Tall, Dark and Snarky

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Not even a yawning puppy will make him smile. He'll just howl back, "SILENCE!"

A variation on the Insufferable Genius, this character is usually charismatic, incredibly good at what they do, and rather good-looking. Members of the same sex both admire and envy them, while those of the opposite fall all over them (often forming an Instant Fanclub), and the only thing that saves them from being a Mary Sue / Marty Stu is their overwhelming arrogance and constant annoyance at being surrounded by people they see as idiots. They'll often make snarky comments on the current situation which show that they know much more about what's going on than anyone else, and answer any questions with the preface, "Are you so stupid you can't see it?"

This doesn't necessarily make them evil, though. (If anything, it's understandable, given the mindless way people often act around them.) They're just not a character who plays well with others and are therefore at risk of becoming an Ineffectual Loner. Their snarkiness is usually brought low not with sarcasm, but a good old Insult Backfire.

Often paired or placed in contrast with an insufferably cheerful, outgoing, nice, and/or idealistic character, and may act as The Lancer. This character is usually responsible for teaching the Tall, Dark and Snarky about The Power of Friendship or The Power of Love, once he or she has enough skill to make the Tall, Dark and Snarky actually respect their opinion. However, this can backfire, with the Tall, Dark and Snarky feeling threatened by the character's newfound power and becoming The Rival instead or, worse, give the idealistic guy a pair of Jade-Colored Glasses to wear.

This archetype is also frequently used as a Mentor or older brother type, used as a foil for the protagonist's optimistic and foolish nature. See also Tall, Dark and Handsome for the straight vanilla versions.

Examples of Tall, Dark and Snarky include:

Anime and Manga

  • Yu Kanda from D.Grayman and Tyki, who, in fact, pretty much matches the title Tall, Dark and Snarky literally.
  • Uchiha Sasuke from Naruto, mainly in part one.
  • Sebastian from Black Butler, in spades. William T. Spears certainly counts as well.
    • Ciel, too. Well...dark and snarky, anyway.
  • Studio Ghibli's Whisper of the Heart has Tall, Dark, and Snarky Amasawa Seiji.
  • Hijikata in Gintama fits this trope nicely. Dark hair? Check. Popular with ladies? Check. Snarky? Check. Strict? So much so that his nickname is the demonic vice commander.
    • His subordinate Okita could also be part of this trope despite not having dark hair, as he is quite snarky (actually, his personality borders on terrible) and acts as a foil for Hijikata. He's also handsome enough that Gintoki once pointed out that, in comparison, Shinpachi was turtle poop.
    • According to Word of God, he's the token bishonen.
    • But it could be said that a lot of characters in this series could fit this trope, as they were tall and dark.
  • Kuroyanagi Ryou from Yakitate!! Japan.
  • Female example: Caren from Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch.
  • Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! and his Expy, Kaiser Ryo Marufuji, in Yu-Gi-Oh! GX. Edo Phoenix also comes off as this type in the dub: "Now whether you like me or not, there's one fact no one out there can dispute: I'm the best. I can't be beaten."
  • Eiri Yuki from Gravitation, despite his blond hair, is a perfect example of this. Not only is he exceedingly aloof on almost all occasions and attracts a lot of female attention (which is parodied in the OVA when he grabs the hand of a female fan at an autograph session and she blushes and actually skyrockets into the sky while he himself remains impassive), but he is romantically paired with Shuichi, who is as energetic and emotional as a Keet can get.
  • Sesshoumaru from Inuyasha is a particularly deadly example of this trope.
    • Helped along by the fact that he typically punctuates his snarks with incredibly devastating attacks.
  • Rukawa Kaede and Hisashi Mitsui from Slam Dunk.
  • Even more so than being Tsundere (which is arguable at best), Asuka of Neon Genesis Evangelion is the female embodiment of this trope. Well, she isn't tall (yet) or dark (she's a redhead), but boy is she snarky. Her usual costume is red and black (everyone else's is white and/or blue)...
    • No wonder Asuka has a major crush on a guy who does fit here: Misato's ex-boyfriend, Ryoji Kaji, who even manages to deal the snark when he's about to be shot to death.
    • Gendo Ikari is a Magnificent Bastard version of this.
  • Roger Smith from The Big O is better-behaved, but otherwise fits this trope perfectly. He may be too smooth to say how stupid people are being, but you can see it in his facial expressions.
  • Reito Kanzaki from My-HiME, to an extent. His inner Obsidian Lord persona is just as snarky and several times darker.
  • To some degree, Synchro from Corrector Yui. He has dark skin and acts somewhat less aloof than the standard, but otherwise fits pretty well.
  • Yuushi Oshitari and Eishirou Kite from The Prince of Tennis.
  • Fakir from Princess Tutu fits the description so well it almost seems like it was written about him, right down to the chipper main character teaching him The Power of Love.
  • Hayate from Prétear, though, half the time, he acts like this on purpose.
  • Rei Otohata in Super GALS!!
  • Another one with the wrong hair color and all the other traits: Keith Harcourt (Black Rose) from Ashita no Nadja. Also, Antionio Fabiani.
  • Hayato Jin from Getter Robo.
  • This is basically an Abh's hat in Crest of the Stars and its sequels. The guys mean business, and their snarkiness is well justified (for the most part), but God, are they arrogant...
  • Minus the "tall" part, Kotoko from Chobits qualifies (she's like a little, pigtailed Dr. House!).
  • Gundam has several of those:
  • Hiei from Yu Yu Hakusho is small, but he's definitely dark and snarky.
  • Kazuya Shibuya from Ghost Hunt. Mai believes that he's so incredibly full of himself that she starts calling him "Naru" (shorthand for "narcissist") after she first meets him.
  • Yamato Ishida from Digimon Adventure.
  • Doumeki Shizuka from ×××HOLiC...although he's only really particularly snarky to Watanuki.
  • Dr. Black Jack -- absurdly hypercompetent, dresses like Dracula most of the time, and has a misanthropic streak the size of Tokyo.
  • George from Paradise Kiss is a Tall, Dark and Snarky dandy with an outstanding talent as a fashion designer. He's also a Bishonen and knows it.
  • ...Tall, Light, and Snarky?
  • Kyoya-senpai from Ouran High School Host Club. Dark hair, glasses, Tamaki as his cheerful foil, and intense snark? Not to mention the other host club members call him the 'shadow king'...
  • Ikuto from Shugo Chara. Amplified by him being five years older than the rest of the cast, and the Power of Love bit with Amu isn't even subtle—giant, heart shaped "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight attacks anybody?
  • Mui in The Bride of the Water God.
  • Tsume of Wolf's Rain.
  • Kai Hiwatari in Beyblade.
  • Rob Lucci is an explicitly villainous version, although everyone around him does tend to act like morons.
  • Mamoru Takamura from Hajime no Ippo. Seriously!
  • Uryu Ishida (though he defrosts a bit when he joins the True Companions), Byakuya Kuchiki, Sousuke Aizen, Ulquiorra Schiffer, and Shukuro Tsukishima of Bleach.
  • Roderich/Austria from Axis Powers Hetalia is more of a Sugar and Ice Guy, but he approaches this when he's at his snarkiest.
    • Sadiq/Turkey can fit in as well, arguably.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist's Roy Mustang has his moments.
  • Izaya Orihara from Durarara!! is a bizarre cross between this and Magnificent Bastard. Clad all in black, oh-so appealing to the fangirls...and an arrogant jerk to boot.
  • Rare main character example: Nozomu "Mr. Despair" Itoshiki of Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei.
  • Villain Protagonist Alucard, Badass Bookworm Walter Dornez, and Jerk with a Heart of Gold Pip Bernadotte of Hellsing. Even Lady of War Integra Hellsing has her moments.
  • The Dragon and Creepy Monotone user Legato Bluesummers from Trigun.
  • Naoki Shinjyo in Future GPX Cyber Formula, although he does soften up in the later OVAs.
  • Edmond Dantes/Gankutsuou of Gankutsuou.
  • Barnaby Brooks Jr. from Tiger and Bunny graduates at the top of his class before entering the public eye with a bang, rises through the ranks of superheroes in a very short period of time, attracts fans and admirers wherever he goes...and is (in private) kind of a standoffish jerk. He eventually gets better, though.
  • Eyeshield 21: Agon Kongo.
  • Code Geass' C.C. is tall, green-haired, and snarky.
  • Ban Mido from GetBackers is quite an embodiment of the trope. While not particularly tall, he has dark hair, is a "combat expert" very well-read on a number of obscure subjects, and is the most arrogant, foul-mouthed member of the main cast. And a Type-A tsundere, to boot.
  • Guts from Berserk isn't just handsome, he has quite a bit of snark in him as well.
  • Shion Izumi from Gantz. The most brutal fighter on the team and an incurable smartass,as well.
  • Ranma ½: in the manga, Ranma Saotome. What makes this a more unique example than others is that although he's an Insufferable Genius and a Deadpan Snarker, he's also one of the most optimistic people in the cast. So much so that when he tries to learn an attack based on depression, he fails because he's just too much of a happy person. In essence, he fulfills both the optimistic Hero role and the sarcastic, untrusting Lancer role.

Shampoo: This present for Ranma!
Ranma: *Looks at the oversized bell she's giving him* Just what I wanted. A huge metal acorn.

Comic Books

Neron: You'll rue the day you crossed me!
Shade: If I had a "rue" for every time someone told me that, I'd own Paris.

Films — Animated

Films — Live Action

  • Septimus from Stardust. He's tall, dark, a skilled assassin, and thinks he is surrounded by idiots.
  • This trope applies to nearly every character ever played by Alan Rickman, villainous or heroic, unless he's trying very hard to play against type. This may account for much of the aforementioned Draco in Leather Pants directed at Snape.
  • James Bond, and most of the Bond girls, must notably |Xenia Onatopp, since Bond keeps screwing her over.
  • Loki in the 2011 Thor film is very much this in the beginning. This is to be expected, though, since he is The Trickster: snark comes with the territory.
    • Likewise, Tony Stark in the film version of Iron Man.
  • Jeff Goldblum. That is all.


  • Tons of examples of this in the plays of Shakespeare. Examples include Berowne in Love's Labour's Lost, Benedick in Much Ado, Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet, and others.
  • Pictured above, Severus Snape in Harry Potter is very snarky, dark, and intelligent. He subverts the trope by being described as ugly and extremely petty (despite Draco in Leather Pants depictions in fan works and his Hollywood Homely movie appearance).
    • And short.
      • It should be noted that only in the movies is Snape tall. It's a side effect of being played by 6'1" Alan Rickman. (Though Snape may not actually be "short"; the book only says he's shorter than Sirius Black, who could just be exceptionally tall.)
  • Vetinari has moments of extreme snarkiness, and he's described as tall and dark. Not to mention awesome.
  • William Marsh starts out mostly Tall, Dark and Handsome, but being paired with Lewis causes him to slide ever further into this trope as the book progresses.
  • This trope is one of the defining characteristics of House Lannister in A Song of Ice and Fire, in spite of their golden hair; Jaime and Tywin are solid examples, with Cersei being a female variant. There is also Theon Greyjoy who is described in his first appearance as being "a lean, dark youth of nineteen who found everything amusing." Petyr is very short, but also quite handsome, thoroughly immoral, and has a practiced wit.
  • Fitzwilliam Darcy from Pride and Prejudice, the Trope Codifier.
  • Rhett from Gone with the Wind is another example.
  • Vidia from the Disney Fairies series is a female example. The fastest of the Fast Flying fairies, her condescending attitude toward everyone else drives them away, which is usually just the way she likes it.
  • Nick Ryves from The Demon's Lexicon is a fairly extreme example.
  • Crowley from Good Omens.
  • Flashman is an interesting subversion: actually Tall, Dark and Snarky as all hell, but appears to the world as a good-natured heroic naif.
  • To everyone else's confusion, Prof. Colette from The Princess 99 is in love with the embodiment of this trope, Prof. Marius.
  • Fang from Maximum Ride.
  • Gerald Tarrant from the Coldfire Trilogy.
  • Harry Dresden is this trope incarnate.
  • Childermass from Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell.
  • Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.
  • Will Herondale from Infernal Devices.
  • Jeeves is quieter and less outwardly arrogant than most examples of this trope, but he's The Ace and a Servile Snarker to boot. Bertie and his Upper Class Twit friends worship the ground he walks on. In the TV series, he's even more overtly snarky.

Live-Action TV


Professional Wrestling

Video Games

  • Sand from Neverwinter Nights 2 not only (mostly) fits this trope, but improves on it by being an elf.
    • Gannayev-of-Dreams from the expansion would also (mostly) fit, and he improves on it by being the only pretty hagspawn in the entire game. Snarking with/at him is the best way to gain influence.
  • Jade Curtiss from Tales of the Abyss is the king of Snarking; friends, enemies, and random people on the street are not above his Whips of Wit!
  • Advocat from Grim Grimoire, a devil of a teacher who charms the female students and makes snide comments at almost every opportunity. And yes, he's one of the good guys.
    • It should be noted that while he tried many times to charm Amoretta, he failed every time. Since she's an Artificial Human, it's not all that surprising...
  • Shinon from Fire Emblem 9 and its sequel.
    • Soren is rather short, but otherwise plays this trope perfectly. Despite his grating nature, he is nonetheless highly valued by his companions due to his brilliant mind.
  • Solid Snake in Metal Gear Solid qualifies, but his wilder traits get softened by the growth of a self-sacrificing, spiritual side as the series goes on.
  • Reaver from Fable II. Seemingly meant as a subversion/deconstruction, as he's almost as villainous as the Big Bad and a good deal more annoying.
  • Atton Rand from Knights of the Old Republic, arguably.
  • Jin Kisaragi of BlazBlue doesn't really fulfill the "Dark" part of this trope, but he is tall, quite handsome, has gaggles of fangirls both in real life and in-game, and is extremely snarky towards almost everyone he meets. His subordinate, Noel Vermillion, acts as something of a Foil to him, as she is unfailingly polite and timid towards almost everyone whom she encounters.
  • Valkyria Chronicles II's Zeri can be counted as this, though he mainly finds Avan to be the biggest annoyance. Also, Pete.
  • Braig in Kingdom Hearts: Birth By Sleep, before he gets his scars from Terra.
  • Garret, from Thief. Kind of tall, dark for sure, and all kinds of snarky. No matter who he's dealing with, he has a witty line to deliver.
  • Magus of Chrono Trigger.
  • Frantz of Rusty Hearts.
  • Jorge Garcia from Backyard Sports.
  • Cloud Strife of Final Fantasy VII affects a swaggery, mercantile version of this kind of personality because he hates his real one, and throughout the game minor characters tend to fall for it but major characters see straight through him. Inside, he's shy, introverted, kind-hearted and has a staggering amount of barely repressed self-loathing.

Visual Novels


  • Girl Genius's Ardsley Wooster is increasingly this trope, what with being tall, dark, British, the Servile Snarker as Gil's manservant, and spy for Her Undying Majesty's British government, prone to Badass stunts like foiling Dolokov's plan to sway the Jaegergenerals and departing with a Bond One-Liner. Out the window of an airship.
  • Esther de Groot from Scary Go Round.
  • [...]/Zombie from Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name counts. He's one of the tallest of the cast, a gentle but still pronounced snarker, and not too bad-looking for a green-skinned reanimated corpse. Especially in his living form.

Web Originals

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

Western Animation

  • Batman Beyond has Terry McGinnis. His mentor is Bruce Wayne, after all.
  • Craig Tucker from South Park.
  • Trent Lane and Thomas "Tom" Sloane from Daria.
    • Trent's sister Jane is a female example.
  • Gwen from Total Drama Island.
  • Female example: Shego from Kim Possible. If one were to describe her character in three words (well, technically four), these would be them.
  • Mozenrath from Aladdin is a pure evil take on this.
  • Prowl from Transformers Animated is not quite so snarky as other examples, but fills the quota nonetheless.
  • Another female example is Mai from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Tall? Can look at her also Tall, Dark and Snarky boyfriend in the eye. Dark? Has beautiful shiny black hair and more often than not wears dark-colored dresses. Snarky? "We lost."