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Helen: It's just that sometimes you judge people's behavior by a pretty rigid set of standards. Not everyone can live up to them.

Daria: That's what's wrong with the world.

Helen: Not even you live up to them all the time.
Daria, "Monster"

This character has a world-weary disdain for everyone, themselves included. They typically suffer from a healthy dose of Intelligence Equals Isolation, and are the type to stand aside at parties and quietly drink beer while making cold-hearted quips about the idiocy that surrounds them.

To the "herd followers" they deprecate, this makes them a Jerkass. The sympathetic see their antisocial behavior as a sort of personal crusade against idiocy. The Alpha Bitch and Jerk Jock are their mortal enemies. If they have any positive interaction with the Big Man on Campus, then they are a Cool Loser, teaching him not to be a self-satisfied twit while he teaches them to be less haughty and smile a little.

One key element that differentiates the Snark Knight from a Deadpan Snarker is that a Snark Knight holds themselves to their own impossibly high standards. Sometimes the Snark Knight ends up as a Sidekick or one third of a Power Trio with the main protagonist, providing the role of the cynical commentator and Meta Guy. Expect less personal Angst and more Plucky Comic Relief in these cases.

This is a subtrope of Deadpan Snarker. It's also related to Knight in Sour Armor and Cool Loser. Contrast Loners Are Freaks. Often the opposite of the Stepford Smiler; if their sarcasm is revealed to be a similar mask, she's a Stepford Snarker.

Examples of The Snark Knight include:


Anime & Manga

  • In the anime Ouran High School Host Club, the Host Club quickly gets rid of Haruhi's bookworm look to become a Bifauxnen, but she still acts as The Snark Knight in the show.
  • Chisame of Mahou Sensei Negima, though her snarks don't tend to have as much power over the other characters as those of some other Snark Knights on this list.
  • Nagisa of Satou Kashi no Dangan wa Uchinukenai is an example of this towards anyone but her brother, mother and pet rabbits. She rebuffed a declaration of friendship from the seemingly loony New Transfer Student with "Are you retarded?"
  • Ayase of Midori Days, which she has to overcome for her to truly love Seiji.
  • Saiyuki
    • Professor Hwan actually fits this trope obnoxiously well. Always standing around with her fellow scientists in the lab, constantly leaving snide remarks on their part whilst also pointing out their densely inappropriate behavior with nonstop sarcasm.
    • Nii would probably be more accurate, really; Hwan is more often the victim of the Snark Knight. She's the butt of his jokes most of the time, and generally only manages to comment on their behaviour until he retaliates.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya: Kyon is this trope in spades. Most of his dialogue revolves around him being snarking over how the world literally revolves around Haruhi's whims.
  • Miyako of Private Prince sometimes come across as this.
  • Spike Spiegel of Cowboy Bebop.
  • Sesshomaru of Inuyasha.
  • Haruko Hasegawa of Moyashimon is a dedicated microbiology postgrad with an acid tongue. She delivers a lecture on the validity of "sterilising" products when she sees Oikawa's compulsive disinfecting. Sawaki's supernatural ability to see and interact with (to him) cute microbes triggers a minor meltdown.
  • In Virgin Love, Kaoru's default mode is disdain, which includes disdain for himself whenever he fails to live up to his own standards.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has Asuka, who, at first, does her best to avoid this, but soon can't hold back her rage and angst. Finally, she loses it and has a tirade over why she hates everyone... including herself. Unfortunately, that's not rock bottom- a scarring encounter with Arael and learning Kaji died destroy her.


Comic Books


Fan Works


Film -- Animation

  • Rin in the English dub of Spirited Away.
  • Megara from Disney's Hercules. She later becomes a Defrosting Ice Queen.
    • She's also voiced by the same actress who does Rin (see above) in the English dub of Spirited Away. Coincidence? We think not.
  • Hiccup in How to Train Your Dragon is a male example, taking advantage of his position at the bottom of the pecking order to dish out some beautiful snark.

 Hiccup: Thanks for nothing, you useless reptile.


Film -- Live-Action


Literature

 Doctor: You're a cynic.

Benny: No, I'm an idealist who's been wrong on too many times.

  • Christina Light in Henry James's first novel Roderick Hudson. Speaking to Rowland Mallet, she says:

 "I am a strange girl. To begin with, I am frightfully egotistical. Don't flatter yourself you have said anything very clever if you ever take it into your head to tell me so... I am tired to death of myself; I would give all I possess to get out of myself; but somehow, at the end, I find myself so vastly more interesting than nine tenths of the people I meet."


Live-Action TV

  • Darlene Conner from Roseanne.
  • In Babylon 5, Londo's first wife Timov falls into this. Even though she's constantly (and justifiedly) berating him, he chooses to keep her over all his other wives. He's suspicious of all flattery, but he knows her contempt is genuine.
  • Parks and Recreation
    • April Ludgate the college intern is another prime example. Season 2 has April starting to get over it, though, beginning to distance herself from her irony-loving friends and getting more involved in the department. She still provides a healthy dose of snark, particularly towards Jerry, the office Butt Monkey.
    • April's sister Natalie.
  • Star Trek Deep Space Nine
    • Odo started this way.
    • Major (later Colonel) Kira Nerys was the heavy-handed embodiment of this trope, just like Ro Laren before her. Almost to a "Can't Argue With Bajorans" extent.
  • Jaye Tyler of Wonderfalls.
  • Claire Fisher on Six Feet Under.
  • Georgia Lass of Dead Like Me.
  • Veronica Mars: Veronica takes this role but unlike most, only after she's been pushed into it by her ostracization for standing by her father. Note her moral principles fall into a sense of justice and not letting the wealthy get away with crimes but she's loose on using deception to get her way. Such is the way of most Private Detective characters.
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun
    • August Leffler, Tommy's ex. August either went through character decay (or development; as a teenager, such a change in personality isn't unrealistic), becoming rather hypocritical and just liking to look down at everyone. Her initial apperance portrayed her as a more well-adjusted and pleasent person (At least, as well adjusted as The Snark Knight can get).
    • Tommy himself could be considered a male Snark Knight, although to a much lesser degree than August.
  • Kerry from 8 Simple Rules usually fits, though it can depend on the episode.
  • Naomi from the second generation of Skins characters; arguably Jal has flashes of this in the first two seasons too.
  • The season 3 Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Earshot" has a character like this named Freddy Iverson.
  • House. If House weren't a genius diagnostician, he'd fall into Loners Are Freaks territory.
  • Kat Warbler from the short-lived sitcom The Class.

 "I'd rather have a bitter cake."

"You ARE a bitter cake."

  • In Torchwood, Owen is a textbook example.
  • Degrassi rotates this trope around through the years. Ellie is the first notable example during her goth years, Jimmy gains this along with Disabled Snarker title, Clare being the latest holder of this title.
  • Toby Ziegler from The West Wing -- he's accurately described as "prickly" and "sad, angry and not warm," and he has a uniquely tense relationship with the president due to his constant frustration and disappointment at Bartlet's failure to fully live up to his genius, and his willingness to voice them.
  • Ashley Jeurgens from The Secret Life of the American Teenager.
  • Doctor Who: The Doctor has a very dark and twisted version of this in the Dream Lord, from Amy's Choice. Even as he traps the heroes in a dream and toys with them, he snipes at all of their character flaws, with particular venom reserved for the Doctor. He's actually an extension of the Doctor's psyche, particularly his darkness and self-loathing, which qualifies him, and possibly the Doctor, for this trope.
  • Sherlock can be quite the Snark Knight, mainly since most of the other characters aren't as smart as he is.

 Sherlock: Look at you lot, you're all so vacant. Is it nice not being me? It must be so relaxing.

  • Dan from Nathan Barley is a Deconstruction of the trope, penned by Charlie Brooker (himself arguably a Real Life example). He's a caustic depressive who writes withering articles about "the idiots" (who themselves respect him as "the Preacher Man"), growing more and more cutting and vicious as he falls in with them. However, when he's offered a job for a more reputable magazine, he realises he cannot write anything but cheap sarcasm, and it's hinted that his self-deprecation forms a self-destructive cycle; the show offers him plenty of get-outs, but he never ends up taking them.
  • DS Barbara Havers of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries. That poor, dear girl.


Newspaper Comics


Video Games

  • Squall Leonhart of Final Fantasy VIII. He's aloof, unfriendly, and periodically quite snarky, and if anything holds more disdain for himself than he does for others, mostly expressed via Inner Monologue.
  • Although there is never exactly one interpretation of a Touhou character, Patchouli Knowledge is usually portrayed as a Snark Knight. The games show her as completely deadpan and cynical (especially in her lines regarding Sakuya in Subterranean Animism or Immaterial and Missing Power), but nevertheless a good and caring friend of Remilia, and Fanon often shows her as having a crush on Marisa.
  • Jacqli of Ar tonelico at first appears to be a Jerkass willing to betray anyone to accomplish her mysterious goals, and bitingly sarcastic towards everyone, especially the protagonist (also a Deadpan Snarker) but over time, as she comes to trust the heroes, she reveals her goals truly are noble that are simply hidden behind a hostile exterior because she is embarrassed to be working towards such goals, and distrustful of others.
  • Shadow the Hedgehog from the Sonic the Hedgehog series. He's got goals, generally involving being the best (just like Sonic, which is why they clash so often). And he prefers to fulfil these goals on his lonesome. His only real friend is the robot E-123 Omega.
  • Bully's Jimmy Hopkins serves as a slight subversion of this trope. He understands how crooked the school system can be with the various cliques and corrupted officials. He starts off the game as simply wanting to be left alone, but eventually transforms more into a Knight in Sour Armor.
  • This is an option in the Mystery Case Files PC game Dire Grove. On the main menu, you can toggle whether you want the Player Character's internal monologues to be Normal, Motivational, or Snarky.


Web Animation

  • Red vs. Blue: This is Church. He even crosses into outright (attempts at) heroism sometimes, but never ceases pointing out how stupid everyone around him is, especially Caboose. He also has a strange sort of enduring optimism, in that he can be compelled to genuinely try to help people he likes. Washington from Reconstruction almost fits too, but...


Web Comics

  • Aggie of Penny and Aggie starts off this way. Early storylines see her standing on the sidelines and aiming sarcastic comments and the occasional prank at popular girl Penny for her apparent superficiality and snobbery, in contrast to Aggie's espoused (though not always upheld) progressive values. She's also initially something of a loner with only one friend, the bookwormish Duane. Eventually, she develops a wider circle of friends, including Penny herself.
  • Faye from Questionable Content, big time.
  • Beth from Better Days is portrayed this way, not in the comic itself, but in the first couple pages of the pornfolio "Beth's Night In".
  • Half the cast of Something Positive, Davan especially.
  • Susan/Tiffany Pompoms from El Goonish Shive.
  • Tristan of Angel Moxie. A pretty cynical youth -- especially of anything she perceives as "girly", thanks to her extreme tomboyishness. Her mother is utterly desperate for Tristan to display even average teenage behavior.
  • Haley Starshine of The Order of the Stick certainly isn't one... but, on the other hand, her brain is hosting "Mistress Shadowgale", a.k.a the imaginary personification of her self-loathing, which surely has several levels of Snark Knight.

 Haley: You look like I did as a teenager.

Mistress Shadowgale: How else would you expect your self-loathing to look?

Haley: Good point.

  • The main idea behind this is explained in this Rock Paper Cynic comic.
  • Homestuck
    • Karkat hates everyone, including himself. (At one point he thought he was his own hate-soulmate. It's a troll thing.) He insults everyone mercilessly, again including himself. His ability to rag on himself is aided by the time travel tomfoolery that all the trolls are up to their bulge in; he constantly gets into arguments with his past/future self. And while he's a huge Jerkass about expressing it, he usually does have a valid point when he flames the other characters. Although sometimes he really is just verbally abusing them for no good reason. He also happens to be the Knight of Blood.
    • Rose. Pretty much 90%+ of everything she says is sarcastic, either playfully so or biting. Part of this comes from a childhood of passive-aggressive antagonism with her mother -- except even that may have been one-sided and an illusion caused by Rose viewing her attempts to bond through Jade-Colored Glasses.
  • Tycho from Penny Arcade is frequently shown to be like this.
  • Counselor Charles from Camp Calomine.
  • Sarna in Errant Story follows this trope all the way to her death.


Web Original


Western Animation

  • Daria: Daria Morgendorffer. Formerly a minor character on Beavis and Butthead, her derisive comments on the stupidity of the title characters made her popular enough with the fans' own sense of teenage world-weariness that she got her own show. She used to be the Trope Namer.
  • The Simpsons. Lisa Simpson alternates between this and Soapbox Sadie, depending on the episode.
  • Sam(antha) from Danny Phantom. Also alternates between this and Soapbox Sadie.
  • Raven from the animated incarnation of Teen Titans (not so much in the comic).

 Raven: This party is pointless.

 Craig: This is fun. Let's walk for miles through a spooky jungle. It just keeps getting better and better.

  • Nikki from 6teen is her group's version of the Snark Knight.
  • June from KaBlam! sometimes fell into this trope.
  • Total Drama Island
    • Noah definitely falls into this category, since that was his only distinctive trait in season one, with Duncan coming in at a close second. Now that it's been 3 seasons, Noah's fleshed out more, but is still definitely a snarker when he wants to be.
    • Gwen also qualifies, especially in the first season.
  • Brendon Small of Home Movies comes close. His ruthless self-criticism applies only to filmmaking, not any other aspect of his... uh, does Brendon have a life?
  • Mai of Avatar: The Last Airbender, without question. She derides everyone and everything, declaring that even Victory Is Boring. Though she defrosts somewhat around Zuko.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic: Twilight Sparkle is a light example since she's somewhat new to the concept of friendship, and she's generally nicer than most examples on this page.
  • A male example in Obi-Wan Kenobi of Star Wars the Clone Wars. Although already snarky in the movies, he takes it to a whole new level in the TV series.


Real Life

  • Dorothy Parker qualified, at least during her Vicious Circle period. Snarky, sour, misanthropic, cynical, self-flagellating... even if she did seem to have great sympathy for the Virgin Mary.
  • Alfred Hitchcock seems to be this in his television persona.
  • The recently-deceased author Christopher Hitchens was the king of this trope.
  • The years since the break-up of the Beatles and especially since his murder have revealed John Lennon to be an example of this.
  • Camille Paglia, an American feminist writer: she wrote about sexism and male neurosis- but also loathed the widespread misandry, whinyness and Moral Myopia of her many of her fellow feminists. Calling the free lover movement naive and childish also didn't help her popularity amongst fellow liberal writers. Like Christopher Hitchens, her books tend to be something no part of the political spectrum could fully embrace but neither cast aside completely.
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