walk off the edge of the world, the only conclusion is that everyone drowns. Finally, with the island sunk beneatht the waves, Doshin collapses and becomes a new island.
- The Maw: Your world is a brightly colored land full of cutesy, silly critters. You're going to EAT THEM ALL.
- Hello Kitty Roller Rescue has evil aliens invading Earth with the intention of turning everyone on the planet into a cube, complete with a Downer Ending if you fail to defeat the final boss.
- Kirby 64 The Crystal Shards opens with Dark Matter taking over Ripple Star.
- Hell, the entire series is like this; a demon trying to give everyone horrible and painful nightmares, the Mirror World imploding on itself, a once-cute-then-suddenly-fanged-beast trying to take over Dreamland by destroying Dreamland... All the while, Kirby is eating everything he comes across. Give or take the apparent thousands of years Kirby could live...
- Diablo III has Whimsyshire, a bright and happy land filled with teddy bears and unicorns that are all trying to kill you.
- The whole idea behind Naughty Bear is playing the role of a serial killer amongst a group of Care Bear-like teddy bears.
- What the player has to hold off in Thwaite.
- This strip of Chainsawsuit shows what happens if you don't play Animal Crossing for too long. This is worse. You Have Been Warned.
- Penny Arcade pulls this one all the time. The strip plays it inverted when mocking content filters in Gears of War 2—the blood and gore is replaced by rainbows and confetti.
- VG Cats, frequently and crossing even more lines than Penny Arcade.
- Invoked several times in Schlock Mercenary with the Ob'Enn, a race of cute and fuzzy koalaliens, and played with in this strip Also, the diamond beetles. At least from their point of view.
- Breakfast Of The Gods is a webcomic about breakfast cereal mascots in a very grim and serious war. It's surprisingly bloody. The third book is called "Apocalypse Yum".
- An early Order of the Stick strip spoofed the classic "Hostess Supervillain" strips, in which Marvel and DC characters were able to Deus Ex Machina their way out of trouble with the use of Delicious Fruit Pies. How does Rich "One Long Crowning Moment of Awesome" Burlew spoof these? The goblins kill "Fruit Pie the Sorcerer".
- Randy Milholland spoofed them in a completely different and, well, more Milholland-esque manner...
- Another Order of the Stick gives us The Battle of Movie Confections Where "let's all go to the lobby" takes a turn for the macabre.
- And a Dragon (magazine) strip featured a sinister cult of breakfast cereal mascots, with the title "Cereal Killers".
- A recurring motif in the Perry Bible Fellowship strips. Some examples are here and here.
- Happens to the Dimension of Lame in Sluggy Freelance when the demons from the Dimension of Pain finally invade.
- If Balloons Could Talk by Neil Cicierega poses the titular question. The first few seconds of the hypothetical world involves everyone happily skipping around with their talking balloons, and then...
- Paul Robertson's work is all about this. For example, Pirate Babys Cabana Battle Street Fight emulates a Zombie Apocalypse Beat'Em Up with Chibi characters.
- There is a story called Day of the Barney in which the purple dinosaur commands his young viewers to kill all the adults. He then takes over using his armies of hooded, mutant "Beloved Ones" and enforces a children-only world by having a ceremony occur whenever a child turns 13-years-old: the boys are decapitated, and the girls are brainwashed, locked into rape camps, and forced to give birth to more half-human "Beloved Ones." The memorable thing about the story? It was played totally straight (and was surprisingly well-written). In the sequel story, it's revealed Barney is actually an Elder God.
- Hello Kitty 40000. "In the grim future of Hello Kitty there is only war" -- "In the grim future of Hello Vader..."
- This legend from Hitherby Dragons. And it's certainly not the only one; many, many other stories having coming apocalypses and slaughters happening to a variety of Sugar Bowl worlds. The entire "Unclean Legacy" story is a bleak landscape that occurs after Gargamel has captured the Smurfs, and one stretch of the story of Ink Catherly is in a corrupted, putrefying version of Candyland.
- Ruby Quest. Cute anthropomorphic animals right out of Animal Crossing... in a setting that's H.P. Lovecraft meets Silent Hill.
- The Cyriak Harris Flash cartoon "Meow." A Sugar Zombie Apocalypse made worse because headshots and suicide don't work.
- MS Paint Adventures' Fan Adventures has an entire trope dedicated to this.
- Happend twice in the Fallout Equestria universe. First with the idyllic fantasy land of Equestria becoming a war-torn Orwellian police state, and then with Equestria being destroyed by necromantic megaspells.
- There's an episode of The Fairly OddParents involving "the Giggle Pies", which are adorable, cuddly, rhyming puffballs of cuteness. They actually are evil, though, and plan to take over the world by subjugating the populace to their cuteness. They are said to taste like manure, which is how the Yugopotamians beat them: Yugopotamians find manure delicious.
- Happy Tree Friends enjoys both repeatedly massacring the cutesy Gang of Critters and causing wholesale destruction of their wooded homeland.
- South Park
- The three-parter, "Imaginationland", in which the land of good thoughts is being slaughtered by the land of bad thoughts.
- "Woodland Critter Christmas". The sickeningly cute, (yet devil-worshiping) Woodland Critters are subject to a Sugar Apocalypse.
- In "Dances with Smurfs", the Smurf village is destroyed by bulldozers. It wouldn't have been so funny if UNICEF had not already been there.
- The Amazon is commonly a victim of the Sugar Apocalypse in Green Aesops. To prevent this, the kids are forced by their parents to join a choir to travel to the Amazon. The choir is even more sugary. By the end of the episode, nature abhors a vegan, and they all want to destroy the Amazon.
- Robot Chicken—Uses the trope to exhaustion. Serial-killing Smurfs, genocidal Care Bears, bitter Strawberry Shortcake, etc. And the Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the form of My Little Pony. See the page for a picture.
Death Pony: "And I am DEATH PONY!"
Woman: "Oh, how sad! The poor thing can't hear."
Boy: "No mom, I think he said-"
Death Pony: "RAAAAAAAH!"
- They die, by the way.
- Let's not forget the gummy bear gnawing her foot off.
- Drawn Together
- The Strawberry Shortcake parody people launch a genocidal campaign of dehumanization and consumption of the Sockbat race.
- The Smurf village is destroyed by a lawnmower.
- Clara lures in cute forest animals so they could get eaten.
- In Yellow Submarine, quoted above, one of these gets the plot moving. The heroes must resort to the Power of Rock to save Pepperland.
- Wizards. An evil wizard unleashes his hellish forces on an ugly little hippy-dippy land populated by cutesy elves and fairies. Then there's the big battle scene in which little Rice Krispies mascot look-a-likes get mercilessly slaughtered.
- Watership Down. Played straight, then inverted when you find out what the rabbits are capable of doing to each other.
Fiver: The field... the field... it's covered with blood!
Hazel: Blood? Don't be ridiculous... Why don't you go fetch me a cowslip? There's some fine grass over here.
- Rainbow Brite: Inverted in The Beginning of Rainbow Land when you find out that Rainbow Land was originally a lifeless wasteland.
- People in the Candy Kingdom on Adventure Time explode when they're scared. So Princess Bubblegum has to resurrect the dead. This results in zombies. So she has a huge slumber party with everyone, with Finn guarding the castle, and he can't tell anyone about the zombies. It's actually a subversion.
- The Cute King and his army of Cuties accidentally do this to themselves. They always fall apart or explode if they work themselves too much.
- "Five Fat Sausages" is a disturbing take on the nursery rhyme about apparently sentient sausages slowly burning to death in a heated pan.
- In Trollz, this happened in the backstory, with the old Trollzopolis being destroyed by Simon, as well as a lot of their magic being corrupted and taken. The world almost bit it, too.
- The pilot special for the My Little Pony and Friends series. It starts off with the cutesy sweetness usually associated with the franchise, then reptilian monsters come out of the sky and snatch up ponies to be turned into the dragon-like servants of a demon-centaur named Tirac. My Little Pony the Movie had some evil witches unleash The Smooze on Dream Valley, and several episodes of My Little Pony and Friends had Ponyland being threatened with danger, such as the chauvinistic penguins from "Baby It's Cold Outside" and the magic-stealing Lavan from "Quest of the Princess Ponies".
- The season 2 premier of My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic gives us the cloud city of Cloudsdale crumbling apart in a vision caused by Discord. What's worse is that there's nothing to imply this isn't actually happening! Then Discord unleashes chaos on all of Equestria.
- And before that, the series premiere ends on a cliffhanger as a Sealed Evil in a Can Big Bad is freed from imprisonment, captures the resident sky-goddess, and plunges the world into endless night.
- In the final two-parter of Season 2, the glorious capital city of Equestria, Canterlot, is invaded by changelings, an insect-like race of shapeshifters that feed on love and in their natural form resemble black zombie insect ponies with fangs. By the thousands. It's actually pretty creepy.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, a Unicorn Omnicidal Maniac Twinkles the Terrible causes planets to explode in an explosion of pink dust, which settles in a heart-shape.