"Okay, so funny story: I had a dream I was eating my pillow.""Last night I dreamed that I was eating a giant marshmallow, and when I woke up, my pillow was gone!" Simply put: a character thinks they are eating a giant marshmallow (Sometimes something else) when in fact they are still in bed, sound asleep and dreaming while chewing on their pillow. This is a staple dream type found in comics and animation. It does not always require marshmallows in the dream sequence, but does require a pillow in the dreamer's bed. Upon awakening from a marshmallow dream, said dreamer will find the pillow to be missing or shredded. The dreamer's mouth is usually infested with feathers that were once stuffed in the pillow. The lower the dreamer's intelligence, the more likely this is to happen, and the less need for there to be an actual marshmallow in the dream. Big Eaters are, of course, prone to this trope as well. Always Played for Laughs, it exists solely due to Rule of Funny. It's likely Older than You Think. Not to be confused with Marshmallow Hell. Though now that it's been mentioned, it's only a matter of time before somebody figures out how to combine them.
—Tiger Arbelt, Housepets!
Works featuring marshmallow dreams:
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Anime and Manga
- To Love-Ru has a variation. When Mikan crawls into Rito's bed to catch one of the other girls in the act of crawling into his bed while he's sleeping, he grabs her in his sleep and his mumblings hint that he is acting like he's grabbed the 'marshmallow'. When she pinches his cheek to have him release her, his response is to claim that the 'marshmallow bit him'. Neither the pillow or Mikan is harmed when they wake (although Mikan is 'caught' by the one she was trying to catch).
- In an eyecatch for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Nanoha is shown happily eating sweet potatoes... pan down to show that it's only a dream, and she's actually gnawing on a struggling Yuuno.
- In Rokujyouma no Shinryakusha!?, Satomi grabs Ruth in his sleep, dreaming about climbing a tree to catch a beetle. Ruth gets so upset (about him dreaming her as a tree rather than any inappropriate contact) over this that she develops an unreasoning hatred of Rhinoceros Beetles, despite not knowing what one looks like until later.
- On one cover of Simpsons Comics, Homer is seen eating his pillow while dreaming of eating a pizza.
- A somewhat NSFW fanfic which has been (almost) lost to time titled "Mr. Fuzzywumpus" gives us a variant. Through a chain of events a girl thinks that Sonic, Shadow and Silver are her pets, and she ends up "letting them" sleep in her bed. Shadow wakes up to find Sonic (with Easy Amnesia) cuddling up to him, and Silver ends up in a compromising position trying to separate them.
Sonic gave a little nudge. Silver's left foot lost traction, as his right went sliding over Sonic's far shoulder. His rear end landed quite squarely on Sonic's chest, with his back towards Sonic's feet, and his front towards his pillow. That put something important right in front of Sonic's face.
"I don't know about you guys, but I had a wonderful dream last night..." He turned back to the bed. "It was like being inside a giant ball of cotton candy, only it wasn't all sugary. And talk about soft...ummm...are you two quite all right?"
- And the next morning:
- The Pony Earthverse has turned this into a running gag; whenever characters talk with their ponies for the first time, they end up with a pillow in their mouth.
- Subverted on The Colbert Report
Colbert: I dreamt I was eating a giant marshmallow, and when I woke up, my giant marshmallow was gone.
- Subverted in an episode of The Golden Girls.
Carol: Last night, I dreamt I was eating a giant marshmallow, and when I woke up my boyfriend was gone.
Man: I don't get it.
Carol: It's not a joke.
- Conversed (in a hoedown!) by Colin Mochrie in the UK Whose Line Is It Anyway?. When he has to sing about his worst nightmare, he tells about eating cotton candy and it ends with him waking up with the pillow gone.
- Calvin and Hobbes had this as a minor Running Gag. Hobbes would be having a dream about being in a vicious fight with a ferocious weasel...only to awaken and discover that he had really been ripping his pillow to shreds. Or, occasionally, Calvin.
- Dilbert once referenced this. Wally had a strange dream about getting smarter by willing it so, with his forehead expanding to match, but still woke up with his pillow missing. As Dilbert comments,
Wow, you woke up in the wrong joke!
- Naturally, this has happened to Garfield.
- He dreams of being in the land of giant breakfasts, eats a pancake, and wakes up wondering where his blanket went.
- Another time, he thought he got up in the middle of the night and ate some jawbreakers, only to find that his marbles were missing.
- In The Better Half, Stanley tells Harriet that he dreamed about eating a very large piece of lasagna; when he woke up, their red comforter was gone.
- Referenced twice in Kingdom of Loathing:
"If you dream that you're eating a giant marshmallow, you'll probably wake up and find this gone, provided you're in a place where people steal your pillow while you're asleep." (This also serves as a justification as to why the item is consumed upon using it.)
- The comfy pillow item has this description:
"If you have a dream that you're eating a pillow, you'll probably wake up and find that this is gone."
- This is also inverted in the description for the giant marshmallow item:
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures gave us an excellent example followed by waking up.
- Skin Horse combines this with Real Dreams Are Weirder here; Unity responds to the Abbess's description of her prophetic dream with an inversion of the trope ("I dreamed I ate all the pillows in the house! And when I woke up, all the marshmallows were gone!")
- Slightly Damned gives us a textbook, same-page, same-panel, non-marshmallow example. It's currently the page image.
- In Housepets!, Tiger inverted the concept. He bought a giant unstamped sheet of Peeps marshamallow he wanted to carve. Instead he ate it while dreaming he was eating his pillow.
- In the Busybee Comics series Womble, one comic has the Duchess telling the Womble about a succession of strange dreams, after each of which she awoke to discover her pillow was gone. The comic ends with the Womble lounging on a pile of stolen pillows.
- Stuart Ashen: "Once, I had a dream I was eating a giant marshmallow. When I woke up, my wife was missing and everything was covered in blood!"
- Played with in Family Guy; Peter initially can't find his pillow, but he was just lying on it. We then see a half-eaten sheep in his room trying to crawl to safety.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
There once was an old man from Peru
- In the episode "Suds", SpongeBob dreams of eating Krabby Patties and wakes up chewing on his pillow. This encourages him to make himself a seanut butter and jellyfish jelly sandwich.
- Also referred to on "Sleepy Time". When SpongeBob meets Gary in the dreamworld, the now erudite Gary tries to explain to him the concept of dreams as a view to another world. When an Emily Dickinson poem goes over SB's head, Gary recites one more his speed:
Who dreamed he was eating his shoe
He woke with a fright
In the middle of the night
To find that his dream had come true.
- In The Fairly OddParents, Chester wakes up eating his pillow, says "You're not the giant marshmallow. Oh well!" and continues eating.
- In an Animaniacs short, that one kid comes out of his house and says "One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's mom had a dream that she ate a big marshmallow and it was really good, and she, and when she woke up...her pillow was gone. 'Cause she ate it. 'K, bye."
- This has happened a couple of times to Homer in The Simpsons.
- In the Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot episode Night Bears, Grumpy dreams that he has a bottomless pantry, and he starts feasting on the food in the pantry. The scene then fades back to reality, showing that Grumpy is actually invoking this trope.