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Time is flying like an arrow
—They Might Be Giants, "Hovering Sombrero"
Method used to show the passage of time by repeatedly flipping/tearing off pages of a calendar.
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.
- BBC 2 based a Channel Ident on this trope.
- 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.
- 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 Mahou Sensei Negima 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 months worth of pages go by.
- Also used during Yue's studies in the Magic World. More knowledge. More power.
- Phantom of the Paradise had this when Winslow/The Phantom was imprisoned by Swann.
- The movie 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".
- Donnie Darko has the marked-calendar version counting down to the end of the world.
- 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.
- 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.
- Lampshaded in Night Watch, where as Vimes traveled back to the present, he felt slightly cheated that something like this didn't happen.
- 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.
- Played for laughs in Pair of Kings, with an open window being responsible for the flying pages.
- 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 hair dryer as he primps, as he's set it on its most powerful setting.
- The Town With No Name has exploding calendar happen twice.
- 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 of barely celebrated holidays. It even stops on creator Matt Groening's birthday.
- 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.
- The opening credits of Phineas and Ferb.
- Rather creatively used in Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Summer Vacation. The calendar in question has a picture of Tweety 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.
- In the Ren and Stimpy episode Hermit Ren this is played with, the calendar starts in the August 1994, and when it reaches January it still reads 1994.
- Lady and the Tramp done this as months go by on the calendar until Lady's masters are having a baby.