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Drunken Glow

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A red nose or heavy blush indicates a character is drunk.

This trope has been Launched!
Proposed By:
DaibhidC on Jun 13th 2014 at 2:39:51 PM
Last Edited By:
Snowy66 on Apr 1st 2018 at 4:14:20 PM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

How do you convey a character is drunk? Well, staggering around and slurring their words (with the occasional Alcohol Hic) is the most obvious way. If you want to be more whimsical about it, there's the Pink Elephants. If you want to get it across instantly as soon as the audience sees the person, given them a red, bulbous nose. In Japanese media, characters might get a Luminescent Blush or Blush Stickers on their cheeks instead of just a red nose.

The Truth in Television here, to a limited extent, is rhinophyma, a type of skin condition that causes growth of the nose along with redness and dilation of blood vessels. Traditionally, this has been called a "drinker's nose", but alcohol only aggravates the condition, it is not a root cause. In any event, it is a persistent condition, whereas characters in fiction will only have red noses when they're actually drunk (although for The Alcoholic, this could be all the time).

Since the exaggerated fictional version is a rather "cartoony" concept, it's largely a Comedy Trope. As such, it's a Sub-Trope of Gag Nose.


Examples:

Anime & Manga

  • Boruto:
    • A flashback shows Naruto being taken home drunk by most of his male friends. Not only is Naruto's face flushed but his entire face is pink. Several of the others faces are pink as well. Sai even had a faint blush.
    • When Konohamaru, Moegi, and Shino are shown drinking, Konohamaru and Moegi's faces are flushed. When Hanabi starts drinking with them her face turns completely pink (as does Konohamaru's).
  • In Dragon Ball Z: Dead Zone, Gohan gets drunk from eating an apple. Aside from the half-opened dizzy eyes and hyperactive behavior, he gets a red streak over his face.
  • In One-Punch Man OVA 6, a drunk Tatsumaki is shown with a distinct drunk Blush Sticker. She's also uncharacteristically happy given her tsundere personality.

Comic Books

  • Legionary Tremensdelirius in Astérix and Caesar's Gift. Other characters in Asterix who've been drinking are sometimes show with red noses as well, but Tremensdelirius is consistently drawn with detailed pitting on his nose that really does look like rhinophyma.
  • In Chilean comic book Condorito, there's a drunken character, Garganta de Lata (lit. Tin Throat) that always is seen drunk and with the red nose. Also, characters in the comic book that were drunk (Always Male, Condorito included) also are despised with red noses.
  • Very common in Franco-Belgian Comics like Gaston Lagaffe and Lucky Luke, with alcoholic characters having deformed noses (the town drunk in Spirou and Fantasio).

Comic Strips

  • Although the line drawing means they can't actually be shown as red, drunken characters in Beau Peep are drawn with the nose shaded in.
  • When Andy Capp is shown coming home from the pub, his nose is similarly shaded.

Fan Works

Literature

  • The Black Echo by Michael Connelly : Lucius Porter, a washed-up homicide cop with a giant beer gut and an alcoholic's red nose who spends all his time drunk in bars.

Music

  • The Mitch Benn song "Red Nose in the Sunset".
    Red nose in the sunset,
    Red eyes in the rain,
    Green face in the mirror,
    Hungover again.

Video Games

Western Animation

  • On the Classic Disney Short "Alpine Climbers", Pluto falls in the snow and is rescued by a Saint-Bernard, getting drunk on the brandy in his barrel. At the end, both dogs are drunk, and their noses flash red for the Iris Out.
  • The Looney Tunes short "High Note" is about anthropomorphized musical notes, one of which gets drunk. Since the note has no face, let alone a nose, his entire "head" is red.

Feedback: 42 replies

Jun 14th 2014 at 12:21:00 AM

The flush can extend to the chest, which might be the case for Live Action examples. It's also common in anime and manga that the love interest looks cute with an alcoholic blush. Also usually only men are portrayed with just red noses while girls and Moe characters sport the Luminescent Blush version. If you're only looking for red noses, then say so, but I am all for expanding the trope to include drunk blushing in general.

Jun 14th 2014 at 1:28:35 AM

Caricatures of noted liquorist WC Fields often depict him with a red nose.

Jun 14th 2014 at 1:42:06 AM

Theater

  • The classic bulbous red nose of circus clowns was meant to convey this trope. It implies that these clowns have been drinking, and thus their judgment is fuzzy and their coordination is shot.

Jun 14th 2014 at 2:55:06 AM

  • Thirsty of the Hi and Lois newspaper comic is a heavy drinker, and is portrayed with a red nose. (Somewhat toned down in recent years.)

Jun 14th 2014 at 6:10:15 AM

Jun 14th 2014 at 8:15:07 AM

  • Mr. Snoddy in Danny The Champion Of The World has a red nose—Danny and his friend find out that this is the reason when they catch him filling the glass of "water" he keeps on the desk from a gin bottle.

Feb 15th 2015 at 1:09:59 AM

Dunno, but I've seen jokes about how Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer is actually a drunkard, referencing this trope. :P

Feb 15th 2015 at 12:46:35 PM

  • The folksong "Of All The Birds" includes the line "Cinnamon and Ginger, Nutmeg and Cloves [[note: These are traditional spices for mulling wine or cider]], that gave me my jolly red nose."

Feb 15th 2015 at 2:49:55 PM

It seems to me the bulbous red nose is used more to indicate habitual drinking than a specific instance of drunkenness.

  • In the comic strip, Hi And Lois, the resident boozehound is routinely drawn with a round, shaded nose. His name is Thurston, but he is usually called by the nickname, "Thirsty".

Feb 15th 2015 at 8:15:55 PM

Could this be generalized to Drunken Glow or something of that vein. The red may be around the nose but its fairly common for it to be the cheeks, or even the whole face.

Feb 17th 2015 at 1:56:45 AM

Very common in Franco Belgian Comics like Gaston Lagaffe and Lucky Luke, with alcoholic characters having deformed noses (the Town Drunk in Spirou And Fantasio).

Feb 17th 2015 at 4:04:45 PM

  • On the Classic Disney Short "Alpine Climbers", Pluto falls in the snow and is rescued by a Saint-Bernard, getting drunk on the brandy in his barrel. At the end, both dogs are drunk, and their noses flash red for the Iris Out.
  • The Looney Tunes short "High Note" is about anthropomorphized musical notes, one of which gets drunk. Since the note has no face, let alone a nose, his entire "head" is red.

Apr 30th 2016 at 10:55:07 AM

Compare to characters blushing in Japanese media when drunk.

Apr 30th 2016 at 1:25:01 PM

Video Games:

  • The Crusader Kings II mod "Better Looking Garbs" adds this to the appearance of a character with the "Drunkard" trait.

Apr 30th 2016 at 7:52:43 PM

This condition is also known as a "gin blossom". In fact, a picture of WC Fields in this condition is said to have inspired the name of the band The Gin Blossoms.

May 3rd 2016 at 8:52:34 PM

  • The Black Echo by Michael Connelly : Lucius Porter, a washed-up homicide cop with a giant beer gut and an alcoholic's red nose who spends all his time drunk in bars.

Jan 29th 2017 at 2:38:23 AM

So, my WMG: Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer was drunk when Santa Claus picked him to be the lead, and that's the reason why the other reindeer shunned him for being an obnoxious drunkard.

Feb 1st 2017 at 10:02:44 PM

Comic Book:

  • In Chilean comic book Condorito, there's a drunken character, Garganta de Lata (lit. Tin Throat) that always is seen drunk and with the red nose. Also, characters in the comic book that were drunk (Always Male, Condorito included) also are despised with red noses.

May 20th 2017 at 4:00:46 PM

What about flushed cheeks?

May 21st 2017 at 9:02:26 AM

^ The OP hasn't edited this for a while now.

May 21st 2017 at 9:08:57 AM

^ I noticed. But is blushing a seperate trope or not?

Jun 28th 2017 at 6:06:44 PM

I agree with changing this to "Drunken Glow" in order for it to be abouta all types of drunken flushing.

Aug 22nd 2017 at 11:49:36 AM

  • In Boruto, a flashback shows Naruto being taken home drunk by most of his male friends. Not only is Naruto's face flushed but his entire face is pink. Several of the others faces are pink as well. Sai even had a faint blush.
  • In many Harvest Moon games, if the protagonist drinks too much their face will turn bright pink.

Aug 27th 2017 at 5:34:15 PM

The creator hasn't edited this in a while, so I'm revamping it.

Aug 28th 2017 at 10:28:44 AM

Description needs revamping since it's just about the nose.

Aug 27th 2017 at 6:42:29 PM

  • In Dragon Ball Z Dead Zone, Gohan gets drunk from eating an apple. Aside from the half-opened dizzy eyes and hyperactive behavior, he gets a red streak over his face.

Aug 28th 2017 at 9:24:27 AM

There's this weird Japanese trend (as usual for Japan) where women apply blush from cheek to cheek to resemble that "drunk look".

Aug 28th 2017 at 3:50:25 PM

  • Oliver: The song "Oom-pah-pah!" refers to this in one of its lines, referring to a red nose caused by either drinking or fornication.

May I suggest that as a page quote?

"What is the cause of his red, shiny nose? Could it be oom-pah-pah?"

Nancy, Oliver, "Oom-pah-pah!"

Aug 28th 2017 at 6:29:14 PM

I think, in some older cartoons, this is sometimes paired with cross or X-shaped eyes. I'm not sure, though.

Sep 9th 2017 at 11:45:16 PM

Sep 10th 2017 at 4:20:40 AM

Anime and Manga

  • Bleach anime Season 9, Episode 168. When Captain Amagai becomes drunk after drinking a small amount of alcohol, he has a Luminescent Blush on his face.

Sep 10th 2017 at 8:55:38 AM

^^^^ It needs a note clarifying that "oom-pah-pah" is an Unusual Euphemism

Sep 10th 2017 at 9:19:07 AM

There is a newer indicator of drunkenness that I haven't seen mentioned. In WebComics several titles use three floating bubbles beside the head of the character to indicate inebriation. The bubbles are not necessarily perfectly round but hang around until the character sobers up or is completely shocked sober.

Sep 25th 2017 at 10:34:36 AM

Sep 26th 2017 at 7:44:20 AM

The Lockhorns: Whenever Leroy came home drunk from a bar, his nose was shaded to indicate flushing.

Mar 30th 2018 at 2:13:29 PM

  • Slightly Damned always has it's drunk characters blushing, the one we see it on the most is Iratu.

Apr 1st 2018 at 4:14:20 PM

That it I'm going rouge!

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