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Crying at Your Birthday Party

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Look what you did to Pedri!

Judy and Johnny just walked through the door
Like a queen with her king
Oh, what a birthday surprise
Judy's wearing his ring
It's my party and I'll cry if I want to
Cry if I want to, cry if I want to
You would cry too if it happened to you
Lesley Gore: "It's My Party"

Why is Bob crying at his own birthday party? Shouldn't this be a happy occasion?

A character celebrating their birthday, for whatever reason bursts into tears during their party. Whatever the reason for the person of the hour, it's usually unexpected and takes people aback.

Can sometimes result from a One-Person Birthday Party, or because the party has gone badly wrong. Compare A Birthday, Not a Break and Birthday Hater. In rare instances, it can be Tears of Joy. Can occur during a Birthday Episode (of course) or an Ageless Birthday Episode.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • A Place Further than the Universe: Having been an actress since the age of four, Yuzuki Shiraishi had never gotten the time or chance to make any friends...until she is invited on an expedition to Antarctica by three other girls. That's why when they celebrate her birthday during the trip, Yuzuki is so touched she becomes a sobbing emotional wreck.

    Fan Works 

    Films - Animation 
  • Shrek Forever After: During the ogre triplets' first birthday party, the triplets start wailing after the Three Pigs confess that they ate all the cakes.
  • In Sleeping Beauty, Aurora bursts into tears at what was supposed to be her surprise birthday party when she learns she is a princess and can never see her beloved again (she thinks).
  • In Turning Red, during his party, Tyler cries in fear when he is attacked by Mei for pushing her too far after she was clearly already worked up.

    Films - Live-Action 
  • Problem Child has Lucy Henderson bursting in tears and throwing a tantrum as she sees Junior sabotage her birthday party (as payback for kicking him out of the magic show) such as putting frogs in the punch, dynamite in the cake after removing the candles, pickles and the juice in the pinata, throwing out all her presents into the pool, and setting off a water hose in her bedroom. She regains her composure after she's done crying to realize Junior is the obvious culprit.

  • In one book in The Baby-Sitters Club, the Arnold twins get upset at their birthday party because the entire setup treats them as basically a matched set (identical party dresses, identical birthday cakes, all the guests giving both of them the exact same gift), with no recognition whatsoever given to the fact that they're actually two distinct individuals despite being physically identical. The only time they show any real happiness is when they open Mallory's presents, because unlike everyone else, Mallory actually gave each twin something different and specific to their interests.
  • The Berenstain Bears: The cover art for the book "Too Much Birthday" shows Sister Bear crying as her guests celebrate. In the book, Sister Bear cries because her party went wrong.
  • The Singaporean novella anthology Classic Singapore Horror Stories have two such examples:
    • 12-year-old Katherine from Stepchild is shown breaking into tears after her attempt at performing a musical number for her guests is hijacked by the titular stepchild, who began playing pop songs - improvised - on her piano instead. Things quickly go out of hand until Katherine's eldest brother Augustine slams the piano shut, telling the stepchild to stop crashing his sister's birthday, but at that point, the party is ruined.
    • Exaggerated example with Emma from Skin Deep, a Spoiled Brat, who is shown crying at her party... because she overheard a friend of hers, Sharon, saying her nose is too big.
  • In Jacqueline Woodson's The Dear One, the narrator, Feni, recalls that her then-alcoholic mother had decided to quit drinking, cold turkey, on Feni's birthday. While Feni acknowledges that her mother's sobriety is a good thing for both of them in the long term, she still resents that her mother had to take that step on that particular day, as it meant that Feni's birthday was basically ruined as the whole day was consumed by her mother's withdrawal symptoms.
  • In Lia Geraskina's In the Land of Unlearned Lessons-3, Vitya cries twice during his birthday. For the first time, when he thinks he has to give away his parrot (the parrot was entrusted to the family by a friend who went away, but as he was away for long, they grew to love the parrot and the parrot grew fond of them; the friend gallantly says the parrot in that case will be his birthday gift to Vitya). For the second time, after the party, Vitya blurts out he can hear his pets talking (when they think nobody hears them), and they sadly say they won't talk anymore if that's the case.
  • In Karlsson on the Roof, Lillebror's brother and sister give him a toy dog as a joke gift for his birthday, though they know how he longs for a real puppy, and Lillebror cries inconsolably. His parents decide to get him a real dog after all.
  • My Best Friend's Exorcism: Abby runs away and cries at her birthday party after she gets stood up by everyone for Margaret's horse riding excursion...and then Gretchen shows up and gifts her a Children's Bible. This is the final straw for Abby and makes her cry (in the bathroom) until Gretchen comes to her, and reassures Abby that she didn't want to go to Margaret's birthday party, and she doesn't think Margaret is a nice person anyway.

    Live-Action TV 
  • All in the Family, A very infamous example: Edith narrowly escapes a rapist and runs next door where a surprise party is being held for her. While everyone is singing for her, Edith breaks down crying. Everyone seems to assume emotional Edith is happy crying, but Archie knows that something is very wrong.
  • Awkward.: Played with. Jenna was revealed to have been sobbing on her bed during her surprise birthday party in the third season... because she herself ruined the party by wandering into the room while cheating on Matty with Collin.
  • The Big Bang Theory: In Amy Farrah Fowler's Imagine Spot of what her life would be like without Sheldon, she is having a One-Person Birthday Party where she sings to herself while crying into her cupcake... until Stuart interrupts by blowing a noisemaker in her face, to IRL Amy's annoyance.
    Amy: (singing sadly while fighting tears) Happy Birthday to me... Happy Birthday to me... There's tears in the frosting... Happy birthday to me.

  • Lesley Gore's song "It's My Party (and I'll cry if I want to)" is about the singer getting dumped by her boyfriend Johnny for another girl on her birthday and Johnny arriving at the party with said other girl, driving the singer into a Heroic BSoD as she sees them enjoy themselves.
    • A sequel song (appropriately-named "Judy's Turn to Cry") has the singer realize how silly it is for her to react that badly, kissing another boy at the party - who Johnny promptly punches, reuniting with her while dumping Judy.
  • "Pity Party" by Melanie Martinez from Cry-Baby, which interpolates Lesley Gore's "It's My Party," is about Cry Baby having a One-Person Birthday Party despite her best efforts to invite many guests. She doesn't take it well at all.
    I'll cry until the candles burn down this place
    I'll cry until my pity party's in flames
  • The Taylor Swift song "The Moment I Knew", is about the time her then-boyfriend didn't show up to her birthday party.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Bob's Burgers: In "House of 1000 Bounces", Regular-Sized Rudy breaks down sobbing in anger because Louise and the others had forced him to go along with stealing a bounce house for his birthday party when all he wanted was to perform a spoon puppet show.
  • Boy Girl Dog Cat Mouse Cheese: In "The Cheese Ball", Cheese has a special day that she makes the others help celebrate annually due to claiming that she doesn't have a birthday. However, when Stevie and Susie end up being the only guests that show up and with all the humiliation Cheese endures throughout the episode, Cheese ends up tearfully crying back to the girls' room due to how much her Cheese Ball went awry.
  • Chip and Potato: In "Chip's Birthday", Nico comes to Chip's birthday party and tearfully admits that Potato has disappeared, causing Chip to cry, too. Fortunately, Potato comes by just then.
  • Family Guy: At Lois's birthday party in "Lois Comes Out of Her Shell", Peter gives a speech that boils down to him insulting her for getting old using unflattering metaphors. After the speech concludes, Lois bursts into tears and runs away from the party.
  • The Loud House: Twice in "Strife of the Party", though the first time, it's downplayed. Lana is furious with Lola for ruining her party planning and tears up for a brief moment before cycling away on her bicycle. Lola then starts crying out of guilt as her her makeup starts running.
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey: In "Supplies Party", it is mentioned that Adam once peed his pants at his sixth birthday party and cried about it. During this episode, he accidentally spills soda on his pants, which Chad mistakes for him peeing his pants again. Adam then begins to bawl like a baby (complete with a baby wailing sound effect).
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils, one of the reasons Sweetie Belle thinks Rarity is trying to humiliate her all the time is because of a ruined birthday party when she was a filly. Sweetie Belle spent a while making herself look beautiful, but when she came down to the party, she heard the others talking about how cool Rarity was. From her perspective, Rarity had intentionally stolen the attention. From Rarity's perspective, she was trying to stop the guests from leaving and even tried to make them think Sweetie Belle was the one who prepared the whole party. Either way, it ended with Sweetie Belle running back to her room in tears.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (2016): In "Super Sweet 6", the Powerpuff Girls escape from a candle that was going towards the sun during Princess's birthday party. The indignant Princess tries to squirt them with a giant icing bottle, only for it to burst and cover her in icing. She then starts to wail.
  • Rugrats (1991):
    • In "Tommy's First Birthday", all Tommy wants to do is eat dog food after seeing a commercial for it on television, believing that eating dog food will turn him into a dog, so that he can do whatever Spike, his pet dog does. Tommy's every attempt to eat Spike's dog food is foiled by the adults, and at one point, it's time for him to open his presents. When Didi tells Tommy that he still has many more presents to open, Tommy cries, and Didi tries unsuccessfully to calm him down as she complains to Betty how the party has been a disaster thus far. Tommy stops crying when some caterers arrive at the door with the puppet stand that Didi rented for a puppet show she planned to put on.
    • In "Angelica's Birthday", Angelica wants to avoid the responsibilities that come with growing up, so she dresses and acts like a baby, which of course, includes crying like one instead of talking like a big girl. When Drew sees this, he complains to Charlotte that whenever Angelica wants something, she just cries. Charlotte then tells Drew, "It's her party and she can cry if she wants to."
    • In "Three Jacks and a Beanstalk" from the Tales from the Crib series, Giant Angelica wails enough to accumulate several puddles after the babies escape her castle. It's then revealed that today is her birthday and she has nobody else but Giant Harold to celebrate with.
  • This happened to Velma in a flashback scene from What's New, Scooby-Doo?. As a young girl, she ends up getting an encyclopedia set for her birthday. While she's the type of person who would love a gift like that, the party clown hired for her birthday thought it was a "yucky" idea, and threw it in a woodchipper. note  Velma immediately burst into tears, and has since developed a phobia of clowns.

    Real Life 
  • One of the most common causes for this phenomenon in real life is birthday blues, wherein a person celebrating their birthday ends up feeling depressed as a result of their self-awareness that they're a year closer to their death. This sort of psychological trickery has resulted in a large number of deaths happening on people's birthdays, whether it's because their body has shut down due to this internal manipulation, or they've committed suicide because they feel they can't live with this looming sense of angst and dread.
  • It’s also common for someone to cry when their birthday plans fall through or end in disaster, especially if they’re young and/or if they’re the type of person who cries when they’re stressed. Similarly to the Bridezilla phenomenon in regards to wedding days, people expect their birthday to be a happy day where everything goes well, and the reality that it’s a day like any other and things won’t always go well can cause people to get stressed and upset.


Video Example(s):


Yuzuki's birthday

Having been an actress since the age of four, Yuzuki had never gotten the time or chance to make any friends...until she is invited on an expedition to Antarctica by three other girls. That's why when they celebrate her birthday during the trip, Yuzuki is so touched she becomes a sobbing emotional wreck.

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Main / CryingAtYourBirthdayParty

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