Time Passage Beard

Nine months later...

A long amount of time passes. A character is shown in the next scene with a beard. Often used in animated media as Rule of Funny and sometimes involves the beard disappearing in the next scene, growing on children or even being ripped off by previously mentioned character. Nearly Always Male, except in the very few occasions where it is used with women. (usually limited to hair length or Girls With Mustaches parody) A form of Show, Don't Tell.

Is a subtrope of Expository Hairstyle Change. Compare Hair Today Gone Tomorrow and Perma Shave. May be related to Beard of Sorrow.

Not to be confused with Growing the Beard.


  • Done in an old Chuck E. Cheese commercial. The voiceover says, "Boring restaurants make you wait...and wait...and wait," while time lapses are shown with a kid sitting at a table waiting, ending with cobwebs and a ridiculously long beard. This is contrasted with the kid excitedly playing games at Chuck E Cheese.

  • Fist of the North Star: Not only does Kenshiro grow a beard in the animated movie in between his assault by Shin and encountering Bat and Lin (And then shaves it using some thug's knife), but he also develops a beard at the start of the second series, shaving it once he finally begins to fight again.

  • Done in Thorgal - after he escapes from caves where time flow was slowed, he wakes up with a long beard the next day. Not at all played for comedy, as the girl he was with had spent most of her life there and got aged into a shrivelled husk overnight.
  • In a Richie Rich comic book story, Richie has a Rip Van Winkle dream where he wakes up years in the future wearing a beard.
  • Superman in the Time And Time Again story arc in 1991 gets a Time Passage Beard as he is stuck in the prehistoric past with no way of getting home except to expose himself to explosions and powerful energy discharges.

Fairy Tales

  • Happened to Ash in the deleted alternate ending of Army of Darkness, when he "slept too long" and overshot the 20th century.
  • Die Another Day: When James Bond is finally freed by the North Koreans more than a year after his capture, he's grown a beard (as well as a mustache and long, shaggy hair).
  • Inverted in Iron Man 3. In the opening scene set in 1999, Happy is shown with a beard and longer hair, but has shaved it off in the present.
  • In the Apocalypse film series movie Tribulation, Tom Canboro wakes up with a beard a few years into the Tribulation after being in a coma from a car accident.
  • Parodied in Superhero Movie, where after breaking up with his girlfriend Rick is next shown with a Beard of Sorrow indicating that a lot of time has passed. Then it turns out the beard is fake.

  • In The Kingdom of Gods, Sieh keeps magically aging whenever he uses too much of his power or does anything particularly unchildlike, such as remembering he's a father. Each time this happens, he ends up with a massive beard and head of hair.
  • Arthur Dent grows one of these when he is trapped on Earth 2 million years ago in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy books.

Live-Action Television
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: when a milkman's Pizza Boy Special Delivery is Subverted, he's locked in a room with many other milkmen with various lenghths of beard.
  • The Big Bang Theory: At the end of season two the gang goes to the North Pole for three months; when they come back in the following premiere they all have big beards (except Sheldon, who has a neatly-trimmed goatee).
  • Crichton does this a few times in Farscape, notably while he's stranded on an alien planet in "Jeremiah Crichton", and the season 4 premiere.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The artificially aged Fourth Doctor in "The Leisure Hive" grows an incredibly long beard as the result of the process.
    • In the sixth series, the opening two-parter has the Doctor (who had always been beardless previously) imprisoned for several months and growing a beard. It happens again in the season finale.
    • Also from the revived Doctor Who; in "The Doctor's Wife", Amy stumbles across Rory's dead body in a Room Full of Crazy, having grown a beard, aged, and eventually starved to death. Don't worry, he gets better.
  • House the season 2 finale has House awaken from a coma. He determines roughly how long he had been out (three days) by the amount of growth of his Perma Stubble.
  • Chief O'Brien grows one in the virtual prison cell that he spends twenty virtual years in in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, Ted becomes part of a very long discussion about Teddy Roosevelt with another man and a woman. He explains it went of for "days" and by the end, the other man and Ted have grown long beards.
  • At the end of 24's fifth season Jack is taken prisoner by the Chinese government and held there for nearly two years. When he's released in the following season he how has a long, unkempt beard as well as shaggy hair, similar to the James Bond example.
  • Sherlock at the start of the "The Empty Hearse" episode of Sherlock, during which he'd been kept a prisoner in Eastern Europe. He has it all shaved off by a barber upon his rescue. (This is used as symbolic contrast to the moustache that John grows.)
  • Wiseguy. Also used to show how Vinnie has let himself go after his 10-Minute Retirement from the OCB.

  • In one scene in the "Blood Gulch Chronicles" of Red vs. Blue, Church spends a thousand years standing in a hallway waiting for a computer to fabricate a teleporter (...maybe). By the end of it, Church has a massive beard drawn on his sprite. Played for laughs, given he's in a robotic body at this point.

Newspaper Comics
  • One FoxTrot strip evokes this trope, showing Paige on the phone, Jason walking by wearing an obviously fake beard, bald wig and cane. Paige's response is "I haven't been on the phone THAT long!"

Video Games
  • Fire Emblem: The Blazing Sword has a short scene in the epilogue where Eliwood and Hector meet up several years after the events of the main plot, with Hector having grown one of these. By The Sword of Seals, which takes place over a decade later, it's grown even longer.
  • Don't Starve has this as a game mechanic with the character Wilson. While he isn't the only character with a beard, he's the only one capable of growing it over time and shaving it to obtain beard hair to use for dark magic.

Web Comics

Western Animation
  • Happens to Superman in the Justice League episode "Hereafter".
  • South Park: When Cartman (and later Kyle) awakes from a coma, he's got a big beard. But it's just a facewarmer, he's only been out for a day or so.
  • Parodied in an episode of Tiny Toons where Babs is looking for a personal hero in old cartoons. As she sits in the Acme Looniversity archive the camera pans around and when it comes back to her she has a long gray beard and a cane. She tosses the cane aside, then rips the beard off and is about to storm off in frustration but decides to watch one more film.
  • Averted in The Smurfs episode "Smurf Van Winkle" (and its comic book counterpart "The Strange Awakening Of Lazy Smurf"), where the only characters seen with any Time Passage Beards are the Smurfs that claim that Lazy has slept for a few hundred years. Of course, the whole thing was a Faked Rip Van Winkle, since the Smurfs were wearing fake beards.
  • In The Super Hero Squad Show episode "The Saga of Beta Ray Bill", this happens to Thor when he winds up in the abandoned space station. He sits in a corner waiting for someone to show up, and eventually he's sporting a long, full beard, and treating Mjolnir as a Companion Cube.
  • Parodied in The Simpsons episode "Bart vs. Lisa vs. the Third Grade", when Homer and Bart spend day after day sitting on the couch watching TV. Bart grows a stubble of his own.
    • Many other episodes when Homer spends a lot of time waiting or doing nothing have his stubble growing into a beard (visually indicated by it getting a bit fuzzy).