Queen: Mirror Mirror on the wall, who’s the fairest one of all?
Mirror: That would be a subjective measure my queen.
Queen: You know what, you’re right. Hey, send that Snow White a care package and tell her her queen cares about her and loves her for who she is whether she’s beautiful or not.
What if you could subvert expectations just to see how people react, but instead of introducing something horrible where it doesn’t belong (which I will call vanilla trolling or “trolling classic”) you did something really wonderful where it doesn’t belong? For instance, I just destroyed the whole narrative of Snow White by giving the mirror a little bit more logic and the Queen a lot more self-awareness.
I am proposing this concept, but I am not the first to do it. Not by far. Where I first saw it was r/wholesomememes. For instance, take the “board room suggestion” meme template used for countless memes.
The formula is typical slapstick/exaggeration comedy where the man in teal makes a good suggestion that the boss does not want to hear and then he gets thrown out a window. Look what wholesome memes user “SlightlyInsaneApe” does with it.
Notice how it replaces the punchline that those familiar with the meme will expect with a crude copy/paste of part of the frame above it. The buildup doesn’t change at all, so the ruined punchline serves simultaneously as a story encouraging positive behavior and as a subversion of the “board room suggestion” format.
Billy Goat: I’m going to cross this bridge to get to the green grass on the other side
Troll: Hold on there, Goat.
Billy Goat: Hello Troll. Oh no! Are you living under that bridge? You look famished! Let me get you a hot meal and see if we can find a homeless shelter for you!
Troll: *sighing with satisfaction after a filling, nutritious meal* Goat, you’re a scholar and a saint.
Goat: Everyone is deserving of love and kindness.
There was a joke in the Simpsons that this reminds me of. I couldn’t extract it from the less nice content surrounding it, so here’s a meme version I made instead.
Wolf: Where is your grandmother?
Little Red Riding Hood: She’s just down the way in the spooky forest.
Wolf: I will walk with you to keep you safe.
[At Grandmother’s house, Lumberjack looks in window at Wolf and Red Riding Hood sharing dairy-free milk and oatmeal cookies from Grandma]
Lumberjack: This goes to show that you should not judge someone based on his appearance
Writing prompt: Write your own version of a well-known story where every character is wise and considerate to the point that there is no conflict.