In fictionland, time flows much differently than it does in the real world due to a variation of Cartoon Physics
. Much in the same way that mapping areas in a video game may reveal that rooms in a building overlap one another
or that the planet in an MMORPG is actually the size of Manhattan
, fans that meticulously track (or at least estimate) the number of days shown in the work may notice that it doesn't correspond to any real calendar. One summer may last for a couple hundred days, for example. This isn't actually because time is literally
flowing differently (for that, see Time Travel Tropes
), but because the writers aren't bothering to keep any kind of timeline. Time may also (from the viewer's perspective) flow faster, to the point where the characters celebrate Halloween one day and Chinese New Year the next. Time may even flow non-linearly (such as the winter and summer occurring out of order) if the writers really don't care. Most commonly, however, is that characters age... wrong
(see the subtropes for details).
Compare Not Drawn to Scale
(which applies to spaces). Sometimes an example of Writers Cannot Do Math
. Supertrope to Longest Pregnancy Ever
(where the author loses track of how far a pregnancy has progressed), Not Allowed to Grow Up
(where child characters remain the same age for years), Comic Book Time
(where all the characters across a work do not age in sync), Soap Opera Rapid Aging Syndrome
(where a child rapidly ages to an adult). Not related to Time Dilation
- In The NeverEnding Story III, Chinese New Year is celebrated one day and Halloween the next.
- In Grease Rizzo's Pregnancy Scare lasts most of the school year, not being resolved unitl the very end.
- Parodied in Not Another Teen Movie where the First day of school, Homecoming, and Prom all take place during the course of one week.
- Averted in The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, where the author meticulously kept a timeline of events specifically to avoid this sort of thing.
- Many fairy tales, which otherwise take place in the real world, have mentions of seasons (particularly the rainy season) lasting for years even when this isn't a plot point, as though this sort of thing is perfectly normal.
- If one counts out the time passage in Warrior Cats and compares it to the seasons being described, it does not line up with an actual year. For example, in the first series at least, a year lasts only about seven months.
Live Action TV
- Used as a plot point in one episode of Eli Stone. Eli realizes he's having a dream when he notices that, in the last two weeks, he hasn't changed his suit or had a non-plot relevant conversaion with anyone.
- In Ed Eddn Eddy, the amount of days that take place across the first four seasons is somewhat greater than the number of days in one summer.
- In Ben10, the Rustbucket drastically changes location from episode to episode, leading one to assume it repeatedly travels in circles across the United States during that one summer. If one were to chart their path, the travel time would work out to much more than one summer.
- SpongeBob SquarePants has this in spades. The worst part is that, according to Word of God, the episodes are not produced and aired in chronological order. Not that it hasn't stopped some people from trying.