7 best TV characters who are technically alcoholics

Jeff Wysaski


It’s pretty common knowledge that the most compelling TV characters always have a character flaw. In many cases, this character flaw involves the heavy ingestion of alcohol. While alcoholism may not be so much fun in real life, it can add quite a lot to the charm and likability of a TV character. As such, below are our seven favorite alcoholics from TV shows.

Photo credit: YouTube/AMC

7 Norm – Cheers

If you go to a bar and “everyone knows your name,” then it’s pretty safe to say that you’re an alcoholic. And when it comes to Norm, he may as well have a mailbox set up at Cheers, because he lives there 24/7. Never without beer in hand, it’s clear that Norm is having quite the love affair with lady alcohol (his poor wife never sees him). Plus when Sam asks Norm what he’d like, Norm answers, “A reason to live. Give me a beer.”

6 Bender – Futurama

Ah yes, everyone’s favorite party robot certainly loves him some alcohol. While most alcoholics don’t have an excuse for all that binge drinking, Bender actually requires the sweet stuff to operate properly. Despite his typical carousing, theft of personal belongings and downright dirty nature, there’s just something about Bender that makes all his faults forgivable.

5 Abby – ER

Compared to sitcoms, it’s a lot harder for drama TV characters to pull off the lovable alcoholic role. Certainly, all that stark reality and lack of witty one-liners serves to reduce the potential for likability. However, Abby Wyczenski (played by Maura Tierney) proves it is quite possible. As a recovering alcoholic, her struggle to stay sober served as a major plot point throughout her years on ER.

4 Ed McMahon – The Tonight Show

Ed McMahon is the only non-fictional TV personality to make the list. Back when The Tonight Show was still run by Johnny Carson, the world of late-night was pretty much fueled by alcohol. Carson routinely quipped that old Eddie was sipping booze from his cup throughout the show. The fact that McMahon would eventually become a spokesperson for Budweiser only served to bolster his street cred in the world of alcohol.

3 Lucille Bluth – Arrested Development

The world’s worst mother can rarely be seen without a cocktail in her hand. With her scathing tongue and constant backhanded compliments, it would be easy to hate Lucille. However, somehow all that alcohol seems to chill her ice heart out a bit and her seem more harmless. In a classic scene, her daughter Lindsay sums her mother’s love for alcohol up in one clever line: “Did you enjoy your meal, mom? You drank it fast enough.”

2 Don Draper – Mad Men

Don Draper, it would seem, is one of the most flawed TV characters on TV. However, the writers of Mad Men balance things perfectly to keep him in a positive light. As a 1960s ad exec, alcoholism is pretty much a way of life in Don’s industry. Forever reaching for his favorite drink – the Old Fashioned – Don clearly uses alcohol as a way to escape from his real problems.

1 Homer Simpson – The Simpsons

“To alcohol! The cause of, and solution to, all of life’s problems.” In the world of booze, Homer Simpson is king. Over the past two decades, Homer has proven that he simply can’t get enough of that wonderful Duff. Some of his greatest moments occur while hanging out at Moe’s or being sloshed out of his mind. Despite it all, he finds the occasional moment to snuggle with his wife or give his kids some bad parenting advice (To Bart: “You tried your best and you failed miserably. The lesson is: never try”).

comment on this story

blog comments powered by Disqus