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"Give me a Black and White and water," he heard the waitress say, and Wayne should have pricked up his ears at that. That particular drink wasn't for any ordinary person. That drink was for the person who had created all Wayne's misery to date, who could kill him or make him a millionaire or send him back to prison or do whatever he damn well pleased with Wayne. That drink was for me.
A third-person Narrator who narrates in an eccentric, bizarre, or otherwise unconventional way. This may involve expressing opinions about the story's proceedings, going off on asides, breaking the Fourth Wall, Hanging Lampshades, deadpan-snarking, choosing to focus on unusual details or just describing things in an odd way. In the 19th century this style of narration was so common as to be nearly ubiquitous; these days it's no longer the default, but still shows up in quirkier works (and homages to 19th-century literature). In some cases, this causes the Narrator to almost become a character himself.
Named after Lemony Snicket for his idiosyncratic narration style.
Anime and Manga
- Keaton Yamada, the narrator of Chibi Maruko Chan. He frequently expresses his opinions about the characters' actions and goes on diversions about stuff. He especially targets Maruko and her doting grandfather for his asides, criticizng them for foolish behavior and thoughts. He makes a cameo in one episode in the original anime series where he actually speaks to the characters face to face, keeping up with his comments; the main characters also fire back.
- The narrator of Hayate the Combat Butler. Since they couldn't get someone British, they got Norio Wakamoto instead.
Narrator: I hate rich people. God, I hate them.
- And when the anime was dubbed in English by Animax-Asia, the narrator was British.
- Kyon's narration of the SOS Brigade's amateur film in the Non-Indicative First Episode of Suzumiya Haruhi.
- Kyon's narration, period: "The temperature had dropped dramatically. It was as if Japan had decided to skip the season of fall, and was making up for lost time. Hey, Siberian Cold Front! I know you have an annual route to keep, but couldn't you miss us just this once?"
- The narrator of Keroro Gunsou.
- The FUNimation dub cranks this up to eleven with a narrator who actively hates the show and only does this to cover his gambling debts, and even throws in Lemony subtitles.
- Mr. Caption don't take jack from no one!
- In one episode the narrator quits and is replaced by a British woman who doesn't know what's going on and spends most of the unusually dramatic episode complaining about how she was told this was a madcap comedy. She then quits, and the old guy comes back out of guilt.
- The FUNimation dub cranks this up to eleven with a narrator who actively hates the show and only does this to cover his gambling debts, and even throws in Lemony subtitles.
- The narrator of Samurai Pizza Cats definitely belongs here. He kicks off every episode with a fourth-wall break, has been the victim of a kidnap-the-narrator's-family plot by the Big Bad, the works.
- Babbit from Kodomo no Omocha probably counts.
- Ruri in Martian Successor Nadesico showed a lot of her Little Miss Snarker-ness in the "Last time on" sketches. "Our main pilot's like this, and our captain's like that, and we still managed to get this far. Amazing, huh?"
- Bobobobo Bobobo's narrator constantly breaks the fourth wall and interacts with the characters. In the final episode, he complains about how he never got a chance to be on the screen. He also apparently lives with his grandmother.
- The official English translation notes to Pani Poni Dash! are very lemony. At one point when two of the characters are about to disarm a bomb and sprout out its censored components, the translation team pops in a note to explain that while they could tell us the full name of the components, quote, "no way are we going to teach a bunch of Otaku how to make bombs" and further suggest that the viewer will "have to learn this stuff on the internet, like everybody else".
- Same goes for the translation notes for Excel Saga, which was licensed by the same people.
- The narrator of Desert Punk sometimes lapses into an fairly acerbic form of this, usually in response to the underwhelming behavior of the characters in the show.
- Shin Mazinger. It's like the narrator's trying to be more Hot-Blooded than the characters themselves. Like "ENEEEEEEEEEEEEERGAAAAAAAAAAAA...ZZZZZZZZZZEEEEEEEEEETTTTOOOOOO."
- Ookami-san's narrator amuses herself by insulting the characters -- especially Ryoko and Ringo, the two she mocks most frequently for being flat-chested -- though the others ignore her. In episode 4, she even cuts off the opening narration with a comment that she's not going to bother telling us the exposition again.
- Baka to Test to Shoukanjuu has a bizarre sarcastic narrator already, but what makes it stand out is that partway through, Class F's teacher becomes the narrator, and the old narrator becomes their teacher. This is explicitly pointed out, and remains as such for the rest of the show.
- The Narrator in the Gag Dub Axis Powers Hetalia is most definitely this. She has a sweet, kindergarten-teacher-voice that drops a Cluster F-Bomb at some point, and at another actually drops the narrative to tell a joke about talking muffins.
Narrator: (Referring to the historical notes that pop up on the screen) By the way, you'll probably wanna pause the video if you actually wanna read all of this.
- In Amagami SS, the Sae Nakata arc had a narrator. Said narrator was Joji Nakata, who proceeded to lay into the plot and the This Loser Is You protagonist with a voice so smarmy it could melt butter.
- The narrator in One Piece normally remains pretty objective, but when Luffy, Zoro, Chopper, and Robin all head off in different directions, and only Robin going in the right one, despite having clear directions, even he gives up on them.
- Drosselmeyer from Princess Tutu is an unusual case since he is an actual character in the show whose special ability to bring stories to life means in addition to being the narrator of the story he is also able to manipulate events in it.
- Extremely common in comics, especially of The Golden Age of Comic Books, The Silver Age of Comic Books, and The Bronze Age of Comic Books. Stan Lee was well known for it (addressing the audience as "True Believers"). Excelsior!
- Jhonen Vasquez is a notable one. He interrupted his comics frequently (and at very inappropriate times) to make little 'commentaries' on what was happening.
"In case you haven't noticed already, I'm just drawing clouds as a background. It's so easy! And fast! I'm so freaking lazy! You know, I think all of my backgrounds will be clouds now!! No matter what! If I'm drawing an underground cave, there'll just be clouds! Bi-monthly here I come!!! :-D"
- The narration of Aeon Natum Engel is like this.
- The narrator of Latias' Journey starts of as a "conventional narrator" but later becomes a lemony narrator.
- The narration from Uninvited Guests tends to very sarcastic and even be confused as to who's supposed to be the heroes and villains after Aizen hijacked the plot. Oh, and it doesn't like repetitive flashbacks much.
- In the silent film era in Japan, there was less use of in-theater music and interstitial text frames to make up for the lack of dialogue as compared to the films being produced at the same time in the West. Instead, in-theater narrators, called benshi, would fill in the dialogue and would also comment on the action--and they could get as lemony about it as they pleased. Exceptionally skilled and popular benshi were as famous as the actors in the films they narrated. As a result, silent films in Japan remained popular for a surprisingly long time. The rise of the military junta, and the corresponding rise in censorship, lead to talkies being officially favored over benshi, as the government feared the propagandist potential of lemony benshi.
- The cowboy narrating The Big Lebowski, who never seems to understand that this is not a western movie.
- The narrator of Kung Pow - whom we later find out is a character in the movie.
Narrator: <freeze frame of an extreme close up of a claw> "Okay. Here I had two options. A: Turn sideways, dodge the claw, and hit him with a spinning back kick, or B: Get hit by the claw, roll on the ground, and die."
<Narrator gets hit by the claw>
Narrator: "Hmmm. Should have gone with A."
- The main character of Kiss Kiss Bang Bang frequently breaks the fourth wall and pokes fun at the plot and his own narration style.
- As with the cartoon, featured in the George of the Jungle live-action movie.
Narrator: When they arrived at Ape Mountain, they reacted with awe!
Narrator: No, I said awe. A-W-E.
Narrator: That's better.
- Later on, one of the villains has to tell his sidekick not to bicker with the narrator. They fight anyway, and the narrator wins by fast-forwarding past his rant.
- The narrator continues in the same way in the sequel, but reaches a whole new level when in retaliation for Lyle calling him "annoying", the narrator reaches down with a huge animated hand (ala Monty Python) and carries him off into the sky. He then asks the rest of the cast if they have complaints. They all quickly say no.
- All About Eve is partially narrated by Addison DeWitt, a Deadpan Snarker who has a rather low opinion of the other principal characters, and of humanity in general.
- The Rocky Horror Picture Show has the Criminologist, who even explains the dance steps for "The Time Warp".
- Santa Claus, where the narrator actively involves himself in the plot.
- Stranger Than Fiction features an in-universe example of the Lemony Narrator in the form of author Karen Eiffel, who is the author (and, therefore, narrator) of the book starring Harold Crick. Unusually for this trope, it's a female instead of a male, although the British accent is still there.
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the live-action version) features Anthony Hopkins as the narrator, and he usually remains objective. A notable exception is when the Grinch tells him to be quiet during a "sneaking" scene, and he responds by whispering the narration.
- The grandpa in The Princess Bride fits this trope, more or less. Even though he's only reading a book to his grandson, he does provide commentary, clarifications, and lampshades on occasion.
- The Butcher Boy does this. The narrator is the title character as an adult, and while telling the story he often converses with the protagonist either for fun or to help him come to an important conclusion. At other times, the narrator seems as surprised at the development of the plot as if he were seeing it for the first time.
"And, the Francie Brady Not A Bad Bastard Award goes to... be God, I think it's Francie Brady!"
- Ricky Jay in Magnolia. Notably, he mostly only narrates the opening sequence (made up of seemingly-unrelated stories about coincidence that actually set up the movie's theme) and the trailer.
- Briefly, at the end of Tangled:
Flynn/Eugene: But I know what the big question is? Did Rapunzel and I ever get married? Well I am happy to say after years and years of asking, I finally said yes.
Flynn/Eugene: Okay, okay. I asked her.
- Monty Python and The Holy Grail has the narrator go off on tangents, then die.
- In The Film of the Book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Jude Law provides the voice of the narrator, Mr. Snicket.
- Just about every Werner Herzog documentary features him philosophizing or sharing his thoughts and judgments about the subject in question, whether lamenting the naive idealism of Tim Treadwell in Grizzly Man or giving an impromptu art review of the prehistoric cave paintings in Cave Of Forgotten Dreams.
- Daniel Handler uses the trope, both in A Series of Unfortunate Events, where he goes by Lemony Snicket, and in books written under his own name, to the extent of being the Trope Namer.
- Douglas Adams' narration of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Notably, the style used by the narrator, with frequent asides about something only vaguely relevant on a planet that never gets mentioned again, is identical to the idiosyncratic style of the fictional guidebook itself, which is understandable, since in the radio series the Guide was the narrator.
- There is an audiobook version of the original novel, narrated by Stephen Fry, the voice of the Guide in the movie.
- Adams uses a similar style when narrating Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency, frequently making odd references to things that seem either irrelevant or that don't even exist in our world. In a brilliant subversion, every single little idiosyncrasy turns out to be central to the main plot.
- The Dresden Files is narrated by the main character, as a series of case files, who is prone to a level of Deadpan Snarking that would make Commander Vimes proud, and going off on mild tangents.
- You Don't Know Me by David Klass.
- The Alcatraz Series by Brandon Sanderson combines this trope with First-Person Smartass and Meta Fiction. It is awesome.
- Terry Pratchett of Discworld and a good few other works.
* Fingers-Mazda, the first thief in the world, stole fire from the gods. But he was unable to fence it. It was too hot.**
- He got really burned on that deal.
- The narrator of the Illuminatus! trilogy, who remains anonymous through most of the series before being revealed as FUCKUP, Hagbard's supercomputer. Technically that's Jossed right after it's announced. Although FUCKUP may be a narrator, it's by no means certain that s/he is the narrator.
- William Goldman's narration of The Princess Bride. The movie replaces this with the grandpa/grandson Greek Chorus.
- Alexandre Dumas
- Steven Brust spoofs Alexandre Dumas with Paarfi in his Khaavren Romances. Paarfi loves the act of telling a story, and will digress for paragraphs at a time to explain a particular literary device he is about to use. Most of the forwards and afterwards for these books are actually about Paarfi rather than the main characters, and for good reason. He's quite the Ensemble Darkhorse of the series.
- Charles Dickens is a strong example, with his wry descriptions of events and Author Filibusters on whatever topic he's targeted for his commentary. The reader never forgets exactly who is telling this story.
- C.S. Lewis in the earlier Chronicles of Narnia, contributing to the Literary Agent Hypothesis.
- J.R.R. Tolkien often did this in many of his works besides The Lord of the Rings and The Silmarillion, most notably in The Hobbit and Farmer Giles of Ham.
- Susannah Clarke, in Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, is not afraid to interject, true to the 19th-century style, with commentary on the characters and their actions.
"It is true that his hair had a reddish tinge, and as we all know, a man with red hair cannot truly be said to be handsome."
- Kurt Vonnegut did this in many books, including Slaughterhouse-Five and Breakfast of Champions.
- He sometimes outright states that he - Kurt Vonnegut, the author - is the narrator. In the case of Slaughterhouse this is justified by its having been partly based (time travel and aliens aside) on his own World War Two experiences.
- Stephen King in the last three Dark Tower books.
- Paul Springer in The Ink Thief
- Jane Austen does this from time to time. It's particularly marked in Northanger Abbey where she starts by cheerfully pointing out all the ways Catherine Morland doesn't match the stereotype of "a heroine." There is also the part later in the first volume where upon mentioning that Catherine and Isabella Thorpe enjoyed novels, she embarks upon a tangent about how novelists are oh-so-oppressed by both critics and audiences who refuse to recognize them as serious literature.
- The segments narrated by the title character in The Bartimaeus Trilogy trilogy are strewn with his (sarcastic) opinions on the matters at hand, as well as many other subjects. These often lead to several footnotes to make sure Bartimaeus doesn't get too off-topic, as well as explaining some of the story's world.
- This is explained by Bartimaeus, because as a spirit, his intelligence is advanced enough to carry on several trains of thought. So basically he's leaving footnotes in his own thoughts for the reader's convenience. Understandably, this causes some issues when he and Nathaniel share Nathaniel's body in the last book. When a chapter is written in Nathaniel's point-of-view during the end of the book and Bartimaeus tries to do Lemony Narrating, Nathaniel cuts him off. He still does in in his own chapters, though.
- Marcus Zusak's The Book Thief is narrated by Death. This provides a nice little prologue and frame for the story, as he opens it by mentioning every instance when he was with the Book Thief - every time that she was near a dying person, which, as this is World War II Germany, happens often. It's also a good way to provide a lot of cushioning foreshadowing.
- The narrator in the story Charlie Daniels, Teenage Schmoe could qualify for this trope, being somewhat of a Deadpan Snarker and using a split personality named Bob as a metaphor for self-debate.
- The Longing of Shiina Ryo
- Neil Gaiman seems to play around with this occasionally, depending on the book. Anansi Boys, for example, specifically in the tangentially related tales. Also has a bit of fun with it in Stardust. Possibly picked it up from Terry Pratchett.
- According to Gaiman the idea for Good Omens (the Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch) started from an attempt at a short story called Adam the Antichrist consciously done in a Douglas Adams style. The fact that Terry Pratchett writes in a very similar style made them a perfect pair for the book, as at this point even they don't know who wrote what.
- Neal Stephenson essentially made his writing career from this trope. Cryptonomicon even came complete with graphs and diagrams to illustrate some of the narrator's points. Case in point. Stick around till after the first graph, then it starts getting particularly amusing. Warning: adult content.
- This is Tom Robbins' default mode of writing, with all his novels stuffed with hilarious, often pointless asides. Even Cowgirls Get The Blues, for instance, interrupts the narration mid sentence for a meditation on the nature of reality, culminating in a list of the properties of sentences. "This sentence is made of wood. This sentence is made of yak wool. This sentence suffered a split infinite... and survived. This sentence may be pregnant, it missed it's period" and so on.
- There is a vanity published book called Samantha Stone and the Mermaid's Quest. It's actually a pretty good book, but wow, does its narrator want to comment on the action. Lots of similies made comparing characters and situations to seemingly random things - quite a few having to do with the culture of the American South - and lots of asides like "he didn't want to leave Sam with him, for reasons you'll find out later", "Sam wondered where she heard that word before, but you, you clever young reader, probably remember", and even references to "things you're too young to know about." Heck, you know how books often foreshadow which characters will be important later by giving them names and describing them in more detail than others? This book outright lampshades it, with the narrator naming three of the villains and specifically referring to them as "three that you'll meet later" beforehand.
- Milan Kundera's books tend to be like this, and he will often discuss the characters as characters and give as much conscious attention to the concepts he's playing with.
- Fritz Leiber occasionally lapsed into this mode in the tales of Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser.
- In Hans Brinker or The Silver Skates, most of the book was written with standard narration. In a few places it lapsed into Lemony Narration, such as when the narrator pondered why Santa didn't visit the destitute Brinker household on Christmas. Most jarringly, however, was at the end with the narrator telling you that you didn't care whether Hans or Peter won the race.
- Bobby's narration in the journals he sends to his friends is often very snarky.
- David Eddings does it occasionally, such as this description of Cordz of Nelan:
- In the children's book The Anybodies by N. E. Bode, the narrator narrates in a conversational tone and provides us with anecdotes about his/her awful car, how the first time s/he heard the Beatles s/he thought "They'll never last", and how dull Fern's parents are.
- The children's Fractured Fairy Tale A Barrel of Laughs, A Vale of Tears was full of this.
- An example: The narrator introduces a very minor character to demonstrate how Prince Roger has the ability to make people laugh when he's nearby. The narrator then tries to tell the minor character that his purpose has been fulfilled and that he can leave, however the character is laughing too hard to respond so the narrator decides to leave him. When this minor character shows up again, the narrator decides that he needs a name and says he'll be called John. This leads this:
"Call me Jack," said the peasant, who won't do a thing I tell him.
- Later, the narrator sets up chapter five ("The Night of the Frogs") just to confuse Jack and spends the entire time complaining to the readers about how Jack won't listen.
- It should be noted that is some versions of this book, the peasants name turns out to be Tom, and the name that the author wants to give him is Jack.
- Later, the narrator sets up chapter five ("The Night of the Frogs") just to confuse Jack and spends the entire time complaining to the readers about how Jack won't listen.
- Subverted in Jonathan Barnes' novel The Somnambulist, in which the narrator appears to be utilized in the story as an homage to this trope in Victorian literature. However, it's later revealed that the narrator is actually the main villain.
- Among the narrators of The Moonstone is the house-steward, Gabriel Betteredge, making this Older Than Radio.
- Miss Clack, who succeeds him as narrator, is fairly lemony too: a sharp, shrill, judgemental sort of lemon.
- Interestingly, the nonfiction story Three Men in a Boat features one in the form of the hugely digressive author, Jerome K. Jerome.
- "If on a winter's night a traveler," by Italo Calvino, is narrated by the author writing about you, the reader, who is reading about what the author, the narrator, is writing about you. With much, often hilarious, commentary.
- John Fowles does this marvelously in "The French Lieutenant's Woman", where he goes off to write near-essays about the Victorian era, comments on how characters get away from him, inserts himself in a scene and writes two endings for the book (well, maybe three. Depending on how you look at it.)
- Lord Byron's Don Juan is made up of almost nothing but this trope. If you take a college course examining the poem, your professor is likely to point out that it's not about Don Juan so much as it is a seventeen-canto conversation the narrator is having with himself and the audience--but mostly himself.
- Battle Royale isn't as frequent an offender as most of these entries, but tends to lapse into this when someone is about to die or has just died. For instance, immediately after informing the reader that a character was dead before she hit the ground, the narrator remarks that precisely how much earlier depends on whether one means physically or emotionally. This may or may not be Koushun Takami's Signature Style, since as of this writing he's only written one book.
- The narrator of The Name of This Book is Secret, Psudeonymous Bosch fits this to a T, obviously taking quite a bit of inspiration from Handler's work, several times warning the reader that of the danger of secrets, and warning the reader that not to continue reading. The entire first chapter switches all of the letters with X's, just to illustrate the point of how different and secretive the story is, saying that normally the first chapter of a book reveals the protagonists and their Back Stories, but he wasn't going to do that, instead giving the characters psuedonyms as opposed to their real names, and outright telling the reader he is going to replace everything that might help you identify the protagonists or their home 'if you were to come across it one day.' However, his quirky personality leads to more than a couple of slip-ups, and he often tells you right when he is about to do this. He doesn't put in a thirteenth chapter, and is known to give to tips on how to make the reading experience more exciting. The most apparent occurrence of this is when halfway through the book, you stumble upon a chapter entitled "I've Changed My Mind." He explains that he is going to stop writing the book while the protagonists are still safe. The narrator starts to rant on about how angry the audience must be, and how they might try to bribe him, He lets it slip that he is extremely susceptible to bribes, especially if given a certain kind of chocolate ... which he realizes he has with him ... He bribes himself.
- Laurence Sterne's 18th century novel Tristram Shandy is regularly regarded as an ur-postmodernist novel. The narrator tells the reader to skip or reread passages, plays blank page gimmicks, lampshades various devices and generally discusses the process of writing the novel as the story is being told.
- Many of PG Wodehouse's books have a talkative, burbling narration style which may well have influenced other British writers, particularly those who went on record as impressed by his work.
- Louisa May Alcott does this at the end of Jo's Boys, saying:
"It is a strong temptation to the weary historian to close the present tale with an earthquake which should engulf Plumfield and its environs so deeply in the bowels of the earth that no youthful Schliemann could ever find a vestige of it. But as that somewhat melodramatic conclusion might shock my gentle readers, I will refrain."
- Denis Diderot's novel Jacques the Fatalist is another humorous post-modern novel predating modernism. Frequently, the narrator will talk about all these things that could have happened if he was writing a typical novel, and he likes teasing the reader about it. It's clearly inspired by Tristram Shandy (and in fact plagiarizes some passages from it).
- Cintra Wilson's Colors Insulting To Nature is a strong example of this trope in which the third-person narrator often breaks the fourth wall to address "The Dear Reader" in the manner of books like Jane Eyre. The narrator does tend to go off on tangents about the stupidity of pop culture, although they are somewhat relevant to the story as the whole book is about people who are misguided in their overwhelming desire to be famous celebrities.
- J.M. Barrie narrates Peter Pan in a very odd style, mostly disaffected and dismissive of the amazing events he describes. At one point he can't decide between which of two stories to relate, and flips a coin on them. He is annoyed at the outcome, but holds to it anyway. At another point, he chooses which of Hook's pirates will die to demonstrate their boss's ruthlessness.
"Let us now kill a pirate, to show Hook's method. Skylights will do. "
- Barrie also really dislikes most of the characters, particularly Tinker Bell and the Darlings. When he narrated the story of their mother staying up late waiting for them to return, he gets particularly vicious to the whole family.
"One thing I should like to do immensely, and that is to tell her, in the way authors have, that the children are coming back, that indeed they will be here on Thursday week. This would spoil so completely the surprise to which Wendy and John and Michael are looking forward."
"We are beginning to know Mrs. Darling by this time, and may be sure that she would upbraid us for depriving the children of their little pleasure... The woman had no proper spirit. I had meant to say extraordinarily nice things about her; but I despise her, and not one of them will I say now. "
"Thus Wendy and John and Michael found the window open for them after all, which of course was more than they deserved."
- Incidentally, he does tell her, but she's not paying attention.
- The narrator of Angela Thirkell's Barset Shire novels is lemony enough to describe bit parts as "nice, boring people who might just as well be anyone else," Dumb Blonde Rose Birkett as an "exquisite nit-wit," and a 13-year-old's chatter to his mother as "his valueless opinions."
- The narrator of A.A. Milne's Once On A Time frequently interjects his opinions and anecdotes from his own life, mostly having to do with his friendship/rivalry with Roger Scurvilegs, who has apparently written a historical account of the same events the narrator is now relating.
- The narrator of Zuleika Dobson appears to be a hold-over from the Victorian use of this trope (i.e. an opinionated narrator whose in-universe/out-of-universe status is nebulous). Then he's revealed halfway through the book to be a historian whom the Greek muse of history has granted the ability to be invisibly, intangibly present for the events of the story so that he can write a history book that's more like a novel (and therefore less boring).
- The Ciaphas Cain series has two, a Lemony Memoir Writer and a Lemony Editor, the eponymous commissar and the local Bunny-Ears Inquisitor respectively. In particular, the latter will sometimes go on a tangent criticizing the former's style of writing, especially the tendency to be all about him. They also get into regular disagreements concerning Cain's heroism/lack of heroism/cowardice/lack of cowardice.
- Gadsby's narrator who, once in a while, complains about the circumlocutions he has to apply for his lipogrammatic story.
- Mark Twain is probably as responsible for the American Lemony Narrators who came after him as Wodehouse and Dickens were for their English successors.
- Let's just save time and say that Rick Riordan really likes this trope.
- Tara Duncan: Sophie Audouin-Mamikonian mocks her characters in footnotes,do comparisons of their gestures with famous movies,and, in later books, gave the chapters overly descriptives long titles.
- Wilbert Awdry veers into this occasionally in The Railway Series.
- The narrator in A Whole Nother Story does this, in little bits between chapters.
- The narrator of The Girl Who Circumnavigated Fairyland in a Ship of Her Own Making does this frequently.
Live Action TV
- Rod Roddy in Soap frequently made fun of the show's absurdly melodramatic plotlines in the "Previously On..." and "On the Next..." segments of the show.
- Jim Dale in Pushing Daisies.
- Chris Rock in Everybody Hates Chris.
- Ron Howard in Arrested Development.
- Tom Baker in Little Britain.
- Desperate Housewives, where the narrator, Mary Alice Young (played by Brenda Strong), is actually a character who died in the first episode of the series, so the narration is occasionally colored by her own opinions of the other characters.
- Although that's really just for the first two seasons. After that point, all the plot threads involving Mary Alice were pretty much put to bed, and she became much more of a standard omniscient narrator apart from a couple verbal idiosyncracies ("Yes...").
- In 10-8, a Too Good to Last 'light drama' about trainee cops in LA, the protagonist (trainee Deputy Rico Amonte) does a lot of this, often ruefully commenting on his own shortcomings in the process.
- Robert Lee, the narrator of Myth Busters. He makes frequent jokes about the Mythbusters (who, in fairness, make it easy for him) and always seems to have a theme-related bad pun ready.
- John Blackman, announcer for old Australian Variety Show Hey Hey It's Saturday, always inserted Deadpan Snarkery into the show inbetween announcing prizes for games and such ordinary announcer duties. From one of the reunion specials:
Darryl Somers: We're being broadcast all around the world: America, Canada, Pakistan -
John Blackman: Tasmania.
- Future Ted in How I Met Your Mother often berates his younger self for stupid or obnoxious behavior.
- He's exceptionally Lemony-ish in "Dowiseptrepla", an entire episode revolving around Future!Ted lampshading every single easily avoidable, utterly moronic decision that led to Marshall and Lily buying their apartment (which Marshall always remembered as one of his three biggest mistakes ever) by showing the characters saying something smart, commenting "that's what we should have said," and showing the stupid thing they actually said.
- Andrew Wells in season seven of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. He narrates the stories he makes up.
Come, gentle viewer, and hear the tale of Buffy, Slayer of, the Vampyre.
- An episode of Wolf Lake was told from the point of view of one of its characters giving a statement to investigators. The character took on a distinctly more Cloudcuckoolander persona for the episode, and invented details and situations as he pleased, usually according to Rule of Funny or Rule 34. And the narration took place over the course of a bowling match.
- Uh, Bill?
- Augustus Hill in Oz. He gets even more lemony after his death at the end of season 5.
- Monty Python takes this concept and runs with it in Neurotic Announcers where a BBC spot exists just to give an announcer work and the announcer ends up needing the emotional support of other announcers to get through the spot.
- Wallace Greenslade on The Goon Show, often professing himself as baffled as the listeners as to what is going on.
- Although not technically a narrator, the text of the Monsters and Other Childish Things sourcebook Dreadful Secrets of Candlewick Manor is written with this sort of style very much in mind. For example:
"Candlewick Vale is something like the maps you get in those real-time strategy video games. You have your little base, and a tiny island of revealed geography surrounded by darkness. You send out scouts to explore and find resources, and they push back the darkness, revealing more of the map. This brings you into conflict with the enemy, and before you know it they have a giant floating jellyfish dropping monsters onto your gas factory. Candlewick has many danger-fraught places waiting to be explored (many with resident monsters, so you better not have a gas factory anywhere)."
- The author of Genius: The Transgression occasionally snarks about what the Geniuses do.
- The writer of GURPS: Dungeon Fantasy (a D&D style world) takes occasional lighthearted shots at the players.
The number of leprechauns slain annually by adventures looking for pots of gold is truly horrific. The world probably has a lot of answer for.
- The somewhat-obscure board game Battle of the Halji - the game instructions start out: "So! You dare to break the seal. I see you have taken no precautions. The wrapping is on the floor. I feel your naked finger upon my page. YOU ARE A FOOL. If this were Thross I would devour you." It goes on in that vein throughout.
- The Dresden Files roleplaying game is written as if the author was actually a character from the Dresden Files, and other characters have added comments in the margins. Sometimes it's informal clarifications of the rules, but other times it's jokes, pop culture references, or amusing comments about the beings and events that supposedly inspired the rules.
- The Narrator in Passing Strange, who is portrayed as a "grown-up" version of the protagonist, frequently interacts with both the audience and the characters in the story, Breaking the Fourth Wall at will.
- Thorton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth introduces itself with a great deal of fourth-wall-breaking snark from the character Sabina, which might qualify as Lemony narration.
- Wilder also uses this trope with the Stage Manager in Our Town.
- This certainly applies to the musical Pippin, in which the narrator of the play is a character known as the Leading Player who often drags along the action by force and yells at the characters when they forget their lines or entrances. And when a character makes a decision that, according to the Leading Player, wasn't supposed to happen, well...
- Urinetown has Officer Lockstock, one of the show's villains, as the main narrator. There's also Little Sally, a narrator-in-training.
- The Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical Into the Woods, a Deconstruction of the Fairy Tale genre, including a Lemony Narrator who deftly strings several fairy tales together. Until the characters decide they don't like how he's telling the story, and get him killed.
- Sondheim is not one to abandon a winning-yet-dysfunctional trope. He revisits it in his play with John Weidman, Assassins, a musical comedy pastiche about people who have killed or tried to kill American presidents. In this one, the narrator safely reassures the audience about what bad people the assassins are and how their actions have nothing to do with any flaws in our own society...until they get sick of his cheery platitudes about hard work and the American Dream and run him off the stage. The recent revival puts a twist on it and has the narrator transform into Lee Harvey Oswald.
- Tom in The Glass Menagerie introduces himself at the start of the play as both its narrator and a character in it. Thereafter he steps outside the Fourth Wall whenever he needs to narrate.
- F. Scott Fitzgerald's Porcelain and Pink opens with this bit of stage direction.
"Room in the down-stairs of a summer cottage. High around the wall runs an art frieze of a fisherman with a pile of nets at his feet and a ship on a crimson ocean, a fisherman with a pile of nets at his feet and a ship on a crimson ocean, a fisherman with a pile of nets at his feet and so on. In one place on the frieze there is an overlapping--here we have half a fisherman with half a pile of nets at his foot, crowded damply against half a ship on half a crimson ocean. The frieze is not in the plot, but frankly it fascinates me."
- In The Somewhat True Tale of Robin Hood, the narrator is also a member of the cast (Town's Guy), who assists the characters by having the "scene change guy" move them to the right places, bring aide, and invoke flashbacks.
- Prokofiev's opera The Love For Three Oranges has four or five COMPETING lemony narrators: various groups of "audience members" (actually members of the chorus) who continuously interrupt the action to argue about what kind of story they want to see. As the opera goes on, they begin to influence the action directly, providing the heroes with advice and crucial props. Eventually they rush the stage and abduct the main antagonist. It's pretty weird.
- Rather similar to the above, the stage production of Shockheaded Peter has/had two very strange narrators - one who announces himself as "the greatest actor who has ever existed" and Martyn Jacques of the Tiger Lillies, who sung most of the songs and whose stage persona is intentional nightmare fuel. At the end of one song he would appear to have some kind of breakdown and shrieking "DEAD! DEAD!! DEAD!! DEAD!!" over and over again before being forced temporarily offstage.
- The musical Knickerbocker Holiday begins with Washington Irving sitting down to write a history of old New Amsterdam. He wants his book to sell, so he'll make it amusing and romantic and avoid unsavory political details that might offend aristocratic descendants. He has to intervene in the action a couple of times to keep it that way.
- Some of the Stephen Briggs adaptations of Discworld novels represent the Lemony Narrator as a charcacter called the Footnote. The nested footnotes sometimes get represented with another Footnote character, who doesn't get on with the first one.
- Peter Shaffer's Amadeus is narrated by a very old and somewhat mentally disturbed Salieri.
- The Man in Chair from The Drowsy Chaperone. He alternately complains about and praises the play within the play, gripes about his own life, and rants about all of the interruptions.
- The narrator of the original Colossal Cave Interactive Fiction game, down to the need for the player to solve at least one puzzle in a "lemony" way.
- For those curious, it involved being deliberately ambiguous about killing a dragon. When the player types "KILL DRAGON", the narrator responds "With what, your bare hands?" In order to kill the dragon, the player responds "YES"
- The narrator of the Quest for Glory series, especially after voice acting is added. In the 4th game John Rhys-Davies provides the voice, who does a very good job with the odd material.
- As are the narrators of the Space Quest and Leisure Suit Larry series. And the King's Quest series, to a lesser extent.
- The role of the Lemony Narrator isn't left solely to the Narrator in Quest for Glory 4: several of the other voice actors ad-libbed so much, and so well, that the dialog doesn't precisely match what's printed on screen, and it's hilarious.
- Oracle of Tao: Ambrosia is also the narrator. She goes on side topics about her family or personal history, glossing over what a normal narrator would consider the main story. It somehow manages to avoid Protagonist-Centered Morality, since Ambrosia has no real illusions of her own righteousness. But she talks a great deal about her personal interests in the story at hand (if she's interested in it), her failings in knowledge of legends and history, and her overall skepticism in the story's plot.
- Ambrosia mainly narrates in the opening parts of either the main game or the Playable Epilogue, and seems to care even less about the main story the second time, preferring to instead talk about her marriage and subsequent child.
- The Penny Arcade videogame On the Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episode I starts off with a narrator who talks directly to the player character and warns you not to dwell on his mysterious identity... You're dwelling on it, aren't you? Stop that. It's implied that he will be a proper character in later episodes.
- He continues the trend in Episode 2, asking you to choose a difficulty at the beginning, and mocking you if you choose easy.
- The 2004 remake of The Bards Tale has a narrator, voiced by Tony Jay, who is cynical and mocking and hates the bard. At one point, when you encounter a wolf who drops a sword, the narrator says that he'll be skipping all such passages in the future and the Bard complains how he's being deprived of a source of income.
- Wizardry VII: Crusaders of the Dark Savant featured a narrator who described the game world for the party, but also delivered deadpan cynical commentary on what the party finds. "You wonder if perhaps mankind has a destiny, a role in the universe. Do mere mortals have a role to play... and then again, perhaps not."
- While not a third-person narrator, the Prince in the Prince of Persia: Sands of Time series has a tendency to go off on descriptive tangents when entering new areas. In the third game it reaches the point where his alter-ego the Dark Prince has to interrupt him to call attention to an important plot event.
- Anything and everything by Spiderweb Software (maker of Avernum and Geneforge) qualifies to some degree, particularly in regard to the narrator's being a Deadpan Snarker.
- Bruce Campbell, the voice of the tutorial in the Spider-Man games, insults the player and leaves mid-tutorial to get a sandwich. When he comes back, he talks with his mouth full.
- Little Big Planet's tutorial is narrated in quite a lemony fashion by who else but Stephen Fry.
- The narrator from the King'sQuest fangame Silver Lining could turn into this if you perform the wrong actions. Get your hands off that, Graham!
- The narrator in The Adventures of Willy Beamish, who only rears his head if you examine something/one. Depending on what he's describing, it can be any combination of What Do You Mean It's Not Awesome?, Deadpan Snarker, and This Loser Is You (his opinion of Willy is strikingly low).
- Despite that he's at the mercy of the Chantry, Varric of Dragon Age II insists on adding obviously fake, sensationalistic tinsel to the Framing Device story at random times. His Blatant Lies range from people single-handedly felling trolls, to himself suddenly becoming Scarface, to giving women large breasts increased bust-sizes.
- When he is the narrator in Fate Hollow Ataraxia, Avenger definitely has a very unique style. It rapidly shifts between sarcasm, murderous hatred, lust, approval, respect and vague idlings about his own narration.
- The narrator of The Stanley Parable becomes one once you start to do just the opposite of what he tells you to.
- Space Quest uses this throughout the series with choice commentary on your actions. The fourth game has Gary Owens narrating your exploits.
Owens: Sucking on a bottle of ketchup doesn't seem to satisfy you, no matter what the government says.
- Rucks, narrator of Bastion, is not only Lemony but also increasingly darker as the game continues.
- Books Don't Work Here Due to the fact that there is No Fourth Wall and the fact that the main character argues with him so much certainly makes the director a character. He also “pays” a British guy to read his lines while narrating the comic so he definitely qualifies for this trope.
- Ctrl+Alt+Del, Ethan hosts a Wintereenmas Games Bowl, which was put to print rather than comic (more here). Being about Ethan, any narrative account is likely to be this.
- In Schlock Mercenary, the Narrator is JUST the narrator, and not the storyteller. This has led to a few points where the narrator wandered off to ask the author what the heck was going on,
- In the first Order of the Stick book, Dungeon Crawlin' Fools, Rich Burlew adds before the first strips some introductory strips which add a narrator. As the characters continually fail to remain stealthy in their efforts to reach the dungeon they're approaching, they comment on how difficult it is to sneak when there's a voice booming across the countryside announcing what you're up to. So they find the narrator and throw him to the monster guarding the dungeon. He still can't stop narrating what's happening.
- The Infamous Andrew Hussie has been known to get up to such shenanigans as demolishing the fourth and fifth walls, stealing other people's offices for his recaps, and strangling the guest narrator.
- One of the main ideas of the serial story Memetic Narration (found here) is that the third-person omniscient narrator can be heard by the protagonist, and since he can read the protagonists thoughts, has indirect conversations with him often amounting to passive aggressive insults. He also focuses heavily on the "assets" of female characters, to the protagonist's embarrassment.
- "In the next episode, Burnt Face Man has sex! With an eagle!"
- Brad Neely's Wizard People, Dear Reader, in which he narrates the first Harry Potter film in an excessively dramatic, increasingly inaccurate and often insane way, most notably a scene late in the film where the narrator entirely ignores the action sequence taking place on screen to discuss Harry's desire to move to pre-Columbian America. For several minutes.
- Raem Kischima, from the RP Fairy Tail Guild, belongs to a fan of Douglas Adams. As such, his posts tend to be quite... lemony.
- The One Ring To Rule Them All: The Hobbit has The Hobbit narrated by Tom Bombadil. Who for some reason has a Southern accent. Hilarity Ensues.
Tom Bombadil: Bilbo found this really neat sword that glowed blue whenever goblins were near! You keep that in mind, now. It's going to be important, later on!
- Let's be honest with ourselves here: A lot of pages on TV Tropes fit this trope.
- The Narrator, a mysterious and genderless being, is considered the most sinister villain in Pokébattles, and spends much of his time tormenting and humiliating the main cast. He can't be escaped--every time a fight breaks out, he can be heard narrating it.
- Celebrity Bric A Brac Theater often has a narrator along these lines. Christopher Walken narrated Romeo and Juliet, Sean Connery lent his talents to The First Thanksgiving, and Jack Palance granted The First Christmas a sinister air.
- Dr. Tran, notably in the first episode.
Narrator: AND THEN HE'S OFF TO EAT HICKORY-SMOKED HORSE BUTTHOLES.
Dr. Tran: ...Hickory WHAT? Smoked WHAT?
Narrator: ...FROM A CUP!
Dr. Tran: No, I won't!
Narrator: YES, HE WILL.
- In Terramirum, there are two narrators, who switch off between segments of the story and argue with each other.
- Out in full force in Smashtasm season 2.
*ominous music* "This is Girem6. He’s the villain and leader of the Gear Hack Force. After the perma-ban of his idol Greg he swore revenge against Super64, and created a team of hackers that -"
*music cuts out*
"wait, wh...? Well there's three more pages of this drivel! Hell, I'm not reading this!"
- In this metafiction story, where the narrator constantly banters with the characters.
- Part of the charm of Sips' videos, together with his Surreal Humor. If there's no story in a game he plays, he makes one up.
- George of the Jungle takes this to its logical extreme.
- The Powerpuff Girls did this too; they even had a similar plot to the Rocky and Bullwinkle one, in which Mojo Jojo took over the role of narrator and made the girls commit crimes.
- He even interacts with the characters on a daily basis and winds up becoming dumbfounded if the episode turns out differently than expected. In "Telephonies", when Him, Mojo Jojo, and Fuzzy Lumpkins open a can of whoopass on the Gangreen Gang for making the Powerpuff Girls falsely attacking them due to crank calls, the narrator says this:
Narrator: And, so the day is saved, thanks to... (Mojo Jojo, Him, and Fuzzy Lumpkins appear on screen) Mojo Jojo... Fuzzy Lumpkins... and Him?
- The Storyteller in Dave the Barbarian. In one story he was magically enslaved by the Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy and forced to read out Chuckles' new narration. The heroes are saved when the Storyteller develops laryngitis and they are able to employ a temporary narrator (albeit one who turns the show into a space opera) long enough to capture Chuckles and free the Storyteller.
- Danger Mouse's narrator often adds random information and after the more normal cliffhanger questions adds questions like "will Penfold get over his fear of coathangers", or "Will please someone return my washing machine?" He is such a part of the series that he is even given a name in canon - Isombard.
- After Danger Mouse has to ride a bike since the car broke:
Has Danger Mouse turned to handlebars because he must dash? ...must dash...mustache...get it? ...Ahem."
- Sheep in The Big City had a narrator who was often shown on screen speaking into a microphone in a sound booth, and would make quips and talk to the characters. Occasionally, he was drawn into the main storyline as well.
- The narrator for the Goofy "How to" cartoons, who often corrects him and slows down the proceedings with verbose digressions. On one cartoon he freezes Goofy in the middle of a pole vault jump to discuss the proper vaulting form, and it turns into a recitation of Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar", all while poor Goofy is trying to maintain his balance.
- In How to Hook Up Your Home Theater, he even goes as far as to yell at Goofy to find the remote control because the Big Game is about to start.
- It's even taken to the extreme in How to Be a Gentleman, where Goofy, after having failed twice in getting into a fancy club (the second time due to a lack of pants), beats up the narrator, who had just angrily chastised Goofy for walking into the club without any pants.
- Sebastian Cabot went all Lemony as the narrator of both The Jungle Book and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh.
- Let alone that Cabot was Bagheera in the former, and broke the fourth wall in the later, to help Tigger down from a tree.
- The narrator in Freakazoid does such things as argue with the network censor and give away plot points, earning the ire of the villains. He also argues with Freakazoid on occasion, and becomes a character in his own right by the end of season 2.
- Sometimes Dick Dastardly would engage in conversation with the narrator of Wacky Races, where he would explain his evil plan to dispose of the other racers when questioned about it. The practice which was carried over to Spinoff Series The Perils of Penelope Pitstop, where it was picked up by Hooded Claw (and sometimes Penelope herself too, while trying to escape a trap).
- In Earthworm Jim, Psycrow forces the narrator to read the lines he's written for him, thus making the events actually happen. He threatens the narrator with larynx-eating insects if he does not comply.
- The narrator of Disney's Hercules frequently argues with the Muses. Unlike the Bobobo and Rocky and Bullwinkle examples above, the Storyteller isn't strictly necessary for the plot to progress (in one episode, it's his day off) and he does appear onscreen (same episode, just after someone remarks on his absence and is informed that he doesn't have to come in to work today, he wanders by with his family-they're disembodied voices, but we can still see where they are because they're wearing party hats). Also, he was referred to as "Bob". (The voice was provided by Robert Stack.)
- On Family Guy, Peter once went through a period where he narrated his life. Lois was not well-pleased.
- In Futurama: "You watched it, you can't unwatch it. Stay tuned for more Tales of Interest!"
- Inexplicably, but hilariously, Dr Zoidberg pops up as a Lemony Narrator at the conclusion of "Love and Rockets": "As the candy hearts poured into the fiery quasar, a wondrous thing happened, why not. They vaporised into a mystical love radiation that spread across the universe, destroying many, many planets, including two gangster planets and a cowboy world. But one planet was at exactly the right distance to see the romantic rays, but not be destroyed by them: Earth. So all over the world, couples stood together in joy. And me, Zoidberg! And no one could have been happier unless it would have also been Valentine's Day. What? It was? Hooray!"
- The South Park episode "Pip", which is based very loosely on Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, is narrated somewhat lemonishly by Malcolm MacDowell, who introduces himself as "A British Person."
- The Emperors New Groove may have the oddest variation on this trope. Throughout the first two-thirds of the movie, Emperor Kuzco (David Spade) narrates the story, occasionally providing snide insults ("This is Yzma, the emperor's advisor. Living proof that dinosaurs once roamed the Earth.") or complaining if too much of the narrative is spent on any character other than himself. Once Kuzco (the on-screen character) learns that Yzma had betrayed him and that he probably wouldn't be missed if he died, he turns away from being a Jerkass and tells Kuzco (the narrator) to shut up. The rest of the movie passes without narration.
Kuzco[voiceover]: So this is where you came in. See, just like I said, I'm the victim here! I didn't do anything, and they ruined my life and took everything I had.
Kuzco: Hey, give it a rest up there, will ya?
Kuzco[voiceover]: What? I'm just telling them what happened.
Kuzco: Who are you kidding, pal? They saw the whole thing. They know what happened.
Kuzco[voiceover]: Well, yeah, but... but...
Kuzco: Leave me alone.
- The narrator in Roger Ramjet had his own highly idiosyncratic style, sometimes seeming to confuse even himself:
"Ain't that a kick in the creel! <pause> What's a creel?"
- The Troubador from Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers intentionally derails an effort to tell an accurate telling of the source material to tell a comic book version involving musical numbers.
- In The Simpsons, there was a Mother's Day episode where Moe narrates the story and gets distracted by Marge in the window.
- Word Girl has a narrator who constantly breaks the fourth wall and strikes up conversations with the characters, often pointing out plot holes, obvious flaws in plans, and occasionally reading ahead in the script (and being called out for it as well).