When the Scary Surprise Party
In TV-Land, parties are an occasion for teenagers to go wild
and Spin the Bottle
, families to play Parlor Games
, and psychotic hosts to massacre their guests
. Then there is the Surprise Party; and 90% of the time, surprise parties in fiction will
end in disaster. This might vary from something as small as someone getting humiliated
or showing up naked
, to something as threatening as your city getting invaded by a giant monster
or the surprised man dropping dead from the shock
. Can be Played for Laughs
or for Drama
A rare but not unknown variation is where the character trying to organize the party runs into some heavily abnormal trouble. In these cases the party itself will take place at the end of the episode/movie/chapter, and will be uneventful.
Another occasional variation is that the "surprised" part of the party mistakes the setup with a possible ambush and decides to strike back, meaning that the partygoers will be either 1) killed, 2) forced to duck for cover or 3) stand still in horror with a present/cake/balloon/other harmless artifact that took the full brunt of the "counter-attack" standing among them.
- One of Phil Foglio's What's New? with Phil and Dixie strips in Dragon magazine was about espionage Tabletop RPGs. Part of it explained why it was a really bad idea to throw a surprise birthday party for an undercover spy (because expecting an ambush, he barged into the room and killed everybody inside). It starts in the last panel here and concludes at the top of this one.
- Get Shorty pushes this to the funniest extreme. The scene starts with a long sequence of Mafia Boss Momo wheezing his way up a long flight of steps, and from the way it's filmed, the lack of music, and the plot thus far, the audience is naturally expected that he's going to get assassinated any minute. He opens the door to his darkened apartment, and suddenly the lights go on, revealing a surprise birthday party in his living room. Momo dies of a heart attack from the surprise.
- District 9: Wikus gets home: "I need to get to the toilet, quickly! Baby, listen I might've crapped in my pants— " "SURPRISE!"
- Cloverfield: Rob, one of the protagonists, gets a nice little going-away surprise party - and New York is promptly attacked by a massive creature bigger than the Statue of Liberty.
- The Room. Johnny's fiancee decides to come out with her affair with his best friend during the surprise birthday party she's throwing for him.
- Police Academy: Eugene Tackleberry's Establishing Character Moment is him doing his last patrol as a security guard before going to the academy, noticing that there is a room with the lights suspiciously off, and charging in with his Hand Cannon blazing, scaring the living crap out of his co-workers that were going to surprise him with a farewell party and nearly got hit.
- The Dresden Files: in Cold Days, Harry's recovery from his mostly-death in Changes ends with an invitation to a birthday party. He's lost track of the passage of time and is quite surprised to find out that it's his party. Though not as surprised as he is when the lights in a darkened room suddenly go up to reveal all manner of frightening faery beings. It turns out to be a setup by Maeve, to trick him into breaking Mab's rule against bloodshed at court. He survives that, but that was only her opening gambit: she then provokes him into a fight to the death with one of her cronies in which he mustn't draw blood or use magic.
- In Shadowgirls, the Alpha Bitch sets up Becca to get gang-raped at the party. And the Deep Ones starts killing people
- Zii from Ménage à 3 relates in flash-back how she once set up a "surprise 6-some" for Yuki. It did not turn out as expected, and Zii found out that Yuki's Berserk Button is male genitalia.
- In Kevin & Kell, a surprise birthday party is how the gang find out Bruno (a wolf who's had some surgical modifications) has become a herbivore. The arc starts here.
- League of Super Redundant Heroes in this strip◊. Buckaress and Good Girl set up a surprise party for Laser Pony but forget that when startled his laser Eye Beams can go off. He ends up blowing a large hole in the wall of the house.
- Bob's Birthday is an animated short centered entirely around this with Bob's wife Margaret trying to throw a surprise party for him. She keeps trying to steer Bob into the living room where all the guests are hiding, but Bob's so preoccupied with other things that Margaret never gets a chance. It won the Best Animated Short Academy Award in 1994.
- The Venture Bros. - the Monarch enters his cocoon lair, the lights go on and everyone yells "Surprise!!!" He cries out "Crap! An ambush!" and kills a minion with a poison dart missile before he realizes what's going on.