In the middle of a wacky plot, Bob gets knocked out. When he awakens, he tells Alice that he dreamed the wacky plot that just happened. He will then be in for a nasty shock when he discovers that it ''wasn't'' a dream and typically respond in a comedically over-the-top fashion.

'''As a reveal trope, there will be unmarked spoilers!'''

Not to be confused with OrWasItADream.


[[folder: Anime ]]
* In one of the ''LightNovel/HaruhiSuzumiya'' books, after genuinely falling asleep, Kyon ends up in an alternate reality with Haruhi, who wakes him up as she subconsciously starts remaking the universe. Eventually, he gets her to stop, [[EpilepticTrees probably]], before winding up back in his own bed, which he falls out of and tries to pretend it was a dream. The next day at school he sees her with a ponytail, which he had during the sequence mentioned being partial to. Confirming that yeah, it really happened. [[SelectiveObliviousness Of course, he's still going to pretend it didn't]].
* [[{{Tsundere}} Taiga]] in ''LightNovel/{{Toradora}}'' falls down a snowbank and when Ryuuji finds her, she makes some [[CanNotSpitItOut interesting]] confessions while he carries her back up the slope. Afterward, Taiga thinks it was just a dream, and Ryuuji tries to [[UnConfession encourage]] that notion to save Taiga her embarrassment. Of course, the plan falls apart when [[GenkiGirl Minorin]] [[IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy objects]] to the [[EveryoneCanSeeIt lie]].
* ''Anime/SailorMoon'' thinks she dreams her friends' deaths. It is unfortunately (and not amusingly) real, but [[BackFromTheDead they get better anyway]].
** A more lighthearted example comes after the first time Usagi fights crime as Sailor Moon. She wakes up the next day, notices a newspaper article about how Sailor Moon stopped a robbery, and pouts that it looks like the whole thing wasn't a dream after all.
* In one episode of ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'', Panty and Stocking become ''{{Transformers}}'' [[{{Expy}} expies]]. In the middle of the episode, Brief wakes up from sleeping, wondering if that was just a dream. Then it zooms out to show he is surrounded by robots.
* PlayedForDrama in ''Manga/BitterVirgin'', as it is exactly this trope that allows Daisuke to confess his love to the female lead Hinako. Something he had been hesitant about due to the fact Hinako DoesNotLikeMen because of past trauma and she had been slowly healing that wound.
* In ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'', the Dark Magician Girl gives Sho a kiss right before returning to the spirit world. Sho thinks he imagined that, only for Judai to inform him that it actually happened.
* Madoka wakes up in the second episode of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' thinking that her encounter with Mami, Homura, and the witch was just a weird dream. Then she spots [[WeaselMascot Kyubey]] sitting among her stuffed animals. The dream in the very beginning of the series is also this, but the full explanation doesn't occur until much later.
* In Manga/HetaliaBloodbath2010, after [[spoiler:the Nations go insane trying to beat the clock to save an alternate dimension from exploding and ending up collapsed and exhausted after just making it in the nick of time]], several of them wonder if the whole thing was just a dream. They actually wish it ''was'' a dream, but the fact that [[spoiler:the alternate-dimension Nations left a farewell letter]] proves otherwise.
* In ''Anime/DragonBallZ'', after Kid Buu destroys the Earth and the survivors retreat to the Supreme Kai's planet, Mr. Satan/Hercule becomes convinced he's in a dream. He learns he isn't dreaming when he tries to fly and painfully crashes.
* Played very tragically in a scene of the ''Manga/OnePiece'' anime about Brook: after [[SoleSurvivor his whole crew is killed]] and Brook himself comes back as a skeleton. While [[GoMadFromTheIsolation spending an extremely long time stuck on their ship alone]], he sees the whole crew alive and his body returned to normal and they say he was just having a bad dream. Brook smacks his face into the ground and says he can't be dreaming because it hurt. He looks up... and they're gone.

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* A story in a Creator/DCComics mystery/suspense anthology had an accountant find a set of strange disks which he thought gave him especially vivid daydreams where he would be transported to other worlds to commit acts of heroism and derring-do. The final disk sent him to his hometown where he foiled a bank robbery and captured the robbers. When he actually returned home after this 'daydream', he found himself hailed as hero. Learning that he had actually foiled a bank robbery, he realized that this and, by extension, all of his other adventures had really happened. He fainted.
* An ''Franchise/ArchieComics'' story has Betty take a nap in a pickup truck after a day of chores. When she wakes up, she finds herself at the mall, still in her ragged work clothes. She feels embarrassed at her friends seeing her in this condition, but then she decides that she's probably dreaming. She proceeds to make herself look even more unsightly, and become a nuisance until security kicks her out. Betty then finds herself walking home in RealTime,[[note]]though the reader only sees one panel of her walking while exclaiming, "This is a long dream!"[[/note]] and notices the truck absent from her family's driveway upon her return. She decides to pinch herself to see if she's really dreaming, but finds out otherwise.

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ACrownOfStars'': It happens several times throughout the story:
** In chapter 6 Asuka asks Shinji if this is a dream. Shinji replies that it is not.
** In chapter 24 Shinji wakes up, sees a smiling Asuka sleeping in his arms and deduces he must be dreaming. When she opens her eyes he greets her warmly, tells he is going to make her breakfast in bed and maybe he will wash her back when she is showering, kisses her and leaves with a wink. Shortly after he realizes it was NOT a dream. And he freaks out.
** In chapter 37 Shinji and Asuka are showering together and Shinji asks: “I’m not dreaming, am I?”
** In chapter 44 Asuka wakes up and wonders why she has dreamed of an all-night sex-marathon with Shinji… and then she realizes that was not a dream.
* ''Fanfic/AdviceAndTrust'': After their FirstKiss and sleeping together for first time [[IdiotHero Shinji]] [[BattleCouple and]] [[{{Tsundere}} Asuka]] wake up the next morning, and each one thinks: "Oh, gods, that wasn't a dream?"
* ''Fanfic/TheChildOfLove'': The morning after the festival Asuka opens her eyes, sees Shinji lying in on front of her in her bed and thinks it is a wet dream. She hugs him tightly… and he complains he can not breathe. Then she realizes it is NOT a dream.
* ''Manga/{{Evangelion 303}}'': In chapter 14 [[TheHero Shinji]] wakes up in a hotel room and asks [[FieryRedhead Asuka]] whether she really said yes when he proposed to her or it was all a dream. In answer she asks "What do you think?" and she kisses him.
* ''Fanfic/LastChildOfKrypton'': In chapter 2 Asuka’s plane is crashing down and she believes she is going to die. Then she sees a blue-and-red-costumed person landing on the back of the plane, and pulling it upright. For a second she thinks she is having a nightmare right before the plane lurches again, confirming it is real.
* ''Fanfic/TheOneILoveIs'': In chapter 9 Arael's MindRape leaves Asuka in a catatonic state. When Asuka wakes up she looks around confusedly and realizes it was not a dream.
-->'''Asuka''':''"It wasn't a dream."''
* ''Fanfic/TheSecondTry'': In chapter 10 Shinji and Asuka wake up to find [[TimeTravel they are fourteen and living in Misato's apartment again]]. Feeling utterly frightened and distraught, [[BrokenBird Asuka]] pleads [[LoveInterest Shinji]] telling her that it [[spoiler:([[AfterTheEnd surviving after Third Impact]], [[RelationshipSalvagingDisaster falling in love]], [[HappilyMarried getting married]] and having and raising a child)]] was not just a dream. Shinji promptly reassures her that he also remembers.
* In ''Fanfic/TheSweetieChroniclesFragments'', before she realizes that she's in an AlternateUniverse, Sweetie Belle continually assumes each time she wakes up that the events of the prologue were AllJustADream.
* In the lemon fic ''[[ Dreamscape]]'', when Pyrrha...approaches...Jaune in the middle of the night, he assumes that he's having an EroticDream. As he realizes some hours later- when he wakes up next to a very satisfied Pyrrha- it was not.
* In ''Fanfic/HailToTheKing'', the unnamed human protagonist trapped in King Sombra's body thinks this crazy land of talking ponies he's in is just a crazy dream or hallucination. He learns he isn't dreaming when he decides to "wake up" by stabbing himself in the leg.
* In the [[WesternAnimation/InsideOut Inside Out]] fic ''Intercom'', Riley thinks she's just dreaming when she hears five little voices from inside her head. Then the voices are still there the next morning...

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Something like this happens in ''Disney/TheAristocats'', in the beginning when Edgar kidnaps the cats while they're sleeping and leaves them in the countryside. One of the kittens wakes up and says:
-->"I was having a funny dream. Edgar was in it... (frog croaks) Frogs? (realizes they're outside) Uh-oh. It wasn't a dream."
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Epic}}'':
-->'''Mary Katherine:''' Dad? I had the most messed up dream! There were talking slugs and tiny little soldiers and-
-->''(sees just what she described)''
-->'''Grub:''' Hello.
-->'''Mary Katherine:''' Aw, ''man!''

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/FourteenOhEight'': Mike Enslin awakens in a hospital after the experience of near-drowning in the room segues into a surfing accident that occurred at the very beginning of the film. But it was not a dream brought about by being bopped on the head by a surfboard: the week or so he lives "outside" is all part of the room's scheme, and it is revealed to him he had never left.
* ''Film/BackToTheFuture'': "I dreamed that I went back in time." [[RunningGag Repeated in the sequels.]]
* ''SeventeenAgain'': In one of several blatant references to Back to the Future, the main character wakes up in a bed in a dark room, saying "I dreamed I was 17..." while being comforted by his daughter who doesn't know she's his daughter.
* ''Film/StarTrekVTheFinalFrontier'': "I dreamt that a madman had taken over the ''Enterprise''!"
* In ''Franchise/StarWars: Film/AttackOfTheClones'', after C-3PO wakes up in the Geonosis arena after having his head attached to a battle droid's body (and vice versa), he looks to R2-D2 and says 'I've had the most peculiar dream...'
* ''Film/TradingPlaces'':
-->Winthorpe: "Coleman, I had the most absurd nightmare. I was poor and no one liked me. I lost my job, I lost my house. Penelope hated me. And it was all because of this terrible, awful Negro." (Upon noticing Billy Ray, Winthorpe leaps out of bed, and starts strangling him)
* Jacob Marley gives the proclamation to Scrooge in ''Scrooge'' (1970).
* In ''Film/DragonBallEvolution'', Master Roshi claimed he had a dream that he was in the afterlife but then Grandpa Gohan kicked him out. This was because early on, Goku killed Roshi and made it up to him by bringing him to life with the Dragon Balls.
* ''Film/WeirdScience'' has Gary and Wyatt awake the morning after creating [[ManicPixieDreamGirl Lisa]], convinced that it was all a dream. They engage in some LampshadeHanging about how unlikely it is for them to have had the exact same dream, and then Lisa calls them for breakfast.
* ''Film/TheGoldenChild'' has Chandler dream of taunting the BigBad exactly like you'd expect EddieMurphy to do, who burns a three-inch scar into the inside of his arm for his chutzpah. When he wakes up, the scar's still there. But the part where Kee Nang stripped and flirted with him, "That part was dream!"
* A NightmareFuel version in ''Film/RosemarysBaby''. Rosemary thinks she is dreaming at the ceremony where she becomes pregnant, but for an instant realizes she is not. Much later, after she sees her child, she remembers that moment and knows it was all real.

[[folder: Literature]]
* Oberon of ''{{Literature/Alterien}}'' wakes from what he believes to be a dream. With Sharon's help, he comes to realize it was not a dream. Despite established that he was awake, certain aspects of what Oberon witnessed leaves him wondering if he was under the influence of powerful drugs.
* Possibly an instance of this trope: In ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn'', almost at the end of the film, Prince Lir is resurrected by the unicorn and says groggily, "Father? Father, I had this dream... I was dead." In the movie this is changed to "No, I was dead", indicating that he didn't dream he was dead, he simply had some other dream but actually ''was'' dead.
** Or he started to go with the "So, it was all a dream!" idea, but realized quickly that it wasn't and corrected himself.
* In Creator/RobertEHoward's ''[[Literature/{{Kull}} The Shadow Kingdom]]'' Kull, in the final scene, keeps sliding to OrWasItADream and has to remind himself when he sees Brule.
-->''No, that was no dream, that monstrous interlude.''
* This was probably inevitable in ''The House of Sleep'', since one character is incapable of distinguishing her dreams from memories. The circumstances were less inevitable -- she admits to her roommate that she "dreamt" about having sex with her.
* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' does this after the climax. Sam wakes up in Ithilien, thinking he's dreamt about the nightmarish journey to Mount Doom. Then he looks over at Frodo...and sees that Frodo's finger is missing.

[[folder: Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' episode ''Frasier Crane's Day Off''. Daphne inverts, subverts ''and'' {{lampshades}} the Trope after Frasier raced to the studio in a fever and drug induced mania and made an utter fool of himself on the air (Roz: "Captain Kirk's got control of the bridge and he's gone insane.") When Frasier wakes up, Daphne reassures him it didn't happen and it was all a dream.
-->'''Martin:''' Why'd you tell him it was a dream?\\
'''Daphne:''' [[ForTheEvulz No fun telling him the truth now]], [[VictoryIsBoring when he's all doped up]]. [[IHaveYouNowMyPretty I'll wait till tomorrow morning]] - when he's good and lucid.
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000: PodPeople'': "Oh man, I dreamed I was a bad actress in a crappy horror movie... Oh."
** ''Film/TheFinalSacrifice''
--->"Wow, I dreamt I was stuck with this chunky backwoods loser named Rowsdower... AHHHHH!"
* ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'':
-->(Dick wakes up)\\
'''Dick''': Oh, Mary, thank god! I had this horrible dream. Your father was there... and he was telling all these boring war stories and I - I couldn't keep my eyes open!\\
(Dick looks across the room and sees Mary's father sitting on the couch)
* There's an interesting inversion in the ''Series/{{Thunderbirds}}'' ClipShow episode "Security Hazard". A boy stows away aboard Thunderbird 2 and ends up on Tracy Island, and the Tracy brothers "accidentally" tell him about their missions. Eventually he gets tired out, so while he's asleep they take him back in Thunderbird 2 and smuggle him back into bed, so that when he wakes up he'll ''think'' it was AllJustADream.
* A variation and borderline subversion appears in ''Series/TheSarahJaneAdventures'' episode "The Last Sontaran, part 2". Chrissie, having been knocked out after finding out about Maria's adventures with Sarah Jane wakes up back at Bannerman Road. This has been arranged by Maria and Alan who tell her she blacked out after breaking her new shoe and falling over, and comments on having "The strangest dream". She later reveals to Sarah Jane she ''knows'' it wasn't a dream and is going with the bluff to keep Alan and Maria happy.
* ''Series/PushingDaisies'', after Chuck comes back from the dead.
-->'''Chuck:''' I had the strangest dream. I was being strangled to death with a plastic sack...
* In the "Cycling Tour" episode of ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'', Mr. Pither was thrown in a Russian prison to be executed, and wakes up from a dream. His mother tells him that ''this'' is the dream, and that he's back in the cell.
* In one episode of the Britcom Colin's Sandwich, wanna-be comedy writer Colin is Best Man at a wedding. His speech falls completely flat and he ends up yelling abuse at the wedding guests as the scene melts into him waking up in an armchair in his lounge. He says "Phew, it was all a dream". His wife simply answers "No it wasn't".
* PlayedForDrama in ''Series/{{Rome}}''. After Niobe commits suicide and Vorenus curses his own children, he staggers out into the narrow crowded streets which appear to have become a nightmare, with fleeing men and crippled beggars shouting that Caesar is dead. Vorenus grabs a priest and begs to be woken up. The priest agrees to do so [[HumiliationConga then headbutts Vorenus unconscious and robs him]].

[[folder: Theater]]
* All of the human characters at the end of Shakespeare's ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'', notably Nick Bottom (who has spent the night making love to the fairy queen Titania): "I have had a most rare vision, a dream to pass the wit of man to say what dream it was..." Unusually for this trope, none of the characters is ever disabused of the notion.
** In fact, at the end Puck breaks the FourthWall to encourage the '''audience''' to consider the events of the play just a dream.
** There's a brief part where Hippolyta and Theseus debate whether or not the four lovers were just dreaming or not. Theseus believes they were, on the grounds that their story was too fantastical to be real. Hippolyta agrees that it sounds unrealistic, but points out that it's equally odd that four people just ''happened'' to have exactly the same dream.

[[folder: Video Games]]
* Gabriel Belmont of ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaLordsOfShadow'' has a nightmare about inexplicably shanking his new female companion Claudia in the night, something which she is oddly okay with. He snaps awake, and is advised by the mysterious Pan to take the Dark Gauntlet from Claudia's guardian golem. Gabriel refuses to harm either of his companions, citing the dream he just had. Pan points to the nearby Claudia, sporting a silver dagger from her heart, and the looming guardian near her. Oops.
* At the end of the ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'' "Citadel" DLC, you can find a hungover Javik talking about this horrible dream he had of being in stasis for 50,000 years and finding primitives ruled the galaxy.
* ''VideoGame/TheStanleyParable'' (specifically, the HD Remix) uses a variation on this trope during the Crazy/Mariella ending. Stanley deduces that the reason he seems to be walking in circles, the reason doors are closing behind him, and [[NoticingTheFourthWall the reason he can hear a voice in his head narrating the entire sequence]] is because he's actually dreaming. After having a little fun with it, he closes his eyes and calmly urges himself to wake up. He opens his eyes... [[OhCrap and finds that he's still in the same spot.]]
* ''VideoGame/MogekoCastle'': Yonaka asks if her time at the castle was a dream when she [[spoiler:wakes up on her normal bus home]]. However, she realises that it most certainly wasn't when she sees [[spoiler:Nega-Mogeko's blood on her hands]].

[[folder: Visual Novels]]
* In ''VisualNovel/SteinsGate'', the first time Okabe time leaps, he convinces himself that everything that happened after the point in time he leapt to was a dream, only to watch in horror as everything unfolds in exactly the same way.

[[folder: Webcomics]]
* Parodied in [[ this]] ''Webcomic/PennyArcade'' strip.
* Used in [[ this strip]] of ''Webcomic/MenInHats''.
* [[ Early on]] in ''Urgent Transformation Crisis''.
* ''Webcomic/DangerouslyChloe'' in [[ the second chapter]] had Teddy waking up with headache, [[BedmateReveal discovering a half-disrobed succubus in his bed]] and quietly freaking out. The confusion as to whether he was shocked to find there a cute young lady or a cute young lady ''with horns and tail'' was cleared on the next page. In his case, headache and failure to remember how they got into the bed happened because absolutely adored Chloe may be a [[ThePowerOfLove very strong flier]]... but [[LoveMakesYouDumb not very cautious]] at landing. She apparently chose to also take his bewildered bleating as a compliment:
-->'''Teddy''': You... you're not real... you were a dream!
* ''WebComic/{{Shortpacked}}'' - It happens to Robin [[ here.]]
* ''WebComic/{{Narbonic}}'' Dave wakes up exclaiming in relief that he ''wasn't'' really killed, zombified, decapitated, and left on a bus! And he doesn't work for a mad scientist, but has a boring IT job!
-->'''Helen:''' (picks up a mallet) "Let's put you back under..."
* When Haru from ''Webcomic/CrossHeart'' is [[spoiler:is reunited with her long distance girlfriend]] she mistakes it for a reoccuring dream she's had for a while now. Thankfully for her it's not a dream.

[[folder: Web Original]]
* Parodied in ''[[WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series]]'' after Joey's infamous dog suit nightmare:
-->'''Joey''': [[VerbalTic Nyeh!]] Man what a nightmare! That was almost as bad as that dream I had where Kaiba beat me in a card game!\\
'''Yugi''': Actually Joey, I think that really happened.\\
'''Joey''': '''It was a dream!'''

[[folder: Western Animation]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TheNewAdventuresOfWinnieThePooh'' episode "Rock-a-Bye Pooh Bear", Piglet keeps on having a recurring nightmare of he and his friends going out on a picnic, then a storm sweeping all of them away and leaving him all alone. He refuses to sleep because of this, and his friends decide that the only way to placate his fear is to reenact the dream in real life to show him that they're not going to disappear. However, the ''exact same thing'' happens in real life, only Piglet doesn't realize that it isn't a dream, so when he finds out that he can actually find all his friends again, he does so to change the dream, and has to be told by them at the end that it ''wasn't'' a dream this time.
* Played straight in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons''. Lisa, competing with [[AlwaysSomeoneBetter the new girl who's as smart (if not smarter) than she is]] as well as being younger than her, tries so hard to win first chair saxophone she passes out from lack of air. She wakes up to see the band teacher leaning over her.
-->'''Teacher:''' Well, that was a close one, but you made it.\\
'''Lisa:''' I won first chair?\\
'''Teacher:''' No, you regained consciousness. Allison won first chair.\\
''She screams... [[DreamWithinADream wakes up]]... [[BrokenRecord and it happens again.]]''\\
'''Teacher:''' And believe me, [[LampshadeHanging this is not a dream!]]\\
''She screams again.''
* Done three times in ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'''s Imaginationland episodes -- once with Kyle, and twice with Butters. The first one with Butters was an exceptionally ludicrous SecondEpisodeMorning; he wakes up in bed at home and tells his parents what happened, only for his father to respond, "You ''are'' in Imaginationland. ''This'' is a dream." The Mayor of Imaginationland suddenly runs in, screaming, "Wake up, stupid!" Cue reality, in which imagination is running wild...
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' had the Monarch's henchmen wake up after getting completely shitfaced the last night to celebrate Monarch's impending wedding. Then they see Brock Samson in a cage and 24 exclaims "Oh @#$%, I thought I dreamed that part!"
* In the ''WesternAnimation/MyGymPartnersAMonkey'' episode "The Hyena and the Mighty", Adam had a dream that he [[NotWearingPantsDream came to school in his underpants]]. Jake informed him that it wasn't a dream.
* In the first episode after ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' was {{Uncanceled}}, a very confused Ron calls Kim to confirm that their RelationshipUpgrade was not a dream, and continues to ask about various other things (all of which, other than the RelationshipUpgrade, actually ''were'' dreams.)
* At the end of ''WesternAnimation/ThePowerpuffGirls'' episode "Cat Man Do", Professor Utonium has this reaction after the Girls snap him out of his trance. They don't disillusion him.
* In the middle of ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerbChristmasVacation'', Phineas tries to invoke AllJustADream unsuccessfully. When he gets the news about Danville's naughty status, Phineas goes back to bed and tries to pretend that he dreamed the whole thing. It doesn't work.
* At the end of the ''WesternAnimation/CowAndChicken'' episode "Confused", after the title duo become too tough after going to military school, and then too soft after going to sensitivity school, Mom and Dad wake up, believing that the whole mess was AllJustADream and their kids are back to normal... Except they aren't, because Cow and Chicken, stuck in sensitivity mode, are seen shaving in the bathroom.
* Done in the first season finale of ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls''. Dipper tries to convince himself that Li'l Gideon taking over the Mystery Shack was all just a dream, but nope, they really did have to move in with Soos's grandmother.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* Viktor Frankl, in his book ''Man's Search for Meaning'' describes how, while working in the infirmary of a concentration camp, he would not wake up his fellow prisoners when he saw them having nightmares. Because waking up might not be an improvement from even the worst nightmare.