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Marge Simpson: "This town is a part of who you are. This is a Springfield Isotopes cap; when you wear it, you're wearing Springfield. When you eat a fish from our river, you're eating Springfield. When you make lemonade from our trees, you're drinking Springfield..." Bart Simpson: "Mom, when you give that lecture, you're boring Springfield."
This what you get when a child believes they know better than adults, except this time, they actually do.
Almost always on the side of good, most likely belonging to the Chaotic Good
category, this character isn't an indiscriminate back-answerer like the Bratty Half-Pint
but rather steps up when an unreasonable or outright abusive authority figure tries to do something stupid or horrible, instead of submitting quietly to their authority. Expect them to be quite snarky
about it, at least at first.
Unlike the Bratty Half-Pint
, who is almost always (and proudly) antagonistic and mostly exists to make The Hero
's life miserable, the Mouthy Kid
is almost always the protagonist or close to The Hero
In the '50s the Mouthy Kid
would have been slapped upside the head
and shipped off to the Military School
. Children were little angels, or at least tried to be (Leave It to Beaver
, My Three Sons
, Family Affair
). That all changed when Arnold on Diff'rent Strokes
popularized the Mouthy Kid
. Television parents have been dealing with attitude ever since.
Likely started out as a subversion of the Children Are Innocent
attitude that had prevailed since Victorian times.
See also: Bratty Half-Pint
, Plucky Girl
and Wise Beyond Their Years
. Contrast Constantly Curious
, who talks as much but has less sass.
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Anime and Manga
- Shin-chan: Shinnosuke "Shin-chan" Nohara, although he is a five year old whose dialogue is pretty much "farty poop fartfart", he crosses the realism line once he calls his mom flat-chested (in both the original and the Gag Dub).
- Mouth in The Goonies is appropriately nicknamed. "Shut up, Mouth!"
- Star Wars: The young Anakin Skywalker from The Phantom Menace was given this characterization. He may be a kid with an attitude, but he's still well-meaning and have a reputation to build and repair anything. He's also willing to risk his own well-being to help others in need.
- Mouthing off is the least of the various mischevious behavior Addie Loggins from Paper Moon gets into — she also smokes, runs con rackets, and sets up an embarrassing bedroom encounter with Gold Digger Miss Trixie.
- In Time Enough for Love, protagonist Lazarus Long travels back in time to meet his family in 1917 Kansas City, Missouri. There he encounters his past self, Woody, who is already an up-and-comer, about as shrewd, stubborn, and mouthy as it's possible for a five-year old to be, and kept in line only with generous application of paddle to arse. His (and Lazarus') grandfather Ira remarks — in unknowing irony — that the kid is going somewhere, if he somehow makes it to adulthood without being murdered by his parents. He has no idea.
- Matteo Ta'anari in Someone Else's War. But only to kids his own age—never to adults or small children. And he doesn't get shipped off to military school so much as shipped off to the military.
Live Action TV
- Cory Matthews in ''Boy Meets World" was this in the first season. Subverted in that he often doesn't know better than the adults which is the entire point of each episodes with him admitting he doesn't know better by the end of each episode
- Modern Family: Alex, the middle child. She does little else on the show than make snarky comments.
- Leave It to Beaver: Exception that defines the rule: Eddie Haskell — bratty around his peers, but with a nice phony front of shallow flattery while he was around adults.
- Malcolm in the Middle: All of the boys. Francis is sent off. His advice helps keep Malcolm from the same fate.
- The Partridge Family: Danny Bonaduce's character is bratty around his peers but puts on a nice front around adults.
- Darlene Connor of Roseanne epitomizes this trope in the early seasons until she grows into quite the Deadpan Snarker as the show focuses more on her. DJ also sometimes fell into this trope as well.
- Skins : James Fitch (Katie and Emily's kid brother), most likely due to the influence of his (unseen) friend Gordon MacPherson.
"I want fish and chips! This tastes like bollocky wankshite!"
"Gordon MacPherson says you call them dykes, because you have to stick your finger in them."
"I want to fuck Naomi [beat] I do, get over it."
- Welcome Back, Kotter : While the Sweathogs are considerably older than the usual Mouthy Kid, they form an obvious precedent.
- Bad Boy: Moon Won In in this Korean Drama: she sneaks beers from her sister, tries to buy cigarettes even though she's underage, and in one episode steals money from an apparently unconscious man.
- Possibly the Ur Example, Fanny Brice's Baby Snooks was somewhere in between this and Constantly Curious. Her sole reason for existence appeared to be to drive her father to the very brink of insanity, but she did it without apparent malice — just pure innocent mischief. And given that the character was created in 1912, and continued to be wildly popular until Brice's death in 1951, it shows that Arnold from Diff'rent Strokes far from created the trope — he just incarnated it for a new, more relaxed generation.
- In Fallout 3 there's a town called Little Lamplight, which banishes its residents when they turn 16. Because of this, the town is filled with kids who walk around swearing because there's no one to tell them no. In fact, the mayor's greeting to you is basically "who the fuck are you?".
- Nall's human form in Lunar Eternal Blue, at least that's what he seems like at first...
- Beavis And Butthead: Mike Judge said that dialogue is a better reflection of the real-life Mouthy Kid — not too clever, relies heavily on toilet humor — because in reality, kids aren't as smart as a roomful of Harvard-graduate writers.
- Toph Beifong from Avatar The Last Airbender practically defines this trope. She is not afraid to speak her mind or tell someone off, no matter their position or title in life.