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Helen: Daria, the easiest thing in the world for you is being honest about what you observe.

Daria: And...

Helen: What's hard for you is being honest about your wishes. About the way you think things should be, not the way they are. You gloss over it with a cynical joke and nobody finds out what you really believe in.

Daria: Aha! So my evil plan is working.
Daria, "Write Where It Hurts"

The fraternal twin of the Stepford Smiler. The Stepford Snarker has intense feelings of sadness, anger, numbness, or other negative emotions, but, for whatever reason, wants to hide these feelings from the people around them. However, unlike the Stepford Smiler, who hides these feelings by acting sweet and happy, the Stepford Snarker hides these feelings by being snarky. She often puts on an outward appearance of being very jaded and bitter (though some may maintain a brighter disposition when they are in a better mood, snarking only when upset), and makes sarcastic comments about everything and everybody, but those that are able to break her shell find that she is actually deeply hurt. If she is able to heal, she will not necessarily stop being sarcastic -- it may just part of her personality -- but she will hopefully find a way to express her feelings to her loved ones, rather than solely hiding them with her quips.

In addition, she may be a Snark Knight but she doesn't have to be. While the Snark Knight is antisocial and sarcastic because of discontent with her surroundings, the Stepford Snarker does not have to be anti-social. She could have many friends and even an optimistic view of the world itself, so long as she still hides her bad moods with snark. A staple of the Jerkass Woobie and frequently seen in Goths. Closely related to Kuudere, Tsundere, Broken Bird and Defrosting Ice Queen, all of whom might use this sort of snark as a way of masking their inner sweetness. Compare/contrast Sad Clown, who is less rude and more ridiculous.

Despite the pronouns used in the description, this trope can be either male or female.

Examples of Stepford Snarker include:


Anime and Manga

Film

  • The Avengers film has quite a lot of snarkers, most of whom are garden variety Deadpan Snarkers, but Tony Stark and Bruce Banner specifically fit this trope because their sarcasm is respectively a defence mechanism and a way of maintaining self-control. This is particularly evident after Agent Coulson gets killed, and Tony snarks about how stupid he was to face Loki alone, but is clearly using it to cover up his own grief.
    • Given that Tony's own films show his life to be something of a mess, with quite a lot of moral emptiness (before he decides to become a superhero,) alcoholism and relationship issues (continuing after he becomes a superhero,) he counts as this trope in all his films.

Literature

  • Marco from Animorphs gets like this from time to time. He explicitly states several times that he is choosing to see things that upset or scare him as funny, because he has no interest in the alternative.
  • Nora Irving of Stuck has a sharp wit in general, but becomes outright spiteful at times when she gets irritated or sad.
  • Asher of Someone Elses War is this trope personified.

Live Action TV

  • Veronica Mars: sophomore year, she is ridiculed, outcasted and raped after the death of her best friend. Junior year, she makes quips.
  • Ellie on Degrassi the Next Generation is introduced as a wry goth girl who frequently makes biting, sarcastic comments. After a while, it is revealed that she is deeply depressed.
  • Goth girl Daisy and Jerkass Woobie Shelby from Higher Ground often use sarcasm as a defense mechanism. Ezra could qualify as one, but he's probably better described as a Sad Clown.
  • Chandler of Friends openly admits to using sarcasm to hide whatever feelings developed due to his rather unusual and traumatic childhood.
  • DS Barbara Havers of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.
  • Santana from Glee has always been ruthlessly snarky - even cruel. Turns out she was hiding bitterness and loneliness due to being in love with Brittany and unable to come to terms with it. Even now while her friends are trying to being supportive and get her to open up, she's still as prickly as ever.
  • Similarly to Santana, Naomi from Skins outright admitted that she "learned how to be a sarcastic bitch" as way to hide her feelings for Emily.
  • In Doctor Who, when the Ninth Doctor gets snarky about humanity, it's often a sign that he's very upset and trying hard not to show it. Rose even lampshades this in "The Doctor Dances".
  • John Munch, Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire is confirmed to be this. In one episode of Law and Order Special Victims Unit he is directly asked "Do you answer every serious question with a joke?". His immediate response is "Do you answer every joke with a serious question?", which, being somewhat less impressive than his usual quips, suggests that did actually get to him. Given the fact that he's spent most of his career dealing with brutal murders and horrible sex-crimes, it's not all that surprising that he needs some sort of defence mechanism.

Video Games

Visual Novels

  • Archer in Fate/stay night. It's clear early on that he's got some issues, but Tohsaka is actually bothered when he stops being stepfordy about it even before he Face Heel Turns.

Web Comics

Western Animation

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