Well, Excuse Me, Princess!

"Why must everything you say to me sound like a criticism?"
Robin Hood to Marian, BBC's Robin Hood

Snarky loser hero meets snarky haughty heroine. They either fall in love, or they snark. Usually both.

This is essentially a satire of the standard Magical Girlfriend, which describes a beautiful, classy, good-mannered, loyal girl - the logical result being she should be somewhat critical of her loser boyfriend. She makes no attempt to ignore the fact that he is the Loser Guy, and frequently calls him on it, criticizes him, and rarely if ever fawns over him like some Fangirl. She expects better from him and pushes him to improve, while still expecting to be taken care of. However, the guy usually takes it in stride, mocks her in return, or just says, well...

Expect a generous helping of Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moments, to let the audience know why they should be supporting this couple. The idea is that the snarky loser will help the princess loosen up and be friendlier, while the princess constantly holding the loser to a higher standard will eventually make him improve himself. Often appears in Love Comedies, depending on how satirical the story is.

See also Tsundere. Related to Belligerent Sexual Tension. Compare/Contrast Surrounded by Idiots.

If it involves an actual Princess Princess, see Royal Brat. The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask can make similar demands.

The trope name comes from the old The Legend of Zelda cartoon, where Link would quite often retort to Zelda's nagging with those words note .


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Lum from Urusei Yatsura is the Trope Codifier for this character type in anime and manga.
  • Princess/Queen Mashiro Blan de Windbloom from Mai-Otome starts as this character type, but matures and reforms over the course of the series. Partially gender flipped, since the "loser guy" in her case is The Heroine, Arika Yumemiya.
  • Ermengarde's relationship with Dickon in Soukou no Strain.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion: Asuka Langley Sohryu to Shinji. She would have been if the series...hadn't gone the way it did. She become this in many of the spinoff alternate universe manga.
  • Narusegawa Naru in Love Hina to her on-off boyfriend Urashima Keitaro.
  • Shinku in Rozen Maiden, partly because she believes Jun is her servant, partly because she has the attitude of an Ojou and Jun is a Hikikomori.
  • Male example: Keigo Atobe from The Prince of Tennis.
  • Ai Amano of Video Girl Ai twists this trope in that she wasn't supposed to be the girlfriend, but fell for the lovable loser she was trying to improve.
  • Anna Kyouyama from Shaman King.
  • The Goddess Pandora, the "heroine" of the manga Because I'M the Goddess!, has that kind of attitude in her dealings with Aoi.
  • Nagi and Princess Arika in Mahou Sensei Negima!, with some serious slaps thrown in for his uppitiness. He was kind of asking for them.
  • Poor Asuka Tenjoin of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has to be like this if she wants to get respect from her universe of admirers and people trying to pimp her out as an Idol Singer.
  • William and Miyako in Private Prince genderflip this, as he is the prince and she's the commoner with low patience.
  • Louie and Melissa in Rune Soldier Louie, as Melissa constantly criticizes Louie and tries to turn him into a 'champion'.
  • This sums up Koji Kabuto and Maria Grace Fleed's relationship in UFO Robo Grendizer, which might be one of the (if not the) earliest examples in anime. Considering that Koji is being himself, Maria's behavior is understandable.
  • In Oregairu, its a notable element of the chemistry between Hachiman Hikigaya and Yukino Yukinoshita. Although compared to the average person, it's debatable if Hachiman is a loser. Still with Hachiman compared to Yukino this trope is likely to apply. Yukino is described as incredibly beautiful, a strong first academically and, in Hachiman's words (LN), the "epitome of nobility". On the other hand, Hachiman is described as having an unpleasant appearance, academically variable at best and socially awkward.
  • Sayoko from Tentai Senshi Sunred is the girlfriend of Sunred, an ex-sentai hero who's unemployed. Despite being the one of them not capable of punching holes in concrete and running at the speed of sound, she's the one who does everything around the house, owns their apartment and stationary, earns a steady paycheck, and (with her limited spare time) tries to get Sunred to apply himself.

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Film — Animated 
  • Dimitri and Anya in Anastasia.
  • Princess Eilonwy in the Disney animated version of The Black Cauldron, who patronizes Taran when she learns that he's not a warrior or a lord, but an Assistant Pig Keeper. When Taran pats himself on the back for enabling their castle escape, she takes him down a few notches by reminding him not only that her knowledge of the dungeon passageways allowed him to break out of there, but that Taran's magic sword did most of the work. She initially found him "fascinating" for being an Assistant Pig Keeper in the original Chronicles of Prydain because she had never met an Assistant Pig Keeper before. In fact, she held a persistently casual attitude towards most everything. Though there was an element of the stated trope present, she didn't judge him less for his station. Except when she is Brainwashed and Crazy.
  • Jasmine of Aladdin - however, this is completely dead by the third movie...she is very fawning in that one.
  • Tiana in The Princess and the Frog. True, Naveen is a lot more competent than he lets on - he's just lazy, which is enough to set a workaholic like her off.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Han Solo's initial relationship with Princess Leia in the Star Wars films.
  • Lone Star and Princess Vespa in the Star Wars parody Spaceballs.
  • Ham Salad says 'Well excuse me!' to Princess Anne-Droid in the '70s Star Wars parody Hardware Wars.
  • For a while after Star Wars, Harrison Ford was typecast for this kind of storyline. The number of movies with the premise "Harrison Ford is forced together with haughty woman and they hate each other but eventually fall in love" is considerable.
  • In The Princess Diaries 2, Mia and one of her suitor constantly bitch at each other. It's like they WANT to hate each other.
  • Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time with Dastan and Tamina since Dastan (as the adopted son of the King of Persia) should be higher ranked than Tamina (as princess of a smallish city state). Sure Dastan was born an urchin but after spending most of his life as a prince the interaction comes across as odd. He defers to her (when he's not selling her to bandits) because he's a gentleman, she's overbearing and holds a grudge because he is the main reason that Persia was able to conquer her small city-state. The overbearing attitude was more or less an act because she nearly escapes (and kills) Dastan because of it.
  • The Wizard: Corey and Haley follow this trope to the tee. He even compares her to Zelda (someone who always needs to be rescued and is the Trope Namer) and she takes that as sexist.

  • In David Eddings' Belgariad, this is Garion and Ce'Nedra's relationship condensed down to four words. Unsurprisingly, she's pissed when she finds out that he isn't just a farm boy, but the long-lost heir to the Rivan Throne and hereditary Overlord of the West... in other words, more royal than she is. Belgarion has the foresight to find a way to make them equal in status to preserve his own sanity after the marriage.
  • Josua and Vorzheva's relationship looks like this for most of the first and second books.
  • Aravis to Shasta in C. S. Lewis's The Horse and His Boy. This defines their relationship from the very beginning. Their first words to each other: "Why, you're only a girl." "And you're only a boy. A rude, common little boy. A slave probably who's stolen his master's horse!" The Lemony Narrator even jokes about this at the end, when he tells the readers that they continued to affectionately bicker and eventually decided to get married so they could continue to do so more conveniently.
  • The relationship between Taran and Eilonwy in The Chronicles of Prydain, although the series is peppered liberally with Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other moments, mitigating this somewhat.
  • The titular heroine of Daisy Miller:
    Winterbourne: I wish you would flirt with me, and me only.
    Daisy: Ah! thank you—thank you very much; you are the last man I should think of flirting with. As I have had the pleasure of informing you, you are too stiff.
    Winterbourne: You say that too often.
    Daisy: If I could have the sweet hope of making you angry, I should say it again.
  • Christine of The Phantom of the Opera (the original novel by Gaston Leroux) never lets Raoul push her around and has no problem telling him to mind his own business.
  • A sadder variant with Marguerite Blakeney and her husband, Lord Percy Blakeney, of The Scarlet Pimpernel fame. She fell in love with him and agreed to marry him despite his foppish ways because she could sense there was some depth there. But after their marriage, those depths have apparently evaporated, and she's married to a complete airhead whose most pressing concern is fashion. (Or so she thinks...) She doesn't hold him to a high standard anymore — she just mocks him openly to their friends. Percy doesn't fight back in his own defense, because he loves her, but does not trust her.
  • Carline in The Riftwar Cycle acts like this towards Pug, then later in the series, towards Laurie.
  • In the Discworld novel Mort, the titular character has this sort of relationship with Ysabel, Death's adopted daughter.
  • In Stardust Tristran and Yvaine start off like this. This is not exactly surprising given why she's stuck with him.
  • Faile tries to do this to Perrin in The Wheel of Time.
  • Kitai of the Codex Alera. She wanted to bond with a horse, and continues to remind Tavi at relatively regular intervals. She doesn't just look down at him for personal reasons, but also detests his species. She snarks it up with some of the best and, yes, they do eventually fall in love. She gets a Quip to Black to end out the series that doubles as this trope. It's also a mild genderflip: Tavi's royalty, Kitai's just the daughter of the head of one tribe, and her people's diplomat (appointed by Tavi).
  • Precious Stone is this to James Bond at the start of the Young Bond novel Hurricane Gold. But as the hardships that she and him have to endure accumulate, she gets better and becomes a valuable ally.
  • Arya of the Inheritance Cycle tries to do this to keep Eragon at bay, because even though he's an adult by human standards, by the standards of the semi-immortal Elves and Dragon Riders he's the youngest of kids. She's the child of the queen, groomed for leadership, her people's diplomat, a warrior, and he's a moonstruck fledgling rider who is their only hope and doesn't need the distraction. In retrospect, she's right and he's still finishing puberty.
  • Priscilla in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Narrative Poem "The Courtship of Miles Standish". Her snarky, "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" has even achieved meme status.
  • Canderous refers to Bastila specifically as "You spoiled little Jedi princess." Because of this, Canderous/Bastila is an ascended Crack Ship, popularized when a fanfic writer (who writes romance novels professionally) took a whack at it.
  • In The Underland Chronicles, Gregor seems to love mocking Luxa's stiff conduct and all that. Has some pretty funny moments.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the 2006 BBC Robin Hood series
    • Robin notes that everything Marian says to him sounds like a criticism.
    • Allan-a-Dale's priceless reaction to Kate snapping: "My NAME is KATE!" by way of an introduction. His expression qualifies.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Both of Xander Harris' girlfriends, Cordelia and Anya, had a strong tendency in this direction. By the time he's going with Anya, he's more competent at arguing back, and so the trope is lampshaded in dialogue.
  • Angel had more of Cordelia in this kind of relationship with Doyle. She soon gets enough Character Development to outgrow it.
  • Star Trek example: The Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed! For non-Trekkies, that's Lwaxana Troi, Deanna's mom. She marched around the Enterprise and Deep Space Nine like she owned the place, and looked awesome doing it. At least once per appearance, she would say her full title when letting some unfortunate schmo know who they were dealing with, in a way that would evoke the local equivalent of "Well, excuuuuse me, Princess!" if not for the diplomatic incident it would cause. She wanted to be Picard's Love Interest, but he wasn't interested... though she claims otherwise, and she would know. It's made all the more hilarious that Lwaxana was played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, and therefore literally owned the place (the idea, anyway).
    • Later appearances had her blow through the titles like she was sick of saying it, generally when she honestly expected people to not be impressed. Her introduction to a certain constable springs to mind...
    • Kaitama the First Monarch in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Precious Cargo". She starts off as a kidnapping victim Girl in a Box. When she is removed by Trip Tucker, she spends the episode being this to him while they escape from the kidnappers, leading to the inevitable squabbling, torn clothing, and passionate clinching.
  • Donna from That '70s Show.
  • Along with Belligerent Sexual Tension, Mal and Inara in Firefly play this straight and invert it, sometimes simultaneously.
  • Emma the "cause girl" from Degrassi The Next Generation is sarcastically called a princess at one point.
  • Lady Morgana from Merlin in the first series.
  • Penny from The Big Bang Theory.
  • Cheers: Diane often acts like this, much to Sam's chagrin. Most of their clashes tend to stem from Diane needling Sam for his Book Dumb status—and his typical predilection for women that Diane deems airheads/floozies.
    Diane: You're a rapidly aging adolescent!
    Sam: Well, I would rather be that than a snob!
    Diane: And I would rather be a snob.
    Sam: Well, good!—because you are!
  • This trope is explored in the iCarly episode "iDate Sam and Freddie".
  • Joey had this kind of relationship in an episode of Friends with his co-star in a play. After much snarking they realised they were attracted to each other, but after they had sex they realised the UST had been driving their performances in the play.
  • In Once Upon a Time, when Charming and Snow White get properly introduced for the first time, this is thrown around with abandon. Most of the time it's Gender Flipped, with Snow being the one who nicknames him "Charming".
  • Caleb and Hannah from Pretty Little Liars dynamic as a couple fit this trope at the beginning of their relationship. caleb even calls her princess. She thinks it's pretty hilarious.
  • In Gossip Girl, during their short-lived, but tumultuous romance arc Blair treats Dan Humphrey this way. Bonus points for her being an actual princess part of that time.


    Video Games 

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney: Phoenix Wright thinks this exact line (complete with a drawn-out "excuuuse") after one of Franziska von Karma's foolishly foolish lines for foolishly foolish fools. Given that the Ace Attorney series is laden with Shout Outs, this is probably another one.
  • In the DS game Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, in the kitchen when checking out one of the plates, Junpei says this line to Lotus complete with a drawn-out "excuuuuuuuse".
    Junpei: Those 9 plates look pretty expensive.
    Lotus: They're plates for appetizers. Remember appetizers usually come on square plates.
    Junpei: Okay, okay. Well excuuuuuuse me, princess.

    Web Animation 
  • An unusual reversal is found in Matt N Dusty. Mandy initially glances over greetings to Matt, but eventually joins him, Trey, and Parker Bradley in their circle of friends.


    Western Animation 
  • Link in The Legend of Zelda cartoon, in his most lackadaisical and loser guy iteration. Zelda was a good mix of both this and the Magical Girlfriend tropes.
  • Kim Possible attempting to fix best friend Ron Stoppable. Considering how pathetic he was through Season 1 and 2, she didn't go far enough.
    Kim: Last night he had to take off his shoes to count to 12; now he's taking a genius aptitude test.
  • Courtney and Duncan in Total Drama Island and Total Drama Action. Just how much of this they were was Depending on the Writer.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine was likely thinking this exact quote when Emily began trying to "advise" him in one episode. Then there was that time she took over Gordon's express and began throwing her weight around. Not to mention that one time when she visited an old castle and proclaimed her Queen Emily.
  • Mai of Avatar: The Last Airbender - Grey DeLisle (Azula) commented Mai had Zuko "totally whipped."
  • Also in Legend of Korra, Prince Wu and Mako fit this trope, with Wu as the loser boyfriend and Mako as the haughty heroine.
  • Defied beautifully in Daria, where most of the guys don't want to have any sort of relationship with her and they either didn't mind her snarkiness or didn't notice it. This was later justified as part of Daria's defenses against being emotionally hurt - she'd hit them, so they couldn't get close enough to get a chance to hurt her.
  • The Canadian series Stickin' Around has Bradley and Stacy involved in this, especially considering Bradley's air headed nature and Stacy's witty sensibility.
  • Princess Ilana and her bodyguard Lance in Sym-Bionic Titan.
  • While they aren't in a love relationship (remove the Shipping Goggles and you'll see it) Gwen Tennyson often would have this attitude toward her cousin Ben in the original Ben 10 series. This happens often in the sequels series.
  • Sonic Sat Am has Sonic the Hedgehog, a Smug Super with little patient and Princess Sally Acorn, the bossy tomboyish Dead Pan Snarker.