Running a game of Microscope that isn’t totally insane?

I purchased Microscope quite a while ago, and have played countless games that were really awesome. We’ve created things like superheroes with the power to turn any weapon into fish, people marrying the ocean, ninja training schools masquerading as pre-schools, gnomes being used as fuel for magic, a bear running for president but being beaten by the janitor who happened to be nearby, etc. It’s silly and great.

But I keep reading other people’s games, and they get pretty deep and meaningful. People want to find out, not what crazy stunt happens next, but small, personal thing happens next. Very little like our games at all.

Every single game of Microscope I have played has been silly to the core. Every single Microscope game I’ve read about has not. There has been silliness, but never to the same extent it has been in ours. We rarely make anything meaningful. It makes me think there’s something we’re doing wrong.

I imagine this is partially why the Palette is there. But it doesn’t seem powerful enough to handle this particular problem.

How do you make sure a Microscope game is meaningful, and not a random amalgamation of nonsense?