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 Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, after Harry's 11th birthday is forgotten by the Dursleys because of the flood of letters from Hogwarts, Harry sings the "Happy Birthday" song to himself.
- 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.
- In Sinfest it's revealed that this was one of many Break the Cutie moments for Lil' Evil throughout his life.
- In Brawl in the Family, one of the Waluigi-themed comics depicts Waluigi as the only attendee of his own birthday party. As mentioned in the newspost, one forum member rewrote the Downer Ending of the strip to portray Waluigi as someone who prefers to celebrate alone.
- Exaggerated and parodied in the backstory of Doofenshmirtz in Phineas and Ferb. He states that neither of his parents bothered to show up to his birth, and that he had to throw surprise birthday parties for himself. Also, at age eight, he was abandoned at the Captain Ersatz Chuck E Cheese to the point that the employees working there let him lock up the shop at closing.
- The Cow and Chicken episode "Factory Follies", in which Red Guy plays the foreman of a factory who treats his employees like worthless slaves. At the end of the workday, he reminds everyone that his surprise birthday party will be held in the conference room later that night. Of course, nobody shows up, so he throws the party for himself and sings, "Oh birthday boy, add one more year/oh birthday boy with the big fat rear!"
- Subverted in the My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode, "Party Of One'', when Pinkie celebrates a party with a bunch of inanimate objects because her friends were busy, and she thinks that they don't want to be her friends anymore. However, she had forgotten that day was her birthday, only remembering upon Rainbow Dash forcing her to go to her surprise party.
- The Simpsons:
Happy birthday to meHappy birthday to meHappy birthday, overlooked middle childHappy birthday to me.
- Nelson throws a birthday party and invites all of his classmates. Bart is the only one to turn up because Marge forces him to go.
- In the episode where a crazy big white guy thinks he's Michael Jackson, it's Lisa's 8th birthday. She begs Bart not to forget but of course he does. She sits with only the baby Maggie for company, singing:
- The first Christmas Episode of South Park ends with Jesus singing "Happy Birthday" all by himself.
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