"And now we must duel, like two glimmering banjos on a moonlit stoop!"
A character who talks like a simile
uses similes in their speech pattern the way a machine gun uses bullets: swiftly, mercilessly, and in quick succession, to the point where this quality becomes a prominent character trait
. In a lot of these cases, the similes they use will be about as unusual as a school of fish in the Sahara and more complex than space shuttle wiring
, but still the offender will churn them out as they talk, either in casual conversation or in the narration, as though coming up with them as they go along was as natural an act to them as picking on Acceptable Targets
A staple of the Private Eye Monologue
and of characters from the Deep South
. Has some similarities with Dissimile
. Also see Strange Syntax Speaker
, Like Is, Like, a Comma
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- Calvin, when in character as Tracer Bullet.
- Similarly, in Pibgorn, a noir-ish detective (who was actually a demon but didn't know that until fairly recently) always uses this for his dialogue.
Films - Animated
- Terry Pratchett's narration. Always. But especially in Discworld.
- The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is chock full of them, particularly negative similes describing exactly what something is unlike:
"(Vogons ships) hung in the sky, in much the same way that bricks don't
- Eddie Valiant in Who Censored Roger Rabbit?? by Gary K. Wolf. This quality did not carry over into the movie.
- Eilonwy of The Prydain Chronicles seasons this with a heavy dash of Cloud Cuckoolander.
"It's silly to worry because you can't do something you simply can't do. That's worse than trying to make yourself taller by standing on your head."
- Philip Marlowe, Trope Codifier for the Private Eye Monologue.
- The Lies of Locke Lamora, mostly in the narration.
- In The Pickwick Papers, this is part of Sam Weller's shtick. His father, Tony, does it too.
"All good feelin', sir—the wery best intentions, as the gen'l'm'n said ven he run away from his wife 'cos she seemed unhappy with him."
- The narrator of Matthew F. Jones' novel The Cooter Farm includes at least one simile in almost every paragraph.
- P. G. Wodehouse definitely deserves a place here, as both Douglas Adams and Stephen Fry, who are both very adroit users of this trope, took their props from him.
"At five minutes to eleven on the morning named he was at the station, a false beard and spectacles shielding his identity from the public eye. If you had asked him he would have said that he was a Scotch business man. As a matter a fact, he looked far more like a motor-car coming through a haystack."
- Homer is noted for long similes that go on for several lines.
- Also a frequent thing in ancient Celtic epics.
- Memoirs of a Geisha is full of these, to the point of distraction at times. The main character's entire motive throughout most of the plot is to get with this one guy, and nearly at the end, when she thinks she's lost her chance forever and has resigned herself to an empty life, they have a scene together where they both admit their mutual attraction. The prose is all tense and brimming with emotion, and he finally goes to kiss her... and she ends the chapter by comparing him to a maid she once saw sneaking a pear in her old geisha house.
- Graham Greene would do this with abstract concepts. "The small pricked-out plants irritated him like ignorance."
- Massie Block from The Clique series continually uses "Are you an X? Then why are you ?"
Live Action TV
- Jeremy Clarkson of Top Gear (and also in his newspaper articles). The effect is amplified by the fact that many of them reference random subjects pulled out of nowhere apparently on the spur of the moment.
- "It's an Audi! It weighs as much as the moon!"
- "(Critic has said car X is better than car Y)? Yes, in the same way that treading on a rusty nail is better than having sex with the entire sixth form of a girls' school!"
- He could probably make good money selling a best hits compilation DVD of his similes over the years. "Tastes exactly like a hot Turkish urinal"?
- In one interview, Clarkson actually attributed his success to this, saying that when he first became a motoring journalist, cars were more boringly samey than they had been for years, and he stuck out by his strategy of picking on something really minor and using an outrageous metaphor to describe it ("that rev counter looks like a woman's bits!")
- Happens a few times in Black Adder:
- "You really are as thick as clotted cream, that's been left out by some clot, and now the clots are so clotted, you couldn't unclot them with an electric de-clotter, aren't you, Baldrick?"
- "... as cunning as a fox what used to be Professor of Cunning at Oxford University but has moved on, and is now working for the UN at the High Commission of International Cunning Planning..."
- "The stickiest situation since Sticky the Stick Insect got stuck on a sticky bun."
- Narrator Robert Lee does this quite a bit, though it's often forgotten because he performs more wordplay than a British crossword.
- Irish Comedian Dylan Moran.
- [talking about 'The Rockafella Skank'] "I'm not saying it's a bad song. Or anything like that. I'm just saying that you could take a broom, dip it into brake fluid, put the other end up my arse and stick me on a trampoline in a moving lift and I would write a better song on the wall. That's all."
- [earlier] "This song sounded like a million fire engines being chased by ten million ambulances through a warzone and it was played at a volume that made the empty chair beside me bleed."
- Newscaster Dan Rather was famous for this.
- Jesus and his parables. Socrates, too.
- A stereotype of the Deep South.
- The theme song of FATAL was likened by one reviewer to the Cookie Monster chasing a drum kit being pushed down a flight of stairs.
- This trope is a staple of Dave Strider's vernacular in Homestuck. Other characters also do this, but not to the same extent.
- Ben "Yahtzee" Croshaw does this quite often, his similes being outrageous and bizarre, often to illustrate the negative aspect of the video games he reviews. He's mentioned insults being as offensive as "being smacked in the balls with your own dead dog," voice acting as unpleasant as "being raped in the ear by a man wearing a sandpaper condom," (but that was his roommate, and "not in those exact words, obviously") and Mario as "as big a sellout as a character can get without turning tricks for a penny on the New Jersey turnpike."
- Outrageous like-simile-talking seems to be a favorite trait of comedic video game critics, seeing that The Angry Video Game Nerd is also well known for his scatological similes regarding the shitty games he plays. Certainly you've heard about this business with diarrhea dumps in his ear and roadkilled skunks and the downing-with-beer thereof?