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I'm asking about montages of some criminal or depressing thing that have a happy song underneath them. The first show I remember seeing them on is Breaking Bad, but I've also seen them on Stranger Things and probably other shows. Where do they come from?

  • Hello! I think your question is not exactly clear, if you're asking for a list of these kinds of scenes or tropes, then your question may be too broad and could be subjected to being closed, but if you are asking for the origin of this trope in TV or film, then there shouldn't be any problem. If you could edit your Q to make it clearer, that would be helpful. – Darth Locke Sep 17 '19 at 14:47
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You may be looking at a Sad Times Montage

A sequence in which it is shown that, while time is passing, the protagonist is feeling sad and alone. Opposite of the Good-Times Montage. In fact, some films will juxtapose a Sad-Times Montage with a Good-Times Montage earlier in the film, only with different music.

The description is very general but provides a more specific example

A montage appears in Good Morning, Vietnam, with images of American war atrocities played against, again, "What a Wonderful World".

OP tagurit rightly indicates that this is also an instance of Soundtrack Dissonance

Soundtrack Dissonance is utilized to, in literary terms, pose a juxtaposition with the intent of making a thematic statement and/or widening our emotional distance to the events before us, thus allowing us to view the piece in a more removed, intellectual manner.

You're taking advantage of a tactic used countless times over the years to heighten the sadness of a scene. Your dissonant music doesn't have to be played over a violent scene, of course. Happy, upbeat music at a funeral of a beloved character can also work. It can be used to excellent effect, especially if the song is somewhat silly

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