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Birthday Episode
You know what this party calls for? A POLKA!

"Happy Birthday!!"

Exactly What It Says on the Tin.

So our characters wake up to a normal day. It's your typical average day, BUT WAIT, WHAT'S THIS!?!? It's somebody's birthday! The birthday episode is where an episode is dedicated to celebrating someone's birthday.

Typically seen in fiction as a device with various possible purposes, ranging from showing what characters were like in the past, having an opportunity to bring non-main-cast characters into the spotlight or even just representing a stage of growth in-series. For an example to count, the birthday, or the celebration of the birthday (they are not necessarily the same thing), has to at least be a significant part of the episode it appears in.

Supertrope to Forgotten Birthday, Surprise Party, Ironic Birthday and The Hero's Birthday


Examples

    open/close all folders 

     Anime and Manga 
  • Mayo Chiki!: Kureha, the resident token little sister, has a dedicated birthday episode to add more flavor to the protagonist's character. Not to mention, the episode was complete with a female cast birthday song with some Gratuitous English.
  • Shinryaku! Ika Musume: In one episode, Squid Girl discovers the surface dwellers' custom of birthday parties, and declares today to be her birthday to take advantage of the goodies.
  • Sailor Moon the titular character is thrown a surprise party by her friends and is targeted by the villains.
  • Episode 21 of Vandread revolves around the resident Stoic Meia's birthday. The problem is, she is an avid Birthday Hater and the rest of the crew goes to ridiculous lengths to rope her into at least some kind of celebration—which doesn't go well. Suffice to say, she almost performs a Heroic Sacrifice before it is over.
  • A birthday movie in fact. Run Away Locomon is set on Rika's birthday. She finds out about and bemoans Jeri throwing her a surprise party from Takato. The movie essentially boils down to the Tamers going to Rika's house for the party and dealing with said Locomon on the way. Rika's Disappeared Dad issues are used against her by the Parasimon to control her and attack Takato. She does make it to the party in the end, but she's pretty much the only one not enjoying herself.
  • Early in their partnership in Tiger & Bunny, Kotetsu finds out Barnaby's birthday is coming up a plans a surprise party involving a fake mugging. It ends up being a disaster and gets hijacked by an actual criminal chase, but this leads to the first real "power of teamwork" moment for the pair.
  • Episode 7 of Season 2's Boku wa Tomodachi ga Sukunai has the main characters celebrating Kobato's birthday.
  • Nurse Angel Ririka SOS begins on the main character's 10th birthday and ends on her 11th birthday.
  • The twelfth episode of Sakura Wars TV centers on the protagonists trying to throw Iris the first real birthday party she's ever had.

     Comic Books 
  • Some of Elongated Man's appearances were Birthday episodes, either in his own stories or in issues of Justice League of America. Knowing how much Ralph Dibny loved a good mystery, his wife Susan would usually craft an elaborate mystery for him to solve as a birthday gift, often getting the Justice League in on the action.

     Fanfic 
  • If Thems The Rules has Tom and Harry celebrating Tom's birthday. On that day Harry receives a letter from Melania Black warning him about her husband.
  • Mega Man Reawakened has Arc 4, chapter 3, which is all about a birthday party for Robert.

    Literature 
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, Belle the Birthday Fairy's book takes place on Rachel's mom's birthday. And Jack Frost's.
    • The Sweet/Sugar & Spice Fairies series takes place around Kirsty's birthday.

     Live-Action TV 
  • H2O: Just Add Water:
    • It had one for Cleo. The one her dad organised for her was embarassingly childish while the one her friends organized was much more to her liking.
    • Later, there was one for Lewis.
  • My Name Is Earl: Earl has a birthday party and all anyone can talk about is how much bad stuff he used to do, rather than all the good stuff he's doing now. It turns out it's all a big Practical Joke, and as birthday presents everyone crosses something off of Earl's list that he had done to them, so he doesn't have to make it up to them.
  • Friends:
    • Rachel has three birthdays celebrated, and in one both of her parents (who are going through a divorce) show up. To keep them from having to interact they split the party in two.
    • In another Rachel turns thirty, the last of the group to do so. The episode is a mixture of everyone dealing with Rachel's current birthday and flashbacking to everyone else's thirtieth birthday parties.
    • When Rachel gets a new job, Phoebe and Monica organise a surprise birthday party for her a month before her actual birthday, have a falling out over the organisation and it turns into a very weird cup-theme party... that also reveals everyone forgot about Chandler's birthday which is coming up much sooner than Rachel's.
    • A birthday of Phoebe's involves her finding out she's actually a year older than she thought.
    • One of Monica's has her getting drunk before appearing at her posh surprise party, that includes her parents with a camcorder.
    • The gang go to a concert for Ross's birthday, and throw a party for Joey in Season 2.
    • Emma's first birthday is celebrated.
    • The only Friend who misses out is Chandler.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer has one of these in most seasons for the title character's birthday.
    • In later seasons, they even lampshade the fact that some supernatural awfulness always strikes on Buffy's birthday.
    • The episode "Family" is both a Birthday Episode and a Day in the Limelight for Tara.
    • Angel had 'Happy Birthday', which was built around Cordelia's birthday. Like Buffy, she had problems with the supernatural during it.
  • Good Luck Charlie has done one once a season for the title character. There was also one for "Gabe's 12 birthday", which involved a belated birthday celebration for Gabe.
  • The Big Bang Theory, episode "The Peanut Reaction". After learning that Leonard has never had a birthday party, Penny decides to throw him one and drags the others into helping her. It doesn't go well, naturally. The title, for instance, refers to Howard triggering his peanut allergy as a desperate attempt to keep Leonard away until the party.
  • There was one for Michael in The Office (US), called Michael's Birthday.
  • In Joe90, one of these doubled as the Grand Finale as the characters celebrate Joe's birthday.
  • Modern Family:
    • The episode "Game Changer" focuses mostly on Phil's birthday.
    • And the episode "Fizbo" is centered around Luke's birthday.
  • Mess with a Power Ranger on their birthday, and he or she is going to be pissed off. Zack, Justin, Ashley, and Emily all get a kill credit for a birthday present. Justin also gets a surprise visit from his father.
    Justin: Aw, Dad! This is the best birthday ever!
  • Community's "Mixology Certification" is centered around Troy's 21st birthday.
  • The Dick Van Dyke Show: Laura knows that Rob knows that Laura is planning a surprise party for his birthday, but she manages to surprise him anyway by making it look like all the guests are canceling their attendance - then suddenly, SURPRISE! It's his party - and all of the guests are in their pajamas (because the party is at 6 a.m.).
  • Yo Gabba Gabba: "Birthday". DJ Lance mentions that it's Brobee's birthday, and helps him to realize that he is four years old. The rest of the episode deals with preparations for Brobee's birthday party, and the party itself.
  • Sesame Street Had a birthday episode for Linda, where Bob teaches everyone how to sign "Happy Birthday to You". Big Bird's birthday was the focus of a PBS pledge drive special in 1991.
  • Birthdays are a plot point in several Barney & Friends episodes and stage shows.
  • That '70s Show has several: The first episode "Eric's Birthday" revolves around Eric's 17th birthday. Another episode later in the series revolves around his 18th. There's also one about Hyde's 18th and one where Eric and Red forget Kitty's birthday.
  • Once a season, Ally McBeal would have a party she hated, organized by her colleagues and held in "their" bar. Other characters would celebrate birthdays too, but it was less focused.
  • Emily Owens, M.D.: Young doctor Emily and her Alpha Bitch nemesis since high school Cassandra celebrate birthday on the very same day. Cassandra craves and loves the attention while Emily keeps repeating she's not a birthday type.
  • Hannah's twenty-fifth birthday party happens early in season three of Girls. She quite enjoys the attention. Her friends organize a party at a bar and her parents also attend (it's implied they also pay it, or at least contribute substantially).
  • In the Supernatural episode "What Is And What Should Never Be" (S02, Ep20), the celebration of Mary's birthday shows how important she is to her family.

     Web Animation 
  • Averted in the first episode of DSBT InsaniT, much to Bear's confusion.

     Webcomic 

     Web Video 
  • The Lizzie Bennet Diaries:
    • One episode is shot during Lydia's birthday party. She turned 21. Lizzie says her younger sister is on a partying streak and that she apparently doesn't need sleeping. Another episode, Lizzie gives Lydia presents and they have an argument because Lydia thinks Lizzie judges her and thats she's harsh and stuck-up.
    • One episode very close to the end of the webseries has Lizzie and her best friend Charlotte mark their 25th birthday. They were born on the very same day.

     Western Animation 
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • It had an episode where they celebrated Linda's birthday.
    • An episode is dedicated to Phineas' birthday in the form of a Clip Show. Doofenshmirtz also has a birthday in the series, though it wasn't the focus of the episode.
  • Teen Titans has this for Raven in "Birthmark", where Raven dreads her birthday, since a prophecy says it would start the Apocalypse. Raven has good reason to believe she'll be the cause, seeing as her father Trigon is a dimension-conquering demon, and wants her to act as his portal.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door has plenty of episodes where it is one of The Delightful Children From Down The Lane's birthday and the KND try to take their cake.
  • The Regular Show episode "Free Cake" revolves around Mordecai and Rigby setting up a birthday party for Skips, but only so they could have free chocolate cake. In trying to get Skips to the party, they interrupt a ritual that gives him eternal life, and have to sacrifice the cake to save him.
  • The Simpsons
    • "Radio Bart" starts with Bart's tenth birthday at a Suck E. Cheese's. He thinks that it sucks, but Homer helps him to see the merit of the radio and microphone that he got him...
    • In one episode, Homer gives Marge a bowling ball for her birthday—despite the fact that she doesn't bowl. He even got it inscribed with his name, on the assumption that she'd give it to him to use. She takes up bowling just to spite him, claiming that Homer is the name of her ball.
    • In the Michael Jackson episode, Lisa turns 8. Nobody pays attention. In the end, Michael & Bart write a song for her.
    Lisa, it's your birthday
    Happy birthday, Lisa!
  • This was the first episode of the Rugrats series, not counting the pilot. It was Tommy's birthday.
    • Angelica's birthday is also the plot of a later episode. She worries about growing older and tries to act like a baby.
    • Another episode featured Kimi's birthday. It was the last episode of the series.
  • The spin-off All Grown Up! has an episode that revolves around Angelica's birthday again, now thirteen. The school Alpha Bitch deliberately schedules a party on the same day as Angelica's to teach her a lesson.
  • The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 episode "Reptiles in the Rose Garden" takes place on Kootie Pie's sixteenth birthday in which she desires the entire USA, unhappy with the gifts Bowser got for her.
  • Adventure Time: Jake and the Candy People throw a party to help Finn celebrate his 13th birthday in the episode "Mystery Train". People start dying before they even get there.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends has several such episodes. The birthdays celebrated in those episodes were Madame Foster, Mac and Bloo.
  • Dastardly and Muttley in Their Flying Machines has two. One concerns Muttley's birthday, and in the other, Dick Dastardly thinks it's the general's birthday and discovers it's his own.
  • Family Guy
    • "Chitty Chitty Death Bang": Stewie turns 1. Peter screws up the planning for Stewie's birthday party, while Meg tries not to attend. Stewie murders a man he thinks is the doctor who delivered him.
    • "Peter's Two Dads": Meg asks for a birthday party, and it takes input from Chris for Lois and Peter to make a connection. They don't realize that Meg is turning 17. Francis Griffin is injured by Peter while Peter is performing as a clown. Francis dies from his injuries.
  • The Powerpuff Girls had "Birthday Bash," in which three of the girls' imprisoned foes try to send them booby-trapped gifts.
  • Scooby-Doo has had at least two. In the New Scooby Doo Mysteries debut, it's Scooby's birthday and he's being feted with a "This Is Your Life"-style TV ceremony. The What's New? episode "A Terrifying Round with a Menacing Metallic Clown" briefly brings up Velma's birthday when she was much younger and why she's afraid of clowns.
  • An episode of The Flintstones has Fred getting wise to a surprise birthday party for him.
  • Recess had two: "Randall's Friends" (Randall's birthday) and "Bonky Fever" (Mikey's birthday).
  • The original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles had two: "Michelangelo's Birthday" (which involved Michelangelo's) and "Mr. Nice Guy" (which took place during Raphael's).
  • The Mike, Lu & Og episode "The Great Snipe Hunt" took place on Og's birthday.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has "Pinkie Pride", which starts off with festive preparations for the "birth-iversary" of Rainbow Dash, celebrating both her birthday and the anniversary of when she moved to Ponyville. But when resident party girl Pinkie Pie gets upstaged by the professional polka-playing party-planning Cheese Sandwich (and Boneless), things escalate to a goof-off that threatens to overshadow the birthday festivities.

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