Created By: 313Bluestreak on April 27, 2013 Last Edited By: 313Bluestreak on September 17, 2013
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Not Their Birthday

Everyone thought that it's the character's birthday, but it isn't.

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"It's not my BIRTHDAY!!!"
Squidward, "Opposite Day"

So you happen to have a group of friends who want to do something nice to you. What do they do, you say? They decide to make a birthday party for you in the comfort of your own home. When you come home, they all surprise you and tells you happy birthday. Wait. Why are you not happy?! We worked hard to make this party for you!

Oh, it's not your birthday? Whoops.

This is the trope where characters don't realize that it isn't the character's birthday. This can be played in many ways. Either they forgotten to ask the character when is their birthday, or is because they're just being too kind to the character. This can often be geared towards a grumpy character whom the others want to cheer up.

This is the inverse of Forgotten Birthday. This can combine with Scary Surprise Party for extra comedy value. Related to Ironic Birthday, which is when the character doesn't want to celebrate despite the fact it's their birthday. Compare with Birthday Hater for when it is their birthday, but they don't want to celebrate it anyway.

Examples:

Film
  • In the Steven Spielberg film Always, Pete (Richard Dreyfuss) throws a big shindig for Dorinda (Holly Hunter)'s birthday... except it wasn't her birthday. He keeps saying he remembered it, she keeps saying yeah, but he remembered it wrong.

Literature
  • This is a plot point in Declare: history thinks Kim Philby was born on January 1 but in the book, his real birthday is on December 31, which he hides from everyone because he is functionally invulnerable on all days except his birthday.
  • Garrett, P.I.: In Whispering Nickel Idols, Mafia Princess Belinda throws a 60th birthday party for her father Chodo, even though it's not the right day or the right year for it. Everyone she invites already knows this, but come anyway because they realize the party is just a front for a major criminal summit.

Live-Action TV
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, the gang plans out a surprise birthday for Charlie to make him feel better. But it isn't his birthday. Frank just said that to trick them into planning a luau party for his own birthday.
  • M*A*S*H: In order to brighten the mood of the camp BJ tells everyone it's Hawkeye's birthday and they arrange a Surprise Party for him. Hawkeye 'accidentally" lets slip that the same day is also BJ's wedding anniversary. Ultimately Hawkeye has to go out on a medical emergency so BJ recruits some miscellanous extra to say it's his birthday.
  • Inverted in the Seinfeld episode, "The Outing", where George, Kramer, and Elaine each plan on getting Jerry something special for his birthday; Kramer is the first to give Jerry his present, though Jerry insists it's not his birthday, although the others insist that it is, to which Jerry comments, "Maybe you're right, maybe it is my birthday..."

Professional Wrestling
  • WWE: In one part of the memorable "This Is Your Life" segment on Raw, Mankind brought a clown to sing "happy birthday" to The Rock as well as bringing out a birthday cake for him. Because he was absolutely unimpressed, this is what he has to say to Mankind:
    The Rock: "The Rock's birthday is May 2, you stupid son of a bitch!"
    • Mick Foley must like these. One time in WCW he (as Cactus Jack) & Abdullah the Butcher brought out a big birthday cake and sang "Happy Birthday to You" for Sting, who wasn't there at the time.
      Paul E. Dangerously: It isn't Sting's birthday!
      Cactus Jack: I know that. Don't you think I know that? But I wasn't here for Sting's last birthday. I wish I was at Sting's last birthday. But you see it's very important that we celebrate now, because Sting's last birthday was Sting's last birthday! BANG BANG! BANG BANG!

Theatre
  • Played for Drama in Next To Normal when the ill Diana bakes her son a cake during the song "It's Gonna Be Good"... only for the audience to discover Gabe's been dead for nearly a decade and a half.

Web Comics
  • In one pictures for sad children comic, a guy receives a surprise birthday party on the day before his birthday, then on his actual birthday, then on the day after, then on the day after that...

Western Animation
  • Played with in Alice in Wonderland. Alice comes upon the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Doormouse celebrating what she thinks is a birthday party, but they're celebrating their unbirthday - which is any day that isn't your birthday. Alice realizes it's her unbirthday too and they include her in the celebration.
  • An episode of Fish Hooks had the entire class thinking it was Clamantha's birthday, even though it wasn't.
  • On Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, Bloo kept throwing surprise birthday parties for Mac on any day other than his birthday.
  • In one Phineas and Ferb episode, Monogram and Carl surprise Perry with a birthday party when he enters his secret lair. Perry's silent stare tells them it's not his birthday. Becomes a Call Back joke later when Perry arrives at Doofenshmirtz's place. Doof mentions he got an invitation to the party but didn't go because he suspected it was a trap.
  • In the beginning of the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Opposite Day", Spongebob and Patrick are annoying Squidward by throwing a birthday party for him, which it isn't as the quote from above states it. This is what prompts him to moving out of Bikini Bottom, which apparently backfired on him thanks to Spongebob and Patrick.

Real Life
  • For some reason, Jason Statham's birthday keeps getting referred to as the 12th of September, even though it's actually in July. He usually politely thanks people for the birthday wishes, but also points out it's not his birthday.

Community Feedback Replies: 19
  • April 27, 2013
    DracMonster
    This would be the inverse of Forgotten Birthday.

    Probably often combines with Scary Surprise Party for extra comedy value.
  • April 27, 2013
    DunDun
    This is related to Ironic Birthday, which is when the character doesn't want to celebrate despite the fact it's their birthday.

    • Played For Drama in Next To Normal when the ill Diana bakes her son a cake during the song "It's Gonna Be Good"... only for the audience to discover Gabe's been dead for nearly a decade and a half.
  • April 27, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • MASH: In order to brighten the mood of the camp BJ tells everyone it's Hawkeye's birthday and they arrange a Surprise Party for him. Hawkeye 'accidentally" lets slip that the same day is also BJ's wedding anniversary. Ultimately Hawkeye has to go out on a medical emergency so BJ recruits some miscellanous extra to say it's his birthday.
    • Mick Foley must like these. One time in WCW he (as Cactus Jack) & Abdullah The Butcher brought out a big birthday cake and sang "Happy Birthday To You" for Sting, who wasn't there at the time.
      Paul E. Dangerously: It isn't Sting's birthday!
      Cactus Jack: I know that. Don't you think I know that? But I wasn't here for Sting's last birthday. I wish I was at Sting's last birthday. But you see it's very important that we celebrate now, because Sting's last birthday was Sting's last birthday! BANG BANG! BANG BANG!
  • April 28, 2013
    Arivne
    Italicized Next To Normal and moved it under Theatre since it's a musical.
  • April 28, 2013
    Koveras
    • Kind of a plot point in Declare: history thinks Kim Philby was born on January 31 but in the book, his real birthday is on December 31, which he hides from everyone because he is functionally invulnerable on all days except his birthday.
  • April 28, 2013
    Koveras
    @OP: I corrected my example in the write-up. It was January 1, not January 31 as I posted originally...
  • May 25, 2013
    MetaFour
    In one Pictures For Sad Children comic, a guy receives a surprise birthday party on the day before his birthday, then on his actual birthday, then on the day after, then on the day after that...
  • May 25, 2013
    TooBah
    In the Steven Spielberg film Always, Pete (Richard Dreyfuss) throws a big shindig for Dorinda (Holly Hunter)'s birthday... except it wasn't her birthday. He keeps saying he remembered it, she keeps saying yeah, but he remembered it wrong.
  • Live Action TV
    • Inverted in the Seinfeld episode, "The Outing", where George, Kramer, and Elaine each plan on getting Jerry something special for his birthday; Kramer is the first to give Jerry his present, though Jerry insists it's not his birthday, although the others insist that it is, to which Jerry comments, "Maybe you're right, maybe it is my birthday..."
  • June 22, 2013
    TonyG
    On Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends, Bloo kept throwing surprise birthday parties for Mac on any day other than his birthday.
  • June 27, 2013
    Darthcaliber
    In one Phineas And Ferb episode Monogram and Carl surprise Perry with a birthday party when he enters his secret lair. Perry's silent stare tells them it's not his birthday. Becomes a Call Back joke later when Perry arrives at Doofenshmirtz's place. Doof mentions he got an invitation to the party but didn't go because he suspected it was a trap.
  • August 2, 2013
    hbi2k
    "It's not my birthday" or "Is it my birthday already?" is also a Stock Phrase, usually Played For Laughs, when something positive happens to a character that is NOT meant as a present for him. Would that be considered part of this trope?
  • August 2, 2013
    313Bluestreak
    I guess that could work.
  • August 11, 2013
    raspberryred99
    An episode of Fish Hooks had the entire class thinking it was Clamantha's birthday, even though it wasn't.
  • August 24, 2013
    randomsurfer
    Played with in Alice In Wonderland (and perhaps the book too, IDK). Alice comes upon the Mad Hatter, the March Hare, and the Doormouse celebrating what she thinks is a birthday party, but they're celebrating their unbirthday - which is any day that isn't your birthday. Alice realizes it's her unbirthday too and they include her in the celebration.
  • August 24, 2013
    SharleeD
    • In Whispering Nickel Idols, Mafia Princess Belinda throws a 60th birthday party for her father Chodo, even though it's not the right day or the right year for it. Everyone she invites already knows this, but come anyway because they realize the party is just a front for a major criminal summit.
  • August 24, 2013
    BibsDibs
    • In Its Always Sunny In Philadelphia, the gang plans out a surprise birthday for Charlie to make him feel better. But it isn't his birthday. Frank just said that to to trick them into planning a luau party for his own birthday.
  • August 26, 2013
    BibsDibs
    Compare with Birthday Hater for when it is their birthday, but they don't want to celebrate it anyway
  • September 13, 2013
    OrgaNik
    Real life example: For some reason, Jason Statham's birthday keeps getting referred to as the 12th of September, even though it's actually in July. He usually politely thanks people for the birthday wishes, but also points out it's not his birthday.

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