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narm

Quick Definition

"Narm" is a term that refers to moments or situations that are intended to be serious, but end up coming off as funny instead. This often results from poor execution or delivery, though it's also completely possible to invoke this concept.

To provide some context, here are two of my favorite examples.

  • In Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, the leader of the Rebel Alliance briefs everyone on the intelligence they had received regarding the construction of a second Death Star. Afterwards, there is a moment of silence where she mournfully says, "Many Bothans died to get us this information."

    The catch is that nobody, including the actress playing the speaker, knew what a "Bothan" was. They'd never been mentioned in the series at this point, so there's no weight to this apparently serious and sober comment.

  • An example of intentionally invoking narm comes from the movie Matinee. While the movie itself is about the people running the theater, the people in the theater are watching a parody of old B-movies called "Mant".

    Towards the climax of Mant, the giant irradiated ant is flinging cars around and destroying the city as it tries to scale a skyscraper. This leads to the following exchange:

    "What do you call that thing?!"

    "Bill."