It started with angry old people. When Reno Dehareng's friend purchased a photo of an unsmiling elderly couple from a vintage store, the 33-year-old Brussels social worker had an idea. The ensuing website, Happiest People Ever ! (exclamation point purposely spaced), has become the latest addition to a growing Internet trend: blogs that catalog uncomfortable photos of strangers. (Awkward Family Photos and Goths in Hot Weather are two worthwhile examples.)
"I love photography in general and unsmiling, non-photogenic people have always made me laugh," Dehareng explained in an e-mail to TIME. Readers are invited to submit their own pictures, though in all likelihood, most photos on the site are probably found objects similar to the vintage-store snapshot. The concept is catching on. Happiest People Ever ! has been around for less than a month, but it's already getting about 6,000 hits a day. In part that's because the qualifications for entry are minimal. Anyone bored, lonely, grumpy or dejected (preferably all four) is welcome. Smeared makeup is a plus. So is a dingy background, like a fast-food joint or a room with wood paneling.
Dehareng's blog has a small but active base of commenters. A picture depicting bored women eating a candleless cake inspired one reader to note, "The cake sucks, the trashy candleholder is pathetic ... but I love the decorations on top of the air conditioner." And the three teenage girls with hair hanging in their faces? A reader reached back to the '90s with "The Hansons wonder what happened to their careers."
So who is the unhappiest person on Happiest People Ever ! ? Is it the drunk man with a baby? The depressed woman alone at a party? Nope think again. The award goes to the elderly people wearing clown costumes, almost certainly against their will. Now that is awkward. And hilarious.