Follow TV Tropes


Significant Reference Date

Go To

As an Easter Egg, writers will sometimes use a Real Life calendar date as an In-Universe reference point.

This could be a reference to a TV episode's original air date or a movie's original release date. Or perhaps a character's birthday, anniversary, etc. matches that of the actor who plays him.

Note: even when this is not canon, fanon is likely to assume this is true for works set in the period they were filmed in and characters in those works. Fan Fic for that work will be affected accordingly.



    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Inverted by the Japanese DVD release of The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya, which was released on December 18, 2010. (December 18 is the date in-story when weird stuff starts happening). Taken even further by Fanon, which believes that the exact date of the "three-years-ago" Tanabata was July 7, 2007, making the exact in-story date of Disappearance December 18, 2010.
  • Two different Gundam characters (Wing's Relena Peacecraft and 00's Setsuna F. Seiei) were born on April 7th, the date the original Mobile Suit Gundam debuted in 1979; for Relena it's doubly significant, since her series premiered on that same date in 1995.
  • The Episode 21 of Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans was aired on National Biscuit Day, when Biscuit Griffon dies.
  • Most of the characters in Neon Genesis Evangelion share birthdays with their voice actors.
  • The original air dates for the Fate/Zero anime hit some ironic dates
    • Episode 18 aired on Children's Day. Kiritsugu kills his father.
    • Episode 19 aired on Mother's Day weekend. Kiritsugu kills his adoptive mother.
    • Episode 24 aired on Father's Day weekend. Kiritsugu kills his wife and child.
  • During the Kanto field trip in Pokémon Sun and Moon, it's mentioned that the Hau'Oli Pokemon school is celebrating its 20th anniversary...just like the anime itself was.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield's official birthday June 19th, 1978, the day the strip debuted in newspapers across America. An unusual example of Comic-Book Time in that while he does admit he's aged four decades, neither he nor anything else around him make that readily apparent. He's definitely got Creme Puff beat.

  • In Neil Cicierega's Mouth Sounds mashup album, the metadata properties for the songs are dated May 4, 1999, which was the release date of Smash Mouth's "All-Star" as a single. This continues with Mouth Silence (in which the tracks are dated May 3, 1999) and Mouth Moods (which dates the tracks on May 5, 1999).

  • The V for Vendetta film adaptation tried to invert this by setting a release date of November 5th, 2005, but ended up being delayed to March 2006.
  • Caveman, the 1981 comedy starring Ringo Starr and financed by George Harrison, was produced in memory of the recently slain John Lennon. The opening titles note the film takes place "One Zillion BC, October 9th" - Lennon's birthday (the date, not the year).
  • During the scene in Aliens where Ripley confronts Burke, she mentions that his order to the colonists was dated "6/12/79", which was Alien's release date.
  • Back to the Future
    • Back to the Future: The date which Doc Brown invented time travel and Marty accidentally travels back to is November 5, 1955. November 5 was screenwriter Bob Gale's father's birthday.
      • The date it uses as the "present" (October 26, 1985) is referenced in the later Robert Zemeckis film Death Becomes Her as the date when Helen took the immortality potion.
      • Coincidentally, November 5th was the date traveled to in another time-travel movie, Time After Time, which also starred Mary Steenburgen, who would play Clara Clayton in Back to the Future Part III.
    • In Back to the Future Part II, Marty learns in 1985-A that George was killed on March 15, 1973-A; Julius Caesar was killed on March 15th aka "The Ides of March".
  • In Con Air, Cameron Poe's daughter's birthday note  was July 14, the anniversary of the Storming of the Bastille, an historical event that foreshadows what happens onboard the "Jailbird" (it's taken hostage by convicts). note 

  • Several characters in Harry Potter have Significant Birthdates. Additionally, several of the events in the books fall on special dates. Voldemort's first meeting with baby Harry happens on Halloween. In the final book, the Battle of Hogwarts happens on May 1st, Walpurgis Night, the feastday of St. Walpurgis, known also as "the witches' sabbath". As the sun rises on the end of the battle and Voldemort dies, it is the end of the witching time.
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland takes place on May 4th, Alice Pleasance Liddell's birthday, and the sequel Through the Looking-Glass takes place on November 4th, Alice's half-birthday.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Community:
    • In the Christmas Episode "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas", Troy says "Today's December 9th"... the same date as the episode's original 2010 air date.
    • Also done in the previous season's Christmas episode. Shirley chastises Jeff for disrespecting the holiest day of the year, to which Jeff responds that it's December 10.
  • Mister Rogers' Neighborhood: Prince Tuesday is an invoked day-of-the-week variant; his birth aired on a Tuesday.
  • In the Remington Steele episode "Elegy in Steele", Steele's arch-enemy, Major Descoine, returns and promises that Steele and Laura Holt would be dead by noon that day. As part of his terror campaign, he sees to it that they stumble across headstones with their names and that day's date on them. That date was the original broadcast date.
  • In the final episode of Seinfeld, the events brought up as evidence against the gang are referenced as happening on the original air dates.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • In "The Excelsior Acquisition", Sheldon finds a traffic summons concerning an traffic incident that occurred on 11/16, the airdate of "The Adhesive Duck Deficiency", in which the violation happened.
    • In "The Agreement Dissection" Sheldon lists the offences Leonard committed in the teaser as happening on April 28th, the original air date.
  • The episodes of The Middle and Modern Family - both titled Leap Day - originally aired Feb 29, 2012.
    • In the episode of The Middle titled The Guidence Counselor, guest star Whoopi Goldberg gives her character's birthday as Nov 13th, same as her own.
  • In the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Gets A Paris Gown", Lucy wants to get a new designer dress while in France. Ricky reads a letter Lucy wrote in Hollywood, promising Ricky if he'd buy her a Hollywood designer dress, she would NEVER ask for another designer dress. The note is dated 2/28/55 — The broadcast date of the episode "The Fashion Show" in which Lucy gets said dress. Extra coolness points awarded when you realize the writers had no idea what a rerun was at this point...let alone that anyone in the future would create episode guides, listing airdates.
    • In "Lucy's Mother-in-Law", Lucy tells the assistant of a mind reader that her birthday is August 6th, Lucy's actual birthday.
  • In the Quantum Leap episode "The Leap Back", Al mentions that the day outside the imaging chamber was Sept 18th 1999. The episode originally aired Sept 18th 1991.
  • Doctor Who
    • In the fifth series of New Who, Amy's wedding and the date from which the Cracks radiate is revealed in "Flesh and Stone" to happen on the broadcast date of "The Big Bang".
    • "The Waters of Mars" tried to do this: the story was set on November 21, 2059, but the episode aired on November 15, 2009 due to a scheduling conflict.
    • The Doctor's apparent death in "The Impossible Astronaut" happened on April 22, 2011 in Utah, which due to the time zone difference was April 23 (the episode's air date) in London.
    • Moreso in classic Who serials than the current run, the year in which an adventure was set was likely to be an exact multiple of years (xty years / x centuries, for example) from the year of original transmission.
    • The 23rd of November, the date of the show's first broadcast, crops up a lot, especially in the Doctor Who – Expanded Universe and Milestone Celebrations:
      • "Silver Nemesis" is set on the 23rd of November 1988.
      • Clara Oswin Oswald's birthdate in "The Snowmen" is 23rd November 1866.
      • The novel Shroud of Sorrow is set on 23rd November 1963.
      • The audio The Light at the End summons all the Doctors to the 23rd of November, 1963, with a little flashing red light.
      • The audio The Time Machine is set on 23rd November 2013.
      • The audio 1963 is set on 23rd November 1963.
      • In the short story "The Age of Ambition", Victoria Waterfield's mother died on 23rd November 1863.
      • The Sarah Jane Adventures episode "Lost in Time" is set on 23rd November 2010.
      • The K9 episode "The Cambridge Spy" is set on 23rd November 1963.
  • In the Maverick episode "The Day They Hanged Bret Maverick", Bret's tombstone shows his birthdate to be April 7th (the same as that of James Garner). The death date on the tombstone is September 21st, which was the airdate of this episode.
    • In another episode, "The Misfortune Teller", Maverick gives his birthday as May 11th, which was the birthday of Leo Townsend (the writer of that episode).
  • At the end of M*A*S*H episode "Welcome to Korea" (B.J.'s first episode), the PA announces the date that Col. Sherman Potter would arrive to take command of the 4077th. That date was the date of the broadcast of the next episode, in which Potter is introduced.
  • A screen in the Star Trek: Enterprise episode "In a Mirror, Darkly Part 2" gives James T. Kirk's birthday as March 22, which is William Shatner's birthday.
  • In Power Rangers RPM, Summer asks if Project Go-Onger was built in 1975, which happens to be the debut year of the Super Sentai franchise from which Power Rangers pulls its fight footage and costumes from.
  • The TV Land special Brady - An American Cronical note Brady events as taking place on the original broadcast dates.
  • In a third season episode of the 60's Dragnet, Sgt Joe Friday reveals his birthday is April 2nd, which is also Jack Webb's birthday.
  • Skins has constantly proven a nightmare to track the dating for; each series typically airs from January to March, but covers the academic year from September to July/August. Katie's episode in Series 4 provides a clue, though; the bailiffs read out a court order dated Febuary 17th 2010, the day before the episode's airdate (night passed during the episode, so it adds up), indicating that Skins airs in a stretched-out present with time skips.
  • Hokuto and Minami from Ultraman Ace were both born on July 7th, Eiji Tsuburaya's birthday.
  • Frasier: The date of the pilot is subtly referenced throughout the series. For example, in the fifth season, Martin says he hasn't seen his brother in five years.
  • In Supernatural the license plate on the Impala for the first two seasons is KAZ 2Y5, referring to the Winchester's birthplace of Kansas and the year the series started, 2005.
  • The Outer Limits (1995): In "Joyride", Colonel Theodore Harris' first trip into space took place on September 16, 1963. This was the date that The Outer Limits (1963) pilot "The Galaxy Being" was originally broadcast. Cliff Robertson played the protagonist in both episodes.

    Video Games 

    Western Animation 
  • In the pilot episode of The Looney Tunes Show, Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck's birthdays are stated as being July 27th and April 17th, the dates that their first theatrical shorts were first released.
  • In the first episode of Transformers Prime, it's established that the Autobots and Decepticons had a brief, but eventful battle three years prior which ended with the Decepticons defeated, Megatron MIA, and Starscream in charge. The episode was aired three years after Transformers 2007 came out in theaters, with a broadly similar premise and ending.
  • On Hey Arnold!, when Rhonda asks Arnold what day his birthday is, he replies "the 7th" - a reference to the series premiere date of October 7, 1996.
  • In "Project B.R.A.I.N.", an episode of Pinky and the Brain which recalls the experiment that led to Pinky and Brain gaining human-like intelligence (and Brain's first attempt at world domination), the dates listed on the time codes for the experiment are September 9 and 10, 1995. Those dates are nods to the show's premiere dates in both Saturday morning and prime time.


Example of: