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Tall, Dark and Snarky

Not even a yawning puppy will make him smile. He'll just howl back, "SILENCE!"

A variation on the Insufferable Genius, this character is usually charismatic, incredibly good at what they do, and rather good-looking. Members of the same sex both admire and envy them, while those of the opposite fall all over them (often forming an Instant Fan Club), and the only thing that saves them from being The Ace is their overwhelming arrogance and constant annoyance at being surrounded by people they see as idiots. They'll often make snarky comments on the current situation which show that they know much more about what's going on than anyone else, and answer any questions with the preface, "Are you so stupid you can't see it?"

This doesn't necessarily make them evil, though. (If anything, it's understandable, given the mindless way people often act around them.) They're just not a character who plays well with others and are therefore at risk of becoming an Ineffectual Loner. Their snarkiness is usually brought low not with sarcasm, but a good old Insult Backfire.

Often paired or placed in contrast with an insufferably cheerful, outgoing, nice, and/or idealistic character, and may act as The Lancer. This character is usually responsible for teaching the Tall, Dark and Snarky about The Power of Friendship or The Power of Love, once he or she has enough skill to make the Tall, Dark and Snarky actually respect their opinion. However, this can backfire, with the Tall, Dark and Snarky feeling threatened by the character's newfound power and becoming The Rival instead or, worse, give the idealistic guy a pair of Jade-Colored Glasses to wear.

This archetype is also frequently used as a mentor or older brother type, used as a foil for the protagonist's optimistic and foolish nature. See also Tall, Dark and Handsome for the straight vanilla versions.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga  
  • Gintama
    • Hijikata fits this trope nicely. Dark hair? Check. Popular with ladies? Check. Snarky? Check. Strict? So much so that his nickname is the demonic vice commander.
    • His subordinate Okita could also be part of this trope despite not having dark hair, as he is quite snarky (actually, his personality borders on terrible) and acts as a foil for Hijikata. He's also handsome enough that Gintoki once pointed out that, in comparison, Shinpachi was turtle poop.
  • Eiri Yuki from Gravitation, despite his blond hair, is a perfect example of this. Not only is he exceedingly aloof on almost all occasions and attracts a lot of female attention (which is parodied in the OVA when he grabs the hand of a female fan at an autograph session and she blushes and actually skyrockets into the sky while he himself remains impassive), but he is romantically paired with Shuichi, who is as energetic and emotional as a Keet can get.
  • Sesshoumaru from InuYasha is a particularly deadly example of this trope. Helped along by the fact that he typically punctuates his snarks with incredibly devastating attacks.
  • Roger Smith from The Big O is well-behaved, but otherwise fits this trope perfectly. He may be too smooth to say how stupid people are being, but you can see it in his facial expressions.
  • Kazuya Shibuya from Ghost Hunt. Mai believes that he's so incredibly full of himself that she starts calling him "Naru" (shorthand for "narcissist") after she first meets him.
  • Naoki Shinjyo in Future GPX Cyber Formula. He's The Ace, and he's also moody and a jerk at first (especially when Kyoko makes a separate team for Aoi). He softens up in the later OVAs, but it still shows up on occasion.
  • Barnaby Brooks Jr. from Tiger & Bunny graduates at the top of his class before entering the public eye with a bang, rises through the ranks of superheroes in a very short period of time, attracts fans and admirers wherever he goes. And he is in private a kind of a standoffish jerk. He eventually gets better, though.
  • Ranma : In the manga, Ranma Saotome. Although he's an Insufferable Genius and a Deadpan Snarker, he's also one of the most optimistic people in the cast. So much so that when he tries to learn an attack based on depression, he fails because he's just too much of a happy person. In essence, he fulfils both the optimistic Hero role and the sarcastic, untrusting Lancer role.
    Shampoo: This present for Ranma!
    Ranma: *looks at the oversized bell she's giving him* Just what I wanted. A huge metal acorn.

    Comicbooks 
  • Doctor Strange: Doctor Strange at least in his backstory as Stephen Strange M.D., accomplished young neurosurgeon who was Dr. Jerk and thought only of himself.

    Films Animated 

    Films Live Action 
  • Septimus from Stardust. He's tall, dark, a skilled assassin, and thinks he is surrounded by idiots. He's played by Mark Strong
  • This trope applies to nearly every character ever played by Alan Rickman, villainous or heroic, unless he's trying very hard to play against type. This may account for much of the aforementioned Draco in Leather Pants directed at Snape from Harry Potter series.
  • X-Men:
    Pyro: Nice helmet.
    Juggernaut: Keeps my face pretty.

    Literature 
  • Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, the Trope Codifier. He's tall and very attractive but intimidating, reserved and disagreeable. However, close reading proves that he actually smiles a lot throughout the novel, and of course, Elizabeth's lively character improves his manners.
  • Vidia from the Disney Fairies series is a female example. The fastest of the Fast Flying fairies, her condescending attitude toward everyone else drives them away, which is usually just the way she likes it.
  • Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights has very dark physical features and he's capable to charm ladies easily. He counts as a Deconstruction since he lacks the heart of gold and "redemption by the love of a good woman" typically associated with the character.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Jeeves is quieter and less outwardly arrogant than typical examples, but he's The Ace and a Servile Snarker. Bertie and his Upper-Class Twit friends worship the ground he walks on. In the TV series, he's even more overtly snarky.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Angel. He's overall moody and brooding but has frequently shown a dark sarcasm and taunting, snarky behavior to those he disliked.
  • Blake's 7: Kerr Avon. Not so big on the tall part, especially when compared with the likes of Blake or Gan, but he makes up for it with a triple helping of snark.
  • The Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who is by a long way the tallest and deepest-voiced Doctor, 6'4" even without the huge amount of dark Messy Hair and his usual habit of wearing high-heeled riding boots, and a character influenced by Gothic Horror heroes and the bohemian subculture of the late Victorian era. He is casually condescending and mendacious to his friends (his companion Harry gets the worst of this, but Leela was also constantly reminded how small and worthless her tiny little brain was compared to his) and delivering it all either offhandedly as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, or with a huge, adorable Cheshire Cat Grin. He's also probably the most sarcastic Doctor of the lot, due to how resigned he is to everyone else's perceived stupidity. Both these traits were also adopted by the Ninth Doctor, who does it just the same but with a lot more Angst, and fitting the trope archetype better.
  • Game of Thrones: Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) fits the description mentally, if not the name and by his appearance, being both extremely short, as a dwarf, and blonde, as a Lannister, but he has a very captivating, snarky personality.
  • Horatio Hornblower:
    • Sir Edward Pellew is an ace of a captain (later an ace of an admiral), and he's generally very much respected and admired. He's not arrogant, though, but he loves dry humour and mercilessly teases and chews out his crew. Priceless moments come when his favourite Sarcasm-Blind midshipman/ lieutenant/ captain Horatio does not get his snarky remarks and it takes him forever to figure out that Pellew is joking.
    • Mr Bush (appeared in Series Two and Three) is a fine specimen of Tall, Dark and Handsome, but his lines involve a fair share of snarky remarks and sneering comments. He can appear intimidating especially to young officers, such as midshipmen Hammond and Orrock.
  • House: Dr. Gregory House. Almost all women in the show want him at some point. He can't bear idiots. He's got the nice, cheerful friend too, in Dr. Wilson, who tries to teach him humanity and caring.
  • Kamen Rider Kabuto: Tendou Souji is superhumanly skilled and superhumanly arrogant. But he's the main character, so we're presumably supposed to like him.
  • Mash: Hawkeye Pierce is a brilliant surgeon, charming and very good-looking, and he seduces women extremely easily. Younger characters look up to him and envy him — which is shown especially with Radar. However, he's pretty messed-up and drinks heavily. He deals with the war and all the killed and badly injured kids he encounters by being a Stepford Snarker.
  • Merlin: The titular wizard is no longer a wizened old man with a beard, but an adorable young man with cheekbones to rival Sherlock's.
  • Revolution: Miles Matheson. He seems taller than most of the characters, he is dark-haired, and most of his sentences are aimed at snarking at the current state of affairs. Then again, he has been a soldier practically his entire life, and he has little patience with people who just don't seem to listen to his mostly sound advice.
  • Sanctuary: Nikola Tesla is quite good looking and never hesitates to remind everyone that he's a genius and they're not.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Has Damon. He has a sarcastic personality. Much of his sarcasm is often used as a defense mechanism used in order to keep people at a distance.

    Theatre 

  • Elphaba Thropp from Wicked, despite what people think with her green skin, is actually quite attractive and gets some admirers from her fans, and even in universe. But she is also very silver tongued and will be quick to point out someone's flaws in a usually snarky way. Even more so in in the Broadway production, where she made this into one of her favorite pastimes with her friend G(a)linda and other characters.
    Galinda and Elphaba: Yes there has been some confusion/for you see, my roommate is...
    Galinda: Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe
    Elphaba: (in a very blunt tone) Blonde.
  • The titular character from Brand by Henrik Ibsen, is described as a man with black, straight hair, and is a Snark Knight if ever there was one. He also has an impressive effect on his fellow men.
  • In the 2013 West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka qualifies when the icy side of his Sugar and Ice Personality is in play — eccentric he may be, but he's also elegant, commanding, impatient, and obsessed with punctuality. (The sugary side of his personality, artistic, childlike, and wonder-filled, is the source of his Hidden Depths.) He also has black hair, which corresponds to his description in the source novel but often is dropped in other adaptations. Early in Act One, when Charlie's grandparents are recounting the legends of Mr. Wonka, Grandma Josephine actually declares that he "has a sex appeal what makes me feel young!" suggesting that before he became a recluse, he even had female admirers.

    Video Games 
  • Gannayev-of-Dreams from the expansion, although mostly white haired, would also fit, and he improves on it by being the only pretty hagspawn in the entire game. Snarking with/at him is the best way to gain influence.
  • Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss is the king of Snarking; friends, enemies, and random people on the street are not above his Whips of Wit!
  • Advocat from Grim Grimoire, a devil of a teacher who charms the female students and makes snide comments at almost every opportunity. And yes, he's one of the good guys. It should be noted that while he tried many times to charm Amoretta, he failed every time. Since she's an Artificial Human Human, it's not all that surprising.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and its sequel:
    • Shinon. He's very, VERY snarky and somewhat racist as well, but not necessarily evil.
    • Soren is rather short, but otherwise plays this trope perfectly. Despite his grating nature, he is nonetheless highly valued by his companions due to his brilliant mind.
  • Garret, from Thief. Kind of tall, dark for sure, and all kinds of snarky. No matter who he's dealing with, he has a witty line to deliver.
  • While King Graham of King's Quest could also qualify as as straight up Tall, Dark and Handsome, especially in his younger days, he can get incredibly bitingly snarky whenever dealing with someone who rubs him the wrong way.
  • This is one of the main reasons Bishop from Neverwinter Nights 2, a Chaotic Evil ranger, gets the Leather Pants treatment: he's ruggedly handsome and hilariously sarcastic.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • Kyo Kusanagi is "only" 6'0 (182 cms) tall, but he deals the snark quite nicely in his XIII pre-match dialogues.
    Kim: "Kyo! Just look at my new disciples! They are trying to gain new lives through martial arts! How about it? Don't you feel like joining them at my dojo and working up a good sweat?"
    Kyo: "I don't think those guys are fooling anyone but you, man."
    • His rival Iori Yagami is of the deadly variety:
    Iori: Do you know what's going to happen, woman?
    King: What? Without your flames, your all talk.
    Iori: Excellent! Then you know you're going to die!

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Freelancer York fits this in Red vs. Blue. Incredibly good-looking, very good at what he does, and every other word out of his mouth is in the form of snarkily commenting on other people's quirks and flaws. Oddly he's still a Nice Guy, as he frequently delivers the snark in a manner that suggests he's more affectionately teasing than actually trying to be mean.

    Webcomics 
  • Girl Genius's Ardsley Wooster is increasingly this trope, what with being tall, dark, British, the Servile Snarker as Gil's manservant, and spy for Her Undying Majesty's British government, prone to Bad Ass stunts like foiling Dolokov's plan to sway the Jaegergenerals and departing with a Bond One-Liner. Out the window of an airship.
  • Zombie from Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name counts. He's one of the tallest of the cast, a gentle but still pronounced snarker, and not too bad-looking for a green-skinned reanimated corpse. Especially in his living form.

    Web Originals 
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Mr Rochester is Tall, Dark, Brooding and Mysterious. He is well-built, has tanned complexion, dark hair, Perma Stubble and intriguing tattoos. He's bossy and almost rude, but can be also nice and almost sweet when he's grateful or in good mood. He's full of contradictions, and it's really hard to know when he's serious and when he deadpans and snarks.
  • Tim from Marble Hornets becomes increasingly snarky throughout season 3, even engaging in the occasional Snark-to-Snark Combat with Jay. His distrust and irritability, however, are perfectly justifiable.
  • Oblivion from Shadowhunter Peril is a villanous example. It was more apparent when he briefly joined the Resistance as he would constantly made snide comments to EVERYONE, and use his powers on them without warning for his own amusement. He is also incredibly attractive, and always clad in black. He has Red Eyes, Take Warning, except they don't stop his fangirls. And the fact that he is now a villain just makes him more of a Draco in Leather Pants. His foil is Umbra—to an extent. Both of them have blonde hair and dress in black, and both are tall and muscular, but whereas Oblivion is selfish, consumed by anger, and is incapable of loving, Umbra can open his heart to anyone, and he cares more about others than himself.

    Western Animation 
  • Mai from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Tall? Can look at her also Tall, Dark and Snarky boyfriend in the eye. Dark? She has beautiful shiny black hair and more often than not wears dark-colored dresses. Snarky? Oh yes, she is.
  • Mako and his ex-girlfriend Asami Sato, from The Legend of Korra. In season 2, this snarkiness seems to carry over into Mako's job as a cop as well.
    Mako: "Looks like you had some car trouble. Good thing the police are here."

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