Need to show that your TV character is in a rough patch? Give him a big ol' scraggly-ass beard.
The Bearded One: David Denham of The Office
Ditched The Razor: When you work in a warehouse, and your secretary girlfriend calls of the wedding to be with a salesman at a low-level paper company, you've basically mapped out your weight gain, beard and upcoming DUI right there.
Picked It Up Again: Roy kept the beard for the remainder of the time we saw him, but lost the unsightly weight in an effort to win back Jenna Fischer. In a word? FAIL.
The Bearded One: Justin Kirk of Weeds
Ditched The Razor: When Nancy (Mary-Louise Parker) fails to reciprocate his feelings for him, ditching to go be with a Mexican gangster instead. After all, who hasn't been there?
Picked It Up Again: More or less parodying the entire concept, Andy keeps the beard until everyone humiliates him enough to finally shave.
DR. ROBERT ROMANO
The Bearded One: Paul McCrane of ER
Ditched The Razor: After a close encounter with a helicopter's rotor blades during a med-evac, Dr. Romano's surgeries to re-attach his arm ultimately fail and he ditches his beloved limb for a prosthetic, adopting a sweet beard as part of the deal.
Picked It Up Again: Technically he never shaved it off, but he did lose the beard. Through fire. Because a helicopter landed on him. A different helicopter.
COMMANDER WILL RIKER
The Bearded One: Jonathan Frakes of Star Trek: The Next Generation
Ditched The Razor: Will Riker regularly groomed his sweet beard, but who has time for maintenance when alternate-reality Borg destroy the entire Federation and your ship-in-tatters gets pulled into a meeting of Enterprises in another dimension? That Leonidas-style beard was the only friend he had left in all that madness. And it was madness.
Picked It Up Again: Whoops. He exploded.
The Bearded One: Matthew Fox of LOST
Ditched The Razor: Possibly the King of Sadness Beards, the good doc takes to pills and the bottle in the wake of "Jeremy Bentham's" death, realizing Locke was right to insist that the survivors return to the Island.
Picked It Up Again: Presumably to avoid the security inquiry of trying to make the returning flight with that beard. That, or the Island itself might have collapsed under the weight of his mammoth chin-Wookiee.
The Bearded One: Mr. Smithers of The Simpsons
Ditched The Razor: Fired for his objections to Mr. Burns plans to both steal candy from a baby, and steal sunlight from Earth (quite a difference in scale), Smithers takes to the bottle and worries in his drunken stupor and attempts to watch Comedy Central he might have accidentally shot his beloved boss.
Picked It Up Again: Smithers found himself shaven clean and vindicated by his news-interview reference of the very program he watched at the time of the shooting, and his uncovering of the real killer...a baby. Yep.
The Bearded One: Adrian Pasdar of Heroes
Ditched The Razor: After a mysterious "whoopsie-daisy" of waking up in a hospital, having evidently regenerated from his brother's nuclear explosion, Nathan decides to compliment his brother's loss, his senatorial career and his troublesome relationship with his family with a beard. Also, mirror-ghost visions of his burn-face. Oh, Heroes...
Picked It Up Again: Something about peering through a fence at his children with a scruffy beard just didn't sit right with anybody, thus his beard flew away.
(See the rest at Ugo.com)