Worlds that outlaw sadness?
July 10, 2007 5:14 AM   Subscribe

Worlds that outlaw sadness?

Not in our world but does anyone know of any films, tv shows, books etc where sadness or depression is outlawed?
posted by thelloydshow to Writing & Language (22 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The obvious answer is Brave New World. We might be another example (although in this case "soul" and "imagination" are banned, but it comes to pretty much the same thing.)
posted by puffin at 5:23 AM on July 10, 2007

Equilibrium features a world where all emotions are banned, primarily through compulsory medication, in order to ensure peace.
posted by biffa at 5:29 AM on July 10, 2007

There's a Discworld novel... someone sets up a fairytale kingdom, where everyone has to fulfill their roles (eg cooks must be fat and jolly) or else. Witches Abroad.

Come to think of it, the fairytale kingdom in Shrek is pretty much the same deal.
posted by Leon at 5:30 AM on July 10, 2007

There's a Doctor Who serial from the late '80s - The Happiness Patrol - that not only features enforced happiness on pain of death, but has it enforced by a sort of giant, maniacal Bertie Bassett.
posted by terpsichoria at 5:57 AM on July 10, 2007

Monty Python's "The Tale of Happy Valley" from Monty Python’s Fliegender Zirkus, episode 2:

"Once upon a time, long, long ago, there lay in a valley far, far away in the mountains the most contented kingdom the world has ever known. It was called Happy Valley, and it was ruled over by a wise old king called Otto. And all his subjects flourished and were happy, and there were no discontents or grumblers, because wise King Otto had had them all put to death, along with the trade union leaders, many years before. And all the happy folk of Happy Valley sang and danced all day long, and anyone who was for any reason miserable or unhappy or who had any difficult personal problem was prosecuted under the Happiness Act".
posted by martinrebas at 5:59 AM on July 10, 2007

George Lucas' THX 1138. In this world, all emotions (not just sadness) are suppressed by medication.
posted by bricoleur at 6:01 AM on July 10, 2007

Wow thanks for the quick replies.
posted by thelloydshow at 6:12 AM on July 10, 2007

The Giver also has a world where emotions in general are banned, and certainly sadness.

Additionally, there's a song in 'Les Miserables' where a character talks about her fantasy world: "There is a place where no one's lost; there a place where no one cries. Crying, at all, is not allowed, not in my castle on a cloud." It's not exactly what you're looking for, but a similar idea.
posted by plaingurl at 6:19 AM on July 10, 2007

The planet Camazotz, in a Wrinkle in Time, though "outlawed" isn't really the word for it.
posted by dmd at 6:25 AM on July 10, 2007

Planet Vulcan?
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:45 AM on July 10, 2007

In the world of Paranoia, happiness is mandatory.
posted by demiurge at 6:53 AM on July 10, 2007

The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas
posted by jdroth at 7:10 AM on July 10, 2007

The world of "Harrison Bergeron" doesn't outlaw sadness, per se. Through technological means, authorities make it difficult for people to remember what they're sad about.
posted by infinitewindow at 7:12 AM on July 10, 2007

It's a Good Life, which was both a creepy short story and a creepy Twilight Zone episode.
posted by hobgadling at 7:51 AM on July 10, 2007

Scott Westerfield's young-adult series Uglies, Pretties, and Specials (and upcoming Extras) takes place in a post-apocalyptic society that makes everyone equally super-beautiful at age 16 - and gives them brain lesions that render them permanently cheerful.
posted by nicwolff at 8:28 AM on July 10, 2007

There's a Simpsons Halloween episode where Bart forces everyone in Springfield to "think happy thoughts."
posted by bdk3clash at 9:18 AM on July 10, 2007

posted by citron at 9:43 AM on July 10, 2007

The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror V has Ned Flanders in charge of forced-to-be-hap-diddly-appy civilization.
posted by speedo at 9:50 AM on July 10, 2007

There's a Simpsons Halloween episode where Bart forces everyone in Springfield to "think happy thoughts."

Which, of course, was based on a Twilight Zone episode.
posted by mhum at 10:07 AM on July 10, 2007

I think Fahrenheit 451 might qualify, in that books are outlawed because they cause unhappiness? But it's been a while since I read it.
posted by occhiblu at 10:44 AM on July 10, 2007

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Duh.
posted by |n$eCur3 at 1:26 PM on July 10, 2007

There's a Season 6 episode of The X-Files called Arcadia, focusing on a supposedly idyllic suburban community that is kept in line by a monster from Tibetan folklore. Not exactly the outlawing of sadness... rather, the outlawing of whatever might present the community as anything but perfect. Which, in the episode, includes failing to put on a cheerful face for your neighbors.

...Then, of course, there's also the episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force in which Shake daydreams that Meatwad takes over the world in order to create a slave race of mucus-men. Meatwad has Carl executed when Carl expresses displeasure with the prospect of hocking and spitting into an inflatable pool for the rest of his life.

For what that's worth.
posted by Vic Morrow's Personal Vietnam at 11:52 PM on July 10, 2007

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