Can't Hold His Liquor

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Marty McFly: How many did he have?
Bartender: Just one.
Marty McFly: Just one? Come on, Doc!
Bartender: There's a fella that can't hold his liquor.

Back to The Future Part III
"It's sad when the Straight Edge guy makes fun of the amount of liquor you cannot hold."
CM Punk on B-Boy, ROH: Straight Shootin' with CM Punk and Samoa Joe

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 drinking poison, because this is primarily a comedy trope.

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.

Of course, this is often also a case of Truth in Television.

Examples of Can't Hold His Liquor include:

Anime and Manga

  • Even though Dr. Hell from Mazinger Z tends a 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 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.
  • 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...
  • 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. 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).
  • Super Robot Wars has two examples: Sanger Zonvolt, a well-built German samurai, will faint at the slightest taste of alchohol. Then there's Tetsuya Onodera, Executive Officer of the Hagane; after drinking a glass of sake with Captain Daitetsu, he gets sick during an enemy attack and must give command to Bridge Bunny Eita until the captain returns.
  • The Oni aliens in Urusei Yatsura are extremely sensitive to alcohol, no matter the amount. Lum, for example, once got famously smashed from eating umeboshi (pickled plums on sake).
  • Van in Gun X 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 Sousuke 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 Cant 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.
  • 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 sake.
  • 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, seen here. At least she's a happy drunk.
  • 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.
  • 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!"

Comic Books

  • 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. [dead link]
  • In an X-Men comic book detailing the origin of movie Rogue, she gets drunk just by touching a drunk trucker.
  • In Asterix, 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.

Fan Works

  • 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.


  • The page quote comes from Back to The Future Part III. 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.
  • Roger Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? literally becomes a steam whistle after a single shot of bourbon. Eddie even exploits this in the middle of the film, to distract the villains.
  • 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."
  • 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.
  • Dick (Jim Carrey) in the 2000s remake of Fun with Dick and Jane. "He only had half a beer!"
  • 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, as well as experiencing a heck of a hangover in the 1990s movie.
    • A horrendous hangover was strongly implied in the original book, in the scene where the other animals are told that Napoleon was dying and had issued a decree that alcohol consumption was to be punished by death.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Zigzagged with Fitz, from the Doctor Who Eighth Doctor Adventures. 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.
  • The Oompa Loompas in the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Given the sounds from them coming from the room where Butterscotch and Buttergin are made, they seem a little too fond of it.

Live-Action TV

  • Babylon 5:
    • Vir is different from most other Centauri in the fact that he doesn't handle liquor very 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 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,[1] 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 Fresh Prince of Bel Air is known to get drunk off of a single scoop of rum raisin ice cream.
  • 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 episode (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.
  • The trope shows up twice in Star Trek: Voyager:
    • Seven of Nine from 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 get 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 was developed.
  • The title character of Monk got drunk from a few sips of wine.
  • Variation/Referenced 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?
Fred: Nothing.
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. JD, Turk, and Elliot are out drinking. Elliot proclaims "I have magic breasts," and passes out at the bar.

JD: 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.
  • 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 vicodin.

Sheldon (waking up after his award speech where he drank some wine): "Where are my pants?"
Leonard: "Check YouTube."

  • My Name Is Earl: Randy is perfectly competent after four beers—but after number five...
  • Ted of How I Met Your Mother can ordinarily hold his beer just fine, but get five shots in him and he's gone. How bad is it? After a particularly bad night with several unidentified shots, he ends up getting a tramp stamp.
  • In an episode of The Honeymooners, Alice claimed that Ralph once got a three-day hangover from a slice of rum cake. (That is nearly impossible, because prepared rum cake has virtually no alcohol in it. The amount of rum that is used to make it is small, and most of that 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".
  • Major Frank Burns in M*A*S*H freely admits he cannot hold it. Beer also goes through his system very fast, a trait that Hawkeye and BJ exploit in one episode to get a urine sample from him.


  • The Navy Lark's Sub-Lieutenant Phillips, drunk beyond belief on half a Lemonade Shandy.


  • In Shakespeare's Othello, Cassio can't hold his liquor, but Iago pressures him into toasting Othello. Turns out Cassio is a violent drunk and the resulting fights with Roderigo and Montano lead to Othello firing Cassio. Readers will know that this is actually part of Iago's Evil Plan.

Video Games

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • An Avatar of Boris in Kingdom of Loathing cannot drink past five Drunkenness. Boris's alcohol tolerance was very low.
  • Super Mario Bros:
    • They don’t have this in the American version, but in Wario Land 2, there’s a penguin-like enemy that throws beer in Wario’s face, which causes him to get plastered rather quickly. (Meaning Wario fits this Trope to a T, seeing as he’s a big guy, and beer is, at most, 5% alcohol.) Incidentally, the American version has the bird throw a bomb at him; clearly, the censors think bombs are okay, but drunkenness is not.
    • Believe it or not, Princess Peach fits too, and wine is something you should keep away from her. (No, this is not from a fan art version.) In Super Mario Kart, they give the winner a bottle of champagne; they don’t drink it in the American version, but they do in the original Japanese. Bowser even gulps the entire bottle, but seeing as he’s a huge turtle-monster, he doesn’t even get tipsy. Peach, on the other hand, if she’s the winner, does the same thing, and gets seriously soused. (Champagne is about 12% alcohol content, by the way; this scene comes as a shock to any American player.)
  • You have to wonder why Tiki in Dragon's Crown even tries to drink, seeing as she’s a tiny little fairy; even one goblet of wine would likely make her pass out. And it does. Every time you go to see her in the tavern, she’s passed out in the half-empty goblet of the wine she tried to drink, drunk. What's worse, it's your drink; and she's not going to give it back. Fairies make for mean drunks it seams.

Visual Novels

  • Clannad: Nagisa Furukawa turns love-love-jealous-drunk in the instant she drinks a cup of sake. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Both Mary 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.

Web Comics

  • Walky from Its 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.
  • Florence from Freefall has a very low alcohol tolerance as confirmed by Word of God, which makes this punchline even funnier
  • In Mind Mistress, the title character once got drunk with only one cup of alcohol.
  • 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 a Lolcat.
  • 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.

Web Original

  • 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:
    • In his IT review, it's only ten minutes before his speech is slurred and he's grinning sloshedly.

Critic: The camera's purdy.

    • 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. 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.

Western Animation

  • 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 by the way) 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.
  • 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.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Depending on the Writer, Ned Flanders from In some episodes, he can drink beer with no problem and even has his own tap in his house. In others, he's far too pious to touch the stuff, and in one story, gets blind stinking drunk from a wine spritzer.
    • Regardless of the writer, however, booze is something you should never let Marge near. Period. Once she starts, she can't stop, and is even more of an embarrassment than Homer is while drunk.
    • In "Burns, Baby, Burns", Smithers believes Mr. Burns' son Larry (played marvelously by the late comedian Rodney Dangerfield) acts oddly due to his "truly heroic intake of cocktails".
  • While the tolerance limit for a 1,200 lb Funny Animal horse is clearly much higher than a human's, BoJack Horseman is almost always above it.

Real Life

  • 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 the day they give blood.
  • 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).
  • 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?
  • 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 is 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. Unless you're a rock singer, that case being you're advised to do just so.
  • 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.
  1. (though Ny-Quil is 25% alcohol by volume, so you could get drunk on the stuff)