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Tall, Dark, and Snarky

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"Tell me, are you incapable of restraining yourself, or do you take pride in being an insufferable know-it-all?"

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.


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.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gintama
    • Hijikata fits this trope nicely. Dark hair, popular with ladies, snarky, strict. So much so that his nickname is the demonic vice commander.
    • His subordinate Okita could also be part of this trope despite not having dark hair, as he is quite snarky (actually, his personality borders on terrible) and acts as a foil for Hijikata. He's also handsome enough that Gintoki once pointed out that, in comparison, Shinpachi was turtle poop.
  • Itazura Na Kiss: Being a Insufferable Genius gave Naoki a rather sardonic sense of humour to match his ''very'' good looks. He's often snarking at Kotoko's lack of common sense or her poor performance at school.
  • Eiri Yuki from Gravitation, despite his blond hair, is a perfect example of this. Not only is he exceedingly aloof on almost all occasions and attracts a lot of female attention (which is parodied in the OVA when he grabs the hand of a female fan at an autograph session and she blushes and actually skyrockets into the sky while he himself remains impassive), but he is romantically paired with Shuichi, who is as energetic and emotional as a Keet can get.
  • Sesshoumaru from InuYasha is a particularly deadly example of this trope. Helped along by the fact that he typically punctuates his snarks with incredibly devastating attacks.
  • Roger Smith from The Big O is well-behaved, but otherwise fits this trope perfectly. He may be too smooth to say how stupid people are being, but you can see it in his facial expressions.
  • Fakir from Princess Tutu fits the description so well it almost seems like it was written about him, right down to the chipper main character teaching him The Power of Love. He's tall (or taller than most of the show's characters, at least) with dark hair and an endless supply of snark.
    • 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.
    • also 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.
  • Hayate from Prétear, though, half the time, he is snarky and acts like a jerk on purpose.
    Hayate: [after Himeno falls and lands on him] You are so heavy! Dammit, there are limits even to stupidity. You jump out of a bush, land right on top of me, and expect I won't mind the inconvenience? Damn, you are heavy. I thought was gonna die.
    Himeno: Hey, don't you have any manners? Why didn't you ask, "Are you alright, miss?" before you tossed me aside?
    Hayate: Hey, I could say the same thing to you. You nearly crushed me when you came flying out of that hedge. You're very heavy!
  • Rei Otohata in Super Gals! has been elected the most popular guy by a Gal magazine, but he's often cold and sarcastic towards Gals and her their lifestyle, thinking that they are shallow.
  • Kazuya Shibuya from Ghost Hunt. Mai believes that he's so incredibly full of himself that she starts calling him "Naru" (shorthand for "narcissist") after she first meets him.
  • Naoki Shinjyo in Future GPX Cyber Formula. He's The Ace, and he's also moody and a jerk at first (especially when Kyoko makes a separate team for Aoi). He softens up in the later OVAs, but it still shows up on occasion.
  • Barnaby Brooks Jr. from Tiger & Bunny graduates at the top of his class before entering the public eye with a bang, rises through the ranks of superheroes in a very short period of time, attracts fans and admirers wherever he goes. And he is in private a kind of a standoffish jerk. He eventually gets better, though.
  • Ranma ½: In the manga, Ranma Saotome. Although he's an Insufferable Genius and a Deadpan Snarker, he's also one of the most optimistic people in the cast. So much so that when he tries to learn an attack based on depression, he fails because he's just too much of a happy person. In essence, he fulfills both the optimistic Hero role and the sarcastic, untrusting Lancer role.
    Shampoo: This present for Ranma!
    Ranma: [looks at the oversized bell she's giving him] Just what I wanted. A huge metal acorn.

    Comic Books 
  • Doctor Strange: Doctor Strange at least in his backstory as Stephen Strange M.D., accomplished young neurosurgeon who was Dr. Jerk and thought only of himself.

    Films — Animation 
  • Jafar from Aladdin fits this trope quite well when things are not going his way. He's 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. It's the voice. Jeremy Irons' voice. Scar's fur is darker than his brother King Mufasa's, and also the lionesses are of lighter tones. The quote "I am surrounded by idiots" is among his most famous ones. It was directed at the incompetent hyenas.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Septimus from Stardust. He's tall, dark, a skilled assassin, and thinks he is surrounded by idiots. He's played by Mark Strong
  • Star Wars
    • Darth Vader demonstrates this trope in Rogue One during his meeting with Director Krennic. When Krennic is trying to justify his "successes" with the Death Star and its power, the tall dark-suited man has this to say about it, with an annoyed and condescending tone all throughout:
      Darth Vader: Its power to create problems has certainly been confirmed. A city destroyed. An Imperial facility openly attacked?
      • Oh, and he also Force-Chokes Krennic and provides a pun about it:
        Darth Vader: [as Krennic is choking on the floor] Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director.
      • And just for good measure, he snarks about Admiral Ozzel's incompetence in The Empire Strikes Back as well, just before contacting Ozzel and giving him the classic Trope-Naming You Have Failed Me treatment.
        Darth Vader: He is as clumsy as he is stupid.
      • Vader also shows his snark with a Bond One-Liner after Captain Needa goes to take responsibility for losing the Millennium Falcon.
        Darth Vader: Apology accepted, Captain Needa.
    • Like his fellow Star Wars villains, Kylo Ren is substantially taller than the protagonists and never found without his black cloak. Unlike them, he's constantly being snide and sarcastic, sometimes because his subordinates have screwed up ("The droid... stole a freighter?") and sometimes just because ("Comfortable?"). He must get it from his dad.
      [General Hux is defending his Stormtroopers after Poe and Finn's escape from Starkiller Base.]
      Kylo Ren: How skilled are your soldiers, General?
      General Hux: I won't have my men questioned by the likes of—
      Kylo Ren: They're certainly skilled at committing high treason.
    • DJ the Slicer (Star Wars lingo for Computer Hacker); Played by Benicio del Toro. He's certainly very tall, dark (clothes, skin tone, ethics) and amusingly snarky.

  • Severus Snape in Harry Potter is very snarky, dark, and intelligent. He subverts the trope by being described as short (or at least shorter than Sirius Black), ugly and extremely petty, despite Draco in Leather Pants depictions in fan works. In the movies, Snape is tall and Hollywood Homely. It's a side effect of being played by 6'1" Alan Rickman.
  • Discworld: Vetinari has moments of extreme snarkiness, and he's described as tall and dark. Not to mention awesome. Although he's gaunt and has an "equine face", it's mentioned in Unseen Academicals that he's "quite handsome, in a way".
  • Darkness Visible: William Marsh starts out mostly Tall, Dark, and Handsome, but being paired with Gentleman Snarker Lewis causes him to slide ever further into this trope as the book progresses.
  • The Infernal Devices: William Herondale follows this trope to a T. He 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.
    • Like here:
      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.
    • And here:
      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.
    • And here:
      Tessa: 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?
  • Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, the Trope Codifier. He's tall and very attractive but intimidating, reserved and disagreeable. However, close reading proves that he actually smiles a lot throughout the novel, and of course, Elizabeth's lively character improves his manners.
  • 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.
  • Jeeves and Wooster: Jeeves is quieter and less outwardly arrogant than typical examples, but he's The Ace and a Servile Snarker. Bertie and his Upper-Class Twit friends worship the ground he walks on. In the TV series, he's even more overtly snarky.
  • Clip in Malazan Book of the Fallen is not a full-blooded Tiste Andii, but still dark skinned and black-haired. And he rarely has anything nice to say to his companions, unless you count condescending ridicule as nice.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Angel: Angel. He's overall moody and brooding but has frequently shown a dark sarcasm and taunting, snarky behavior to those he disliked.
  • Every Edmund since Black Adder II. Justified since he has to deal with Upper Class Twits all the time and everyone around him is likely to be a Cloud Cuckoo Lander.
  • Blake's 7: Kerr Avon. Not so big on the tall part, especially when compared with the likes of Blake or Gan, but he makes up for it with a triple helping of snark.
  • The Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who is by a long way the tallest and deepest-voiced Doctor, 6'4" 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.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • Dr Harrison Wells was a charismatic celebrity scientist before his fall from grace, and he has a snarky sense of humour and a tendency to be rather prickly and brusque with people who get on his nerves. He's also very much a pragmatic foil to the young and idealistic Barry Allen. The other aspects of the trope are downplayed, however, as his good looks are never actually commented on and his height is only noticeable in flashbacks to before he ended up in the wheelchair. When he is revealed to be Eobard Thawne, he ditches the wheelchair permanently and becomes rather hammier, making him very much a villainous version of this trope.
    • The Harrison Wells of Earth-2 is a straight example. He's famous, charismatic, handsome and tall, but also quite the Jerkass with very little patience for social niceties. Understandable, since his daughter has been kidnapped by Zoom and he is on a desperate mission to defeat him and save her. Being nice to people is pretty low on his current list of priorities.
  • Game of Thrones: Oberyn Martell is tall and dark, and is a forceful, lusty man with a quick wit and barbed tongue.
  • Horatio Hornblower:
    • Sir Edward Pellew is an ace of a captain (later an ace of an admiral), and he's generally very much respected and admired. He's not arrogant, though, but he loves dry humour and mercilessly teases and chews out his crew. Priceless moments come when his favourite Sarcasm-Blind midshipman/ lieutenant/ captain Horatio does not get his snarky remarks and it takes him forever to figure out that Pellew is joking.
    • 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."
  • House: Dr. Gregory House. Almost all women in the show want him at some point. He can't bear idiots. He's got the nice, cheerful friend too, in Dr. Wilson, who tries to teach him humanity and caring.
  • Kamen Rider Kabuto: Tendou Souji is superhumanly skilled and superhumanly arrogant. But he's the main character, so we're presumably supposed to like him.
  • Mash: Hawkeye Pierce is a brilliant surgeon, charming and very good-looking, and he seduces women extremely easily. Younger characters look up to him and envy him — which is shown especially with Radar. However, he's pretty messed-up and drinks heavily. He deals with the war and all the killed and badly injured kids he encounters by being a Stepford Snarker.
  • Merlin: The titular wizard is no longer a wizened old man with a beard (though he can and does occasionally disguise himself as such), but an adorable young man with cheekbones to rival anyone's, and a razor sharp wit.
  • NCIS: Very Special Agent Anthony DiNozzo.
  • Revolution: Miles Matheson. He seems taller than most of the characters, he 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.
  • Sanctuary: Nikola Tesla is quite good looking and never hesitates to remind everyone that he's a genius and they're not.
  • Benedict Cumberbatch as Sherlock Holmes from the 2010 BBC series. He probably picked it up off his Aloof Big Brother Mycroft, who's raison d'etre seems to be to turn up and be snarky in a mysterious fashion. And Martin Freeman's Watson is utterly the "nice Lancer" described above.
  • The Vampire Diaries: Has Damon. He has a sarcastic personality. Much of his sarcasm is often used as a defense mechanism used in order to keep people at a distance.
  • White Collar: Neal Caffrey.
  • The X-Files: Has Special Agent Fox Mulder, Tall, Dark, and Handsome and a Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire. He's paired with one clever Agent who he respects greatly, and his boss is a Reasonable Authority Figure, but other than that, he's surrounded by idiots who do not understand that his crazy theories about the paranormal are in most cases actually true.
  • John Reese from Person of Interest, though given that he's inhabiting a World of Snark, he's just as likely to be described as "Tall, Dark and Deranged" by the likes of Detective Fusco.
  • 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.
  • Riverdale has Jughead Jones, 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 humour is just my way of relating to the world.
  • Nathan Stark on Eureka isn't overly snarky, but he does get off a few good ones, usually at Carter's expense. This doesn't stop him from being referred to as "...and I assume 'tall dark and brooding' is Nathan Stark" early in season 3.

  • Elphaba Thropp from Wicked, despite what people think with her green skin, is actually quite attractive and gets some admirers from her fans, and even in universe. But she is also very sharp-tongued and will be quick to point out someone's flaws in a usually snarky way. Even more so in in the Broadway production, where she made this into one of her favorite pastimes with her friend G(a)linda and other characters.
    Galinda and Elphaba: Yes there has been some confusion/for you see, my roommate is...
    Galinda: Unusually and exceedingly peculiar and altogether quite impossible to describe.
    Elphaba: [in a very blunt tone] Blonde.
  • 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.
  • In the 2013 West End musical Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Willy Wonka qualifies when the icy side of his Sugar-and-Ice Personality is in play — eccentric he may be, but he's also elegant, commanding, impatient, and obsessed with punctuality. (The sugary side of his personality, artistic, childlike, and wonder-filled, lies Beneath the Mask.) He also has black hair, unlike in other adaptations (the novel notes he has a black goatee, but illustrators are left to decide if his hair matches). Early in Act One, when Charlie's grandparents are recounting the legends of Mr. Wonka, Grandma Josephine actually declares that he "has a sex appeal what makes me feel young!" suggesting that before he became a recluse, he even had female admirers.

  • Oblivion from Shadowhunter Peril is a villanous example. It was more apparent when he briefly joined the Resistance as he would constantly made snide comments to EVERYONE, and use his powers on them without warning for his own amusement. He is also incredibly attractive, and always clad in black. He has Red Eyes, Take Warning, except they don't stop his fangirls. And the fact that he is now a villain just makes him more of a Draco in Leather Pants. His foil is Umbra—to an extent. Both of them have blonde hair and dress in black, and both are tall and muscular, but whereas Oblivion is selfish, consumed by anger, and is incapable of loving, Umbra can open his heart to anyone, and he cares more about others than himself.

    Video Games 
  • Jake from Resident Evil 6. Tall and definitely snarky, he may not have dark hair, though he wears dark clothes.
  • Neverwinter Nights 2
    • Gannayev-of-Dreams from the expansion, although mostly white haired, would also fit, and he improves on it by being the only pretty hagspawn in the entire game. Snarking with/at him is the best way to gain influence.
  • Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss is the king of Snarking; friends, enemies, and random people on the street are not above his Whips of Wit!
  • Judas from Tales of Destiny 2 fits as well, he snarks at everyone but Nanaly and insists he only joined the party because it was entertaining to do so. Not so much the tall part, though, as an annoyed Loni points out that he looks younger than him. He has Kyle and Harold as his foils.
  • Yuri from Tales of Vesperia, who has been noted as "Jade 2.0" by fans. He's a tall dark-haired Bishounen who constantly points out fallacies in people's arguments or reasoning.
  • Advocat from GrimGrimoire, a devil of a teacher who charms the female students and makes snide comments at almost every opportunity. And yes, he's one of the good guys. It should be noted that while he tried many times to charm Amoretta, he failed every time. Since she's an Artificial Human Human, it's not all that surprising.
  • Fire Emblem: Path of Radiance and its sequel:
    • Shinon. He's very, VERY snarky and somewhat racist as well, but not necessarily evil.
    • Soren is rather short, but otherwise plays this trope perfectly. Despite his grating nature, he is nonetheless highly valued by his companions due to his brilliant mind.
  • Although Niles from Fire Emblem Fates is dark skinned rather than dark haired, he otherwise plays this trope perfectly straight. Paired with an Avatar of either gender, he can fulfil the role of being a foil to a cheerful optimist as well.
  • Garret, from Thief. 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.
  • While King Graham of King's Quest could also qualify as as straight up Tall, Dark, and Handsome, especially in his younger days, he can get incredibly bitingly snarky whenever dealing with someone who rubs him the wrong way.
  • This is one of the main reasons Bishop from Neverwinter Nights 2, a Chaotic Evil ranger, gets the Leather Pants treatment: he's ruggedly handsome and hilariously sarcastic.
  • The King of Fighters:
    • Kyo Kusanagi is 5’11” (181 cm) tall and deals the snark quite nicely in his XIII pre-match dialogues.
      Kim: Kyo! Just look at my new disciples! They are trying to gain new lives through martial arts! How about it? Don't you feel like joining them at my dojo and working up a good sweat?
      Kyo: I don't think those guys are fooling anyone but you, man.
    • His rival Iori Yagami is of the deadly variety:
      Iori: Do you know what's going to happen, woman?
      King: What? Without your flames, you're all talk.
      Iori: Excellent! Then you know you're going to die!
  • Mass Effect: Garrus Vakarian becomes this in Mass Effect 2, becoming a dangerous Vigilante Man with a snarky quip for almost every situation and standing in at over six feet tall (average height among turians, but tall compared to humans).
  • Bayonetta from the Bayonetta series, she's a Statuesque Stunner Dark Is Not Evil Hot Witch who snarks with just about every, single person she encounters.
  • Mortal Kombat X gave us the new pre-battle banter system, allowing kombatants to engage each other verbally before engaging each other physically. It also reveals that the classically handsome Johnny Cage wavers between having a hilariously inflated ego and gleefully mocking his opponents, and that the more rugged yet still attractive Kenshi still finds ways to politely sass everyone he comes across. When the two meet, it borders on Snark-to-Snark Combat.
    Johnny: Have you been working out?
    Kotal Khan: Never have I heard such insolence.
    Johnny: You don't know me very well.

    Kenshi: Reptile.
    Reptile: You will not read my thoughts!
    Kenshi: There is very little to read.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • Freelancer York fits this in Red vs. Blue. Incredibly good-looking, very good at what he does, and every other word out of his mouth is in the form of snarkily commenting on other people's quirks and flaws. Oddly he's still a Nice Guy, as he frequently delivers the snark in a manner that suggests he's more affectionately teasing than actually trying to be mean.
  • RWBY has Qrow Branwen, 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 
  • Girl Genius's Ardsley Wooster is increasingly this trope, what with being tall, dark, British, the Servile Snarker as Gil's manservant, and spy for Her Undying Majesty's British government, prone to badass stunts like foiling Dolokov's plan to sway the Jaegergenerals and departing with a Bond One-Liner. Out the window of an airship.
  • Zombie from Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name counts. He's one of the tallest of the cast, a gentle but still pronounced snarker, and not too bad-looking for a green-skinned reanimated corpse. Especially in his living form.

    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 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 
  • Shego from Kim Possible. If one were to describe her character in three words (well, technically four), these would be them. A Dark Action Girl very snarky.