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Birthday Hater

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"Why, God, why? LET THE OTHERS GROW OLD, NOT ME!"

"I don't like loud noises. And people making a fuss. And I especially don't like people celebrating because they know a piece of private information about me. Plus the whole thing is a scam - birthdays were invented by Hallmark to sell cards."
Ron Swanson, Parks and Recreation
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This character hates their birthday. And there's usually always a reason for it. Whether something traumatic happened or they just don't like getting older, they see no reason to celebrate. Or maybe the person Never Had a Birthday Party or Doesn't Know Their Own Birthday, making them resentful about the concept.

Sometimes Truth in Television when a person's birthday falls on a holiday (e.g. Valentine's Day) or the day when something bad occurred. And some people simply don't like the feeling of getting old, especially if their life is not on the right track.

For extra drama, this character is likely to be the recipient of a Surprise Party from their well-intentioned friends, leading to awkward explanations. Or maybe to a change of heart.

Compare Crappy Holidays, which includes people who hate holidays, and The Grinch, someone who specifically hates Christmas. See also Grumpy Bear and The Eeyore for characters who are in a bad mood when everyone else is celebrating. See also Birthday Party Goes Wrong.

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Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ciel Phantomhive from Black Butler. His tenth birthday was the day his house burned down with both parents inside. And he was kidnapped, and taken off to be a slave to a cult. By his thirteenth birthday, he doesn't even acknowledge them unless made to.
  • Misfortunes happen to Kankichi Ryotsu in Kochikame. His birthday is on March 3 which is Girls' Day in Japan.
  • Yuuto from Omamori Himari hates his birthday, because that's also the day both of his parents died.
  • Meia Gisborn from Vandread. Episode 21 is entirely devoted to the rest of the crew's efforts to lure her into attending the birthday party they throw for her, which she skillfully evades (like in all her previous years on Nirvana). Needless to say, said episode gives her a great deal of characterization beside that.
  • Mukuro from Yu Yu Hakusho because of her tragic backstory and an abusive parent. Revealed to be so because her adopted father made a special note to molest her on all of her birthdays.
  • Misaki from Action Heroine Cheer Fruits dislikes her birthday because it falls on an unlucky day, which only furthers her perception that she's Born Unlucky and that she jinxes everyone she cares about.

    Comic Books 
  • Disney Ducks Comic Universe: In Don Rosa's "The Sign of the Triple Distelfink", Donald Duck's Born Lucky cousin Gladstone Gander tries to sequester himself in his house on his birthday every year because his birthday is the one day of the year his extraordinary good luck turns bad.
  • Mickey Mouse Comic Universe: An Italian story from '98 (for celebrate the 70 years of Mickey Mouse), reveal that Mickey hates his birthday because he is assaulted by every major character from both the Mouse and Duck Universes that wants to throw a party (even the villains!) and give him original presents. This always turn into a disaster.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy story "Time Waits For No Mandy" (Cartoon Network Block Party #56) has Mandy hating birthdays because she's self-proclaimed ageist. Grim conjures up Father Time himself, and Mandy cajoles him into going on vacation so time will stand still and she won't have any more birthdays.

    Fan Works 
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    Films 
  • Captain Kirk in the Star Trek reboot continuity doesn't like to celebrate his birthday, because his dad died on the same day, within minutes of his birth. By the time Star Trek Beyond rolls around, his birthday issues are even worse because now he's thirty years old, a year older than his dad got to be.
  • And from the prime Star Trek universe, Kirk isn't too enthusiastic about his birthday in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, as it's just a reminder to him that he's no longer the young and vital captain that he used to be.
    Bones: Dammit, Jim, what the hell's the matter with you? Other people have birthdays; why are we treating yours like a funeral?

    Literature 
  • Bella from Twilight. She just hates the attention and how it reminds her that she still ages while Edward doesn't.
  • The main character of It's My Fucking Birthday by Merill Markoe. A high school art teacher with narcissistic parents is trying to track her life's progress. It takes place over seven years — seven birthdays she doesn't like.
  • It's revealed in the second book of the A World of Wonder series that Gabriel prefers to ignore his birthday because it's on the equivalent to New Year's day on the Wonderland Alternative Calendar, and everyone is usually too tired from partying the night before to do anything special for him.
  • To Ma in Room, her twenty-sixth birthday is a painful reminder of how many years she has been imprisoned by Old Nick.
  • Lord Ivan Vorpatril of the Vorkosigan Saga was born a few hours after his father was killed in a skirmish during Vordarian's Pretendership. As a result of this, his mother made the central event of his birthday celebration if he was anywhere near the capital on that date going to to the spot where Lord Padma Vorpatril was shot so they could hold a memorial service for the father Ivan never met. This tradition only came to an end when Ivan was thirty-five.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Jim from According to Jim hates his birthday as a result of having been Caught with Your Pants Down on his 13th birthday.
  • Ally McBeal: Ally was unable to appreciate her friends' plans for her birthday parties and couldn't civilly accept their birthday wishes. She hated getting older without a husband in sight, feeling that her biological clock is ticking. However, her friends could have been handling the issue differently. Why inflict parties on her when she hates them? When she dated her big love Larry, he seemed to forget about her special day, which unsurprisingly upset her even more.
  • Gary from A Million Little Things doesn't hate all birthdays, just his own, due to too many bad experiences. He once claimed that on his seventh birthday, his parents spent the whole party in their bedroom arguing, which was so loud that all of the party guests could hear them.
  • The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon has some mental scars from past birthdays relating to his general aversion to socialization.
  • Detective Rosa Diaz from Brooklyn Nine-Nine really detests birthdays, and threatens violence on anyone who wishes her a happy birthday.
    Diaz: It's my birthday. I hate birthdays. If you wish me a happy birthday, I will punch you.
    Scully: You're a funny little bird, Diaz. Happy birthday! (Diaz punches him.)
  • Judging Amy: Maxine Gray informs Amy that she doesn't want a birthday party and skips the party that her daughter throws for her. In a subversion of the normal aesop, it's Amy who is chastised for throwing the unwanted party and told that she is selfish, not Maxine.
  • In the Charmed episode "Dead Man Dating", a man gets annoyed by his mother throwing him a birthday party and walks out on it, only to get murdered. After his death is avenged and he's ready to go to the afterlife, he admits how foolish he was, and tells Piper to always cherish her birthday, because each one might be her last.
  • In one episode of Community, the quintessential cool guy Jeff Winger gets depressed because of his age (about which he had been lying to his friends) and celebrates his birthday by not telling anyone, drinking scotch and taking anti-aging pills he got from a shady Asian business.
  • Emily Owens, M.D.: Emily's torturer Cassandra blabs (on purpose) that she and Emily both celebrate their birthday on the same day. Cassandra loves all the attention, but Emily honestly keeps repeating she's not a birthday type. She's insecure and dislikes being in the focus.
  • Episode "The One where They All Turn Thirty" from Friends shows the entire gang having a hard time dealing with their thirtieth birthdays, which is mostly shown in flashbacks. (Only Chandler is okay with him getting older.) The episode takes place on Rachel's birthday who is the youngest.
    • Rachel feels old and gets depressed mostly because she feels she's 'behind' regarding her life plan. It gets worse when Chandler's birthday card says "grandma" and she realizes she would like to get married and have a baby pretty soon.
    • Monica comes home completely wasted because she felt nervous about turning thirty. Chandler is throwing her a formal party with her parents. Monica overreacts and makes a huge scene.
    • Joey freaks out at his birthday, pleading with God that they had a deal to not let him get old.
    • Ross bought a red sports car, claiming he's a sports car enthusiast, despite the fact he didn't know what the horse power is which clearly points to it being a Mid-Life Crisis Car. Ross's car gets locked in by two cars. He spends his birthday trying to get out. His joy is completely spoilt when an unattractive old man in the very same red car greets him and Ross gets dejected.
    • Phoebe was pretty ok with turning thirty. That is until her twin sister Ursula tells her they are in fact thirty-one. Suddenly Phoebe's plan of stuff she wanted to accomplish falls apart and she feels particularly bad.
  • An episode of Hey Dad..! revolves around Betty refusing to reveal her birthday, even going so far as to claim that she doesn't have a birthday. It eventually turns out that she once knew a dying child who wasn't going to live to see his next birthday, so she gave him hers.
  • Kamen Rider Drive: Shinnosuke, the titular Rider, dislikes his birthday because it falls on Christmas Eve, which meant he's spent his whole life getting combined Christmas-birthday parties and presents. During the birthday depicted in the series, his Fair Cop partner Kiriko invites him out to dinner; he's happy at the prospect of a date, but is much less pleased when all their co-workers jump out and shout "Happy Birthday!"...and even less so when Da Chief announces that this party will also serve as the office Christmas party.
  • Mad About You: Paul always has terrible birthdays. The following dialog occurs while they get ready for his birthday dinner.
    Paul: Ouch.
    Jamie: What happened?
    Paul: No, no, no, I'm just practicing.
    Jamie: Fine. You're gonna fall in a well. Are you happy now?
    Paul: You know, I fell in a well.
    Jamie: You did not.
    Paul: Birthday, 15. Amish country.
    Jamie: You fell in a well?
    Paul: While making a wish.
    Jamie: Okay? My God.
    Paul: No, no, no, this is the beauty—this is the beauty of the thing. See, I know it's gonna suck. I know there's some disaster coming and still I continue to have birthdays.
    Jamie: Maybe this one will be better.
    Paul: Oh, no, no, it will suck. It's just that I just don't know what form the disaster will take and therein lies the fascination.
  • On Malcolm in the Middle, one episode shows that the cadets of Francis's military school have a tradition of forcibly shaving the birthday boy's hair—a tradition that will surely make a Birthday Hater out of any of its victims. Francis's antics of that week center around trying to keep his mates from finding out that it is his birthday, and running into obstacles in keeping this secret.
  • Snow White/Mary Margaret in Once Upon a Time. What was supposed to be her most special birthday of all, when she would be given the crown that marked her as the future queen at a ball held in her honor, instead ended up being the funeral for her mother, who had been poisoned by Cora.
  • Ron Swanson from Parks and Recreation hates birthdays so much that he has gone to great lengths to keep anyone from finding out, including having it redacted from all government documents.
    "I don't like loud noises. And people making a fuss. And I especially don't like people celebrating because they know a piece of private information about me. Plus the whole thing is a scam - birthdays were invented by Hallmark to sell cards."
    • Subverted at the end of the episode, when Leslie manages to actually give Ron a birthday present to his liking, which is having a nice, quiet evening to himself while eating meat, drinking Scotch, and watching his favorite movies (The Bridge on the River Kwai and The Dirty Dozen).
    • Subverted in a later episode where he confesses to Leslie that she managed to find a birthday activity he would actually like A long and twisting mystery scavenger hunt inspired by the one she made for Ben for their anniversary.
  • Riverdale has an episode where Betty is told by several people that her boyfriend, Jughead, doesn't like his birthday and doesn't like parties. Naturally, she throws him a birthday party and is legitimately hurt when he isn't happy about it.
  • Oscar the Grouch from Sesame Street hates birthdays even more than he hates holidays in general, so much that he tries to discourage a Surprise Party by putting a sign labeled Today is Not My Birthday! on his trashcan the day it is; the rest of the cast throw him one anyway - and manage to cheer him up with the type of party grouches find appealing. (As in, with broken presents, bad singing, and a mud cake, which fortunately, is the type of cake nobody wants him to share.)
  • In season 4 episode of Sex and the City, Carrie tries to get people together for Charlotte's "thirty-faux" birthday. Charlotte doesn't want to turn 36 because she feels she's getting old. She feels especially insecure because she longs for a healthy relationship and a child and she's not even close.
  • On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Worf doesn't look forward to his birthday as he doesn't like to be surprised, and knows that his shipmates always want to throw him a surprise party.
  • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the episode "Distant Voices" opens with Julian Bashir two days away from his 30th birthday, and not thrilled by the prospect. Garak is bemused, noting that old age is considered a sign of esteem on Cardassia.
  • That '70s Show: Hyde isn’t very fond of his birthday, to the point when kitty throws him a party he refuses to attend.
  • On Criminal Minds, agent Rossi doesn't celebrate his birthday. The day has been spoiled for him by a Serial Killer he captured, Tommy Yates, who made a deal with the FBI to reveal one of his victims' locations each year on a specific day— purposely picking Rossi's birthday. Naturally, that leaves him in no mood to celebrate.
  • Hercules: The Legendary Journeys: Hercules was always too humble for parties in his honor, but he lost all interest in celebrating his birthday after Hera killed his wife and children. Season 3's "Surprise" has Alcmene arrange a Surprise Party attended by Iolaus, Jason, Iphicles, and Falafel, but the newly resurrected Callisto crashes the party on Hera's behalf and poisons the guests before Hercules can arrive. In the end, after the day is saved, Hercules admits this experience has taught him more than ever to appreciate the family he still has.
  • On The Odd Couple, Oscar doesn't hate his birthday, just birthday parties. In particular, he hates "a surprise birthday party, with a theme", which, of course, is what Felix has planned. He's coaxed into it when Felix points out the party really isn't just for him, it's something for is friends to celebrate and have a good time together.
  • An episode of Will & Grace plays with this trope. Will, Grace, and Jack discover that Karen has a super-elaborate and expensive birthday party for herself every year, and none of them have ever been invited. They naturally get upset, but when they finally confront Karen about it, she confesses that she actually hates her birthday and doesn't want to have the parties in the first place, but does so because of social obligation. So why doesn't she invite the trio? Because she fears that if she did, they would stop taking her out to a cheap, lousy restaurant every year to celebrate...and that's the only thing she likes about her special day.
    • Played straight with Will, who in an early episode reveals that he doesn't like his birthday because his childhood parties were never any fun. He always ended up doing things that he didn't want to do, but was too shy and self-sacrificing to speak up.
  • On The Golden Girls, Blanche absolutely hated celebrating her birthday, as she's incredibly vain and hates the idea of getting older (to the point where her birth certificate has been officially deleted from all records by Florida's governor). One year, Rose is able to teach her that birthdays can be fun by inviting every man in her address book—and since Blanche Really Gets Around, the house is absolutely packed with handsome older guys.
  • The titular character on Monk hates his birthday because he had a bad party as a kid. He explains that while his friends all came and his parents even hired a cowboy to perform tricks, they all left afterward and made him feel abandoned. His caretaker Natalie manages to throw him an amazing surprise bash that changes his mind—and the same cowboy from his childhood party even shows up to help catch the murderer of the week!
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Aqua Vita", Christie Copperfield is depressed at the thought of turning 40 because she believes that she will soon be replaced by a younger woman as television anchor. She laments to her boyfriend Marc that birthdays are fun when you are 10 but not when you are worried about crow's feet and keeping your job. However, Christie is not angry at him for throwing her a surprise party as she appreciates the sentiment.

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    Newspaper Comics 
  • Garfield hates birthdays, mainly because they remind him of how old he is. (Considering the strip has been around for two or three regular cat lifespans, he may have a point.) When the actual party comes, however, he usually softens up.
  • Pearls Before Swine: Larry the Crocodile is revealed to really hate his birthday. He tries some strange tricks like hiding from his birthday cake, and covering his ears and saying "Me can't hear you!" more than once when his name is called in the "Happy Birthday" song. He does these things because he thinks he won't grow a year older if he does them. He wants to think of himself as 26 years old, when he's apparently twice that age!

    Video Games 
  • in Katawa Shoujo, Hanako Ikezawa completely breaks down every year around her birthday. Its implied that this is because her birthday was when the fire that disfigured her body and killed her family happened, but the truth is, well, not quite so simple:
    Hanako: Every birthday was the same. Everyone doing their best to pretend that I mattered. Everyone pretending everything was alright... for one day of the year. I didn't want to exist, but they wouldn't let me.
  • Peter of Edna & Harvey: The Breakout, a depressed resident of the asylum, hates his birthday. It reminds him of getting older and that his life is empty and meaningless.
  • Veronica from Story of Seasons (2014) is this. Like all the other residents of Oak Tree Town, you can present her with a gift on her birthday each year; if you do, it causes her to grow depressed for a moment as she realizes she's getting older. Then she suddenly reverts to her usual cheerful demeanor, assures you she meant nothing by it, and thanks you for your thoughtfulness.

    Web Comics 
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan's birthday is on New Year's Day, and she reasons that celebration of her birth is pointless since her friends would be celebrating with or without her anyway.

    Web Original 
  • The only holiday The Nostalgia Critic enjoys is Christmas. He would rather not pay any attention to his birthday.

    Western Animation 
  • Kid Pickles from The Adventures of Puss in Boots isn't thrilled about birthdays. As an orphan, they aren't that great for him to begin with, but he also doesn't like any of the presents he gets and cake has no appeal to him because the only thing he likes is pickles.
  • By the time of Batman Beyond, the elderly Bruce Wayne hates birthdays because it reminds him of how he's well past his prime.
  • Bob's Burgers: In "Eat, Spray, Linda", Linda feels she's at that age when your birthday isn't fun anymore. It doesn't help that everything seems to go wrong for her on that particular day, including locking herself out of the car during a trip to the grocery store, ripping her pants, taking the wrong bus trying to get home, and getting sprayed by a skunk while trying to take a shortcut through a meadow.
  • Scrooge McDuck is a Downplayed example in Ducktales 2017. He doesn't hate his birthday, but he doesn't like celebrating the fact that he's older than everyone he knows; His preferred birthday celebration is having everybody leave him alone so he can a quiet and relaxing day to himself.
  • The Flintstones: In "The Birthday Party", Fred pretends to despise birthdays as childish foolishness. However, he's upset when he thinks everybody's forgotten.
  • Mac from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is a strange subversion: he hates his birthday party because his best friend Bloo always makes it a Surprise Party where Mac is horribly humiliated. However, to make it more surprising, Bloo doesn't even throw these parties on Mac's actual birthday (except one time when he did), so the actual date doesn't matter.
  • In Futurama, Mom hates "Mother's Day" (a day when all the robots her company built show their affection), since her true love, Professor Farnsworth, left her after an argument. It's not technically her birthday, but it serves the same purpose (being a celebration centered around her).
  • In Gravity Falls, Dipper and Mabel see Soos' ID and are surprised to see that it's his birthday that day, a fact which he hadn't mentioned to anyone; their attempt at a birthday party only makes him act depressed, and they're informed that Soos gets like this whenever somebody mentions his birthday. Time Travel reveals that his Disappeared Dad would always promise to show up for his birthday, only to blow it off for some sort of pleasure trip. Soos eventually moves past this when he learns to focus on his Family of Choice rather than his disappointing parental situation.
  • Grandpa Phil from Hey Arnold! is shown to be cranky that his 81st birthday is coming up. Unlike other examples, he wasn't upset on any of the prior birthdays. Rather, he's convinced that there's a family curse that will end his life the moment he turns 81, just like his father and grandfather before him. It turns out that he doesn't die, and that the family curse is actually 91.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: In "The Dog and Piggy Show", Uncle makes it clear that he hates birthdays. He refuses to celebrate and when asked about it, he retorts "When I grow a year younger, then I'll celebrate!"
  • An episode of Mike, Lu & Og has Og tell his mom that he doesn't want a birthday because his dad is always trying to take him hunting.
  • The Mr. Men Show: Mr Grumpy doesn't like celebrating his birthday, he even sings about it.
  • Dr. Doofenshmirtz from Phineas and Ferb hates his birthday because his parents never showed up for his birth. When he was five he tried to throw his own surprise party, but no one came.
  • Due to the fear of the implications of growing up, Angelica behaves this way during her third or fourth birthday in a Rugrats episode, though in the end she regrets it when she realizes that, when growing up, she can eat candy with bigger teeth than the babies.
  • Wyatt from 6teen revels he hates his birthday because his parents always throw theme parties and since he comes from a big family, all of the good themes were taken years ago. The recent themes were "Diseases we're glad we don't have," "The color brown (where everything, including the gifts and the food was brown)" and "Trailer park party."
  • Grouchy Smurf in The Smurfs hates (among other things) his birthday, and in "The Secret Of Shadow Swamp" tries to escape celebrating it.
  • Ezra from Star Wars Rebels, who was born on the day the Empire was founded, later to be declared "Empire Day". His parents' resistance against the Imperials led to him losing his parents on his seventh birthday.
  • Played With on Steven Universe—the title character discovers that the Crystal Gems don't celebrate birthdays, since they're The Ageless and are Born as an Adult. He decides to throw them each a symbolic party anyway, only for them to find the various traditions to be bizarre or even frightening.
    Pearl: I think this is why aging makes humans die!
  • Raven in the Teen Titans animated series. Of course, hers does mark The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Jim of Trollhunters will accept a birthday celebration, but doesn't like making a big deal about it as it reminds him of his father, who abandoned him and his mother on his fifth birthday.
  • In the Recess episode Bonky Fever, Mikey dreads his tenth birthday because he's afraid of growing up and having to do things without his mother's help. As the day approaches, he becomes obsessed with Bonky the Dragon and regresses to a kindergarten-like state. A heart-to-heart talk with his mother finally snaps him out of it, though.
  • In the Captain N: The Game Master episode "Happy Birthday, Megaman", Mega Man hates his "birthday" (the anniversary of when he was turned on) since it reminds him that he's different.


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