Snobs R Us
September 7, 2009 9:13 AM   Subscribe

I love little Stewie from Family Guy. Niles and Frasier Crane also make me giggle like mad. There's just something about the pretentious way that they have. I can't even begin to explain it. Can you give me some other examples of people in books, movies, internet and television that are so deliciously snarky, in that affected character kind of way?
posted by Grlnxtdr to Society & Culture (57 answers total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
 
The Jeeves novels of P.G. Wodehouse (there was a very popular tv series with Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie in the 1990s but I've not seen it).
posted by ceri richard at 9:20 AM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Oh dammit, Blackadder too!
posted by ceri richard at 9:21 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm not completely sold on my answer, but would Basil Fawlty count?
posted by Eumachia L F at 9:22 AM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Major Charles Winchester from MASH, maybe?
posted by cabingirl at 9:22 AM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Bernard Black (YT) from Black Books is incorrigible. Seconding Jeeves from the Wodehouse novels.
posted by yaymukund at 9:24 AM on September 7, 2009


Anything by the playwright Joe Orton, but in particular "What the Butler Saw."
posted by lucidreamstate at 9:29 AM on September 7, 2009


Michael McIntyre?

I would second Stephen Fry.

I think I would describe them as "posh camp".
posted by like_neon at 9:29 AM on September 7, 2009


Think you'd like Fawlty Towers. The first (and only) season is on netflix watch it now.
posted by special-k at 9:31 AM on September 7, 2009


The Butler, Niles, on The Nanny (don't laugh at me, it's actually quite well done and funny, I was surprised myself)
posted by legotech at 9:36 AM on September 7, 2009


The prototype in film is George Saunders.
Here he is in All About Eve with the young Marilyn Monroe.
posted by readery at 9:37 AM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


Jack from 30 Rock?

Liz: Why are you wearing a tuxedo?
Jack: It's past 6 pm. What am I, a farmer?

posted by lucia__is__dada at 9:37 AM on September 7, 2009 [5 favorites]


Think you'd like Fawlty Towers. The first (and only) season is on netflix watch it now.

There were two seasons, 6 episodes each.
posted by afx237vi at 9:39 AM on September 7, 2009


Thurston Howell, III and his wife Lovey stranded for so long on Gilligan's Island.
posted by ericb at 9:41 AM on September 7, 2009


Winchester on M*A*S*H was not meant to be funny. It was the producers' (and Alan Alda's) swipe at the new Ronald Reagan-era elitism. Winchester was the "buffoon-replacement" for Larry Linville (Frank Burns), who was actually funny.
posted by Zambrano at 9:52 AM on September 7, 2009


Lokar as he appears in Space Ghost Coast to Coast fits the bill. I particularly love his interactions with Zorak - pretentious snark vs. regular-guy snark.
posted by Metroid Baby at 9:52 AM on September 7, 2009


No, no what you're looking for is Addison de Witt. Woodehouse is smooth-fanged, no barbs, doesn't stick. Also the originals of course: The Importance of Being Ernest, Lady Windemere's Fan.
posted by Diablevert at 9:56 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Ignatius J. Reilly comes immediately to mind.
posted by balls at 10:12 AM on September 7, 2009 [3 favorites]


The Brain from Pinky and the Brain
posted by belladonna at 10:14 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


I love the uber-snob Lucia and her rival Mapp in the Mapp and Lucia novels and miniseries. The books are better, of course, but the miniseries isn't bad!
posted by apricot at 10:23 AM on September 7, 2009


Two words: Patsy Stone.
posted by jbenben at 10:32 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Barney Stinson on How I Met Your Mother
posted by mercredi at 10:33 AM on September 7, 2009


Giles from Buffy has a bit of this air about him, and Carlton from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air does, as well. Also...on the British space series Red Dwarf, I daresay that Rimmer fancies himself an elitist, but has the unfortunate circumstance of being kind of jerky, and not well bred.
posted by redsparkler at 10:41 AM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


Michael Caine's pageant consultant in Miss Congeniality.

"Eyebrows. There should be two!"
posted by jamaro at 10:50 AM on September 7, 2009


Eric Idle's character 'Mr. Smokestoomuch' (NSFW, reference to 'grilled cheese sandwich') is pretty snarky in the rant part of this sketch.

Zach Galfiniakis has a very short but funny bit called 'The Pretentious Illiterate'.

The movie 'Sideways' has Paul Giamatti's character being right pretentious most of the way through.
posted by Hardcore Poser at 11:01 AM on September 7, 2009




Dr Zachary Smith (Jonathan Harris) from the 60s Lost In Space.
posted by le morte de bea arthur at 11:07 AM on September 7, 2009


Tarquin Winot, the protagonist and narrator of John Lanchester's novel The Debt to Pleasure, is a particularly forceful and hilarious example of this sort of thing.
posted by kprincehouse at 11:37 AM on September 7, 2009


I came on to suggest Fawlty Towers, but it seems I'm too late.

Really though, watch it!
posted by InsanePenguin at 11:40 AM on September 7, 2009


Mr. Belvedere.
posted by amro at 11:51 AM on September 7, 2009


Daniel Day Lewis' Cecil Vyse in A Room with a View.
posted by marsha56 at 11:57 AM on September 7, 2009


Beg, borrow, or steal a copy of The Unexpurgated Code: A Complete Manual of Survival and Manners by J.P. Donleavy.
posted by shinybeast at 11:57 AM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Arnold Rimmer from Red Dwarf.
posted by lemonwheel at 12:13 PM on September 7, 2009


Eric Blore as a butler and waiter in (variously) "Top Hat," "The Gay Divorcee" and "Flying Down to Rio" -- three of the best Ginger&Fred movies. I think he was typecast as a snide and snarky butler in many more movies in the 1930s and 1940s.
posted by Smalltown Girl at 12:20 PM on September 7, 2009


Many characters in the plays of Oscar Wilde
posted by James Scott-Brown at 12:22 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


No one has mentioned Sideshow Bob yet? Kelsey Grammer does the voice even.
posted by ursus_comiter at 12:47 PM on September 7, 2009


Sheldon in Big Bang Theory.
posted by Jacqueline at 12:54 PM on September 7, 2009


P. J. O'Rourke?
posted by minimii at 1:12 PM on September 7, 2009


James Wolcott, too.
posted by minimii at 1:13 PM on September 7, 2009


Stewie and Niles aren't just snobs -- they're stereotypical fussy gays.
posted by orthogonality at 1:33 PM on September 7, 2009


Read something by Rakoff.
posted by rbs at 1:37 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Noel Coward in most of his roles and Queer Duck's Oscar Wildcat.
posted by brujita at 1:41 PM on September 7, 2009


Chatsworth Osborne, Jr., president of the The Silver Spoon Club for snobby socialites, from The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis.
posted by wherever, whatever at 1:42 PM on September 7, 2009


Withnail, from one of my favorite movies - Withnail & I.
posted by pilibeen at 1:45 PM on September 7, 2009


Try the novels of Joe Keenan. He used to be a writer/producer for Frasier, and his books (Blue Heaven, Putting on the Ritz, and My Lucky Star) contain the same delirious snark and hilarity.
posted by scody at 1:53 PM on September 7, 2009 [2 favorites]


John Gielgud's character in Arthur is pretty much the epitome of this character type.
posted by EarBucket at 2:54 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Clue. Don't let it being based on a boardgame throw you, it's a classic door-slamming farce with a snooty butler.
posted by The Whelk at 3:47 PM on September 7, 2009


PG Wodehouse, about a million times. Exactly what you want.
posted by Dee Xtrovert at 4:25 PM on September 7, 2009


Monty Wooley as Sheridon Whiteside in The Man Who Came To Dinner.

Can't say I would call Jeeves at all snarky or even pretentious, really; he just has standards, and he is never actively cruel. Rather the opposite. And Joe Keenan's (first two) books are a lot of fun, but the only snooty characters are relatively minor. Do read them.
posted by IndigoJones at 4:38 PM on September 7, 2009


These are wonderful. Exactly what I was looking for. You guys are great.
posted by Grlnxtdr at 5:12 PM on September 7, 2009


Hmm, how about Phil Hartman's Bill McNeil, from Newsradio?
posted by KatlaDragon at 6:30 PM on September 7, 2009 [1 favorite]


Oh! Maybe a bit different from what you're looking for, but the characters in Isaac Asimov's Black Widowers' Club mysteries might fit the bill.
posted by EarBucket at 6:53 PM on September 7, 2009


First thing that came to mind was most of the cast of 'Are You Being Served?' A britcom from the 70's / 80's that I think is still on PBS.
posted by K5 at 7:37 PM on September 7, 2009


Ernie Kovacs' character Percy Dovetonsils. YouTube videos I haven't watched: 1, 2.. There are probably more. And some of his poetry online.
posted by Mael Oui at 9:23 PM on September 7, 2009


I enjoy the sometimes smug, critical terms in which Nabokov's narrators describe their fellow characters. He has a way of describing the most innocuous and mundane object or character such that he also, somehow, passes a critical judgement on it. If you haven't read any Nabokov yet, why not start with Lolita?
posted by SebastianKnight at 6:38 AM on September 8, 2009


Steve from Coupling might fit the bill.
posted by EarBucket at 8:06 AM on September 8, 2009


Andora, Samantha's mother, on Bewitched. I recently bought the first season of the show, because it was a favorite when I was a kid. OMG, Elizabeth Montgomery (Samantha) was beautiful!

I too am especially fond of Stewie.
posted by Goofyy at 6:52 AM on September 10, 2009


The narrators father in Brideshead Revisited. Played by John Gielgud in the '80s television series.
posted by jouke at 4:20 AM on September 24, 2009


« Older Stopping Firefox-loaded pages from vanishing.   |   A good German Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.