Single Malt Vision
Billy Clanton: Why, it's the drunk piano player. You're so drunk, you can't hit nothin'. In fact, you're probably seeing double.
"Well, lookee here, two sets a' twins!"Booze makes you see double (or triple, quadruple, or more, especially if Rule of Funny is in effect), and sometimes the drunk will assume both of whatever he's looking at are real. A variant has the drunk afflicted with double-vision trying to interact with "the one in the middle" (although since most people only have two eyes, normally you'd only see two of whatever it is). Generally a Discredited Trope nowadays. For hallucinating things that actually aren't there while under the influence, see Pink Elephants.
— Town Drunk from Fable II
- René Goscinny liked using this joke, especially when he was writing Lucky Luke or Astérix.
- One Lucky Luke story has the stagecoach horses get drunk. Later one says he's going to pass straight between the tombstones, ramming it head-on.
- Also a running gag in Jommeke, where almost every character that first encounters the twins Annemieke and Rozemieke assumes that he is seeing double.
- In one Tintin book the Thompson Twins gets angry at Captain Haddock for getting drunk again. Thanks to this trope he sees himself being shouted at by four identical people, and retreats to his bunk complaining about being outnumbered.
- In It's A Wonderful Life, when a very humorously drunk Uncle Billy asks George Bailey which hat he should take while leaving a party, George suggests "the middle one".
- Later, during the "Pottersville" segment, George asks a homeowner whose tree he drove into in the real world what happened to his car. Examining his undamaged tree and smelling booze on George's breath, the man cracks, "You must mean two other trees."
- In Tombstone, Doc Holiday says he has two guns, one for each of the outlaw he needs to shoot.
- Near the climax of Jumpin Jack Flash, Terri staggers back in to her job at the bank, having recently been drugged by one of the bad guys. Her boss informs her that she has managed to "shatter the Guinness record for tardiness", to which she replies...
Terri: *giggles* I'm not gonna say anything. Well, maybe one or two things. C'mere. All six of you, come here!
- Played disconcertingly straight in North By Northwest - after Cary Grant is force-fed a quart of whiskey and put behind the wheel of a car, he's trying to escape his pursuers, and seeing the road before him go two different directions.
- In Red Cliff, envoy Jiang Gan sees double after drinking with his old friend Zhou Yu. In this state, he overhears a plot for two admirals to betray Cao Cao by either sending supplies to his enemies or killing him.
- Father Ted: When Father Jack sobers up for the first time in years in "Cigarettes, Alcohol and Rollerblading", he looks up at Ted and Dougal and asks "Where are the other two?"
- In Coupling: Season 3 episode 4. In Sally's version of the story, she sees Patrick and a friend of his get their coats to leave. In Patrick's version, this is revealed to just be double vision of him getting his coat.
- In an episode of Cybill, Lady Drunk Maryanne is trying to get information out of a guy nearly twice her size by matching him shot-for-shot. She wins, but when Cybill comes over and asks her if she did it, she very calmly stands up and replies, "I know everything. And as soon as we get home, (points to Cybill) I'm gonna tell you... (points to Cybill's left) and you... (points to Cybill's right) but not you."
- Supernatural. Lampshaded in "Frontierland" when Sam goes back in time to meet Samuel Colt, bringing Colt's own diary as proof as his claim. Looking at the two diaries, Colt says he's either drank too much or not enough.
- A Tourist's Guide to Lancre, in its description of a pleasant walk through the Lancre fells, advises those who started with a drop of scumble at the Goat & Bush to take the middle path.
- In Life The Universe And Everything, a very drunk Zaphod is amazed to see Trillian sit on her own lap, before banging his heads together trying to get all four (justified: four eyes = four images) of her to resolve into one image.
- A variation on this is described as a story in one of the old Dark Sun Dungeons & Dragons setting books. In it a half-giant is persuaded to drink less alcohol in a night, but gets in trouble on his first night doing so. The reason being that when he was more drunk and heading home, he always knew to take the middle road of the three he saw. After drinking less, he only saw two and didn't know which was correct. Which eventually gets him poisoned and robbed by a passing Elf.
- In Fallout 2, in New Reno you meet Father Tully, a Christian priest. He is totally drunk, and your character can ask him how many fingers he sees... Of course he sees 6 fingers.
- In Fallout: New Vegas, you can challenge Cass to a Drinking Contest to snap her out of drowning her sorrow over her lost caravan. This involves 12 bottles of whiskey and a check against your Endurance score. Beating her with 10 Endurance results in this trope, followed by her being pissed off because she lost at whiskey drinking, previously stated to be her forte.
Cass: Enough! All five... four... ALL OF YOU! Shit.
- Bob and George: George thinks he gets the same effect from dizziness; then, he admits his imprisonment has driven him insane.
- Inverted in Eerie Cuties. When Chloe gets drunk at the slumber party, her vision improves!
- 8-Bit Theater: Hey, I've got two knives. One for each of you.
- Penny Arcade: A variant. Gabe starts seeing multiples of things not because he's drunk, but because he cut his hand open.
- A slight variation on the trope (in this case, it's a played-straight version of the trope Concussions Get You High), in one episode of Looney Tunes Pepe Le Pew is struck on the head with a club several times by the cat he is always pursuing, causing him to see six of her. He replies afterwards, "The one in the middle may remain; the rest of you, another day."
- The Simpsons: In "Homie The Clown" this joke is subverted. When Homer, dressed as Krusty, enters a scene where the real Krusty is being threatened by gangsters, one of the criminals mutters: "I'm seeing double... four Krustys!"
- Daria: On the season two episode "The Daria Hunter," Jake and Mr DeMartino are getting drunk on whiskey and talking about their messed-up childhoods. When Helen comes in and shrieks that Jake is drunk, Jake laughs that he's not, followed by a cut to his POV where there are two blurry visions of Helen.
- Played with in Moral Orel.note We see Clay's point of view (he's not actually that drunk at this point) in which he sees both Block and Shapey. Having assumed Block was Shapey the whole time, he thinks he sees two of the same kid and shrugs it off.
- From an Emo Phillips standup routine: "She sends me to the principal, and I get to his office and I sit down and he looks at me and says, 'Emo, Emo, Emo.' I said, 'I'm the one in the middle, you drunken slob.'"
- This is the basis for the alleged "two hats" cure for the flu: put a hat on your nightstand, go to bed with a bottle of scotch, and keep drinking it until there are two hats on your nightstand.