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Exploding Calendar

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Summer days just breeze on by, don't they?

Time is flying like an arrow
And the clock hands go so fast they make the wind blow
And it makes the pages of the calendar go
Flying out the window, one by one
They Might Be Giants, "Hovering Sombrero"

A method used to show the passage of time by repeatedly flipping/tearing off pages of a calendar. It's most often seen during Montages.

A variation is several shots of calendar pages with consecutive days marked off by large X's to show progress toward a specific, final day which is marked with a large circle.

Compare Spinning Clock Hands, Spinning Newspaper.


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  • BBC 2 based a Channel Ident on this trope.

    Anime and Manga 
  • The marked-calendar version was done in an episode of Neon Genesis Evangelion, during a montage that shows Asuka and Shinji training for the battle with the seventh Angel.
  • Used in Negima! Magister Negi Magi as part of a Training Montage as Negi trains to fight Rakan. It's played with slightly, as it's only three days long, but the use of a Year Inside, Hour Outside training area means that a full month's worth of pages go by.
    • Also used during Yue's studies in the Magic World. More knowledge. More power.
  • Subverted in Space☆Dandy when a calendar bound with Pyonium energy causes a time loop. Within the attempts to get it unstuck, Dandy pulls out a bazooka at one point and literally attempts to blow it up to no avail.
  • An early episode of the anime Steam Detectives uses the X'ed days variation as the Machine Baron counts down to a significant date, and plays it pretty much straight.
  • In YuYu Hakusho Kurama is seen sitting on the bed while the days on his calendar move forward as he's about to get ready to meet with Yomi again.

    Asian Animation 
  • Boonie Bears: One briefly appears in Season 3 episode 34 when the bears help Logger Vick to exercise and gain more muscle over the span of several days.
  • In season 7 episode 46 of Happy Heroes, the montage of the Supermen practicing for a musical contest has scenes of a paper calendar's pages tearing off as the days pass by.
  • In the seventh episode of Stitch & Ai, "Dragon Parade", a calendar is used to show the lead-up to the Chinese New Year. Said calendar also confirms the series takes place during 2016 from at least that episode onward.

    Comic Books 
  • Cinema Purgatorio: Played for drama in The Time of Our Lives. Torn off calendar pages represent how much time has passed since a couple first started touring the house they moved into. At first they clean up a few stray pages on the ground, thinking someone might have left them there, but as time continues to speed up in the house, soon they are swamped with so many that the couple gets lost under piles of dates and suffocates under the pressure.
  • The Simpsons: Parodied in one instance, when it looks like this is happening after Homer stashed the nerds from "Homer Goes To College" in his car trunk and subsequently forgot. It's actually just a calendar falling apart, which Homer complains about. They've actually been locked in there for two weeks.
    Lousy cheap calendar. The glue never holds up past March!
  • In pre-Crisis Superman or Superboy stories, whenever Clark time-traveled, the years he passed would occasionally be shown in the background of the timestream. Occasionally there'd be actual calendar pages displaying the year shown, either in the background or being "torn through" by the Boy of Steel/Man of Steel.

    Films — Animated 

    Films— Live-Action 
  • The film The Bellboy shows this happening to a day calendar in February...which promptly goes past February 28th and winds up around February 37th before fading out.
  • The Blue Angel has an interesting lead-in to this, where somebody asks the main character for a sheet of paper. After looking around, the only paper he finds is the calendar page, which he pulls off, and then this leads to a scene of the rest of the pages going away.
  • Donnie Darko has the marked-calendar version counting down to the end of the world.
  • I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang is probably the Trope Codifier with its extensive use of this trope. Months fly off a calendar several times, like when Allen is waiting out the months during his second stint on a chain gang.
  • Used in The Man They Could Not Hang to show the passage of months as Savaard heals, gains strength and begins his string of murders.
  • Phantom of the Paradise had this when Winslow/The Phantom was imprisoned by Swann.
  • Possessed is about sexy young Marian agreeing to be the kept woman of rich lawyer Mark. The Time Skip from 1928 to 1931 is handled by Marian's arm entering the frame to rip years off a calendar one page at a time—and each time, Marian's arm has another diamond bracelet.
  • Strictly Ballroom has a well-known blooper in which the exploding calendar has the top page ripped off it so vigorously it exposes the fact that every page of the calendar is marked "November".

  • Discworld:
    • Lampshaded in Night Watch, whereas Vimes traveled back to the present, he felt slightly cheated that something like this didn't happen.
    • Lampshaded in Wyrd Sisters when the witches move the kingdom of Lancre 15 years. Terry Pratchett explains how such time skips are easy to show in movies, where they can just blow up a calendar or let the sun rise and set like crazy. He concludes that this is much harder in books.
  • Used in the picture book The Great Balloon Race to show the time passing as Professor Aristotle Pilaster waits for someone to reply to his newspaper ad:
    "Wanted: a young adventurer with knowledge of navigation and French cooking."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Beatles: Get Back: This documentary of The Beatles' Get Back sessions uses a January 1969 calendar with X's crossing off the days to mark each daily session. It's relevant to the story because the group has limited time. They've tasked themselves with writing, rehearsing, and recording the songs for their new album, as well as performing in a live show, before Ringo heads off at the end of the month to make a movie.
  • The Daily Show used this device to illustrate the time from the start of a recession to the time economists recognize it as such. At that point, John Hodgman explains, they had to boil their calendars to make soup.
  • Used in Dinosaurs. Earl frantically tries to stick the previous day back on.
  • Played for laughs in Pairof Kings, with an open window being responsible for the flying pages.
  • In Sledge Hammer! a ventilator is responsible for the calendar pages flying off.

    Music Video 
  • David Bowie's Short Film / long-form video Jazzin' for Blue Jean does this with a page-a-day calendar to pass the days between the protagonist meeting his dream girl and the day of a big concert he promises to take her to — but it's suggested the pages are actually blown off all at once on the big day by his hairdryer as he primps, as he's set it on its most powerful setting.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied and invoked on The Amazing World of Gumball. Principal Brown is leading the school band, and they don't have much time to practice. When someone suggests a Training Montage, he says they don't even have time for that, so he just tears the pages of a calendar off while the band plays to give the impression of one.
  • Used near the beginning of Cellbound, with years rapidly flying out of the calendar towards the screen.
  • The Futurama episode "Roswell the Ends Well" does this in reverse. As the characters travel back in time through a Negative Space Wedgie, the ship's digital chronometer ticks backwards, eventually turning into a 1947 pinup calendar.
  • Used a few times in Garfield and Friends to mark the passage of a lot of time, generally with some trick to it (like the episode where Garfield wished for no more Mondays, and got his wish; the calendar that "exploded" had no Mondays in it). Parodied at least once in a U.S. Acres segment where several months passed without rain; a monthly calendar lost several pages in this manner before Orson (as narrator) interrupted with "Hey, would somebody fix that calendar?"
  • In the Mike, Lu & Og episode "A Freudian Split", we hear Goat and Pig argue with each other as a calendar appears to reveal "One Week Later" and "Two Weeks Later".
  • The "marking the days with a cross" version appears in the Moominvalley episode "Moominmama's Maid", as Moominmama counts down the days to Mrs Fillyjonk coming to tea. At one point she gets so nervous, she hallucinates that Mrs Fillyjonk pokes her head out of the impending day to look disapproving.
  • Parodied in the Muppet Babies (1984) episode, "Musical Muppets". The kids had entered a local radio contest, and Nanny explained to them it would take a week for them to find out the results, as well as how long a week is. We then see the pages on a daily calendar dropping off, only for it to be revealed that Animal was simply eating them.
  • The opening credits of Phineas and Ferb.
  • In the Ren & Stimpy episode Hermit Ren this is played with, the calendar starts in the August 1994, and when it reaches January it still reads 1994.
  • In one segment of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Bullwinkle mentions things to demonstrate the passage of time, including pages falling off a calendar. When he grows a beard, he puts a few pages back on.
  • The Simpsons episode "Bart's Girlfriend" has a parody of this device, showing Bart marking off a series of days only to conclude, "There. I just need to make it this many days," and re-mark the first day.
    • The Simpsons also subverted it in Simpsons Comics, where three characters have been trapped in the trunk of a car. The next shot is of several pages falling off a calendar. Homer looks at the calendar, saying, "Stupid bank calendars. The cheap glue they use never lasts past March."
    • They would subvert this again later on when Gil comes to live with them temporarily (which turns into almost an entire year). A day-per-page calendar is used, stopping on seemingly random days and/or days with obscure or barely celebrated holidays. It even stops on James L. Brooks' birthday.
  • In the Sonic Boom episode, "Battle of the Boy Bands", when Sonic, Tails, and Knuckles form their own boy band, they have to come up with a name, and a montage is shown. This includes the usual montage tropes, such as the Wastebasket Ball and Spinning Clock Hands. Then we see pages coming off the calendar, only to subvert it, when Sonic reveals it was Knuckles:
    Sonic: "Knuckles, stop tearing pages off that calendar!"
  • Superman: The Animated Series plays with this trope in an episode featuring Superman's wacky nemesis from the Fifth Dimension, Mister Mxyzptlk. While Mxy is busy constructing his latest invention with which to threaten Superman, the months fly by on his calendar: May, June, July, George, Relish, Pants.
  • Rather creatively used in Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation. The calendar in question has a picture of Sweetie on it, who comes to life, flies off the calendar, and turns the page to the next month. The next month has a picture of a boat in a storm which is the location of the next scene.
  • We Bare Bears: Parodied in "Rooms", in which Panda watches an amateur film Grizzly made in which he plays a thinly-veiled parody of his brother. When "Pando" enters the bathroom, promising he won't be long, the scene cuts to Grizz's paw tearing pages off a calendar, then cuts to "Pando" coming out 40 years later.


Video Example(s):


All My Circuits binge-watch

Fry takes 8 months of non-stop watching to see a little under 13,020 episodes of Season 47 of the In-Universe show All My Circuits, all thanks to the binging goggles and still suit the crew gives him.

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5 (11 votes)

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Main / ArchiveBinge

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