|Quotes • Headscratchers • Playing With • Useful Notes • Analysis • Image Links • Haiku • Laconic|
Snarky loser hero meets snarky haughty girl. They either fall in love, or they snark. Then they do the other.
This is essentially a satire of the standard Magical Girlfriend, which describes a beautiful, classy, good-mannered, loyal girl — the logical result being she should actually be somewhat critical of her loser boyfriend. She makes no attempt to ignore the fact that he is the Loser Guy, and frequently calls him on it, criticizes him, and rarely if ever fawns over him like some Fan Girl. She expects better from him and pushes him to improve, while still expecting to be taken care of. However, the guy usually takes it in stride, mocks her in return, or just says, well...
A series usually says "Aw, Look -- They Really Do Love Each Other" to avoid portraying her as a total ball buster. Often appears in Love Comedies, depending on how satirical the story is.
The trope name comes from the old The Legend of Zelda cartoon, where Link would quite often retort to Zelda's nagging with those words. Although more people probably identify this as one of Han's more memorable lines towards Princess Leia, which predates the Zelda cartoon.
Anime and Manga
- Lum from Urusei Yatsura is the Trope Codifier for this character type in anime and manga. She's very affectionate to her 'Darling', but doesn't hesitate to zap him with lightning whenever he hits on another girl, which happens a lot.
- Princess/Queen Mashiro Blan de Windbloom from Mai-Otome starts as this character type, but matures and reforms over the course of the series. Partially gender flipped, since the "loser guy" in her case is The Heroine, Arika Yumemiya.
- Ermengarde's relationship with Dickon in Soukou no Strain.
- Asuka Langley Soryuu of Neon Genesis Evangelion — at least, she would have been if the series...hadn't gone the way it did. She still kind of is in many of the spinoff alternate universe manga, although her portrayal in those is actually more like a Tsundere.
- Narusegawa Naru in Love Hina to her on-off boyfriend Urashima Keitaro.
- Shinku in Rozen Maiden, partly because she believes Jun is her servant, partly because she's The Ojou and Jun is a Hikikomori.
- Male example: Keigo Atobe from The Prince of Tennis.
- Ai Amano of Video Girl Ai twists this trope in that she wasn't supposed to be the girlfriend, but fell for the lovable loser she was trying to improve.
- Anna Kyouyama from Shaman King.
- The Goddess Pandora, the "heroine" of the manga Because I'M the Goddess!, has that kind of attitude in her dealings with Aoi.
- Nagi and Princess Arika in Mahou Sensei Negima, with some serious slaps thrown in for his uppitiness. He was kind of asking for them, though.
- Poor Asuka Tenjoin of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has to be like this if she wants to get respect from her universe of admirers and people trying to pimp her out as an Idol Singer.
- William and Miyako in Private Prince Gender Flip this, as he is the prince and she's the commoner with low patience.
- Louie and Melissa in Rune Soldier Louie, as Melissa constantly criticizes Louie and tries to turn him into a 'champion'.
- Ryou Shirogane and Princess Amue have this going on in GoLion at times. He sometimes tells her that he doesn't have time to look after princesses (yet he doesn't exactly abandon her when she needs him...) and she goes a bit Tsundere at him in response (yet she doesn't ditch him and their shared cause either...).
- Dimitri and Anya in Anastasia.
- Han Solo's initial relationship with Princess Leia in Star Wars.
- Lone Star and Princess Vespa in the Star Wars parody Spaceballs.
- Ham Salad actually says 'Well excuse me!' to Princess Anne-Droid in the '70s Star Wars parody Hardware Wars.
- Come to think of it, this seems to be a running gag in Star Wars...
- In Princess Diaries 2, Mia and Nicholas constantly bitch at each other. It like they just WANT to hate each other.
- For a while after Star Wars Harrison Ford was practically typecast for this kind of storyline. The number of movies with the premise "Harrison Ford is forced together with haughty woman, they eventually fall in love" is considerable.
- Princess Eilonwy in the Disney animated version of The Black Cauldron, who patronizes Taran quite a bit when she learns that he's not a warrior or a lord, but an Assistant Pig Keeper. And when Taran pats himself on the back for enabling their castle escape, she takes him down a few notches by reminding him not only that her knowledge of the dungeon passageways allowed him to break out of there, but that Taran's magic sword did most of the work. She initially found him "fascinating" for being an Assistant Pig Keeper in the original Chronicles of Prydain because she had never met an Assistant Pig Keeper before. In fact, she held a persistently casual attitude towards most everything. Though there was an element of the stated trope present, she didn't judge him less for his station. Except when she is Brainwashed and Crazy
- Slightly weirdly used in Prince of Persia the Sands of Time with Dastan and Tamina since Dastan (as the adopted son of the King of Persia) should be higher ranked than Tamina (as princess of a smallish city state). Sure Dastan was born an urchin but after spending most of his life as a prince the interaction comes across as kind of odd. He defers to her (when he's not selling her to bandits) because he's a gentleman, and she's rather overbearing.
- Considering the fact that he is the main reason that Persia was able to conquer her small city-state, this shouldn't be too much of a surprise.
- Also, the overbearing attitude was more or less an act because she nearly escapes (and kills) Dastan because of it.
- Priscilla in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Narrative Poem "The Courtship of Miles Standish." Her snarky, "Why don't you speak for yourself, John?" has even achieved meme status.
- In David Eddings' Belgariad, this is Garion and Ce'Nedra's relationship condensed down to four words. Unsurprisingly, she's pretty pissed when she finds out that he isn't just a farm boy, but actually the long-lost heir to the Rivan Throne and hereditary Overlord of the West... in other words, actually more royal than she is. Worse, she also finds out that she's due to marry him... and eing out ranked by her future husband was worse then having an arranged future husband... Belgarion has the foresight to find a way to make them equal to preserve his own sanity after the marriage.
- Josua and Vorzheva's relationship looks like this for most of the first and second books.
- Aravis to Shasta in CS Lewis's The Horse and his Boy. The Lemony Narrator even jokes about this at the end, when he tells the readers that they continued to affectionately bicker and eventually decided to get married so they could continue to do so more conveniently.
- This defines their relationship from the very begining. Their first words to each other: "Why, you're only a girl." "And you're only a boy. A rude, common litte boy. A slave probably who's stolen his master's horse!"
- The relationship between Taran and Eilonwy in The Chronicles of Prydain, although the series is peppered liberally with Aw, Look — They Really Do Love Each Other moments, mitigating this somewhat.
- Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy of Pride and Prejudice:
Elizabeth: My behavior to you was at least always bordering on the uncivil, and I never spoke to you without rather wishing to give you pain than not. Now, be sincere; did you admire me for my impertinence?
- The titular heroine of Daisy Miller:
Winterbourne: I wish you would flirt with me, and me only.
- Christine of The Phantom of the Opera (the original novel by Gaston Leroux, at least) never lets Raoul push her around and has no problem telling him to mind his own business.
- Marguerite Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel — of course, her husband is actually a lot smarter and more competent than she knows...
- Carline in The Riftwar Cycle acts like this towards Pug, then later in the series, towards Laurie.
- Rowena of Ivanhoe, which the Narrator blames on being raised as a Spoiled Brat.
- In the Discworld novel Mort, the titular character has this sort of relationship with Ysabel, Death's adopted daughter.
- In Stardust Tristran and Yvaine start off like this. This is not exactly surprising given why she's stuck with him.
- Faile tries to do this to Perrin in The Wheel of Time.
- Good lord, Kitai of the Codex Alera is made of this trope. She wanted to bond with a horse, and continues to remind Tavi at relatively regular intervals. She doesn't just look down at him for personal reasons, but also detests his species. She snarks it up with some of the best and, yes, they do eventually fall in love.
- Super extra bonus points for being described as insanely, exotically beautiful, yet Tavi first mistook her for a boy. She can hold that over his head for a very long time.
- She gets a Quip to Black to end out the series that doubles as this trope.
- Mild inversion: Tavi's actually royalty, Kitai's just the daughter of the head of one tribe, and her people's diplomatic (appointed by Tavi).
- She's so good at this that she manages to hide her pregnancy from Tavi by just playing this trope straight Up to Eleven.
- Precious Stone is this to James Bond at the start of the Young Bond novel Hurricane Gold.
Live Action TV
- In the 2006 BBC Robin Hood series Robin notes that everything Marian says to him sounds like a criticism.
- On the same show, Allan-a-Dale's priceless reaction to Kate snapping: "My NAME is KATE!" by way of an introduction. His expression alone is the embodiment of this trope.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Both of Xander Harris' girlfriends, Cordelia and Anya, had a strong tendency in this direction.
- By the time he's going with Anya, he's actually fairly competent, and so the trope is sometimes lampshaded in dialogue.
- Star Trek example: Let's not forget the Daughter of the Fifth House, Holder of the Sacred Chalice of Rixx, Heir to the Holy Rings of Betazed! For non-Trekkies, that's Lwaxana Troi, Deanna's mom. Marched around the Enterprise and Deep Space Nine like she owned the place, and looked awesome doing it. At least once per appearance, would say her full title when letting some unfortunate schmo know who they were dealing with, in a way that would evoke the local equivalent of "Well, excuuuuse me, Princess!" if not for the diplomatic incident it would cause. And she wasn't shy about poking around in people's minds. She wanted to be Picard's Love Interest, but he wasn't interested... though she claims otherwise, and she would know.
- Made all the more hilarious that Lwaxana was played by Majel Barrett Roddenberry, and therefore almost quite literally owned the place (the idea, anyway).
- Later appearances had her blow through the titles like she was sick of saying it, generally when she honestly expected people to not be impressed. Her introduction to a certain constable springs to mind...
- Kaitama the First Monarch in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "Precious Cargo". She starts off as a kidnapping victim Girl in a Box. When she is removed by Trip Tucker, she spends the episode being this to him while they escape from the kidnappers, leading to the inevitable squabbling, torn clothing, and passionate clinching.
- Donna and Eric from That 70s Show.
- Along with Belligerent Sexual Tension, Mal and Inara in Firefly play this straight and invert it, sometimes simultaneously.
- Emma the "cause girl" from Degrassi the Next Generation is even sarcastically called a princess at one point.
- Lady Morgana from Merlin, at least in the first series. Also Lady Vivian, but without the falling in love part.
- Penny from The Big Bang Theory.
- Roxane of Cyrano De Bergerac is an intellectual who needs a guy with eloquence and creative genius, and if you can't deliver, she'll show you the door.
- Older Than Steam: Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing.
- Adell and Rozalin from Disgaea 2.
- The Player Character (if male) and Bastila Shan in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic.
- If the player character is female, she can do this to the hunky pilot Carth.
- Bioware seems to like this: If female you can do this to Anomen in Baldur's Gate 2 as well.
- And with Silk Fox in Jade Empire.
- If male, a bit of this is present with Ashley Williams in Mass Effect, though she usually follows up her snarks with an overly formal "Sir!".
- A lot of the back-and-forth banter between Shepard and Liara in Lair of the Shadow Broker looks like this.
- The Smuggler player character and Risha in Star Wars: The Old Republic, in homage to the source material.
- If the player character is female, she can do this to the hunky pilot Carth.
- The Neverwinter Nights mod The Bastard of Kosigan has the player's relationship with Alex look something like this.
- Clarine of Reglay in Fire Emblem: Sealed Sword, especially in regards to Rutger the myrmidon and Lance the cavalier. She eventually warms up to them and to the female Archer Dorothy, not always putting status before everything. (And Rutger admits in their A support that he likes her better like this. Awwww.)
- Serra from Fire Emblem: Blazing Blade, who is very similar to Clarine, but is actually quite more straightforward and blunt, and as a result can invoke this with two of her love interests, Erk and Matthew. (While she looks up to the other one, Oswin) She's also not a noblewoman, her personality stems more from years of loneliness and Parental Abandonment.
- Princess L'Arachel from Fire Emblem the Sacred Stones her very... "special" interactions with people like Ephraim, Innes and Rennac.
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, the local Ojou Maribelle is the very incarnation of this trope towards many of her suitors. Especially the Tall, Dark and Snarky Lon'qu.
- Fire Emblem: Three Houses has the Fallen Princess Constance von Nuvelle, who follows the trope straight as long as she's indoors (she's a Shrinking Violet outdoors). Her interactions with Yuri Leclerc are pretty much a perfect example.
- Phoenix Wright thinks this exact line (complete with a drawn-out "excuuuse") after one of Franziska von Karma's foolishly foolish lines for foolishly foolish fools.
- The eponymous Prince of Persia (in his recent 3-D incarnations, anyway) has this sort of a relationship with the various female sidekicks he works with.
Farah: WHY DID YOU PUT YOUR SWORD AWAY?!
- Almost every girl Jimmy from Bully takes interest in, with the exception of Zoe, even though she is definitely snarky.
- This has become canon with The Legend of Zelda Twilight Princess, Link always makes a face at Midna and even Growls at her as a Wolf. It crosses into Vitriolic Best Buds later in the game.
- The Legend of Zelda the Wind Waker: Tetra and Link have their moments as well - Which is funny, considering the former Actually is Princess Zelda herself.
- In the DS game Nine Hours Nine Persons Nine Doors, in the kitchen when checking out one of the plates, Junpei says this line to Lotus complete with a drawn-out "excuuuuuuuse".
Junpei: Those 9 plates look pretty expensive.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl has "Attention Please!" with this line at the end.
- Tarvek to our Girl Genius  (note that Agatha is a lady, but not a princess; Tarvek actually is a prince, but less important than Lady Heterodyne).
- In Cucumber Quest, Princess Parfait has this dynamic with the BLT Trio, especially Tomato.
- Who could forget the hero who overused this phrase: Link in The Legend of Zelda cartoon, in probably his most lackadaisical and loser guy iteration. Zelda was a pretty good mix of both this and the Magical Girlfriend tropes.
- They actually parody that in the Flash series: Unforgotten Realms but it is Roamin saying it to his assistant Gary It gets even more literal when said assistant cross dresses for one event
- The eponymous Kim Possible attempting to fix best friend Ron Stoppable.
Kim: "Last night he had to take off his shoes to count to 12, now he's taking a genius aptitude test." Kim realises something isn't quite right with Ron Stoppable.
- Thomas the Tank Engine was probably thinking this exact quote when Emily began trying to "advise" him in one episode. Then there was that time she took over Gordon's express and began throwing her weight around. Not to mention that one time when she visited an old castle and proclaimed her Queen Emily.
- Jasmine of Disney's Aladdin - however, this is completely dead by the third movie...she is very fawning in that one.
- Once Aladdin started getting in touch with his emotions and rekindling dead family relationships, how could you whip him? Look at that face! (We're finally getting married!)
- It helps that by the third movie, Aladdin himself has matured greatly to the point that you could actually believe this guy could be the future sultan.
- Mai of Avatar: The Last Airbender - Grey DeLisle (Azula) commented Mai had Zuko "totally whipped."
- Subverted beautifully in Daria, where most of the guys don't want to have any sort of relationship with her and they either didn't mind her snarkiness or didn't notice it. This was later justified as part of Daria's defenses against being emotionally hurt - she'd hit them, so they couldn't get close enough to her to get a chance to hurt her.
- The Canadian series Stickin' Around has Bradley and Stacy involved in this, especially considering Bradley's air headed nature and Stacy's witty sensibility.
- Courtney and Duncan in Total Drama Island and Total Drama Action. Just how much of this they were was Depending on the Writer.
- Tiana in The Princess and the Frog. True, Naveen is a lot more competent than he lets on - he's just lazy, which is enough to set a workaholic like her off.
- Princess Ilana and her bodyguard Lance in Sym-Bionic Titan.