Deadpan Snarker/Live Action TV

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search

  • Jim Halpert from The Office (US). Portrayer John Krasinski perfectly nails the dry sense of humor and deadpan delivery of the office prankster. Perhaps due to newfound maturity from having to support a family, Halpert has abandoned most of these characteristics in later seasons, to the detriment of the show's original dynamic. Jim is the Expy for Tim Canterbury who is played by Martin Freeman in the UK original.
  • Dr. Gregory House on House is a very anti-social example of this trope (as well as a plethora of other tropes). James Wilson also acts as this, usually in conjunction with House and snarking right back at him. (It's probably either that or shoot him in the head.) As do Cuddy. And Foreman. And occasionally Cameron and Chase. The new kids are still getting their feet under them, but Taub does fairly well.

Kutner: The shortest distance between here and your memory is straight through your prefrontal cortex. All we have to do is access it.
Taub: Great idea. I'll build the giant submarine. You get the miniaturization gizmo.

  • On the A-Team, Murdock can be quite the snarker in his more sane moments. His protectiveness of Face has led him, on occasion, to moments of snark bordering on downright rudeness when he's dealing with people who he thinks are mistreating or using Face. See Family Reunion for a prime example.
  • Scrubs
    • Laverne.
    • Dr. Cox gives one-liner snarkiness when he's not ranting.
    • Janitor and Carla.

Janitor: "You seem unhappy. I like that."

  • See the subtrope Servile Snarker -- butlers and valets probably belong there rather than here.
  • Most Weekend Update anchors on Saturday Night Live fall into this category - most visibly Norm MacDonald, Chevy Chase, Tina Fey, and current anchor Seth Meyers. Amy Poehler occasionally dipped into the snark action during her time opposite the latter two, but her Update persona usually vacillated somewhere between Only Sane Man and Cloudcuckoolander.
  • Every Joss Whedon show has a consistent Deadpan Snarker, who is also the "Joss Whedon" character on the show. However, virtually every character on every show does this at one point or another, as this trope is largely his Signature Style with regards to dialogue.
    • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Oz is a preeminent example, though his snark was not usually pointed. Before and after he was on the show, though, snark was Xander's stock in trade. There was also the unwillingly good (and unfailingly cynical) vampire Spike.

Oz: That was my sarcastic voice.
Xander: Sounds a lot like your regular voice.

    • Giles also did this more than people realize.

I'll just jump into my time machine, go back to the 12th century, and ask the vampires to postpone their ancient prophecy for a few days while you take in dinner and a show.

    • The show also has a self-appointed Deadpan Snarker in the form of Quentin Travers, the Head of the Watchers' Council, who twice arrives in town to tell everyone, in quite pointed, deadpan, and snarky terms, what a terrible job they're all doing. The failings of everyone on the team are plainly evident to him, but the fact that he's an authoritarian meanie means that even if he has a good point or two, the audience is free to dismiss those points because he "just doesn't know them like we do." Let's face it, except for Tara every regular character took their turn as this trope.
    • On Angel, Cordelia was this (until she left), occasionally bouncing well with pre-Badass'd Wesley when he was in a playful mood; the role was traded off between Fred and Gunn after she was gone, with Lorne providing backup and five-part harmony. And when Spike joined the show in season five...
    • Spike has always been a Joss Whedon Mr. Snarky, playing this role in both Buffy and in Angel.
    • Every single member of Malcolm Reynolds's crew on Firefly- including Mal himself. Even the comparatively mild-mannered Simon is a frequent snarker, who doesn't stop even when there's a gun trained on him.
    • On Dollhouse we seem to have Topher Brink as Mr. Snarky. Adelle DeWitt is much more Deadpan, much less Snark, and Ballard tends to run a little too hot to get in any deadpan. Naturally more than one of the imprints--a disproportionate number, one might say--have a taste for this sort of humor.
  • Bob in the TV version of The Dresden Files (in the books he comes across more as just a straight-up smart-aleck).
  • Gil Grissom on CSI. He's famous for his deadpan Quip to Black. Jim Brass also fills this role quite regularly.
  • Sam Tyler and Alex Drake have a lot of good snarking going on:

Sam Tyler: You're an overweight, over-the-hill, heavy-drinking, nicotine-stained, fascist homophobe with a superiority complex and an unhealthy obsession with male bonding.
Gene Hunt: You say that like it's a bad thing.

Alex Drake: I'm a modern woman, I come when I need to.

    • But the undisputed snark king of both series remains Gene Hunt.

Chris: "Think [the dead guy floating in the Thames] drowned, then?"
Gene: "No, Christopher. I think he tried to drink the entire river for a bet and failed!"

Alex Drake: "Tonight's my last night. So, that's it then. It's a date. Our last supper."
Gene Hunt: "Can I be Jesus?"

Gene Hunt: Right, listen up you lot. The Paki in a coma's looking about as lively as Liberace's dick when he's looking at a naked woman and all in all this investigation's going at about the speed of a spastic in a magnet factory. What are you looking at, Tyler?
Sam Tyler: I think you might have missed out the Jews ... have you considered the possibility that this might have been a hate crime?
Gene Hunt: What, as opposed to one of the those "I really, really like you" sort of murders?

  • Leonard on The Big Bang Theory. Especially when dealing with Sheldon's anal retentive antics. Howard also qualifies.
    • And Sheldon.
  • Chandler on Friends.
    • In fact, one episode had Chandler's friends make a bet with him saying that he couldn't last a week of not making any smart assed comments. Chandler clearly strains his brain to resist from being sarcastic and it didn't help that his friends unintentionally (or maybe on purpose) do things that would make Chandler normally be snarky. In the end, Chandler gave up and let loose what could possibly be the most Badass Snarkfest in the history of Badass Snarkfests. Chandler felt relieved afterwards.
    • Rachel also becomes this around the beginning of the fourth season.
  • On X-Play, Adam Sessler and Morgan Webb do this all the time, especially when they review games that they give a 2 out of 5, and more so when it is a 1 out of 5.
  • Tim Canterbury in The Office, snarks a lot. Considering he's played by Martin Freeman, this is really just part of the territory.

Anne: I don't know what it is about me [men] like so much.
Tim: I'm racking my brains.

    • Stanley in the US version. Jim, Tim's Trans-Atlantic Equivalent also responds this way to anything Dwight and Michael do.
    • Toby, as of late, has become more of this: Teaching Pam how to throw a punch and asking for Michael to kick him out of a meeting all in his sad, monotone voice.
  • Siblings Justin Russo and Alex Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place, despite of the fact that they are "Order Versus Chaos".
  • Nearly everyone in iCarly: Each of the main characters had their moments of snarkiness, but Sam and Mrs. Benson are the harshest of the lot.

Carly: Gibby should be himself.
Sam: Yeah, look where's that got him in life.
Carly: You're so right.

Spencer: (sees Sam wrestling Freddie) What's happening there?
Carly: I'm teaching Sam to act more like a girl.
Spencer: Ah, good work.

  • Jade and Rex on Victorious.
  • John Munch on Law and Order Special Victims Unit was once a classic Deadpan Snarker, back in the days when he actually had more than six lines per season. And before him there was Lennie Briscoe, the ultimate snarky cop. Jerry Orbach's brilliant, world-weary, deadpan humor practically defined the TV idea of the New York cop. Every pair of detectives on Law and Order is required to have at least one deadpan snarker. When Munch left, his partner promptly took over the role. Even the citizens of New York occasionally join in.

(Briscoe and Green are checking out a dead man's bank account; the bank clerk helping them has just stated that he made semi-regular deposits)
Brisco: Let me guess, all under ten thousand dollars, right?
Clerk: Who wants to bother with all that pesky federal paperwork?

(on learning that a drowning victim was wearing an anti-seasickness patch)
Eames: He should have worn a learn-to-swim patch.

and another...

Goren: (extracting a silver chain from the mouth of a decapitated head) So, what does this tell us?
Eames: Robbery wasn't the motive?

    • The judges in arraignment hearings seem to have a knack for this.
  • In Stargate SG-1, it's pretty easy to miss, but if you go back and play close attention to those 175 episodes (that's the number of times he shows up), you may just notice that in the course of over a decade, despite having more sense of humor than his remaining teammates put together, Jack O'Neill has rarely ever cracked so much as a smirk. When pointed out to him that a character "does not know fear", he exclaims, "Yeah, well, he knows stupid!"

Ba'al: You dare mock me?
O'Neill: Ba'al, come on. You should know . Of course I dare mock you.

    • (and this gem)

O'Neill: I've got a better idea. Instead of helping you, why don't we sit around and watch you get your ass kicked? That way you'll be dead, and we'll be glad.
Ba'al: You cannot be serious.
O'Neill: Yes, I can. I just choose not to, some of the time.
Ba'al: With your insolence you're dooming not just your world but all of humanity.
O'Neill: I think big.

    • (and an earlier one)

O'Neill: Can't help you there. That's between you and your god. Oh, wait a minute! You are your god! That's a problem.

    • Daniel Jackson had a fair few snarky lines as well.

Dr. Markov: If you're implying that everything Russian-made is of poor quality, actually, the sub is Swiss.
Jackson: So it occasionally catches fire but keeps perfect time?

      • Daniel Jackson in The Shroud. He's so unbelievably sarcastic, at least half his lines are this trope. He gets it in return too.
      • Daniel does point out, regarding the Swiss sub comment, that he has been spending too much time with Jack.
    • O'Neill's successor Cameron Mitchell also gets his share of these moments in both SG-1 and The Ark of Truth.

Prior: Foolhardy are those who do not follow the path.
Mitchell: Anyone want to bet what he's gonna say next?
Prior: Kill them.
Mitchell: Could've made money on that one.

    • Which is eerily similar to a scene in Farscape where Mitchell actor Ben Browder made a similar "easy money" bet with D'argo about the approaching shuttle having Scorpius aboard.
    • When he wasn't trying (and failing) to grasp the more boisterous type of Earth humor, every single line of Teal'c's that was intentionally funny on his part was deadpan snark.
  • A large amount of Farscape characters, but especially Crichton. He does it humorously, but other characters like Aeryn and Zhaan are incredibly cutting whenever they decide to snark.
    • Oh god, Aeryn is funny. Especially since it's truly impossible to know how serious she is most of the time.
  • Gossip Girl has Blair as the main one, with Chuck, Serena, and Dan getting into it occasionally.
  • Nikita has so many it's practically World of Snark. Nikita, Michael and Birkhoff are the most consistent... making their group now a Team Of Snark.
  • In situations of stress on Stargate Atlantis, Rodney McKay cranks up the snark, at one point sarcastically saying "I foolishly left my Time Machine back on Earth. Did you bring yours?" while in a ticking time bomb situation. He is also apt to point out repeatedly the sheer impossibility of the plans Sheppard comes up with. This tendency has actually been toned down since the character's original appearances in SG-1. Dor further irony, he really does have a time machine back on Earth. Okay, it's not "his", but he found it.
  • Edmund E. Blackadder has this as his primary purpose in his different lives.
  • Salem Saberhagen from Sabrina the Teenage Witch (1996-2003 version) and its animated Spin-Off.
  • Kyra from Reba always seems to have a sarcastic one-liner at the ready in nearly every episode, Reba herself also makes plenty of sarcastic comments, which are usually aimed at either Brock or Barbra Jean. There's also Reba's friend Lori Ann in earlier seasons
  • Michael Bluth of Arrested Development. He is in charge of the family business; it's just that no one listens to him. Often doubles as the Straight Man and the Only Sane Man.

    The narrator is a deadpan snarker.

Tobias: If this tableau I recreate, perhaps I can resnare my mate!
Narrator: Gee, why wouldn't she want him back?

Maeby more or less turns into one of these as the series progresses:

Michael: So then he's more popular than George Michael?
Maeby: Well, that's like comparing apples and some fruit nobody's ever heard of.

  • The Doctor in Doctor Who sometimes slips into this, especially in the new series. For instance, in "The Girl in the Fireplace":

Reinette: Oh, this is my lover, the King of France.
The Doctor: Yeah? Well, I'm the Lord of Time.

    • The 6th Doctor is arguably the incarnation most predisposed to this.
    • The Fourth Doctor really loved his sarcasm.

(After just being held at gunpoint; after thugs leave)
Doctor: [Incredulous] Are you suggesting those men were in my employ?
Duggan: Yes!
Doctor: ...I don't know if you noticed but he was pointing a gun at me!

    • Companion/would-be assassin Turlough is absolutely snarky from his very first appearance, making him an interesting foil for Fifth Doctor, who was probably the most polite incarnation to date.
    • Tegan Jovanka also had a lot of the snark in her. This is pronounced even more in the Big Finish audio dramas of late.

In The Visitation:
Tegan: Is that supposed to be Heathrow?
Adric: It is.
Tegan: Well, they've certainly let the grass grow since I was last there.
Adric: Well, actually, they haven't built the airport yet. We're about three hundred years early.
Tegan: That's great! Perhaps I can go out, file a claim on the land. When they get round to inventing the aircraft, I'll make a fortune.

    • Former companion Ian Chesterton unexpectedly developed into one of these, though sadly not until his last episode on the show.
    • The Brigadier uses a dry sense of humor to deal with the Doctor's eccentricity:

The Doctor: (after building a device out of a wine bottle and a pair of forks) It doesn't work.

The Brigadier: You astound me.

    • Daleks and Cybermen seem to get this way with each other.

Cyberman: "Our species are similar, though your design is inelegant."
Dalek Thay: "Daleks have no concept of elegance."
Cyberman: "This is obvious."

      • And from the same episode: "This is not war. This is pest control."
    • Eleven and the Ponds communicate in snark.
    • Also Donna Noble.
  • Ianto Jones, from Torchwood, especially as he gained more screentime.

Tosh: If we knew how it worked, we could feed the world!
Ianto: We could release a single...

    • In "Sleeper", Ianto consistently snarks about the mind reading machine

Tosh: (upon seeing Jack bring it out) You said we weren't allowed to use that again!
Jack: It's just a mind probe.
Ianto: Remember what happened last time you used it?
Jack: That was different, that species has extremely high blood pressure.
Ianto: Oh, their heads must explode all the time.

Ianto: *sits down in mind reading machine chair and vibrates, making a buzzing noise*

    • In "Out of Time":

Ianto: It's automatic. It knows you're there. There are wave-bouncing detectors which emit high-frequency radio waves....
Diane: Ooh look, bananas!
Ianto: Of course, bananas are far more interesting.

  • Emerson Cod in Pushing Daisies.
    • Also Lily. Even the usually polite Ned gets in on the act when he's in a really bad mood.
  • Hey Hey It's Saturday, an Australian variety show, employed a team of snarkers. In addition to Red Symons, who hosted some segments, there were Dickie Knee (a mop with a cap on that would appear between the camera and the host's desk and argue with him), John Blackman (who voiced Dickie and could occasionally be heard snarking over the top of whatever else was going on in his normal voice), the occasional snarky subtitle, and a caricaturist whose drawings would be cut away to for a second at random. This was all done live, off the cuff, week after week.
  • Both Hyde and Red from That '70s Show fit this trope perfectly.

Red: So, you two are gonna save your marriage by dating strangers.
Midge: Well, Red, when you say it like that, it sounds stupid.
Red: Okay Midge, say it so it doesn't sound stupid.

    • Eric does this a lot too.

Kelso: OK, fine, but when you guys see my footprints on the moon, what are you gonna say then?
Eric: Hey, some monkey is wearing Kelso's shoes!

    • Even Donna gets in on this once in a while.
  • Geoffrey from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fits this so well that it's inconceivable how he kept his job as long as he did: "At the risk of sounding redundant, dinner is served."

Philip: Good night, Geoffrey.
Geoffrey: Good night, sir... idiot...
Philip: Geoffrey, go fetch me my tools.
Geoffrey: You mean your knife and fork?

  • Well, if Benson could do it for years, in two different series starting on Soap, then why not Geoffrey too? On Soap, Benson was the snarky butler side character. On the spin-off, he was the snarky main character.
  • And, keeping with this theme, Mr. Moseby of The Suite Life of Zack and Cody.
  • Bova on Space Cases:

Harlan: I'm tired of running from the Spung! This time they're going to know they've been in a fight!
Bova: Oh, yeah, they'll be scraping us off their windshields saying, "Some fight, huh?"

  • Simon on American Idol is wildly known for his insults and trademark sarcasm towards contestants. During the first season he was also known for getting into fights with Paula. They still get into fights, but now there's a lot more UST.
  • Newman and Elaine on Seinfeld.
    • Jerry is made of snark. It's his defining quality -- for example, when he and Kramer started taking on each other's personalities due to an apartment switch, Kramer's non-existent snark level immediately shot Up to Eleven.
      • Interestingly, the giant red neon rotisserie sign outside Kramer's window turned Jerry into a Kramer-like Cloudcuckoolander.

Jerry: It's like a chicken supernova in there!

  • Drake, Josh, and Josh's girlfriend Mindy from Drake and Josh.
  • Pick a character on Veronica Mars. Any character.
  • Both the Supernatural boys are good at this, especially at giving adorable bitchfaces while doing so.
    • Also Nick, the vessel for Lucifer.

Lucifer: My name is Lucifer.
Nick: Sure... naturally. Uh. Could you do me a favor there, Satan, and remind me to quit drinking before I go to bed?

    • And Castiel; once he gets the concept of sarcasm he becomes disturbingly good at it.

Castiel: I am in a civil war, Dean.
Dean: Just look out for something to help Sam while you're up there.
Castiel: Of course. Your problems always come first.

Vila: I've got a weak chest!
Avon: The rest of you's not very impressive either.

    • Comm -- Supreme Commander Servalan's power seems based on the ability to be snidely sarcastic while wearing amazing dresses.
    • Even the computers get in on the act:

Servalan: So tell me, Zen, how does one operate this craft?
Zen: One manipulates the controls and the craft functions accordingly.

  • Dr. Crower of American Gothic.
  • A certain character played by Jay Leno on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno during the 1990's... the genius Mr Brain.
  • James May on Top Gear. His humor is so dry you'll want a glass of water.
  • One word: Methos.
  • Though many or most characters from Waterloo Road have their moments, first, second and third prizes have to go to Brett Aspinall.
  • Many on The Wire, but Bunk Moreland is the most prominent:

Rhonda: [reading an affidavit] You all cannot spell for shit.
Bunk: Well, would we be police if we could?

  • Peter Bishop of Fringe, who seems like the only voice of semi-sanity on the show so far.

Walter: I posited in 1976 that it is possible to synchronize the fields of two distinct minds, allowing the sharing of information across the unconscious state... like a string between two tin cans.
Peter: And, you know, what's great about that is that it's completely insane.

  • Dr. McCoy and Spock of Star Trek fame have both been this a few times.
    • To quote Sulu in The Corbomite Maneuver: "You try to cross brains with Spock, he'll cut you to pieces every time."
    • Even Scotty pulls off a few deadpan snarks.

Montgomery Scott: The keyboard. How quaint.

    • Kirk has his moments, when he's not losing his shirt and making out with alien babes. Two from "The Trouble With Tribbles", both dealing with the same Obstructive Bureaucrat:

Nilz Baris: Kirk, this station is swarming with Klingons!
Kirk: I was not aware, Mr. Baris, that twelve Klingons constitutes a swarm.

Nilz Baris: Captain Kirk, I consider your security measures a disgrace. In my opinion, you have taken this entire very important project far too lightly.
Kirk: On the contrary, sir. I think of this project as very important. It is you I take lightly.

  • Meanwhile, its immediate successor, Star Trek: The Next Generation, has Q, who doubles as Magnificent Bastard in many regards.
    • In one episode, Dr. Crusher and Captain Picard are captured and implanted with devices. As they attempt to escape, they soon realize they can hear each other's thoughts. As it turns out, Dr. Crusher is apparently quite the snarker, but she manages to avoid speaking her mind. Somewhat subverted in that the audience never gets to hear what they're thinking, so we only have Picard's word for it. On the other hand, when she's in focus, this pops up from time to time, especially in later seasons.
    • Geordi La Forge delivered quite a few sarcastic quips, usually the "blink and you miss it" sort. And the VISOR hiding his eyes made it all that much easier to miss.
  • Seven of Nine, the Doctor, and Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager. Indeed, Tuvok was often very sarcastic for a Vulcan who supposedly eschews emotions. T'Pol on Enterprise had the same problem.
    • Given that Spock, T'Pol, and Tuvok all did it, it's pretty safe to say it's not an uncommon trait in Vulcans, or at least those that regularly deal with other species. Indeed, Spock's father even gets in on it in his appearances.
  • Kira Nerys of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Bashir: (goes on a long-winded spiel about how Fate has granted him the gift to be a healer)

Kira! (dryly) I feel honored to be in your presence.

    • Also Odo, especially in response to anything Quark says.
    • Garak responds to anything and everything (from friendly remarks to mortal danger) with bucketloads of perfectly-executed snark. He is the show's resident Wild Card Magnificent Bastard, so it's not surprising.

Bashir: 'I can't believe you're not pressing charges.'
Garak: 'Constable Odo and Captain Sisko expressed a similar concern but really, doctor, there was no harm done.'
Bashir: 'They broke seven of your transverse ribs and fractured your clavical!'
Garak: 'Ah, but I got off several cutting remarks which no doubt did serious damage to their egos.'
Bashir: 'Garak, this isn't funny.'
Garak: 'I'm serious, doctor! Thanks to your administrations I'm almost completely healed, but the damage I did to them will last a lifetime.'

"This is called a phase pistol. It has two settings: 'stun' and 'kill.' It would be best not to confuse them."

  • Half of the main characters of Corner Gas fit this trope. If characters aren't snarkers, then they are The Ditz, and they usually come in pairs. Brent and Hank, Emma and Oscar, and Karen and Davis, respectively. Wanda and sometimes Lacey have the unique ability to be snarkers and make the other snarkers into The Ditz.
  • Hiccups, the successor to Corner Gas, features Crystal Braywood, a teenaged receptionist completely detached from her job.
  • Rimmer in Red Dwarf on occasion, due to seeing himself as the Only Sane Man. One sequence sadly lost from the final episode:

Cat: How do we get to this mirror universe?
Rimmer: You mean because we've got no mode of transport apart from my old bike? Can't Krytie fix some sort of gizmo to the wheel so it crosses dimensions when you go downhill really fast?
Kochanski: You're not helping.
Rimmer: That's not my job.

    • Kochanski herself is also a bit of a Deadpan Snarker, with rather more justification for being the Only Sane Person.
    • It does usually seem to be a Rimmer/Cat exchange, as again in these two examples from Gunmen of the Apocalypse:

Cat: We don't run, we strike! It's the last thing they'll be expecting!
Rimmer: No-oo, the last thing they'll be expecting is for us to turn into ice skating mongooses and dance the bolero. And your plan makes about as much sense.

    • and

Cat: Isn't there some way we can turn ourselves into tiny electronic people and get in his head? And if not, WHY not?
Rimmer: Look, we can all bring something to this discussion, but I think what you should bring is silence.

    • Kryten and Holly (male version) also count. Kryten even has a "deadpan mode."
  • Niles and C.C. Babcock in The Nanny are this, especially when trying to one-up each other.
    • Deadpan Snarkers that are also butlers seem to be a fairly common subtrope.
  • Lots of characters on The Muppet Show could qualify, but Statler and Waldorf have pretty much made it their entire act.
    • Kermit does pretty well too. One example, while acting as emcee introding an act:

Kermit: Ladies and gentlemen, it is time once again for a return engagement of the incomparable Marvin Suggs. I say "incomparable" because I can't imagine anyone to compare him to.

  • Jed Bartlet has a lot of this going on in The West Wing. His response to learning that his Vice President is a recovering alcoholic: "Is there anyone around here who's not?" Being President of the United States means that people let you get away with it a bit more.
    • Its almost impossibly for Bartlet to not throw out a deadpan snark at the very least once an episode. Plus, he can often turn them into CMoAs. His take on the logic of homophobia as per the Bible's teachings, anyone?
    • This is actually very common form of humor in The West Wing, expect it at least once an episode, and not just from Bartlett but from his staff as well. CJ once gave such a deadpan response that she offended Mandy who took her seriously.
  • Shawn Spencer in Psych is so deadpan in his snark, he almost comes out the other end to earnestness. In fact his Deadpan Snark is so intensely deadpan that at times you wonder if he actually means what he says, no matter how ridiculous it is. He can even use it on his dad.
  • DCS Foyle from Foyle's War.
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, Derek Reese and Cameron trade off on this role. In the latter's case, both the deadpanning and the snark are probably entirely involuntary, as sarcasm is entirely lost on her.

Morris: Is this your car?
Cameron: No, it belongs to the guy I killed and stuffed in the trunk.
Morris: ... (turns to John) Your sister is dark, man.

  • The titular character of Eli Stone. He's even shown to be a developing snarker as a kid in flashbacks.
  • Everyone on WKRP in Cincinnati was this at one point or another -- even Les:

Jennifer: Well, Les? Don't you have a "line" for me?
Les: "Hi. I'm fabulously wealthy."

  • Agent Leroy Jethro Gibbs, NCIS. Also, Tony.
  • Illya Kuryakin in several episodes of the 60s spy series The Man from U.N.C.L.E.. Usually when in the hands of THRUSH or another villain:

(Solo is deep undercover in a THRUSH laboratory, while Kuryakin has been captured by THRUSH mooks and is in a holding cell)
Napoleon Solo: (on his communicator) Open Channel D. Control, this is Sheep's Clothing. Come in, Control. Open Channel D. (sotto voce) Jammed. How about Channel F? Is there anything new on Channel F?
Illya Kuryakin: Not much. What's new with you?
Napoleon Solo: Illya, is that you? What are you doing on Channel F?
Illya Kuryakin: Don't be presumptuous. You called me.
Napoleon Solo: Where are you?
Illya Kuryakin: I'm tied up right now.
Napoleon Solo: I get the feeling you're not telling me everything.
Illya Kuryakin: Well, Miss Francis and I were detained by the THRUSH welcome wagon.
Napoleon Solo: Ah, you've been captured.

Illya Kuryakin: It's amazing how you grasp the picture with such unerring clarity.
—"The Sort of Do-It-Yourself Dreadful Affair" (third season)
  • In I Love Lucy, Fred Mertz is a blatant deadpan snarker, usually asking a serious question through which Lucy or Ethel become the butt of the joke.
  • The ever-popular sitcom Hogan's Heroes gives almost every single character the role of deadpan snarker, such as responding to the kommandant's pledge of support with "we might be able to pull through anyway" or playing on the stereotypes of each prisoner's nationalities. When not acting as a (presumably) ignorant sarcastic comedian in front of the German officers, Colonel Hogan also makes frequent comments at the others' expense in his usual business tone of speaking.
  • The Andy Griffith Show's Howard Sprague became the subject of one of the episodes for his talent on delivering a punchline in the truest fashion of the deadpan snarker. Because of this, the other characters see fit to recommend his appearance on a TV show. When he uses their names to improve his performance, he gets in trouble because they become insulted by them rather than recognizing them as jokes.
  • Michael Westen's voiceovers in Burn Notice often come into this, as does Sam Axe.
    • The captions describing certain people are usually straightforward, but occasionally they get snarky.

(When Michael are meeting a potential client)
Sam: So Veronica said you wanted to talk.
Client: Yeah dude. I've got a serious problem.

    • And:

Fiona: ...and I'm not one of your damn clients.

    • Considering Sam is played by Bruce Campbell, this makes sense.
    • Michael himself indulges in this as well:

Michael: (after being haded a picture of a woman someone wants killed for the inheritance) She looks dangerous.

  • A few of the characters on Freaks and Geeks display this quality, but Ken Miller in particular would have to be on a shortlist of characters who embody this trope.
  • Frazer on Neighbours.
  • Most every character on Mystery Science Theater 3000 was capable of this, with Crow T. Robot perhaps being the champ.
    • Interestingly. The hosts had more of one part of the trope name than the other: Joel was more of a deadpan while Mike was more of a snark. The robots were mostly neutral, though Tom Servo was more polite and Crow was more direct with their insults.
  • Carl Sagan, sometimes.
"We're used to the idea of radio signals from intelligent life, or at least semi-intelligent life; we have radio and television stations."
—from his Heaven and Hell documentary
  • Zoltan the stuffed wolf in Young Dracula.
  • Dorothy from The Golden Girls, who would mostly make sarcastic replies whenever Rose made an idiotic comment.

Rose: Ooh, but I did learn that Baked Alaska can actually be cooked locally!
Dorothy: Rose, I have an even bigger scoop for you. Mars Bars are made right here on Earth.

    • Maude,. In general, Bea Arthur might qualify as the Queen of Deadpan Delivery.
    • While Dorothy is the uncontested master of this trope in The Golden Girls, Sophia runs a close second. Blanche will occasionally say something sarcastic in response to Rose's stupidity but usually just responds tiredly. On the very, very, very rare occasions when Rose is in a bad mood she proves to be quite adept.

Dorothy: [seeing Rose carrying buckets out of her bedroom] Oh hi, Rose. The ceiling in your room leaking, too?
Rose: No, Dorothy, I just finished milking the cow I keep in my closet. Gee, with only three hours sleep, I can be as bitchy as you.

  • The titular character from Raven could be described as one.
  • The various hosts of E! network's Talk Soup (Greg Kinnear, John Henson, Aisha Tyler, etc.) were all about this trope.
  • Cal Lightman on Lie to Me, though the rest of the Lightman Group have their fair share of snark.
  • Battlestar Galactica has quite a few including Brother John Cavil and Dr. Cottle with Roslin, Tigh and Bill Adama sometimes getting in on it but Galactica's reigning king of sarcasm has to be Gaius Baltar.
    • You'll forgive me ma'am if I don't wish to be executed based solely on your "gut feeling."
    • As the entire fleet knows, this is the man who tried to stab me through the neck and you MISSED! Butterfingers!
    • Well that sounds lovely. Maybe one day if you're very, very good God will reward you with a lovely little walking toaster of your very own.
      • Also Gaeta, especially after he loses his leg in Season 4.
  • Wiseguy. Vinnie Terranova's OCB handler Frank McPike.

"You McPike?"
"Most of my life. In 3rd grade I was Batman, but that seems to have passed."

  • Several characters on Lost tend toward sarcasm, but Juliet and especially Miles are probably the most deadpan about it.
    • The season one finale, "Exodus":

Hurley: (as they find the Black Rock) Dude. How does something like this... happen?
Rousseau: Are you on the same island as I am?

    • Ben's deadpan snark trumps all.

Locke: The Man from Tallahassee? What is that some kind of code?
Ben: No John, unfortunately we don't have a code for "there is a man in my closet holding a gun to my daughter's head." (cocks eyebrow) Although we obviously should...

    • In a later episode:

Jack: (aboard Ajira 316, disgusted at Ben's relaxed attitude) How can you read?
Ben: (without looking up from his book) My mother taught me.

  • Bob Newhart was one of these (as well as an Only Sane Man) on both The Bob Newhart Show and Newhart.
    • Mr. Carlin was also one on the earlier show.
  • Frasier Crane, on both Cheers and Frasier.
    • Lilith and Niles, as well.
    • And Martin. It runs in the family. And Roz, and Daphne, and Ronnie, and Gil...lets say everyone on Frasier has to be this or develop the skills as fast as they can if they want to even hope to match wits with the off-the-charts snark talent of the Crane brothers.
    • Speaking of which, Frasier and Niles engage in impromptu snark-offs in which they try to top each other's devastating wit all the time. Frasier and Lilith do the same thing, less frequently, but far more unpleasantly.
  • Lorelai and Rory on the Gilmore Girls and every other character too.
  • Tenaya 7 of Power Rangers RPM is very reminiscent of Shego.
  • Conan O'Brien, former-Late Night and Tonight Show host, embodies this trope in regards to talk shows. He'll generally spend the entire show mocking audience reactions, expressing disbelief at the various jokes and bits (usually as he's performing them, no less), and generally ragging on guests' stories. And his remote bits, where he takes the snarking to a third location, usually to make an affectionate mockery of a place or activity. One could make the case that you need to be a deadpan snarker in the first place to be a successful comedy talk show host, but Conan's take on the format has been to rib it from every angle.
    • The snarkiest Conan has gotten is definitely when he does a remote with Jordan Schlansky, one of his producers. Jordan's pompous tastes and unfazable demeanor provide Conan with endless amount of snark.
  • On How I Met Your Mother we have Barney as the Deadpan Snarker... and Lily... and Ted... and Marshall... and Robin... and Tony (Stella's fiancee).
    • Particularly notable in that they all actively try to be snarky, instead of having the mysterious talent for blase pitch-perfect snark that most sitcom characters have.
    • Future!Ted tends to be very snarky about his and his friends' immature or bizarre past behavior, most strongly in "Dowisetrepla".
  • Jaye on Wonderfalls definitely fits this one. Mahandra sometimes too. In fact dead pan snark is a staple for Brian Fuller: George and Rube on Dead Like Me and Emerson Cod on Pushing Daisies fit this one as well.
  • Jon Stewart on The Daily Show.
    • Most of his correspondents, past and present, also qualify (Larry Wilmore and John Oliver being the most obvious).
  • Most of the characters on Criminal Minds make use of this type of humor, although they occasionally can't keep a straight face. Aaron Hotchner is famous for it. David Rossi and Emily Prentiss are also both very good at this, particularly when they're working together.
  • Lionel Hardcastle in the BBC show As Time Goes By' falls under this category.

Alistair: Can we have a locker room talk?
Lionel: I don't have a locker room, but you're perfectly free to talk.

  • The Team A captains on Shooting Stars (Mark Lamarr, and later Will Self).
  • The titular My Family. Yes, every single member, possibly except Nick.
  • Dr. Freeman (Jane Lynch) on Two and A Half Men.
    • Also from the main cast: Charlie, Evelyn, and Bertha. Alan and Jake each get their share of snarks as well.
  • Most of the characters on Allo Allo, especially René. Helga's deadpan snarking also doesn't get enough credit.
  • Det. Fish on Barney Miller. Later, Dietrich also fulfilled this role.
  • Nathan from sci-fi drama Misfits, whose deadpan snarking seems to be almost a physical compulsion. He seemingly cannot prevent himself from blurting out whatever ridiculous thing comes into his head, even - and perhaps especially - when it's about to get him into massive amounts of trouble.
  • James Lester of Primeval, although they made him just a little more compassionate in Series 3. Just.

"This'll be difficult to explain to the next of kin... Good news -- he's not technically dead. Bad news -- he's turned into a mushroom."

    • Captain Becker has his moments as well:

(A Diictodon is chirping for some reason)
Connor: What are you trying to say?
Becker: Oh great, he's Doctor Dolittle!

  • Jack Davenport's character Michael Colefield in the UK miniseries Ultraviolet.
  • Jeff Winger, the protagonist on Community.
    • Britta Perry, as well. Perhaps even more so.
    • And Abed when he goes into "sarcasm mode".
  • The eponymous main character of MTV's My Life as Liz.
  • Dr Eleanor O'Hara from Showtime's Nurse Jackie, with an added measure of The Mean Brit in there to boot.

Dr O'Hara: I once cut a dead bunny in half to see what it looked like inside. That's why I'm a doctor.

Suspect: How am I supposed to know who you are? You're bangin' on my doors, "CBI! CBI!" Like that's supposed to mean somethin'?
Cho: Yeah, we do need better brand awareness.

    • This is another doozy:

Suspect: Don't you know who I am? With one phonecall, I could end your career.
Cho: That's impressive. The best I can get with one call is a pizza.

    • He's the "Deadpan" part, but Lisbon is definitely the snarkiest one.

Therapist: He (Jane) has good mental health.
Lisbon: Now I wanna see your license to practice.

    • And:

Minelli: What were you thinking? Leaving this man alone at an event like that?
Lisbon: No excuses, I mistakenly treated him like a responsible adult.

  • On The X-Files, both Mulder and Scully can be this; Scully usually makes snarky remarks at the wacky ideas Mulder suggests, while Mulder snarks at everything.

Scully: "Mulder, toads just fell from the sky!"
Mulder: "I guess their parachutes didn't open."

  • Thelma Harper (aka "Mama") from Mamas Family.
  • The 1998 Merlin series is full of these, including the title character, as well as Frik, Ambrosia, and Mordred.
  • The panellists on The Gruen Transfer are often snarky. Especially during segments like "Endorse Me". Then again, considering the show is from Australia, snark is to be expected, given our national sense of humour.
  • Guerrero from Human Target:

Guerrero: You and I could have a problem. Mostly, you.

  • The Old Guys follows Tom and Roy as they snark their way through retirement.
  • Ward and June Cleaver were both very much this.
  • Bernard from Yes (Prime) Minister has a good knack for this (although, they're often followed by an apologetic gesture because he is talking to his superiors). Jim Hacker and Sir Humphrey also tend to throw them in.
  • Kate Beckett from Castle is a master at this, usually directed at Castle (who also occasionally has his moments of snark).
  • Every one of the main cast members of Sea Patrol can be this but Buffer and RO stand out.
  • Martin Freeman seems to specialise in this type of character. Like Tim Canterbury from the original version of The Office and his version of John Watson from Sherlock. His interpretation of Bilbo Baggins in Peter Jackson's movie version of The Hobbit is eagerly awaited by many.
  • Everyone in Charmed has shades of this, though Piper is by far the most prominent example. Everything out of her mouth is a snark, despite the fact that in the early seasons, she was portrayed as the quiet one. Piper's actress Holly Marie Combs has said she found Piper tiring to play because of her snarkiness.
  • Most of the characters in Leverage, but especially Nate Ford, who is a phenomenal leader and strategist, partially due to his fantastic ability to see flaws in plans (and then fix those flaws on the fly).

Nate: Yeah okay, yeah. Let's go rob Nicky Moscone. A guy who kills people, and lives in our city. Yeah, let's do that.

  • Mr. Harman from Are You Being Served was a Deadpan Snarker, usually when the other characters started speaking down to him for being of a lower-class.
  • Glee has a few, like Artie, Kurt (especially when taking aim at Rachel), Lauren and Sue Sylvester.

Kurt: You smell homeless, Brett. Homeless.

    • Season 2 and 3 Santana speaks in nothing but snarks, all with that same look on her face.
  • Ricky from Noah's Arc, which is the big contributing factor to his Jerkass characteristics.
  • Kenny from Press Gang.
  • There's a few on Smallville with Chloe, Lois, Oliver, and Clark having their moments, but the reigning kings of sarcasm would have to be LuthorCorp's CEO's: Lex and Lionel Luthor, and Tess Mercer. Something about the job seems to induce snark.
    • Brainiac also has a lot of moments like this, establishing that yes, even a Complete Monster can double as one. His best moment probably comes when (after having lost most of his powers following a battle with Clark) he is confronted by a very angry Bizarro (who could rip him in half at this point]]. Being played by James Marsters helps.

Bizarro: If you're lying to me, I'll finish what Kent started.
Brainiac: Lying to you would be like lying to a mollusk. There's no point.

  • Simone, Vern's right-hand girl on Dark Oracle.
  • Most characters in Cybill had their snarky moments, but Maryann easily tops them all. Next in line would be Zoe, and to some lesser extents Ira and Cybill herself.
  • Samson the dwarf and manager of the carnival from Carnivale.

Varlyn Stroud: Don't you ever get tired of dealing with all them Big People?

Samson: Yeah. Like right now.

  • Captain Pellew of the Horatio Hornblower mini-series. He's so good at it that most times, Horatio takes ages to figure out when he's being sarcastic.

Pellew: Yes, England, boy. A big, damp, foggy island nor-nor-east of Ushant! Think you can find it?

  • Mike in The Monkees is the occasional snarker.
  • The titular character from the BBC's Sherlock lives and breathes snark, especially in the presence of the police.
    • In reference to an observation made by Anderson: "No, she was leaving an angry note in German. Of course she was writing Rachel!"
    • While Sherlock probably snarks more often, John Watson is definitely more deadpan about it - but then, he is played by Martin Freeman (see above).
      • After being effectively kidnapped and taken to a dark deserted warehouse for interrogation by Sherlock's "Arch Enemy" who is actually his brother, Mycroft)

Arch Enemy: He does love to be dramatic.
John: Well, thank God you're above all that.

    • And later discussing clever serial killers with Sherlock

Sherlock: I love the brilliant ones. They're always so desperate to get caught.
John: Why?
Sherlock: Appreciation. Applause. At long last, the spotlight. That's the frailty of genius, John. It needs an audience.
John: (who was asked to come along because Sherlock "thinks better out loud", merely raises his eyebrows and mutters) Yeah.

  • Susan Ivanova on Babylon 5, although every prominent character gets to snark once an episode or so. There's also the villainous Alfred Bester, who started out as a rather taciturn Smug Snake and began to get snarkier and snarkier as his characterization approached Magnificent Bastardry. By Season 4, about 90% of his dialogue is snark.
  • Pat Sajak, full stop. When he's not going for Self-Deprecation, he'll usually deadpan something, like jokingly asking a very loud contestant to "speak up", or saying something like "now this is going to be really tough" when a contestant's letters reveal the bonus puzzle entirely.
  • Danno from the reimagined Hawaii Five-O is a champion snarker.

McGarrett: Take the tie off. No one on a cruise ship wears a tie.
Danno: Oh yes they do. They do it all the time. So they can hang themselves when they get bored.

  • Ray and Debra on Everybody Loves Raymond are very snarky, but the king of this trope is Ray's father, Frank.
  • It's doubtful that there's a member of the Five on Sanctuary who doesn't qualify as a Deadpan Snarker, but Tesla is probably the pre-eminent one on grounds of sheer panache.
  • Tara, Pam, and Eric on True Blood. Also Lafayette. To be honest, everyone on the show gets in some snarking at one time or another.
  • Edward Elizabeth Hitler, when sober.

Richie: A helicopter! Shout for help!
Eddie: Is this "Help, help, I'm trapped on a ferris wheel!" or, "Help, help, I'm burning to death!"?

Bertie: This white mess jacket is brand new!
Jeeves: I assumed it had got into your wardrobe by mistake, sir, or else that it had been placed there by your enemies.
Bertie: I'll have you know, Jeeves, that I bought this in Cannes!
Jeeves: And wore it, sir?
Bertie: Every night at the Casino. Beautiful women used to try and catch my eye!
Jeeves: Presumably they thought you were a waiter, sir.

  • Shake It Up has Flynn Jones, a kid who sounds like he's too advanced to be adult.

Flynn: Am I the only mature one around here?

  • Home Improvement has Jill Taylor and Randy Taylor most prominently. Tim Taylor's sense of humor alternates between goofy and snarky depending on the situation, and Al Borland starts out as one but becomes less of one over time. Mark Taylor becomes one in the last few seasons, especially after Randy leaves in season eight.
  • Parks and Recreation
    • April

April: Can you Photoshop your life with better decisions, Jerry?

    • Ron.

Ron: Of all my coworkers [Andy] is one of a small number of whom I do not actively root against... ugh, there I go again gettin' all sappy.

    • Ben has his moments.

Ben: Wow. The sky is really beautiful.
Leslie (contemplatively): It's pollution from the Sweetums factory. It's gorgeous. But is it worth the asthma?
Ben (raises eyebrows incredulously): No.

  • Degrassi gives us a bunch in the form of Clare, Ellie, Paige, Liberty, Liberty's younger brother Danny, Johnny, Holly J., and Adam.
  • Roger Sterling of Mad Men. Many other characters get in their share of zingers (notably Don Draper and Joan Holloway/Harris), but only Sterling has had a book of his published in real life. Here's a sampler.
  • Lilly in Hannah Montana certainly has her moments, as does Miiey.
  • Alex Russo is an expert Deadpan Snarker, when not being the Bratty Teenage Daughter.
  • Victoria Coren, presenter of The BBC's Only Connect.
  • Harris Pemberton, the Weirdness Magnet protagonist of Seriously Weird, managed to piss off a god by snarking at him, and that's when everything went to hell. He then proceeded to snark at most of the weirdness he was exposed to.
  • Zedd and Cara in Legend of the Seeker are masters, especially since Cara almost never smiles. Denna, also being a Mord-sith, also gets this.
  • Lieutenant Boomer from the classic Battlestar Galactica tends to be one.
  • The Inspector Lynley Mysteries: This is essentially Barbara Havers' raison d'etre, which makes her an excellent match for her Gentleman Snarker of a partner.
  • Alice Kramden in The Honeymooners. Ed Norton has his moments, too.
  • On The Amazing Race Season 3, brothers Ken & Gerard were snarky towards practically everyone (especially Ian), but perhaps surprisingly they did so in a playful and non-vindictive way. Also from Season 3, Aaron & Arianne were a much more straightforward example in a very non-playful and vindictive way.
  • On The Borgias, Niccolo Machiavelli is portrayed as very much a deadpan snarker; for example, when he hears what the French want from Florence he says "So we're to pay for the privilege of being invaded."
    • Well, Machiavelli was actually this in real life.
  • Violet, the Dowager Countess of Grantham (played by Maggie Smith) in Downton Abbey. Nearly every line she says is a snarky one-liner.

Richard Carlisle: I am leaving in the morning. It is unlikely you will see me again.

Dowager Countess: Do you promise?

  • Most of the regulars in The Games, but John Clarke raised it to an absolute artform.

"Look, it's just a question of making the Americans feel.. slightly more at home."
"Mmm, we could issue our schoolchildren with semi-automatic weapons."

  • Marguerite can always be counted on for saying something snarky in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World. Roxton usually knows a clever response to whatever she says.
  • This often applied to George Mason on 24.

Tony: I need your password.
George: Hendrix.
Tony: Is that with an "x"?
George: How else would you spell it?

Margaret Meldrew: Going out somewhere?
Patrick Trench: Yes, just up to the hospital. To have a hermit crab surgically removed from my testicles.

Margaret: I beg your pardon?

Patrick: Well, I say hermit crab, but it wasn't demonstrating much in the way of hermitude when it popped into my shorts earlier on for lunch and fastened itself to my scrotum like a bulldog clip.

Margaret: Well how did this happen?

Patrick: Well I've only got myself to blame for that one I'm afraid. The old, old story; I remembered to apply sun cream... but I completely forgot to smear my groin with crab repellent. And inevitably I paid the price.

Margaret: It makes you wonder where things like that come from, doesn't it?

Patrick: Doesn't it, Mrs. Meldrew, doesn't it? Um, changing the subject altogether, how's Mr. Meldrew getting on with his collection of exotic marine wildlife? No escaped specimens to report, anything like that?