Created By: MartyD82October 5, 2012 Last Edited By: MartyD82December 1, 2012
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Ageless Birthday Episode

A television episode centered around a main character's birthday with no mention of his/her new age.

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A staple in most classic sitcoms and animated television programs is the "ageless birthday episode." This is an episode that centers around a specific character's birthday but never mentions the character's new age. If this character's actual age is part of the show's status quo (see: Status Quo Is God), then you can expect his/her age to remain the same even after the "birthday episode." The inevitable numerous guests (see: Twenty Four Hour Party People) and fancy decorations at his/her birthday party raise even more curiosity as to what this character's age is, as such a party would only seem to make sense during a monumental birthday like his/her 21st or 40th.

Examples:

Live Action TV:

  • Family Matters had several episodes devoted to Carl's birthday with no mention of his age.
  • Friends had several ageless birthday episodes for Rachel.
    • Averted, though, in the episode where Rachel has her 30th.

Western Animation:

  • Played completely straight with the Rugrats episode "Angelica's Birthday." To the extent that, in a later episode ("Pickles Vs. Pickles"), her parents say that she's still 3 years old.
    • Averted, though, in the aptly titled "Tommy's First Birthday."
  • Played similarly straight in the Nickelodeon Doug episode "Doug's Birthday Present." To the extent that the Disney series opened with an episode about him turning 12. Since he was 11 1/2 when he moved to Bluffington and lived there during the Nickelodeon birthday episode, the only logical conclusion one could draw is that he had two 12th birthdays!
  • The South Park episode "Damien" does this with Cartman's birthday (although we can probably assume that he turned 9 in this episode, as the show subtly suggests that he's a little older than the other three SP boys).
  • The Flintstones had several such episodes for Fred (such as "The Swimming Pool"). Averted in the episode where Pebbles has her first birthday.
Community Feedback Replies: 15
  • October 5, 2012
    Chabal2
    Non-TV example: Calvin And Hobbes had an arc were Susie invites Calvin to her birthday party. Her age isn't mentioned, but they all appear to be perpetually six.

  • October 5, 2012
    NESBoy
  • October 5, 2012
    chicagomel
    I don't think Cordelia's age was mentioned in Happy Birthday on Angel. Though someone who'd watched Buffy might be able to infer how old she was.
  • October 6, 2012
    MartyD82
    A lot of preschool shows (Barney And Friends, for example) also used this trope. Interestingly, I think Bozo The Clown actually averted it by asking for the kids' age.

    I'm pretty sure Home Improvement and Full House had at least a few episodes like this for Tim Taylor and one of the Tanner adults. If I'm wrong, though, please correct.

    Interestingly, Seinfeld never had a birthday episode, so by complete default, it averts this trope.
  • October 6, 2012
    Tallens
    • Lampshaded in an episode of The Magic School Bus. It's Ms. Frizzle's birthday and the class goes to a bakery. During the And Knowing Is Half The Battle segment at the end, a kid goes there and tells the baker shown in the episode that one critical piece of information was missing from the show: they never said how old Ms. Frizzle is.
  • October 6, 2012
    BudAndPenn
  • October 7, 2012
    MartyD82
    • Saved By The Bell inexcusably did this with Screech's and Zack's birthdays. Being that they're both in high school, there was no reason for them to not at least provide their new ages (which would've been anywhere from 15 to 18).

    • Hey Dude did this in the "Guys vs. Girls" episode for Danny. Once again, inexcusably, since he was a "teenager" at the time (I put that in quotes since the actor was clearly in his 20's or 30's).
  • October 7, 2012
    MartyD82
    Did Beverly Hills 90210 ever use this trope?
  • October 7, 2012
    SneakySquirrel
  • October 7, 2012
    MartyD82
  • October 7, 2012
    Emreld3000
    Not quite this trope, but related: In Anime/Pokemon, the anniversary Ash and Pikachu meeting is celebrated at least twice, but everybody is tstil ten.
  • October 8, 2012
    MartyD82
    There was another Hey Dude episode that did this with Mr. Ernst.
  • October 8, 2012
    HeartOfAnAstronaut
    • Lisa has had a number of these on The Simpsons but remains eight. Averted in the episode where the mental patient who thinks he's Michael Jackson shows up, which I believe is when she turns eight, the age she will remain for the rest of the series. In one episode Homer and Bart were going crazy with fireworks and blew up half her room.

    (correct me if I'm wrong)

  • December 1, 2012
    MartyD82
    I think this may actually be ready to publish now. It has enough examples.
  • December 1, 2012
    WaxingName
    • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Spongebob Meets the Strangler", Spongebob celebrates his birthday among several other parties he planned on the same day. Even though he has a revealed birthday, his age isn't revealed.

    • The My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Sweet and Elite" centers around Twilight Sparkle's birthday among other things, though her age is never revealed.

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