Fever Dream Episode
An entire episode as told from the perspective of someone who is very sick, their hallucinations and fever dreams giving everything a very warped slant. Nightmare Sequences are to be expected, whether the character is awake or not. The viewer may feel late to the party if the episode starts in the middle of such dreams without explanation, leaving the viewer to gradually piece together what's really going on. Does not count as a Fever Dream Episode if other, lucid characters are watching the sick one stumbling around. Subtrope of Sick Episode. See also Mushroom Samba. May be an instance of Bad Dreams or Dreaming of Things to Come. Compare Your Worst Nightmare and Talking in Your Dreams, both of which may be mistaken for this. See also Adventures in Comaland, when a long-unconscious character goes on a spiritual journey inside their own head. Not to be confused with a brief glimpse of the world as seen through the eyes of someone who's just taken a blow, had a whiff of poison gas, etc. and is about to go down for the count — that's Impairment Shot.
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Yuno's day with a fever in Hidamari Sketch. Most of the episode is spent in dream, but there are still scenes in the "real world" from time to time. Oddly, some of Yuno's dreams turn out to be remarkably accurate to what happens at school that day. The episode also contains a very sweet scene, when Miyako decides to help out Yuno.
- Happens in Super Dimension Fortress Macross. It was actually a Clip Show with clever editing and a new soundtrack, appearing as a dream after Hikaru was shot down by accidental friendly fire.
- A very fun episode if Shin-Chan is basically a very long fever dream which constantly references heat.
- Yurie's fever in Kamichu! had the strange effect of casting her out of her body. Being new to Goddess-hood, she wasn't sure what was real and what was dream. Ironically, Kenji actually noticed her for once.
- A common fan theory about the Cowboy Bebop episode "Toys in the Attic" (the one with the Blob Monster) is that it's actually just a weird dream Spike has while he's sick with food poisoning.
- An early episode of Windy Tales features this as Nao lays in the nurse's office and incorporates the conversations of those who come and go into her dreams.
- One issue of Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose sees Raven Hex wandering through several classic fairytales, getting increasingly frustrated at the passivity of the heroines therein, and wondering how she got stuck in these stories and how to get home. The ending reveals that the whole thing is a fever dream; she is actually stuck in bed with a magical cold, and Tarot is reading her stories while she recovers.
- In Piers Anthony's Mode Series, the main character is infected by a psychic virus that makes her go into vivid dreams to destroy her already precarious sense of self-worth. Whenever she thought of anybody, she would immediately go into an indistinguishable dream where the person hated her and would attempt to kill or torture her, with each dream being worse and more savage than the last. She ultimately beats it by thinking of herself and tackling her self-doubts head on.
- Ray Bradbury's short story "Fever Dream" combines this with Body Horror and Cassandra Truth (oh, God, that poor kid...).
- House! The episode where he gets shot, and the patient's balls explode.
- The NewsRadio episode "Daydreams", where everyone has heat-induced hallucinations while they wait for the AC to be fixed.
- "The Midnight Sun" episode of The Twilight Zone, classic edition, is like this. The world has slipped from orbit and is falling toward the sun. Consequently, everyone's quite literally being slowly cooked to death. Twist Ending goes: it was a fever dream because the dreamer was feverish from being sick. The world has actually slipped from orbit and is falling away from the sun, so everyone is slowly freezing to death.
- Stargate SG-1 episode "The Changeling" combines it with Cuckoo Nest.
- An episode of Dinosaurs had Baby Dinosaur sick and hallucinating that the tender words of comfort and support his family were saying to him were evil threats to devour his feet.
- A possible case is the Red Dwarf episode "Confidence and Paranoia", where a mutant disease makes Lister have solid hallucinations that everybody can see and interact with (the Cat was able to eat the hallucination fishes).
- The musical episode of Scrubs. A woman ends up in the hospital because she imagines that everyone around her is singing.
- In the Bones season 4 finale, "The End In the Beginning", Booth is in a coma after undergoing brain surgery and has a dream where he and Bones run a nightclub called The Lab, staffed by the regular cast, and they're the ones being investigated in relation to a murder. He wakes up once the murder is solved. Also, he and Bones are married in his dream.
- The M*A*S*H episode "Follies of the Living - Concerns of the Dead" combines this trope with Near Death Clairvoyance: Klinger sees, and talks with, the ghost of a recently-dead soldier while recovering from a high fever.
- Power Rangers Dino Thunder. A comatose Tommy has to fight for his life against his past Ranger forms.
- The German dub of Star Trek: The Original Series changes the episode "Amok Time" into this, in an attempt to remove the references to sexuality. In this version, Spock is ill with "Space fever", and the fight between him and Kirk is a hallucination.
- The George Lopez Show had two episode in which George drinks tequila with the worm and hallucinates about alternate realities, the first being a What If? scenario where Benny was nicer to him growing up, the second depicting him and Ernie as a gay couple.
- The King of Queens had an episode where Doug dreams he is in The Honeymooners.
- Elements of this appear in the Farscape episode "Won't Get Fooled Again", but both John and the audience think it's Scorpius messing with him again. In actuality, it's a different alien inducing a fever dream in an effort to extract information.
- Angel spends an entire episode stuck in a fever dream thanks to a demonic parasite.
- The Even Stevens episode "Influenza: The Musical" is Ren's fever dream. As you probably guessed from the title, this was also the Musical Episode.
- The Sopranos episode "Funhouse" contains multiple fever dreams after Tony gets a bad case of food poisoning. In one of them, Tony douses himself with gasoline and lights himself on fire.
- Major Dad's Halloween special featured this. In it, Casey is excited about going trick-or-treating. She gets a cold and falls asleep and has a fever dream, where she imagines that every main character is a horror movie monster.
- Life On Mars is made of this trope, but the most significant and direct example is S02E05, where 2006!Sam's medication has been messed about with and 1973 seems to warp out of control; instead of being realistic, billboards remind him of his thoughts, lollipop ladies' signs read OH SHIT! and other things happen to him which show his stability in a coma is taking a dramatic turn for the worse. At one point during the episode he is actually sedated so deeply he can only watch his comrades on a television screen as they attempt to solve the crime of the week.
- And of course the US version was entirely a variant of this trope-the whole thing was Sam's dream, though a cryo-sleep one rather than a fever one.
- Space Cases did this twice:
- In "Who Goes Where?", Radu is infected with a disease that causes him to hallucinate that all of his crewmates are monsters.
- In "The Impossible Dram", the crew picks up a self-styled "knight-errant" who's convinced that he's hunting a dragon. While aboard the ship, chemicals from his ship leak into the air vents, causing Catalina to start hallucinating that there really is a dragon aboard the ship.
- The entire plot of Hitman: Contracts is one long examole. 47 is mortally wounded and hiding out in Paris. As he slips in and out of consciousness, he relives previous missions which the player experiences.
- Axiom Verge has a sequence in Ukin-Na railroading the player into a part of the stage where the screen becomes progressively more distorted, culminating in a very bizarre Hopeless Boss Fight.
- In the Penny and Aggie arc "The Lady and the Tiger" Aggie, due to an allergic reaction to medication, has one of these, doubling as a character-building Near-Death Experience.
- In Homestuck, after Jade's dream self dies, she ends up on the receiving end of this and the viewers get to see. Karkat and Feferi meanwhile got killed while dreaming and end up getting the same results, though Feferi knew this all along and is more than happy to explain the situation to her.
- The second arc of Marry Me is about (and entitled) when Parker met Guy. Parker, doing a babysitting job, is told by her temporary charges that their uncle Guy is upstairs, sicker than an entire pack of effluent dogs. Guy is clearly having a good time with this, because although he's fully awake, he's nowhere near lucid; when he inevitably manages to escape Parker's attention with the boys, he comes to the conclusion that they need hamburgers, and treats their fast food order with all the grave urgency of a black ops mission.
- Full Frontal Nerdity
- Happens in a sequence starting here.
- Subverted in a future plot arc; while Lewis is treated to one of these after eating Mexican takeout, he flatly refuses to go along with it and tells the pixie-like Aesop-deliverer to go screw.
- An episode of Rugrats has Tommy get sick, leading to a sequence like this.
- The animesque Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi has this happen to the main characters, induced by cheap sushi.
- The Futurama episode " The Sting" is a notable one of these, mixed with a healthy dose of Mind Screw.
- DuckTales: A fever causes Scrooge to have a bizarre fantasy of himself as a Gender Flipped Cinderella with Goldie as his Rebellious Princess.
- The Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Earth King" has this for Zuko's side of the story, when he gets sick as a result of doing the right thing.
- One episode of Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends begins with Bloo as his Superpowered Alter Ego the Bloo Superdude battling his way through a Dungeons & Dragons-type world. Gradually it is revealed that it's just a feverish Bloo wandering around the house and attacking his friends.
- The Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated episode "Mystery Solvers Club State Finals" has Scooby too sick to take part in the titular contest and has a dream where he and the gang are there. The dream has everyone look more like their original Hanna-Barbera designs.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "Shadow of the Bat!" opens with Batman and Jason Blood fighting the pseudo-vampire Dala and Batman getting bitten. The rest of episode involves Batman turning into a vampire and attacking the Justice League, before Batman and the vampiric Leaguers are destroyed by Martian Manhunter and Jason Blood. The end reveals that Batman collapsed immediately after being bitten, and becoming a vampire was just a hallucination brought on by Dala's toxins in his blood.
- The U.S. Acres episode "Swine Trek".
- Batman: The Animated Series: "Over the Edge" shows Commissioner Gordon going on a vendetta against Batman after Batgirl is killed in action and he discovers that she was his daughter Barbara. The end reveals that Batgirl was hallucinating under the influence of Scarecrow's fear toxin.
- In the Bojack Horseman episode "Downer Ending", Bojack, Todd, and Sarah Lynn are trying to rewrite Bojack's memoir and, faced with a looming deadline, they take a shitload of drugs to try and power through it. Naturally, terrifying hallucinations ensue.