Follow TV Tropes

Following

Tall, Dark, and Snarky

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Snape_5313.png
"Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"
Advertisement:

A variation on the Insufferable Genius, this character is usually charismatic, incredibly good at what they do, and rather good-looking. Members of the same sex both admire and envy them, while those of the opposite fall all over them (often forming an Instant Fan Club), and the only thing that saves them from being The Ace is their overwhelming arrogance and constant annoyance at being surrounded by people they see as idiots. They'll often make snarky comments on the current situation which show that they know much more about what's going on than anyone else, and answer any questions with the preface, "Are you so stupid you can't see it?"

This doesn't necessarily make them evil, though. (If anything, it's understandable, given the mindless way people often act around them.) They're just not a character who plays well with others and are therefore at risk of becoming an Ineffectual Loner. Their snarkiness is usually brought low not with sarcasm, but a good old Insult Backfire.

Advertisement:

Often paired or placed in contrast with an insufferably cheerful, outgoing, nice, and/or idealistic character, and may act as The Lancer. This character is usually responsible for teaching the Tall, Dark and Snarky about The Power of Friendship or The Power of Love, once he or she has enough skill to make the Tall, Dark and Snarky actually respect their opinion. However, this can backfire, with the Tall, Dark and Snarky feeling threatened by the character's newfound power and becoming The Rival instead or, worse, give the idealistic guy a pair of Jade-Colored Glasses to wear.

This archetype is also frequently used as a mentor or older brother type, used as a foil for the protagonist's optimistic and foolish nature. They also are a common choice for a villain role as well. See also Tall, Dark, and Handsome for the straight vanilla versions, though a good-looking enough example of this trope may double as both.

Advertisement:


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Gintama: Hijikata has dark hair, is popular with ladies, snarky, and strict.
  • Fakir from Princess Tutu is taller than most of the show's characters, with dark hair and an endless supply of snark:
    • In the first episode:
      Fakir: [to Mytho] What were you thinking doing such a pointless thing?
      Ahiru: So like I said, he was protecting me!
      Fakir: That's why I said pointless.
    • In episode 14
      Ahiru: Oh, Fakir, is your wound healed yet?
      Fakir: It had started to improve, but seeing your face again has triggered fresh stabs of pain.
  • Hak, from Akatsuki no Yona, establishes himself as a Sarcastic Devotee in his first appearance in chapter one (Princess Yona was complaining about her hair, to which he responds that there is nothing wrong with her hair but rather her head), and at least half of what comes out of his mouth is snark-laden. He also happens to be among the tallest characters of the cast, the greatest military genius known to the setting, and a chaste Chick Magnet who is completely devoted to Princess Yona.

    Films — Animation 
  • Disney Animated Canon:
  • Jafar from Aladdin is not happy a lot until he gets the lamp, wears a dark Red and Black and Evil All Over robe and turban that contrasts with the palace, the Sultan, Jasmine, and "Prince Ali", is taller than everyone else except the Genie, and makes a few snarks. He's also called a "tall, dark and sinister ugly man" by the Genie.
  • Scar from The Lion King. His fur is darker than his brother, King Mufasa's. The quote "I am surrounded by idiots" is among his most famous ones. It was directed at the incompetent hyenas.
  • Chief Bogo of Zootopia is tall, strong, handsomely built, competent, honorable Chief of Police, greatly respected by his fellow officers. He is also not above making blunt, unforgiving, or snarky comments about other animals' thoughtless behavior as needed.
  • Mother Gothel from Tangled is an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette who is taller that Flynn Rider, the latter of whom is 6'1" according to Word of God. She also makes a lot of snarky comments throughout the film, including this gem to Rapunzel:
    Look in that mirror. I see a strong, competent, beautiful young lady. Oh, look. You're there, too!
  • Beret Girl from An Extremely Goofy Movie is a charismatic, bold, beautiful beatnik, loved by both the resident depressive Shrinking Violet, PJ, and the resident manic Attention Whore, Bobby, and very snarky. She is willing to get into an insult match with the Privileged Rival Jerk Jock, Bradley, whose reputation is significantly higher than her own and to very bluntly reject Bobby's advances, even explicitly calling him a "fool." Her genuine compliments and interest directed at PJ cause him to be significantly less depressive and shy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dr. Ian Malcolm in the Jurassic Park franchise "suffers from a deplorable excess of personality. Especially for a mathematician", as Dr. Hammond explains in the former's very first scene in the original movie. He's played by the dark-haired, six-foot-four-and-a-half-inches tall Jeff Goldblum, dresses primarily in black at all times, wryly sums up his love life as "always on the lookout for a future ex-Mrs.-Malcolm", and from the beginning is constantly warning other characters in Gibbering Genius fashion about the inevitability of their best-laid plans involving the dinosaurs going horribly wrong. And over his three appearances in the films...well, as he puts it in the first film as the T. rex breaches the deactivated fence, "Boy, do I hate being right all the time." Notably, he's the Breakout Character of the franchise as far as the humans go — his character didn't survive the original novel, but not only was he Spared by the Adaptation a Retcon made him the protagonist of the sequel novel The Lost World and corresponding loose film adaptation thereof, the latter of which has his ego pricked by having to deal with/protect both a current girlfriend and a frustrated daughter from a previous relationship...though he's still the Only Sane Man of the good guys.
  • Septimus from Stardust. He's tall, dark, a skilled assassin, and thinks he is surrounded by idiots. He's played by Mark Strong

    Literature 
  • Discworld: Vetinari has moments of extreme snarkiness and he's described as tall and dark. Although he's gaunt and has an "equine face", it's mentioned in Unseen Academicals that he's "quite handsome, in a way".
  • Subverted with Severus Snape in Harry Potter. He's very snarky, dark, and intelligent, but shorter than Sirius Black, ugly and extremely petty.
  • The Infernal Devices: William Herondale has dark hair and is implied to be quite tall (Tessa Gray mentions that he is taller than her and that she is uncommonly tall for her own age). Despite the Hidden Heart of Gold, his type of snark is practically his defining character trait.
    • Tessa: Gideon and Gabriel. They're really quite good-looking, not hideous at all.
      Will: [in sepulchral tones] I spoke of the pitch-black inner depths of their souls.
      Tessa: [snorts] And what color do you suppose the inner depths of your soul are, Will Herondale?
      Will: Mauve.
    • Gabriel: You know, there was a time when I thought we could be friends, Will.
      Will: There was a time I thought I was a ferret, but that turned out to be the opium haze. Did you know it had that effect? Because I didn't.
    • Tessa: ...you behave as if you dislike us all.
      Gabriel: (pointing at Will) I don't. I just dislike him.
      Will: Dear me. Is it because I'm better-looking than you?
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell:
    • Invoked when it is noted that magicians are expected to be tall, dark, and snarky. One reason Jonathan Strange becomes more popular than Mr Norrell very fast is because aside from having dark auburn hair, he fits the classic image of a magician perfectly, particularly when he is mourning for his wife.
    • John Childermass, Mr Norrell's Enigmatic Minion, is foreshadowed to secretly be a magician by fitting the bill, especially in the TV mini series. While initially described as looking twisted like a tree, he nonetheless has three maids fall for him. He has long dark hair, wears a black coat with a black top hat, is the master of the eye roll and has barely any dialogue in any social situation where he does not snark. He fits the bill so perfectly, in fact, that Drawlight initially assumes he must be Mr Norrell, the magician of Hanover-Square.
  • Clip in the Malazan Book of the Fallen is not a full-blooded Tiste Andii, but still dark-skinned and black-haired. He rarely has anything nice to say to his companions, unless you count condescending ridicule as nice.
  • Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights has very dark physical features and he's capable to charm ladies easily. He counts as a Deconstruction since he lacks the heart of gold and "redemption by the love of a good woman" typically associated with the character.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who is by a long way the tallest and deepest-voiced Doctor, 6'3" even without the huge amount of dark Messy Hair and his usual habit of wearing high-heeled riding boots, and a character influenced by Gothic Horror heroes and the bohemian subculture of the late Victorian era. He is casually condescending and mendacious to his friends (his companion Harry gets the worst of this, but Leela was also constantly reminded how small and worthless her tiny little brain was compared to his) and delivering it all either offhandedly as if it was the most obvious thing in the world, or with a huge, adorable Cheshire Cat Grin. He's also probably the most sarcastic Doctor of the lot, due to how resigned he is to everyone else's perceived stupidity. Both these traits were also adopted by the Ninth Doctor, who does it just the same but with a lot more Angst, and fitting the trope archetype better.
  • Mr. Bush (appeared in Series Two and Three) is a fine specimen of Tall, Dark, and Handsome, but his lines involve a fair share of snarky remarks and sneering comments. Though a decent man and reliable friend, he's also very strict with his subordinates, as seen with his initial disdain towards Archie and Horatio, and his memorable introduction to Midshipmen Hammond and Orrock in the third series: "I expect you to know this ship like the back of your hand, or else you shall know the back of mine."
  • Jessica Jones (2015): Jessica herself is pretty tall compared to the other female characters, has very dark hair and makeup and has dark, snarky humor for every situation.
  • Revolution: Miles Matheson seems taller than most of the characters, is dark-haired, and most of his sentences are aimed at snarking at the current state of affairs. Then again, he has been a soldier practically his entire life, and he has little patience with people who just don't seem to listen to his mostly sound advice.
  • Riverdale: Jughead Jones is a very dark-haired, broody boy who almost always has something snarky to say and stands at 6'0'', as per his actor's height, which makes him the tallest of the main main four characters.
    Jughead: Sardonic humor is just my way of relating to the world.

    Theater 
  • The title character from Brand, by Henrik Ibsen, is described as a man with black, straight hair, and is a Snark Knight if ever there was one. He also has an impressive effect on his fellow men.

    Video Games 
  • Jake from Resident Evil 6 is tall and definitely snarky, he may not have dark hair, though he wears dark clothes.
  • Yuri from Tales of Vesperia is a tall dark-haired Bishounen who constantly points out fallacies in people's arguments or reasoning.
  • Garret from Thief is kind of tall, dark for sure, and all kinds of snarky. No matter who he's dealing with, he has a witty line to deliver.

    Visual Novels 
  • Prosecutor Simon Blackquill is nearly an Eerie Pale-Skinned Brunette, especially in his first appearance, and is taller than most of the cast. He delights in giving everyone nicknames, manipulating the court and the Judge with the power of suggestion, and punning at every opportunity. When his full motivation comes to light, it's clear that some of this is Gallows Humor.... but a lot of it is just Simon.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: Qrow Branwen is a tall, dark-haired man with Perma-Stubble who is the foremost master of the gun scythe and a member of Ozpin's inner circle. His reputation as a Huntsman is so fearsome that trained assassins like Mercury Black are running for the hills at the sight of him. He's also constantly drunk and snarks at everyone's expense when he feels that they're acting out of line (ignoring how his own actions can disturb the peace). Qrow is fiercely loyal to friends and family but has to minimize his time with his loved ones lest his Semblance bring them misfortune and tragedy.

    Web Comics 
  • The Shufflers has Hiddenite, who has dark hair, a stoic, quiet, demeanour, and a tendency to snark at his charge Märchen. He is nonetheless incredibly loyal to Märchen. He even has a personal world where it’s always night and snowing.

    Web Videos 
  • The Autobiography of Jane Eyre: Mr. Rochester is Tall, Dark, Brooding and Mysterious. He is well-built, has tanned complexion, dark hair, Perma-Stubble and intriguing tattoos. He's bossy and almost rude but can be also nice and almost sweet when he's grateful or in a good mood. He's full of contradictions, and it's really hard to know when he's serious and when he deadpans and snarks.

    Western Animation 

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report