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Forgotten Birthday

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"Remember his birthday? Twerp is lucky I remember his name."
Heather, Total Drama, "Awwwwww, Drumheller"

So it's a character's birthday. They hoped that others would notice. They have known each other for quite a while, how could they forget?

Oh wait, they did forget. Even if the birthday person reminded them, it's all for naught. It may take a bit for the companions to get over the guilt, while the birthday person is guaranteed not to take it well.

Alternatively, the birthday person may be the forgetful one instead, usually either showing how selfless they are or that they never really celebrated their birthday before.

Compare Doesn't Know Their Own Birthday for when they don't know their birthday in the first place, and Forgotten Anniversary for the wedding day variant. If the birthday wasn't truly forgotten after all, and the other characters threw a Surprise Party, it's a Not-So-Forgotten Birthday. If everyone knew about the birthday and it had been forgotten by the one who's celebrating it, then it's Forgot Their Own Birthday. Perennially Overshadowed Birthday is related, however the birthday need not be forgotten, just barely acknowledged or celebrated due to it sharing a date with an annual event or holiday.

Can lead to a One-Person Birthday Party or Convenience Store Gift Shopping. The opposite of Celebration Miscalculation, which can cover when a birthday is celebrated, but on the wrong day. If they're not invited to someone else's party, it's Uninvited to the Party.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • An omake of Bleach reveals that Urahara's and Yoruichi's birthdays are forgotten every year and they have to celebrate them alone (although together). The reason for this is because their birthdays are December 31 and January 1.
  • IGPX: Occurs completely by the book in an early episode to Amy, who has had workaholic parents her entire life and only recently made friends with the members of the team. Her (absent) parents actually do forget her birthday.
  • In episode 13 of My Love Story!! it's Suna's birthday but it turns out he forgot it himself. He didn't understand why his friends were acting so overly attentive towards him.
  • One episode of Pokémon the Series: XY reveals that Jessie's teammates, James and Meowth, forgot her recent birthday. Only her Pumpkaboo remembered it. This is even more noticeable because the anime completely avoids characters aging.
  • In one episode of Sailor Moon S it's Usagi's birthday and when she drops an unsubtle hint about what she wants for a gift, Mamoru reveals that he didn't know it was her birthday so he gets a huge slap in the face from her. Turns out she never actually told him when her birthday was. Even worse, she doesn't know his birthday either.

    Comic Books 
  • In one Archie Comics story, Reggie Mantle's birthday is coming up. He overhears the gang wondering what to do for 'the most important man in town' and the egotistical Reggie assumes they're talking about him. Reggie nudges the gang into arranging a banquet at a fancy club...and it turns out that the gang was talking about an old war veteran who was born in Riverdale. And Reggie's the only one there who isn't in his golden years.
  • In Avengers Undercover, Nico completely forgets Molly's birthday because she's still struggling with PTSD.

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • In Echo's of the past, a Arrowverse fanfic, people regularly forget Laurel's birthday. Its placement being near when super-villains get ready for an attack on the city didn't help. Thea however always remembered, and was often the only one who did.
  • Bon the Miffy, an erotic fanfic of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, centers around Lyra trying to make up for forgetting Bon-Bon's birthday.
  • Forging a Better Future:
    • In Dawn, Oliver admits that in the original timeline, he never once celebrated Laurel's birthday with her after he returned from the island. He's deeply ashamed of this. Later revelations, however, suggest that it actually wasn't his fault.
    • Laurel herself is surprised to told that today is her birthday, which Oliver takes to mean that Quentin never once celebrated it during the five years Oliver was on the island. Depending on whether or not anyone else did, that's potentially eight years in a row it was forgotten before she died.
  • Downplayed in Goldstein: The story opens when Yehudah turns eleven. Orthodox Jews generally don't make a big deal out of birthdays, though, so he's only mildly annoyed that nobody in his family seems to remember. Later he doesn't notice that his twelfth birthday has passed until a friend mentions it. (Though the build-up to his bar mitzvah, of course, is a bigger deal.)
  • Guys Being Dudes: Spark doesn't usually celebrate his birthday because it falls during Go Fest preparation season.
  • In How the Light Gets In a testament to what an awful mother Dinah Lance is to Laurel is her calling to wish Laurel a happy 29th birthday...the day after her thirtieth birthday.
  • Discussed in Episode 101 of Sailor Moon: Between the Lines. Michiru expresses disgust at Mamoru seemingly forgetting Usagi's birthday, unaware that she'd accidentally never told him when it was in the first place. Haruka scoffs, dismissing the importance of birthdays until she realizes that Michiru might not agree. She then desperately tries to backtrack, asking her partner when her birthday is; Michiru coolly echoes her earlier declarations, claiming that it's "no big deal" if she doesn't recall.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Amazing Spiderman 2: Max (the guy who will become Electro) has his birthday in the day we first see him. But nobody (in his workplace) seems to remember, or care, about it. He even is told to repair the building's electrical system the same day. He also throws a One-Person Birthday Party.
  • The Assistant: Jane forgets her father's birthday. He is very sweet about it and tells her he doesn't mind because he knows how busy she is.
  • In The Deep Blue Sea, Rachel Weisz' character attempts suicide after her beau forgets hers.
  • At the start of High Heels and Low Lifes, Shannon comes home from a 13 hour shift at the hospital expecting her boyfriend Ray to rake her out for her birthday dinner. He has totally forgotten, and when she tries to get him at least take her out for a drink, he is not interested. Instead, she decides to go out with her best friend Frances, kicking off the plot.
  • In Jaane Tu... Ya Jaane Na, Aditi's birthday is missed by her best guy friend for a date with Mehgan. She doesn't take it well.
  • A weird subversion in Overboard; Dean tells Joanna he's forgotten her birthday as a substitute confession. He was really about to tell her how she's actually an amnesiac heiress who he tricked into believing she's his wife, but he chickens out at the last second.
  • In Sixteen Candles, the main character's birthday is forgotten by everyone due to the furor caused by her sister's impending (and last minute) wedding. Except for her younger brother. He deliberately ignored her birthday because he's a jerk.
  • In Troop Beverly Hills, troop member Chica ends up at Troop Leader Phyllis’ house because her parents took a last minute trip to Monaco leaving her alone on her birthday. Phyllis’s maid Rosa makes her a Mexican food dish decorated with candles and the household sings “Happy Birthday” to her.
  • In Wild Bill, the title character has been away in prison for eight years when he's forced to live with his two children (whose mother has abandoned them). One of his first days back happens to be the older son's sixteenth birthday, which he forgets; he tries to make up for it, but his choice of gift merely sets him off.
    Bill: No, I felt bad about missing your birthday.
    Dean: Which one?

  • In Animorphs, Tobias (who is Shapeshifter Mode Locked as a hawk except for two-hour intervals) learns that he is supposed to meet with a lawyer to receive a letter from his biological father on his "next birthday." He is a bit embarrassed to admit that, like other aspects of his human life, he can't quite remember when it is.
  • In one of the Gossip Girl books, Eleanor Waldorf unwittingly schedules her wedding for Blair's birthday.
  • Harry Potter has the Dursleys generally forget his birthday. In Chamber of Secrets, Dudley mocks Harry about it being his birthday and how his friends seem to have forgotten about it, since nothing has arrived for Harry in the (owl) post. Uncle Vernon and Aunt Petunia do seem to have forgotten about it, or are ignoring it, as they are too focused on Vernon's boss coming over for dinner and hoping to make a good impression.
  • Spy School: Murray Hill forgets his partner-in-crime Dane's birthday every year, even though their birthdays are on the same day.
  • Subverted in one of Enid Blyton's The Three Golliwogs stories. The three gollies are excited to celebrate their birthday, but are saddened that none of their friends/acquaintances sent them any gifts or birthday wishes. They got their well-wishes the next day, because apparently one of them had accidentally tore out two days from the calendar earlier that week, and the day they thought was their birthday really wasn't.
  • In one chapter of Winnie the Pooh, Pooh noticed that Eeyore seemed very depressed (more so than usual), only to find out no one took notice of his birthday.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Brittas Empire: Befitting Carole's status as the Butt-Monkey, almost everyone forgets about her birthday in "The Lies Have It" - the only person who bothered was her son Ben, and even he used the opportunity to insult her in his birthday card to her because she wouldn't buy him an air rifle.
  • In Drake & Josh, Drake ends up being the only one who forgot Josh's birthday. The latter becoming especially upset about it when Drake throws a big birthday party for his new girlfriend who he has known for only five days.
  • An episode of El Chavo del ocho has Don Ramón forgetting his birthday, and la Chilindrina goes to ask Quico, Doña Florinda and Doña Cleotilde for some help to prepare him a surprise party. However, due to several misunderstandings and el Chavo's Out-of-Context Eavesdropping, Don Ramón ends up believing he's going to die and they're hiding it from him, and then that they want to kill him.
  • An episode of Family Matters has Steve celebrating his 20th birthday by himself since no one else remembered. When Carl realizes what's going on, he tries to make it up to him.
  • Forever Knight. In "Only the Lonely", everyone remembers Natalie's birthday except Vampire Detective Nick Knight. She met Nick when he revived on her autopsy table on her birthday two years before, so it has additional significance for her.
  • Full House has the episode "Birthday Blues" where DJ forgets her best friend Kimmy’s 16th birthday because it’s her (DJ) and her boyfriend Steve’s six-month anniversary, so she scrambles the rest of the family to help her throw a last- minute surprise party. It does not go well.
  • The short-lived 1990 sitcom Molloy has the title character (Mayim Bialik) expecting a big party for her 13th birthday. She comes home, calling out on "gee, where is everyone" and bursts into one door after another, expecting a surprise party. It takes four rooms for her to realize no one is home. And when the family does come back, she's stunned to hear them gushing on taking a ride in the new sports car and really did forget her birthday (which was worse as it was the first following her mother's death). To their credit, when her father and step-siblings realize the next day what date it was, they're horrified and try to throw a party only for Molloy, convinced they still don't know, to spend the day with friends at an amusement park.
  • Hannah Montana: In this case, Miley and Jackson actually did forget their father's birthday.
  • The brothers invoke this trope twice on Jonas.
    • In "Groovy Movies", they forget their mother's birthday.
    • In "Forgetting Stella's Birthday", they forget Stella's birthday because a band executive came to interview them that day. It gets even worse when they try to make up for it by throwing a Slumber Party at the same exact time as the executive came back to interview them again.
  • The pilot to Little Mermaid's Island has Sebastian worrying that Ariel and the others have forgotten his birthday. They haven't... except for Scuttle, at least.
  • Malcolm in the Middle:
    • In "Lois' Birthday," Hal does this to Lois because the alarm on his watch didn't go off. Since the boys had already bought candy with the money Lois gave them specifically for buying her a present, her husband's mistake is the final push for Lois to run away from home.
    • In the first half of the "Baby" two-parter, Lois and Hal announce their plan to induce labor later that week. Dewey reacts negatively to this news, but doesn't say why. Later, at the wedding convention Hal and the boys go to, Dewey is able to successfully guilt-trip many members of the staff one by one to reveal the date his parents chose is his birthday and publicly shame Hal for forgetting.
  • In one episode of Married... with Children, the family decides to make tomorrow Seven's birthday since nothing is happening on that day. Turns out it is actually Al's birthday.
  • Next of Kin: In "Georgia's Party", Maggie snoops into Georgia's diary and discovers that it was her birthday the previous day, with no one bothering to celebrate it. She tries to make up for it with a party, only to learn that Georgia's birthday was actually in four months, and that Georgia had put the claim in her diary to catch her snooping.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "The Birthday Bag", Miss Brooks forgets her birthday but everyone else remembered. Thus, Miss Brooks' is truly surprised at being thrown a party.
  • Schitt's Creek: The Season 3 finale has the Rose family forgetting it is David's birthday, which causes him to spend the day in a huff. Thankfully, his business partner Patrick notices and invites him to dinner in what becomes a Not a Date scenario and leads to their First Kiss.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager: Everyone forgets Amy's sixteenth birthday while she's in New York. In the next episode, her mom (played by Molly Ringwald) is horrified when she finds out they forgot Amy's birthday and laments, "Everyone forgot my sixteenth birthday and it stayed with me forever!" Amy is mildly irritated, but she quickly gets over it.
  • In the Sooty and Co episode "Birthday Boy", everyone (except Richard) forgets Sooty's birthday, so they have to quickly put together a party for him once they remember.
  • Stranger Things has an odd, meta example. In season two, a line reveals that Will's birthday is March 22. In season four, an episode is specifically set on March 22, but nobody, including Will himself, mentions it being his birthday. Imagining that this trope is in effect adds some interesting subtext, given that Will spends the day being a third wheel to Mike and El's date (which strong hints that Will is in love with Mike himself). However, Word of God says that this was completely unintentional, and that they might even alter the original reference to say that his birthday is May 22 instead.
  • Stuck in the Middle: In the episode "Stuck in the Sweet Seat", The Diaz family forgets Harley's birthday and Harley plots to use their guilt to get the best seat in the family car.
  • That '70s Show: In "Kitty's Birthday (That's Today?!)", Red and Eric both forget Kitty's birthday until the very last minute, at which point they try to pass it off as a Not-So-Forgotten Birthday via Convenience Store Gift Shopping (which no, does not work). Hyde actually did remember and wished her a happy birthday, but didn't tell the others because "how would that be funny?" Ultimately they're forced to make it up to her by engaging in Kitty's most horrible hobby: square dancing.
  • The Upside Down Show: In "Birthday Party," David and Shane seem to forget their own birthday, since they have no idea who the Schmuzzies are throwing a party for (until the very end).
  • The World According to Jeff Goldblum episode "Birthdays" opens with Goldblum explaining that he underwent a real life version of this trope at 13, when everyone — including him — forgot his birthday, and the resultant awkwardness resulted in him becoming neutral on the idea of birthday celebrations. Helping celebrate other peoples' birthdays helps him come around on the idea.
  • 7 Yüz: Rıdvan reaches a breaking point when Banu forgets about his birthday after her procedure — especially when he learns she went paintballing with her new paramour instead ("Prosedür").

  • In the Aly & A.J. song "Potential Breakup Song" the singer's boyfriend forgot her birthday.
    It took too long for you to call back/And normally I would just forget that/Except for the fact it was my birthday/My stupid birthday
    (...) What kind of a boyfriend would forget that/Who would forget that?

    Video Games 
  • The Birthday episode of You Don't Know Jack: Louder! Faster! Funnier! features everyone forgetting Schmitty's birthday. Despite trying to act like it's not a big deal, Schmitty is very clearly upset by the whole thing, including replacing an instance of "my father" with "my father, who didn't bother sending a card!"

    Web Animation 
  • In Bravest Warriors Danny built a Robo-Chris to make Chris jealous because he forgot Danny's birthday.

    Web Comics 

    Web Video 
  • Nightmare Time: In the episode "Yellow Jacket," Lex is too caught up with work and the stress of taking her high school equivalency exam that she forgets about her sister's birthday. It doesn't help that she remembers right as the exam starts, distracting her and causing her to fail.
  • StacheBros: In "Mario & Luigi! Stache Bros - The Stachey Sequel", the only people who even remotely seem to care about Waluigi's birthday are the Mario Bros., but they don't even attend his birthday party and only get him some bubble wrap as a gift. When Waluigi is introduced, he's depressed that no one even bothered to celebrate his birthday.

    Western Animation 
  • American Dad! had an episode called "1600 Candles" in which Roger anticipates his 1600th birthday, only to have it preempted by Steve's shenanigans. Of course it has the obligatory Sixteen Candles scene. Of course, as usual, Roger was being a complete Jerkass about it, effectively telling Stan and Francine that they should give up on Steve completely just so they can throw him exactly the kind of party he wants. Karma ends up biting Roger in the end after he has Steve totally humiliated at the school dance, wherein Steve's single pubic hair comes loose and floats all the way back to the Smith house, landing on Roger's birthday cake and thus totally ruining his birthday.
    Roger: I hate Steve so much.
  • As Told by Ginger's "Family Therapy" is about Macie's birthday. The girls assume her parents not mentioning it is because they're secretly planning a surprise party. Turns out they actually did forget. They're horrified when they find out, and throw Macie a series of birthday themed events, climaxing in a party.
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • In the premiere episode "Human Flesh", it is revealed that Bob has not only forgotten his wife's birthday, but his own.
    • In "Are You There, Bob? It's Me, Birthday", Linda realizes she forgot Bob's birthday, and tricks him out of the house while trying to put together a belated birthday party. In a subversion of the usual mishaps, Bob's not that upset Linda didn't remember and is actually more unhappy knowing she's throwing him a surprise party because he hates parties. Hugo (who hates Bob for marrying Linda and was convinced to help Bob out of the house for the day) spitefully tries to guilt trip Bob into accepting the surprise party no matter how much he hates it. Bob returns home to find Linda scrapped the party after being reminded how much he hates them and instead arranges for Bob to have a relaxing evening and bought an antique bacon weight he really wanted. Oh, and Bob gets to see his rival Jimmy Pesto getting punched in the groin which makes this Bob's best birthday ever.
  • Disenchantment: In the season 3 opener, Zog is buried alive and the only person who knows has been decapitated, but he figures Turbish and Mertz surely know and will come and rescue him. Cut to the two playing poker in the guard locker room, wondering whether they've forgotten something. Cut to Mertz's mother sitting alone in a restaurant, and judging from her reaction, this isn't the first time this has happened.
    Mertz's mom: Ugh, not again...
  • Family Guy:
    • In one episode Peter and Lois forget Meg's birthday. When Meg mentions wanting a party, they spend some time wondering what she wants a party for. They even consider that she's getting married, but cautiously dismiss it because they don't remember her bringing any guys around. It took Chris to remind them it's her birthday. They also completely forget what age she's turning when it's coming up. At one point, when they talk to her, they try using hints so they can learn her upcoming age without telling her outright. Unfortunately Meg is already aware of the whole thing, as is expected of the series Butt-Monkey.
    • In another episode, there's a cutaway to Meg at her birthday party at a restaurant, where she's alone at a big table with a "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MEG" banner behind her. She asks a waiter for some more bread while she waits for everyone else to show up. The waiter tells her that she has eaten so much bread [while waiting] that they're going to have to start charging her for it.
  • God, the Devil and Bob: God forgets the Devil's birthday (and has apparently done this a lot), prompting the Devil to leave and take all the evil of the world with him. This, of course, upsets the whole balance of creation, so Bob ends up playing therapist to the two of them.
    The Devil: I'm supposed to believe that He forgot my birthday? He's omniscient!
  • Kim Possible: After being freaked out and then downright terrified by Shego's moodulator-induced mood swings from giddiness to weeping to fury, Drakken works up the nerve to ask "Did I forget your birthday? Is that what this is about?"
  • In the episode of Johnny Test where the title character refuses to take a bath, Dukey repeatedly makes reference to the fact that Johnny forgot his. Except he didn't; the bath refusal was all a plan to get Dukey an entire pool room with the works.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Mom's Birthday", Phineas and Ferb realize they had forgotten their mother's birthday when they wake up to Candace rehearsing a song that she plans to sing to her. Cue to references of previous episodes each of which Phineas reminds Ferb that they won't forget their mother's birthday, before he finally says "Is there something I am supposed to remember?" in "It's About Time."
  • A Pup Named Scooby-Doo: In one episode, the gang questioned a suspect about a letter and he said it was an apology letter to his mother and he was asked if it was for forgetting her birthday. It wasn't.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Stark Raving Dad" takes place on Lisa's birthday and nobody remembers it. Bart is the only one Lisa complains about.
    • It happens again in "Insane Clown Poppy", after Homer and Bart accidentally destroy Lisa's room.
      Homer: Oh, come on, tell us how we can make it up to you. Hey, pretend it's your birthday.
      Lisa: It is my birthday!
      Bart: That's the spirit!
    • Another quick joke, this time with Homer in "The Springfield Files":
      Homer: I can't believe I'm being mocked ... by my own family ... on my birthday!
      Bart: It's your birthday?
      Homer: Yeah, don't you remember? It's the same day as the dog's.
      Lisa: [gasps] Oh, Santa's Little Helper! It's your birthday?! We have to do something special! Yes we do!
      Homer: [muttering] Lousy lovable dog.
    • Inverted in "Days of Wine and D'Ohses", Barney is upset with everyone at Moe's for not remembering his birthday. Turns out they actually threw a birthday party for him at Homer's place, but he got so drunk that he blacked out and couldn't remember any of it. This, plus the video footage of what he's like when he is that drunk caused him to try and sober up.
    • According to "Mr. Lisa's Opus", the family forgot Lisa's seventh birthday, largely owing to Marge's exhaustion while dealing with a then-newborn Maggie, and their guilt didn't prevent them from likewise forgetting her eighth birthday (which, for the purposes of this episode, is the one we saw in "Stark Raving Dad"). They made a point of remembering and celebrating her birthdays ever since, and even made the song Bart wrote for her on her eighth birthday part of their tradition.
    • "Life On The Fast Lane" begins with Homer having forgotten Marge's birthday, mistakenly thinking it was his birthday when the kids bring her breakfast in bed, and ends up getting her a bowling ball (which he intended to get for himself).
  • Played for Laughs on South Park: "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo" has a mid-credits scene with Jesus alone in his studio, having a One-Person Birthday Party.
  • An episode of Squirrel Boy has Rodney forgetting Andy's birthday. When Mr. Johnson tries to remind him of it, Rodney laughs it off saying that "Andy's birthday was 12 months ago".
  • Subverted in an episode of Teen Titans Go!. Beast Boy thinks his friends have forgotten his birthday. They haven't; they just loathe birthday parties and refuse to throw one.
  • Inverted in Total Drama World Tour when Cody is the one who forgets his birthday. Sierra remembers, and even bakes him a cake after she finishes the challenge. Although he mentions his parents forgot his last birthday.


Video Example(s):


BB - Linda Forgot Something

In Season 8 "Are You There Bob? It's Me, Birthday", Linda forgot to do something important today and butchers Gene's haircut.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / ForgottenBirthday

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