Follow TV Tropes


Snark Ball

Go To

Alice is stupid. There's no Obfuscating Stupidity either: her inability to grasp basic logic is one of the main driving forces behind the main plot. Except, outside the main plot she regularly plays Deadpan Snarker or Only Sane Man to smarter characters.

That means she just caught a Snark Ball: an imaginary device that makes a character consistently show more wit than he actually has.

May lead to fan theories that the character is secretly Obfuscating Stupidity. It's also prevalent in cartoons of "wacky" variety, where absurdity of actions becomes funnier if the characters themselves comment on that.

Compare Smart Ball, where a stupid character does a smart thing because the plot says so, and Dumbass Has a Point, where a stupid character says something stupid that still makes sense. A Cuckoosnarker is a Cloudcuckoolander character who juggles the Snark Ball.


    open/close all folders 

  • In Blazing Saddles, Mongo (having just been used to give Rock Ridge one heck of a load of exposition) looks right at the screen and intones solemnly, "Mongo only pawn, in game of life."

  • Bertie Wooster, despite being described as "mentally negligible", can be quite witty especially in the narration.

    Live Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • Susan Foreman is usually The Ingenue and the sweetest and most empathetic of the main cast, but Terry Nation would give her snarky lines (in accordance with his own tastes), particularly in "The Dalek Invasion of Earth".
    • The Second Doctor, who is usually compassionate, easy-going and as modest as the Doctor ever gets, has one stuffed down his throat by Robert Holmes during "The Krotons" and spends most of the serial playing Insufferable Genius, subtly mocking the Krotons and Jamie and bickering with Zoe over whether he knows how to do everything or not. This has the effect of moving his characterisation to be quite close to the Fourth Doctor's, a character Robert Holmes was pivotal in creating.
    • Tends to happen during Steven Moffat's episodes - Moffat has an undeniable knack for coming up with snarky dialogue, so all of his original characters (Amy, Rory, River, Clara...) have the fact that they communicate exclusively in snark built into their characterisation, and when he didn't create them, he'll feed them snarky lines anyway - observe the far wittier way the Ninth Doctor communicates in "The Empty Child / The Doctor Dances", Rose's sudden increase in sarcasm in "The Girl in the Fireplace", and how abrasive and snippy the Fifth Doctor is in "Time Crash" compared to usual. This is even inverted in the case of Captain Jack, a Moffat-created character who couldn't get through a single line without a snarky gag in "The Empty Child/The Doctor Dances", but who soon found himself heading Torchwood with a much more sombre dialogue style.
  • Kelly Bundy from Married... with Children. She's barely literate, speaks almost entirely in malapropisms and nearly always misses the point of what's going on around her. She's one of the best examples of both a Brainless Beauty and a Dumb Blonde... yet she also very frequently delivered witty and inventive comebacks and snark, especially when it came to fighting with her brother.
  • Joey from Friends is usually the dumb one, but most of his Dumbass Has a Point moments are in the form of sarcastic quips. Being the roommate of Chandler seems to have that sort of effect.
    [Rachel's job résumés have many spelling errors]
    Rachel: Oh, my God! Oh! Do you think it's on all of them?
    Joey: Oh, no, I'm sure the Xerox machine caught a few of them.
    [Ross wants to propose to Rachel after they have a baby, but hasn't]
    Ross: Hey, I'm not gonna rush into anything.
    Joey: Oh yeah, dude, I totally understand. Usually after I have a baby with a woman I like to slow things down!
    [Joey and Phoebe are starving while waiting for the others who are late and haven't informed anything, when Ross and Rachel finally arrive]
    Phoebe: You guys are over an hour late! What happened to you two?
    Ross: So sorry!
    Rachel: We got locked out of the apartment—
    Joey: That's a great story. Can I eat it?

    Visual Novels 
  • In the Ace Attorney series, whoever is the currently playable character immediately becomes a First-Person Smartass similar to Phoenix in the original trilogy. This is most obvious with Phoenix himself in Dual Destinies, where he acts like The Mentor when playing as Athena or Apollo but reverts back to his goofy old-school persona when playing as him. A side effect is that your co-councel usually gets the Smart Ball as well, given that they have to act as the game's Hint System.

  • Monette and Kharisma from Something*Positive. Both of them started as extremely stupid characters, and eventually developed into the same Deadpan Snarkers that the rest of the cast are. Some of this is character development, but they nonetheless behave with a level of intellect far higher than their original characterizations.
  • In 8-Bit Theater, Fighter is a Kindhearted Simpleton, who usually takes everything at face value and genuinely believes his companions are as competent as they claim. Then there are moments like this:
    Fighter: (after he and Thief have both survived being fired from a cannon by different methods) Here comes Red Mage. Wonder what he'll do.
    Thief: If he's smart, he'll just mime my jump.
    Fighter: Yeah. I wonder what he'll do.
    (Red Mage slams into the ground painfully)
    Fighter: I wasn't surprised. Were you surprised, Thief?

    Western Animation 
  • Cosmo from The Fairly OddParents! tends to lampshade his holding this, such as in one episode where he comments that "I know I'm not usually one to inject logic into a situation — whatever a situation is — but..."
  • Johnny Bravo. Never lets go of the Idiot Ball when it comes to plot. However, he's perfectly capable of delivering very clever puns and commenting on other characters' actions in a snarky fashion.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Simpson Tide": Ralph, who normally only appears to make bizarre Non Sequiturs. When Bart tries to show how cool he is by doing the Bartman, Ralph comments "That is so 1991"; compared to Milhouse, who has earrings that everyone likes, Bart is so lame that even Ralph can tell how uncool he's acting.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Who would've thought that SpongeBob, of all people, could be capable of delivering snarky remarks? It's especially interesting considering how often he's Sarcasm-Blind.
    • Patrick's sometimes made witty remarks in spite of his idiocy.


Video Example(s):


"...I was being sarcastic!"

One of Homer's funniest moments, is when he sarcastically lashes out at Marge, during the Flaming Moe debacle.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / SnarkBall

Media sources: