It's just that sometimes you judge people's behavior by a pretty rigid set of standards. Not everyone can live up to them. Daria:
That's what's wrong with the world. Helen:
Not even you
live up to them all the time.
This character has a world-weary disdain for everyone
, themselves included. They typically suffer from a healthy dose of Intelligence Equals Isolation
, and are the type to stand aside at parties and quietly drink beer while making biting quips
about the idiocy that surrounds them
To the "herd followers" they deprecate, this makes them a mild Jerkass
. The sympathetic see their antisocial behavior as a sort of personal crusade against idiocy. The Alpha Bitch
and Jerk Jock
are their mortal enemies. If they have any positive interaction with the Big Man on Campus
, then they are a Cool Loser
, teaching him not to be a self-satisfied twit while he teaches them to be less haughty and smile a little.
One key element that differentiates the Snark Knight from a Deadpan Snarker
is that a Snark Knight holds themselves to their own impossibly high standards. Sometimes the Snark Knight ends up as a Sidekick
or one third of a Power Trio
with the main protagonist, providing the role of the cynical commentator and Meta Guy
. Expect less personal Angst
and more Plucky Comic Relief
in these cases.
This is a subtrope of Deadpan Snarker
. It's also related to Knight in Sour Armor
and Cool Loser
. Contrast Loners Are Freaks
. Often the opposite of the Stepford Smiler
; if their sarcasm is revealed to be a similar mask, they're a Stepford Snarker
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Anime & Manga
- In the anime Ouran High School Host Club, the Host Club quickly gets rid of Haruhi's bookworm look to become a Bifauxnen, but she still acts as The Snark Knight in the show.
- England in Axis Powers Hetalia fits this trope to a T. Though the part about 'quietly' drinking his beer is...arguable.
- Chisame of Mahou Sensei Negima!, though her snarks don't tend to have as much power over the other characters as those of some other Snark Knights on this list.
- Ayase of Midori no Hibi, which she has to overcome for her to truly love Seiji.
- Haruhi Suzumiya: Kyon is this trope in spades. Most of his dialogue revolves around him being snarking over how the world literally revolves around Haruhi's whims.
- Miyako of Private Prince sometimes come across as this.
- Haruko Hasegawa of Moyashimon is a dedicated microbiology postgrad with an acid tongue. She delivers a lecture on the validity of "sterilising" products when she sees Oikawa's compulsive disinfecting. Sawaki's supernatural ability to see and interact with (to him) cute microbes triggers a minor meltdown.
- In ...Virgin Love, Kaoru's default mode is disdain, which includes disdain for himself whenever he fails to live up to his own standards.
- Bleach: Ryuuken Ishida appears to be a bitterly sarcastic individual who is hypercritical of his son's desire and ability to be a Quincy, causing the pair to dissolve into Snark-to-Snark Combat whenever they're in the same room together. Isshin Kurosaki, who knows Ryuuken's secret, implies that Ryuuken is trying to help his son in some very specific way. Flashbacks revealing the beginning of Ryuuken's problems with Quincies show no-one in the world is a harsher critic of Ryuuken than Ryuuken himself. He's clearly a Stepford Snarker, but the link between the start of his problems and his current situation has yet to be fully revealed.
- Gert Yorkes of Runaways.
- Enid Coleslaw (and possibly Rebecca Doppelmeyer) from Ghost World.
- Kim Pine ruthlessly snarks about everything in both the comic and film version of Scott Pilgrim. Julie as well, before being Flanderized into a Jerkass.
- Wolverine is this in spades often. Wolvie, for the longest time, rivaled the Incredible Hulk for "angriest character" in Marvel; he would make snarky or snide remarks to just about everyone, though he does have a soft spot for kids, and generally got angry at the drop of the hat. But the person he hates the most, is himself. It's been suggested that one of the biggest reasons he hates Sabretooth so deeply is because he sees too much of himself in Victor - what Wolverine himself could become if he lost all his morals and let "The Animal" take over.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- Kat Stratford from 10 Things I Hate About You. Or in her words..
"I'm not hostile, I'm annoyed."
- Juno, who seems to get snarkier as her pregnancy goes along.
- Wednesday Addams, in The Addams Family films. Complete with a never-changing expression and a taste for sadism.
- Veronica Sawyer in Heathers, to a certain degree. It seems the uncool kids, like Betty Finn and Martha Dumptruck, manage to get the nicer ends of her Main/Kuudere act. Everyone else is fair game.
- Janis Ian from Mean Girls. No one is safe from her razor sharp snark, except maybe her BFF Damien.
- Denise Fleming in Can't Hardly Wait.
- Agnes in Fucking Åmål.
- Brigitte and Ginger Fitzgerald from the Ginger Snaps trilogy.
- Enid and Rebecca (mainly Enid) from Ghost World.
- Kim Pine from Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Almost everything she says is an insult, mostly to Scott. Even her facial expressions are snarky.
- Tyler Durden in Fight Club.
- Alfred Pennyworth in Batman Returns
- Spider-Man Trilogy: While not making as many jokes as other versions of the character, he does make a few in each movie at his opponents' expense.
- Obi-Wan Kenobi from Star Wars is a Jedi Snark-Knight, especially when he was younger.
Obi-Wan: I was beginning to wonder whether you'd got my message.
Anakin: We transmitted the message to Coruscant like you requested. Then we decided to come and rescue you.
Obi-Wan: (looking at the chains around their wrists while awaiting their public execution) Good job.
- Suki in The Scribbler has suffered from Split Personality syndrome her entire life. As a result, when she's in "normal" mode, she pretty much runs on non-stop sarcasm. This does not endear her to the detective and police psychiatrist grilling her about a series of suspicious deaths at her high-rise halfway house.
- Joy Gresham in Shadowlands is this, although she softens a little over the course of the film.
Douglas: [Reading CS Lewis's inscription in his book] "The magic never ends."
Joy: Well, if it does, sue him.
- The detective from Put The Sepia On lives off of this. A couple of his supporting cast members do, too.
- Dagny Taggart in Atlas Shrugged.
- Valkyrie Cain in Skulduggery Pleasant. Overlaps with Little Miss Snarker.
- Lily in The Princess Diaries (not as much so in the movies).
Moist: You think he's cynical?
Adora: Yes. As you suspect, that’s practically a professional opinion.
- Thalia from Percy Jackson and the Olympians.
- Melinda Sordino from Speak.
- Bastille from Alcatraz and the Evil Librarians is, in fact, a knight. With snark.
- Greg Heffley from the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series would qualify as a male Snark Knight, if not for the fact that he usually doesn't hold himself to his own standards. Heck, he even says that his only New Year's resolution is to come up with resolutions for other people, since he's the best person he knows.
- Takeshi Kovacs often adopts a Snark Knight-like act when feeling particularly cynical; deep down, though, he's a Knight in Sour Armor.
- Bernice Summerfield in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
Doctor: You're a cynic.
Benny: No, I'm an idealist who's been wrong one too many times.
- Christina Light in Henry James's first novel Roderick Hudson. Speaking to Rowland Mallet, she says:
"I am a strange girl. To begin with, I am frightfully egotistical. Don't flatter yourself you have said anything very clever if you ever take it into your head to tell me so... I am tired to death of myself; I would give all I possess to get out of myself; but somehow, at the end, I find myself so vastly more interesting than nine tenths of the people I meet."
- Dominil finds herself firmly in Snark Knight territory in Curse of the Wolfgirl. Daniel likes to think of himself as one, but he is too firmly mired in the chaos to be one.
- The unnamed author in "Sideshow", and Other Stories by Thomas Ligotti.
- 'Pilsner' in the Redfern Barrett sci-fi Forget Yourself fits the bill, and as a result is strongly disliked by the central character.
- Marvin the Paranoid Android of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- Will the protagonist and narrator of The Lords of Discipline.
- Will Herondale from "The Infernal Devices", is never not snarky.
- Pride and Prejudice has Mr. Bennet and his favorite daughter Elizabeth. Mr. Bennet deals with his ill-matched marriage by constantly Trolling his wife and laughing at his younger daughters, but when he realizes that this form of Parental Neglect contributed to Lydia's near-disgrace and Shotgun Wedding with Wickham, he admits and mocks his own folly. Elizabeth as well; she's bitterly amused by the irony of regretting the loss of Darcy when a few months ago she would have rejoiced to have him gone from her life.
- Darlene Conner from Roseanne.
- In Babylon 5, Londo's first wife Timov falls into this. Even though she's constantly (and justifiably) berating him, he chooses to keep her over all his other wives. He's suspicious of all flattery, but he knows her contempt is genuine.
- Parks and Recreation
- April Ludgate the college intern is another prime example. Season 2 has April starting to get over it, though, beginning to distance herself from her irony-loving friends and getting more involved in the department. She still provides a healthy dose of snark, particularly towards Jerry, the office Butt Monkey.
- April's sister Natalie.
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
- Odo started this way.
- Major (later Colonel) Kira Nerys was the heavy-handed embodiment of this trope, just like Ro Laren before her. Almost to a "Can't Argue With Bajorans" extent. The role was originally written to be Ro Laren, as was the character B'Elanna Torres in Star Trek: Voyager.
- Jaye Tyler of Wonderfalls.
- Claire Fisher on Six Feet Under.
- Georgia Lass of Dead Like Me.
- Veronica Mars: Veronica takes this role but unlike most, only after she's been pushed into it by her ostracization for standing by her father. Note her moral principles fall into a sense of justice and not letting the wealthy get away with crimes but she's loose on using deception to get her way. Such is the way of most Private Detective characters.
- Troubled, but Cute Logan also falls under this trope, especially after he and Veronica get back together on season 2.
- 3rd Rock from the Sun
- August Leffler, Tommy's ex. August either went through character decay (or development; as a teenager, such a change in personality isn't unrealistic), becoming rather hypocritical and just liking to look down at everyone. Her initial apperance portrayed her as a more well-adjusted and pleasent person (At least, as well adjusted as The Snark Knight can get).
- Tommy himself could be considered a male Snark Knight, although to a much lesser degree than August.
- Kerry from 8 Simple Rules usually fits, though it can depend on the episode.
- Naomi from the second generation of Skins characters; arguably Jal has flashes of this in the first two seasons too.
- The season 3 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Earshot" has a character like this named Freddy Iverson.
- House. If House weren't a genius diagnostician, he'd fall into Loners Are Freaks territory.
- Kat Warbler from the short-lived sitcom The Class.
"I'd rather have a bitter cake."
"You ARE a bitter cake."
- In Torchwood, Owen is a textbook example.
- Degrassi rotates this trope around through the years. Ellie is the first notable example during her goth years, Jimmy gains this along with Disabled Snarker title, Clare being the latest holder of this title.
- Toby Ziegler from The West Wing — he's accurately described as "prickly" and "sad, angry and not warm," and he has a uniquely tense relationship with the president due to his constant frustration and disappointment at Bartlet's failure to fully live up to his genius, and his willingness to voice them.
- Ashley Jeurgens from The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
- Doctor Who: The Doctor has a very dark and twisted version of this in the Dream Lord, from Amy's Choice. Even as he traps the heroes in a dream and toys with them, he snipes at all of their character flaws, with particular venom reserved for the Doctor. He's actually an extension of the Doctor's psyche, particularly his darkness and self-loathing, which qualifies him for this trope.
- Dan from Nathan Barley is a Deconstruction of the trope, penned by Charlie Brooker (himself arguably a Real Life example). He's a caustic depressive who writes withering articles about "the idiots" (who themselves respect him as "the Preacher Man"), growing more and more cutting and vicious as he falls in with them. However, when he's offered a job for a more reputable magazine, he realises he cannot write anything but cheap sarcasm, and it's hinted that his self-deprecation forms a self-destructive cycle; the show offers him plenty of get-outs, but he never ends up taking them.
- DS Barbara Havers of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. That poor, dear girl.
- Stargate SG-1: Daniel Jackson, especially in later seasons. If you had a backstory like his, you would be too.
- Malcolm from Malcolm in the Middle takes the cake. Always, always snidely fuming at everyone and everything. A couple episodes try to tackle this directly (with him trying to suppress his desire to grumble and condescend for various reasons) but ends up blowing up in his face (he gave himself an ulcer once by swallowing down too much snark).
- Ryan King (played by Matthew Perry on Go On) is definitely a big example. He also is something of a Stepford Snarker.
- Roxie from the later seasons of Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
- Athos from the BBC's version of The Musketeers is another potential poster boy for this trope.
Athos: If you'd told us what you were doing, we might have been able to plan this properly.
Aramis: Yes, sorry.
Athos: No, no, let's keep it suicidal.
- Maia from Girl Meets World combines this with thanks to Parental Abandonment by her father. This makes her one of the darker characters you're likely to find on the Disney Channel and occasionally a walking example of Tear Jerker.
- Squall Leonhart of Final Fantasy VIII. He's aloof, unfriendly, and periodically quite snarky, and if anything holds more disdain for himself than he does for others, mostly expressed via Inner Monologue.
- Although there is never exactly one interpretation of a Touhou character, Patchouli Knowledge is usually portrayed as a Snark Knight. The games show her as completely deadpan and cynical (especially in her lines regarding Sakuya in Subterranean Animism or Immaterial and Missing Power), but nevertheless a good and caring friend of Remilia, and fanon often shows her as having a crush on Marisa.
- Jacqli of Ar tonelico at first appears to be a Jerkass willing to betray anyone to accomplish her mysterious goals, and bitingly sarcastic towards everyone, especially the protagonist (also a Deadpan Snarker) but over time, as she comes to trust the heroes, she reveals her goals truly are noble that are simply hidden behind a hostile exterior because she is embarrassed to be working towards such goals, and distrustful of others.
- Shadow the Hedgehog from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He's got goals, generally involving being the best (just like Sonic, which is why they clash so often). And he prefers to fulfill these goals on his lonesome. His only real friend is the robot E-123 Omega.
- Bully's Jimmy Hopkins serves as a slight subversion of this trope. He understands how crooked the school system can be with the various cliques and corrupted officials. He starts off the game as simply wanting to be left alone, but eventually transforms more into a Knight in Sour Armor.
- This is an option in the Mystery Case Files PC game Dire Grove. On the main menu, you can toggle whether you want the Player Character's internal monologues to be Normal, Motivational, or Snarky. This is also an option in the next game in the series, 13th Skull.
- Kendall Flowers from don't take it personally babe, it just ain't your story, which provides a sharp contrast to Charlotte, who is as intelligent as her girlfriend, but actually cares about school/people in general.
- Mahk in I Miss the Sunrise. He is an Insufferable Genius who practically radiates an aura of disdain for everything around him.
- Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss fits this trope, mixed with Stepford Snarker. He snarks at everyone, especially himself, in part to help him cope with his Lack of Empathy and his guilt over his youthful indiscretions.
- Another Tales example, Yuri Lowell seems to have a sarcastic quip for just about any situation.
- Ange Ushiromiya in Umineko no Naku Koro ni can do nothing but snark, as throughout the story she's stuck in the role of observer/investigator. Most of this is a defense mechanism against a world that has hurt her, and she expects to hurt her more. Even as a child she had a bit of a smart mouth (though not to the extent of a Little Miss Snarker.) In the 'Trick' ending, she embraces her cynicism along with everything she's learned from Rokkenjima to take on the 'Knight' aspect.
- Red vs. Blue: This is Church. He even crosses into outright (attempts at) heroism sometimes, but never ceases pointing out how stupid everyone around him is, especially Caboose. He also has a strange sort of enduring optimism, in that he can be compelled to genuinely try to help people he likes. Washington from Reconstruction almost fits too, but...
- John Adams and his son, John Quincy Adams, both fit this trope to a T. Considering that both were believed to struggle with depression in addition to Intelligence Equals Isolation, this makes sense.
- Dorothy Parker qualified, at least during her Vicious Circle period. Snarky, sour, misanthropic, cynical, self-flagellating... even if she did seem to have great sympathy for the Virgin Mary.
- Alfred Hitchcock seems to be this in his television persona.
- The late author Christopher Hitchens.
- The years since the break-up of The Beatles and especially since his murder have revealed John Lennon to be an example of this.
- American feminist writer Camille Paglia, especially as regards other feminists.
- Ayn Rand, though minus the self-loathing.
- Britain is perceived as this by the rest of the world.
- But they're known for Self-Deprecating Humor and charm along with their wit. The French, however, are not.
- Philip, Duke of Edinburgh is the literal Snark Knight.
- George Carlin.
- Florence King. What else can you call someone who's magazine column was titled "The Misanthrope's Corner" and whose book titles include "With Charity Towards None"