You've spent hours hanging balloons, decorations and banners on the wall. You've cooked the food to perfection. The cake is ready, and the candles have already been lit. You even have the music all sorted out. It's a perfect birthday party, but there's just one tiny problem - nobody's coming.
Birthdays are supposed to be a great occasion to get together with friends, when everything is about you. So when someone has only themselves to celebrate their birthday with, it's a sign that they really are alone.
Writers tend to use this trope to establish that the character in question is The Woobie
(if Played for Drama
) or The Chew Toy
(if Played for Laughs
Compare Forgotten Birthday
- In the film Little Man Tate, the main character hands out invitations to his party at school, only to see them blowing around on the ground when they rush in from recess. Cut to the party, where it's just him and his mom (and she doesn't count).
- In an episode of Mr. Bean, Mr Bean goes to a restaurant on his own for his birthday, and gives himself a birthday card.
- The Golden Girls: Rose flashes back to a time when she celebrated her birthday alone, after the death of her husband.
- A flashback in Smallville shows that as a kid, Lex Luthor had a birthday all alone. It gave context to his miserable childhood and how he developed into the adult he eventually became.
- Once Upon a Time begins this way. When it turns out that her date was just a sham to get a bounty, Emma goes home to have a cupcake with a single candle on it by herself.
- Crimes Of The Heart begins with the main character trying to have one of these, attempting to stick a birthday candle into a cookie.
- The "Claptrap's Birthday Bash" sidequest from Borderlands 2, where you send invitations to Claptrap's birthday party for him. None of the guests accept the invitation, so you end up alone with Claptrap.
- In the first Simon the Sorcerer game, when Simon visits the swampling's house, Swampy mistakes him for a guest come to celebrate Swampy's birthday. Swampy's actual birthday was three weeks earlier, but Swampy doesn't mind Simon being late because he's still the first guest to show up.