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Top Fictional Functional Alcoholics

Updated on April 7, 2012

Boozehounds and Badasses

Before anyone begins hurling testimonials on the tragedies of alcoholism, I have to say that, yes, it's a terrible, crippling psychological disorder. Meanwhile, these fine fellows I am about to describe are exceptions to the rule. Drinking does not hamper their respective awesomeness; it, instead, seems to facilitate their sheer badassedry. Also, we must remember they are fictional characters, and as most of us know, each of the following portraits of manliness are fakey fakepants. Therefore, as much as we'd like to think we could drink as much as they do, in all reality, we're much more likely to wake up without pants and handcuffed to a fire hydrant than to achieve anything these men did in their fake lives. So, without further ado, I present the boozingest imbibers that got buzzed on awesome and drunk with manliness.

5) Tony Stark (Iron Man)

With the new Avengers movie coming soon to theaters -- pause for nerdgasms -- the comic book resurgence in pop culture is reaching insane levels. We must realize this phenomenon is largely due to the faces being paired with each superhero in these movies. Why did Daredevil, Ghost Rider, and Catwoman suck? A major chunk of suck can be attributed to the casting decisions of Ben Affleck, Nic "NOT THE BEES!" Cage, and Halle "your boobs were great in Swordfish" Berry in each of the respective movies mentioned above. While they each are famous in their own rights, they're not superheroes.

You may be asking, "But Jay, Robert Downey, Jr. is as much a superhero as I am a ladies man, which is not at all." To that I'd say, first don't sell yourself short; I'm sure you're quite the catch. Second, that's what is so great about Iron Man. Before the Civil War story arc in the Marvel Universe, Tony Stark/Iron Man was a relatively minor character in the big picture because he didn't fit the usual mode of superheroism. He's just a rich guy with a suit who also happens to be kind of an asshole (probably what Batman would have been if he weren't so screwed up in the head). He's not a demi-god (Thor), a super-steroid-induced-mega-soldier (Captain America), an alien (Superman), nor a genetic abomination (any X-man); he's just a guy, albeit a really, really rich guy.

As such, he's going to have real guy problems, and that's how Downey, Jr. pulls it off. The critically acclaimed "Demon in a Bottle" story arc (#120-128) shows Stark slipping into chronic alcoholism, but what no one seems to get is that this guy drank all the time, anyway. The reason this guy isn't #1 is because he did become an alcoholic, but he's a superhero, so of course he kicked the habit... to just become a functional alcoholic again. If you don't feel like sifting through the comics, just watch the two movies and drink whenever Mr. Stark drinks. See how that works out for you. We love him because he's the everyman of the Avengers. Let's not kid ourselves, if we were to have a supersuit and billions of dollars, we'd more than likely drink ourselves to death. Why? Because we can... That's why.

4) Don Draper (Mad Men)

Even for those of us who know little to nothing about the AMC series Mad Men, there is one certainty about the show: these men drink like fish. Also, I advise you not to stare too long at the image to the right lest you be whisked away by his steely gaze. Simply flipping through channels and stumbling upon your obligatory three second stop on each channel, you will find some character in Mad Men drinking, and Don Draper is king.

Granted, I don't watch as much of the show as I'd like to, but go ahead and Google "Don Draper." You don't even have to include any other information; virtually everything that pops up deals with how great of a drinker the man is. Of course, there is one socially aware blog citing him as a bad role model, but I'm guessing they would champion outlawing the Harry Potter novels because they condone witchcraft. How can he be such a functional alcoholic? Unlike us, his drinking is controlled by a group of writers who make sure he straddles that line that we all ultimately cross somewhere between social gregariousness and "Watch me shinkick that cop."

He is the quintessential businessman with the decanter constantly filled with rye bourbon and a cigar case filled with stogies of questionable legality. Deep down, every man has a fantasy of greeting a visitor by rotating in his over-sized desk chair and smugly reciting, "I've been expecting you. Have a drink?"

3) Barney Stinson (How I Met Your Mother)

Barney Stinson goes one spot ahead of Don Draper simply due to the fact that he is who Don Draper wishes he could be. Barney literally does what he wants to whomever he wants to do it to (socially, professionally... and other ways). How I Met Your Mother began as a show revolving around Ted's search for his eventual wife, but it quickly transformed into a show solely about how awesome Barney is. What often gets thrown aside is his inferred alcoholism, and how it doesn't even phase him.

Next time you watch the show, try to find scenes where he's not drinking some type of alcoholic beverage. Even when he's not having a taste of the sweet nectar, Barney will be hammering a Red Bull just to avoid any of the sedating effects his booze causes. His office tells even more about him. Don Draper may have two or three decanters waiting in his workspace, but Barney stores nearly a full bar. Google "Barney Stinson Office," and check it out for yourself. There are easily six or seven bottles on his decanter table at any given moment.

Also, try and remember an episode where he actually gets drunk. Every other character in the series eventually hits a point when he/she hits the Mel Gibson line. Still, none of them drink nearly as much as Barney. The man can hold his liquor.

2) Captain Jack Sparrow (Pirate of the Caribbean)

We steer a bit away from the rich, successful boozehounds to focus on a man whose success is not in spite of his dependence. Captain Jack Sparrow's triumphs are often a direct result of getting ripped. This swashbuckler accomplished more with a rum-induced stumble and lazy eye than any of us could hope to if we were given the wheel of the U.S.S. Arizona. When most men drink, they merely assume a pirate persona to commandeer a vacant bicycle or spout off something about "claiming the booty" of some unfortunate sorority girl. Captain Jack Sparrow gets blitzed while taking over ships and even becomes a king of a native tribe. The guy even turned down immortality.

To put this into perspective, try drinking a fifth of Captain Morgan. Done yet? Okay, now put down your phone (she doesn't want to talk to you right now). Grab the sabre you keep above your laundry room door; if you don't have a sabre above your laundry room door, a leg from your coffee table will work just fine. Walk out your front door and challenge the first passer-by to a duel. How did that work out for you? So sleep off your your embarrassment and finish my countdown later... rookie.

1) James Bond (Every Damn James Bond Movie)

Take every accolade from each of the preceding men and add them together; then, add a license to kill to that resume. What results is James Bond, the overwhelming favorite in any poll of "Man That No Man Will Ever Be As Cool As."

This man sees no inappropriate time to enjoy a vodka martini. While most seasoned drinkers will realize the rather pedestrian nature of this particular cocktail, realize this my friend: Mr. Bond drinks these at any opportune moment. Iron Man will drink when he's working or attending some rich person ball (I'm sure they have those). Don Draper and Barney Stinson will keep that eternal buzz to maintain the perfect level of awesome. Jack Sparrow blacks out only to regain cognizance when he's saved the world. 007 is the only man on this list who will deliberately out-drink you while he out-thinks you at the same time.

For example, take the iconic tuxedo-under-the-wetsuit scene from the beginning of Goldfinger. Bond's forms his plan just so that he can end up at a bar afterward. Why else would the tuxedo be necessary? He already has the wetsuit; just jump back in the water and carry on. Of course, he chooses, rather, to nonchalantly reveal his crisp tux underneath the wetsuit and jump right into the adjacent bar. I will admit that he doesn't actually drink during this scene because he had to first make out with a belly dancer and kill a man... buzzkillers.

The dry martini owes everything it ever was and is to James Bond. Without him, the drink would be languishing in the lady drink realm with the Cosmopolitan and Fuzzy Navel. Instead, simply adding "shaken, not stirred" to any drink request causes the bartender to intrinsically think the man making the order may, in fact, be James Bond. James Bond is the only man allowed to drink, kill, and sleep with women all on the company dime and be loved by every single movie-goer in the world. If you don't appreciate 007's ability to maintain a stiff buzz and outwit supervillains, you're simply un-American (even if Bond happens to be British)...


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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Where's Homer Simpson?

    • weestro profile image

      Pete Fanning 

      6 years ago from Virginia

      All great choices, when I first started watching Mad Men I was amazed by how early and often they would hit the bottle. For honorable mention, how about any Bruce Willis character from 1988-1998? Great hub, enjoyed it!

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Excellent. Keep on Hubbing, Blake4d

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Classic, that was good!


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