"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. Truth in Television: there are many people who have this as a Verbal Tic. In certain regions, like the Southern US, it borders on being a facet of the local dialect, sure as a prickly pear's got spines.
— Dimentio, Super Paper Mario
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Anime & Manga
- Kyon of Haruhi Suzumiya. As per his Little Professor Dialogue nature as a narrator, and the Viewers Are Geniuses nature of the series, it's up to the audience to decide how effective these comparisons actually are to paint a meaningful enough picture.
Kyon: Asking for permission to film is a foreign concept to Haruhi. In her mind, she was free to shoot whatever and wherever she wanted; but then, her notion of what "free" actually was was similar to the domination of the Papacy during the age of Pope Innocent III. ...Or something.
Films - Animated
Films - Live Action
- 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 Chronicles of Prydain 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. (Raymond Chandler's other less famous detectives all do it too; he developed his style when he was writing for the magazines and being paid by the word.) Here's Marlowe giving his first impression of Moose Malloy in Farewell, My Lovely:
He was looking up at the dusty windows with a sort of ecstatic fixity of expression, like a hunky immigrant catching his first sight of the Statue of Liberty. He was a big man but not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck. [...] Even on Central Avenue, not the quietest dressed street in the world, he looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.
- 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 of 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 Y?"
- Amilyn Holdo from Leia, Princess of Alderaan tends to speak in weird metaphors. For instance, she compares a person who works for both sides of a conflict with a muffin: "a muffin always falls the cream side down, so if you cover it with cream entirely, it wouldn't fall". This habit of hers may have to do with her upbringing: she's from a planet Gatalenta known for its deeply spiritual culture reminiscent of Eastern religions; its inhabitants are very much into astrology, meditation, etc. And speaking in koans and metaphors is very common for Eastern religions as well.
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 Blackadder:
- "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.
- This device is very widely used in rap and hiphop while comparatively nonexistent in other genres.
- Pete Wentz, lyricist of Fall Out Boy is fond of this trope, to the point where it's in almost every song.
- Clutch loves this, some songs are filled with similes.
- Walking In The Great Shining Path of Monster Trucks: "Well I rolled Jesse Helms like a cigarette / And smoked him higher than the highest of the minarets / Jesse James couldn't even handle it / Started looking at me like I was Sanskrit"
- In the Queen song "Don't Stop Me Now," Freddie Mercury compares himself to a shooting star, a tiger, a race car, Lady Godiva, a rocket ship on its way to Mars, a satellite, an atom bomb, and "a sex machine".
- Of those, only the tiger, Lady Godiva, and the atom bomb are similes.
- Tom Waits loves this, especially in his early years. For example: "Spare Parts" from Nighthawks at the Diner.
Yeah baby, you put me on hold and I'm out in the windAnd it's getting mighty cold
- A Prairie Home Companion's Guy Noir, Private Eye is fond of these.
- 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 mysterious Dimentio in Super Paper Mario. See the page quote.
- This trope is invoked quite a bit in Chrono Trigger, most notably by Queen Zeal.
- Max Payne in spades. Also the in universe show Dick Justice.
- Angel Starr from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney talks like this, and all the similes are about lunch. The metaphors are somewhat forced, though, as Phoenix silently notes.
- The entire cast of Metal Gear, who all talk exactly like Hideo Kojima.
- Given his time period, Sly Cooper's ancestor, Tennessee "The Kid" Cooper, is sure to say much of these anytime he's on screen.
- 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?
- Sandy Cheeks from SpongeBob SquarePants. It comes standard with her stereotypical Deep Southern drawl.
- Along similar lines, Applejack from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
- The Script Assassin from Kappa Mikey.
- The Tick, moreso in the cartoon than the comic book series.
- Cathy from Monster Buster Club (usually in Gratuitous Rhapsodian)
- Drawn Together is extremely fond of these.
- This is just like that time that the writers of Family Guy referenced an eighties cultural phenomenon.
- Maguro of Sushi Pack has a tendency to do this.
- Periodically, Clover from Totally Spies! talks like this.
- Rolf from Ed, Edd n Eddy.
- Foghorn Leghorn
- Clay from Xiaolin Showdown. Kimiko often gets annoyed by it and makes fun of him for it.
- On Doc McStuffins, Hallie is full of unusual phrases that she pulls out at moment's notice.
Hallie: (regarding Doc's baby toy CeCe) CeCe's sleeping sounder than a snail on a Sunday.