troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
The Snark Knight
Helen: 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.
Daria, "Monster"

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.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    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.

    Comic Books 
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • Rin in the English dub of Spirited Away.
  • Megara from Disney's Hercules. She later becomes a Defrosting Ice Queen. She's also voiced by the same actress who does Rin (see above) in the English dub of Spirited Away. Coincidence? We think not.
    • Hades is an interesting example, as his aromor of snark goes hand in hand with his Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon is a male example, taking advantage of his position at the bottom of the pecking order to dish out some beautiful snark.
    Hiccup: Thanks for nothing, you useless reptile.

    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.

    Literature 
  • 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).
  • Discworld
    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.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
    • Truobled 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.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • 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...

    Web Comics 
  • Aggie of Penny and Aggie starts off this way. Early storylines see her standing on the sidelines and aiming sarcastic comments and the occasional prank at popular girl Penny for her apparent superficiality and snobbery, in contrast to Aggie's espoused (though not always upheld) progressive values. She's also initially something of a loner with only one friend, the bookwormish Duane. Eventually, she develops a wider circle of friends, including Penny herself.
  • Faye from Questionable Content, big time.
  • Beth from Better Days is portrayed this way, not in the comic itself, but in the first couple pages of the pornfolio "Beth's Night In".
  • Half the cast of Something Positive, Davan especially.
  • Susan/Tiffany Pompoms from El Goonish Shive.
  • Tristan of Angel Moxie. A pretty cynical youth — especially of anything she perceives as "girly", thanks to her extreme tomboyishness. Her mother is utterly desperate for Tristan to display even average teenage behavior.
  • Haley Starshine of The Order of the Stick surely isn't one... but, on the other hand, her brain is hosting "Mistress Shadowgale", a.k.a the imaginary personification of her self-loathing, which certainly has several levels of Snark Knight.
    Haley: You look like I did as a teenager.
    Mistress Shadowgale: How else would you expect your self-loathing to look?
    Haley: Good point.
  • The main idea behind this is explained in a comic of Rock Paper Cynic.
  • Homestuck
    • Karkat hates everyone, including himself. (At one point he thought he was his own hate-soulmate. It's a troll thing.) He insults everyone mercilessly, again including himself. His ability to rag on himself is aided by the time travel tomfoolery that all the trolls are up to their bulge in; he constantly gets into arguments with his past/future self. He also happens to be the Knight of Blood. Despite his bluster it's worth listening to him, as Karkat has a good measure of people and can point out their flaws accurately.
    • Rose. Pretty much 90%+ of everything she says is sarcastic, either playfully so or biting. Part of this comes from a childhood of passive-aggressive antagonism with her mother — except even that may have been one-sided and an illusion caused by Rose viewing her attempts to bond through Jade-Colored Glasses.
    • To a lesser extent, Dave. He holds up a cool facade to pretty much everything, mocking everything and everyone he comes across, but when push comes to shove he's actually pretty insecure about his own abilities, especially compared with people he considers heroes like his Bro or John.
  • Tycho from Penny Arcade is frequently shown to be like this.
  • Counselor Charles from Camp Calomine.
  • In Unsounded, Duane exhibits this in spades.
  • Sarna in Errant Story follows this trope all the way to her death.
  • In Schlock Mercenary Major Murtaugh from Sanctum Adroit is like this, as well as her boss (No Name Given).

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Daria: Daria Morgendorffer. Formerly a minor character on Beavis and Butt-Head, her derisive comments on the stupidity of the title characters made her popular enough with the fans' own sense of teenage world-weariness that she got her own show. She used to be the Trope Namer.
  • The Simpsons. Lisa Simpson alternates between this and Soapbox Sadie, depending on the episode.
  • Sam(antha) from Danny Phantom. Also alternates between this and Soapbox Sadie.
  • Raven from Teen Titans (not so much in the comic).
    Raven: This party is pointless.
  • Mandy from The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, also with Heroic Comedic Sociopath elements.
  • Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice.
  • Cassandra from the Hercules TV series, even more so than Megara.
  • South Park
    • Kyle can be another male example.
    • Craig also qualifies, perhaps moreso. Snarking makes up the majority of his dialogue, especially in "Pandemic".
    Craig: This is fun. Let's walk for miles through a spooky jungle. It just keeps getting better and better.
    • Stan himself is also a great example.
  • Nikki from 6teen is her group's version of the Snark Knight.
  • June from KaBlam! sometimes fell into this trope.
  • Total Drama
    • Noah definitely falls into this category, since that was his only distinctive trait in season one, with Duncan coming in at a close second. Now that it's been 3 seasons, Noah's fleshed out more, but is still definitely a snarker when he wants to be.
    • Gwen also qualifies, especially in the first season.
  • Brendon Small of Home Movies comes close. His ruthless self-criticism applies only to filmmaking, not any other aspect of his... uh, does Brendon have a life?
  • Mai of Avatar: The Last Airbender, without question. She derides everyone and everything, declaring that even Victory Is Boring. Though she defrosts somewhat around Zuko.
  • If anything, the animated version of Obi-Wan Kenobi is even snarkier.

    Real Life 


Snark BallOh Great, a Snark IndexSnark-to-Snark Combat
Small Secluded WorldIntroversion TropesThe Spock
High School HustlerPopularity Food ChainScholarship Student
Sleazy PoliticianStock CharactersSouthern Belle
Shrinking VioletIndex with a Heart of GoldStern Teacher
Rich BitchIce QueenSugar and Ice Personality
Smoking Hot SexJust for PunSocial Semi-Circle
Voluntary ShapeshiftingThe TricksterThe Spook
Mysterious WomanFilm NoirAlways Night

alternative title(s): Snark Knight
random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
78151
6