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Agent Wolf is also Facepalm-Blind.

Leonard: For God's sake, Sheldon, do I have to hold up a sarcasm sign every time I open my mouth?
Sheldon: You have a sarcasm sign?

A common trait among characters who have No Social Skills due to an offbeat background, also The Spock, and those who are just that Comically Serious, or are just too young. These characters do not understand sarcasm. A lot of times, that can be (especially) annoying to the sarcastic ones in question.

Although characters like this are also often Literal-Minded, some aren't. Understanding sarcasm is a complicated process even when it happens automatically, because while "That's great," sometimes does mean that something is great, other times it doesn't. Everything depends on tone, gestures, and context. Thus, a character might understand the concept of sarcasm, and even use it, but fail to notice when others are using it.

Likely to cause an Insult Backfire. And do not do a Sarcastic Confession on them, as they'll take it at face value with all the attendant consequences.


A Washington Post contest once dubbed this 'gap' between a sarcastic speaker and the person who misses it the "Sarchasm."

For the intermittent effect, see Sarcasm Failure.

Sarcasm Mode is an effort to explicitly mark sarcasm as such to prevent these types of miscommunications.

Compare Poe's Law, Crying Wolf, Do Not Do This Cool Thing, Schmuck Bait, No Sense of Humor, Cannot Convey Sarcasm, Blunt Metaphors Trauma, Super Gullible. Often seen in Captain Obvious. It's also a trait found in persons with Asperger Syndrome. It can lead to an I Was Just Joking situation.



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  • Commercials for feature a man in a captain's uniform who enters an unpleasant situation and makes a comment that blatantly states what's going on. One of the people comments "Thanks, Captain Obvious." At least once, he's replied "There is no need to thank me as I have not helped you in any way."

    Anime & Manga 
  • Sōsuke in Full Metal Panic!, to no-one's surprise. Very late in the series, Sōsuke acquires enough of a sense of sarcasm to actually (attempt to) employ it, suggesting that he and Tessa should forget the whole deal with Amalgam and saving Kaname, sell off the Tuatha de Danann, and head off to Guam to party. Tessa does not find Sōsuke's very first joke at all amusing — or even realize he's telling one until the part about Guam.
  • Osaka from Azumanga Daioh, especially with the following exchange:
    Osaka: [eyes start wandering around]
    Kaorin: Hey, Osaka, what are you doing?
    Osaka: Well, you know those little tiny spots you sometimes catch in your eyes? Well, I'm trackin' them down.
    Kaorin: I see... well, good luck with that.
    Osaka: Mmm, thank you.
  • Bleach: When Yoruichi sarcastically responds to Yuushirou's latest blubbering by observing how much stronger he's become, he's thrilled she's noticed it. She kicks herself at that, having forgotten that Yuushirou's so naïve he's incapable of recognising sarcasm.
  • Denmark of Hetalia: Axis Powers never seems to realize when Norway insults or mocks him, which annoys Norway. Though as he seems to intentionally ignore aggressive words and actions, he might just be doing it on purpose.

  • Nick Swardson talks about this after one joke. His cat had diarrhea, and when the doctor asked what he was feeding the cat, he said "diarrhea". He said that an audience member actually stood up and was offended by that, and his rebuttal was that there's no way that that joke could be true.
  • Dave Barry writes about "humor-impaired" people who have this problem. He tries to remedy this issue by sprinkling the column with cues as to what's funny and what isn't, as humor-impaired people don't understand what is and isn't supposed to be a joke. He finishes the explanation with "Trust me, these people exist. They write to me all of the time."
    • His proposed method, which he claimed was pioneered by Richard Nixon, was electrified undershorts, remote-operated by Secret Service agents whenever a joke was made so the President would know when to laugh.
      "Sometimes, if the guests were unusually witty, the chief executive wound up twitching like a freshly-caught mackerel as dangerous voltage levels were reached in his boxers."
    • He then notes that if your reactions were laughter or outrage, you do not have Humor Impairment Syndrome, since you got that is was supposed to be funny, the HIS people would be writing in to say they'd use hand signals or asking where they could buy those shorts.
  • In one of Emo Philips 's routines about playing at/intentionally ruining a construction site as a boy, he tells of getting caught in wet cement and being stuck for days. One of those days, his friend Jimmy Petersen walks by and asks if Emo got himself stuck in the cement, to which Emo responds: "No; last night I didn't finish my broccoli so my mom cut my head off and threw it here." Jimmy runs away screaming, and the next morning, still stuck, Emo reflects on there being a time and a place for sarcasm. This trope in other people was also listed in an interview with Emo in Time Out as one of the worst things about being a comedian.

    Comic Books 
  • In Battle Hymn, the King of the Sea doesn't understand ideas like figurative speech or metaphor; from what he says, they don't seem to have these underwater.
  • In Dylan Dog, Scotland Yard's agent Jenkins. Can't get humor, either.
  • In Scott Pilgrim's Finest Hour, when Gideon sarcastically says that Scott Pilgrim and Ramona Flowers clearly have no problems with their relationship, a random guy points out that they were having a fight.
    Gideon: You two are adorable. I can see that your relationship is really working.
    Random Guy #1: Really? Cause, I mean, it seems like they're fighting.
  • Ultimate Marvel
    • The Ultimates: Captain America knows that sarcasm is a concept that he can't quite understand. When Stark said that he was dying by a brain tumor, he asked if that was some form of sarcasm.
    • All-New Ultimates: When Miles Morales mentioned Diamondback's tattoo, she said that it was a marker drawing. He was amazed. Then she clarified that no, it isn't. "Er... I knew that".
    • Ultimate Spider-Man
    Spider-Man: Don't mind me, I'm just here for the chicken wings.
    Moon Knight: (confused) There... There are no chicken wings.
  • Cat Curio and Vlad in Hack/Slash both have a really hard time with any kind of sarcasm or figurative speech. Cat has Asperger Syndrome, and Vlad had an extremely sheltered upbringing wherein speaking to someone besides his not-fluent-in-English foster father was a ridiculous notion.
  • Scootaloo and Spike in My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW).
  • Futurama: One B-Plot involved Hermes, Amy and Zoidberg being forced into the sub-sewers, where they find an idyllic society of handsome and beautiful humans. They keep offering the group things such as new clothes and prestigious positions within their society, and only at the end, when they believe they are about to be made rulers, do they discover why these people live underneath the sewer mutants; they are supremely arrogant and haughty, to the point they now can only communicate in biting sarcasm, meaning they were actually being mocked since the second they arrived.

    Comic Strips 
  • Dilbert has the Pointy-Haired Boss. He's managed to recognize it maybe five times in 20 years. "This could be that 'sarcasm' thing I keep hearing about." Played with in a strip where Dilbert described his accomplishments, rattling off every management buzzword and ending with "I give you — Dilbert — the perfect employee."
    Boss: Was that sarcasm?
    Dilbert: To be honest, I don't even know.
  • Dagwood of Blondie. Apparently even sarcasm can't penetrate "that thick skull of his". Made even funnier by the fact that his boss took some time to find this out.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin can be a very sarcastic child, but it often takes him a while to recognize sarcasm from Hobbes. Sometimes a very long while.
  • Peanuts:
    • Peppermint Patty is spending a rainy night in Snoopy's dog house, which she thinks is a "guest cottage":
      Charlie Brown: Hey Patty, wake up, your dad is on the phone. He's back and he said you can come home now.
      Peppermint Patty: Tell him I'm so comfortable here I don't want to leave.
      Charlie Brown: Okay, I'll tell him.
      Peppermint Patty: That was sarcasm, Chuck!
    • One winter, the kids have to join "snow leagues" in order to build snowmen under adult supervision:
      Charlie Brown: Do you mean to say I can't build a snowman in my own backyard?
      Lucy: Why woulod you want to, Charlie Brown? Don't be so stupid. In adult organized snow leagues, we have teams and standings and awards and special fields... We even have a newsletter.
      Charlie Brown: Somehow, I expected you would.
      Lucy: There's no need to be sarcastic, Charlie Brown.

    Fan Works 
  • Goku in Team Four Star's Dragon Ball Z Abridged series, among other problems, fails to understand sarcasm. Best demonstrated after he asks Piccolo if he’s a Yoshi and Piccolo says yes:
    Raditz: Now, disregarding the Namekian...
    Goku: Nu-uh, the Yoshi.
    Piccolo: I'm not a goddamn Yoshi!
    Goku: But you said you were?
    Piccolo: It's called sarcasm!!
    Goku: What's that taste like?
    Piccolo: DAMMIT GOKU!!!
  • Death Note fanfic Xanatos gives us Lindanote , who, while not totally ignorant of it, at least needs to be told when someone is being facetious. Naturally, she interacts a lot with Matt.
  • Princess Zelda sometimes shows signs of this in Paper Mario X. Example from chapter 41:
    Koopatrol: Oh, would you like to be in the quiz?!
    Zelda: OH... a quiz? It's a good test for my wisdom—
    Koopatrol: I WAS SARCASTIC! We only need one person!
  • Anthropology: Lyra does not understand sarcasm, and actually has to be informed when someone is being sarcastic with her. Example from chapter 23:
    Lyra: I was reading that history book you gave me and it said that America had been in wars. A lot of them, actually.
    Paul: News flash. I've never heard that before.
    Lyra: So... It wasn't true? I mean, if there had really been so many, you would have heard—
    Paul: That was sarcasm, Lyra.
  • A rather non-humorous example from Canterlot Consequences from, surprisingly enough Twilight. Twilight has placed all blame for her fallout with her brother on herself, and none on Shining Armor. When Luna remarks that yes, Twilight should be condemned for losing her temper in the heat of the moment while Shining should be condoned for the same thing, Twilight agrees, having completely missed Luna's sarcasm. Luna and Cadance are forced to be a bit more direct to convince Twilight to stop blaming herself.
  • In Gypsy Caravan Barty Crouch Jr. comments on how hard he's been trying to stay out of Voldemort's way when the latter is busy, prompting Snape to offer to bring a book next time he's called and Crouch to reply that that would be lovely and sincerely thank him. Snape's final thought as he departs is that sarcasm is wasted on the insane.
  • Family Counseling With the Dursleys:
    Harry: I was hiding out here so that no stupid oafs would come over and talk to me. But I guess my plan was foiled.
    Dudley: Why? Who found you?
  • In the Adventure Time fanfic Half Past Adventure, Dr. Minerva Campbell appears to have trouble registering sarcasm, interpreting a joking comment about someone who's taking too long in the bathroom as a request to send out a search party.
  • In Garcello WITH LYRICS by RecD, Boyfriend and Girlfriend attempt to console Annie after she finds out about Garcello's death. Annie's frustrated sarcasm is lost on Boyfriend.
    Girlfriend: He told us a lot.
    Boyfriend: And he wanted me to tell you that . . . you helped him be at peace before the cigarettes took him.
    Annie: Oh, OK, that makes me feel a lot better.
    Boyfriend: Really?
    Annie: No! Of course it doesn't!
  • In Ships Ahoy!, Olive and Oscar help the Kratt Brothers and Zoboomafoo with a striped scarf preventing visitors from coming to Animal Junction. While attempting to stop the scarf, Oscar accidentally turns Zoboomafoo and every other lemur in existence into a jelly baby using the Candy-inator gadget, and he comes to the horrid realization that since there's no "Unzap All" setting, he and Olive have to go and unzap every lemur themselves. Olive responds with sarcasm that flies over his head.
    Olive: [groans] Well, let's fix Zoboomafoo first. I wasn't planning on sleeping tonight, anyhow.
    Oscar: Really?
    Olive: No, Oscar, that was sarcasm.
    Oscar: Oh.

    Films — Animation 
  • Lampy in The Brave Little Toaster. He has his moments, though.
    Lampy: I think he was laughing at us.
    AC: You know something, you're a real bright little lamp.
    Lampy: Oh thanks! (Beat) Heeeeeyy....
  • Fear has a brief moment of this in Inside Out:
    Disgust: are we gonna get to Minnesota from here?
    Anger: Well, why don't we go down to the elephant lot and rent an elephant?
    Fear: Hey, that sounds nice.
  • Pumbaa from The Lion King trilogy:
    Timon: Well, that worked like a dream.
    Pumbaa: It did?
    Timon: Sarcasm is a foreign language to you, isn't it?
  • In Leroy & Stitch, Gantu's inability to comprehend a rhetorical question frustrates Hästerviel, who fires him soon afterwards:
    Hämsterviel: Ah, I think that went very well, don't you?
    Gantu: Actually, sir, I think—
    Hämsterviel: I didn't ask what you think!
    Gantu: Actually, you did. I—
    Hämsterviel: It was a rhetorical question! Don't you know what a rhetorical question is?
    Gantu: Yes, sir. I believe it's—
    Hämsterviel: No, no! That was a rhetorical question too! (facepalms) Argh!
    • Later on, after his Heel–Face Turn, Gantu outwits Hästerviel regarding the definition of "ohana":
    Gantu: You never did understand the meaning of "aloha", did you?
    Hämsterviel: Well, I think it means—
    Gantu: Uh, that was a rhetorical question. [Hämsterviel groans in frustration after being outwitted by Gantu]
  • From Home on the Range:
    Maggie: I got it! Why don't we go nab that Alameda Slim and use the reward money to save the farm?
    Mrs. Calloway: Oh, that is a sensible idea.
    Maggie: I knew you'd love it!
    Mrs. Calloway: Don't they have sarcasm where you come from?
    • Ironically, Maggie can completely understand Calloway's sarcasm in almost every other scene.
  • From Hoodwinked!.
    Nicky Flippers: [regarding Red Puckett's handcuffs] What's with the handcuffs on a little girl? Her wrists could slip right out. How 'bout a cage?
    Bill Stork: [eagerly; on radio] Bring in the cage!
    Nicky Flippers: I was being sarcastic.
    Bill Stork: [crestfallen; on radio] Sarcasm. Strike the cage.
  • From Rise of the Guardians, Santa.
    Santa: I hope the Yetis treated you well.
    Jack Frost: Yeah. I love being shoved in a bag and tossed through a magical portal.
    Santa: Oh, good! That was my idea!
  • Mr. Tweedy in Chicken Run.
    Mr. Tweedy: Oooh, that's champion, that is... what is it?
    Mrs. Tweedy: It's a pie machine, you idiot. Chickens go in, pies come out.
    Mr. Tweedy: Ooooh, what kind of pies?
    Mrs. Tweedy: Apple.
    Mr. Tweedy: [excitedly] My favorite!
    Mrs. Tweedy: Chicken pies, you great lummox!
  • Being perpetually cheerful creatures, the Trolls generally don't use or understand sarcasm. Except for Branch, of course. When Poppy has a sarcastic moment, it's seriously shocking to everyone else.
  • Iris in Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, due to her upbringing by being raised by Dragon-type Pokémon, often fails to catch jokes and sarcastic comments from the other characters, always taking their words at face value.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • A sketch in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life has an Army drill sergeant barking at his men that they're going to spend the day "marching up and down the square... that is, unless any of you got anything better to do." When the soldiers begin mentioning such things (being at home with the wife and kids, reading a book, practicing the piano), the nonplussed sergeant dismisses them.
  • Demolition Man:
    • In the distant future of 2032, sarcasm apparently is a lost art. Spartan was trying to figure out a way to stop Simon Phoenix.
      Police Chief: We have figured out a plan. We are going to wait for another MurderDeathKill and then we will pounce on him.
      Spartan: Good plan.
      Police Chief: Thank you.
    • Phoenix is even good enough to point this out, in an exchange with cops sent to apprehend him:
      Phoenix: Look at you, in your nice shiny uniforms... oooh, I'm SO scared... what, you people don't have sarcasm anymore?
      Squad leader: Maniac has responded with a scornful remark.
  • Happens in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 when the Guardians are on the run from the Sovereign.
    Rocket: Come on! You saw how that High Priestess talked down to us. Now I'm teaching her a lesson!
    Peter: Well, I didn’t realize your motivation was altruism! It’s really a shame the Sovereign’s mistaking your intentions and they’re trying to kill us.
    Rocket: Exactly!
    Peter: I was being sarcastic!
    Rocket: Oh, no! You’re supposed to use a sarcastic voice! Now I look foolish!
  • In The Magnificent Seven Vin and Chris sarcastically suggest that Chico go and ask Big Bad Calvera his plans for the night. Chico does exactly that, infiltrating Calvera's camp and even speaking directly with Calvera under the cover of the particularly dim fire in the camp. Without being discovered as a spy, Chico slips away from Calvera's camp, returns to the village, and tells everyone the awful truth that Calvera's men are starving and have nowhere else to turn for food.
  • Roxanne: When Roxanne, the beautiful new astronomer in town, goes to C.D. for help because she locked herself out completely naked, he asks if she'd like a coat for the trip back to her house. She sarcastically remarks, "No, I'd really like to stand naked in this bush in the freezing cold." Once he gets his tools, he heads out without giving her a coat, leaving her to leap from bush to bush all the way back. When she asks him why he didn't bring a coat, he maintains that she said she didn't want one. She protests, "I was being ironic!" He claims that this town hadn't used any irony since C.D. himself gave it up in '83. It's implied that C.D. is actually just messing with her and perhaps hoped to catch a glimpse of something.
  • C3PO from Star Wars is programmed with over 6 million forms of communication, but doesn't quite understand Han Solo's sarcasm, as shown in The Empire Strikes Back:
    C-3PO: It would appear that this asteroid is not entirely stable.
    Han: "Not entirely stable"? I'm glad you're here to tell us these things! Chewie, take the professor in the back and plug him into the hyperdrive!
    C-3PO: Sometimes I just don't understand human behaviors. After all, I'm only doing my job!
  • Calamity Jane: Calamity does this once or twice, due to ignorance.
    Calamity: Why don't you send for her?
    Henry: Sure. Why don't I send for the Queen of Sheba?
    Bill: Yeah.
    Calamity: ...No good. They want Adelaide!
  • Happens during at least one conversation in Far and Away, when Shannon suggests Joseph be her servant boy while they travel to America and he angrily (as well as sarcastically) rejects the idea.
    Joseph: Oh, I see... I see. I could- I could polish your boots for ya.
    Shannon: They will need a polish now and then.
  • The sheriff in Bringing Up Baby is oblivious to the hero's sarcasm during interrogation.
    Sheriff: Who was with you last month in that mail-truck job?
    David: Mickey the Mouse and Donald the Duck.
    Sheriff: Doc, make a note of their names. Now we're getting someplace.
  • A couple of exchanges in the western spoof Support Your Local Sheriff:
    Pa Danby: I don't anyone makin' a martyr of this sheriff!
    Danby Jr.: What's a martyr?
    Pa Danby: Oh that's right! They never used words like that in the third grade!
    Danby Jr.: How should I know? I never got that far.
    • On the issue of the town not having a judge:
      Joe: Didn't need one until you came along and ruint everything!
      Sheriff: Spoiled all your fun, huh, Joe?
      Joe: You can say that again!
  • Played for Drama with Angels in the Outfield. Roger questions when he can be a family again with his dad, which he sarcastically proclaims "I'd say when the Angels win the pennant.". Roger takes it literally and makes a wish to help the California Angels win the pennant. He gets that help in the form of a team of angels. While Roger isn't reunited with his dad, he and his best friend are instead adopted by the Angels' coach, whom they befriended over the course of the movie.
  • Pavel Chekov in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, after he's arrested on the USS Enterprisenote , and interrogated, under suspicion he's a Soviet Spy. Combines it with Sustained Misunderstanding.
    FBI Agent: Alright. Let's take it from the top.
    Chekov: The top of what?
    FBI Agent: Name?
    Chekov: My name?
    FBI Agent: No, MY name!
    Chekov: I do not know your name!
    FBI Agent: You play games with me, mister, you're through!
    Chekov: I am? May I go now?
  • In Molly's Game, when Molly is at the outdoor ice rink with her father:
    Larry: It's not a big deal, but from what I saw out there, I think you're having a small breakdown.
    Molly: That's weird. I can't think of why.
    Larry: I would think it was because of the arrest, and not knowing what's going to happen.
    Molly: Old man, do you really not understand sarcasm?
    Larry: (chuckles) Do you?
  • Wade Whipple in Sonic the Hedgehog (2020). In Tom's first scene, he sarcastically responds to Wade's request for confirmation of his location by saying he's on a yacht in Barbados with Rihanna. When Tom amends this after Wade asks for pics, by saying he's parked by the speed trap, Wade expresses surprise that he was able to get back so quickly since Barbados is in the ocean.
  • Rags: Sarcasm seems to be lost on Lloyd, such as this line:
    Andrew: (mockingly, to Charlie) "Have a nice pity party."
    Lloyd: (Excitedly) "You're having a party? We're-"
    Andrew: "I was making fun of him, idiot."

  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Ford Prefect doesn't usually understand sarcasm because he's an alien and they don't have it on his planet. It's stated that he can recognize it, but only if he's really paying attention. This leads to a moment in Mostly Harmless, when he responds to a huge rant about the Guide from Arthur ("I can hardly wait to find out which are the most interesting spaceports to get bored hanging around in!") with a genuinely perplexed "This is that thing you call sarcasm, isn't it?" Character Development in And Another Thing...:
    Arthur: I don't suppose you have a bomb-proof towel.
    Ford: Sure, I have a bomb-proof towel and an antimatter pillowcase.
    Arthur: Hey, sarcasm. Well done, mate, you're learning.
  • At Bill and Fleur’s wedding in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Dumbledore’s old friend Elphias and Ron’s Auntie Muriel get into an argument about Dumbledore’s sister Ariana’s mysterious death. Muriel suggests that Ariana was a Squib and that Mrs. Dumbledore imprisoned her and wanted to kill her because she was too proud to admit that one of her kids wasn’t a wizard. Elphias sarcastically says that since Muriel thinks a mother would do that to her own child, maybe Ariana killed her in an escape attempt. Muriel takes it at face value.
  • In Psy Changeling, as a result of the Silence Protocol, most Psys tend to be this.
  • Discworld:
    • Carrot Ironfoundersson, due to his upbringing by the Literal-Minded dwarves. He gets better at recognizing it, even if he still doesn't really understand it. Though some wonder, in-story, if Carrot isn't as oblivious as he seems.
    • Interestingly, though Carrot has No Social Skills because he grew up at the bottom of a dwarven mine, most of the dwarfs seen in the books are a lot more savvy than himself. This is mainly because most of them are from Ankh-Morpork. Mountain dwarfs fall more definitely into this trope, which is justified by the fact that sarcasm (along with metaphor, and other forms of non-literal communication) are useless and potentially unsafe in a mine.
    • Sergeant Colon as well, who thinks "irony" means "sort of like iron." When he's made Captain in The Fifth Elephant, Vetinari's barbed comments just bounce straight off, no matter how blatant he tries to make them. Even better, he explicitly fears irony and sarcasm being used on him in several books, he just has no idea what they are.
    • Cohen the Barbarian does understand sarcasm, in a vague sense, but he has a little more trouble with metaphor and hyperbole. Several Agatean nobles commit suicide in Interesting Times by telling him they'd rather die than see him on the throne.
  • From A Song of Ice and Fire:
    • We get an interesting subversion of this with Sansa Stark. She isn't blind to the vast majority of the snark aimed at her, but is painfully aware that neither her relative position nor available skill-set allow her to openly snap back in kind without risk of physical and social backdraft. So, she actively uses Politeness Judo to try to turn the sarcasm around, while usually outwardly appearing as if it sailed right over her pretty little head.
    • Podrick Payne, however, does play it rather straighter, since he usually focuses on trying to be factually exact, so misses many contextual cues. Given he squires for Tyrion, this is rather amusing.
  • In the X-Wing Series, Runt is like this at first, being a non-human new to serving in the New Republic. He learns.
  • The Eighth Doctor, in the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures books. He's more of a genuine Cloudcuckoolander than the Doctor usually is. Why he has one or two Deadpan Snarkers traveling with him basically at all times is something of a mystery.
    "Well. They could've been muggers, I suppose."
    "I'm so, so sorry."
    "Why, did you put them up to it?"
    The Doctor looked at her strangely. "Of course not!"
  • Hephaestus in The Heroes of Olympus. As the god of the forge, he's not too smart dealing with organic life forms.
    Hephaestus: That was sarcasm, wasn't it? Machines don't have sarcasm, usually.
  • Bill Bryson notes this is a problem when conversing with some of his friends and neighbors, in an article in Notes From a Big Country:
    Bill: (sees his neighbor's car covered in tree branches the morning after a storm) Morning George! Camouflaging your car, I see!
    George: ... No, the storm blew these branches onto my car last night and I need to clear them away.
  • In the Animorphs books, Ax the Andalite at first didn't understand sarcasm, though he was a quick learner. He occasionally played dumb, though.
  • The Dresden Files: Faeries often have this due to their physical inability to lie, particularly those with little experience with humans, such as Toot-toot.
    • Harry invokes this when he accidentally stumbles into the realm of the Erlking. The Erlking, who is noted for not taking trespassing lightly, sarcastically refers to Harry as a guest. Harry pounces on it with both hands, and states that since the Erlking has called him a guest, he must be protected by the law of Sacred Hospitality, right? The Erlking is impressed, both by Harry's quick wit and sheer unbridled chutzpah.
  • In Rob Grant's Backwards, Ace takes as genuine that Rimmer has telepathic powers, before admonishing him when Rimmer reveals the sarcasm.
  • Marcus in About A Boy, who can also be a little Literal-Minded. For instance, in one scene Will suggests Marcus try to fit in with the others in his class by wearing a "disguise", meaning he should dress more like they do; Marcus asks if he means wearing a mustache, and when Will tells him that a 12 year old with a mustache wouldn't stand out at all, he takes the comment seriously. Later on, Marcus at least figures out how to fake the proper response to such remarks even if he doesn't actually understand them - replying with an equally sarcastic "ha, ha".
  • In The Sun Sword, Kiriel has been raised in a demonic court where sarcasm just isn't a thing anyone wants to try. And then she goes among sarcastic humans.
  • Artemis Fowl: The Eternity Code has Loafers Macguire, a mafia hitman. The narration describes sarcasm making a slight whistling noise as it sails clean over his head.
  • Bitch of Worm can't properly interpret human social cues as a consequence of her power, which includes sarcasm. Since she can't tell when people are mocking her, she tends to respond to everything with aggression.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Miss Brooks' snark occasionally backfires when she aims it as Mr. Boynton, Walter Denton or Stretch and Bones Snodgrass. Mr. Boynton's so Oblivious to Love that sarcasm has a habit of sliding right off him. Walter Denton occasionally mistakes the sarcastic for the serious. As for the Snodgrasses, it's unlikely they even know what sarcasm is.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Willow Rosenberg. "Cibo Matto can clog dance!?"
  • Saturday Night Live:
    • On a sketch hosted by Kevin Spacey he played the "inventor" of sarcasm. He said things like "I love this party" meaning he hated it, but no-one got it because no-one else knew of sarcasm. Until they all understood he was being ironic, became extremely hurt, and burned him at the stake.
    • Another SNL skit had Matthew Perry as a teacher in a class for Sarcasm 101.
      "Is this Sarcasm 101?"
      "No this is embroidery. Sarcasm 101 is down the hall."
      "Ah. Thanks!"
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon Cooper.
    • Leonard even made a sarcasm sign in an early episode. And Sheldon keeps track of how many times he correctly understands sarcasm.
    • Once, when Howard made a sarcastic comment, Sheldon asked "Was that sarcasm?", and Howard sarcastically replied "No!" — which, of course, Sheldon failed to recognize the sarcasm of.
    • In at least one episode, this is inverted: Sheldon takes something as sarcastic when it isn't. This can be Truth in Television to some extent if you can't recognize sarcasm and you're used to looking for it everywhere.
    • Over the course of several seasons, Sheldon has eventually learned to recognise sarcasm.
      Sheldon: Leonard, I believe what we just heard from Penny was sarcasm. (Penny nods) Oh, good. I’m eight for 26 this month.
    • ...but not always.
      Sheldon: I zinged him with sarcasm, he didn’t even notice.
      Leonard: I know, and it was the greatest sarcastic quip I’ve ever heard.
  • Supernatural:
    • Castiel. Though as he hangs out with Dean more, he might get a handle on it.
      Castiel: [God] isn't in Heaven. He has to be somewhere.
      Dean: Try New Mexico! I hear he's on a tortilla.
      Castiel: (after seriously considering this) No, He's not on any flat bread.
    • Also:
      Jo: Hey, ever heard of door handles?
      Castiel: (after teleporting himself out of the car) Of course I have.
    • Lately, he's become more sarcastic himself.
      Castiel: You're right. Pardon me for highlighting their crippling and dangerous empathetic response with "sarcasm."
  • A Mr. Show sketch has a man who expresses constant, venomous sarcasm... through letter writing. Given the obvious lack of cues towards his sarcasm as a result, everyone tends to take him at face value (including one poor woman who receives a "love" letter from him).
  • Dr. Temperance Brennan, title protagonist of Bones, often fails to understand sarcasm at first (if at all) and usually must use logical deduction (out loud) to detect it. Much to the bemusement of her partner.
  • Bennett Halverson, the programmer played by Summer Glau on Dollhouse, shows signs of this as part of a general Rainman vibe, as evidenced by an exchange with Adelle.
    Bennett: You used the company jet to abduct the programmer of a rival house?
    Adelle: I'm certain I'll be kicking myself come holiday bonus time.
    Bennett: I'm sure you'll be dead by then.
  • Virtually everyone in Blackadder except the title character takes turns at failing to understand his sarcasm, especially in the fourth series. This is lampshaded once in the third series.
    Blackadder: Baldrick, do you have any idea what irony is?
    Baldrick: Yeah. It's like goldey and bronzey, only it's made of iron.
  • The Brittas Empire: Mr. Gordon Brittas not only fails to understand sarcasm, but anything at all that's subtler than coming out and speaking your mind. Cue Cringe Comedy.
    Laura: You see, we were all standing outside the ambulance waving goodbye to Mr. Petrov, and Mr. Brittas was saying "Where are we going to find an internationally famous pianist in the next half hour?" and I said, "Hey kids, why don't we do the show ourselves?"
    Helen: Oh, you didn't...
    Laura: I just never thought.
  • Seinfeld: Kramer sometimes asks Jerry for unreasonable favors to which Jerry, as a comedian, replies sarcastically to. Kramer never manages to detect it. For example, when Kenny Roger's Chicken makes Kramer's apartment uninhabitable, Kramer asks Jerry to switch apartments with him:
    Jerry: Or I could sleep in the park. You could knock these walls down, make it an eight room luxury suite.
    Kramer: Jerry, these are load-bearing walls, they're not gonna come down!
  • In Monty Python's Flying Circus, Mr Pither in the episode "The Cycling Tour":
    Cafe Proprietor: 35 p please.
    Mr Pither: Ah... oh, I have only a fifty. You have change?
    Cafe Proprietor: Well, I'll have a look, but I may have to go to the bank.
    Mr Pither: I'm most awfully sorry.
  • In the House episode "Family Practice", the Patient of the Week is Cuddy's mother, played by Candice Bergen. After going through the usual incorrect diagnoses of what's wrong with her (her hypochondria didn't exactly help things much), House makes a blatantly sarcastic remark about how much he loves a certain famous baseball player, then asks her if he really meant what he just said. Her inability to detect his sarcasm confirms his suspicions, allowing him and his team to proceed finally in the right direction.
  • Power Rangers Zeo: Inverted in "King for a Day: Part 2". Bulk and Skull helped destroy the forcefield preventing the Rangers from escaping Prince Gasket. No one believes their story - except the actual Rangers, whose praise they interpret as sarcasm.
    Kat: I'm sure wherever they are, they're really grateful for your help.
    Tommy: I bet if they were here right now, they'd really wanna thank you guys.
    Bulk: Oh, cut the sarcasm, will ya?
    Skull: Yeah! These guys obviously don't believe us, either.
  • As of the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Data's Day", Data can recognize sarcasm using logic, but can't quite grasp how to use it:
    Riker: (sarcastic) Charming woman.
    Data's voice-over: The tone of Commander Riker's voice makes me suspect that he is not serious about finding Ambassador T'Pel charming. My experience suggests that, in fact, he may mean the exact opposite of what he says. Irony is a form of expression I have not yet been able to master.
  • Boardwalk Empire:
    • Deputy Halloran. when he marvels at the existence of a "lady lawyer," she deadpans "What next, horseless carriages?", prompting his response "They already got those." On another occasion, while helping dispose of a body, he asks whose it is and is sarcastically told it's silent film star Mary Pickford, leading to the shocked response "You killed Mary Pickford?!"
    • When Sigrid nags Nelson again about the plumbing, he angrily claims that he got the president of the Roebuck company to personally send a crack team of men to fix the problem. She believes him, forcing to him to state that it was sarcasm and storm out.
  • In Community, Abed's inability to understand being "messed with" drives his and Troy's subplot for an episode. Lampshaded:
    Abed: Troy invented rap music, and he's related to Danny Glover, and President Obama.
    Troy: Hey man, that stuff I said this morning wasn't true, I was just messing with you.
    Abed: You were lying?
    Troy: Yeah, as a joke. You've never had somebody mess with you before?
    Abed: Yes, just kidding, no. Like that?... This isn't a table. (laughs) ... That's funny.
    • Abed uses sarcasm in another episode, but the group fails to recognize it because it wasn't said in a sarcastic tone of voice. Abed then calls himself on that, ending (in a very sarcastic voice), "Sarcasm is soooooo interesting."
  • Leverage's Parker. Too many to count in every episode.
  • In one episode of Modern Family, Haley asks whether her boyfriend Dylan can stay at their house, and Claire sarcastically responds that he can take her and Phil's room. Alex has to explain the sarcasm to Haley.
  • Subverted with Chris Trager on Parks and Recreation. Due to his extremely positive, upbeat personality, one would expect that he wouldn't understand sarcasm. He does understand and recognize sarcasm; he just ignores the sarcasm because he believes there is a kernel of truth in sarcasm.
  • The elderly Ernie "Coach" Pantusso, bartender at Cheers, made a lot of dimwit comments after taking sarcasm too literally. His future replacement Woody Boyd, a farmboy from Indiana, was probably even worse at it.
  • In an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000, Mike is put on trial for all those planets he blew up by an omnipotent alien judge. The judge offers Mike the chance to choose who he wants as the prosecutor and defense; both times he lists two famous historical figures plus one of the Mads ("Your choices are Thomas Jefferson, Clarence Darrow, and Professor Bobo.") When Mike snarks "Yeah sure, like I'd choose Bobo", the judge takes him seriously. After doing the exact same thing to make Pearl the prosecutor even Mike himself comments that he clearly doesn't learn very quickly.
  • In Father Ted, when Mrs Doyle encounters Father Jessup, "the most sarcastic priest in Ireland";
    Mrs. Doyle: Shall I make the beds in the spare room?
    Father Jessup: No, we'll sleep outside, in a ditch!
    Mrs. Doyle: OK so... would you like a cup of tea?
    Father Jessup: No, We want to die of thirst.
    Mrs. Doyle: (baffled) OK so...
    Father Ted: (quietly) Mrs. Doyle, I think Father Jessup might have been being a bit... sarcastic...
    Mrs. Doyle: Really? Were you being sarcastic, Father Jessup?
    Father Jessup: No, we'd like to die of thirst!
    Father Ted: (quietly) Mrs. Doyle, I know it's a bit confusing, but the trick is to do the opposite of what Father Jessup says.
    Mrs. Doyle: (very uncertain) So, you really... do... want a cup of tea?
    Father Jessup: (exasperated) Yes! (reaches out for the cup)
    Mrs. Doyle: (takes the cup away, looking very pleased with herself)
  • On The Golden Girls, Dorothy is a Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire, while Rose is a ditzy Cloudcuckoolander. Since this is something akin to an unstoppable force meeting an immovable object, the writers will usually split the difference and have Rose understand that Dorothy is being sarcastic about half the time. Example: Sophia was telling her friends a friend of hers passed away.
    Rose: How did she die?
    Sophia: She was fighting an oil rig fire in the Gulf of Mexico. She was 88!
    Rose: Well, at least she was able to work right up until the end.
  • Horatio Hornblower: Horatio Hornblower sort of inhabits a World of Snark. The resident Deadpan Snarkers do not exchange sneering comments with each other, but they are paired with poor Sarcasm Blind Horatio, who is a genius at every other thing but irony, jokes and the like usually escape him. However, his close friend Archie's smartass comments are likely to bring about one of his rare and most attractive smiles. An example from "Retribution", involving the hero and a snarky captain at the Lieutenants' trial which investigates a possible mutiny aboard their ship commanded by a crazy Captain.
    Captain Collins: (in sarcasm mode) A happy day for James Sawyer when you four gentlemen came aboard.
    Horatio: (completely honest) Thank you, sir.
    Captain Hammond a.k.a. Hanging Judge: (smirks and laughs out loud)
  • Teen Wolf: While Stiles is usually one of the resident snarkers, he has his moments, usually around the more intimidating werewolves. One example being in "Chaos Rising":
    Stiles: Where do you live?
    Peter Hale: In an underground network of caves hidden deep in the woods.
    Stiles: Whoa, really?
    Peter Hale: No you idiot! I have an apartment downtown.
  • A sort of secondhand example in sketch show The EdgeAlan Ruck's character sarcastically confesses to a brutal murder while on the stand in court. Since the audience are laughing at his sarcastic rant, and he hasn't been heard properly, the judge asks the stenographer to read back the last statement, which she does without the sarcastic tone, as such the confession is taken as genuine.
  • Ted from How I Met Your Mother has this problem.
    • In "I Heart NJ", Ted is surprised that Stella expects them to live in New Jersey after they get married, after Ted thought she agreed that they would live in New York. A flashback shows that she made a sarcastic remark about living in New York, which Ted failed to see as sarcasm.
    • In "Mom and Dad", Ted is suspecting many people who may have covered the picture of Wayne Gretzki (which Barney planned on giving to Robin) in ink. When he tells Lily about who he narrowed it down to, he gets this response:
    Lily: (sarcastically) Right, cause an elaborate conspiracy is much more likely than you leaving the picture next to an open ink bottle.
    Ted: Thankyou.
  • The Class (2006) had this with Yonk Allen. Richie had all kinds of fun with it.
  • Pretty Little Liars: When you tell Hanna she has the subtlety of a hand grenade, she's actually delighted to hear it!
  • M*A*S*H - when Radar O'Reilly is leaving the unit, he tells Major Winchester that he's welcome at his Iowa home for dinner anytime. Winchester snarks that he'll anticipate "the dinner bell a-clangin'". Radar replies that he'll be looking forward to it too, and Winchester is genuinely touched at his guileless good nature.
  • Wanda from Corner Gas has the opposite problem in the episode "Dog River Dave". Because she's sarcastic almost all the time, other characters keep assuming her sincere comments are just more sarcasm.
  • The Office (UK) - Gareth is as clueless here as everywhere, notably when Lee gives Tim a wrapped gift that is obviously a bottle:
    Gareth: Probably a bottle of something.
    Tim: You reckon?
    Gareth: Look at the shape.
  • The West Wing: In the third season episode "Bartlet for America", there's a Flashback to when President Bartlet was governor of New Hampshire, and two staffers are pitching him a tourism campaign ("New Hampshire: it's what's new!"). The two staffers clearly believe Governor Bartlet is deeply interested in the subject, that his comments ("And the goggles? What about the goggles?") are completely sincere, and he is not in any way being sarcastic or snarky out of irritated boredom. They could not be more wrong.
  • The Wire: Herc, a cop, is annoyed by the fashions of the local street kids. He sarcastically asks one where he can get "one of those cool hats with the brim on the side." Oblivious to the sarcasm, the kid patiently explains that it's a regular hat simply turned sideways on his head. The flummoxed Herc has no response.
  • Odd Squad:
    • Olive, of all people, gets a moment in "Bad Luck Bears".
    Oprah: I have an idea. Let's all stop working, and talk about how much you love the Bears.
    Olive: Really?!
    Oprah: NO!! We have a case to solve!
    • In "No Ifs, Ands or Robots", Oscar explains how to shut off Oscarbot 10. Surprisingly, it's not resident Deadpan Snarker Olive that gives out the sarcasm — it's Otto.
    Oscar: There are three switches: two on his ears and one on his neck. But you need to hit them at the exact same time, or it won't work.
    Otto: You could've made it a little bit more complicated.
    Oscar: Sure I could have! I mean I could have a- [catches himself] Right, you weren't actually asking that.
    Otto: No.
    • Due to his lack of social skills, things like insults and sarcasm tend to fly over Otis's head a lot, especially early on in Season 2. One example is from "High Maintenance".
    Obby: I suppose I can get my magic tool which fixes this door in five seconds.
    Otis: Sounds amazing!
    [cue Disapproving Looks from O'Mary and Obby]
    Otis: That tool doesn't exist, does it?
    O'Mary and Obby: Nope.
    • In "The Cherry-on-Top-inator", following Olympia's and Otis's musical story about how they stopped the Puppy Master and Evil Knight using the Cherry-on-Top-inator (in a manner that's not its intended use), Oona sarcastically thanks them for making her decision clear. Not only does Otis take her comment at face value, but so does Olympia, and they begin panicking when the Scientist whips out her mallet again to smash the titular gadget to pieces.
  • The Muppet Show: One skit in the Mac Davis episode consists of Davis making fun of Link Hogthrob's ego for four minutes, including a performance of "Hard To Be Humble", with Link totally failing to recognise the sarcasm and parsing the mockery as sincere praise.
    Davis: Oh Lord, it's hard to be humble / When you're perfect in every way...
    Link: You too?

  • In "Weird Al" Yankovic's 11-minute epic "Albuquerque," he mentions an incident where he saw a co-worker struggling with a sofa and asked if he wanted help. The co-worker responded "No, I want you to cut off my arms and legs with a chainsaw." So Al did, and then wondered why the co-worker started complaining, especially when he's got that really cool nickname now: Torso Boy!


  • Cabin Pressure: Arthur has moments of this.
    Arthur: Mr. Birling says I'll never find another girlfriend.
    Carolyn: Oh. Well, Mr Birling, the seventy-something retiree from Sussex, is of course one of the country's foremost relationship experts.
    Arthur: Oh no, is he? I didn't even know that!

  • In 1776, Rutledge sarcastically refers to the "eternal peace and harmony" of the Delaware delegation — two pro-independence members against anti-independence George Read. McKean doesn't get it.
    McKean: What're y'sayin', man? Y'know perfectly well neither Rodney nor I can stand the sight of this little wart!

    Video Games 
  • In MySims Kingdom, the first time you go to Cowboy Junction, Buddy asks what kind of people they'll find there. Lyndsay says that it's probably inhabited by a race of fishmen, which excites Buddy. She tells him that was sarcasm. He tells her that he's a fishman, prompting a "Really?" from her. He takes that to mean that he fooled her "with a sarcasm."
  • Mical the Disciple in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic II. When the player character receives a request to meet a shady character, alone, Atton Rand snarks, "Well, at least we know it isn't a trap," to which Mical earnestly replies, "No, Atton, I think it may be a trap!" Since her and Mical are an either/or pair, The Handmaiden fills this role for Male!Exile's party. "What are you talking about? It's obviously a trap."
  • In Touch Detective, when the player first converses with Daisy:
    Mackenzie: Um, I'm Detective Mackenzie.
    Daisy: Oh, how cute. A detective.
    Mackenzie: Thanks...
    Daisy: Don't you understand sarcasm when you hear it?
    Mackenzie: ...
Mackenzie's reaction showed that she didn't like it.
  • Knight-Commander Meredith in Dragon Age II is either totally sarcasm blind or utterly determined to ignore Snarky!Hawke. "Always happy to help in a life-threatening situation." "Good." And so on...
    Meredith: I assume you are ready, Champion?
    Hawke: To slaughter the entire Circle? Oh, sure.
    Meredith: Good.
    • One of your companions, Merrill, starts out a few seconds behind on any sarcastic comment. Since "Snarky" is one of the standard conversation options, this can happen several times in her introductory conversation alone.
  • During the climax of Portal 2 as the second core transfer starts. Justified as it's a machine:
    Announcer: Corrupted core, are you ready to start?
    Wheatley: What do you think?
    Announcer: Interpreting vague answer as "yes".
    Wheatley: Nonononononono!! Didn't pick up on my sarcasm...
  • Ward the Jerkass from The Orion Conspiracy does not know sarcasm when he hears it. Devlin says sarcastically at one point, "Thank you for your compassion and understanding." Ward's response goes something like "What?"
  • In The Secret World, Hayden Montag suffers from this. As Headmaster of Innsmouth Academy, one of the most disaster-prone Wizarding Schools in the country, its expected for him to be a bit on the dour and humourless side- especially now that the school and most of the surrounding countryside are under attack by everything from ancient Norse sea-zombies to Native American wendigos. Montag, however, has great difficulty understanding human emotions, catapulting quite a bit of his dialogue into this trope. Example: Montag has just explained how living humans have been Buried Alive inside the walls to act as immortal magical power sources, and how the few that just escaped have to be rounded up and forced back into their tombs:
    Usher: The first time you get bricked in's probably the worst time, eh?
    Montag: From my research, it seems each time begins a claustrophobic eternity anew.
    Usher: You're like the world's revenge on sarcasm, d'you know that?
  • Red Dead Redemption: Undead Nightmare once again features the omni-bigot Conspiracy Theorist and memetic Large Ham Herbert Moon, who blames a broad yet bizarrely specific cabal of groups for the undead plague. John Marston, Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire, piles sarcasm onto Moon for his irrational hate, which Herbert mistakes for support for his righteous cause to single-handedly stop the undead plague and bring down the conspiracy. Herbert Moon is promptly eaten by zombies seconds after he steps out of his store.
  • Ratchet & Clank: Between his constant malfunctioning and lack of tact, one has to question Dr. Nefarious's claim to being an evil super genius. Especially when he can't even see past the scathing burns his own personal servant Lawrence, who constantly snides him on a regular basis, yet he never notices any of it.
    Nefarious: To think, they called me insane Lawrence. We'll see who's insane... when my pets have exterminated all life, on this MISERABLE PLANET!!!
    Lawrence: Well, that should clear things right up, sir.
    Nefarious: The famous Captain Qwark couldn't possibly be this stupid... Could he?
    Lawrence: Even drooling imbeciles can achieve success in certain fields, sir. Mad Science, for example.

    Nefarious: That moron [Captain Quark] could never hope to match wits with the likes of me!
    Lawrence: If anyone can beat a moron at his own game, it's you, sir.
  • Dishonored features a few guards who make complaints to their commanding officers about terrorizing/executing civilians. When they start reacting to the officers' extremism with sarcastic praise about the murder of the innocent for fun and profit, the officers seem to think THIS IS CONSTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR. KILLING PEOPLE IS NOT CONSTRUCTIVE BEHAVIOR.
  • In the backstory of Guilty Gear, this is the reason why Sin Kiske wields a flag as his Weapon of Choice. During his training, Sin had a discussion with his instructor Sol Badguy about what kind of weapon would suit him. Sin said that he wanted something that draws attention and lets everyone know who he is; in response Sol snarked "Why don't you just use a flag while you're at it?!" Needless to say...
  • In The Darkside Detective, Dooley has this as an aspect of his general ditziness.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Maya Fey seems completely oblivious to Phoenix's sarcastic tone, taking his snarky comments seriously. Lampshaded in Case 1-4, when Maya is trying to think of a good replacement for standing under a cold waterfall (the best way for her to train her spiritual powers). When she takes his suggestion to call the fire department and have them hose her down seriously, he notes that "Apparently Fey blood is no aid in detecting sarcasm".
    • Dual Destinies has Yuri Cosmos, who's so full of himself that insults fly right over his head. During the trial, the prosecutor gets tired of his ramblings about his "great life" and asks him to go tell it to a dog on the street. Cosmos' response? "Of course! The animal world needs to know of my greatness!"
  • Rin Tezuka from Katawa Shoujo actually asks what sarcasm is when the topic is brought up. Hisao doesn't know what to say to this, because, knowing Rin, she's dead serious.
  • Mitsunari Ishida from Ikemen Sengoku is sweetly oblivious to any and all forms of snark, especially when it comes from his idol Ieyasu who doesn't want to spend nearly as much time with him as he thinks.
    Mitsunari: Lord Ieyasu and I often share recommendations as fellow book lovers.
    Ieyasu: Don't put me and you and love in the same sentence. I'd rather share a hobby with the book moths.
    Mitsunari: I find them vexing myself. You have an endless capacity for kindness to befriend them, Lord Ieyasu!

    Web Animation 
  • Caboose from Red vs. Blue. Of course, he doesn't understand reality sometimes, either.
  • Too good to leave off: Shortly after the developer went out of business, Yahtzee did an episode of Zero Punctuation where he "reviewed" Duke Nukem Forever, touting it as the greatest game ever, bar none; he briefly descends into a horrible fantasy where the game was never released because the developer spent twelve years jerking off and rightly got sued into oblivion, but he's so glad we don't live in a world like that! The next week, after his normal review, he posts a "Letter of the Week" which he received from a fan who was so excited that the game had finally come out, he'd been waiting for years, and asks Yahtzee where he got his copy because he can't seem to find it anywhere. (This was, of course, years before DNF's actual release.) And this was despite the video having a note at the end stating the entire review was sarcastic!
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
    • Most of the Ultramarines have this problem, it'd seem. Calgar unleashes a huge, irritated rant sarcastically praising them for succeeding on a completely suicidal mission through sheer Canon Sue powers, and the one marine listening in takes it at face value.
    • Inquisitor Karamazov is even worse, and the Emperor gets to milk it for every last drop, unleashing the single most sarcastic praising speech the Imperium has ever seen on him. No matter how insulting he gets Karamazov eats it up.
    • Rogal Dorn seems to be willfully blind to it. He knows it exists, but refuses to ever be sarcastic about anything, and thinks everyone else should (and IS) doing the same. This makes him almost entirely impervious to the Emperor's biting snark, much to the latter's irritation.
  • RWBY:
    • Ruby Rose, who is very socially awkward and often doesn't realize when Weiss Schnee is making sarcastic remarks.
      Yang: Look, uh, sounds like you two just got off on the wrong foot, so just try to be friends, okay?
      Ruby: Yeah! Great idea, sis! Ahem. Hello, Weiss! I'm Ruby! Wanna hang out? We can go shopping for school supplies.
      Weiss: Yeah! And we can try on clothes! And paint our nails! And talk about cute boys like "tall blonde and scraggly" over there!
      Ruby: Wow! Really?
      Weiss: ...No.
    • Jaune Arc, the above mentioned "tall blonde and scraggly", as well. He actually overhears Weiss' cruel comment about him and thinks she was being serious, leading him to hit on her a lot.

  • The Order of the Stick:
    • For a while, this applied to Elan in spades. He's getting better, but it's still hit-or-miss.
      Roy: "Gee, thanks for helping me, Roy."
      Elan: No need to thank me, I like helping you learn new things. Also, Roy is your name, not mine.
      Roy: *sigh*
    • Becomes a Running Gag in the case of Knight Templar Miko:
      Shojo: Good gods, they can teach you how to detect Evil, but not sarcasm?
    • Qarr completely misses the sarcasm in V's comment about V's spouse (a baker) defeating a dragon by exploiting the fact the dragon has a muffin-shaped hole in its scales.
  • As seen in the picture above, Agent Wolf of El Goonish Shive.
  • Homestuck:
    • John, at least sometimes, due to being a bit of an Idiot Hero:
      EB: hey, can you hold on?
      EB: i'm getting trolled again.
      TG: oh man and if weve just concluded anything its that talking to those dbags should be priority number one so yeah go right ahead
      EB: ok, brb.
    • Kanaya as well. Not even John's sarcasm. She finally catches on to Rose's sarcasm, but she still hasn't figured out that the other trolls use it all the time. She seems to be getting better at it, even referring to sarcasm as "An Enjoyable Exercise In Xenocultural Inculcation". When it is pointed out to her that the other trolls do it just as often, she responds, "Thats True But When We Do It Its Usually Just Because We Are Trying To Be Jerks Rather Than By Way Of A Mild Manner Perpetually Dispatching Little Puzzles Of Rhetoric Without Apparent Purpose."
    • Also, Tavros here:
      Vriska: Yes, that's it. Dump them all over the floor a8out ten feet away from me, just like that.
      The sloppier the pile and the further away from me the 8etter. Gr8 jo8, Tavros.
      Tavros: tHANK YOU,
  • Schlock Mercenary:
  • A running gag in 8-Bit Theater is that Red Mage never understands Black Mage's sarcasm. Also, applies to Fighter in spades.
  • Death To The Extremist: One displays sarcasm blindness in a comic.
  • This seems to be a common problem for robots in Freefall.
  • Zalanna of Ears for Elves is shown to be this in an exchange.
    Zalanna: Did you get my joke? It is because your mother would never kill you, but I exaggerated the extent of her fury. It was really quite quick on the draw. It was really cleaver [sic] of me!
    Tanna: Yes, Zalanna. You are quite the jester.
    Zalanna: I am? It is a talent I never knew I possessed! How positively exhilarating!
  • Scarlet of Sequential Art tends to be one, along with her sisters, befitting their Bunny-Ears Lawyer manner.

    Web Original 
  • This lady on Not Always Right. This is actually one of the site's main schticks.
  • The website Busy Street believes this to be true of Internet communication in general.
  • SCP-082 from the SCP Foundation, a giant cannibalistic mutant who, among other delusions, doesn't grasp sarcasm, parody, or fiction in general (he has even expressed a desire to meet Hannibal Lecter).
  • This quote from
    Tim333: You sound like a real winner
    rockstar111: is that a good thing
    Tim333: Have you ever heard of "sarcasm" or "irony," rockstar?
    rockstar111: what
    Tim333: Wow. It must be nice to be invulnerable to insult by means of incomprehension.
    rockstar111: what the hell r u talking about
  • For a joke, The Nostalgia Chick took her snarky woobie Sex Bot's sarcastic suggestion to get to Nella through a wormhole in the sink totally seriously. And hey, it worked.
  • In The Angry Video Game Nerd's review of Friday the 13th, Jason Voorhees is this. Jason threatens to kill the Nerd if he says anything bad about the game, so the Nerd gives sarcastic, mocking praise to the game throughout the review.
  • Dino Attack RPG: For years, Ronald E. Army has been living under the assumption that he is a great military general. In actuality he is still a sergeant, but when asking about a promotion, he was met with the response of "yeah, you're going to be a general".
  • Sparadrap from Noob. This is a big factor in insults directed at him flying over his head and mistaking random people for being nicer to him than they really are. Top top it off, his pre Character Development version tends to have a "random person equals potential friend" logic in a context where there the random person has a decent chance of wanting to harm him.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series Kaiba is still his usual sarcastic self, yet when he IS sarcastic, no one cares or are just too dumb.
    • Yami Yugi just seems to IGNORE the sarcasm from others, look at this exchange:
    Yami: Reeeally, you mean he came up with the idea of making fun of a Japanese cartoon on the Internet? How innovative. Genius, even.
    Yugi: You know, sarcasm is the lowest form of wit.
    Yami: Well, you'd know all about that.
    Yugi: What?
    Yami: Being lowest I mean.
    Yugi: Okay—
    Yami: Because you're so short and all.
    Yugi: Yeah, good one.
    Yami: Thank you.
    Yugi: I was being sarcastic.
    Yami: I still accept the compliment.
  • Fat, French and Fabulous: Jessica has a theory that despite the fact that she is terrible at understanding sarcasm, that she might have picked up a “sarcastic accent” from being around her highly sarcastic family.

    Western Animation 
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    • Used hilariously in an episode: Bloo has no idea what sarcasm is, despite the fact that he uses it all the time.
      "Oh, yes, I'm sarcastic all the time."
      "You're doing it right now!"
    • Later in the episode, when a man defends a pretty ludicrous deceit with "I was being sarcastic," Mac and Bloo are able to call him out, and back it up with extensive research.
    • Also gets mixed with Mind Screw in that episode, right after Mr Herriman proved that he 'wasn't' being sarcastic about getting Bloo and Mac jet cars:
    • In a later episode when Bloo has eaten all of the food on a camping trip and has to fish for breakfast:
      Bloo: I said I wanted bacon and eggs!
      Mac: Okay, let me just go back in time and prevent you from eating the ones we brought!
      Bloo: You can do that?
  • Total Drama:
    • Lindsay, much to the chagrin of Deadpan Snarkers like Gwen and Noah.
      Noah: Throwing balls, gee, another mentally challenging test.
      Lindsay: I know, right?
    • In the special:
      Izzy: Noah, I'm counting on you for three gallons of diesel fuel.
      Noah: Sure thing. I'll just get my unicorn to deliver it.
      Izzy: Perfect!
    • Max from the third generation cast. When he attempts to turn a rabbit evil with one of his inventions (and fails):
      Max: Isn't it terrifying?!
      Scarlett: Goose bumps, Max. I have goose bumps.
  • Daria:
    • Much of the cast (aside from Daria and Jane, obviously), to much comic effect. Particularly the stupidest characters (Brittany, Kevin, Sandy/Quinn, Mr. O'Neil...).
    • This ends up being a minor plot point for Jake in "Is It Fall Yet?" along with his inability to tell a joke.
  • South Park:
    • Used in the movie "Imaginationland". The military is interrogating Stan and Kyle, trying to find a way into Imaginationland, and a specialist accidentally lets slip that they have a secret portal there. The general shuts him up, sarcastically saying, "Why don't you just tell them everything about Project X?!" The specialist starts describing it until the general cuts him off by pointing out he was being sarcastic.
    • This is the main plot of the episode "Sarcastaball". Randy complains about new rules enforced in junior football to make the sport safer, saying it might as well played with a balloon while all the players wear bras and tinfoil hats, hugging their opponents and giving them compliments. He ends up being team coach after the school board takes him seriously when he says he'd love to coach the new sport.
    • The Canadian Health Control Head explained in a video about puberty that queefing into a man's face results in having a baby since that is what his wife told him.
  • During the episode "Snake Hunt" of Jackie Chan Adventures we get an abusing scene after a television show host, posing as an archeologist, deliberately sabotages a cave drawing while Chan is preoccupied with the Dark Hand.
    Rank: And thus, "Just the Artifacts" has the exclusive scoop on this infamous Snake Talisman, whatever that is. You do think everyone was fighting over the chalk drawing, don't you?
    Stefanson: Maybe we should ask an archeologist.
    Stefanson: Oh right, destroying 4,000 year-old drawings, yeah that's what archeologists do.
  • Used hilariously in Justice League. In the episode "Eclipsed", a general is possessed by an evil spirit, which wants to pass itself along to a member of the Justice League. Asking a subordinate how to get the attention of the Justice League, the subordinate replies, "Put on a gaudy costume and threaten to hurt a lot of people." So he does. The costume he puts together is a Shout-Out to one of the more garish of the old school super villains, Eclipso.
  • In A Charlie Brown Christmas, Charlie Brown is none to pleased to discover he has received no Christmas cards, so he goes up to Violet, and says:
    Charlie Brown: Thanks for the Christmas card you sent me!
    Violet: I didn't send you a Christmas card, Charlie Brown! (walks off)
    Charlie Brown: Don't you know sarcasm when you hear it?!
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes:
    Lucius: Well, I hope you're happy, Two-Shoes.
    Jimmy: Aw, Thanks Lucy. I'm a little bummed about the plane and Jez, but other than that I'm pretty happy!
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer can exhibit this sometimes.
      Chief Wiggum: Just sit down and wait for Detective "Like I Give a Damn."
      Homer: Thank you so much.
      Lisa: Dad?
      Homer: Honey, Daddy's waiting for the detective.
    • Also...
      Lisa: Maybe they're all reverse vampires and they have to get home before dark.
    • Barney also shows this in one famous scene:
      Barney: And I say England's greatest Prime Minister was Lord Palmerston!
      Wade Boggs: Pitt the Elder!
      Barney: LORD PALMERSTON!
      Boggs: PITT! THE! ELDER!
      Barney: Okay, you asked for it, Boggs! (punches out Boggs)
      Moe: Yeah, that's showin' 'im, Barn! "Pitt the Elder"...
      Barney: LORD PALMERSTON! (punches out Moe)
    • Bart sees Bonestorm advertised for 99 cents in a store window.
      Bart: I want to buy a copy of Bonestorm. Here's 99 cents.
      Comic Book Guy: Allow me to summarize the proposed transaction: you wish to purchase Bonestorm for 99 cents. Net profit to me, negative $59. Oh, oh please, take my $59. I don't want it. It's yours.
      [Bart reaches for the money, Comic Book Guy stops him by deflecting his hand with a pen]
      Eh, eh, eh — seeing as we are unfamiliar with sarcasm, I shall close the register at this point and state that 99 cents is the rental price.
    • In "The Last Temptation of Krust" Bart is looking for Jay Leno and doesn't recognize him when Leno arrives. Leno comments that someone should get him a TV and Bart thanks him for the gift.
    • In "Old Money" the family takes Grampa to spend the day with them on his girlfriend's birthday despite his protests and finds out she died while he was away. At the funeral Homer tries to apologize but Grampa pretends that he doesn't hear anything. Homer bemoans the loss of Grampa's hearing.
  • Most characters on Avatar: The Last Airbender are pretty quick on the uptake, but Aang, due to his optimism and shining idealism, demonstrates this characteristic at least once, when he is reluctant to kill the Big Bad, but the rest of the Gang wants him to.
    Aang: Maybe we could make some big pots of glue, and then I could use gluebending to stick his arms and legs together so he can't bend anymore!
    Zuko: Yeah! And then you can show him his baby pictures and all those happy memories will make him good again!
    Aang: Do you really think that would work?
    Zuko: NO!
  • The Legend of Korra: While on a stake-out, Bolin and Asami descide to play a game of Pai Sho, only to realise that the earth-bending street kid and the fire nation aristocrat had been taught different versions of the game.
    Bolin: That's no help at all. Korra, as the Avatar, you need to standardize these Pai Sho rules.
    Korra: [exasperated] Okay, I'll put that on my to-do list, right after bringing back the Air Nation and taking down the group that tried to kidnap me.
    Bolin: [sincerly] That's cool, whenever you get to it.
  • In Star vs. the Forces of Evil, Miss Heinous tracks down "Princess Marco" to force "her" to make a statement recanting the Rousing Speech that lead the students of St. Olgas to rebel and throw her out. Marco does so, emphasising that he's totally doing so of his own free will, and definitely not because Miss Heinous is threatening him and his family. Miss Heinous assumes he's being completely sincere. In fact the very concept of deception appears to be alien to her, as she continues to believe the "Princess Marco" disguise, referring to Marco by female pronouns and addressing the Diazes as "Your Highness", even though it's blatantly obvious that Marco is a boy and a commoner.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • From the episode "Winter Wrap Up":
      Spike: Well, you're good at a lot of things. Just not nest making, ice skating, animal waking, snow clearing...
      Twilight Sparkle: Thanks a lot for making me feel so much better.
      Spike: That's what I'm here for, sister.
    • Pinkie Pie seems to be especially prone to this. In "Feeling Pinkie Keen":
      Pinkie Pie: (observing the frog conspicuously clinging to Twilight's head) Uh, Twilight, you got a little something on your face there.
      Twilight Sparkle: Oh? Did your "Pinkie Sense" tell you that too?
      Pinkie Pie: No, I could just see it. (hops off) La la la la laaaa....
    • In "Griffon the Brush Off", Rainbow Dash's old friend Gilda Griffon observes Pinkie with a wary eye:
      Gilda: I know what you're planning.
      Pinkie Pie: [giggles] Well, I hope so. This wasn't supposed to be a surprise party.
      Gilda: I mean, I've got my eye on you.
      Pinkie Pie: And I got my eye on you.
      Gilda: Hey, I'm watching you. Like a hawk.
      Pinkie Pie: Why? Can't you watch me like a griffon?
    • And again in "Over a Barrel," where it backfires on Rainbow Dash because Pinkie Pie takes her quip about Fluttershy being a tree out of context.
      Rainbow Dash: When we get to Appleoosa, you think we'll have to carry that heavy tree all the way from the train to the orchard?
      Pinkie Pie: What tree? You mean Bloomberg?
      Rainbow Dash: (sarcasm) No. Fluttershy.
      Pinkie Pie: Fluttershy's not a tree, silly.
      Twilight Sparkle: What's going on?
      Pinkie Pie: Rainbow Dash thinks Fluttershy's a tree.
      Rainbow Dash: I do not think she's a tree, I was just...
      Twilight Sparkle: Did you say she was a tree?
      Rainbow Dash: No... well, yes... but... not exactly ...
      Twilight Sparkle: You know she's not a tree, right?
      Pinkie Pie: She's not a tree, Dashie.
      Fluttershy: ...I'd like to be a tree.
    • And once again in "A Canterlot Wedding, Part 1", after showing off what she had planned for the wedding reception:
      Pinkie Pie: I think this reception is gonna be perfect! Don't you?
      Princess Cadance (actually Queen Chrysalis): Perfect! ...if we were celebrating a six-year-old's birthday party.
      Pinkie Pie: (gasps) Thank you!
    • In "The Crystal Empire, Part 1":
      Twilight Sparkle: I love research papers!
      Rainbow Dash: Yeah, (nudges Pinkie) who doesn't?
      Pinkie Pie: Oh, oh, oh! Let me guess! Is it Spike? No, no, Fluttershy! Rarity?
    • In "Gauntlet of Fire'', Spike makes several sarcastic remarks towards Garble, all of which Garble takes at face value.
      Spike: It's nice to see you too, Garble.
      Garble: I didn't say it was nice to see you. It's not! I don't like you! Was I not clear about that?
  • Beavis from Beavis and Butt-Head. If told "Tell me something I don't know." he'll do exactly that. He thinks "Stick it where the sun doesn't shine." means "Put it under your pillow."
  • In The Legend of Tarzan, Terk gives Tantor a sarcastic compliment. When Tantor acts smug, she follows it up by saying that he's really good at detecting sarcasm, as well. Tantor continues acting smug.
  • Phineas from Phineas and Ferb. Case in point: Candace, his snarky (and proud of it) sister, flat-out informs him that she's being sarcastic, and he's happily shocked and goes off track to compliment her for her believability.
    Phineas: Well, y'know how we do something new every day?
    Candace: (in phony shock) Nooo...
    Phineas: ...Oh, well, we try to build some big project, or do something—
    Candace: I'm aware of the concept, Phineas, I was just being sarcastic.
    Phineas: ...Really? Hey, that was pretty good. Wow, I totally fell for it. Ferb, I totally fell for it!
  • Doug would occasionally fall into this, usually with his Deadpan Snarker of an older sister. There was even an entire episode where he was worried when Patti invited him over for a dinner party and said they were having his favorite: liver and onions. He actually hated liver and onions and even made a speech in front of the class about how much he hated them. It never dawned on Doug that Patti was only kidding until she flat out told him at the end of the episode, after he had practiced eating liver and onions until he could convincingly pretend to enjoy it.
    • In "Doug's Chubby Buddy", Patti asks Doug if he thinks she's fat, and Doug sarcastically responds with "Yeah, you're huge!" She ends up taking it at face value and nearly develops an eating disorder.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants frequently falls into this due to his naïve and innocent nature, particularly whenever he talks to Squidward.
  • Stan Smith from American Dad! frequently falls into this...
    Francine: If it's so darn important for you to dance with the homecoming queen, why don't you just go with Betty Sue?
    (Stan does that)
    Betty Sue: I hope this isn't awkward.
    Stan: Awkward? Don't be silly, it was Francine's idea.
    Francine: I was being sarcastic! Or don't you get sarcasm, genius?
    Stan: Oh, I think I get sarcasm, and I'm hardly a genius, but still, thank you; that's awfully sweet of you.
  • Omi of Xiaolin Showdown is often slow to catch on to sarcasm, due to his youth and sheltered upbringing.
    Omi: (In a dungeon referred to as a hospitality suite) Oh...perhaps I am misunderstanding the meaning of the word hospitality.
    Kimiko: Or the meaning of sarcasm!
  • Inverted with one Running Gag in Family Guy, involving an ambiguously foreign man who has just barely mastered English, and insists on pointing it out and laughing uproariously whenever somebody says something sarcastic, as if he's proud of himself for getting the joke.
  • In the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Take Elmyra Please", when Elmyra asks her dad if he will be on the news on the day of his new discovery (a clean-burning alternative fuel made from cholesterol), her sarcastic teenage older sister, Amanda, tells her, "No, they're coming over to give you your own show, Elbow-head!". Since Elmyra is unable to understand sarcasm, she really believes what she just said, and as a result, she thinks that George and Leonard, who are sent by their boss, Arthur Jabba, to capture her and hold her for ransom, are the executives for her new show and that their warehouse is the studio for the show.
  • Nigel from The Wild Thornberrys is terrible at recognizing sarcasm. When Debbie mentions it in The Movie, he says he likely never had an ability to recognize it and that he never noticed how sarcastic his daughter was before.
    Nigel: We'll be gone until after the eclipse. Will you be alright with Donnie?
    Debbie: Are you kidding? This will be the highlight of my young life.
    Nigel: That's the spirit, poodles!
    Debbie: Dad, have you completely lost your ability to recognize sarcasm?
    Nigel: I'm not sure I ever had it, Deborah.
  • At one point in Bunnicula, Bunnicula makes an idea, to which Chester sarcastically says it's a great idea. When it works, Harold is impressed at how it worked, and Chester angrily says he was being sarcastic. Cue Harold asking "What's a sarcasm?"
  • Happy of The 7D doesn't quite have a grasp on Grumpy's wisecracks.
  • Kaeloo and Stumpy are generally oblivious to Mr. Cat's sarcasm.
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Lance falls into this sometimes. A good example from the first episode:
    Lance: (referring to Keith's motorcycle) Can't this thing go any faster?
    Keith: We could toss some non-essential weight.
    Lance: Oh, right! (Beat) ...Okay, that was an insult. I get it.
    • And later in the first season:
      Lance: Hey, does Allura ever talk about me when I'm out of the room?
      Hunk: Oh, yeah, all the time.
      Lance: (excitedly) Really?
  • Rugrats: Tommy and his friends can never comprehend whenever Angelica is being sarcastic. Ironically, Angelica herself falls into this trope when she overhears Miss Carol state that the real catchphrase of the show is "she thinks they're all little—" (Sound-Effect Bleep) and Angelica thinks it's sincere. This leads to a quite disastrous turn of events.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls a truant officer parody of Joe Friday tells the Gangreen Gang that he is going to make sure that they go to school. Ace tells him that they have never been to school before and the officer pretends he is shocked. When Ace continues the officer explains that he was being sarcastic, which someone would only know if they went to school.
  • In an episode of Arthur, Arthur suggests that he travels through time to find an event he missed funny, and Buster unsurprisingly thinks he has one.
  • In Bob's Burgers, Louise is always snarky and sarcastic all the time, but this backfires on her in season 8 "The Hurt Soccer". When Linda asks Louise if she would like to sign up for soccer, her answers were very sarcastic. Linda took them at face value, and Bob had to point out to her that Louise didn’t mean what she says, but eventually both were tire of trying to figure out if she was being sarcastic or not and simply signed her up.
    Linda: Hey, look, an e-mail from Harley's dad. He's asking if Louise would want to join Harley's soccer team.
    Think she would?
    Bob: I've met Louise, so probably not.
    Linda: Louise, do you want to sign up for soccer?!
    Louise: (offscreen, sarcastically) Yes! Please sign me up for soccer!
    Linda: Oh!
    Bob: She's being sarcastic.
    Linda: Are you being sarcastic?!
    Louise: (sarcastically) No!
    Linda: Aw, yeah, you're right.
    Bob: Well, wait, now I'm not so sure. Louise, do you want to sign up for soccer?!
    Louise: (sarcastically) Uh-huh!
    Linda: I guess she wants to do it. Should we double-triple-check?
    Bob: No, I-I don't want to yell anymore.
  • Scooby-Doo and Guess Who?: In "What a Night, For a Dark Knight!", while in Gotham City, Shaggy sarcastically agrees to go to a "spooky abandoned department store in the middle of the night in one of the toughest towns, like, ever". Fred (who's driving at the moment) replies with "That's the spirit, Shaggy. Let's hit it!" and turns the wheel to the left to get to the store, much to Shaggy's annoyance.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "Live It Up Tonight", when Mayor Whitebottom asks why they're meeting in her car, Bitsy tells him she has to get her hair done and be back at the hotel before the award ceremony begins. Whitebottom tells her as mayor of New York, he has nothing he's supposed to be doing before then, which Bitsy replies with "Good" until Whitebottom points out he's being sarcastic.

    Real Life 
  • The whole point of using (deadpan) sarcasm for humor is that it creates a brief disconnect between the speaker and the listener (who's implicitly assuming the speaker will say what they mean). Even someone with the best sarcasm-dar in the world will take a moment to realize that that's what's going on, and that tension-and-release is what makes it funny. The problem (and this trope proper) happens when that gap is so large that the listener has reacted to the face-meaning of the utterance before they've spotted the sarcasm (if they ever do).
  • Children often take a couple years to recognize sarcasm, hence the prevalence of the "talking to children" tone from adults. Their reaction can vary between simply taking the statement at face value just like this trope, or getting confused at why the speaker's tone and expression doesn't match their words.
  • Some people diagnosed with autism spectrum disorders, such as Asperger syndrome, don't get sarcasm, as they often tend to be very Literal-Minded. And even if they do realize that you're being sarcastic, it can still make a conversation very complicated very quickly. Interestingly, autistic people can still be very sarcastic, even if they can't always recognise sarcasm themselves. What's worse is that these people may want to mean serious things but other people take it to be sarcasm, causing great frustration, Poor Communication Kills and other trouble.
    • It can also be somewhat amusing (or incredibly annoying) when Wrong Genre Savvy people, being aware of this, interpret the autistic person speaking sarcastically as if they were being sincere.
    • The sarcasm recognition problems in case of Aspies are usually based on the fact that recognizable sarcasm involves presenting a more or less ridiculous sentence, and Aspies are relatively probable to disagree with you whether a sentence is ridiculous or not. Interestingly, this even applies to Aspie-to-Aspie conversation, except that the speakers are usually more used to the whole disagreeing concept than an NT person.
    • Complicated by the fact that tone of voice has no meaning the way words do, and when sarcasm is defined as "saying the opposite of what you mean", the change in tone seems optional.
  • The use of sarcasm and the recognition of sarcasm from someone else are two different things — this is why even a person who uses a lot of sarcasm might not pick up on it when used against them. The expressions and idioms we use are picked up from interaction with other people, so Sarcasm-Blind people can sometimes use a sarcastic expression without recognizing it as sarcasm.
  • A 2012 study found a link between sarcasm-blindness and some forms of dementia.
  • Sarcasm is literally a foreign language in some countries, where the spoken and written languages of those countries do not use sarcasm... though they're becoming increasingly scarce as time goes by due to the bad influence of others. This is especially so in Japanese, and other languages that rely on remaining formal and honest even with friends. The closest equivalent to sarcasm in Japanese is the speaker saying the "sarcastic" line, before following it up with, " what I would like to say, but..."
    • This is why there's an advisory, especially on Twitter, to not use sarcastic language on Japanese Twitter artists, as given the language gap and Values Dissonance on Western humor, they'd see it as serious/threatening and would delete it.
  • Due to lacking an ability to demonstrate tone, it's a poor idea to try to be sarcastic on the Internet without using tone indicators (i.e. tacking "/s" at the end of a post). There are stories of people getting banned from several online communities for sarcastically stating something that's against the Terms of Use, the most famous incidents involving "I am twelve and what is this?" when you need to be 13 or over to make an account. This was the original reason Poe's Law was formulated, and is a frequent source of examples.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Does Not Understand Sarcasm, Oblivious To Sarcasm


The inventor of sarcasm

Lord Sarc's comments confuse his servants

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SarcasmBlind

Media sources: