7 TV Alcoholics Who Fell Off The Wagon

Wednesday, February 1 by Stu Moody

George Wendt as norm cheers.JPG

In this hectic workaday world, you can be forgiven for having a drink now and again. Heck, you can even have two drinks. But the world of TV is sometimes too much to bear, and so you end up seeing folks who've taken their drinking too far. Alcoholism is no laughing matter, at least not in real life, but on TV it's sometimes used to great comic effect. Other times, it's portrayed as the serious problem that it is. No matter the tone of the show, the seven TV alcoholics on this list have definitely fallen off the wagon, and it's for that reason that we remember them.

Barney Gumble, "The Simpsons"

barney gumble.jpg

Springfield's slurring souse is a mainstay at Moe's Tavern. Many suspect that he lives in the bathroom, and Moe needs to hire guards during the midnight delivery of beer, lest Barney cause all kinds of mayhem. The big thirsty teddy bear even tries to clean up his act in season eleven, but he falls off the wagon in spectacular fashion.

Norm, "Cheers"

george-wendt cheers cast.jpg

There's a reason that George Wendt's Norm is pictured at the top of this article. He's the prototypical drunk. His alcoholism isn't so raging that he's completely non-functional, but he drinks enough that his obese melancholic misery is made funnier. Norm has a permanent position at the end of the bar and in TV history, even though he can never stay on the wagon.

Don Draper, "Mad Men"

don-draper-pic mad men

Back in the era in which "Mad Men" is set, "alcoholic" was very nearly a legitimate occupation. Men seemingly could drink and dress well, and money would just flow toward them via the contacts they made at the bar. Don Draper is the embodiment of this ideal, although his alcoholism does make him a very flawed character. Those flaws make for compelling TV, but in real life we'd all be shaking our heads at how someone so sharp could let themselves fall off the wagon.

Brian Griffin, "Family Guy"

brian-griffin.jpg

Some studies have shown that intellectuals have a higher propensity for substance abuse. If there was ever proof needed of that concept, Brian Griffin would be it. Smart and well-read, Brian is also a first class drunk (and pot smoker). Brian's drunken escapades have led to Stewie's ear being devoured along with many other departures from our normative behaviors. Despite occasional efforts, Brian remains chained to the bottle.

Otis, "The Andy Griffith Show"

Otis_andy-griffith.jpg

Whenever he isn't in the drunk tank, Otis is always getting tanked up. He's forever popping in and out of jail, and his raging alcoholism is to blame. Any man with a problem so bad that he can't keep himself together in public for even a few minutes shouldn't be laughed at, but the town of Mayberry is a simple place where a wobbly drunk can be fodder for our entertainment.

Al Bundy, "Married With Children"

Al Bundy has to live a hard life. He works for about a nickel a day selling shoes to overweight women. His family is made up a ravenous leeches, and his neighbors are insufferable. He can be forgiven for drinking a little now and again, or even more than a little. But all too often, Big Al spends too much time with his bubbly, long-necked buddies, usually with his free hand stuffed down his pants. He may be an alcoholic, but can you blame him?

Homer Simpson, "The Simpsons"

homer-simpson-1-.jpg

Okay, so there's enough alcoholism in the world of Springfield to merit two entries on this list. Homer may not be on Barney's level, but his alcoholism is nothing to sneeze at. He's gotten drunk and taught his son how women are like beers ("they look good, they smell good, and you'd step over your own mother just to get one"), and he's gotten so drunk that he allowed his car to make its way to New York City with Barney at the wheel. He's had a few moments of clarity where he gave up the bottle, but he just keeps falling off that wagon. Still, with "The Simpsons" destined to run forever, he's bound to get it right someday.

Do you like this story?