"Give me a Black and White and water," he heard the waitress say, and Wayne should have pricked up his ears at that. That particular drink wasn't for any ordinary person. That drink was for the person who had created all Wayne's misery to date, who could kill him or make him a millionaire or send him back to prison or do whatever he damn well pleased with Wayne. That drink was for me.A Narrator who tells the story from a third-person perspective, in an eccentric, bizarre, or otherwise unconventional style. This may involve expressing opinions about the story's proceedings, going off on asides, breaking the Fourth Wall, Hanging Lampshades, deadpan-snarking, choosing to focus on unusual details or just describing things in an odd way. In the 19th century, this style of narration was so common as to be nearly ubiquitous; in the 21st century it's no longer the default, but still shows up in quirkier works (and homages to 19th-century literature). In some cases, this trope reminds readers that the Narrator can be a character themselves, not just a perspective to read the story from. This character is not an active participant in the story. They are able to affect how the story is told, but not the story itself. Named after Lemony Snicket for his idiosyncratic narration style. The Lemony Narrator is rarely, if ever, found narrating a Lemon. note Nor would a British narrator necessarily be found narrating a Lime. (Though you have to admit both would be funny.) Often found in conjunction with Literary Agent Hypothesis. Compare Interactive Narrator and Unreliable Narrator. Contrast the First-Person Smartass, who is a similar character that plays an active role within the story.
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Anime and Manga
- In Amagami SS, the Sae Nakata arc had a narrator. Said narrator was Joji Nakata, who proceeded to lay into the plot and the This Loser Is You protagonist with a voice so smarmy it could melt butter.
- The Narrator in the Gag Dub Axis Powers Hetalia is most definitely this. She has a sweet, kindergarten-teacher-voice that drops a Cluster F-Bomb at some point, and at another actually drops the narrative to tell a joke about talking muffins.
Narrator: (Referring to the historical notes that pop up on the screen) By the way, you'll probably wanna pause the video if you actually wanna read all of this.
Narrator: Is this the third grade or geopolitical allegory, for reals y'all!
- When relating the story of the Anglo-Japanese Alliance, she narrated in a Valley Girl manner in a Lampshade Hanging of how much the Hetalia interpretation came off as a schoolyard spat.
- Baka and Test: Summon the Beasts has a bizarre sarcastic narrator already, but what makes it stand out is that partway through, Class F's teacher becomes the narrator, and the old narrator becomes their teacher. This is explicitly pointed out, and remains as such for the rest of the show.
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo's English Dub narrator (blessed with the powerful voice of Michael McConnohie) constantly breaks the fourth wall and interacts with the characters. In the final episode, he complains about how he never got a chance to be on the screen. He also apparently lives with his grandmother.
- Keaton Yamada, the narrator of Chibi Maruko-chan. He frequently expresses his opinions about the characters' actions and goes on diversions about stuff. He especially targets Maruko and her doting grandfather for his asides, criticizing them for foolish behavior and thoughts. He makes a cameo in one episode in the original anime series where he actually speaks to the characters face to face, keeping up with his comments; the main characters also fire back.
- The narrator of Desert Punk sometimes lapses into an fairly acerbic form of this, usually in response to the underwhelming behavior of the characters in the show.
- The narrator of Hayate the Combat Butler. Since they couldn't get someone British, they got Norio Wakamoto instead.
Narrator: I hate rich people. God, I hate them.
- And when the anime was dubbed in English by Animax-Asia, the narrator was British.
- The narrator of Sgt. Frog.
- The Funimation dub cranks this up to eleven with a narrator who actively hates the show and only does this to cover his gambling debts, and throws in Lemony subtitles, the writer of which is apparently a separate character from the narrator.
- Mr. Caption don't take jack from no one!
- In one episode the narrator quits and is replaced by a British woman who doesn't know what's going on and spends most of the unusually dramatic episode complaining about how she was told this was a madcap comedy. She then quits, and the old guy comes back out of guilt.
- The Funimation dub cranks this up to eleven with a narrator who actively hates the show and only does this to cover his gambling debts, and throws in Lemony subtitles, the writer of which is apparently a separate character from the narrator.
- Ruri in Martian Successor Nadesico showed a lot of her Little Miss Snarker-ness in the "Last time on" sketches. "Our main pilot's like this, and our captain's like that, and we still managed to get this far. Amazing, huh?"
- The narrator in One Piece normally remains pretty objective, but when Luffy, Zoro, Chopper, and Robin all head off in different directions, and only Robin going in the right one, despite having clear directions to go in a straight line, even he gives up on them.
- Ōkami-san's narrator amuses herself by insulting the characters — especially Ryoko and Ringo, the two she mocks most frequently for being flat-chested — though the others ignore her. In episode 4, she even cuts off the opening narration with a comment that she's not going to bother telling us the exposition again.
- The official English translation notes to Pani Poni Dash! are very lemony. At one point when two of the characters are about to disarm a bomb and spout out its censored components, the translation team pops in a note to explain that while they could tell us the full name of the components, quote, "no way are we going to teach a bunch of otaku how to make bombs" and further suggest that the viewer will "have to learn this stuff on the internet, like everybody else".
- In the Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt episode "Trans-Homers," the two bitchy angel protagonists are turned into robots versions of themselves after eating the "hearts" of two sentient Transformers-like robots who inexplicably crash-landed into their house. During this period, the show's narrator becomes so confused as to what is going on that he at one point asks "I'm sorry. What show am I narrating again?"
- The translation notes for Excel Saga were licensed by the same people as that of Pani Poni Dash, and it's narrated similarly.
- Pokémon: Not during the main anime so much, but he does during Pokémon Chronicles and such.
- Drosselmeyer from Princess Tutu is an unusual case since he is an actual character in the show whose special ability to bring stories to life means in addition to being the narrator of the story he is also able to manipulate events in it.
- The narrator of Samurai Pizza Cats definitely belongs here. He kicks off every episode with a fourth-wall break, has been the victim of a kidnap-the-narrator's-family plot by the Big Bad, the works.
- Shin Mazinger. It's like the narrator's trying to be more Hot-Blooded than the characters themselves. Like "ENEEEEEEEEEEEEERGAAAAAAAAAAAA...ZZZZZZZZZZEEEEEEEEEETTTTOOOOOO."
- Kyon's narration of the SOS Brigade's amateur film in the Non-Indicative First Episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Really, all his narration fits here.
The temperature had dropped dramatically. It was as if Japan had decided to skip the season of fall, and was making up for lost time. Hey, Siberian Cold Front! I know you have an annual route to keep, but couldn't you miss us just this once?
- Vanilla Yamazaki and Luci Christian do this in Kamisama Kiss.
- The narrator of Space Dandy does this in pretty much all of his appearances. He mocks the characters of the show ("Drowning in the introspection he couldn't even spell..."), refers to his own position as narrator, and has his own personality, preferring to narrate about things like "breastaurants" rather than the actual plot.
- Many of the things that happen to Dandy and crew usually end up happening to the narrator as well, such as having to deal with alternate-universe versions of himself or becoming a zombie.
- Senran Kagura's anime adaptation didn't play this trope in its Japanese dub for its narrator, but the English dub does this trope.
- Halfway through Re:CREATORS, we're treated to episode 13, which recaps the series so far. However, the narration is done by Meteora, one of the characters with a strange sense of humor, who injects her own strong opinions about other characters into the narration without a lot of subtlety. She also jokingly derails the recap around the time she made her first appearance by instead introducing a character who shares her name but looks, dresses, and even sounds completely different, and is such a God-Mode Sue that she effortlessly defeats the Big Bad in the first episode.
- Extremely common in comics, especially of The Golden Age of Comic Books, The Silver Age of Comic Books, and The Bronze Age of Comic Books. Stan Lee was well-known for it (addressing the audience as "True Believers"). Excelsior!
- Jhonen Vasquez is a notable one. He interrupted his comics frequently (and at very inappropriate times) to make little 'commentaries' on what was happening.
"In case you haven't noticed already, I'm just drawing clouds as a background. It's so easy! And fast! I'm so freaking lazy! You know, I think all of my backgrounds will be clouds now!! No matter what! If I'm drawing an underground cave, there'll just be clouds! Bi-monthly here I come!!! :-D"
- Nextwave. It even crops up when the team make a blatant cameo appearance in other series, with the accompanying caption done in the series' style.
- The captions for the third series of Mighty Avengers get very snarky. The recap pages and narration for Loki: Agent of Asgard and New Avengers (2015), by the same author (Al Ewing), are similar.
- The My Little Pony fanfiction Ascension definitely has one of these, as she frequently snarks about things going on in the story. Especially noticeable in the Royal Ruckus Arc.
- The entire concept of the fanfic, Equestria: A History Revealed relies on this concept heavily.
- Not only is the narrator a character in the story in her own right, it can be argued that she is the only character. As the fic is actually supposed to be an in-universe academic essay, other than the glimpses of history that can be gleamed from quotes and sources she cites, Equestria's history is mostly seen through her eyes. It's through her tremendous leaps in logic and her conspiracy addled mind that the story turns a supposedly dry essay into a thrillride of laughter and ridiculousness.
- Part of Nimbus Llewelyn's Signature Style, particularly in The Wizard in the Shadows. The narration of Child of the Storm dips into this, though (somewhat) less often, and more to the point of a regular Running Gag.
- In Total Drama Island, by Gilbert and Sullivan, the "just the facts" character of the episode summaries doesn't preclude drollery. For example, a certain summary doesn't just say, "Bridgette alarms a family of skunks and gets sprayed." Instead, it says, "Bridgette alarms a family of skunks and pays the customary penalty."
- The fanfic Those Lacking Spines has fun with this. A good example would be the second time we meet Mansex, and the narrator gets so tired of saying "dark" and "black" that he substitutes every such instance with some other colorful description.
...he thought pinkly.
- The narrator in Marie D Suesse And The Mystery New Pirate Age!, so very much. He even starts off with a Snicket Warning Label, and follows up saying that a normal narrator would have started this story by launching into a detailed description of the main character before noting that they really can't be bothered with descriptions at that stage because it was not important and how they would rather provide a picture of the OC if it was. The end of the story strongly implies that the narrator is The Disinfector, also known as Trafalgar Law, or at least the part of Law's consciousness that remembers Mar and everything that happened.
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has a narrator prone to leaving out excessive details, making brief asides, questioning bits of Fridge Logic, and personally addressing the readers.
- The Storyteller in The Legend of Total Drama Island narrates in a somewhat archaic style, as befits the story's structural model. Her narration is peppered with catch phrases that serves as both narrative flourishes and narrative devices.
- Frequent in the New Look Series, especially in Link's New Look. "And she was right; he did feel pretty. Pretty sure he was going to vomit..."
- The Saki fanfic Saki After Story, found here, features a narrator like this, although some of it seems to be author's notes in the middle of the story.
Narrator: Remember when I said that Teru seems to lose control when she gets angry? Well, this is happening now. And with a metal pipe and a box cutter in her possession, this is not going to end well.
- Mega Man Reawakened has Robert sometimes making snarky comments on scenes he's narrating, even ones where he's not present.
- The narrator (who is also the writer) of Dante's Night at Freddy's usually keeps out of the action, but when an adorable piglet is introduced just to be brutally sacrificed, he stops to admit, "Wow, that was kinda fucked up even by my standards."
- The first sequel, Animatronic Boogaloo, features the same writer and narrator, who gets into the action more often. So much so he appears in two of the later chapters, and reveals himself to be a Shameless Self-Promoter with a notable twinge of self doubt.
- The second sequel, Evie's Night at Fazbear's Fright, apparently contains two Lemony Narrators: the same author as the previous two, and a second narrator riffing on his chiches. Don't examine this too closely.
- The narrator in the Fire Emblem Tellius fic Friendship Is Forever engages in Suspiciously Specific Denial of any possibility of a romantic connection between Ike and Soren with every sentence, while unashamedly describing heavy Ho Yay between them.
- Thousand Shinji: While Shinji and Asuka watched their memories inside the latter's mind, a Keeper of Secrets of the Warhammer 40,000 universe made sarcastic remarks. Neither of them appreciated the commentary.
- The narrator of Aesir: Cross Wars. Whenever a character does something dumb, he points it out and sometimes interacts with the characters. He's also the author, so he can control the characters and make them do something like press a button that leads to an obvious trap.
- Varric uses this in I Must Be Going. It's a Story Within a Story which is a fanfic of The Princess Bride featuring his colleagues as the characters, and it's implied that he himself is the narrator; the narrative includes absurd commentary, such as his assertion that something happens "for reasons that really don't get explained very clearly because I couldn't think of them".
Films — Animated
- Briefly, at the end of Tangled:
Flynn/Eugene: But I know what the big question is? Did Rapunzel and I ever get married? Well I am happy to say after years and years of asking, I finally said yes.
Flynn/Eugene: Okay, okay. I asked her.
- Sebastian Cabot went all Lemony as the narrator of both The Jungle Book and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. In the latter he broke the fourth wall to help Tigger down from a tree.
- The first half of The Emperor's New Groove is narrated by Kuzco, a huge Jerkass and Deadpan Snarker. The in-movie Kuzco goes through some character development, and thus ends up bickering with the narrator Kuzco. Surprisingly, once the in-movie Kuzco gets angry at the narrator and tells him to scram, the rest of the movie passes without narration.
Kuzco[voiceover]: So this is where you came in. See, just like I said, I'm the victim here! I didn't do anything, and they ruined my life and took everything I had.Kuzco: Hey, give it a rest up there, will ya?Kuzco[voiceover]: What? I'm just telling them what happened.Kuzco: Who are you kidding, pal? They saw the whole thing. They know what happened.Kuzco[voiceover]: Well, yeah, but... but...Kuzco: Just leave me alone.
Films — Live-Action
- In the silent film era in Japan, there was less use of in-theater music and interstitial text frames to make up for the lack of dialogue as compared to the films being produced at the same time in the West. Instead, in-theater narrators, called benshi, would fill in the dialogue and would also comment on the action—and they could get as lemony about it as they pleased. Exceptionally skilled and popular benshi were as famous as the actors in the films they narrated. As a result, silent films in Japan remained popular for a surprisingly long time. The rise of the military junta, and the corresponding rise in censorship, led to talkies being officially favored over benshi, as the government feared the propagandist potential of lemony benshi.
- The cowboy narrating The Big Lebowski, who never seems to understand that this is not a western movie.
- The narrator of Kung Pow! Enter the Fist is lemony throughout the film, and we later find out he is actually one of the characters in the movie.
Narrator: <freeze frame of an extreme close up of a claw> "Okay. Here I had two options. A: Turn sideways, dodge the claw, and hit him with a spinning back kick, or B: Get hit by the claw, roll on the ground, and die."<Narrator gets hit by the claw>Narrator: "Hmmm. Should have gone with A."
- Harry Lockheart, narrator and protagonist of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, frequently breaks the fourth wall and pokes fun at the plot and his own narration style:
Anyway, by now you may wonder how I wound up here. Or, maybe not. Maybe you wonder how silly putty picks shit up from comic books. The point is, I don't see another goddamn narrator, so pipe down.I tell him about destiny; he's shaking his head. About dreamgirls; he doesn't care. I mention the underwear thing? He has a *fucking conniption*. And you? How 'bout it, filmgoer? Have you solved the case of the - the dead people in L.A.? Times Square audiences, please don't shout at the screen, and stop picking at that, it'll just get worse.
- As with the cartoon, featured in the George of the Jungle live-action movie.
Narrator: When they arrived at Ape Mountain, they reacted with awe!Group: Awww.Narrator: No, I said awe. A-W-E.Group: Ooooh!Narrator: That's better.
- Later on, one of the villains has to tell his sidekick not to bicker with the narrator. They fight anyway, and the narrator wins by fast-forwarding past his rant and mocking him.
- The narrator continues in the same way in the sequel, but reaches a whole new level when in retaliation for Lyle calling him "annoying", the narrator reaches down with a huge animated hand (ala Monty Python) and carries him off into the sky. He then asks the rest of the cast if they have complaints. They all quickly say no.
- Moonrise Kingdom has a non-sarcastic example in the "Narrator." He narrates certain portions of the film, usually giving critical information, and usually isn't seen with other characters (except for one plot-crucial scene where he gives information to the other characters on how to find the protagonists of the film, two runaway kids). All his dialogue is ambiguous: he appears to be on the setting's island to shoot a weather report for a news station, but he might as well be directly talking to the audience with exposition and looking right into the camera.
- All About Eve is partially narrated by Addison DeWitt, a Deadpan Snarker who has a rather low opinion of the other principal characters, and of humanity in general.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show has the Criminologist, who even explains the dance steps for "The Time Warp". "It's just a jump to the left—" The viewer could easily get the feeling the Criminologist wishes he were physically present for the insanity he's narrating.
- Santa Claus (1959), where the narrator actively involves himself in the plot.
- Stranger Than Fiction features an in-universe example of the Lemony Narrator in the form of author Karen Eiffel, who is the author (and, therefore, narrator) of the book starring Harold Crick. Unusually for this trope, it's a female instead of a male, although the British accent is still there.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas! (the live-action version) features Anthony Hopkins as the narrator, and he usually remains objective. A notable exception is when the Grinch tells him to be quiet during a "sneaking" scene, and he responds by whispering the narration.
- The grandfather in The Princess Bride. Even though he's only reading a book to his grandson, he does provide commentary, clarifications, and lampshades on occasion.
- The Butcher's Boy does this. The narrator is the title character as an adult, and while telling the story he often converses with the protagonist either for fun or to help him come to an important conclusion. At other times, the narrator seems as surprised at the development of the plot as if he were seeing it for the first time.
"And, the Francie Brady Not A Bad Bastard Award goes to... by God, I think it's Francie Brady!"
- Ricky Jay in Magnolia. Notably, he mostly only narrates the opening sequence (made up of seemingly-unrelated stories about coincidence that actually set up the movie's theme) and the trailer.
- Monty Python and the Holy Grail has a narrator that goes off on tangents and even suddenly dies.
- In The Film of the Book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Jude Law provides the voice of the narrator, Mr. Snicket.
- Every Werner Herzog documentary features him philosophizing or sharing his thoughts and judgments about the subject in question, whether lamenting the naive idealism of Tim Treadwell in Grizzly Man or giving an impromptu art review of the prehistoric cave paintings in Cave Of Forgotten Dreams. This narration becomes even more exaggerated when he goes Adam Westing for roles such as his part in the Season 3 premiere of The Boondocks.
- The opening narration of Ted starts out like a typical family feel-good movie but goes off the rails rather spectacularly within minutes. During the ending narration, the narrator pauses to mock Superman Returns.
- Joe Gillis from Sunset Boulevard is a particularly cynical example, probably because he's dead. As an early example, his voiceover when the homicide squad find his corpse floating in a pool goes like so:
The poor dope - he always wanted a pool. Well, in the end, he got himself a pool.
- Jared Vennett from The Big Short. He constantly gives his own snarky asides and introduces famous celebrities to explain arcane financial terms.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events by Daniel Handler, writing as Lemony Snicket, gives this trope its name. Combined with Private Eye Monologue in All the Wrong Questions, a Prequel series featuring Lemony as a Kid Detective.
- Douglas Adams' narration of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The style used by the narrator, with frequent asides about something only vaguely relevant on a planet that never gets mentioned again, is, notably, identical to the idiosyncratic style of the fictional guidebook itself, which is understandable, since in the radio series the Guide was, in fact, the narrator.
- Sometimes the guide seems like it's trying to be unbiased (if a little eccentric), until there's an entry like the one on the Sirius Cybernetics Marketing Division describing them as:
"a bunch of mindless jerks who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes"
- And other times, the tone almost seems professional until you come across an entry along the lines of:
"Space is big. You just won't believe how vastly, mind-bogglingly huge it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the road to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space. Listen - " (Apparently it goes on like that for a while.)
- Sometimes the guide seems like it's trying to be unbiased (if a little eccentric), until there's an entry like the one on the Sirius Cybernetics Marketing Division describing them as:
- Adams uses a similar style in his Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, where he makes odd references to things that seem either irrelevant or that don't even exist in our world. In a brilliant subversion, every single little idiosyncrasy turns out to be central to the main plot. Only Adams never makes this explicit and leaves it to the reader to figure it out.
- Ari Bach narrates his novel Valhalla in a slightly snarky, irreverent and at times oddly stilted manner. It's almost as if the story is being told by an elderly British professor with a snide take on the events. This is very subtle and only fully comes across when the novel is consumed fully, though a few lines stand out:
The bridge’s destruction by explosives was marked by great celebration and pageantry, though it could have been accomplished at less cost by hiring a four-year-old to kick the thing.
- The Alcatraz Series by Brandon Sanderson combines this with First-Person Smartass and Meta Fiction. It is awesome.
- L. M. Montgomery, particularly in the Anne of Green Gables series. Her narration provides as much of the story's humor as the characters and events, particularly her descriptions of various people and/or their inner thoughts. For example, just from the first chapter:
Mrs. Rachel felt that she had received a severe mental jolt. She thought in exclamation points. A boy! Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert of all people adopting a boy! From an orphan asylum! Well, the world was certainly turning upside down! She would be surprised at nothing after this! Nothing!
Well, we're not getting a girl," said Marilla, as if poisoning wells were a purely feminine accomplishment and not to be dreaded in the case of a boy.
- Terry Pratchett of Discworld and a good few other works. Particularly noticeable in the earlier Discworld novels, where footnotes nested three deep were not uncommon.*
* Fingers-Mazda, the first thief in the world, stole fire from the gods. But he was unable to fence it. It was too hot.**** He got really burned on that deal.
- Raymond Chandler's series about Philip Marlowe frequently borders this, with Marlowe frequently describing people unconventionally (such as describing a blonde as one who could "make a bishop kick a hole in a stained glass window" in The Big Sleep). The character even alludes to his own strange ramblings when he's concussed in Farewell, My Lovely:
I mean, you can go through a lot of movements in very few minutes. Is that what I mean? What the hell do I care what I mean? [...] I got my chin scraped. It feels scraped. That way I know it’s scraped. No, I can’t see it. I don’t have to see it. It’s my chin and I know whether it’s scraped or not. Maybe you want to make something of it? Okay, shut up and let me think.
- The narrator of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea's Illuminatus!! trilogy, who remains anonymous through most of the series before being revealed as FUCKUP, Hagbard's supercomputer.
- The William Goldman framing narrative of The Princess Bride. The movie replaces this with the grandpa/grandson Greek Chorus.
- Steven Brust spoofs Alexandre Dumas with Paarfi in his Khaavren Romances. Paarfi loves the act of telling a story, and will digress for paragraphs at a time to explain a particular literary device he is about to use (and will even digress to explain how he doesn't want to waste the reader's time). Most of the forewords and afterwords for these books are actually about Paarfi rather than the main characters, and for good reason. He's quite the Ensemble Dark Horse of the series.
- Charles Dickens is a strong example, with his wry descriptions of events and Author Filibusters on whatever topic he's targeted for his commentary. The reader never forgets exactly who is telling this story.
- C. S. Lewis narrates in a half-goofy first-person manner in most of The Chronicles of Narnia books, contributing to the Literary Agent Hypothesis. He often turns aside from the story to opinionate, explain context, or say something directly to the reader. In one passage of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader he mentions that he has left out all of the sailors' swearing.
- He also mentions in The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe that if he were to describe all the horrible creatures serving the White Witch, then your parents would probably not let you read the book.
- The first sentence of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is, "There was a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it."
- J. R. R. Tolkien often did this in many of his works, most notably in The Hobbit and Farmer Giles of Ham; but not in The Lord of the Rings or The Silmarillion, which are written more seriously.
- The Lord of the Rings and retroactively The Hobbit are said to be translations from the (in-universe) Red Book. And notably, the first edition to LOTR had a preface (later removed) according to which Tolkien "adhered more closely to the actual words and narrative" of the original than in The Hobbit. So the lemony wasn't in Bilbo's account, but in Tolkien's translation! note
- Susannah Clarke, in Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, is not afraid to interject, true to the 19th-century style, with commentary on the characters and their actions.
"It is true that his hair had a reddish tinge, and as we all know, a man with red hair cannot truly be said to be handsome."
- Kurt Vonnegut did this in many books, including Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions. He sometimes outright states that he — Kurt Vonnegut, the author — is the narrator. In the case of Slaughterhouse-Five this is justified by its having been partly based (time travel and aliens aside) on his own World War II experiences.
- Jane Austen does this from time to time. It's particularly marked in Northanger Abbey where she starts by cheerfully pointing out all the ways Catherine Morland doesn't match the stereotype of "a heroine." There is also the part later in the first volume where upon mentioning that Catherine and Isabella Thorpe enjoyed novels, she embarks upon a tangent about how novelists are oh-so-oppressed by both critics and audiences who refuse to recognize them as serious literature.
- The segments narrated by the title character in The Bartimaeus Trilogy trilogy are strewn with his (sarcastic) opinions on the matters at hand, as well as many other subjects. These often lead to several footnotes to make sure Bartimaeus doesn't get too off-topic, as well as explaining some of the story's world.
** This is actually justified in the third book. Bartimaeus explains that, as a spirit, his intelligence is advanced enough to carry on several trains of thought at once. So he's leaving footnotes in his own thoughts for the reader's convenience. Understandably, this causes some issues when he and Nathaniel share Nathaniel's body in the last book. When a chapter is written in Nathaniel's point-of-view during the end of the book and Bartimaeus tries to do Lemony Narrating, Nathaniel cuts him off mid-footnote. He still does in in his own chapters, though.
- Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief is narrated by Death. This provides a nice little prologue and frame for the story, as he opens it by mentioning every instance when he was with the Book Thief - every time that she was near a dying person, which, as this is World War II Germany, happens often. It's also a good way to provide a lot of cushioning foreshadowing.
- The narrator in the story Charlie Daniels, Teenage Schmoe could qualify for this trope, being somewhat of a Deadpan Snarker and using a split personality named Bob as a metaphor for self-debate.
- Neil Gaiman seems to play around with this occasionally, depending on the book. Anansi Boys, for example, specifically in the tangentially related tales. Also has a bit of fun with it in Stardust. Possibly picked it up from Terry Pratchett.
- Neal Stephenson essentially made his writing career from this trope. Cryptonomicon even came complete with graphs and diagrams to illustrate some of the narrator's points. Case in point. Stick around till after the first graph, then it starts getting particularly amusing. Warning: adult content.
- This is Tom Robbins's default mode of writing, with all his novels stuffed with hilarious, often pointless asides. Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, for instance, interrupts the narration mid sentence for a meditation on the nature of reality, culminating in a list of the properties of sentences. "This sentence is made of wood. This sentence is made of yak wool. This sentence suffered a split infinite... and survived. This sentence may be pregnant, it missed it's period" and so on.
- There is a vanity published book called Samantha Stone and the Mermaid's Quest. It's actually a pretty good book, but wow, does its narrator want to comment on the action. Lots of similies made comparing characters and situations to seemingly random things - quite a few having to do with the culture of the American South - and lots of asides like "he didn't want to leave Sam with him, for reasons you'll find out later", "Sam wondered where she heard that word before, but you, you clever young reader, probably remember", and references to "things you're too young to know about." You know how books often foreshadow which characters will be important later by giving them names and describing them in more detail than others? This book outright lampshades it, with the narrator naming three of the villains and specifically referring to them as "three that you'll meet later" beforehand.
- Milan Kundera's books tend to be like this, and he will often discuss the characters as characters and give as much conscious attention to the concepts he's playing with.
- In Hans Brinker, or The Silver Skates, most of the book was written with standard narration. In a few places it lapsed into Lemony Narration, such as when the narrator pondered why Santa didn't visit the destitute Brinker household on Christmas. Most jarringly, however, was at the end with the narrator telling you that you didn't care whether Hans or Peter won the race.
- The Pendragon Adventure: Bobby's narration in the journals he sends to his friends is often very snarky.
- David Eddings does it occasionally, such as this description of Cordz of Nelan in The Hidden City:
- In the children's book The Anybodies by N. E. Bode, the narrator narrates in a conversational tone and provides us with anecdotes about his/her awful car, how the first time s/he heard the Beatles s/he thought "They'll never last", and how dull Fern's parents are.
- The children's Fractured Fairy Tale A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears was full of this.
"Call me Jack," said the peasant, who won't do a thing I tell him.
- An example: The narrator introduces a very minor character to demonstrate how Prince Roger has the ability to make people laugh when he's nearby. The narrator then tries to tell the minor character that his purpose has been fulfilled and that he can leave; however, the character is laughing too hard to respond so the narrator decides to leave him. When this minor character shows up again, the narrator decides that he needs a name and says he'll be called John. This leads to this:
- Later, the narrator sets up chapter five ("The Night of the Frogs") just to confuse Jack and spends the entire time complaining to the readers about how Jack won't listen.
- In some versions of this book, the peasant's name turns out to be Tom, and the name that the author wants to give him is Jack.
- Subverted in Jonathan Barnes' novel The Somnambulist, in which the narrator appears to be utilized in the story as an homage to this trope in Victorian literature. However, it's later revealed that the narrator is actually the main villain.
- Among the narrators of The Moonstone is the house-steward, Gabriel Betteredge. Miss Clack, who succeeds him as narrator, is fairly lemony too: a sharp, shrill, judgemental sort of lemony.
- The novel Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog) features one in the form of the hugely digressive author, Jerome K. Jerome.
- "If on a winter's night a traveler," by Italo Calvino, is narrated by the author writing about you, the reader, who is reading about what the author, the narrator, is writing about you. With much, often hilarious, commentary.
- John Fowles does this marvelously in The French Lieutenant's Woman, where he goes off to write near-essays about the Victorian era, comments on how characters get away from him, inserts himself in a scene and writes two endings for the book (well, maybe three. Depending on how you look at it.)
- Lord Byron's "Don Juan" is made up of almost nothing but this trope. If you take a college course examining the poem, your professor is likely to point out that it's not about Don Juan so much as it is a seventeen-canto conversation the narrator is having with himself and the audience — but mostly himself.
- Battle Royale isn't as frequently lemony as most of these entries, but tends to lapse into this when someone is about to die or has just died. For instance, immediately after informing the reader that a character was dead before she hit the ground, the narrator remarks that precisely how much earlier depends on whether one means physically or emotionally. This may or may not be Koushun Takami's Signature Style, since as of this writing he's only written one book.
- The narrator of Secret Series, Pseudonymous Bosch, takes quite a bit of inspiration from Handler's work, several times warning the reader that of the danger of secrets, and warning the reader not to continue reading. The entire first chapter switches all of the letters with X's, just to illustrate the point of how different and secretive the story is, saying that normally the first chapter of a book reveals the protagonists and their Back Stories, but he wasn't going to do that, instead giving the characters pseudonyms as opposed to their real names, and outright telling the reader he is going to replace everything that might help you identify the protagonists or their home 'if you were to come across it one day.'
However, his quirky personality leads to more than a couple of slip-ups, and he often tells you right when he is about to do this. He doesn't put in a thirteenth chapter, and is known to give to tips on how to make the reading experience more exciting. The most apparent occurrence of this is when halfway through the book, you stumble upon a chapter entitled "I've Changed My Mind." He explains that he is going to stop writing the book while the protagonists are still safe. The narrator starts to rant on about how angry the audience must be, and how they might try to bribe him, He lets it slip that he is extremely susceptible to bribes, especially if given a certain kind of chocolate ... which he realizes he has with him ... He bribes himself. Though never stated completely outright it is eventually revealed that the pseudonymous author is, in fact, the grown-up version of one of the main protagonists of the series, Max-Ernst. The trope is still present but heavily downplayed in the Sequel Series, The Bad Books, which feature Paul-Clay, the younger brother of the narrator. This is to the relief of some reviewers of the books, who felt that the trope was used in the original books to the point of nearly driving the reader to distraction.
- Older Than Radio: Laurence Sterne's 18th century novel Tristram Shandy is regularly regarded as an ur-postmodernist novel. The narrator tells the reader to skip or reread passages, plays blank page gimmicks, lampshades various devices and generally discusses the process of writing the novel as the story is being told.
- Many of P. G. Wodehouse's books have a talkative, burbling narration style which may well have influenced other British writers, particularly those who went on record as impressed by his work.
- Louisa May Alcott does this at the end of Jo's Boys, saying:
"It is a strong temptation to the weary historian to close the present tale with an earthquake which should engulf Plumfield and its environs so deeply in the bowels of the earth that no youthful Schliemann could ever find a vestige of it. But as that somewhat melodramatic conclusion might shock my gentle readers, I will refrain."
- Denis Diderot's novel Jacques The Fatalist is a humorous post-modern novel predating modernism. Frequently, the narrator will talk about all these things that could have happened if he was writing a typical novel, and he likes teasing the reader about it. It's clearly inspired by Tristram Shandy (and in fact plagiarizes some passages from it).
- Cintra Wilson's Colors Insulting To Nature is a strong example of this trope in which the third-person narrator often breaks the fourth wall to address "The Dear Reader" in the manner of books like Jane Eyre. The narrator does tend to go off on tangents about the stupidity of pop culture, although they are somewhat relevant to the story as the whole book is about people who are misguided in their overwhelming desire to be famous celebrities.
- J.M. Barrie narrates Peter Pan in a very odd style, mostly disaffected and dismissive of the amazing events he describes. At one point he can't decide between which of two stories to relate, and flips a coin on them. He is annoyed at the outcome, but holds to it anyway. At another point, he chooses which of Hook's pirates will die to demonstrate their boss's ruthlessness.
"Let us now kill a pirate, to show Hook's method. Skylights will do. "
- Barrie also really dislikes most of the characters, particularly Tinker Bell and the Darlings. When he narrated the story of their mother staying up late waiting for them to return, he gets particularly vicious to the whole family.
"One thing I should like to do immensely, and that is to tell her, in the way authors have, that the children are coming back, that indeed they will be here on Thursday week. This would spoil so completely the surprise to which Wendy and John and Michael are looking forward.""We are beginning to know Mrs. Darling by this time, and may be sure that she would upbraid us for depriving the children of their little pleasure... The woman had no proper spirit. I had meant to say extraordinarily nice things about her; but I despise her, and not one of them will I say now. ""Thus Wendy and John and Michael found the window open for them after all, which of course was more than they deserved."
- This may stem from the book's origins as a stage play in which the narrator was a character who actually appeared onstage.
- Barrie also really dislikes most of the characters, particularly Tinker Bell and the Darlings. When he narrated the story of their mother staying up late waiting for them to return, he gets particularly vicious to the whole family.
- The narrator of Angela Thirkell's Barsetshire novels is lemony enough to describe bit parts as "nice, boring people who might just as well be anyone else," Dumb Blonde Rose Birkett as an "exquisite nit-wit," and a 13-year-old's chatter to his mother as "his valueless opinions."
- The narrator of A.A. Milne's Once On A Time frequently interjects his opinions and anecdotes from his own life, mostly having to do with his friendship/rivalry with Roger Scurvilegs, who has apparently written a historical account of the same events the narrator is now relating.
- The narrator of Zuleika Dobson appears to be a hold-over from the Victorian use of this trope (i.e. an opinionated narrator whose in-universe/out-of-universe status is nebulous). Then he's revealed halfway through the book to be a historian whom the Greek muse of history has granted the ability to be invisibly, intangibly present for the events of the story so that he can write a history book that's more like a novel (and therefore less boring).
- The Ciaphas Cain series has two, a Lemony Memoir Writer and a Lemony Editor, the eponymous commissar and the local Bunny-Ears Inquisitor respectively. In particular, the latter will sometimes go on a tangent criticizing the former's style of writing, especially the tendency to be all about him. They also get into regular disagreements concerning Cain's heroism / lack of heroism / cowardice / lack of cowardice.
- Gadsby's narrator, who occasionally complains about circumlocutions mandatory for his lipogrammatic story.
- Mark Twain is probably as responsible for the American Lemony Narrators who came after him as Wodehouse and Dickens were for their English successors.
- Tara Duncan: Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian mocks her characters in footnotes, does comparisons of their gestures with famous movies, and in later books, gave the chapters long, overly descriptive titles.
- William Makepeace Thackeray has a bizarre narrating style in "Vanity Fair", as he makes asides to his (often assumed to be female) audience about what's going on, often referencing events which happened at the time, as well as replying to a letter he received from a disgruntled fan part-way through. (The novel was originally serialised in a magazine.)
- Tolstoy writes short essays in War and Peace on topics such as the nature of greatness, war, history, and how much he hates Napoleon. Sometimes, they're actually related to the plot.
- The narrator of Frederik Pohl's short story, "Day Million", has a general dislike of 20-21st century humans. He obviously thinks the readers are homophobic luddites and frequently accuses them of thinking he's lying.
- David Wong, the writer and one of the central characters of John Dies at the End and This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don't Touch It, frequently comments on what's going on, usually to point out the ridiculous or stupid means of saving the world he and John employ. He frequently says to the reader things like "You heard me" or "No, really." He also lampshades that much of what happens is probably being embellished upon by him. A lot.
- Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace has a third-person narrator who drops phrases like "batsoid," "the howling fantods," and "tear-assing" amid conventional narration, as well as frequently using the word "like" as filler.
- The narrator of Felix J. Palma's The Map of Time frequently rolls his eyes at the characters' behavior, complains about how inane the dialogue is, and spends a lot of time Painting the Medium.
- David Weber is not above this, at least in his Honor Harrington novels. Though less overt than most examples, the narration can take on a distinctly snarky twist about whatever is currently going on plot-wise.
- Kate McMullan's Myth-O-Mania books have Hades tell Fractured Fairy Tales of Classical Mythology in a rather snarky manner, doing things like insulting his dishonest and egotistical Annoying Younger Sibling Zeus, and scolding the reader for expressing impatience with a Prolonged Prologue.
- "The Princess and the Queen", a novella connected with the A Song of Ice and Fire series, is framed as a work of in-universe history, written by a Maester with a dry tone. For instance, the author talks about how the dynastic struggle he's describing is popularly known as "The Dance With Dragons", which he describes as exactly the kind of stupid name for a bloody civil war that a minstrel would think up (this is a Take That Me since that conflicted is referenced in the title of the novel A Dance with Dragons).
- Stephen King, in his later novels, has taken to occasionally peppering passages of scene-establishing description with a lot of second-person "See this, dear reader. See it very well. If we were to continue along this path, it would not take us long before we would encounter etc. etc. etc." stuff.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne was an autobiographical Lemony Narrator. This appeared in some of his short stories but is probably most prominent in The Scarlet Letter in which the first chapter is the narrator discussing his experiences working as a customs officer before getting to the actual story, which he says was written from documents archived in the Customs House. The narrator doesn't make too many comments during the actual story, but he does wrap it up at the end.
- Sophie Bell, of The Ultra Violets is incredibly fond of this, peppering in lots of Lampshade Hanging, pop culture references, and bizzare jokes involving the typography.
- William T. Vollmann uses the bardlike Author Avatar William the Blind in his Seven Dreams series to intersperse wry jokes and anachronistic references into his historical fiction. He also alternates novel chapters with firsthand reportage.
- The narrative of Murder at Colefax Manor strays into this occasionally.
- The Narrator in "Reaper" tends get distracted from time to time and be voice his opinions on the characters and their actions.
- To Be or Not To Be: That Is the Adventure unsurprisingly features this, since it's a parody of Hamlet as a choose-your-own-adventure book. Sticking to the canon route mostly has him bemoaning your terrible decisions and attempting to salvage things by retconning events and/or wresting control from you, but he's got plenty of snark to dish out for the rest of the book as well.
- John Flanagan, writer of Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband, can get pretty sassy at times. At one point in the latter series, while recording Always Identical Twins Ulf and Wulf arguing, he notes that they're so identical in every way that even he's lost track by this point.
Live Action TV
- In the Netflix adaptation A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017), Lemony Snicket himself is portrayed by Patrick Warburton. He is present in many scenes, but is assumed to not actually be there, the series being a dramatization of his reminiscences. He frequently advises the viewer to do or watch something more happy instead, and offers his opinion on characters and on what he wished had happened in the story instead of the increasingly depressing events that do.
- Rod Roddy in Soap frequently made fun of the show's absurdly melodramatic plotlines in the Previously On and On the Next segments of the show.
- Ron Howard in Arrested Development, who often replies to statements by the characters as if he was there ("Hey! That's the name of the show!"). In one episode, he responds to an in-universe Take That! against a character played by Ron Howard with, "Jessie had gone too far, and had best watch her mouth." In another, he takes any opportunity to insult the narrator of a Show Within a Show.
"Now that's how you narrate an episode!"
- The narrator of Jane the Virgin often lampshades elements or speaks about the plot in a jokey way. This is also accomplished by on-screen captions in conjunction with voiceover narration (for example, when Jane decides that she will refer to her unborn baby as a "milkshake", the on-screen caption introducing Rafael originally reads "the father of the baby" and is then edited to read "the father of the milkshake").
- Desperate Housewives, where the narrator, Mary Alice Young (played by Brenda Strong), is actually a character who died in the first episode of the series, so the narration is occasionally colored by her own opinions of the other characters. Although that's really just for the first 2 seasons. After that point, all the plot threads involving Mary Alice were put to bed, and she became much more of a standard omniscient narrator apart from a couple verbal idiosyncrasies ("Yes...").
- In 10-8, a 'light drama' about trainee cops in LA, the protagonist (trainee Deputy Rico Amonte) does a lot of this, often ruefully commenting on his own shortcomings in the process.
- Robert Lee, the narrator of Mythbusters. He makes frequent jokes about the Mythbusters (who, in fairness, make it easy for him) and always seems to have a theme-related bad pun ready.
- John Blackman, announcer for old Australian Variety Show Hey Hey It's Saturday, always inserted Deadpan Snarkery into the show inbetween announcing prizes for games and such ordinary announcer duties. From one of the reunion specials:
- Darryl Somers: We're being broadcast all around the world: America, Canada, Pakistan -John Blackman: Tasmania.
- Future Ted in How I Met Your Mother often berates his younger self for stupid or obnoxious behavior.
He's exceptionally Lemony-ish in "Dowiseptrepla", an episode revolving around Future!Ted lampshading every single easily avoidable, utterly moronic decision that led to Marshall and Lily buying their apartment (which Marshall always remembered as one of his three biggest mistakes ever) by showing the characters saying something smart, commenting "that's what we should have said," and showing the stupid thing they actually said.
- Andrew Wells in season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He narrates the stories he makes up.
Come, gentle viewer, and hear the tale of Buffy, Slayer of, the Vampyre.
- An episode of Wolf Lake was told from the point of view of one of its characters giving a statement to investigators. The character took on a distinctly more Cloudcuckoolander persona for the episode, and invented details and situations as he pleased, usually according to Rule of Funny or Rule 34. And the narration took place over the course of a bowling match.
- Bill Nye the Science Guy: The cameraman (voiced by Pat Cashman) would usually make sarcastic comments on Bill's attempts at Mundane Made Awesome, drama failure, and when an experiment failed to go as planned, as well as the occasional Nausea Fuel.
[as Bill is blending up a hot dog with a whole bottle of mustard to simulate spider digestion] "Oh no... Bill, don't do this...."
- Augustus Hill in Oz. He gets even more lemony after his death at the end of season 5.
- Monty Python takes this concept and runs with it in Neurotic Announcers where a BBC spot exists just to give an announcer work and the announcer ends up needing the emotional support of other announcers to get through the spot.
- The Book of Pooh's narrator often talked regularly with the characters, even to the point of having his own story in the series.
- William Dozier in Batman. Doubles as Descended Creator.
- What would Tales from the Crypt be without the Crypt Keeper? This guy is a Large Ham in every sense of the word, using Hurricanes of Puns and a great deal of media references into Black Comedy and Gallows Humor while presenting each story.
- In the Season One finale of The Magicians, though Quentin does not narrate per se, the episode is treated as if it is a journal he is keeping. This is done by Quentin announcing chapter titles, which appear on the screen, as if in a journal. The episode is about them going to Fillory for the first time, which is the magical land mentioned in the fantasy books Quentin read as a child. The title chapters sound very much like something an amateur would write, including this gem:
"Prologue: Holy Shit, Guys! Fillory!"
- Dear White People: Giancarlo Esposito serves as one, humorously commenting about the events and issues of the story.
- Wallace Greenslade on The Goon Show, often professing himself as baffled as the listeners as to what is going on.
- Although not technically a narrator, the text of the Monsters and Other Childish Things sourcebook Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor is written with this sort of style very much in mind. For example:
"Candlewick Vale is something like the maps you get in those real-time strategy video games. You have your little base, and a tiny island of revealed geography surrounded by darkness. You send out scouts to explore and find resources, and they push back the darkness, revealing more of the map. This brings you into conflict with the enemy, and before you know it they have a giant floating jellyfish dropping monsters onto your gas factory. Candlewick has many danger-fraught places waiting to be explored (many with resident monsters, so you better not have a gas factory anywhere)."
- The author of Genius: The Transgression occasionally snarks about what the Geniuses do.
"Of course, you could always just build giant robots and then rob banks with them. It's not like that's never occurred to mad scientists in the past."
- The writer of GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy (a D&D style world) takes occasional lighthearted shots at the players.
The number of leprechauns slain annually by adventures looking for pots of gold is truly horrific. The world probably has a lot to answer for.
- The board game Battle of the Halji: The game instructions start out: "So! You dare to break the seal. I see you have taken no precautions. The wrapping is on the floor. I feel your naked finger upon my page. YOU ARE A FOOL. If this were Thross I would devour you." It goes on in that vein throughout.
- The Dresden Files roleplaying game is written as if the author was actually a character from The Dresden Files, and other characters have added comments in the margins. Sometimes it's informal clarifications of the rules, but other times it's jokes, pop culture references, or amusing comments about the beings and events that supposedly inspired the rules.
- Nobilis 3e and supplement A Diary of Deceivers are narrated by Jenna Moran's Author Avatar, a resident of Nobilis Earth who's involved with the Powers and Excrucians, often to amusing effect.
- Spinoff Chuubo's Marvelous Wish-Granting Engine is also narrated by Jenna's avatar, who came to Town after the world ended.
- The Volo's Guide series of sourcebooks for the Forgotten Realms has a lemony editor. Volothamp himself isn't usually that lemony in his descriptions, and neither is the editors that must have gone through the books after they were passed on to our world via Ed Greenwood, but before that was done, Elminster went through the books, correcting errors (and sometimes not correcting errors, to keep people on their toes) and adding comments. As one might guess by the fact that he leaves his comments in (and by the 'keeping people on their toes' part), Elminster has a rather idiosyncratic approach to editing... at least when it comes to Volo's books.
- Bounty Hunters of the Atomic Wastelands doesn't object to snark, such as this example from the quality rankings:
A capable Bounty Hunter might have a GOOD Shooting Ability. A SUPERB rifle will do a rather impressive amount of damage. A TERRIBLE banjo will sound awful, like a real banjo.
- The Narrator in Passing Strange, who is portrayed as a "grown-up" version of the protagonist, frequently interacts with both the audience and the characters in the story, Breaking the Fourth Wall at will.
- Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth introduces itself with a great deal of fourth-wall-breaking snark from the character Sabina, which might qualify as Lemony narration.
- The Stage Manager in Wilder's Our Town is one too, despite his low-key manner. His exchange with Professor Willard is very much outside conventional dramatic exposition. Since he steps in to act as reverend and soda jerk at certain points, he's also an Interactive Narrator.
- The musical Pippin, in which the narrator of the play is a character known as the Leading Player who often drags along the action by force and yells at the characters when they forget their lines or entrances. And when a character makes a decision that, according to the Leading Player, wasn't supposed to happen, well...
- Urinetown has Officer Lockstock, one of the show's villains, as the main narrator. There's also Little Sally, a narrator-in-training.
- The Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical Into the Woods, a deconstruction of the Fairy Tale genre, includes a Lemony Narrator who deftly strings several fairy tales together. Until the characters decide they don't like how he's telling the story, and get him killed.
- Sondheim revisits this trope in his play with John Weidman, Assassins, a musical comedy pastiche about people who have killed or tried to kill American presidents. In this one, the narrator safely reassures the audience about what bad people the assassins are and how their actions have nothing to do with any flaws in our own society...until they get sick of his cheery platitudes about hard work and the American Dream and run him off the stage. The recent revival puts a twist on it and has the narrator transform into Lee Harvey Oswald.
- Tom in The Glass Menagerie introduces himself at the start of the play as both its narrator and a character in it. Thereafter he steps outside the Fourth Wall whenever he needs to narrate.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's Porcelain And Pink opens with this bit of stage direction.
"Room in the down-stairs of a summer cottage. High around the wall runs an art frieze of a fisherman with a pile of nets at his feet and a ship on a crimson ocean, a fisherman with a pile of nets at his feet and a ship on a crimson ocean, a fisherman with a pile of nets at his feet and so on. In one place on the frieze there is an overlapping—here we have half a fisherman with half a pile of nets at his foot, crowded damply against half a ship on half a crimson ocean. The frieze is not in the plot, but frankly it fascinates me."
- In The Somewhat True Tale Of Robin Hood, the narrator is also a member of the cast (Town's Guy), who assists the characters by having the "scene change guy" move them to the right places, bring aide, and invoke flashbacks.
- Prokofiev's opera The Love For Three Oranges has four or five competing lemony narrators: various groups of "audience members" (actually members of the chorus) who continuously interrupt the action to argue about what kind of story they want to see. As the opera goes on, they begin to influence the action directly, providing the heroes with advice and crucial props. Eventually they rush the stage and abduct the main antagonist. It's pretty weird.
- The stage production of Shockheaded Peter has/had two very strange narrators — one who announces himself as "the greatest actor who has ever existed" and Martyn Jacques of the Tiger Lillies, who sung most of the songs and whose stage persona is intentional nightmare fuel. At the end of one song he would appear to have some kind of breakdown and shrieking "DEAD! DEAD!! DEAD!! DEAD!!" over and over again before being forced temporarily offstage.
- Knickerbocker Holiday begins with Washington Irving sitting down to write a history of old New Amsterdam. He wants his book to sell, so he'll make it amusing and romantic and avoid unsavory political details that might offend aristocratic descendants. He has to intervene in the action a couple of times to keep it that way.
- Some of the Stephen Briggs adaptations of Discworld novels represent the Lemony Narrator as a charcacter called the Footnote. The nested footnotes sometimes get represented with another Footnote character, who doesn't get on with the first one.
- Peter Shaffer's Amadeus is narrated by a very old and somewhat mentally disturbed Salieri.
- The Man in Chair from The Drowsy Chaperone. He alternately complains about and praises the play within the play, gripes about his own life, and rants about all of the interruptions.
- The narrator of the original Colossal Cave Interactive Fiction game, down to the need for the player to solve at least one puzzle in a "lemony" way.
For those curious, it involved being deliberately ambiguous about killing a dragon. When the player types "KILL DRAGON", the narrator responds "With what, your bare hands?" In order to kill the dragon, the player responds "YES".
- The narrator of the Quest for Glory series, especially after voice acting is added. In Quest for Glory IV John Rhys-Davies provides the voice, who does a very good job with the odd material. And the role isn't left solely to the Narrator: several of the other voice actors ad-libbed so much, and so well, that the dialog doesn't precisely match what's printed on screen, and it's hilarious.
- Oracle of Tao: Ambrosia is also the narrator. She goes on-side topics about her family or personal history, glossing over what a normal narrator would consider the main story. It somehow manages to avoid Protagonist-Centered Morality, since Ambrosia has no real illusions of her own righteousness. But she talks a great deal about her personal interests in the story at hand (if she's interested in it), her failings in knowledge of legends and history, and her overall skepticism in the story's plot.
Ambrosia: ...God would send an Oracle to restore the Earth to Balance, and stuff. But that'll never happen.
- Ambrosia mainly narrates in the opening parts of either the main game or the Playable Epilogue, and seems to care even less about the main story the second time, preferring to instead talk about her marriage and subsequent child.
- The Penny Arcade videogame On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness
- Episode 1 starts off with a narrator who talks directly to the player character and warns you not to dwell on his mysterious identity... You're dwelling on it, aren't you? Stop that. It's implied that he will be a proper character in later episodes.
- He continues the trend in Episode 2, asking you to choose a difficulty at the beginning, and mocking you if you choose easy.
- While the narrator's presence in Episode 3 is somewhat subdued, he makes a comeback in Episode 4: as the last Old God and hence the Final Boss.
- The 2004 remake of The Bard's Tale has a narrator, voiced by Tony Jay, who is clearly wishing he was narrating a classic Heroic Fantasy rather than this sham of a story. As a result, the narrator is openly mocking and hostile towards the Bard. At one point, when the Bard slays a Money Spider and an implausible amount of loot falls out of it, the narrator gets annoyed at how little sense that makes and tells you he's just going to skip the parts about every monster dropping huge amounts of money in the future and the Bard complains how he's being deprived of a source of income.
- Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant featured a narrator who described the game world for the party, but also delivered deadpan cynical commentary on what the party finds. "You wonder if perhaps mankind has a destiny, a role in the universe. Do mere mortals have a role to play... and then again, perhaps not."
- While not a third-person narrator, the Prince in the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time series has a tendency to go off on descriptive tangents when entering new areas. In Prince of Persia: The Two Thrones, it reaches the point where his alter-ego the Dark Prince has to interrupt him to call attention to an important plot event.
- Anything and everything by Spiderweb Software (maker of Avernum and Geneforge) qualifies to some degree, particularly in regard to the narrator's being a Deadpan Snarker.
- Bruce Campbell, the voice of the tutorial in the Spider-Man games, insults the player and leaves mid-tutorial to get a sandwich. When he comes back, he talks with his mouth full.
- In LittleBigPlanet, this role is filled by none other than Stephen Fry. He's prone to strange similes ("Faster than a pneumatic whippet!") and anecdotes about his cat.
- The narrator from the King's Quest fangame Silver Lining could turn into this if you perform the wrong actions. Get your hands off that, Graham!
- The narrator in The Adventures of Willy Beamish, who only rears his head if you examine something/one. Depending on what he's describing, it can be any combination of Mundane Made Awesome, Deadpan Snarker, and This Loser Is You (his opinion of Willy is strikingly low).
- Despite the fact that he's at the mercy of the Chantry, Varric of Dragon Age II insists on adding obviously fake, sensationalistic tinsel to the Framing Device story at random times. His Blatant Lies range from people single-handedly felling ogres to himself suddenly becoming Scarface to his best friend's sister having incredibly large breasts.
- Within the story itself, it's also acknowledged that he does this with Hawke's diary - interacting with the diary in Hawke's bedroom may prompt him/her to remark that he not only reads the diary, but adds embellishments.
- When he is the narrator in Fate/hollow ataraxia, Avenger definitely has a very unique style. It rapidly shifts between sarcasm, murderous hatred, lust, approval, respect and vague idlings about his own narration.
- In Fate Tiger Colosseum Upper for Saber Lion's scenario Kotomine Kirei acts as narrator and while he does give information he never passes up an opportunity to mock the opponents and before the final fight he gets annoyed at how naive Caren's plan was so he KOs Shirou and assists her saying he was tired of being the narrator. After losing and doing the outro, he complains the ending is boring.
- The Stanley Parable's narrator, who serves as a sort of middle man between Stanley and the game's creators. Even if you end up following the story by the letter, you will only be able to proceed by using information he narrates to you, which will lead the narrator to comment on that. And if you start going Off the Rails, well, things start to get increasingly bizarre. The demo alone serves as a master example of this trope, with the narrator presenting the demo to you, the player.
- Space Quest uses this throughout the series with choice commentary on your actions. The fourth and sixth games have Gary Owens narrating your exploits.
Owens: Sucking on a bottle of ketchup doesn't seem to satisfy you, no matter what the government says.
- Rucks, narrator of Bastion, is not only the narrator but also a character in-story that you interact with multiple times. This means he often doesn't know more about your situation than you do and a lot of his narration gets rather lemony as a result. Since The Kid is also a Heroic Mime Rucks narrates everything The Kid supposedly said.
- The narrator of Edna & Harvey: Harvey’s New Eyes likes to follow a format of brief identification-longer declaration-highly unnerving aside. Like so: "A clown! Lilli had never seen a live clown before! Only the dead one who stood outside her window at night."
- The Cave from, ugh, The Cave is one. Yes, he's a talking cave, and he wishes you wouldn't laugh - getting a date is hard enough already. He spends the whole game laughing at the characters, giving subtle hints and occasionally spoilers.
- BlazBlue example. Haku-men's Arcade Mode ending for Calamity Trigger features Rachel Alucard telling Haku-men's heroic backstory in the means of a bedtime story. You can see it here.
- Rachel also provides the narration for the tutorial mode. However, being Rachel, she is prone to stopping and insulting the player, especially early on. She eases up quite a bit (but not entirely) once the player has cruised through the easy stuff.
- Professor Gregarious T. Oswald in Puppeteer. When he's not narrating the story, he's prone to rambling about things only slightly related to the action, arguing with the actors on stage, and becoming easily distracted when cool machines and giant robots show up.
- Dawn of War: The Narrator of Dark Crusade and Soulstorm is supposedly an Imperial scholar, and also, apparently, a Large Ham who INDEED has a... STRANGE way of intoning HIS MONologue. Watch.
- The Narrator of Battleblock Theater, whether he's commenting on the players in-game or the story in cutscenes, is constantly off his rocker.
"But the eye of the storm is VERY misleading, children. NEVER TURN YOUR BACK ON IT because the ocean was all like "PSYCHE!" and [the storm] came back, even bigger this time, twice as big! WHSOOOSHOOOSHOO As if Poseidon himself extended his hand in friendship, and they spat in his mouth! WHOOO-SHULOOSGRBRBRBRBRSHAJAJU-SHJU"
- The Narrator of Pit People, from the same people who made Battleblock Theater, is unique as he also doubles as the Big Bad.
- In the Ratchet And Clank reboot, Captain Qwark is the narrator of the game and often gives a mix of hints as well as lampshading whatever is happening on-screen.
- In Violet, the player character is imagining their girlfriend Violet narrating everything.
- Clarence's Big Chance: It's one of Pseudolonewolf's games, so this is pretty much a given.
- Undertale's narrator will make comments about the various enemies you face and snark at you when you do something silly. Unless you're in a Genocide Run, in which case nearly all lemony-ness is dropped, with the few personal touches remaining being bloodthirsty instead of comical ("Where are the knives", "In my way", "Looks like free XP" [said about Monster Kid, and so on).
- The narrator in An Epic Comic is seen constantly conversing with the characters, stopping what they are doing, and even bringing in other characters. It doesn't get any weirder when it turns out he's the author.
- Books Don't Work Here Because there is No Fourth Wall and the main character argues with him so much certainly makes the director a character. He also “pays” a British guy to read his lines while narrating the comic so he definitely qualifies for this trope.
- Ctrl+Alt+Del, Ethan hosts a Wintereenmas Games Bowl, which was put to print rather than comic (more here). Being about Ethan, any narrative account is likely to be this.
- In Schlock Mercenary, the Narrator is JUST the narrator, and not the storyteller. This has led to a few points where the narrator wandered off to ask the author what was going on,
- In the first Order of the Stick book, Dungeon Crawlin' Fools, Rich Burlew adds before the first strips some introductory strips which add a narrator. As the characters continually fail to remain stealthy in their efforts to reach the dungeon they're approaching, they comment on how difficult it is to sneak when there's a voice booming across the countryside announcing what you're up to. So they find the narrator and throw him to the monster guarding the dungeon. He still can't stop narrating what's happening.
- The Infamous Andrew Hussie has been known to get up to such shenanigans as demolishing the fourth and fifth walls, stealing other people's offices for his recaps, and strangling the guest narrator. Lord English killing him stopped him for a while but later on went right back to tormenting English's past self Caliborn.
- Mindfang's 'diaries' almost literally written like a lemon, describing even into detail how she treats her 'slave' (who was supposedly the Dolorosa).
- If Calliope's scrapbook is any indication, then she may serve as an lemony narrator à la Stranger Than Fiction, whilst also existing within the narration itself.
- Also, VOXUS' Let's Read Homestuck series has SuperBlueBadger doing the normal voiceover and Blackmagebrad as the Act 5 voiceover. As the series would be awkwardly worded if he constantly said things like 'forward arrow', they would sometime rewords the commands to be sillier in a way.
- The Sun God and the Moon Goddess from Our Little Adventure sometimes narrate and put their two cents into what's happening.
- In El Goonish Shive, narration tends to end up this way whether it's Dan himself or one of his characters doing the narration.
- Penny Blackfeather has an Interactive Narrator - the ghost of protagonists's grandfather - who follows her, commenting on everything she does. He's already snarky with her, but whenever another character turns out to be able to hear him, they tend to rue the fact they cannot throttle him. He's also economical with the truth.
- Champions of Faraus: While the narration is usually just there to say where people are, or how much time has passed, it gets a good snark in on occasion, but the best example would be the time where Skye and Daryl are Crossing the Desert, and the narration makes it clear there's nothing worthwhile to talk about besides the fact that Daryl and Skye are just walking, and then says "What say we skip the walking?" at which point the story cuts to them in a town - but it doesn't stop being snarky until the end of the page.
- One of the main ideas of the serial story Memetic Narration (found here) is that the third-person omniscient narrator can be heard by the protagonist, and since he can read the protagonists thoughts, has indirect conversations with him often amounting to passive aggressive insults. He also focuses heavily on the "assets" of female characters, to the protagonist's embarrassment.
- "In the next episode, Burnt Face Man has sex! With an eagle!"
- The narrator is the only voice in Digimon Resumido with Gratuitous English and he gets progressively annoyed each episode.
- Brad Neely's Wizard People, Dear Reader, in which he narrates the first Harry Potter film in an excessively dramatic, increasingly inaccurate and often insane way, most notably a scene late in the film where the narrator entirely ignores the action sequence taking place on screen to discuss Harry's desire to move to pre-Columbian America. For several minutes.
- Raem Kischima, from the RP Fairy Tail Guild, belongs to a fan of Douglas Adams. As such, his posts tend to be quite... lemony.
- The One Ring To Rule Them All: The Hobbit has The Hobbit narrated by Tom Bombadil. Who for some reason has a Southern accent. Hilarity Ensues.
Tom Bombadil: Bilbo found this really neat sword that glowed blue whenever goblins were near! You keep that in mind, now. It's going to be important, later on!
- Let's be honest with ourselves here: A lot of pages on TV Tropes fit this trope.
- The Narrator, a mysterious and genderless being, is considered the most sinister villain in Pokébattles, and spends much of his time tormenting and humiliating the main cast. He can't be escaped—every time a fight breaks out, he can be heard narrating it.
- Celebrity Bric A Brac Theater often has a narrator along these lines. Christopher Walken narrated Romeo and Juliet, Sean Connery lent his talents to The First Thanksgiving, and Jack Palance granted The First Christmas a sinister air.
- Dr. Tran, notably in the first episode.
Narrator: AND THEN HE'S OFF TO EAT HICKORY-SMOKED HORSE BUTTHOLES.Dr. Tran: ...Hickory WHAT? Smoked WHAT?Narrator: ...FROM A CUP!Dr. Tran: No, I won't!Narrator: YES, HE WILL.
- In Terramirum, there are two narrators, who switch off between segments of the story and argue with each other.
- Out in full force in Smashtasm season 2.
*ominous music* "This is Girem 6. He’s the villain and leader of the Gear Hack Force. After the perma-ban of his idol Greg he swore revenge against Super 64, and created a team of hackers that -"*music cuts out*"wait, wh...? Well there's three more pages of this drivel! Hell, I'm not reading this!"
- In this metafiction story, where the narrator constantly banters with the characters.
- Part of the charm of Sips' videos, together with his Surreal Humor. If there's no story in a game he plays, he makes one up.
- The captions in the Pöpcørn Muppets online skit are hilarious.
- Ultra Fast Pony has a few:
- Phil the Narrator. His smarmy tone and inappropriate "Oh yeah"s turn everything he narrates into innuendo. He also actively encourages Applejack and Rarity to make out.
- The unnamed subtitle writer is also quite opinionated, often using the subtitles to agree with the ponies or mock Ultra Fast Pony's shortcomings. In one episode, he sides with the ponies against Phil the narrator, and in another he gets into an argument with Scootaloo.
- Another narrator shows up in "For Glorious Mother Equestria". He tries to spin everything as political propaganda, and his voiceovers tend to directly contradict what's happening on-screen.
- This Kingdom Hearts animation features Sora dealing with one during the tutorial, who insults him throughout it, makes him select the sword weapon rather than the shield or wand, and attempts to be as much of a ham as possible with Sora repeatedly calling him out the whole time.
- The narrator of Hyper Fighting Machine Marmalade often attempts to engage the reader in conversation, when he isn't exaggerating the (school-aged) protagonists' romantic troubles in full-on Sarcasm Mode.
- Cecil from Welcome to Night Vale, who at first seems like a typical carefully neutral and reserved public radio host but then goes off on tangents like how he doesn't believe in mountains and fell in love with Carlos the minute he saw him.
- Harry Plinkett's movie reviews on RedLetterMedia definitely qualify. One minute he's discussing the characterization tropes used in Citizen Kane and in the next, he's molesting his cat and offering to mail his fans Pizza Rolls.
- The short film "The Gunfighter" shows what happens when the characters can hear the narrator.
- The narrator in Danganronpa Parody is a Deadpan Snarker that sometimes talks to the cast members (mostly Makoto). By the final episode, he leaves the show after getting sufficiently pissed at Makoto being such an Idiot Hero.
- The infamous history of japan video is narrated like a 12-year-old off his meds, but still gives a reasonably accurate lesson on Japan's history.
"It's time for "Who's going to be the next Shogun?" Usually it's the Shogun's kid, but the Shogun doesn't have a kid, so he tries to get his brother to quit being a monk and be the next Shogun. He says okay, but then the Shogun has a kid, so now who's it gonna be? Vote now on your phones! And everyone voted so hard that the palace burned down."
- The Hobo Bros' cameraman and editor, Martin, sometimes puts snarky comments on the screen describing what Luke and Kevin are doing.
- In Soylent Scrooge, the narrator frequently comments on the characters and what they're doing, and is insistent that characters don't die despite all evidence to the contrary.
- The narrator for the Goofy "How to" cartoons, who often corrects him and slows down the proceedings with verbose digressions.
- On one cartoon he freezes Goofy in the middle of a pole vault jump to discuss the proper vaulting form, and it turns into a recitation of Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar", all while poor Goofy is trying to maintain his balance.
- In How to Hook Up Your Home Theater, he even goes as far as to yell at Goofy to find the remote control because the Big Game is about to start.
- In How to Be a Gentleman Goofy, after having failed twice in getting into a fancy club (the second time due to a lack of pants), beats up the narrator, who had just angrily chastised Goofy for walking into the club without any pants.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle showed two goons kidnap the Narrator... and then realize that they needed him ungagged so the story could progress forward.
- The Powerpuff Girls had a plot in which Mojo Jojo took over the role of narrator and made the girls commit crimes.
Narrator: And, so the day is saved, thanks to... (Mojo Jojo, Him, and Fuzzy Lumpkins appear on screen) Mojo... Fuzzy... and Him?
- The regular Narrator even interacts with the characters and winds up becoming dumbfounded if the episode turns out differently than expected. In "Telephonies", when Him, Mojo Jojo, and Fuzzy Lumpkins open a can of whoopass on the Gangreen Gang for making the Powerpuff Girls falsely attacking them due to crank calls, the narrator says this:
- The Storyteller in Dave the Barbarian. In one story he was magically enslaved by the Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy and forced to read out Chuckles' new narration. The heroes are saved when the Storyteller develops laryngitis and they are able to employ a temporary narrator (albeit one who turns the show into a space opera) long enough to capture Chuckles and free the Storyteller.
- Danger Mouse's narrator often adds random information and after the more normal cliffhanger questions adds questions like "will Penfold get over his fear of coathangers", or "Will please someone return my washing machine?" He is such a part of the series that he is even given a name in canon — Isombard.
After Danger Mouse has to ride a bike since the car broke:"Has Danger Mouse turned to handlebars because he must dash? ...must dash...moustache...get it? ...Ahem."
- Sheep in the Big City had a narrator who was often shown on screen speaking into a microphone in a sound booth, and would make quips and talk to the characters. Occasionally, he was drawn into the main storyline as well.
- Joe Leahy, the narrator in Freakazoid!, does such things as argue with the network censor and give away plot points, earning the ire of the villains. He also argues with Freakazoid on occasion, and becomes a character in his own right by the end of season 2.
- Wacky Races: Sometimes Dick Dastardly would engage in conversation with the narrator, where he would explain his evil plan to dispose of the other racers when questioned about it. The practice was carried over to spinoff series The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, where it was picked up by Hooded Claw (and sometimes Penelope herself too, while trying to escape a trap).
- In Earthworm Jim, Psycrow forces the narrator to read the lines he's written for him, thus making the events actually happen. He threatens the narrator with larynx-eating insects if he does not comply.
- The narrator of Disney's Hercules frequently argues with the Muses. Unlike the Bobobo and Rocky and Bullwinkle examples above, the Storyteller isn't strictly necessary for the plot to progress (in one episode, it's his day off) and he does appear onscreen (same episode, just after someone remarks on his absence and is informed that he doesn't have to come in to work today, he wanders by with his family — they're disembodied voices, but we can still see where they are because they're wearing party hats). Also, he was referred to as "Bob." (The voice was provided by Robert Stack.)
- On Family Guy, Peter once went through a period where he narrated his life. Lois was not well-pleased.
- During the Word Crawl opening of each installment of the Laugh It Up, Fuzzball trilogy (Family Guy's Star Wars spoof), the words go off on strange tangents, including one that openly mocks the Fox executives about not retaining merchandising rights to the Star Wars franchise, using an animated blue elephant for no reason other than the waste $52,000.
- In American Dad!, Klaus once began to narrate things as though it were the DVD commentary. Being a goldfish hasn't been good for his sanity.
- In Futurama:
Zoidberg: As the candy hearts poured into the fiery quasar, a wondrous thing happened, why not? They vaporised into a mystical love radiation that spread across the universe, destroying many, many planets, including two gangster planets and a cowboy world. But one planet was at exactly the right distance to see the romantic rays, but not be destroyed by them: Earth. So all over the world, couples stood together in joy. And me, Zoidberg! And no one could have been happier unless it would have also been Valentine's Day. What? It was? Hooray!
- "You watched it, you can't unwatch it. Stay tuned for more Tales of Interest!"
- Inexplicably, but hilariously, Dr. Zoidberg pops up as a Lemony Narrator at the conclusion of "Love and Rockets":
- The South Park episode "Pip", which is based very loosely on Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, is narrated somewhat lemonishly by Malcolm MacDowell, who introduces himself as "A British Person."
- The narrator in Roger Ramjet had his own highly idiosyncratic style, sometimes seeming to confuse even himself:
"Ain't that a kick in the creel! <pause> What's a creel?"
- The Troubador from Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers intentionally derails an effort to tell an accurate telling of the source material to tell a comic book version involving musical numbers.
- The Simpsons has one Mother's Day episode where Moe narrates the story and gets distracted by Marge in the window.
- WordGirl has a narrator who constantly breaks the fourth wall and strikes up conversations with the characters, often pointing out plot holes, obvious flaws in plans, and occasionally reading ahead in the script (and being called out for it as well).
- The narrator in The Wuzzles seems to have it out for every character in the show, and the first episode ends with him leaving in disgust while the story is technically still going.
- Sir Raven narrates a few episodes of The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, usually by screaming loudly and at random intervals.
Sir Raven: IMPORTANT! COMMERCIAL! MESSAGE!!!!
- One episode of Willo The Wisp has Willo introduce the episode, then providing a commentary that doesn't quite match up with the action and is frequently sarcastic.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Hearth's Warming Eve", Spike acts like one for the play telling the origin of Equestria, making aside comments and riffing on alliterations describing how the Windigos had turned Equestria's lovely weather into another frozen wasteland.
- Spongebob Squarepants' narrator is a french man (inspired by Jacques Cousteau) voiced by the title character's voice Tom Kenny, no less. At one point, he gets so tired of waiting between time-skips, they have to hire a new one.
- Terry Wogan's infamous Eurovision Song Contest commentaries.
- In Germany, Hape Kerkeling did about the same.
- A good deal of the show promos on the Canadian children's network YTV combine this trope with Quotes Fit for a Trailer.
- Most recaps on the site stick to a revision of the work. Take a gander at the ones for Game of Thrones which are an exercise in humor with editors clearly having a blast covering each episode.