One-Person Birthday Party
You've spent hours hanging balloons, decorations and banners on the wall. You've cooked the food to perfection. The cake is ready, and the candles have already been lit. You even have the music all sorted out. It's a perfect birthday party, but there's just one tiny problem - nobody's coming.
Birthdays are supposed to be a great occasion to get together with friends, when everything is about you. So when someone has only themselves with whom to celebrate their birthday, it's a sign that they really are alone
Writers tend to use this trope to establish that the character in question is The Woobie
(if Played for Drama
) or The Chew Toy
(if Played for Laughs
). It may also be a Cloud Cuckoo Lander
since these will often understand the "everything is about you" tendency literally (if a friend is with you, then not everything is, technically, about you).
Compare Forgotten Birthday
Anime and Manga
- Mazinger Z: In episode 19, the Small Name, Big Ego Butt Monkey Boss tries to get people to purchase tickets to attend his birthday party. However everyone runs away from him, and he can not figure out why. Kouji tries to explain to him that people don't like getting bullied into paying for a party they do not want to go to start with. Finally, Kouji agrees to attend Boss' party out of pity and even performs a couple of tricks with his bike so that more people come. However, during the party, Kouji gets summoned to the Institute, and he leaves. As a result, everybody else leaves too, leaving Boss alone.
- In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story "Smurfed Behind: The Departure", the Smurfs are all busy preparing for Empath's 155th birthday party when they all get sucked into the prehistoric past when Papa Smurf opens a time portal to bring the baby dinosaur they found back home. By the time Empath arrives, only Polaris Psyche is left in the village, and the party is pretty much abandoned as Empath heartbreakingly celebrates his birthday by toasting marshmallows instead.
- In Little Man Tate, the main character hands out invitations to his party at school, only to see them blowing around on the ground when they rush in from recess. Cut to the party, where it's just him and his mom (and she doesn't count).
- The Amazing Spider-Man 2 has this with Max before he becomes Electro. Since nobody remembers his birthday, Max celebrates it all by himself by buying a small birthday cake, putting up some meager decorations, and even making a invite card all for him.
- Stella Dallas - well, not quite, since Stella and the maid are there. But Laurel is crushed when neither her teacher nor any of her friends will come to her birthday party, because they don't approve of Stella.
- The lonely hero of The Best Offer is seen all by himself on his birthday at the restaurant.
- This is the killer's motivation in Happy Birthday to Me. At least that's what the person who framed Ginny wanted people to think.
- "Pity Party" by Melanie Martinez about how she threw an elaborate birthday party for herself, but none of the people she invited came. She tries to act like she doesn't care at first and tries to spin it in a good way, saying that now she can have more cake, but she quickly dissolves into tears and has a fit. The music video has Melanie tearing up her stuffed animals, destroying the cake, and eventually having a breakdown.
Did my invitations disappear?
Why'd I put my heart on every cursive letter?
Tell me why the hell no one is here,
Tell me what to do to make it all feel better.
- Not a birthday, but when AJ Lee threw a party to celebrate her becoming the longest-reigning Divas Champion ever, she was the only one in attendance.
- Crimes Of The Heart begins with the main character trying to have one of these, attempting to stick a birthday candle into a cookie.
- The "Claptrap's Birthday Bash" sidequest from Borderlands 2, where you send invitations to Claptrap's birthday party for him. None of the guests accept the invitation, so you end up alone with Claptrap. You could make it a little less sad by having four players go, but that's four out of six playable characters — under the best circumstances, not even all the Vault Hunters go to Claptrap's party, which only ends up lasting a few minutes. Word Of God states that the mission was based off of an actual One Man Birthday Party that the creative designer once witnessed.
- In the first Simon the Sorcerer game, when Simon visits the swampling's house, Swampy mistakes him for a guest come to celebrate Swampy's birthday. Swampy's actual birthday was three weeks earlier, but Swampy doesn't mind Simon being late because he's still the first guest to show up.
- A disturbingly large amount of fanwork depicts Alice Margatroid of Touhou (depicted above) this way, perhaps due to her (fanon) isolationist, tsundere persona. Yuuka occasionally gets this treatment, though in her case it's because she's too scary for anyone to go.
- Blue, one of the Brothers Bear in Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble!, is depressed that no one remembered his birthday when you first meet him. As it turns out, one of his brothers - Blizzard - DID remember, but was too far away to attend the party. As such, it falls to the Kongs to relay his gift (and when they do, Blue cheers up considerably).
- In the opening prologue of Batman: Arkham Knight, as you walk around in Pauli's diner, there is a lone man at a booth with a small cupcake with his name, 'Noel', on it with a single lit candle. Noel is downtrodden and will give you a dirty look if you approach him. He will then return to looking downtrodden as his cupcake. Unfortunately, this is only the start of his troubles, as the booth next to him is a Scarecrow henchmen about to deploy fear gas in the diner.
- In the Ultra Fast Pony episode "Purple Party Pooper", Twilight sends invitations for her birthday party, then finds out that no one is planning to attend. She becomes increasingly unhinged as she tries to figure out why her friends won't come. The end of the episode implies that Princess Celestia had the same problem (the day was coincidentally her birthday as well)—since Twi was the only one to show up, and she only came because Celestia commanded her.
- The Taco-Man Paint short "Today is My Birthday" has the title character throw one for himself, because all his friends died beforehand.
- In Sinfest it's revealed that this was one of many Break the Cutie moments for Lil' Evil throughout his life.
- In Brawl in the Family, one of the Waluigi-themed comics depicts Waluigi as the only attendee of his own birthday party. This comes as a big Mood Whiplash for people familiar with the Waluigi strips. As mentioned in the newspost, one forum member rewrote the Downer Ending of the strip to portray Waluigi as someone who prefers to celebrate alone and another wrote an alternate version where Luigi came by.
- In the achingly beautiful "Counting Stars," the main character comes home on her 16th birthday to find a cupcake and a note of apology from her mother. She has no friends and no one with whom to share the special day, and is clearly despondent.