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Non-Action Snarker

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The tendency in fiction for a Non-Action Guy to also be a Deadpan Snarker. Often, a character who displays this trait is one of the few non-action-oriented characters in a show full of Action Girls and Big Guys. One possible explanation for this trope is that sarcasm is one way to show that a character is dissatisfied with his life, and of course no guy could be happy if he isn't MANLY enough. Another explanation might be that Non Action Guys tend to be geeks, and geeks tend to be snarky.

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This trope is more likely to be male than female. A non-action-oriented girl may get this treatment, but more likely she will be a more feminine character type, such as The Chick, The Fashionista, the Damsel in Distress, the Team Mom, or Moe.


Examples

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     Anime and Manga  

  • Ai Haibara from Detective Conan. In a series where most women are at least adept at some form of martial arts, she stands out as having very little means of self-defense.
  • Kyon, from Haruhi Suzumiya. The rest of the club fights in some form in some way, while he comments from the sidelines.
  • Chisame in Mahou Sensei Negima! is physically useless in combat; her abilities are completely tactical.
  • The elves in Berserk, being about the size of most people's palms, just stay back and make snarky comments when battle breaks out. Afterwards, though, they have uses.
  • Asuma from Patlabor.
  • Nenene from R.O.D the TV is basically made of this trope. Sarcasm is basically her superpower.
  • Yukiteru in the English dub of Future Diary, at least up until he decides to join the action towards the end.
    Yukki: [to Yuno, while trying to escape a Serial Killer] Oh, great idea. Being on the roof makes getting away a total cinch.
  • Yun in Yona of the Dawn. It comes from being a Team Mom and Only Sane Man surrounded by conspicuous danger magnets like a run-off Fallen Princess, her too-strong bodyguard, and four legendary dragon-humans, none of whom could survive without him.
    Kija: That's odd. He punched me.
    Yun: No, I would've punched you, too.

     Comic Books  

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     Fan Works 

     Film  

     Literature  

  • Fitz, from the Eighth Doctor Adventures novels, is a Deadpan Snarker and has been known to trip over his own feet. Shortly after he's introduced, he convinces an old woman that R.J. Tolkien named Frodo after a beggar woman in France with whom he had a child, as it bothered Fitz that she got Tolkien's name wrong. Fitz is not just a bit of a geek, but a skinny one, at that.
  • Rincewind qualifies; he's frequently snarky and definitely a Non-Action Guy, unless you count running away as an action.
    • There's also Ponder Stibbons, a snarky Hypercompetent Sidekick to the rest of the Unseen University faculty. Ironically, though still a Non-Action Guy by virtue of being a wizard, he's a lot more intellectually and organizationally active than the rest. In fact, by Unseen Academicals he says "I just pull my weight, like the rest of the faculty" in "a way that indicates the rest of the faculty had too much weight and not enough pull."
    • And, of course, Vetinari (who overlaps with Gentleman Snarker). Except in Jingo, where the "non-action" part is thrown aside, not the "snarker" one. In most of the other books he's a Pen-Pushing President whose opportunities and inclination for action are somewhat limited, but whose opportunities for snarking are anything but.note 
  • Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games.

     Live-Action TV  

  • Any Joss Whedon work ever:
    • Xander, from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
    • Doyle, from Angel. Also Cordelia, who's one of the rare female examples of this trope. Subverted with Wesley in later seasons, though.
    • Lorne. The man is made out of pure lounge music and snark.
    • Topher, from Dollhouse.
    • Wash, from Firefly.
  • Ianto on Torchwood, although he gets more action-y (and no less snarky) as the series progresses.
  • Seamus Zelazny Harper from Andromeda.
  • Timothy McGee from NCIS.
    • McGee subverts this, really. While he's not as action-oriented as Tony or Ziva, he's fully capable of handling himself, not even remotely a non-action guy. And on the other side, Tony, Ziva and Gibbs are all snarky as well.
  • Daniel Jackson in Stargate SG-1, although he becomes an action-guy after the first few seasons, and he is definitely not the only snarker on the show.
  • Alec Hardison on Leverage has this fairly often, given his two main partners for the various cons: Eliot and Parker
  • Darryl from Charmed is this. While he is a cop, he doesn't really stand a chance against magical creatures like witches, demons, and warlocks.
  • Once Upon a Time: Aurora. She's not a fighter, but she snarks with the best of them, even sassing Cora despite the very strong likelihood that she would die for it.
  • Stiles from Teen Wolf. At any given moment, expect him to either be snarking or avoiding getting caught in werewolf crossfire.
  • Sergeant Wu from Grimm is basically a large pile of snark squeezed into human form. He's also definitely a Non-Action Guy, despite being a cop.
  • Rory Williams from Doctor Who mainly existed as a character foil and Henpecked Husband to the fiery Amy Pond until becoming The Last Centurion.
  • Dr Harrison Wells, the Non-Action Guy Mission Control in The Flash (2014). He has a very dry, snarky sense of humour, which is partially due to him being the smartest guy in any room and partially due to the cynicism he gained after his own recklessness landed him in a wheelchair for life. Subverted, in that he is very much an action guy in his role as the Reverse Flash and, if anything, his snarking gets more pronounced after his true identity is revealed and he ditches the Obfuscating Disability.
    • Cisco Ramon is also very snarky, although his humour is a bit sillier than Dr Wells' dry wit, and his main role is as the team's Gadgeteer Genius rather than anything combat oriented. He's shown to be capable of holding his own in a fight against Hartley Rathaway, but Hartley has no powers and is thus in a very different league to the bad guys Team Flash usually face.
      • While retaining the snark Cisco has become much more of an action guy since gaining his vibratory and breaching powers.
  • Corporal Derrick Hill on Enlisted. Especially when contrasted with his super-soldier older brother Pete and less competent but super-enthusiastic younger brother Randy.
  • Blake's 7. Vila Restal naturally falls into this position, as he's a Dirty Coward in a World of Snark.

     Theatre  
  • Thersites, from Troilus and Cressida. One of Shakespeare's many snarkers, but he's very much a Dirty Coward who shies away from action.
  • The Man In the Chair from The Drowsy Chaperone is literally separated from the action of the play (because it's all happening inside his head based off a record he's listening, so he can't alter the play in any way), but that doesn't stop him from snarking the whole way through anyway.
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     Toys  
  • Kazi from BIONICLE. He, like most ice characters is the most cynical member of his team. He also doesn't have a proper role within the team (scout,inventor, spy), unlike the rest. He's mostly there to snark at the oddball Velika's confusing yet helpful riddles. Make no mistake, he's still a heroic character at heart, saving his friend from a destructive storm in the prologue, but that's really all he ends up doing.

     Video Games  

     Web Original  
  • Dr. Shelton from Darwin's Soldiers' is close to if not the purest example (There's a reason he used to be the Trope Namer). Almost every other character is firearm proficient, Made of Iron and has Nerves of Steel. Shelton can't shoot a gun, does the tech stuff, and snarkily lampshades every action trope that comes his way. As the series progressed, a few more non-action characters were introduced, but none were as bad as him.
    • Of course, after 6 years of Character Development, he's gotten slightly more action-y, and has done a number of things his early self would never have dreamed of attempting. Still counts because the World of Badass around him has gotten much more dangerous as well.
  • Cup from The Black Legion of the Dark Lord Sketch Melkor appears to generally be this, fitting in as well with the geeky aspects associated. She tends to not participate in the more extreme or strange conquests of Sketch, and sometimes even calls her out on them. Many of her comments regarding, well, anything, tend to be sarcastic. Subverted, in that she punched a guy out for making fun of feminism, and will stand up for herself, even if that means standing against the majority.
  • Super Kami Guru from Dragon Ball Z Abridged spends most of Season 2 sitting on his throne, occasionally unlocking a character's full potential, but mostly making snide remarks to anyone within earshot. Even when Freeza showed up at his lookout, asking for technical support...
    Guru: Nail, what does he want?
    Nail: He's asking how to use the Dragon Balls!
    Guru: Did you tell him to work the shaft?
    Nail: Yes, Lord Guru!
    Guru: Good work, Nail.
    Freeza: I have the distinct impression you're going to be difficult.
    Nail: Well sir, if you're having a problem with our customer support, you can call 1-800-EAT-A-D*CK.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Fire Guy isn't the only character who is useless in combat, but he is the only one of them who cracks wise the whole time.

    Western Animation 
  • Tucker Foley from Danny Phantom.
  • Noah in Total Drama might be the king of this trope, to the point where he was eliminated very early in season one just because he wouldn't play dodgeball. Fortunately, he becomes far more active in World Tour but retains his signature snarker nature.
    • Dave of the Pahkitew Island season counts too. He constantly gripes about his teammates' weirdness and eccentricity, but is incapable of contributing much to challenges due to his Neat Freak tendencies and just lacking any particular strengths.
  • While Dr. Hartford is quite capable with fisticuffs, a blaster, and a sword, he is a Playful Hacker and Badass Normal who is grossly underpowered compared to his more combat-oriented teamates. Doc's snark, however, could be licenced as a deadly weapon.
  • Pretty much Jamie's character in Megas XLR.


Alternative Title(s): The Shelton

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