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[[quoteright:240:[[WesternAnimation/WileECoyoteAndTheRoadRunner http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/e_coyote_smug_wile_snake3.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:240:"[[TemptingFate Being a genius certainly has its advantages.]]"]]
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->''"I'll give you a description [of Mister Daniel Lumis]. A forked tongue, little beady eyes, and he slithers on his belly. You'll find him easy. Just look under rocks."''
-->-- '''Mrs. Kandell''', ''[[Franchise/{{Dragnet}} Mister]]''

The Smug Snake is a type of character (usually a villain) who tends to treat friends and enemies alike with equal disdain. They almost constantly [[DeadpanSnarker speak in a sarcastic tone]] and punctuate most of their sentences with a smirk. While they aspire to be a formidable and awe-inspiring adversary, they often end up just being a BigBadWannabe, failing in the face of [[MagnificentBastard more cunning villains]] or ending up as their servants, in which case they'll generally be TheStarscream. Others that fall under this trope are [[CardCarryingVillain simply in it to bug the good guys]] and [[FlawExploitation take advantage]] of their [[SlaveToPR moral insecurity]].

A key character trait common to Smug Snakes is [[{{Pride}} overconfidence]]. The Smug Snake is usually too arrogant to be [[JustForPun rattled]]. Most often, they will think themselves to be the MagnificentBastard. While they may believe that they have [[EvilPlan the situation]] under control (whether they do so through {{blackmail}}, [[ManipulativeBastard coercion]], or simply [[EvilChancellor being in a position of authority]]), there will usually be a [[SpannerInTheWorks hole in that plan]] that they failed to consider. Perhaps they [[UnderestimatingBadassery underestimated their opponents' abilities]] and [[NothingCanStopUsNow claimed themselves unbeatable]], or maybe they made a really stupid mistake along the way. Once that realization hits, expect the Snake to [[VillainousBreakdown lose their cool]] right before [[HumiliationConga everything starts falling apart]] for them. They are not necessarily entirely incompetent, stupid, or ineffectual, however, and may succeed with at least part of their goals, but they are still lacking that charm and grace that the MagnificentBastard possesses. Often a KnowNothingKnowItAll as well, to inspire added bile, though still enough to take the 'sympathetic' out of IneffectualSympatheticVillain (the ''best'' of them are {{Insufferable Genius}}es heavy on the former and light on the latter). If a Smug Snake considers himself a MagnificentBastard, then he is a villainous SmallNameBigEgo. When things go badly, the Smug Snake may reveal himself to be a DirtyCoward and pathetically grovel when a former victim asks WhosLaughingNow or beg the victim to save them in the event of outside danger.

Most of the time, a writer will purposely introduce a Smug Snake as a target for audience hate by making them KickTheDog or [[ObstructiveBureaucrat bend the rules to get their way]] and [[DirtyCoward come out]] [[KarmaHoudini smelling like a rose]]. Basically, this is a villain that's made [[LoveToHate to be hated and the audience will enjoy hating]]. [[TropesAreTools This, like all other tropes, can backfire if misused]]. If the writer still tries to foist the character as a MagnificentBastard when their previous actions have proven otherwise, the audience will likely stop enjoying hating the character, and instead genuinely ''hate'' them as much as they would TheScrappy or the CreatorsPet. [[CharacterDevelopment Evolving a Smug Snake into a true Magnificent Bastard]] could be doable, in theory, but shouldn't be attempted lightly, and has only been pulled off successfully in fiction a few times. Ever. Of course, the author might be deliberately doing this, playing a villain up as a MagnificentBastard when it comes to getting the power he craves, but proving to be so inept at ''wielding'' that power once he finally has it that he ends up as a Smug Snake instead. The line between those two tropes is thinner than it looks after all and the further a character overestimates himself and underestimates the others the closer he leans to Smug Snake territory even if he is normally a MagnificentBastard. So it is a state of mind directly proportional to the overconfidence and a character who has a good reason to have a high idea of himself will need to exaggerate his self-worth more to reach it than someone who hasn't.

The Smug Snake will rarely be a DracoInLeatherPants, because, as previously stated, he tends to be created intentionally to be loathed by the audience. (However, it is possible for this to happen, especially if the character is physically attractive -- the TropeNamer [[Franchise/HarryPotter himself]] is an example.)

Contrast WorthyOpponent and MagnificentBastard, who inspire respect and/or admiration from their opponents/the audience, and AwesomeEgo, whose brash cockiness is part of his or her charm (although any of these may be perceived as a Smug Snake by an audience via AlternativeCharacterInterpretation or simply poor writing). See also SmugSuper. [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant Not to be confused with]] the player characters of ''Franchise/MetalGear'', the criminal from ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', or the principal of ''Series/{{Degrassi}}''.

This trope has sometimes TruthInTelevision, but carries also UnfortunateImplications. Let's leave it here, so no RealLife examples, please.

* SmugSnake/AnimeAndManga
* SmugSnake/ComicBooks
* SmugSnake/FanFics
* SmugSnake/{{Film}}
* SmugSnake/{{Literature}}
* SmugSnake/LiveActionTV
* SmugSnake/ProfessionalWrestling
* SmugSnake/{{Religion}}
* SmugSnake/{{Roleplay}}
* SmugSnake/TabletopGames
* SmugSnake/VideoGames
* SmugSnake/WebComics
* SmugSnake/WebVideos
* SmugSnake/WesternAnimation