Misunderstandings are a big part of comedy. People hearing part of a conversation, or hearing it without context, and, well, Hilarity Ensues
is another trope from the comic misunderstandings family. Alice is throwing a party for Bob to celebrate some accomplishment of Bob's, but Bob, overhearing part of the plans that sound different without context, ends up with the mistaken idea that Alice is really trying to get rid of him and is throwing a party to celebrate his imminent departure.
Of course the trope usually resolves with the confused party getting the story straight and being embarrassed and amused that they could have been so far off from the truth of the matter, and Everybody Laughs Ending
closes it out as the silly misunderstanding is put to rest.
Not to be confused with It's a Costume Party, I Swear
- An inversion in one of the Ace Ventura films: the monastery Ace is staying at learns he's leaving and throws a massive party to celebrate getting rid of him. Of course, he thinks it's a going-away party.
- One 5 Second Films has a group of friends react so excitedly to the news a friend is coming, he looks through the window and turns around, sadly remarking "it looks like they don't need me anymore".
- Inverted in Scrooge: The "Thank You Very Much" scene:
All these people owe me money. They all loved me and I never knew!...What did I do? What did I do? Whatever it was, it has made me truly happy that I am the cause. My friends, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I shall remember this moment until my dying day
. Unseen by Scrooge, his casket is taken out of the building.
- In Gilligan's Island, the castaways learn that Mary Ann's alleged boyfriend has married another girl. After trying to hide this information from her, they decide to give her a party to cheer her up. Meanwhile, Mary Ann mistakenly thinks she may have eaten some poisonous mushrooms, and misinterprets the reason why the others are suddenly preparing a party...
- Inverted in Frasier. The Cheers gang holds a going-away party for Cliff, who's set to retire to a tropical locale. But Cliff, so touched by the things said about him during the party, instead decides to stay in Boston, much to Carla's chagrin.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. In "Party of One", Pinkie misapprehends the other ponies blowing off her after-birthday party for Gummy and after seeing them sneak around, believes they no longer want to be her friends. This upsets her greatly, and she's surprised when her friends explain that the truth is they were throwing her a surprise birthday party.
- Strawberry Shortcake Berry Bitty Adventures. The going away party for Raspberry Torte. Raspberry's big city diva fashion designer worked out to separate Raspberry from her bumpkin friends.
- Powerpuff Girls. "Little Miss Interpret". Bubbles and her sisters overhear the professor's plans for a party for the three of them, but misinterpret what they hear. They end up thinking he plans to destroy them and create a new set of girls.
- In Futurama, the cast decides to hold a birthday party for Prof Farnsworth. Farnworth initially thinks it's a disciplinary hearing.
- A particularly paranoid soldier on Dromund Kaas in Star Wars: The Old Republic mistook a birthday party for an attempt on his life... and responded accordingly.