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Basically, this is the opposite of ~Can't Hold His Liquor~. A character drinks alcohol, often in excess, but never shows any of the signs of inebriation. If everyone else is getting plastered, this character is sitting comfortably out of the way and enjoying the show, completely sober. And they never have to deal with a hangover. Ever. There are no specific types of characters that fit this, but there are a few variations:

  1. This is when a character is usually sober, serious, or calm. He's the type most likely to sit in an unobtrusive corner and make sure that the silly drunkards don't hurt themselves. Usually the realm of The Stoic, The Spock, The Comically Serious, the Only Sane Man, etc.
  2. This is when a character is usually strange to begin with. But although you would expect him to go straight to Mushroom Samba-land when he drinks, he never acts any different from usual. Often the realm of the Cloudcuckoolander, the Genki Girl (or Keet, if it's a guy) or the Idiot Hero. An occasionally seen variant is the character who gets more sensible when he's had a few.
  3. Because of the person's physiology, he either (a) needs to drink huge amounts to get drunk, or (b) plain can't get drunk. Common among elves for some reason.

Note that not everyone falls into type 1, 2 or 3. Also, types 1 & 2 are for people who have no explanation given for why they don't get drunk, other than 'unusually high tolerance'. If an explanation is given, then he is automatically type 3a or 3b. Some people are perfectly normal, and not on either end of the Sliding Scale of Silliness Versus Seriousness, and have no "logical" reason for their strange sobriety.

Surprisingly, Bottle Fairies rarely fall under this trope.

Contrast Drunk on Milk. For someone who Never Gets Drunk simply because they don't drink at all, see The Teetotaler.

Examples of Never Gets Drunk include:


Type 1

Anime and Manga

  • Zoro from One Piece drinks a lot, but never gets inebriated. He has to fake being drunk at Whiskey Peak in order to fool their foes.
    • Nami is similar, but does actually get drunk (as shown by her blush, slightly blurred talking and that she's laughing at Luffy when he eats too much while she would usually hit him), however she outdrinks 14 people first. The trope is almost played straight later because she just had to sleep for an hour at most, then she wake up sober and without a hangover, which might be just as awesome as not getting drunk at all.
  • Cho Hakkai is a type 1. There was an episode involving a Drinking Contest and while the rest of the town is passed out (Sanzo and Gojyo too), Hakkai has only just gotten buzzed, expressing disappointment in the wine.

 "I've never seen Cho get drunk before"

"And you never will"

Comic Books

Film

  • Oskar Schindler in Schindler's List. He's is a hard drinker with an extremely high tolerance for alcohol, allowing him to stay level-headed when he goes out drinking with Nazis. Truth in Television.
  • Averted with Jason in Mystery Team.
  • The American team in Beerfest spends a year training for an international drinking games competition. As a result they all develop such high alcohol tolerances that it's nearly impossible for them to get drunk on beer alone (one team member who is trying to get drunk ends up chugging a bottle of schnapps because beer just isn't potent enough).
  • In the recent animated Wonder Woman film, Diana is shown to have a much higher tolerance for alcohol than her human companion, and scoffs at the idea of him trying to keep pace with her while drinking.
  • In Captain America the First Avenger, Cap's metabolism is so high that he can't get drunk. This makes Drowning My Sorrows pretty much impossible for him.
  • This trope seems to get zig zagged in the Lord of the rings live action series.
  • The Lord of the rings series seems to zig zag on this:
    • In Return of the king Legolas and Gimli engage in a drinking game. The result being Gimli getting totally plastered and passing out while Legolas only experiences a slight tingling sensation in his fingers.
    • However, The Hobbit: The desolation of Smaug depicts a pair of elves passed out drunk. What these examples suggests is that elves can get drunk but have a very high tolerance for alcohol and that elvish wines are simply a lot more potent than what humans or Dwarves usually drink.

Literature

  • Lord Vetinari in Unseen Academicals plays with it a bit. After spending the night drinking beer with football enthusiasts (many of whom had passed out by the time the feast was winding down) and at the very least matching them by glass with equal-strength drinks, he appears to be very much a straight example of the trope. However, he also becomes rather more talkative than usual, he stubs his toe shortly afterwards, and the morning after it takes him roughly 50 seconds longer than usual to solve the crossword puzzle in the Times. He even cops to having to look up a few words in the dictionary. Vetinari eventually admits he was drunk, but he's also very good at acting sober.
  • In Witches Abroad Granny Weatherwax downs a bottle of absinthe under the impression that it's an herbal drink, and complains of feeling "a bit woozy".
  • The Three Musketeers: Athos is described as having the capacity of four men, but hardly shows it. It takes a two week binge of ten bottles a day for us to see him unsteady on his feet. Even then, he can tell an I Have This Friend story almost perfectly.

Live-Action TV

  • Spock himself is a mix of types 1 and 3 of this.
  • Jamie Hyneman is apparently a types 1 & 3 as well:

 Adam: So we've had 13 drinks over 3 hours. I know I'm drunk, but I can't even remotely tell that you're drunk. It's kind of annoying. I want to see you put a lampshade on your head or something.

Jamie: Sorry, bub!

    • Jamie is drunk, medically speaking. His mannerisms just don't change...much. They do change a bit, though; in the Driving Blind myth, after having a few drinks, his first suggestion to the blind driver is "floor it!", and he doesn't guide the blind driver as well as he did when sober. To clarify: when Jamie was sober, the blind driver did okay; when Jamie (but not the driver) was drunk, the blind driver drove as if he was drunk.
      • Kind of an inversion of type 2, really. He's always mellow and mumbly, so it's just hard to notice the effects of alcohol...
  • Cheers was a show about characters who spent all their time drinking in a bar, but we rarely saw anyone get drunk. The implication is that the regulars go to the bar to relax in each others' company rather than to get hammered. Norm Peterson would have been an obvious alcoholic if he'd ever been shown intoxicated.
  • Al Swearengen in Deadwood is frequently shown drinking shots of hard alchohol, sometimes straight from the bottle, yet he never acts inebriated, much less drunk. In a filmmaker's commentary, some of the cast point out what incredible volumes of alchohol some characters in the show drink.

Real Life

  • Oskar Schindler used his high tolerance for alchohol to his advantage in Nazi Germany. He befriended a number of Nazis by going out drinking with them, but always kept his wits about him while the Nazis got sloshed.

Type 2

Anime and Manga

  • Shigure from Fruits Basket is seen sipping sake, and notes that he does not get drunk.
    • Although it's noted that even if he was drunk, nobody would be able to tell since he always acts silly.
  • Xerxes Break in Pandora Hearts can't get drunk, but pretends to do so to go along with everyone else.
  • Taeko from Ai Yori Aoshi has a ridiculously high tolerance which surprises even Tina.
  • Tylor of Irresponsible Captain Tylor can go drink for drink with the ship's doctor, who is The Alcoholic and has pretty much been drinking his entire life. This kind of quality is in keeping with Tylor being Born Lucky and possibly using Obfuscating Stupidity. However, he does get really drunk once in the series in a Drowning My Sorrows moment.

Live-Action TV

  • In one episode of WKRP in Cincinnati, Johnny Fever participates in an on-air experiment to show the dangers of drunk driving. He takes a simple test to measure his reaction time while sober then repeats it several times, drinking beer between the tests. Ordinarily, reaction time is slower the more alcohol you consume, but somehow Johnny's reflexes are faster the drunker he gets.
  • Bernice Cliffton of Designing Women has an "arterial flow problem" that normally interferes with her grasp on logic and reality, but alcohol makes her more lucid. She usually doesn't drink for specifically that reason, but she does get drunk for her competency hearing just in case.

Webcomics

Type 3

Anime and Manga

  • 3b: Belldandy from Ah! My Goddess. Alcohol might as well be water for all the effect it has on her. She will, however, get plastered... on soda. She's a Viking goddess - booze was basically water to them (safer than straight water), but they didn't have carbination on longships.
    • Urd, meanwhile, seems able to get wasted on sake. Then again, she's only half-goddess.
  • Apparently, Claymores don't get drunk unless they want to, which results in Deneve and Clare being completely sober (despite Deneve drinking quite a bit more than should be possible), while Helen descends right into Happy Drunk land.
  • 3a: Noa Izumi from Patlabor. Her family owns a liquor store in Hokkaido and she started drinking earlier to keep company to them and their clients and friends, so she's used to even the hardest stuff. The discovery brings the other Bottle Fairy of the group, Kanuka Clancy, to tears.
  • 3b: Major Kusanagi from Ghost in the Shell. Her artificial body is immune to poisons, including alcohol.
    • Batou is the same way because he's heavily cyborged.
      • The same applies to both of them. They can get drunk if they like, but they can decide to stop being drunk in the matter of seconds.
  • Two episodes of Darker Than Black revolve around how Blessed with Suck type 3 can be if you really, really need to get drunk -- Huang has an extremely high tolerance for alcohol and it takes a lot of alcohol to get him drunk, which is a problem when he's had a life so crappy that being able to Drown Your Sorrows would be a blessing.
  • 3a: Rock and Revy from Black Lagoon. No one expected Rock to be able to hold his own in a drinking match with Revy right from the start. Rock's tolerance is due to heavy exposure to alcohol both at college and at his previous employer. As for Revy, she simply seems to be a heavy drinker.
  • Sora no Woto's Kureha is given this trait during the team's training exercise where they all drink (accidentally?). She isn't the least bit pleased about it. She also fits as a type 1, since (besides Rio), she's the most conventional trooper in the platoon.
  • In Suzumiya Haruhi, Nagato seems resistant or immune to alcohol. Not shown in the anime, due to rules against drinking, but shown in the light novels (Kyon noted that she drank champagne "like a whale") and made very obvious in the manga, where Koizumi asks her if she can really handle that amount. The justification is that she's not really human, so the likelihood is she's 3b rather than 3a.
  • 3a: Vash the Stampede only appears to get a hangover after downing "a few dallons" (let's just say a lot of bottles) the previous night, and what happens while he's drunk? His shooting gets better because his stupor actually interferes with his Obfuscating Stupidity. That said, he seems just fine a little later, and in another scene in an earlier episode, after an apparent big bash, he appears to snap to sobriety quite quickly once they put him to bed, so it's hard to say just how much of his drunkenness is an act.
  • Reim Lunettes qualifies for type 3a, as him getting drunk is a rare enough occurrence to be considered a topic of talk in the organization he works in.
  • Yuutaro Katori from The Brave Fighter of Sun Fighbird is a Type 3b, being a Ridiculously-Human Robot. In the Christmas Episode, the already sloshed Satsuda and Hiroshi hand him a big cup of wine and he simply drinks the contents as if it was water.

Comic Books

  • Due to his enhanced metabolism, Captain America can't get drunk.
  • Wolverine varies between 3a and 3b Depending on the Writer. His Healing Factor either makes him have the tolerance of a much larger man and never get hung over, or completely neutralises the effect of alcohol.
  • Superman usually falls into type 3b, such as in Smallville.
  • Hercules from Marvel Comics once tried to get Galactus drunk by giving him the most potent alcoholic drink in all the universe. It didn't work.
  • The Gods of Arr-Kelaan have been type 3a's ever since their deification, to Ronson's (god of Alcohol and Apathy) endless dismay. Consuming the most alcoholic drink on the planet quickly enough will get him "slightly numb" for a few moments.
  • The original Spider-Woman's powers gave her immunity to all poisons and toxins, which had the side effect of her never getting drunk.
  • The Incredible Hulk is immune to alchohol.
  • In the X-Men, one of the Blob's vulnerabilities is toxins such as alcohol. The problem is his body can take massive amounts before it starts to take.

Fan Works

Film

  • Angels in Dogma used to be able to get drunk--but then Loki and Bartleby flipped off God and got kicked out of Heaven, which led to Him forbidding angels from imbibing alcohol. Angels literally cannot drink alcohol, as soon as it's in their mouth they spit it back out.

Literature

  • 3a: Elves from The Lord of the Rings are hardly affected by alcohol, as humorously depicted in the Return of the King film, where Legolas only begins to feel a tingling sensation whilst Gimli is passing out drunk. In The Hobbit, one of the elven guards guarding the dwarves gets sloshed along with the fortress butler, allowing Bilbo to steal his keys, but that was elven mead, and the guy had downed several tankards of the stuff, which is supposed to be drunk from small glasses.
  • 3a: Case in Neuromancer is left unable to get drunk (or, in most cases, high) after his employers implant a super-liver in him to counteract his years of substance abuse.
  • Vampires and presumably Vampaneze from The Saga of Darren Shan need to drink massive amounts of alcohol in order to get drunk, due to their superhuman qualities. Harkat, on the other hand, is totally incapable of getting drunk, but that doesn't stop the vampires from trying...
  • In the Mercy Thompson books, werewolves' high healing factor means that they have to drink a lot to get drunk. One character's backstory is that after becoming a werewolf, he had just started to notice that he wasn't getting drunk until the second or third full bottle of whiskey when another werewolf told him what he was.
  • Cat from the Night Huntress series is a Dhampyr, with inhumanly high alcohol tolerance. While she often needs a freaking drink to cope with trauma, the calming effect is psychological rather than physical. The only she's ever seen actually drunk is after drinking an entire bottle of Bones's moonshine, and even then she's walking upright when she should be dead several times over.
  • Angels and demons (who are angels anyway, just on the other side) in Good Omens can get drunk, but among their abilities is soberization--no matter how plastered they are, they can always just miracle it away when they need to.
  • In H. Beam Piper's Four Day Planet, "Bish" Ware seems the opposite of this, as he's never seen completely sober -- but Bish is actually a type 3a and one of The Federation's best secret agents, posing as the town drunk while tracking down an interstellar criminal. His reflexes are shown to still be swift and precise.
  • Dr Gideon Fell, from John Dickson Carr's novels, can put away enough booze to land any two normal men in the ER with alcohol poisoning without showing any sign. Probably a 3A from pure body mass (if there's an Obese Detective trope, he's one of the poster children).
  • One Star Wars novel places Zeltrons as a 3A by reason of having fast metabolisms and two livers. Getting a Zeltron woman in it drunk requires something so strong that it's said the mere smell has enough alcohol to knock out members of much larger, 'tougher' species.
  • 3b: In Warbreaker by Brandon Sanderson, Returned can't get drunk. Lightsong tries several times anyway, but he always fails.
  • 3a: In Mistborn, pewter burners are nearly immune to poisons of all types, including alcohol.
  • The Night Angel Trilogy Uses 3a types in Durzo Blint and Kylar Stern. When weilding the Black Ka'Kari, they are given an inhuman immunity to all forms of poison and toxin, to include alcohol. Even after four full sacs of wine Kylar wasn't the least bit buzzed, and Durzo would spend ungodly hours at the bar to feel the least bit plastared.
    • When Kylar, as Azoth, first 'meets' Durzo for the first time, he's scrounging for coins beneath the floor of a bar. An assassin approaches to kill Durzo, saying to just let it happen since he says that Durzo has drunk several pints while he watched from the shadows. Durzo replies that he's had even more before the assassin even showed up!
  • When Lord Maccon goes on a bender in Blameless, it takes large amounts of formaldehyde to get him drunk.
  • Like so many things, Discworld parodies this, with Bilious, the 'Oh-god of Hangovers'. When the god of imbibing gets drunk, Bilious is the one who gets the hangovers.

Live-Action TV

  • 3b: Claire from Heroes and Wolverine of the X-Men (both due to their Healing Factor).
    • Claire had to fake being drunk in order to win a drinking contest. She made her biological father look like a supreme moron.
  • A type three in the comedy series Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps where Gaz challenges a University Student he thinks is coming onto his girlfriend to a drinking contest. Only one slight problem, he forget the student in question was Australian.
  • Gallifreyans metabolize alcohol very quickly, so it is almost impossible for them to become drunk or suffer the effects of hallucinogens. Thus can easily drink 10 pints of beer without showing any ill effects. Some Gallifreyans can use special meditations to regulate their metabolism. This gives them a very fine control over the rate at which they metabolize alcohol, making inebriation or hallucinations possible. However, Ginger pop has a severely deleterious effect on any Gallifreyan metabolism.
  • Supernatural: Castiel downs a half dozen shots in a row and calmly says "I think I'm starting to feel something." It's later discovered that he can get drunk, but it's when his angel-fu is largely drained away, and he needs to drink an entire liquor store to accomplish it.

 Dean: Where the hell have you been?

Castiel: (bitchily) On a bender! (Dean looks bewildered)

...

Cas: I got your message. It was long, your message…and I find the sound of your voice grating.

Sam: What’s wrong with you? Are you…drunk?

Cas: No! [pause] YES.

Sam: What the hell happened to you?

Cas: I found a liquor store.

Sam: ...And?

Cas: And I DRANK IT.

  • Being a vampire, Nikola Tesla of Sanctuary is immune to the effects of alcohol. Ironically, he drinks MORE once he gets devamped.
  • On Angel, Lorne is drinking near-constantly, but his Pylean Demon physiology prevents him from ever becoming intoxicated.

 Lorne: I wish I could get drunk!

  • The now-defunct gamerjargon.com website defined "John Steed" as "to consume insane quantities of alcohol in a short period of time and not be in the least affected".

Tabletop Games

  • Novas (superpowered people) from the Aberrant RPG setting are extremely resistant to poisons and drugs (a starting character gets Resistance 4 (on a 0 to 5 scale) for free). Regular alcohol and drugs just don't cut it. This being Aberrant, there are of course people who find alternate solutions, but a drink that gets a Nova pleasantly buzzed is likely to kill a mere human in three seconds.
  • Space Marines from Warhammer 40000 have genetically enhanced biology, which, among other things, allows them to metabolise alcohol and other narcotics really fast. Word of God says that an astartes drinking competition is about who can drink enough fast enough to actually get drunk (generally around a barrel a minute, for reference).
    • For example of how these things usually go, one short story had a group of Space Wolves[1] skulling prodigous amounts of alcohol, non-stop, only for one to suddenly pause, hiccup and finally collapse to the floor, where he began snoring loudly. The lord's response?

 Ragnar: We have a winner! [cheers]

  • Werewolves in Werewolf: The Forsaken have to drink a lot to feel it, due to their hyperactive metabolism and Healing Factor.
  • A Monk character in Dungeons and Dragons (3rd Edition) will eventually become immune to any and all toxins once they get to a high enough level. Hilarity ensues when the dwarf gets it in his head that he can outdrink someone a third of his mass who literally can't get drunk.
    • In 3rd Edition, druids got the same immunity. Dwarves resist alcohol pretty well in all versions of the game to date.

Video Games

  • Alistair from Dragon Age tells a story about a type 3a Grey Warden who drank a pint for every half-pint the other Wardens drank, and was STILL drinking long after all the others had passed out.
  • Akiha from Tsukihime is a type 3a.

Web Comic

  • Ten Winds from Keychain of Creation. When questioned about shrugging off a powerful sedative, he answers that "[he's] drunk stronger stuff with [his] afternoon snack".
  • Durkon from The Order of the Stick loves his beer, but has never been drunk in the comic. In a New Year's Eve story, he and Belkar count down to midnight with 10 straight pints. Belkar kisses Vaarsuvius and passes out, but Durkon doesn't appear affected at all. Of course, Dwarves in this universe have two livers.
  • In Cry Havoc Skoll realizes she can't get drunk anymore after she slams six pints and four shots, a later non-canon strip had the cast drinking booze spiked with wolfsbane so they could get intoxicated.
  • Tessa and her squad in SSDD allegedly would need to drink enough alcohol to poison a small elephant to get drunk due to their nanites. Though that may be a retcon as earlier (chronologically much later) Tessa got Reassigned to Antarctica for getting drunk and destroying her CO's car.

Web Original

  • 3a or possibly 3b: Keira Knightley of AH Dot Com the Series is a synthetic clone of the actress in question -- one side-effect of her simplified genetics is that she processes alcohol far more efficiently than the average human, and can drink almost anyone under the table.

Western Animation

  • In Futurama, alcohol has the opposite effect on Bender. He becomes inebriated when sober.

Real Life

  • 3a: The professional wrestler Andre the Giant had to drink an entire case of beer just to get a little buzz, this is probably because of his enormous body mass.
    • Also possibly due to his having drunk massive amounts of alcohol for pretty much his entire life.
    • One anecdote concerned the worry of the anaesthesiologist when he had to have back surgery. Unsure of just how much to give him, the closest she could come up with would be to equate it to his alcohol tolerance. His response? "Two or three vodkas usually give me a buzz." "Shots?" "No, bottles."
      • Though the one time he got drunk enough to pass out, no one was able to move him until he woke the next day. It apparently took 119 bottles of beer to hit that level.
  • 3a: Neil Fingleton, the UK's tallest man at 7ft 7in, joked about having to spend a fortune when he goes out drinking as it takes around 30 pints before he starts to feel the effects.
  • Protestant reformer Martin Luther was a huge fan of his ale, and boasted that he could drain an entire mug in the time most men took to get a third of the way through. He was never recorded to have gotten drunk. Given that he was a big fella for much of his life, he'd probably count as a 3a.
  • A lot of Chinese people are known to be genetically restricted to 3b rules. They metabolize alcohol in such a way that they skip "drunk" and just go straight to "hung over." (Depending on how these genes came about, this may also explain the stereotypical Native American intolerance to alcohol as well, as Amerindians are currently believed to be Mongolians who crossed the Bering Strait land bridge.)
  • Generally, Men tend to be more resistant to alcohol than women, and require more to get inebriated. It's a combination of genetics, size of the individual, amount of body fat, and various other factors.

Notes

  1. Space Vikings, essentially
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