Among the various character tropes that are present on TV and film, the 'alcoholic asshole' is one of the more popular archetypes. This person is usually a politically incorrect and impulsive jerk-off who boozes just as much as they offend those around them. For some, their addiction and disparaging demeanor are consequences of their tumultuous and tragic upbringing, while the rest are, as The Simpsons once eloquently put it "just jerks." Then there's an exclusive club of these jag-offs who, despite their alcoholism and unpleasantness, are charming, comedic and/or sympathetic enough to win over the audience's affection. Now, who exactly are they? Well, find out in this edition of the top seven animated and endearing alcoholic assholes.
7. Randy Marsh from 'South Park'
During the first season of South Park Randy was portrayed as a laid-back, but eccentric father. However, in late Season 2's episode 'Clubhouses' it's implied that he has a drinking issue. After that, his alcoholism was cemented with verbal jabs from his son Stan's friends, and instances of public intoxication ('Grey Dawn' and 'Bloody Mary'). Randy's also easily obsessed-when he finds something that attracts his interest it consumes him. As a result, everything and everyone around him (job, family, friends) pale in comparison. He has a tendency to be incredibly violent. Randy once cut off a man's hand to avoid telling Stan the truth, and shot off a pedestrian's head because the man was becoming a homeless person (in 'Night of the Living Homeless' South Park's transient population boomed and the citizens treated them as if they were zombies as their numbers rose).
Surprisingly, this is why fans adore him. They find his habit of overreacting regarding trivial matters humorous. When Stan persistently told his dad he wanted to join a boy band he became enraged and destroyed some of the furniture in their living room. Randy also has no filter. He'll say anything that pops in his head that mortifies and shocks those listening. When he's not rampaging, or drinking himself silly, he's a supportive and compassionate parent and husband.
6. Homer Simpson from 'The Simpsons'
Homer Simpson's come a long way. His formative years were riddled with travails. His mother left him as a child, and his father was a unsympathetic and neglectful parent. Since then, it's been downhill. He works a crummy job at the nuclear power plant, and he's mainly regarded as an incompetent moron by his peers and superiors. The only lights in his life are his dysfunctional family, food and beer... lots and lots of beer. Although his poor choices are sometimes the result of his ignorance and impulsiveness, he can get selfish and greedy. He's constantly putting his family's well-being, financial security and family's lives in jeopardy. In The Simpsons Movie, he carelessly polluted a lake which resulted in EPA isolating the town in a dome, and almost killing the whole town when the government decided to exterminate them.
However, deep down, Homer's just an adult-sized kid. When he's acting reckless it's usually due to good intentions. He entered a self-conscious Lisa into a beauty pageant, so she'd know the world thinks she's just as beautiful as he sees her. Homer's wild antics and misconstrued perception of the world have entertained and appealed to fans. How can you take someone who's inadvertently killed a man (Frank Grimes in 'Homer's Enemy'), but also sold his soul to the devil for a donut seriously?
5. Roger Smith from 'American Dad'
Roger Smith is your not-so-typical alien who enjoys the finer things in life: getting hammered 24/7, spouting catty remarks and dressing up. It'd be an understatement to say he's the epitome of a bad egg. If you were to go through an ABC list of offenses, you'll find he's committed almost every one. These include rape, loitering, stealing, vandalizing, assault, pimping, extorting and blackmail. The reason for his behavior stems from his species's need let their "bitchiness out." If they don't, they slowly begin to decompose and eventually die.
Despite his unsavory attitude, Roger has become a fan favorite. Partly because of his colorful and quirky disguises (Lestat de Lioncourt from Interview with a Vampire, Southern plantation owner and French aristocrat). Another is his habit of seeking vengance on those who've wrong him, no matter how petty (blowing up Steve's teachers after they beat him and attempting to kill a toddler after it broke one of Roger's figurines). He's not completely heartless either. To retain Francine's love and stay with the family he chooses to be kind when he knows it could kill him. Not to mention his on-point and blunt zingers are irresistibly entertaining and hilarious.
4. Sterling Archer from 'Archer'
Sterling Archer a.k.a. Archer is the self-proclaimed "world's greatest secret agent' and was formerly employed by the CIA. He's known for his pretentious demeanor, womanizing, and treating people, (particularly his co-workers, butler and mother) like dirt. Being a notorious alcoholic, it's fitting that he was born in a bar. Among this list he has one of the most depressing backstories. For the first five years of his life he was raised by his butler Woodhouse and his mother sporadically visited. He eventually grew resentful of her and to this day (although their relationship has slightly improved) he stills holds her in low regard. He attended boarding school for fifteen years and grew up with no friends. It's been said that his huge ego is a facade to hide his insecure feelings.
Similar to Roger, Archer doesn't think before speaking. He says whatever's on his mind, and whatever people are too afraid to mention. This makes him amusing and admirably ballsy. While the previous individuals on this list are incorrigible, the fact that over the course of this series Archer has been changing his lackluster attributes to become a better father, pal and son is inspiring.
3. Bender Rodriguez from 'Futurama'
Bender has a reason to be an alcoholic. His body is fueled by the consumption of alcohol. It's probably safe to say he's one of the more morally corrupt characters on here. He's done everything from embezzling, cheating, pillaging, murdering and even selling his first born son to the devil. There seems to be no lingering sense of good in his hollow body. Not only that, but he irritates the Planet Express crew with his in-your-face attitude, crude mannerisms, and morally bleak actions (dancing on a little girl's corpse for instance). Yet, apparently this is what the audience loves about him.
He's recklessly bad. Anything he wants, no matter how illegal or questionable it is, he'll get it. That sort of disregard is simultaneously horrible and desirable. Most of us know better; we'd never actually do what Bender does. Yet, there's a side of us that would like to. I'm not talking about killing or selling our first born sons, but having the platform to do whatever we please. Despite being a robot (a pessimistic one at best) he's shown to be concerned about his friends and has even saved them a few times.
2. Bojack Horseman from 'Bojack Horseman'
Bojack Horseman came from a broken home. His parents, Buttercup and Beatrice, despised their son and bombarded him daily with diatribes. His only sense of escape was idolizing an athlete named Secretariat (who committed suicide when Bojack was 9). Later on, he entered show business after his former best friend Herb Kazzaz discovered him at a comedy club. For nine seasons he was the star of a Full House-esque sitcom called 'Horsin Around.' Fame rose Bojack's confidence and means of self-worth. However, the pressures of the job, indulging fans and his shoddy home life turned him into a cynical, and self-deprecating alcoholic. 20 years later, (till the season finale) he spends his days hooking up with strangers, abusing drugs and being self-absorbed.
During the beginning of Season 1, Bojack's main objective is to write his memoir, so people will love him again. However, it's the advice and actions of his ghost writer/friend Diane and his roommate Todd that cause him to reevaluate his life and personality. By the second season his new goal is to become a better Bojack Horseman. The results are mixed I find that most fans resonate with Bojack's internal turmoil. After being pegged down by his family, superiors and even his own fans, Bojack's faced with three important questions: What's his place in this world, has his life been a waste and where does he go from here? Many people, particularly those in their 20s/30s or even older find themselves in this predicament. Consequently, for them it's relieving to know they're not the only ones.
1. Rick Sanchez from 'Rick and Morty'
A gifted scientist named Rick re-enters his daughter Beth's life and meets her family for the first time. He bonds with his grandson Morty and together they go on multi-dimensional adventures to procure materials for Rick's research, save the human race or throw bombastic parties in other realms. While Rick's outgoing and enjoys having fun, he can act arrogant, cold and condescending. Not much about his background is known, other than he was briefly married and left Beth and her mom at some point.
While Rick can be an incredible douche, he's profoundly loyal to his friends and family. In 'Meeseeks and Destroy,' Rick vaporized Mr. Jellybean for Morty after Mr. Jellybean attempted to rape him. This was one of the earliest instances that showed Rick genuinely cares about Morty, and seeing him react to the whole Mr. Jelly Bean situation is strangely heart-warming and satisfying to watch.
I find it interesting how these characters constantly visit the "dark side," but they're still beloved. I find what separates them from the other alcoholic assholes is their humanity and willingness to change. They've shown compassion at one time or another and when they (finally) realize there's something wrong with them they take the initiative to reform. True, it doesn't happen in one day, but the fact they're not ignoring it and trying to fix it is noble. Personally, I think people can also relate to these characters and their imperfections.