Can't Hold His Liquor
Howard: You ready to talk about it?People you should never, ever offer a drink to. As soon as they even taste a drop of alcohol, they either pass out (putting you in danger in case that person should really be awake) or go off the deep end. It rarely gets as far as endless vomiting or a near death experience, or anything else that usually happens after alcohol poisoning, because this is primarily a comedy trope, though it can be used in a dramatic work as well if the person in question is a particularly abusive mean drunk or turns into a disgusting lecherous creep. This trope is extremely common, and is most often used for comedic effect. If you need to wake him up fast, you'll need a Hideous Hangover Cure. May overlap with Kissing Under the Influence, Intoxication Ensues, Drunken Master, Lampshade Wearing. Polar opposite of Never Gets Drunk. If instead the character gets intoxicated from something that's not alcoholic at all, they're Drunk on Milk. Depending on how serious the fiction is trying to be, it can very well be Truth in Television, although it's more common and more fun to exaggerate it past all semblance of realism
Sheldon: I'm not nearly drunk enough. (takes a sip of beer) Okay.
Sheldon: I'm not nearly drunk enough. (takes a sip of beer) Okay.
The Big Bang Theory, "The Mommy Observation"
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Anime & Manga
- Even though Dr. Hell from Mazinger Z tends to enjoy A Glass of Chianti now and then, he gets tipsy easily. In the last episodes of one of the manga continuities, he barely could stand upright after one glass. On the other hand, his minions (Baron Ashura, Count Brocken, Viscount Pygman) show a bigger tolerance to alcohol.
- Doctor Clive and Haré (though he is a kid) from Haré+Guu both get drunk from one sip of beer. The Doctor becomes childish while Haré is one mean drunk.
- England in Axis Powers Hetalia (English dub version). After one drink, he's passed out on the bar, wondering whether he's Catholic or Protestant, declaring himself "The United Bloody Kingdom" and announcing that he can "...hild his locker" better than America, whining/crying over America not accepting his friendship because of their shared hatred of France, and bawling over how the friendship refusal is "total bollocks!" The next day, England is under a green blanket, shivering and wondering why the light won't shut up.
Bartender: Is he okay?
- Possibly subverted, because there was a scene cut and it is never stated how much he drank.
- Also justified, considering the size of Britain.
- Spain becomes "very sentimental" when he drinks, according to Word of God.
America: Naw, he always gets like this when he's drinking.
England: YOU DON'T KNOW ME!
- Sora Wakanae, from the manga Family Compo, falls asleep after drinking one glass of beer.
- Negi of Mahou Sensei Negima! got drunk from one cup of amazake, which is a sweeter, low-alcoholic version of traditional sake. He is ten years old, but still...
- Dragon Ball Z:
- As of Dragon Ball Z: Battle of Gods, Son Gohan is officially this trope.
- This however, was foreshadowed all the way back on the first movie Dead Zone, where upon eating one of the apples in Garlick Jr's palace (said to be alcoholic), he went all-out tripping balls.
- In Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, Narugami is revealed to be like this, when he's forced to pose as the bride of a shinto wedding (long story) and drinks from the ritual cup of sake — instantly becoming roaring drunk, which is kinda' odd considering that he's an incarnation of Thor, who was famous for his alcohol-capacity. Of course, Thor was also famous for being a roaring drunk—these two attributes are not necessarily incompatible.
- Shinobu from Love Hina gets wasted after a sip of white wine. Justified, as she's 13 years old.
- Rock Lee from Naruto gets drunk (and goes into kick-ass mode) from just one sip of alcohol.
- In Mahoraba, one of Kozue's personalities (ironically the tough one) couldn't drink anything but very weak wine. The anime ups this to getting knock-out drunk from even smelling beer.
- Captain Shuusuke Amagai from the Bleach anime gets utterly drunk from a single cup (or sip?) of sake. This becomes a problem (and a Running Gag) due to his friendship with Captain Kyoraku, who always has sake during their conversations. On one occasion, he became drunk after smelling sake. He claims he has also become drunk from eating food that is flavored like sake. And you know you're in trouble when smelling sake leads to this. One of the funniest instances of this for the Captain is in his debut episode, where he takes a drink and passes out. Immediately afterward, his squad is sent on an emergency mission. When his squad is about to be wiped out, he shows up, saves the day in a spectacularly badass way, makes an insightful remark, and promptly passes out, still drunk off his ass.
- In Haruhi Suzumiya, Mikuru already gets drunk after one glass of whatsoever. She actually got intoxicated with tequila by Haruhi and Tsuruya for the Brigade-movie (and Kyon didn't like it at all). Yuki can gulp down barrels without being affected at all (probably because she's an Artificial Human). Haruhi herself is a helpless drunkard, gulping down one bottle of wine after another. Even Kyon, who snarked about it before, eventually gets totally boozy in the novel-version of "Remote Island Syndrome (although we're not told how much he can handle, he says it's a lot, or how he acted, although it's mentioned he did have trouble walking)." It's hilarious! The anime aversion actually plays it up, since rather than getting drunk of tequila Mikuru gets drunk off amazake which has a much lower alcohol content, to the point where it doesn't even bother the censors since its illegal to show minors consuming alcohol on Japanese TV (which also explains the changes in Remote Island Syndrome).
- Van in GUN×SWORD is knocked out by a single swig of tequila and rendered helpless by a single glass of wine (which he mistook for something less harmful). He's quite aware of this; his trademark Drink Order is milk.
- Train from Black Cat cannot hold his liquor. He's shown having a HUGE hangover soon after drinking a small bottle of wine.
- Sagara Sōsuke from Full Metal Panic!. Even though he's a soldier, he evidently almost never drinks, and therefore has very little endurance for the stuff. In one chapter of the manga, he's shown taking a sip from a small cup of amazake (a drink that has very low alcohol content), and promptly gets dead drunk, complete with the fever and loss of strength. Kaname even comes out and tells him, "you really can't hold your liquor." And even after passing out and coming to, he's still drunk, with Kaname lamenting that there's a limit to how much of a lightweight people can be. Later in the novels, he literally Can't Hold His Liquor, due to debilitating internal injuries courtesy of a rifle round that relieved him of a portion of his liver among other things.
Bonus points that Sōsuke was raised as a Muslim in Afghanistan, which Islam forbids followers to drink alcohol; which may explain his low alcohol tolerance. Well at least some Islamic values, he isn't really that religious when compared the folks who raised him. Late into season 2 of the anime, Sōsuke, having hit rock bottom, spent most of an episode wandering around Hong Kong with an unopened bottle of brandy. When he finally does take a swig, he promptly spits it out and tosses the bottle in the trash, wondering aloud what people see in the stuff.
- Lilica from Burn Up! Scramble becomes intoxicated from even small amounts of alcohol, which exacerbates her dojikko tendencies, as well as bringing out the Les Yay for Rio.
- Almost everyone gets sloshed (apparently on one glass of wine) in episode 20 of Pandora Hearts, but Gilbert runs the gamut from misaimed belligerence to sloppy begging to a cute but slightly disturbing reversion to childhood. Then he passes out.
- Tsukuyo in Gintama brutalizes Gintoki (and later Shinpachi and Kagura, but mostly Gintoki) after just a small amount of
- Marron in Sorcerer Hunters in both the manga and OAV incarnations; in the former he passes out after one drink but in the latter the results are more epic.
- Usagi from Sailor Moon, being a 14-year-old girl, can't hold liquor and Hilarity Ensues when she is given a glass.
- Fai D Fluorite from Tsubasa Reservoir Chronicle is shown to be both this and Never Gets Drunk in different worlds.
- In Keroro Gunsou, Corporal Giroro passes out from just a few drops of alcohol.
- Aoi in Ai Yori Aoshi gets near passing out from three beers. Possibly justified in that she was highly sheltered growing up and probably had no exposure.
- Hidamari Sketch: For Yuno and Miyako's welcoming party, Sae and Hiro buy food and drink. Hiro inadvertently buys alcohol. At the party, the two sophomores get drunk on one glass. While Miyako's antics are pretty normal for her, the bright redness of her face tells the tale. Yuno starts talking about the color of goldfish and the sun, then passes out and is taken to sleep it off (talking in her sleep).
- In D.Gray-Man, Allen Walker once got drunk by eating alcoholic chocolates. There's a reason he's forbidden from touching alcohol. According to the Kuro no Bansenkai Drama CD, he gets vicious when drunk and trashed a restaurant without even remembering it.
- Kinoshita from Yakitate Japan apparently can't hold his liquor; he gets Unsuspectingly Soused from a single slice of Kawachi's sake bread, and Mr. Matsuhiro remarks "This guy could get drunk just from the smell of alcohol!"
- In the Tenchi Muyo! manga, Sasami discovers some of Katsuhito's sake by mistake, drinks one cup and promptly passes out. Granted, she's a kid, but still.
- In the Escaflowne anime, Hitomi is at a dinner party, but she isn't used to the liquor on Gaea (or indeed, alcohol in general, given her age), so she proceeds to get very drunk on the pink wine or spirit that was given to her.
Hitomi: (inner thoughts upon hearing about Millerna's engagement) Allen is avaliaaaaable... HIC!
- Hibari of Katekyo Hitman Reborn!. He is known not to handle alcohol well.
- Zebra of Toriko is one of the biggest badasses alive in a World of Badass, but he can't handle alcohol. His favorite beverage is cola (then again, cola in the world of Toriko can be really, really good).
- Throughout Pumpkin Scissors, Alice refuses to drink alcohol under any circumstances. In the final episode, when Oland gives a speech about protecting her, she responds by giving him the opportunity—she drinks half a glass of wine and immediately passes out, falling into his arms.
- Kurama from Kamisama Kiss has a very low alcohol tolerance, which is in direct contrast to his brother Jirou.
- Both Lucy and Saya from Servant × Service has low tolerance of alcohol. Strange, their relationships with a male member of the cast were both cemented in such circumstances, with Yutaka and Jyoji doing Bridal Carries on them, respectively.
- Coo the Kappa from Summer Days with Coo gets drunk very easily if you pour alcohol onto the plate on his head.
- Subverted in I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying. Kaoru doesn't get drunk easily. But when she gets drunk, she gets DRUNK.
- Tokyo Ghoul has several characters that cannot hold their liquor.
- In a Crowning Moment of Funny, Akira and Takizawa both turn out to be light weights and get easily plastered. Amon ends up caught in the middle of their drunken bickering, much to his growing horror.
- Shinohara mentions wanting to have a drink with his partner, Juuzou. (Amon recalls that he's an infamous light-weight that once beat up twenty of his coworkers when he got drunk.)
- An omake suggests that a single sip causes Yomo to ramble uncontrollably and then pass out.
- At the start of Asobi ni Iku yo!, Kio takes one sip of beer and passes out. He notes what a lightweight he is on his way down.
- Played with in Ah! My Goddess; Belldandy can take in liquor like water, but give her even a sip of cola and she'll be completely hammered. Since she is a powerful goddess, this gets problematic.
- Despite being a Valkyrie, Rossweisse from High School DXD really can't handle her drink. One cup of sake has her slurring out an angry rant, a second gets her helplessly snockered, and the next day she's still sporting a brutal, dexterity-killing, nauseating hangover.
- There was once a very quiet, long-running joke about how Spider-Man's alcohol tolerance is probably the lowest of any major superhero in the Marvel Universe, after an issue where someone spiked the punch at a party and he had to fight Hobgoblin while drunk.
- His clones don't fare much better. Kaine managed to pass out after a grand total of THREE beers.
- In an X-Men comic book detailing the origin of movie Rogue, she gets drunk just by touching a drunk trucker.
- In Astérix, Obelix gets drunk pretty fast, since he usually only drinks goats' milk. And a guy with Super Strength shouldn't do that.
- In an appearance by the Great Lakes Avengers (they were calling themselves the Great Lakes Initiative at the time), all the superheroes in the Marvel Universe have been inebriated by a Dionysus powered ray; Mr. Immortal, however, is the only person to succumb to alcohol poisoning. Needless to say, he got better.
- Brian from Knights of the Dinner Table. He is the reason why the Knights no longer allow alcohol at the gaming table. Any time this rule is relaxed, his behaviour quickly reminds them why it was instigated in the first place.
- In Violine, Violine takes a swig of whiskey to prove that it is not poison, and gets immediately drunk. Justified, as she is only ten.
- Lilly, in The Walking Dead: The Game fanfiction What a Difference. She has one drink in her bedroom at the motel while Lee and Kenny are in Macon, and Carley is the one who has to deal with her. Lilly then decides to tell Carley drunkenly that she was raped ("had sex") by Danny St. John, which she was. Also, she tells Carley that her middle name is Maleen.
- Jonathan Crane (a.k.a. Scarecrow) in Lauralot's fic Act Like We Are Fools. He gets falling-down, spill-all-your-secrets drunk after one glass of whiskey. Mostly because of an adverse interaction between his antipsychotics and the alcohol, but still.
- Pony POV Series:
- Twilight Sparkle gets a bout of Power Incontinence from this; apparently, she brought her library to life, and caused so much chaos that Ponyville had to be convinced Discord hadn't returned. And then she was hungover for two days afterwards.
- Fluttershy, and by extension Fluttercruel. This annoys Fluttercruel because she honestly wanted to enjoy drinking. Unfortunately, her getting them drunk contributed to Fluttershy's transformation into Nightmare Whisper, since it made her more susceptible to depression and her already unstable mental state.
- Yusei goes from stoic and smart to giggly and oblivious because of this in the fanfic The Alcoholic Adventures of Team Satisfaction. The author believes Yusei to be a secret case of this:
- Implied to be the case with Fluttershy in the Reading Rainbowverse. Oddly, though, we never see her drinking... just the results.
- Strangely the case with Hefty Smurf in the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf series. The drink in this case is sarsaparilla ale, and one glass of it causes him to stumble to the floor.
- In a party at the end of The Coalescence in Poké Wars, Dawn gets completely shitfaced on a very weak alcoholic drink. Justified by her young age.
- Used as The Stinger gag of Star Wars Downunder. After thirty minutes of battling the forces of the evil Darth Drongo just to get his hands on a nice cold one, Jedi Knight Merve Bushwacker passes out after only one beer.
- The Legend of Zelda fanfic Wisdom and Courage has Zelda getting flat-out plastered after taking only a few sips of Hylian Ale, which she drinks to dull the pain of losing Impa.
- A Shadow Of The Titans: After Jade magically ages herself up, she ends both getting hit by Power Incontinence and being viewed as a threat worthy of being responded to by the Justice League instead of the Titans. This naturally frustrates her. Jinx's way of trying to help is to buy her a drink... and after only a few sips of Belgian Ale, Jade is half-conscious and wailing away on a karaoke machine. Jinx is dumbfounded by how quick it all was, given Jade's appetite.
- In The Vinyl And Octavia Series, Octavia gets much more intoxicated than Vinyl when she drinks, and the effects are much more obvious. To be fair, when she does get drunk it's the result of her drinking a lot of alcohol in a short time.
Octavia merely stood on the same spot, and stared off into the distance. "I just vomited a lot of stuff, Vinyl..." she said weakly.
- Bait and Switch: Offscreen, Lieutenant K'lak, a Klingon sniper in the USS Bajor's security department, gets into a Drinking Contest with one of his opposite numbers from a Klingon ship. Both of them passed out after four shots of Romulan ale, and this from a species that drinks bloodwine, a liquor with twice the potency of whiskey, by the tankard. (In fairness, pretty much everyone who isn't a Romulan has trouble with Romulan ale.)
- Frozen Wight: Fritz starts an Elsanna rumor when he gets drunk.
Films — Animation
Films — Live-Action
- In Back to the Future Part III, it turns out that Doc Brown really can't hold his liquor — he passes out after drinking a single shot of whiskey. And before passing out from drinking said glass of whiskey, he manages to get plastered just by holding it under his nose.
- Kim Basinger's character in Blind Date had an allergy to alcohol that made her as drunk as if she'd had two six packs in mere minutes. She ate two chocolates that had alcohol injected and was literally swinging off the chandelier.
- A single sip of Scotch puts Woody Allen's character in Play It Again Sam in a cartoonish flailing fit and a dead faint — still, he tries to impress a date that he's a suave drinker, casually telling her "I've gotta cut down, I'm up to a quart a day."
- Lampshaded in The Brothers Grimm:
Will: He can't hold his ale!
Jacob: I can't hold me ale!
- Jeff from Alfred Hitchcock's Mr. & Mrs. Smith is completely unaffected by one drink, but immediately crosses into Can't Hold His Liquor territory after two.
- Often a gag on various The Three Stooges shorts, where a sip or a swig of most alcohol may, for example, cause a Stooge to have steam fire out of his ears, or in an old Curly film (the one where he tries also eat oyster soup with disastrous results) when a single swig causes him to spin around on his bar stool.
- Dick (Jim Carrey) in the 2000s remake of Fun With Dick And Jane. "He only had half a beer!"
- Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn) in The Philadelphia Story.
- Michael from the Danish film Festen (The Celebration).
- Double Subverted in Thor. Erik Selvig can definitely hold his liquor, but when a mortal gets into a drinking contest with the Viking God of Boisterous Bruisers... yeah, he loses.
- In the Sweet Valley High book A Night to Remember, Elizabeth and Sam get wasted by sharing one cup of spiked punch.
- In The Hunger Games, Katniss gets dizzy from just drinking half a glass of wine. Later, she mentions that even the smell makes her sick. Then in Catching Fire she gets messed up after a few gulps of white liquor, did not hold most of it, and had a serious hangover the next day.
- Played with in The Three Musketeers. D'Artagnan and Athos sit for a drinking bout after about half the book. Athos tells D'Artagnan his family history, and D'Artagnan pretends to pass out to not have to listen to any more. Athos comments that "Young people today can't hold their liquor. Even that one, who is one of the best." His judgment might be just a bit skewed due to drinking around 150 bottles over two weeks.
- One of Isaac Asimov's Azazel stories is about a woman who was too self restrained, and who could never relax because even one drink made her really sick. Well, the main character called for the titular demon and they remade her metabolism. The problem is, she acquired such a taste, that the new metabolism made her really fat due to overconsumption.
- Inverted in The Legend of Sun Knight. Everybody Knows That the Sun Knight is a man who will turn red after the first cup, get a headache after the second, and fall unconscious after the third. In order to act this out, all Sun Knights have been trained to never get drunk.
- In the Spaceforce series, the Taysans en masse react so badly to alcohol that even drinking slightly fermented fruit juice can turn them violently aggressive or sexually disinhibited. Apparently brewing and selling this illegal substance is one of the few instances of widespread criminal behaviour amongst the Taysan people.
- Subverted in Stranger in a Strange Land. Michael, having never had alcohol, is very susceptible to it; but having complete control of his body chemistry, he can also sober himself up at will.
- In Animal Farm, Squealer and Napoleon end up demonstrating exactly why animals should never drink alcohol, period, even when it isn't in excess, when they end up completely plastered from what is presumably their first drink of alcohol. A horrendous hangover ensues: the other animals are told that Napoleon is dying and has issued a decree that alcohol consumption was to be punished by death.
- Fitz, from the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures, Depending on the Writer. He usually seems to have an above-average tolerance for alcohol: he once drank a whole bottle of wine and remained capable of walking, talking, and assisting in the Doctor's Indy Ploy. However, in Camera Obscura, Sabbath gives Fitz and Anji brandy, and Fitz falls asleep/passes out after one glass. Maybe he was just tired, poor dear. (Anji sips it slowly and suffers no appreciable effects.) But in the one Big Finish Doctor Who story Fitz is in, he seems to have more of a tolerance than Anji, and mistakenly gives her a Gargle Blaster that knocks her out for twenty-four hours (the Doctor scolds him, because he should have known that you're supposed to only put a single drop on a sugar cube), but goes around drinking it from a hip flask himself.
- Trapped on Draconica: There's a reason Daniar tells Erowin not to drink. Just one can make her drunk enough to jump on stage and dance. Justified as she's a young teenager.
- Turns out to be a plot point in Curse of the Azure Bonds. Alias is drunk after just two beers because she is artificial being that's only a few months old.
- House-elves in Harry Potter can get blind stinking drunk from butterbeer, a mild malt beverage whose alcohol content is so low that its sale to (human) minors is not restricted. Justified due to the fact that a house-elf is roughly half the size of an adolescent human, along with a possible dose of Bizarre Alien Biology.
- In The Sword-Edged Blonde, Andrew Reese was the violent, non-comedic version of this — a "good man" when sober, but a violent would-be rapist as soon as he got hold of liquor. It's the root cause of all his troubles, and therefore, of the whole book.
- One Thousand Ways To Die: A very dark example. One of the victims was an Amish kid on his Rumspringa, who was invited to a Halloween party by a bunch of hot girls, and ended up getting drunk. Problem was, he had a rare condition which prevented him from digesting alcohol, and was poisoned. He was one of those rare deaths from something that really wasn't his fault.
- Babylon 5:
- Vir is different from most other Centauri in the fact that he doesn't handle liquor well. In one episode he takes a sip of Londo's drink and promptly collapses. He later builds up his tolerance, drowning his sorrows after he killed Emperor Cartagia in "The Long Night."
- The entire Minbari race. Give them only a little, and they turn into violent psychotics. Naturally, teetotalling is part of their culture. Explained via Bizarre Alien Biology — despite being relatively Human Aliens, their bodies don't process alcohol the way ours do.
- Late in the series, Londo discovers that drinking enough will knock out the Drakh Keeper attached to him, giving him brief periods of drunk-but-functional freedom thanks to his history of drinking giving him a high alcohol tolerance while the Keeper is unconscious.
- Max gets incredibly drunk from a small sip of whiskey in an episode of Roswell; it's explained that he has less tolerance due to being an alien.
- Done for laughs on Ugly Betty when Henry gets full-out drunk on half a wine cooler.
- Lucy Ricardo on I Love Lucy actually got completely plastered twice from two products that were only sort of alcoholic: Vitameatavegamin, some sort of vitamin/nutritional supplement that technically had alcohol in the same way that Ny-Quil does note , and once from water that had apparently been spiked. In the first case one reason this happened is because they had to keep reshooting the scene.
- Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is known to get drunk off of a single scoop of rum raisin ice cream.
- Subverted in an episode of Hogan's Heroes. Schultz and Newkirk go into a bar (the bartender is an underground agent Newkirk must make contact with). Newkirk orders a beer for Schultz and a bottle of schnapps for himself. Schultz gets totally drunk because Newkirk kept dumping shots of schnapps into the beer.
- In The Honeymooners, Alice claimed that Ralph once got a three-day hangover from a slice of rum cake. (That's actually impossible, because prepared rum cake has no alcohol in it. What's in the small amount of rum that is used to make it evaporates when it is baked.) Regardless, when Ralph wanted to drink a bottle of wine simply to prove that he could, Alice poured it down the drain when he wasn't looking and replaced it with grape juice; Ralph and Norton still got drunk from drinking it. (The fact that it happened to Norton was no surprise either, seeing as Trixie claimed that he "got tipsy just by reading the labels".)
- The trope shows up twice in Star Trek: Voyager:
- Seven of Nine gets drunk on synthehol after drinking just one glass. As explained in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the point of synthehol is it's a synthetic alcohol substitute meant to mimic the flavor of alcohol without getting you drunk, and it gives you the pleasant side of being intoxicated (buzz, relaxation, "light" feeling) without the negative sides (hangovers, lowered inhibitions, toxicity).
- In another episode, an alien ambassador gets utterly hammered aboard the ship because his species' liver cannot process alcohol/synthehol. The plot revolved around keeping him from embarrassing himself too badly while an antidote is developed.
- The title character of Monk got drunk from a few sips of wine.
- Played with in an episode of Angel where Fred and Wesley are (unbeknownst to them) affected by a magical spell that makes them drunk.
Fred: I am totally drunkfaced!
Wesley: You just can't hold your... what are you drinking?
Wesley: You can't hold that!
Fred: Oh yeah? Lightweight! How much have you had?
Wesley: Including this... about a third of a half of this beer.
- Both Corky and Miles in Murphy Brown can't seem to take more than one drink before they're out.
- Josh on The West Wing, who can barely handle two drinks with his "very sensitive system," according to his assistant Donna. She finds him passed out in his office one morning after a bachelor party, and there was apparently also an incident where he showed up at her apartment and yelled at her roommate's cats.
- Done once on Scrubs. J.D., Turk, and Elliot are out drinking. Elliot proclaims "I have magic breasts," and passes out at the bar.
J.D.: How many has she had?
Turk: (picks up Elliot's beer bottle) Almost one.
- Richie from Bottom only needs a single sip of liquor to get drunk... or at least to think that he's drunk, which amounts to the same thing. It's more likely that it's all in his head — on one occasion, he takes a quick shot to settle his nerves, and only after it does the trick does he find out that it's a soft drink.
- Rick, played by the same actor on The Young Ones, once passed out at a party after half a glass of cider, and staggered home so wasted that he apparently put himself to bed without realizing an escaped murderer had broken into the house and was asleep in his bed. He wakes up with no memory of the party's events, realizes the killer (who is female) is there, and leaps to all the wrong conclusions.
- Sam Ballard of Rumpole of the Bailey is fall-on-the-floor drunk after a mere five small glasses of sherry—perhaps enough to make most people a bit tipsy, but not much else. In the event, Ballard is so drunk he only thought he had three or four. Claude Erskine-Brown kindly informs him of the truth. In a later episode, he is seen laughing hysterically and falling down next to a wall. While we don't hear how much he had to drink, it is very clearly implied that it wasn't all that much.
- An entire episode of Blackadder II centers around the title character's inability to tolerate strong drink. It takes him all of forty-two seconds to get roaring drunk after downing a flagon of ale.
- Tom Haverford, the resident Casanova Wannabe of Parks and Recreation. As Detlef Schrempf put it (watching Tom making a complete ass of himself at a bar):
Detlef Schrempf: He had two beers. Light beers.
- In The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon has gotten drunk twice in the entire series and both times he severely embarrassed himself. Also applies to coffee and valium.
- My Name Is Earl: Randy is perfectly competent after four beers — but after number five...
- Bunk Moreland on The Wire. His best friend, the Irish American Jimmy McNulty, is definitely less of a lightweight.
- In M*A*S*H, Frank Burns can't hold his liquor and readily admits it. Also, beer goes through him rather fast (a trait that Hawkeye and Trapper cleverly took advantage of in one episode to get a urine sample from him.)
- Radar as well. Justified seeing he's often too timid to drink, so he wouldn't have much of a tolerance. In one episode, he attempted to drown his sorrows upon facing a court martial for a crime he never committed, and ended up getting sloshed. Klinger asked him how many drinks he had. He was barely on his second one.
- In one episode of Unhappily Ever After, Tiffany eats one rum ball, gets black-out drunk and has to spend the rest of the episode figuring out what she did under the influence.
- Doctor in the House and its sequel series feature two examples.
- Lawrence Bingham, who appears in Doctor at Large and Doctor in Charge, is teetotal, generally sticking to tomato juice when at the hospital bar. In several episodes, the other doctors spike his drinks or secretly order him a Bloody Mary instead, and it only takes one or two to get him fall-down drunk.
- James Gascoigne in Doctor on the Go only ever drinks the odd half pint; any more than that and he is too drunk to function. So when he drinks half a pint of whiskey in "For Your Own Good" after a fight with his father, he signs the elder Gascoigne up for every painful medical test he can think of in a drunken haze.
- The "stag party" montage in Sherlock has Sherlock and John bar hopping, with Sherlock insisting on using large graduated cylinders for a precise volume of beer. The sequence makes it look like Sherlock knows exactly how much liquor both of them can take. What he didn't realise is that John was adding shots to the beer, ruining his calculations. Then they get absolutely wasted and go to Sherlock's place to sleep it off. Mrs. Hudson comes up and reveals that they've only been out for 2 hours. It's pretty lame.
- On NCIS, Team Gibbs uses Jimmy Palmer's Stag Party as part of a sting. All the drinks are watered down, but Palmer still gets hammered.
- On Chuck, Emmett (Chuck's season 2 Sit Com Archnemesis) is boring enough that he gets absurdly hung-over after a drunken poker game relative to the amount he actually drinks.
Emmett: I should never have gone for that second Fuzzy Navel. That wine cooler had 4% alcohol.
- B-boy apparently got drunk on half a corona glass in between Pro Wrestling Guerilla shows.
- London And Kendrick's "broke into" the Acolyte Protection Agency's office on WWE Velocity to celebrate a victory, leaving the APA upset that someone was drinking their beer. Their anger soon became amusement though when it became clear the two had no tolerance for alcohol whatsoever. So much so the two were invited to their bar room brawl at a Smackdown pay per view. Incidentally, Paul London is a teetotaler in reality.
- When Kevin Nash was running TNA Impact, he only allowed Tara and ODB, who were feuding at the time over Tara being a "diva", their hardcore grudge match to take place if they each drank a six pack of beer first. ODB seemed unaffected but Tara, who didn't even know what liquor was, was at an insurmountable disadvantage.
- In Les Guignolsdelinfo, the puppet from François Bayrou. He can get drunk on non-alcoholic beer (or other harmless, alcoholic-looking beverages found in France). Once, trying just one draught of panaché (shanty) put him in an alcoholic coma. Naturally, sketches often paired him with hard-drinker Jean-Louis Borloo.
- The Navy Lark's Sub-Lieutenant Phillips, drunk beyond belief on half a Lemonade Shandy.
- GURPS has the Alcohol Intolerance Quirk to represent this.
- Kim Kaphwan from Fatal Fury and The King of Fighters, according to side notes and as seen in the Fatal Fury Team ending of The King of Fighters XI — where he apparently got plastered on one mug of beer.
- Tsukihime has Hisui. During the small welcoming party her, Kohaku, and Akiha throw for Shiki after his arrival at the mansion, drinks are served and she's the first casualty, despite drinking the weakest drink. In her route, one thing leads to another and Shiki wakes up the next morning in bed with her...though after the initial shock they determine nothing inappropriate took place while they were drunk.
- Shiki himself may count due to his poor health, though he knows to moderate himself.
- Blaise in Rune Factory 3 doesn't drink because of a Noodle Incident that he cannot remember and no one will elaborate on, besides looking embarrassed and urging you to never give him alcohol.
- Ronaldo in Devil Survivor 2 might as well be the king of this trope. He is reduced to stumbling and slurring his speech after being force-fed a single liquor chocolate.
- Resonance of Fate: In an early cutscene, Zephyr takes a single sip of champagne... only to spit it out and break into a coughing fit.
- Jack accuses Shepard of this when s\he passes out after one drink on Omega. Subverted because Jack might have been with Shepard in the toilets after drinking three of the strongest legal drinks, then smuggled Batarian ale, then radioactive Krogan liquor. Subverted further in that the drink was poisoned.
- Tali (unsurprisingly) and Javik (much more surprisingly) are shown to be this in Mass Effect 3 and its Citadel DLC. (The latter, even if your party is relatively sedate, includes Tali sitting on the bathroom floor rambling in hilarious non sequiturs.)
- An Avatar of Boris in Kingdom of Loathing cannot drink past five Drunkenness, while the starting limit for regular character is fifteen. Boris's alcohol tolerance was very low.
- When you fight him at the end of the Avatar of Jarlsberg path, it's revealed the reason for Boris's low alcohol capacity is not because he can't hold his liquor, but because he has to limit his intake so that he can keep his physical form at its peak.
- The Zombie Slayer path, in which you're a zombie, has the same limit. Alcohol does weird things to a zombie.
- The Avatar of Jarlsberg, meanwhile, has a limit of ten in both Drunkeness and Fullness, due to his intensely fastidious eating habits; however, he can learn skills that raise both to the normal line.
- In the Actually Ed the Undying path, Ed starts off unable to eat or drink at all, what with being a mummy without any organs and all. He can buy replacements, though. The Replacement Liver comes from a church-going little old lady, and only has a Drunkenness limit of five.
- Super Robot Wars has two examples:
- Sanger Zonvolt, a well-built German samurai, and quite possibly the most Badass character in a game full of Badasses, will faint at the slightest taste of alcohol.
- Then there's Tetsuya Onodera, Executive Officer of the Hagane, and later Captain of the Kurogane. After drinking a glass of sake with Captain Daitetsu Minase, he gets sick during an enemy attack and must give command to Bridge Bunny Eita until the captain returns.
- The title character of McPixel falls into this, as demonstrated in a level where he gets drunk off a drink that is revealed, on close up, to be 1% Alcohol. He gets so blitzed he groin kicks Guy Fawkes and ends up destroying the bombs he has to defuse that level in the process.
- BioShock Infinite: Strangely enough considering that Booker more or less crawled inside a bottle and never left after giving up his daughter, Anna, to Comstock, picking up one flask of whiskey gets you blind stinkin' hammered, giving Booker double vision and making him wobble as he walks, and making it much harder to fight if you accidentally grab a bottle during the middle of a shootout.
- Cookie Masterson in the Language floor of ''You Don't Know Jack The Ride".
- Bar Oasis: Even though Kane looks to be the toughest biker in all of England, he becomes a babbling, crying mess as soon as alcohol touches his lips. The Boss tells you that if he should order a Singapore Sling, you should serve him a Shirley Temple instead. Alternatively, switch a Cinderella for a Margarita.
- CLANNAD: Nagisa Furukawa turns love-love-jealous-drunk in the instant she drinks a cup of sake. Hilarity Ensues.
- Both Mary Clarissa and Angie in Shikkoku No Sharnoth have next to no alcohol tolerance. When Angie is described as getting drunk quicker than even Mary, who is tipsy after a single drink, you know it must be bad.
- Chris in Maji De Watashi Ni Koi Shinasai pretty much gets instantly inebriated whenever the Kawakami Water comes out. Played for hilarious effect in her own route, where it leads to a threesome with Margit.
- Walky from It's Walky! gets really drunk after a sip of beer. His sister Sal is shown to have the same problem in a following strip. As stated by Joyce, it's a family trait...
- Jimmy from the Filipino newspaper and web comic Beerkada is so bad at holding anything even remotely resembling liquor that he gets tipsy from shandy.
- Subverted in Questionable Content. Strips #718 - 719 has Faye (and later the rest of the cast) getting hammered from a few sips of bourbon. It is discovered almost immediately that the drink was no ordinary bourbon. Not to mention the bottle was glowing. It came in it's own metal case.
- Justified for Tai, who is simply so small that it doesn't take much.
- Steve gets homo tendencies when drunk, usually for an unamused Marten. In one such case, Jeph's rant at the bottom of the page mentions that Steve only had two drinks.
- Florence from Freefall has a very low alcohol tolerance as confirmed by Word of God, which makes this punchline even funnier
- In Mindmistress, the title character once got drunk with only one cup of alcohol.
- In season 2 of Sidekicks Lamia gets drunk enough to pass out after taking a single swig from her hip flask.
- The Keidrans in TwoKinds have this problem. They get completely smashed off a mouthful or two of normal Ale (Which is actually a very weak liquor). Side effects may include talking like LOLCats.
- In Seekers Giselda passes out after one cup of straight liquor.
- Bittersweet Candy Bowl, Mike becomes drunk easily when accepting a bet to eat liquor candy in the confrontation arc.
- In Exiern after her transformation to a woman Tiff discovers it now only takes two drinks to get her really drunk. She doesn't see this as a bad thing though since she likes being drunk and this means she can do it more quickly.
- In Treading Ground, Aya manages to get drunk on a single O'Douls (a "beer" with only 6 proof).
- In Dubious Company, after Izor is ignored by his elite guard, he goes drinking with Tiren and Walter. When the guards return to pick him up, he's so plastered he vomits on Mary. Given how much Tiren and Walter drink, it's hard to tell whether Izor is this, or he was drunk into oblivion.
- Sunstone has Allyson who has a complete inability to keep her secrets down once she's touched alcohol, she also looses her ability to restrain the dom tendencies in her BDSM relationship with Lisa.
- PvP's Francis Ottoman had an interesting reaction to his first beer.
- The Spider-Man running joke mentioned under Comics above is referenced in I'm a Marvel... and I'm a DC, in which Spider-Man usually orders milk at the bar, and when he does drink he spends the next few episodes in a drunken stupor babbling parodies of other blockbuster movies, although it's mainly because the other heroes constantly spike his drinks in order to enjoy said parodies.
- Most of the cast of The Mad Scientist Wars is capable of slugging back drinks probably capable of killing a normal man — with one noticeable exception. Commander Primary Xerox is, surprisingly, capable of getting hammered on a half a cup of banana daiquiri. This is explained in-game however, as he has been stated to have a mild healing factor powered by an insanely high metabolism — so the alcohol is absorbed into his system faster then it should be. At least he won't get alcohol poisoning...
- The Nostalgia Critic:
Critic: The camera's purdy.
- In his It review, it's only ten minutes before his speech is slurred and he's grinning sloshedly.
- Perhaps Doug Walker himself. On the commentary for It, he says one of the very few drinking games he's tried to play in real life is the Red Dwarf drinking game (Take a shot every time Kryten explains some technobabble). He didn't make it through a single episode before puking and passing out. EgoRaptor and Rob have also said that if he had actually been drinking as the Critic, the clothes would have come off fast.
- Seemingly nobody in Petera Dzive can handle drinking booze without passing out instantly. The series exploits this for humorous effect.
- There have been Rooster Teeth Podcasts talking about the exploits of the others and these kinds of incidents. Incidents including Lindsay Jones locking out Michael Jones and Gavin Free while she slept in their hotel room, Gavin drunkenly hitting on Monty Oum, Gus Sorola losing to Michael in an arm wrestling and declaring "I HAVE NO DICK!" and Matt Hullum paying for everyone's dinner and ending up broke for it.
- In Inspector Gadget, the title character once got drunk from a small cup of soda. On the other hand, later in the series, he's shown drinking from a pint of beer with no problems—that spiked soda could have been something much stronger.
- Peter Griffin from Family Guy has gotten drunk from drinking a sip of Communion wine (which is very watered down in some places, although other parishes use nearly-neat fortified wine with only a symbolic drop of water) and has passed out from taking one lick of butter rum ice cream, just to name a few examples. The weird thing about Peter is that once he does get drunk, he sort of plateaus and doesn't appear to get any drunker no matter how much he has.
- Stan Smith in American Dad! turns out to be such in one episode where he starts insisting Francine make him a martini every day after work. Granted a martini is a fairly strong cocktail as she warns him.
- Jay Sherman (and Marty) from The Critic. When they went to France, a waiter offered them a small glass of wine. Cut to a few minutes later, with the glass still almost full, but both plastered.
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: Scratch and Grounder collapse after sharing a bottle of alcohol in a Sonic Sez.
- Metalocalypse: Pickles, despite his reputation for being The Stoner in the band, and even being completely immune to the negative side effects to one of the most deadly (fictional) drugs ever created, can't drink much without getting completely wasted. In fact, he had to be sent to rehab — not for his massive drug abuse, but because he can't drum with a measly few beers in him.
- Parodied in an episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, where Buster, Plucky, and Hamton split a single beer, and proceed to go on a drunken bender that ends with a car going off a cliff. It was pretty much a spoof of Anvilicious Drugs Are Bad stories.
- Spoofed in The Annoying Orange, "Grapes of Wrath", when the gang visits a vineyard. Dane is seen getting "drunk" on grape preserves.
- One common side effect of giving blood is to have one's tolerance significantly lowered, therefore it is not uncommon for regular drinkers to get drunk off only a few drinks after.
- Somewhat Truth in Television: about half of the population of people of Asian descent suffers from "Asian Flush," an inability to properly break down alcohol. Although they don't actually get drunk faster, a mere one or two drinks can lead to "nausea, headaches, light-headedness, an increased pulse, occasional extreme drowsiness, and occasional skin swelling and itchiness," which can be confused with being drunk. It's theorized that East Asians are less likely to express the genes responsible for making the enzymes that break down alcohol because traditionally East Asian civilizations boil water to make it drinkable, whereas Western ones add alcohol. Also true of Native Americans.
- Under the right circumstances even experienced drinkers can pass out after a couple of mouthfuls of wine. A good way to get into serious trouble is to not eat or drink anything during a whole day, get a lot of exercise then drink some alcohol. Dehydration will make your blood alcohol content shoot through the roof and you'll be wasted after twenty minutes. At this point, if you don't drink any water, you'll start feeling very bad indeed (initial dehydration + usual effects of the drinks + alcohol-induced dehydration = high probability of passing out).
- Your blood alcohol content can also increase for a given amount of drinking if you have less blood—e.g. after significant bleeding or, more commonly, after donating blood. Hence the practice of some young daredevils of giving blood and promptly finding something to drink (for the higher intoxication), despite the fact that this is the exact opposite of what all of modern medicine says you should do.
- This can also happen to normal people who make the mistake of drinking before or during an airplane ride. The lesser air pressure exacerbates the effects of alcohol. On lesser scale, the same thing happens to people who come to Denver and drink at ski resorts. Many people also intentionally get themselves plastered before/during the flight, because they either are afraid of flying, or simply get quickly bored of sticking in the uncomfortable seat watching the same dumb movies for hours. In fact, if you're in business class, the drinks before or during are often free... and why let free drinks go to waste?
- The airlines know this and generally prefer their passengers drunk and asleep over long flights.
- Ulysses S. Grant, despite his reputation as constantly drinking, was more likely this trope, which earned him the nickname of "One Beer Grant." He did however smoke like a chimney.
- Bees, as we learn from the MythBusters, get drunk from being sprayed with vodka. This is because insects don't have lungs. Insects have pores throughout their body called spiracles so they can directly supply oxygen to their body. While quite efficient, it has an unfortunate side effect of rapidly allowing chemicals into their body when coated. This is why bug spray is so effective.
Tory: Oh, it's terrible! They're drunk!
- In certain parts of Texas scorpions are very common, and if people catch them, they like to put two together in a box, and pour a bit of beer on them. The result? DRUNKEN SCORPION DEATHMATCH.
- People that have had gastric bypass surgery absorb alcohol into their systems faster than they used to.
- Similarly, people who have lost significant amounts of weight in a short time period will often find that their alcohol tolerance has gone down, because there's simply less of them there to absorb the alcohol.
- Can be seen in people who are used to drinking one type of alcoholic beverage who try another one with a higher alcohol content but a similar taste: they'll drink at the pace they are used to which is too high for what they are actually drinking. Odd-40% alcohol beers Schorschbock and Sink The Bismark are not meant to be drunk in one gulp like people do with ordinary beers, which is a bit natural since they have the potency of malt whiskey.
- After having an extreme case of Glandular Fever (mononucleosis, "mono", or the kissing disease to Leftpondians) a person will find out that they have a lower tolerance to alcohol.
- Dave Mustaine was kicked out of Metallica because unlike the other members of the band (who were "fun" drunks), Dave was a mean, violent drunk who liked to start fights with people when he was intoxicated. It got him fired twice; once for violently attacking Hetfield and McGovney and threatening Ulrich in a dispute over his dog (granted, Hetfield did himself no favors by kicking said dog after it scratched up McGovney's car; nonetheless, Mustaine was allowed back in the day after), and a second and final time due to his excessive drinking, drug problems, proclivity for violence, and exceedingly abrasive personality. His actions also led to McGovney leaving, as he drunkenly poured beer down the neck and into the pickups of McGovney's bass, shocking him when he later tried to play it; this resulted in McGovney kicking Mustaine out of his house and opting to leave the band not long after.
- While no specific names were mentioned, Davide Billia and Paolo Chiti left Putridity at the same time after a long history of inter-band tensions caused by at least one member being a mean, violent drunk culminated in a weekend that was supposed to be devoted to hanging out and practicing but wound up going so poorly that Billia and Chiti quit on the spot and drove four hours home rather than subject themselves to one more second of abuse.
- It wasn't mentioned in the press release, but a heated Facebook exchange with Brent Purgason revealed that this was why Kim Dylla was fired from GWAR. She apparently had a major problem with not knowing her limits and would regularly drink massive amounts of alcohol before going onstage, where she would invariably perform very poorly because she was completely fucked up (fans who saw them during her time as Vulvatron noticed that she was slurring her words, visibly staggering, and often could not lift her own props), and the final straw was when she broke a rib onstage while in a drunken stupor. As the argument spiraled on, her attempts to rationalize what she could and downplay what she couldn't dug her deeper and made it plainly obvious that she had a serious drinking problem and was in complete denial. A very messy recent incident where she drunkenly assaulted Danny Leal from Upon a Burning Body and completely fabricated most of her side of the story to make herself look better has not helped her case.
- Toshi of X Japan is the "passing out" version of the trope: He's said in interviews that he likes beer but falls asleep after two. Possibly a case of Cursed with Awesome or Blessed with Suck, because his bandmates had far worse alcohol problems.
- People on antidepressants and anti-anxylitics find out pretty quickly that they can no longer tolerate liquor. People on MAOIs should completely avoid liquor because of this. SSRIs merely make alcohol absorption more efficient.
- People taking lithium for bipolar disorder are commonly told to avoid alcohol. It's not that it makes getting drunk easier, it just makes the hangover worse — dehydration (a normal side effect of too much booze) throws lithium levels out of whack.
- Certain mushrooms, such as the inky cap, can destroy one's alcohol tolerance for a few hours after consumption.