Lighter and Softer

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Lighter and Softer
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The light twin of Darker and Edgier, when something is Tone Shifted to be more family friendly and frothy than the original source. This can either happen to a show over time, or it can be the result of deliberate Executive Meddling. It could be a deliberate throwback to a pre-Cerebus Syndrome incarnation. Thus, a Lighter And Softer reboot may often follow an incarnation which made a point of being Darker and Edgier. Finally, if an adult or more serious TV show or movie has a spin-off aimed at children, this can be the result. Just like its brother extreme, Lighter and Softer can leave just as bad of a taste in longtime fans’ mouths as Darker and Edgier if handled poorly.

At its most extreme it can turn a previously vibrant cast into Flat Characters and remove a lot of the show’s appeal or even cause fans to abandon the work entirely. If it shoehorns Black-and-White Morality into the work and makes everyone clear heroes and villains, then expect people to complain about the loss of subtlety in the setting, or feel like the writers are talking down to them.

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In music, this may result in an artist merely recording a Surprisingly Gentle Song, or it could lead to the artist having a complete Genre Shift to a lighter genre.

Often found alongside Denser and Wackier, and Younger and Hipper. Also often signaled by an increase in wacky humor.

Just like with Darker and Edgier, please keep in mind that Tropes Are Tools. When something is lighter and softer than its initial source material, it doesn’t mean it’s automatically worse. It usually depends on who creates/writes said material as well as how subtly they make the transition. Executive Meddling may of course be at fault; “We gotta appeal to the kids!” But other reasons include trying to be more mainstream, to change an unpopular run, to appeal to another demographic, to recognize and dispel Too Bleak, Stopped Caring etc. The Lighter And Softer run can end up being positively remembered for years to come. It just depends on who’s behind the product and how they execute it.

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Compare Bowdlerise, Disneyfication, Menace Decay, Badass Decay, Reverse Cerebus Syndrome, W.A.F.F., Denser and Wackier and Tamer and Chaster.

Contrast Darker and Edgier, Bloodier and Gorier, Cerebus Syndrome and Hotter and Sexier.


  • Anime & Manga
  • Comic Books
  • Fan Works
  • Film – Animated
  • Film – Live Action
    • Marvel Cinematic Universe
    • Star Wars
  • Literature
  • Live-Action TV
    • Arrowverse
    • Kamen Rider
    • Whoniverse
  • Music
  • Professional Wrestling
  • Tabletop Games
  • Theme Parks
  • Video Games
  • Webcomics
  • Western Animation
  • Other Media

Real Life

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  • Major League Baseball opened the 1998 season with two new teams, both named after incredibly deadly animals – the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. While the Diamondbacks are much less threatening than their name implies, the Devil Rays changed their name to the Rays in 2007, the name now describing rays of sunshine rather than dangerous marine life. Oddly, ever since then they’ve been extremely good. It was also changed due to Moral Guardians (and reportedly former Ray Josh Hamilton, who became a born-again Christian after kicking drug addiction) thinking that the name promoted Satanism.
  • Aerogel,Lighter and Softer if you want to take this trope literally. It’s the lightest known solid and has the consistency of styrofoam.
  • Some grandparents are accused of this by their children.
  • A lot of people will describe college like this to high-school students, especially those who didn’t care for high school and are afraid college will be more of the same. They mention that while the work will be more difficult, the environment will be a lot more pleasant, since everybody is there by choice, and there’s a lot less bullying and teasing going on.
  • The ’80s is this compared to the ’60s and ’70s, the ’90s would do the same thing to the ’80s, and, to a degree, some aspects of The New ’10s could be this compared to the 2000s

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