The Pollyanna

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"Although I've been mishandled by a demon, I'm determined to remain optimistic, no matter what!"

Polly "Pollyanna" Whittier, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen issue 2

A character, usually but not always female, who undergoes various hardships, losing almost everything she holds dear, and yet seems never to lose her sunny disposition. Think Happy Thoughts may be how she does this.

When this character is played for drama (which usually entails a Break the Cutie situation), you sometimes get the feeling she's conducting some serious repression in order to continue functioning, and we are likely to see her break down; on the other hand, her infinite patience and good humor may give her away as The Messiah. If she's a member of a group that The Hero appeals to for help, count on her being the Least Is First.

When she's played for laughs, the fates the character endures are too horrendous to actually happen in real life, and yet she's too stupid to realize how God-awful her situation is and how miserable she ought to be; it seems as though the whole universe is out to Break the Cutie, and failing. (Although sometimes they just need a Rant-Inducing Slight.)

The Trope Namer is the title character of Eleanor Porter's 1913 novel Pollyanna, who was made famous in the 1960 Walt Disney movie, and was mocked by Alan Moore in the aforementioned throwaway joke in the pages of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. However, it was popularized over a century earlier by Dr. Pangloss from the novel (and later Broadway musical) Candide, who is always explaining why getting kidnapped by pirates or sold into slavery is ultimately for the best. Indeed, the adjective Panglossian has been in use since the 1800s.

Shows up a bit less nowadays, given that the current attitude is that a character's intelligence (As well as degree of "Cool"ness) is inversely proportional to their attitude. That is, the more and more negative their attitude, the more intelligent (and cool) the character is; conversely, the happier a character is, the stupider and more unrealistic is their mindset. Partly induced by works like House and Daria. This is probably a Cyclic Trope.

As you can see, often sexist in portrayal, since most of these characters are female. You see the occasional males, but they're often beaten down because men are supposed to be stoic and emotionless.

May be an unstoppable force of goodness and optimism if she's a Princess Classic.

Compare Genki Girl, who is excessively energetic.

Contrast Stepford Smiler where this trope is just a facade. Knight in Sour Armor for someone with a similar attitude but a lot more snark and pessimism. Polar opposite of The Eeyore and Broken Bird.

May overlap with Angst? What Angst?. Can lead to cases of Tastes Like Diabetes if extreme enough.

Examples of The Pollyanna include:

Anime and Manga

  • Mikan Sakura from Gakuen Alice. She's eternally optimistic, and happy. She's the EXACT DEFINITION of the Pollyanna. Even after Mikan discovers her alices[who?] and all the horrible stuff that happens to her, she always cheers everyone up. Even Natsume and Luka love her, eventually. And Natsume Truly and deeply loves Mikan. But really, who CAN'T love Mikan?
  • Excel Excel, the ultimate oblivious Genki Girl, who will always believe that she is Il Palazzo's favorite minion no matter how violently he rebuffs he, until Il Palazzo shoots her at the end of episode 23. Although he has shot her before, including with antimateriel weapons, during this episode the Toon Physics are turned off.
  • Tohru Honda from Fruits Basket. In the anime, the other characters use her as a doormat, but she remains eternally perky and eventually wins them over. In the manga, on the other hand, while she acts the same, she's also shown as doing some serious repression.
  • Kafuka Fuura is an extreme form of this trope, in order to act as an antithesis to the namesake and other protagonist of Sayonara Zetsubou Sensei. She has had an amazingly tragic childhood and goes to a school filled with social misfits, yet she is either too oblivious to notice or in very, very heavy denial. She's also easily the scariest example on this page. Although she never breaks her cheerful facade, the series drops many hints that she is quite disturbed and a stone's throw away from killing everyone around her.
    • Maria Taro Sekiutsu, a grindingly poor illegal immigrant who frequently expresses rose-tinted views of Japanese life, is an only somewhat less extreme example.
  • Sora, protagonist of Kaleido Star, has a will of steel, considering the hoops she's had to jump through to get to the top (both figuratively and literally).
  • Milfeulle from Galaxy Angel is almost impossible to make depressed or sad for very long, even when starving to death, being completely broke, having people actively trying to kill her, being dead...
  • Kasumi Tendo from Ranma ½. Nothing catastrophic happens to her, but she does seem to find herself witnessing catastrophe on a regular basis.
    • Unless you count being possessed by a demon as catastrophic...
    • Nodoka Saotome is far more aware of her situation, but refuses to let it get to her, making her optimism seem heroic next to the passivity of Kasumi (who lives in a big house, surrounded by family, not a care in the world.) At least, until she starts crying in her sleep... and reenacting a Seppuku ritual.
  • Bleach: Orihime. There was a period during the Arrancar Arc where she stopped being this because her situation became too dark. However, as of the time-skip, it's been revealed that she's back to being this thanks to having been saved by Ichigo.
  • Rico from Gunslinger Girl fits this trope, being overly happy with her new life as a cyborg-assassin, although it can likely be attributed to her aggressive mental conditioning.
  • If Nunnally Lamperouge of Code Geass isn't this trope, I don't know what is.
    • Subverted in R2. Boy, does she take it hard upon learning what her brother did to create a better world for her...
  • Subverted in Sonic X by Cosmo, whose entire family was wiped out by the Metarex right in front of her and who has frequent feelings of self doubt, Survivor's Guilt, shame for her own hatred of the enemy and unworthiness.
  • Brook from One Piece is an interesting male example of this trope. One of the characters almost Lampshades this by asking why he's so cheerful even though his life has been awful. It's heavily implied that Brooke has gone insane from all of his trouble, though.
  • Lacus Clyne, from Gundam Seed is a borderline example. She manages to maintain her childish idealism in spite of everything that happens, including her father losing his office to a genocidal maniac and then being murdered by him, along with most of his supporters and nearly Lacus herself, the nuking of several colonies and just generally living through a Gundam show. She did cry when she told Kira about her dad and was very upset when her Body Double Meer took a fatal shot for her, but other than that, she rarely breaks down.
  • Candace White Andree aka Candy, of course.
  • Hayate plays this for laughs, naturally. Both his parents were unemployed Cloud Cuckoo Landers who forced him to work a number of jobs to pay the bills (and had a penchant for stealing every extra dollar he earned to, for example, gamble away), but whenever someone asks him about his past, he always answers cheerfully and never complains.
    • Hayate has actually gotten mad at and expressed hatred for his parents a few times.
  • Nadja from Ashita no Nadja.
  • Keiichi from the X 1999 manga. Lost his father in early childhood, and then his mother is killed in one of the earthquakes caused by the Dragons of Earth, yet he remains optimistic and kind until finally being phased out of the series.
  • Usagi of Sailor Moon isn't as much of a Pollyanna as fanfic writers would have you believe (where Usagi is a perky saint and can never be pried from her hold on a "good in everyone" mentality), but she does have an overwhelming belief in the power of love in the anime. The manga and live-action are much darker, though.
  • Elmer C. Albatross from Baccano!. The woobie factor is subverted in that most people find his constantly chipper, love-everyone attitude to be inappropriate and incredibly insensitive: "C'mon, let's laugh together!" is not what a teenage girl wants to hear just after nearly being killed by her fiance's murderer. Pretty much the only person that doesn't find him creepy is the equally creepy Huey Laforet.
  • Princess Amelia of Slayers both plays this trope straight and subverts it at the same time. While she is truly the optimistic type who finds good in ill situations, a part of it derives from her incredibly bloody and crappy family history that drives her right into Stepford Smiler territory at times.
  • Nana from Elfen Lied is clearly broken by the time we meet her and continues to have horrifyingly terrible things happen to and around her for the entire story. She nonetheless somehow clings to a generally positive outlook that everything will be okay, especially as long as she can be with papa again. She doesn't. He explodes
    • He does survive in the manga, though.
  • Nao Kanzaki from Liar Game
  • Subaru during StrikerS Sound Stage X of the Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha franchise. Turns out that the Emergency Services she joined isn't all sunshine and roses, and she not only gets front row seats to a Psychic-Assisted Suicide, but she also loses the new friend she had rescued after she slips into a coma that may last a thousand years. Still, she never loses her smile and energetic personality. After all "Even though you're so sad, you've still got to eat. And if you get sleepy, you got to sleep. And if you have to do something, you do it... When you're doing all that, all your painful memories start fading away..."
  • It's very, very difficult to upset either Allen Walker or Lenalee Lee permanently. Allen in particular has been put through staggering amounts of crap by a universe that clearly has it in for him, but is nevertheless The Messiah and a Wide-Eyed Idealist who wants to save everyone.
  • Another male example would be Yamamoto of Katekyo Hitman Reborn, who very rarely loses his smile (and when he does, RUN) even in the worst of circumstances. Although he isn't unusually optimistic, he remains constantly cheerful despite the sometimes nightmarish situations he's encountered as guardian to a budding mafia boss. Perhaps this is because he thinks that his entire life in the mafia has all been one big elaborate role-playing game.
    • Though he has currently (as of the Time Travel Arc) been told the truth, and actually knows more about certain backstory elements than any of the main characters, not to mention the readers
  • Shu from Now and Then, Here and There is as straight an example of this trope as you could ask for.
  • Negi of Mahou Sensei Negima starts as one of these, but when he begins training under Evangeline, she specifically makes it a point to knock that out of him, because the world is not that nice, and he needs to realize that. As it turns out, she wasn't entirely wrong.
  • No matter how many times Shibuya Yuuri from Kyou Kara Maou is betrayed, he is always willing to give that person a second chance. When a girl is jailed for posing as his daughter and trying to assassinate him, he smuggles her out and adopts her.
  • Inuyasha: Within the first chapter of her introduction, 7-8 year old Rin is revealed to be an orphan who watched her entire family be slaughtered by bandits in front of her eyes (a trauma that left her mute and continuing to suffer nightmares), who is scrounging a living on the outskirts of her home village, being beaten by the villagers for stealing fish to survive... and then she's murdered by wolf-demons. After she joins Sesshoumaru's group, she continues to be a target for kidnapping and attempted murder. Despite everything that's happened to her, she remains a constantly cheerful, upbeat person to the end.
  • The eponymous character of Helen ESP, who doesn't let being rendered blind, deaf, and mute and her parents dying get her down. Though, this is after some backstory Character Development from being a very bitter girl.
  • Jean from Nadia: The Secret of Blue Water is a shoe in for a inventor's competition which he ditches to save Nadia, and not only does his plane crash but he is perpertually on the run and in constant danger. And yet, through it all, he is cheerful and even enthusiastic about the technology from both sides in general. (Only exceptions is when he and Nadia exploring Gargoyle's base, and even reacting in horror to two deaths—one of an escaped fugitive, and another, a crew member.)
  • Yuri Takeya from School-Live!, via psychotic reaction after a Zombie Apocalypse that left her completely deluded about her harsh reality. While her delusions put her in danger from time to time, her relentless optimistic outlook actually helps to keep the other survivors sane enough to function.

Comic Books

  • In volume one of League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, we get the girl that provides our page quote (and who is of course Alan Moore's reinterpretation of the Trope Namer). It should be noted that this scene can also be read as her simply liking the sex, and not wanting to admit as much (would you?), and using optimism as an excuse for her behaviour.
  • Mary Marvel was described as this during her pre-Countdown and Final Crisis portrayals. This was her most obvious comedic trait in the Superbuddies stories. She is also explicitly called "Pollyanna", causing her to talk about how that's her favorite movie.
  • Gar Logan from Teen Titans is a rare male example; content with playing the Plucky Comic Relief character despite a lifetime of hardship and self-loathing until it gets worse.
    • M'gann M'orzz aka Miss Martian, despite her White Martian heritage (White Martians tend to be vicious warmongers), is an absolutely adorable Pollyanna. Almost nothing gets her down—her response to tragedies such as murdered parents, an evil future version of herself stuck in her head, the deaths of teammates, and nearly being killed herself on several occasions, is to think positive and work for a better tomorrow.
  • Apollo from The Authority is always kinder, happier and more optimistic than most other folks in the Wildstorm universe. Or you could think of it this way: he's powered by sunshine, and has a personality to match.
  • Superman may also qualify, although the amount of crap in his life (and therefore the strangeness of his constant kindness and optimism) varies from writer to writer, and era to era. However he unfailingly believes in the goodness of the human race, and frequently bucks up other superheroes by promising that no matter how bleak a crisis looks, they can always do something to help. Like Apollo, he is powered by the fucking sun, thriving on light and warmth, and it sure as hell suits him.
  • Transformers: Shattered Glass takes place in a Mirror Universe version of Transformers Generation 1. There, the infamous bellyacher Huffer and the grim fatalist Dirge are both sunshine and puppies all the way.
  • Although he isn't exactly who comes to mind when you think of this trope, The Fantastic Four's Reed Richards is notable for being sunnily confident that a good idea and a dash of science is all that's needed to defeat the most untouchably powerful universe-destroying villains one can face and whisk the heroes out of the most hopeless and unsolvable of dire circumstances. The fact that he actually demonstrates this on a regular basis makes his attitude completely understandable.
  • The Blue Lantern Corps, representing the blue light of hope, always hope for the best in even the worst situations.
  • Stephanie Brown, Spoiler, who is also known as the fourth Robin and later on the third Batgirl. She has had an emotionally-abusive, villainous father; a drug-addict mother who left her alone during her childhood; a jerkish ex-boyfriend who got her pregnant; a rocky relationship with Tim Drake, the 3rd Robin; not getting approval from Batman and the Birds of Prey; getting tortured by Black Mask and her controversial 'death' (retconned later to her just fleeing the country with Leslie Thompkins); then coming back to Gotham only to be rejected again by Tim Drake—it's a wonder how she managed to keep her sunny disposition and not get boggled down with angst. She is notably the most hopeful and lighthearted of all the Batfamily members.

Fan Works

  • Memetic Bystander "Poor-chan" from Puella Magi Madoka Magica is typically portrayed by fandom as the comically extreme, oblivious version, who lives in a cardboard box and can't afford a computer for her classes, yet is always writing cheerful letters to her "Mother in Heaven".


  • Annie, the 1982 film, when she's in the orphanage ... she just keeps thinking about tomorrow! And her sunny attitude is contagious and transformative.
  • Hairspray: Tracy Turnblad is infectiously optimistic, happily championing the desegregation of The Corny Collins Show. Even though there are times that she has doubts that she can succeed, she never gives up, and in the end, most of the cast is with her. "You Can't Stop The Beat!"
  • Lars von Trier's Breaking the Waves combines this with two fairly horrific hours of Break the Cutie, eventually leading to a messiah ending.
  • An odd subversion in Cecil B. Demented: Raven is a Satanist, yet remains upbeat and perky, even as her fellow Sprocket Holes are being picked off left and right. If one didn't know better, one might question her grip on reality.
  • In Cannibal! The Musical, this is Played for Laughs with Swan. When his companions are complaining about having no food and being weary and lost, he suggests building a snowman via cheerful song and demonstration. Even after one of his annoyed companions shoots him in the head, he still has a smile on his face.
  • Kitten, from the wonderful film Breakfast On Pluto.
  • The title character of Ed Wood is constantly upbeat and optimistic about his movies, declaring that every film take is "perfect" even when glaring errors pointed out to him. He constantly believes that his next film will be a smash hit despite the overwhelmingly evidence to the contrary and rarely lets his spirits dim. Tim Burton claimed he wanted to make the movie through Wood's eyes, showing his sincere love for movies despite his utter lack of talent. The darker parts of his life are glossed over due to this.
  • Lady Sue from Akira Kurosawa's Ran. And it frightens Hidetora. His armies killed her entire family after she was sent to him as a political hostage. Her response: becoming a nun and forgiving him. It would be so much easier for Hidetora if she just hated him.
  • Nomi Malone in Showgirls is a more believable and seemingly more cynical version of this trope. Nomi carries a knife, appears street savvy and effectively confronts a truck driver for hitting on her. However, she is shown to be ultimately trusting, to her detriment, leaving her luggage in his car to be stolen. Throughout the film she is betrayed for her trust. The callous Las Vegas show director Tony Moss mysteriously refers to her more than once as looking like a "Pollyanna", the first time for no apparent reason, the second time possibly due to her dress (though this still gives us no clue as to why he would name her as such).
  • Mater in Cars 2 is subjected to Break the Cutie when he realizes that everyone else sees him as a laughingstock and a buffoon. Yet after an apologetic reassurance from his best friend Lightning McQueen, he soon returns to his regularly cheerful and optimistic disposition.
  • The titular heroine from the Swedish film Du Är Inte Klok, Madicken ("Are You crazy, Maggie?"), is this, much more then in Astrid Lindgren's books the film is based on.
  • Meghna from Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na turns out to be a deconstruction.
  • Played for comedy in Life of Brian, in which a crucified man tells Brian to keep his spirits up and closes out the film with a jaunty musical number, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life."


  • This trope is a Flanderization; the original Pollyanna is The Woobie if not her novel's Butt Monkey, and she has plenty of sad moments when she's alone, but she refuses to let them affect her behaviour when other people are present. She comes off as a Stepford Smiler at points in the book, clinging to her father's Glad Game to take her thoughts off the bad things that have happened to her like losing her father and becoming crippled after an accident.
  • Dr. Pangloss and Candide in Voltaire's Candide undergo some horrendous maltreatment at the hands of nearly everyone, every power, and even the forces of nature during their adventure. Still the good doctor not only remains optimistic, he even justifies the incredible tragedy they face. This makes the The Pollyanna Older Than Radio.
  • Felicité in Flaubert's Un Coeur Simple is the perfect picture of the Pollyanna. Friends and relatives die around her right and left and she still puts on a happy face. She drops everything to help anyone who needs it.
  • The Jack Polo of Clive Barker's short story The Yattering and Jack is like this because if he displays any negative emotions regardless of what happens to him, he will face eternal damnation. Meanwhile, if the minor demon tormenting him directly attacks him without provocation (rather than merely indirectly torturing him), it's broken the rules that govern it and has to be his servant for the remainder of his life as penalty. This is actually Jack's goal in the entire exercise, although the Yattering discovers this far too late to avoid it.
  • Discworld: Twoflower, during his time as a tourist, despite Rincewind's best efforts to convince him that The Fair Folk aren't cute, Bar Brawls featuring barbarian heroes aren't fun, and rundown hovels aren't picturesque. Even being locked in a dungeon doesn't get him too down. He does get quite annoyed at the end of Interesting Times, though.
  • In the fourth book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, the character Phil is a clear Pollyanna. He remains quite upbeat for a guy who is working in a lumbermill, is paid with coupons, and has gum for lunch every day. When his leg is crushed, he says, "Well, this isn't too bad. My left leg is broken, but at least I'm right-legged." Somebody comments, "Gee, I thought he'd say something more along the lines of 'Aaaaah! My leg! My leg!'" When he shows up in the 9th book and the Baudelairs accidentally cause a spill in the submarine, they expect him to say, "oh nice, we have a swimming pool now!"
  • Tiny Tim of A Christmas Carol even finds the silver lining in being crippled.
  • In the novel A Walk to Remember, Jamie Sullivan fits this Trope throughout much of the book. She is a devoutly religious girl who is always optimistic because she assumes any and every perceivably negative circumstance, from Pop Quizzes to the disease that's killing her must be in the Lord's plan. She later shows sorrow for her impending death, but she gets major Pollyanna points for holding it together so long, and even after her initial display of sorrow she thereafter returns to handling the circumstances relatively gracefully.
  • Magnus Pym in John LeCarré's novel A Perfect Spy.
  • Amber in John Dies at the End. She is crippled in a car accident and loses her entire family; yet she appears so bubbly that when David initially meets her he speculates whether she is taking Vicodin.
  • Joe Ben "Joby" Stamper in Sometimes A Great Notion becomes one of these after becoming a born-again Christian. He always finds the good in every situation in spite of all the increasingly terrible things that happen to the Stamper family for breaking the lumber strike, insisiting that things will turn out okay and that they're "in God's pocket". He retains this cheerful attitude even when he's trapped under a massive log in the river, insisting that the rising water will float the log off him. It doesn't. He drowns.
  • Annabeth from Percy Jackson and The Olympians.
  • Robin and Joey in the Chalet School series are a mixture of this and Plucky Girl. Both are susceptible to nasty illnesses, have lost parents and other loved ones, and are forced to flee from the Nazis for their own safety, but both of them manage to stay relatively cheerful throughout.
  • A major theme throughout Colas Breugnon is the (male) protagonist's unwavering merriness; even if temporarily shaken by personal disaster, the old man remains a jolly optimist throughout the entire plot.
  • Leonard Stecyk in The Pale King, before his Character Development.
  • Frances from Wuthering Heights though Nelly could be embellishing the story a little. It's mentioned that she never lost her sunny attitude even when she was dying from childbirth.
  • Istvan Bathory in Count and Countess.
  • One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich has Kildigs, who keeps his spirits up despite being imprisoned in a gulag.
  • Jill Mariner, impulsive heroine of PG Wodehouse's Jill the Reckless (alternatively titled The Little Warrior with reference to her manner of handling life). Her Uncle Chris also qualifies; at one point she quotes Candide, comparing him to Pangloss.
  • In Space Marine Battles series Andrej Valatok, mouthy Storm Trooper from the 703rd Steel Legion Storm trooper Division. Reclusiarch Grimaldus keeps running into this guy, who feels inadequate around Space Marines, but still treats the grim Black Templars as great, but Comically Serious dudes. He stopped this only twice — when local militia he was supposed to instruct just looked slack-jawed at a Space Marine fighting Orks alone instead of helping him, and when the woman he was pursuing got killed.

Live-Action TV

  • Jane from the Britcom Waiting for God is a mix of this and suffering from Stockholm Syndrome given her seemingly pathological infatuation with the smarmy weasel Harvey Baines
  • Basi from the Nigerian TV show Basi And Company is remarkably cheerful for a broke, unemployed (and unemployable) man living in a one-room apartment (which he insists on calling "Basi's Palace"). Basi's landlady wants him out, but he's so sunny that nothing she does, including taking his only mattress, can get him to leave.
  • Mara David, from the Filipino soap Mara Clara definitely fits into this to a T. In fact, she can be considered as the single biggest reason why this trope has become a staple of Pinoy teleseryes. While the girl does cry buckets, she can still remain happy even with all the torment that Clara (the second titular character) throws at her. Even when it was revealed that she and Clara were switched at birth, Mara still has her sunny disposition intact.
    • Subverted in the 2011 remake of the series. Mara actually does break (and occasionally snaps), becoming more cynical in the latter part of the story.
  • Budoy, from the 2011 Filipino drama of the same name, is an interesting Rare Male Example. Interesting in that, while he does have the sunny disposition of the pollyanna, this one might actually be partly due to the fact that he is suffering from Angelman Syndrome, a mental disorder that does create the happy and childish personality that he exhibits.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O: Nogami Airi (the main hero's sister) suffers from selective amnesia. Apparently it has the side-effect of leaving her in a permanent state of semi-creepy, almost Rain Man-like cheerfulness.
  • Kenneth Parcell in Thirty Rock. "My mother always told me that even when things seem bad, there's someone else who's having a worse day. Like being stung by a bee or getting a splinter or being chained to a wall in someone's sex dungeon."
  • The British airmen from Allo Allo remain upbeat no matter how many times their attempts to get home are foiled.
  • There was a 1989 made-for-TV Race Lifted (black) remake of Pollyanna, called Polly. Near the climax, the main character falls out of a tree, is seriously hurt, and is morose from there on out. By this point, she's cheered the town up so much that they try and get her to cheer up, by creating a "Polly Day". It works.
    • Something very similar to that happens in the original, too.
  • Dr. Molly Clock (Heather Graham) in Scrubs. Drs. Cox and Kelso decide to teach her that we live in a World Half Empty.
    • It doesn't work.
  • Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation. The world does not agree with her.
  • Erin on The Office. She's Pam's replacement as receptionist at Dunder Mifflin. She's more upbeat and cheerful than her co-workers and actually seems to enjoy working for Michael(but It could be because she's new). She somehow manages to find the positive in Michael lying to a group of underprivileged teens about paying their college tuitions in "Scott's Tots". We also learn in "Koi Pond" that she's an orphan.
  • There's not a power in the 'verse that can stop Kaylee from being cheerful.
    • And if she isn't cheerful, shit has already hit the fan.
  • Annie in Community. Pollyanna was even used as a nickname by Jeff, when Annie's attempt to help Pierce with his ex-step-daughter backfires.
  • Played for Drama (of course) on Law and Order Special Victims Unit where one was a pregnant borderline Purity Sue that worked as a janitor on the subway without complaint and cured Stabler's cold by merely touching him finally lost it when she was reunited with the father of her baby, a serial rapist who quickly confessed to everything and believed they'd live happily ever after. Ouch.
  • Ted from How I Met Your Mother, whose unwavering (and often irrational) amount of optimism and belief in love and friendship persists through a ridiculous amount of cynicism-inducing crap. Especially true in the field of romance, including a high school girlfriend who abandoned him immediately after tricking him into giving up his virginity for her, a college girlfriend who cheated on him constantly, having to break up with Robin even though he was in love with her, and a fiancee who left him at the altar. Oh, and he fully believed he could make it rain through The Power of Love, and succeeded. When he finally expresses a measure of pessimism in the season 7 premiere, it's a pretty disquieting moment.


I was raaaised by a toothless bearded hag
I was schooooled with a strap right 'cross my back!
But it's aaaaall riiiiight now, in fact it's a gas!
Yes it's aaaaall riiiiight...
Jumping Jack Flash, it's a gas gas gas!

Oh, I've seen better days, but I don't care.

  • "Float On" by Modest Mouse seems to be narrated by someone like this:

A fake Jamaican took every last dime with that scam
It was worth it just to learn some sleight of hand
Bad news comes don't you worry even when it lands
Good news will work its way to all them plans

Some things in life are bad
They can really make you mad
Other things just make you swear and curse.
When you're chewing on life's gristle
Don't grumble, give a whistle
And this'll help things turn out for the best...

  • Doris Day claims she feels like one of these in the song "Everybody Loves A Lover." The perky arrangement really drives it home.

Newspaper Comics

Professional Wrestling

  • While it's virtually impossible to have a Pollyanna-type character in a medium where people beat each other up all the time, this can surface when it comes to faces. There have been several instances of a face losing their title or getting beaten up only to be all smiles if they're in action the next week. A notable one was Eve Torres who lost her title at the Fatal 4 Way pay-per-view. The next night on Raw she was all smiles during her entrance and danced with the Great Khali despite facing the woman who took the title from her. Though Eve averted this when she lost her second title - they had a backstage segment after the match and she was definitely a little upset.
  • Natalya's face persona slipped into this territory more than a few times. During her feud with Lay Cool, they started mocking her and claimed she'd inherited her dad's facial hair gene, complete with a photoshopped picture of Natalya with an Anvil beard. Nattie just laughed it off and also shook off all the jibes they got at her family. And when she lost her title to Eve, she teamed with her the very next night on Raw and there was no tension between them whatsoever. Then after she lost her rematch to Eve, she saved her from a backstage attack.
  • Jillian Hall counts. Despite virtually everyone on the roster complaining about her Hollywood Tone Deaf gimmick, every week or so Jillian would be out all smiles ready to sing for the audience again. This is especially glaring when you consider everything her character has gone through - losing her Divas' title two minutes after winning it, being dissed by every single celebrity guest host on Raw (including the Osbournes, Jewel, Wayne Brady), being one-upped by a conniving pair of twins for weeks and being on a losing streak for three years of her career.


  • The Most Happy Fella: Herman is a continual victim of bullying, yet he's all smiles—until someone pushes him too far, and he makes a frown and a fist.

Video Games

  • The Little Sisters in BioShock (series) are surprisingly cheerful and carefree for being slaves that are forced to extract a magical substance from corpses lying around in a destroyed city, using huge syringes. In the last level of Bioshock 2, you gain temporary control of a Little Sister and see Rapture through her eyes, which looks like a bright and happy fairy tale castle. And then reality breaks in reminding you that you are in fact still in a submerged dystopia where almost everyone is completely insane and security systems specifically hate you.
  • The conscript of Command & Conquer Red Alert 3, basically they are the cannon fodder of the Soviet forces, and they are not even good at that since is ridiculously easy to kill them, still they will always salute you with phrases as "I make Premier proud!" and "Haven't we won yet?", now that's to have spirit.
    • Oh, and yeah, they are also Keets and Ditzes, I mean, you won't expect someone to say "We march to victory" when facing an entire battalion of far better enemy soldiers or "They have television in there?" when garrisoning a building in the middle of a warzone.
  • Imoen, from the Baldur's Gate games, especially the second one. Though at times very much vulnerable to Break the Cutie, a few minutes later she would be right back to her old cheerful self. "It's just like old times... well, except for the torture and all."
    • Originally it was planned that she would really be broken and transform into the slayer forcing the protagonist to kill her. If you have Throne of Bhaal, you can download (and install) Ascension to see how she was supposed to suffer the same fate AGAIN, which was only stopped by time issues.
  • Elanee in Neverwinter Nights 2 isn't exactly upbeat, but does take an insane amount of her world being shattered and rearranged before her composure finally cracks in the slightest.
  • Merrill in Dragon Age 2 is quite cheerful, to the point of gushing about how exciting it is that someone got mugged right outside her front door after leaving her Dalish clan on very bad terms and relocating to the Kirkwall Alienage.
    • Leliana in the first Dragon Age game is a Deconstruction, her cheerfulness is a coping mechanism that she uses to cover up her Dark and Troubled Past.
      • Merrill is a different deconstruction of the same trope; she is so optimistic and foolishly trusting that she will take even demons at their word and make deals with them, believing herself equal to dealing with any possible risk. Unfortunately, in the end, the unintended consequences of her Deal with the Devil fall on the people she loves instead, leaving her with a terrible burden of guilt.
  • Marona in the PS2/Wii game Phantom Brave. Feared for her ability to summon ghosts, her neighbors all send her hate mail and bilking her pay when they hire her to save them from monsters, and yet she's still unwaveringly kind to them, even though they treat her like crap. She cries when she's alone, though.
  • Farah Oersted from Tales of Eternia. She is typically very upbeat and energetic (in contrast to her childhood friends—sardonic, laid-back Reid, and uptight, pessimistic Keele). She's very fond of the phrase "No problem!".
    • Colette Brunel from Tales of Symphonia is also like this. She smiles and constantly assures everyone that she's fine and nothing's wrong even though she knows she's going to have to die to save the world, and stays positive even after learning that her sacrifice would have screwed over the world even more.
      • A lot of that optimism was a mask, though.
  • In Grand Theft Auto Vice City, in the VCPR radio station, Jenny Louise Crab is a merciless Deconstruction of this trope: not only she's a sickeningly cheerful Genki Girl, to the point of not even feeling bad about having her foster family brutally murdered, but the setup also strongly implies that Jenny is addicted to hard stimulants in an effort to ignore these memories.
  • An argument could be made for Aerith from Final Fantasy VII, who was orphaned by violence, raised in a dirty, dangerous slum, ekes out a living for herself and her mother through selling flowers on the street, lost her first love in tragic circumstances (that are only probably unknown to her) and is being relentlessly watched and sometimes chased by the Yakuza-esque enforcers of a tyrannical Evil Corporation. Despite all this, she has a cheery, upbeat personality and only occasionally shows glimpses of sadness and/or oddness that are more connected to her unusual powers than her past. She's The Pollyanna, and that's probably why she had to die.
    • Tifa is like this too: Eternally optimistic, despite having a backstory involving getting sliced with a sword, watching her father die, having her hometown burned down, and not only having her childhood friend skip town on her a few years previously, but not even helping her after the aforementioned slicing, due to Heroic BSOD. Not to mention almost having a city dropped on her when she's an adult.
  • Laguna Loire of Final Fantasy VIII could be called this. He finally hits it off with his longtime crush and the very next day he's forced to jump off a cliff in order to escape a group of enemy soldiers. He's later seen in a quaint village and finds out that said crush thinks him dead, and has moved on and gotten married. Then he falls in love again and gets married, only to have his adoptive daughter get kidnapped, forcing him to search for her and leave his pregnant wife behind. He finally finds his daughter and has to send her, alone, back to his wife. Unfortunately, his wife dies in childbirth and since no one can find Laguna (who didn't even know she was pregnant), both of his children are sent to live in an orphanage and he doesn't see either of them again until they're adults. Despite this, he's as cheerful as ever years later, and rambles about needing love and friendship to complete one's mission when he isn't being totally psyched about being on a spaceship.
    • Selphie from the same game. Relentlessly cheerful, to the point of announcing that breaking a friend out of a government facility will be "like a picnic! We're going to have fun!" Some lines seem to show that she's scared of not being happy.
      • Selphie is more like the original Pollyanna in that she's more of The Woobie. Once she's in battle, that sunny attitude goes away and she does have her sad moments like when Trabia Garden is destroyed.
  • Moira Brown in Fallout 3 is a perfect example of this. Even if you set off the nuclear bomb in her town, causing the radiation to turn her into a Ghoul, she will still retain her cheerful personality, realizing that her being a Ghoul means that she now has a willing test subject for the research that she had been wanting to do on Ghouls. Of course, it is possible to destroy her optimistic outlook by convincing her that her idea for a "wasteland survival guide" is misguided. (This will earn you the "Dream Crusher" perk, and make Moira better at fixing your weapons and armor, as she now focuses all her energy on running her shop.)
    • That said, crushing her hopes is punished by the game; the "Dream Crusher" perk is nowhere near as useful as the perks you get for actually finishing the guide. It's also incredibly hard-hitting on your Karma.
    • Speaking of Fallout 3, Brailee Ewers in Arefu is what happens when this trope meets Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Yuyuko Saigyouji from Touhou. She lost her parents when she was young, then later found out that she has the power to invoke death on anyone, terrifying her enough to kill herself in retaliation, reincarnated as a Ghost and eventually hatching a plan to resurrect a body that was sealing an evil tree... only to find out that the seal was her very own body, and thus had to spend her life as a ghost forever. Her reaction? Be a Cloudcuckoolander, act like The Ditz, obfuscate gluttony and all around be a cheery ghost that enjoys her existence while hiding her intellect.
  • There's reason to regard Link in the various The Legend of Zelda games as a male Pollyanna. In each game, he's more or less pushed out of his peaceful lifestyle and into massive amounts of fighting, with little to show for it at the end in the way of reward. He gets turned into different animals, stranded in foreign countries, and never even gets the girl. He's basically a plaything of the Hyrulean gods. But he's still friendly, good-natured, and never turns down a request for help.
  • One of the major songs from the MOTHER series is called Pollyanna, and the lyrics are about, well, a Pollyanna. This isn't obvious in the games (Especially the first two, which have minimal character dialogue), but there is a small theme about keeping happy no matter what happens to you.
  • Of all people, Excellen Browning from Super Robot Wars Compact 2 and OG series. You think that the resident teasing Manic Pixie Bottle Fairy Cool Big Sis can't even be serious during the most downer of moments (losing Lamia Loveless was, in effect, a massive "Player Punch" to her)). That's not the case for Excellen; in fact, it's her sunny disposition that's what really cheers her teammates up, no matter how bad the situation is.
  • Flonne from Disgaea, even after ending up as a servant to Laharl and getting involved in a whole load of Netherworldly and Celestial conspiracies never gives up her ideals of love and justice.
  • Tidus from Final Fantasy X is perhaps the best-known male example. Despite everything he's gone through with an abusive father, then loosing everything he has ever known, he remains positive and upbeat. A refreshing change from the usual Final Fantasy hero.
  • Sora from Kingdom Hearts maintains this personality for the majority of the series. Even with brief Heroic BSODs he normally returns to this personality, mainly thanks to help from his friends.
    • Kairi tries to be this through most of her screentime in the first Kingdom Hearts game, but she sometimes lets her inner worries slip.
  • Kelly Chambers, Shepard's Yeoman in Mass Effect 2 is surprisingly upbeat and friendly. Rather than reacting to some of your most vicious party members with a lot of fear, she instead sees them with a certain degree of curiosity. In fact, when you rescue and recruit Garrus, she notes that she's compelled to hug him and tell him it'll be all right for everything he's been through.
    • Kelly Chamber remains upbeat and friendly even despite the likelyhood of post traumatic stress following her life changing experience in the collector base which probably further establishes her status as The Pollyanna.
    • Kasumi Goto. She is eternally optimistic, always reflecting that things could always be worse... even when trapped inside a derelict Reaper
    • If you go 100% Paragon and take Charm options whenever available, Shepard him/herself drips with this, especially in the first Mass Effect. Getting him/her angry is extremely difficult, diplomacy trumps violence every time, and all species are equal and valuable in his/her eyes.
  • Sayaka in Suika, who is hated by virtually everyone in town for being too perceptive. Mie is horrified at how people normally treat her when they become friends because Sayaka is way nicer than everyone thinks.
  • Flora Reinhold, of the Professor Layton games, is like this—particularly in the third game, Unwound Future. She has some pretty good reasons to be The Woobie; both her parents have died, leaving her as a Lonely Rich Kid, and while she has a home with the Professor and he very evidently loves her dearly, he has an unfortunate habit (from her point of view) of trying to leave her at home for her own safety. Still, she comes across as Spoiled Sweet; she doesn't have a cruel bone in her body, she likes most everyone, and even Layton's archnemesis has an obvious soft spot for her.
  • Leon from F-Zero (he made his debut in X). He is a certified Iron Woobie (see that trope for the full scoop). Considering that his backstory is the most tragically horrific one by light-years, his ability to remain so infectiously happy-go-lucky (perhaps only rivaled/outdone by Princia in this regard) is simply astonishing.
  • Final Fantasy XIII gives us Vanille; it becomes increasingly apparent as the plot unravels that it's a coping mechanism, although she's most certainly an honest bubbly person to some extent, as she retains the trait when her issues are settled. She breaks down twice: once when it comes out into the open that she indirectly ruined Sazh and his son's lives by keeping Fang uninformed of their Focus, and again when Fang tricks her into admitting she's faking amnesia. The second time almost gets her killed.
  • Corpse Party has Seiko Shinohara. Her mother disappeared a few years earlier, leaving her to take care of her siblings while her father worked, but she's still pretty cheery (though it's implied that it's something of a coping mechanism), even when she's pulled into the hellish dimension of Tenjin Elementary School. This bites her in the ass when her friend Naomi, after a close brush with a ghost, calls her creepy for being so cheerful in the midst of their terrible situation. They argue and separate. Seiko calms down pretty quickly and gets ready to send Naomi a text apologizing for their fight, only to be confronted by something. When Naomi next finds her, it's in a stall in the girl's bathroom. Hanging from a support beam. Oh, and Naomi later finds out that the person who hung Seiko in the bathroom was her being controlled, meaning the last thing Seiko saw was her best friend kick a bucket out from under her. Naomi damn near crosses the Despair Event Horizon and succumbs to The Corruption when receives a text from Seiko, the same text that Seiko had been preparing to send her before she died. The text's title? Re: No hard feelings.
  • Smiley in Riddle School. Despite being kidnapped twice, she still lives up to her name.
  • Tails from Sonic the Hedgehog, especially when taking his back story into account.

Visual Novels

  • Ayu Tsukimiya in Kanon.
  • AIR's Kamio Misuzu. The girl knows that if she ever makes any friends they're both going to get sick and possibly die, and yet all she wants to do with her summer is play with a creepy stranger at the beach.
    • It's not that she knows such bad things will happen, it's more like she just can't seem to connect with others because her optimism and personality are just so...odd. And I wouldn't say Yukito is creepy, just a hot teenager new to the town that little Misuzu thinks might appreciate her.
      • To be more specific: Misuzu doesn't seem to have trouble getting to know the other girls or Yukito that whole summer, and she doesn't know about her curse, BUT she knows from past experience that as soon as as soon as she gets close to someone she'll have physical pain and mental panic attacks. A later flashback episode shows her ready to give up on even one happy summer before she sees Yukito on the beach and has a feeling he might play with her.
  • Nagisa from Clannad. She finds a very small and old apartment with almost no furniture "a very nice place".
  • Maya Fey from Phoenix Wright rules this trope. Her parents left her when she was very young, she's framed for her sister's murder, her aunt tries to frame her for another murder, she's kidnapped and starved for ransom, Dahlia Hawthorne tries to kill her in another murder plot by her aunt, AND her mother is killed in front of her by her sister's (former?) lover. And yet she still manages to be the perky sidekick almost all the time.
    • Kay Faraday too, seeing as her childhood friends Edgeworth and Gumshoe at first don't remember her, her dad was murdered when she was young, leaving her an orphan, and Calisto Yew turning her father's proud secret legacy into nothing more than a murderer and thief. Sure, she gets upset, but she always bounces back.
    • As for Pearl Fey, let's see... Her dad left her when she was tiny, and in a span of less than ten years one of her cousins dies, the other is framed for murder three times and kidnapped once, her mother is sent to prison for framing said other cousin, she meets her favourite author who turns out to be her long-lost aunt, who then dies, she finds out she has two older sisters, one who's an evil, murdering spirit with no love for her and one who is suspected of killing her aunt and is later sent to prison for her part for covering up a murder. Despite all that, Pearl still remains an optimist with a belief in fairy tale endings, though she is quite emotional and open about her distress.
    • Regina Berry leads an incredibly sheltered life in a traveling circus, innocently sets up a prank that goes horribly wrong, causing her friend Bat to fall into a coma which he'll most likely never wake up from and rendering his brother Acro wheelchair-bound for life, which leads directly to the death of her father. And yet she still doesn't fully understand her situation until Moe takes her to watch Max's trial and forces her to realize the consequences of her actions.
    • Maggey Byrde has, in her own words, suffered every kind of accident, caught all sorts of illnesses, failed nearly every exam she's ever taken, and been framed for murder thrice, each time losing her job and once losing her boyfriend. Still cheery, though.
    • My my, Ace Attorney loves this trope. Trucy Wright has, by age 15, lost both parents, ends up supporting her deadbeat adoptive dad, rarely sees her much richer uncle, finds out her biological dad died and was partially responsible for ruining Phoenix's career. Of course, she's a Genki Girl.
      • Although Trucy might be closer to a far less drastic version of a Stepford Smiler since Phoenix reveals that her Pollyanna persona is, in some ways, just a front.

Phoenix: "Because I'm the only one who knows how she really feels... on the inside."

Web Animation

Web Comics

  • Robot 13 from Gunnerkrigg Court is remarkably easy-going about his own well-being, taking the loss of his arm (and later, the loss of everything except his CPU) in stride. On the other hand, he becomes very distraught upon thinking that he hurt his "Mommy", Antimony.
  • Joyce of Roomies / Its Walky took being a Pollyanna to new levels; Ignoring and/or avoiding anything that would put a dent in her rose-colored worldview (To the point where merely being forced to watch porn could break her mind. The argument could be made that Joyce wasn't a true Pollyanna as much as she was a different flavor of Love Freak.
  • Beriah of the webcomic Men in Hats.
  • Hanna from Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name. He's continually hinted to have a Dark and Troubled Past, yet nine times out of ten he manages to be upbeat and outgoing. He does come off like a Stepford Smiler at times, though.
  • Quite justified in the case of Yocchi in Yamara: she's The Chew Toy and Too Kinky to Torture... Then she's The Chew Toy no more and it's a subject of rejoicing as well.
  • Heartbreakingly, Nana from Nana's Everyday Life starts out as this. Saying it gets worse for her is like saying Uranus is larger than a duck. It's true, but it doesn't convey all the information you need.
  • Played with in Dominic Deegan. Gregory is probably the most cheerful person in the cast, despite the sheer amount of crap he's been through. But when he starts to form a new band, his soon-to-be bandmates call him out on this, and he lists some of the things he's been through. His bandmates are speechless.
  • Tavros from Homestuck. His life is pretty horrible all around, since he can't walk, his horns make it hard for him to sleep, his beloved Lusus (basically a cross between a parent and a pet) dies and the nicest thing anyone has done for him in the comic is cutting off his legs with a chainsaw so he can get a robotic pair. He's pretty happy despite all of this.
    • John, just... John.

EB: well to be honest, i never really believed any of your guys's doom and gloom nonsense.
EB: not because i think you are lying...
EB: i just feel like there must still be a way to win!
AG: That's the spirit, John!
AG: That is a winner's attitude, and there is always hope for someone who has that.
EB: yes, i agree.
EB: also, there is always hope for someone who has good friends to count on!
AG: Pff.
'AG: Laaaaaaaame.

    • Feferi. Not even being dead can diminish her spirit. Her friend Sollux (during one of his pessimistic phases) described her as "so ridiculously optimistic it's kind of sickening".
    • Oddly enough, Aradia. She starts off as an Emotionless Girl, but when she does regain the ability to feel, she becomes enthusiastically cheerful and smiles almost all the time. Even as her friends fight off killers in their midst, and she faces a near-omnipotent monster, she's convinced that there's no reason to grieve and that everything will turn out fine.
  • Alexander Hamilton in The Dreamer, poor guy. He's had a shitty life, but you would never know it.
  • Alice, The Medic from Dead Winter. You do see her get upset once in a while (for instance, when Trenton died), but she's the type to move on from bad things since being sad is just a distraction from her main drive, which is to help others.
  • Buwaro from Slightly Damned. His parents were killed before he was born, he was injured whilst in his egg and was born perpetually insane, and the only thing stopping that insanity is the pendant he always wears, he was abandoned alone in the Ring of the Slightly Damned for years, his sister was killed in their escape from hell, most people on Medius will try to attack him on sight and as a demon he doesn't get an afterlife. Despite this, he's still a loving goofball.
    • Of course, there's evidence that he wasn't just born insane, but also retarded. Leo retarded. His favorite game is throwing a large rock up and trying to catch it. It works out about as well as you'd expect, but he's still always cheerful.
  • The titular character in Equinox: Defender of The Horde. He is a silly Man Child who seems to see the world as a cartoony adventure. But throughout the story he faces death, betrayal, treason, and heartbreak, and while shaken to the bone at times with his experiences, he nonetheless manages to keep his optimistic childishness.
  • El Goonish Shive: Grace suffered years of trauma at the hands of Damien before being introduced. Although she reacted as anyone else would when it caught up with her, she has since become the most upbeat, positive character in the comic. However, this is strongly implied to be a facade; she's still a wreck underneath, and it sometimes shows.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Ned Flanders from The Simpsons. Though he did snap in one episode.
  • In some instances, SpongeBob SquarePants himself.
  • Brandon Higsby on As Told by Ginger. This often makes him the butt of Carl and Hoodsey's jokes.
  • The Oblongs—Living in denial, played for all the black humor the writers can get out of it. Bob Oblong, the limb-less husband and father is the straightest examples of the trope.
  • Butters from South Park. This is actually mildly subverted in his "Very Own" Episode, which depicts his parent's anniversary and their annual trip to the restaurant Bennigan's. His mother asks him to tail the father to see what he is getting her, Butters finds out his dad is gay without realizing it himself (he describes what he saw and his mother puts it together), driving his mother mad, and prompting her to kill him and commit suicide. Both fail, but she doesn't know that the former did. The rest of the episode is the parents pretending that a stranger kidnapped their child, and when Butters shows up and everything is admitted, he is fine, saying "When I have a chipotle blu cheese bacon burger at Bennigan's, I'll forget all about my dad being queer and my mom trying to kill me." "Really?", he is asked by the other kids. "No, I'm lying." (His happy face barely cracks, though.)
  • Aang early on in Avatar: The Last Airbender. In the first episode, when presented with the knowledge that he has been frozen for a hundred years, a world war had broken out during his absence, and everyone he ever knew or loved is dead, he comes to the conclusion that meeting his crush more than makes up for it. His blissfully carefree nature gradually wears down over time, culminating in mid-second season where Appa is kidnapped, he has a Freak-Out and spends the next couple of episodes trying to find ways to cope. One way is him hostile and overly violent, the next episode has him trying to be completely emotionless.
    • Don't worry, he gets better through The Power of Love.
    • Uncle Iroh also counts. His son was killed in a battle he lost, his reputation was destroyed, he lost his rightful place on the throne and was banished from his home, his beloved nephew treats him like dirt, and yet he not only remains patient and cheerful, but is eventually able to help his nephew solve many of his personal problems without even breaking a sweat.
  • Lila from Hey Arnold!. Don't agree? Go watch the episode where we learn about her home life... just... watch...
    • Word of God she is a Stepford Smiler, so it's likely she's just trying to seem optimistic and happy.
    • Eugene in nearly all situations. He's the show's jinx. His usual action after an insane run of bad luck-based injuries? "I'm okay."
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes is this in the town of Miseryville.
    • It gets better—If Executive Meddling hadn't kicked in, he would have been a Pollyanna in Hell.
      • He still pretty obviously is. The ruler of the town is named Lucius, after all.
  • Binky on The Fairly OddParents is pretty cheery for someone who's pretty much the show's biggest Butt Monkey.
  • In the Animated Adaptation of Where's Waldo, Waldo would gleefully and knowingly walk into perilous adventure with the cheerful demeanor he always wears in the books.
    • Almost to the point of Obfuscating Stupidity at times. There was one instance where he was confronted with a vampire, and, without changing his expression or even blinking in surprise, simply withdrew from his pack a jar of his family's special pasta with extra garlic, gulped it down in one gulp, deliberately gave the vampire a huge dose of his now horrendously garlicky breath (Hhhhhhhhhey, there. Hhhhhhhhhhave a nice daaaaaaaaay?), then just happily went on his merry way as the vampire fell over, defeated.
  • Like the above comic example Miss Martian as seen in Young Justice, only here she is supposedly Martian Manhunter's niece.
  • The titular character from Disney's Cinderella. She puts up with the demanding work her stepmother and stepsisters bullies her to do constantly, all with a cheerful smile and a pleasant attitude. It was only when they tore her dress and destroyed any hopes of her going to the ball that Cinderella broke down.
  • The title character of Scaredy Squirrel is pretty much this. It takes quite a bit to make him cry but when he does cry....
  • Phineas of Phineas and Ferb, who has near-constant optimism and a can-do attitude. Because of this, he quite literally can and does achieve the impossible, every episode, with the help of his friends and family. That being said, he can occasionally crack...

Real Life

  • Despite being diagnosed with Parkinsons, actor Michael J Fox continues to work as much as he can and maintains an inspirationally positive attitude.
  • Artist Frida Kahlo: in her childhood, she suffered from Heine-Medin disease, which resulted in a deformation of her leg. At the age of 18, she had a serious accident which required her to spent several months in a hospital, which is where she started painting. She miscarried two children, her second one being aborted around the time when her mother died. Her husband had an affair with her sister, Cristina, and another partner of hers, a Russian politician, was murdered in her residence. Later, her father died of a heart attack, and she'd undergone seven spine surgeries, which further led her into having to use a wheelchair. Despite her horrible life, shortly before her death, she created a painting which she titled "Viva la vida". Curiously, her earlier works were rather pessimistic.
  • Many saints are reported to be like this. They praise the goodness of God and die happily, even if they are going through incredibly painful diseases or ordeals. For example: St. Maria Goretti.
  • Anne Frank

'"I keep my ideals, because in spite of everything I still believe that people are really good at heart."

  • In realistic proportions, this is actually method of coping with extreme stress and problems. As any coping methods, it can be used right or wrong way, but if it is honest and right, its actually very good one.
  • Filipino Christian singer Fatima Soriano, born blind and at some point suffering from kidney problems. Despite said physical disabilities she still maintains a sense of unwavering optimism and faith in Jesus Christ and the Virgin Mary, citing them as her reason to carry on with her life.