->''It's my party, and I'll cry if I want to...''
-->-- '''Lesley Gore''', "It's My Party"

An {{Iron|y}}ic Birthday occurs when a character has had to make a tough decision or has just lost something of extreme value to him, and upon walking into a room is greeted with a [[SurpriseParty surprise birthday party]]. This is not a celebration that makes everything all right; this is about the character having to pretend to enjoy what should be a happy time while secretly suffering. He's grateful to his friends, but a party is the last thing he needs.

Compare and contrast BirthdayHater, where someone just flat out hates their birthday for one reason or another; the difference is that, for this trope, the reason for not wanting to celebrate is more recent and likely temporary, whereas a BirthdayHater's motivation is often much more long-standing. Contrast OnePersonBirthdayParty (when the character is suffering because nobody else showed up to their party) and ForgottenBirthday (when the character is sad only because ''they'' don't know about the surprise party.) If their birthday is miserable but they ''don't'' have to act cheerful for a party, it's ABirthdayNotABreak.


[[folder: Anime and Manga ]]
* In the ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' anime the girls and Negi throw one for Asuna in episode 23. [[spoiler: Because she sold her life to the devil exactly ten years before, she'd known for years that this was her last day alive. She sulks the whole episode until she goes back to a surprise party for her, and she celebrates with them, resulting in a [[CrowningMomentOfHeartwarming Crowning Moment of Heartwarming.]] Her death minutes later is the most shocking event of the entire series.]]
* Also not the victim's birthday: In ''{{Anime/Mazinkaiser}}'', Baron Ashura infiltrates the Photon Power Laboratory disguised as Professor Yumi, and walks in on Yumi's surprise birthday party. To make matters worse, all the presents remind him of Baron Ashura, including a Baron Ashura-themed dartboard. He dashes out, screaming that he is, in fact, Professor Yumi.
* Manga/{{Naruto}}. He was born on the day his town was attacked by a demon, and the day his parents died, and said demon was the reason they died.
** During the big finale final battle, the villain tries to taunt him by pointing out that it happens to be the day before the anniversary of his parents' death (and how pointless their sacrifice was since it's all going to end now). Backfires of course, because Naruto just states that means it's also his birthday, and thus the anniversary of his parents' ''victory'' by saving their newborn son during the attack.

[[folder: Fanfiction ]]
* The ''Fanfic/EmpathTheLuckiestSmurf'' story "Smurfed Behind: The Departure" takes place around Empath's 155th birthday, when all the Smurfs in the village end up being lost in time, similar to the events that took place in Season 9 of ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs'' cartoon show. This leaves him coming home to an empty village save for his friend Polaris Psyche.

[[folder: Film ]]
* Not a birthday, but in ''Film/{{District 9}}'' Wikus walks into a surprise party to celebrate his promotion as he slowly [[spoiler:turns into an alien.]]
* Reversed in ''Film/{{Godzilla 2014}}''. Joe is told of his birthday by his wife before they go off to the power plant where they work. Hell breaks loose when the plant is breached and his wife dies.
* In ''Film/LeftBehind2014'', the Rapture takes place on Rayford Steele's birthday.
* In ''Film/SpiderMan2'', Peter just lost his job, and just had a bad day overall, and comes home to a (heartwarmingly pathetic) birthday party.

[[folder: Literature ]]
* In the Literature/LeftBehind book ''Kingdom Come'', Cendrillon Jospin's parents realized that their child would not become a believer by her 100th birthday, which in the Millennial Kingdom period [[DeathsHourglass means an automatic death sentence to Hell]], so they celebrated her birthday before the day that she would die. She still went to Hell nonetheless.

[[folder: Live-Action TV ]]
* A notorious episode of ''Series/AllInTheFamily'' involved Edith Bunker arriving to a surprise birthday party after being ''attacked by a rapist''.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'':
** The first episode pretty much revolves around this trope. Walter White comes home from the hospital on his 50th birthday, having just learnt that he has terminal cancer, to find a surprise party in his living room.
** A season 5 episode features his 51st birthday (with a lampshade hung on [[WebcomicTime how long a year it's been]]), celebrated for Walt Jr's sake despite the fact that he and Skyler are barely on speaking terms. [[spoiler:The ColdOpen to that season shows his 52nd birthday, "celebrated" alone, in a diner, travelling under a fake ID.]]
* In Season 2 of ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Buffy pretends she's okay when her mother (who doesn't know about Angel) celebrates with a movie and a birthday cupcake.
* Possibly inverted in the ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' episode "Out of Gas," where everything goes to hell ''during'' a surprise birthday party for Simon.
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'', who had ''two'': one where he was trying not to accidentally stand up a woman for the third time, and one where he accidentally (with a little help from Roz) revealed his entire sexual history to the waiting party-throwers.
* In ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'', Ted wants to fire his former boss Hammond, but events keep getting in the way, including a surprise birthday party for Hammond, and the next day ''another'' surprise birthday party for Hammond (many employees having missed the first). This trope's usual effect applies more to Ted than to Hammond, who just seems pleased.
* It is not ''his'' birthday, but for B.J., in the ''Series/{{MASH}}'' finale, it might as well have been. He had made every attempt to get home in time for his daughter's birthday (he had not seen her since she was an infant). He got a third of the way there before having to turn around and come back to fulfill Potter's request for another surgeon. The 4077th then throws a substitute birthday party for his daughter.
* In ''Series/{{Smallville}}'', there has not been a single perfectly happy birthday shown. ComicBook/LexLuthor's 12th birthday involves an empty party. Clark's 16th birthday was fine for him at the time but Chloe saw him kissing Lana and left crying. He misses his 17th birthday because he is stabbed by an AxCrazy [[WithGreatPowerComesGreatInsanity teenager with]] [[AGodAmI his powers]]. His 19th birthday was not long after [[spoiler:Jonathan died]]. Chloe's 18th birthday involves being possessed by a WickedWitch who proceeded to bloodily torture Clark. Her 22th birthday was after she suffered through a long TraumaCongaLine, and Zatanna had the bright idea to transform her into Lois. [[ArsonMurderAndJaywalking And Clark didn't show up for the party.]]
* In the ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'' episode "The Assignment", [[ButtMonkey Chief O'Brien's]] birthday party takes place while his wife is secretly [[DemonicPossession possessed by a Pah-Wraith]].

[[folder: Music ]]
* "It's My Party" by Lesley Gore. The singer loses her boyfriend Johnny to Judy, who shows up at the birthday party wearing his engagement ring.

[[folder: Theatre ]]
* Pretty much the plot of the Jonathan Larson musical ''tick, tick... BOOM!''.
** In a lesser sense, also ''Theatre/{{Company}}'', one of the {{S|tephenSondheim}}ondheim pieces it's based on.
* Inverted in the 1993 [[TheMusical musical]] of ''Theatre/{{Tommy}}'': As 4-year-old Tommy, his mother, and her new lover celebrate her 21st birthday, her presumed-dead husband arrives and breaks up by engaging in a fight between him and the boyfriend that soon leaves the boyfriend dead... all the while the mother tries turning Tommy away from the fight toward the mirror... with which he witnesses said fight by looking at it, after which the parents soon get surprised by what they see before the father gets arrested. Whoops!

[[folder: Video Games ]]
* An inversion, minus the surprise: The events of ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' take place on Link's birthday. He's just received his gifts from Grandma and they're starting to celebrate when his beloved little sister gets abducted by a giant bird.

[[folder: Web Comics ]]
* Tazel in ''Webcomic/AtArmsLength'' is the recipient of one of these in the story "Light The Candles."

[[folder: Western Animation ]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HarveyBirdmanAttorneyAtLaw'' plays with this. He is convicted and sentenced in the murder of Dyno-Mutt, goes to jail, goes through his years of appeals, ends up on death row, goes through catharsis and healing experiences as he makes peace with his lot in life, goes to the electric chair and surprise! This was all a set up for his birthday party. Where this becomes a straight example is that the prison marriage to WesternAnimation/MagillaGorilla was real.
* ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsRebels'': [[KidHero Ezra Bridger]] was born on the day TheEmpire was formed. On his seventh birthday, that Empire took his parents away (and [[spoiler:they would later die in a prison breakout]]). In [[Recap/StarWarsRebelsS1E06EmpireDay "Empire Day"]], on Ezra's fifteenth birthday, he encounters a friend of his parents who is on the run from the Empire, and he and the rest of the crew try to get him out of danger. In the events that follow, Ezra [[spoiler:taps into TheDarkSide of TheForce in a bout of fear and anger]] during a clash with the Inquisitor.
* ''WesternAnimation/TeenTitans'' features the extreme example of Raven's friends celebrating her birthday, while she knows it signifies {{the end of the world|AsWeKnowIt}}.