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Crashing Dreams

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A character is dreaming; they may or may not realize that they are doing so. For once, it is a dream that makes sense, but then there is a sudden non sequitur. The character does a double take and awakens to find the non sequitur reflects what's really happening around them.

Sometimes it's not a non sequitur and makes sense in both the dream and the real world. Or the two things are distinctly connected but not the same exact thing. Common examples include the person's name being repeated over and over again (a person in the real world calling them); a phone call in the dream (which turns out to be an alarm clock); and a passionate kiss (which turns out to be either an animal licking their face or an unappealing friend giving them the Kiss of Life).

Probably everyone can attest that this trope is Truth in Television. May result in I Was Having Such a Nice Dream if the interrupted dream was a particularly pleasant one.

Compare Bedtime Brainwashing (that's a Mind Manipulation trope about manipulation by suggestions given to a sleeping subject, this is about dreams and real life coinciding, like dreaming you're kissing someone while being licked by your dog in real life). Also compare Marshmallow Dream. Contrast Acting Out a Daydream for when a daytime fantasy influences the daydreamer's real life actions.


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  • This commercial for the The Royal Dutch Guide Dog Foundation (KNGF). A dazed and injured soldier looks at the carnage surrounding him in the wake of an explosion. It is a vivid reminder that War Is Hell: pain, gunfire, a doll lying in shattered rubble, and a child killed by the blast. Another soldier crouches over him and, against all logic, starts licking his face. The man suddenly wakes as he is licked by his dog — a dog that can recognize the symptoms of PTSD and intervene to help veterans like him.
    We train dogs to guide people with a trauma out of a nightmare, because we not only help people who cannot see, but also those who have seen too much.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Kaorin imagines being rescued by Sakaki and telling her to call her by her real name. Sakaki begins to say "Kaori... Kaori..." — but then Kaorin wakes up and realizes that it's her mother calling her. Frustrated, Kaorin throws the sheet over her head and yells "Bring it back!"
  • Used as a recurring Running Gag in Crayon Shinchan, whenever Shin-Chan's father Hiroshi overslept and Shin have to wake him up during the weekends. For instance, Hiroshi dreaming of tearing up in office, in front of his employees and supervisor for no reason, turns out to be Shin waking him up by rubbing wasabi into his nose. In another instance, Hiroshi dreams himself to be at a huge banquet, wolfing down one meal after another until he can barely even close his jaws... is revealed to be Shin-Chan trying to wake up his dad by stuffing toilet paper into his mouth.
  • In Chrono Crusade, Chrono has a dream where Aion is calling out to him to rejoin him while holding out his hand. Chrono almost takes it, but is stopped by a ghostly-looking woman wrapping her arms around him. He wonders aloud in the dream who the warmth is, and begins to say it's "Mar..." before he wakes up and see Rosette looking down at him—who could tell he was having a nightmare and moved his head onto her lap.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Gohan has a nightmare where Goku returns from his adventures in space only to morph into Frieza, who calls Goku a loser. Gohan briefly grapples with him, then finds that he is crushing the hand of his Sadist Teacher, who had indeed called Goku a loser.
    • Goku has a nightmare where Androids 17 and 18 slaughter his friends with him helpless. He gets impaled in the chest, which is really the pain from the heart virus he's suffering from.
  • Ergo Proxy Vincent Law's dream of Proxy One since he left Mosk until it was replaced by a ten day mind fuck.
  • Fruits Basket: Akito has a flashback dream where she asks Shigure if he loves her. After Shigure responds, gives her a flower and kisses her, he says her name, at which point so does Kureno, causing Akito to wake up in the car.
  • The Girl Who Leapt Through Time: The opening scene displays Makoto playing baseball with her friends, when she hears a voice calling her and an alarm clock falls on her head. Then she wakes up.
  • In the second episode of Love, Chunibyo & Other Delusions!, Rikka woke Yuuta up by spraying water on him.
  • An Eye Catch in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's featured a scene of Nanoha happily munching on a boiled yam, which then cut to a sleeping Nanoha biting into a now very distressed Yuuno.
  • The second chapter of Negima! Magister Negi Magi began with Takamachi declaring to Asuna that he loves her and pulling her in for a kiss. Naturally, this turned out to be a dream, and Asuna found herself kissing a Negi that had crawled into her bed when she woke up.
  • Chapter 32 of Poor Poor Lips begins with Nako dreaming about lots of meat buns. When she tries to bite into one though, it turns out that they were firmer than expected. Then she wakes up and realizes that she was biting Ren's breasts.
  • Akane from Ranma ½ was trapped in a sleeping curse. In her dream, she saw a mosquito and started trying to swat it down... In reality, Ranma had lit a mosquito repellent beside her in order to free her from the curse.
  • Speed Racer Spritle is about to kiss his dream girl in his fantasy only to wake up, and find out he's kissing his monkey Chim Chim.
  • SSSS.GRIDMAN: In Episode 9, Yuta summoning Gridman to beat up the Monster of the Week in the dream world corresponds to the Kaiju becoming susceptible to physical damage in the waking world.
  • A chapter of To Love Ru Darkness start with Rito having a Marshmallow Dream of eating and licking some giant candy until he awakenes and discovers Lala naked in his bed completely helpless due to Rito's actions.
  • In an episode of Yattodetaman, a Time Bokan show, Julie Kokematsu the thin man of the Terrible Trio is dreaming of being a famous race car driver with two girls kissing him, he wakes up, and realizes he crashed his vehicle into a pig pen, with two pigs licking him.

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: Black and White: "Snow Job" ends with Batman in a passionate clinch with a beautiful long-haired woman. Then he complains that he's having trouble kissing her because her hair's getting in his mouth... and then he wakes up, and he's at home in bed being licked awake by his dog.
  • In Supergirl Vol 5 issue #22, Kara dreams that she's surrounded by her friends of the Legion of Super-Heroes. Then they gradually turn into stone. Kara wakes up and notices she is buried in the rocky ground after a villain dropped a train on her.
  • In Violine, some of Violine's dreams segue into what is happening around her, like an alarm clock replacing the beating of a drum.
  • In The Life and Times of Scrooge McDuck: The Dream of a Lifetime, Scrooge is subjected to a device that allows others to enter his dreams by the Beagle Boys. When Donald follows to make sure they're properly ejected, the nephews stay outside and influence the dream by making sounds and gently prodding the sleeping Scrooge.

    Comic Strips 
  • Little Nemo: This was a fairly common element in Every Episode Ending. For instance, his dreams might have him falling at the end only for him to wake up having fallen out of bed.
  • The Far Side has one where a guy is dreaming about being hugged but he's actually being smothered by a huge snake. He probably wouldn't actually wake up...
  • Crabgrass: In this comic, Miles reunites with his Love Interest Carla, who admits she wants to tell him something. Then suddenly she starts talking about something called The Ginko Blade tm. Turns out the whole thing was a dream Miles had after falling asleep in front of the TV, which is now playing an infomercial for said item.

    Fan Works 
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf mini-story "Lazy's Birthday Dream", Lazy dreams that he is having a beer-and-weed (read: sarsaparilla ale and smurfnip) birthday party with his fellow Smurfs when he hears his name constantly called out to him, which turn out to be his friends waking him up for his (real) birthday party.
  • In Little Dragon Sirius has a nightmare where he's pounding on the door of a house Harry disappeared into, then wakes to find Remus knocking on his door.
  • In Endgame Hermione dreams that she, Harry and Ron are flying into a storm then wakes to hear one outside the tent.
  • In Harry Potter and the Golden Ring Karen dreams that she, Barda and Harry are standing atop the Hogwarts astronomy tower waiting to face Voldemort's forces. Harry starts fingering both of them and then an orgasm makes her wake to find him doing it in their bed in real life.
  • In Strange Visitors From Another Century Harry is having a nightmare about facing Voldemort in the graveyard when a wall of water comes crashing down on him and he wakes to find that Ron dumped water on him to bring him out of it.
  • Basilisk Eyes:
    Harry woke to a gentle bell sounding in the room. For a moment, he wasn't sure where he was. He had been dreaming of riding on a train and the bell he was hearing now had been the bell on the food trolley announcing its progress down the corridor.
  • In Life As He Knows It Snape dreams of being on a rocking boat and wakes to find Harry jumping on the bed.
  • In Sympathetic Properties Harry dreams that Dobby is rapping on a mall window and wakes to find an owl tapping on his bedroom window.
  • In Like a Red-Headed Stepchild Harry dreams that he's kissing Luna and wakes to find Sirius in dog form licking his face.
  • In Nobody Cared Harry dreams that the earth is moving and wakes to find Snape shaking him awake.
  • Lucy's Secret: In the beginning, Lucy dreams she hears a flowing sound. She wakes up to find that she's wet the bed.

    Films — Animation 
  • Alice in Wonderland: Toward the end, when the Queen of Hearts and everyone else is chasing her, Alice shouts at herself through the keyhole of the talking door to wake up. Her voice dissolves into the voice of her older sister trying to wake her.
  • In Anomalisa, Michael's nightmare ends with people knocking on the door and shouting "Michael, Michael" which is what Lisa shouts from her side of the bed when Michael comes to.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's the Legend of the Sun King has Prince Teo being separated from the rest of the gang while on a quest to retrieve his kidnapped Love Interest, Kuku. Passing out in the Mayana jungles, Teo unexpectedly sees Kuku beckoning him awake, but when he tries conversing with her Kuku replies by squeaking. Then Teo gets awakened by Poporu, his trusty pet Jerboa.
  • During the "Sorcerer's Apprentice" segment of Fantasia, after training the broom to take water to the cauldron, Mickey falls asleep and dreams he's a powerful sorcerer who's able to control the storms and the tides. His dream ends with the tides crashing around him...right before he falls out of his chair and discovers that the broom had overfilled the cauldron to the point that the castle was flooded.
  • Kung Fu Panda: The opening sequence is revealed as a dream when Monkey and Tigress of the Furious Five start telling Po that he'll be late for work in his father's voice.
  • Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted has a dream sequence where Alex has a nightmare about him and his friends being stranded in Africa and becoming elderly. Then the elderly Alex that he sees in the mirror starts shaking up, because Marty was shaking him awake.
  • Ratatouille: Linguini has an anxiety-fueled dream where he's a waiter serving Anton Ego, who announces that he wants Linguini's heart "roasted on a spit" to eat. An extremely loud heart-beat sound begins playing as Linguini reacts in horror and Ego cackles evilly... which then fades into Colette knocking on the door, startling him awake.
  • Implied in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron. Spirit investigates the humans who have begun moving in on his territory, including ending up muzzle to nose with one. The sleeping human calls him "babe" and tries to kiss him, much to the disgust of his two, already-awake companions and Spirit himself.
  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie starts with SpongeBob dreaming that he is manager of the Krusty Krab. As the crowd cheers him, they suddenly start sounding like his alarm clock.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In The Mask, Stanley is having a (PG-13-rated) Erotic Dream of Tina. Tina starts licking his ear aggressively, and Stanley awakens to find his dog Milo licking him.
  • In Bruce Almighty, Bruce is having another conversation with God when God abruptly pokes him painfully in the chest. The next scene has Bruce being defibrillated back to life by the paramedics.
  • From surrounded by lovely ladies, to playful biting, to waking up and getting half-eaten by vultures in Shanghai Noon.
  • In Shanghai Knights, the main character dreams of the girl he likes making out with him, then wakes up surrounded by sheep.
  • Near the start of The Matrix, in the club, the music turns into an alarm clock sound before Neo wakes up. The implications of this are left up to the viewer.
  • In The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, Aragorn and Arwen kiss, and he wakes up to his horse nuzzling him awake.
  • In Ali G Indahouse, Ali G dreams he is being, um, orally pleasured by a pair of prostitutes only to awake and discover his dog licking him in a rather intimate place.
  • In Old School, Will Ferrell's character, in the midst of drowning, is dreaming of making out with his wife, which turns into him giving the tongue to a hirsute Sean William Scott trying to resuscitate him.
  • In Dumb and Dumber, a character falls asleep while driving. The headlights of an oncoming truck cause a breast-related non-sequitur that ruins his Erotic Dream, and wakes him up Just in Time.
  • Dune (2021): During one of Paul's dreams about Chani, he hears her calling his name. The scene then cuts to his bedside where we see Jessica calling him.
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure: Pee-Wee easily wins the Tour de France in his big coaster bike, in his gray suit — a crowd is gathered to watch him get crowned, an alarm bell sounds, everyone runs off, he stands there waiting, eyes shut, giddy with anticipation — then wakes up to the sound of his alarm clock.
  • Similar to the Mask example above, in Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle, Harold falls unconscious and dreams of his love interest licking his cheek. Instead of an animal, he awakens to find Kumar licking him because Kumar "thought doing some gay shit might wake him up."
  • Inception has a wild variation of this; in any dream level above the one any of the characters are currently in, things that happen to their body affect various things in the dream level below. It goes all out, too; areas flood/experience severe rainstorms when characters get wet, the rules of gravity start changing, and one character even starts dying of a punctured lung from a gunshot wound he endured one dream level up. They even use specially tailored sedatives to allow specific sensations to penetrate between levels of the dreams.
  • In the first act of Girl, Interrupted, the main character has just checked into a psychiatric hospital. Her flashback daydreams are routinely interrupted by a nurse's "checks".
  • Mr. Nobody uses these as transitions between Nemo's stages of life.
  • In All Monsters Attack, Ichiro is wrapped up by the vines of a Man-Eating Plant, then he wakes up to find he's being kidnapped.
  • In Living in Oblivion, the sound of Nick's alarm clock creeps into his dream and eventually makes it come to an end.
  • In Jurassic Park III, Alan falls asleep on the plane to Isla Sorna and has a bizarre nightmare where a Velociraptor is in the seat next to him, and it calls out his name. He jolts awake next to one of the guys trying to wake him.
  • Black Crab: Caroline is a soldier who keeps dreaming of the last day she saw her daughter. In one dream, she's washing her daughter's hair when their city is bombed by enemy planes; she then wakes up to find their base is being shelled by the enemy. In another dream her daughter warns of approaching enemy soldiers, and she wakes up to find an enemy patrol about to attack them.

  • Harry Potter:
    • In Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, Harry dreams he is in a zoo with a sign that says "Underage Wizard," with the Dursleys shaking the bars of his cage. He awakens to Ron shaking the bars on his window to get his attention.
    • In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, Harry dreams that a mermaid is poking him in the side with a broomstick, then wakes to find that Dobby is poking him in an effort to wake him.
  • In Village of the Vampire Cat, Matsuzo dreams about cats because he was hearing the villain speak through mutilated vocal chords.
  • Discworld:
    • Shows up in Going Postal. After a visit to Posthumous Professor Goitre, who's just a spirit kept in a bottle:
      Moist dreamed of bottled wizards, all shouting his name. In the best traditions of waking from a nightmare, the voices gradually became one voice, which turned out to be the voice of Mr. Pump, who was shaking him.
    • In Feet of Clay, Vimes dreams of golems, with their feet pounding a constant beat, which is revealed to be Carrot knocking at his door.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Albeit with some difficulty, Greg is able to sleep through a beeping alarm clock. That's why he prefers relying on Dad to wake him up every morning.
  • Presumed Dead by Rick Kennett. The protagonist dreams of attending a lecture on the Starfish Aliens she's fighting. It's a surreal dream with the alien being confused with the Jabberwock, but after the class is asked to mimic the humming sound the 'Jabberwock' makes, she wakes up to hear the same sound heading towards her in the darkness.
  • In the Bernie Rhodenbarr book The Burglar Who Studied Spinoza:
    The alarm cut right into a dream. I don't recall what the dream was about, but it very likely concerned illegal entry of some sort or another because my mind promptly incorporated the wail of the clock into the dream, where it became a burglar alarm. I did a lot of fumbling for the off-switch in the dream before I tore myself free of it and fumbled for the actual clock, which had just about run down of its own accord by the time I got my hands on it.
  • In The Outside, Yasira dreams about being attacked by spikes of color coming from her monitoring device, which keeps making pinging noises. She wakes up to find that Elu is trying to message her.
  • In the beginning of Liv in the Future, Liv’s secret agent/spy dream takes a turn for the surreal when a giant blue pufferfish starts singing an 80’s pop song shortly before she wakes up. The music turns out to be the ringtone she assigned to her best friend.
  • Justified in Flashman and the Mountain of Light when Flashman falls into an exhausted sleep until he wakes up after being shot through the hand and realises the battle he's dreaming about is actually happening. Turns out a fellow officer had roused Flashman so he could be evacuated, but he was still only half-conscious and kept slipping in and out of sleep.
  • Watership Down. Fiver is having one of his prophetic dreams that ends up with a human hitting him on the head. He wakes up to find dirt from the roof of the burrow he's sleeping in has collapsed on top of him.
  • Otto of the Silver Hand: As Otto sleeps at Castle Drachenhausen, he dreams he's back at the monastery where he spent most of his childhood. He hears the convent bell ringing and loud voices and thinks there are visitors. He wakes up to hear the alarm bell ringing and everyone shouting as a party of Roderburgs raids the castle.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In My Name Is Earl, Earl goes into a coma after being hit by a car and his subconscious takes him into a '50s Sitcom-like Happy Place. Events that happen to the unconscious Earl affect the world inside Earl's mind: for example, Catalina reading gossip magazines to Earl results in random appearances by Paris Hilton.
  • Lost has used the "someone saying the character's name" trick to pull characters out of both dreams and flashbacks. Once Hurley appeared dressed as John the Baptist in Charlie's religious dream, because Hurley was actually speaking to Charlie outside the dream.
  • The final episode of The Brittas Empire gets stranger and stranger as it goes on, concluding with Gordon Brittas waking up on an ark that Colin the janitor has been secretly building in the car park of the leisure center. After a moment, he's jolted out of the dream by Colin repeatedly calling "Tickets, please" and realizes that he's been asleep on a train... also that Colin is in fact the conductor, he's on his way to the interview for the job he's had throughout the series, and the entire fifty-odd episodes of the program have been a dream.
  • The Christmas special of Father Ted: In his dream, Ted is romancing Assumpta from Ballykissangel when Dougal wakes him up to ask him if he wants a peanut. Ted goes back to sleep, only to dream about being chased by giant mutant peanuts instead.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan: In the opening dream sequence of episode 12, Alan notices something smells off when he kisses Pipin's hands and it turns out that he is kissing Prima's feet in real life, making him wake up.
  • In one episode of NCIS Special Agent Caitlin Todd awakes at her desk to see both her co-workers still asleep at their work stations, then turns to see her boss sat at his, only... he's covered in blood and has severe lacerations to his neck. She then turns around to find the terrorist Ari standing right behind her. She promptly freaks out and immediately awakens to find she was still dozing in her chair.
  • Dream incorporation (mostly of the accidental-peeing variety) is the topic of a conversational tangent in the sixth-series QI episode "Fingers and Fumbs." "You were briefly an Arthurian knight, but now you really desperately need to go to the bathroom."
  • Happened to Chumlee in Pawn Stars when dreaming of winning a million dollars in Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?. Meredith repeatably says "wake up" and transitions to the Old Man waking Chum up for sleeping on the job.
  • In Blackadder III, the episode "Ink and Incapability" features a sequence where Edmund, after falling asleep trying to rewrite Doctor Johnson's dictionary in one night, is told by the dictionary author that it's all right - it's not necessary to worry about it. He realizes he is dreaming when Edmund turns round and sees his auntie has turned up and Baldrick now has the head of an Alsatian.
  • At the beginning of The Young Ones episode "Time", Neil dreams that he is the head of a Texas oil company, giving away oil wells tax-free and randomly throwing money out of his office window. Church bells begin to ring outside, ostensibly in celebration of Neil’s business practices, and Neil, Bobby (okay, Rick) and Neil’s Sexy Secretary jump for joy. Suddenly, Vyvyan is heard off-camera screaming "SHUT UP, YOU BASTARDS!!" Neil awakens to hear the Sunday bells ringing outside, and Vyvyan yelling out the open window for them to stop. "Oh, no."
  • In Smallville, Clark finds himself in a mental institution, the whole "I'm actually an alien hero" thing being a hallucination. Everyone he ever knew along his journey were other patients and doctors who didn't particularly resemble his friends, family, and foes beyond the names. All he has to do is ignore that crazy "John" guy who's afraid of fire who keeps telling him that it's real and the hospital is the fiction and submit to this new treatment that will probably cure him. But what's this strange sound that keeps repeating? It turns out that a disembodied Phantom Zone criminal wanting to make him its host needs him to submit. The Martian Manhunter is trying to help him stay tuned into reality. The sound? A distorted version of Clark's dog barking at the commotion.
  • Supernatural. Sam is having an Erotic Dream about Bella. As she's moaning "Sam, Sam, Sam!" we Smash Cut to Dean yelling, "Sam! Wake up!" Moments later Bella enters the room and acts out the first part of the dream (but unfortunately for Sam, not the later seduction).
  • Played for Horror in Angel. At the start of Season 4, Angel is having happy dreams where he's enjoying good times with his son or confessing his love for Cordelia, only to go insane and feed on their blood as he's starving in a metal coffin on the bottom of the ocean.
  • Rome. Lucius Vorenus is having a dream of being in bed with his wife Niobe, long since dead, when she suddenly starts a tirade in a foreign language. Vorenus then wakes up in the bed of an Egyptian prostitute, berating him for stealing the blanket by tossing and turning from his nightmares.
  • Forever Knight: In "The Human Factor", Nick has a dream that Natalie has discovered a cure for his vampirism and they're going to have a baby, when Da Chief interrupts telling Nick to get to the scene of a homicide. Nick then wakes up to find Da Chief talking from his speakerphone.
  • The Sandman (2022): In "Playing House", Jed is dreaming he's a superhero who is attacked by a Swarm of Rats, whereupon he wakes up to find a rat biting his hand in the basement he's been locked in by his abusive foster father.

  • In "Lekker Lekker (Ga Maar Met Me Mee)"—Ome Henk's Dutch parody of "Dragostea Din Tei"—Henk's character's dream of a gorgeous woman whispering screaming in his ear turns out to be his cellmate yelling at him.

  • Within the Wires: Cliodhna is woken out of oversleeping by dream-Grainne asking her, "Are you dead?" which is what the real-life Grainne is shouting up the stairs at her.

    Puppet Shows 

    Video Games 
  • This is the main method of transition between Wonderland and London in Alice: Madness Returns, though they're not so much dreams as self-aware delusions.
  • ANNO: Mutationem: In the introduction, Ann has a Catapult Nightmare when seeing a memory of her past where she is in a snow-filled town with a loud banging sound growing louder as she looks around before suddenly being taken to an eldritch area, then wakes up and sees a delivery man was knocking on her door.
  • After getting into a car crash early on, John Tanner is hospitalized and comatose during the majority of Driver: San Francisco. Various plot developments are triggered by him hearing about them on the TV playing the news in his hospital room. Additionally, when you shift into some taxis, the passenger's voice will be that of a nurse examining him and giving him a diagnosis, especially in conjunction with specific events occurring in-game. Getting into a crash, for example, might lead to her mentioning things like thoracic trauma.
  • In Hollow Knight, at the end of a certain dream sequence, you arrive at a platform with a giant, cartoony moth head looming in the background. The protagonist then wakes up, being tended to by an actual mothnote .
  • No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle: In the part where you play as Henry, he gets into a bizarre stage where he fights an anime girl named Mimmy who welds a mini mech. After the battle, he wakes up and finds Travis watching one of his animes, suggesting the whole encounter was influenced from the noise of the show.
  • During the ending of Sanitarium, two sequences quickly alternate with each other. In one, Max must free his arm from a shadow tendril before a monster reaches him; in the other, he must remove an IV tube from his arm before a poison enters his veins and kills him in real life. In both cases, he manages to avoid the threat.
  • Without Within: Vinty wakes up when the fans in her dreams begin repeatedly calling her "Miss Vinty" - it's actually her Cranky Landlord nagging about the rent.

    Web Comics 

    Web Videos 
  • 5 Second Films: In the video "And The Winner Is...", Michael Rousselet dreams that he wins the Academy Award, only to be dumbfounded when he's handed a golden steering wheel. Then it's shown that he fell asleep behind the wheel before crashing his car.
  • A fan-made flash animated Code Lyoko short, Jeremie dreams of being on Lyoko saving Aelita, almost having a kiss when Odd interrupts the dream, saying he was going to be late for class. It makes the genius grumble "Why do I always get interrupted when it was just getting good?"

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • "The Dream": While Gumball and Darwin attempt to meld their dreams together, they both walk through a metal detector, which goes off. Darwin quickly suspects it's the alarm clock in real life. Cut to Gumball and Darwin, still asleep, the alarm going off, and Gumball attempting to hit the alarm next to him.
    • "The Nest": After the Wattersons' neighbor is suddenly attacked and taken away, Gumball recounts the following dream incorporating events from that night, including a car alarm:
      Gumball: I had a really weird dream last night. I asked Penny to marry me and she said, "AH! OH MAN! OH NO! HELP ME! NO! AH! AGHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! Wee-oo wee-oo wee-oo wee-oo wee-oo wee-" I took it as a 'yes.'
    • "The Night": During Nicole's dream of relaxing at a beach, she gets interrupted by a foghorn, strong wind currents, the world tilting around her, and a giant wave that casts her underwater, which are depicted in the real world as her husband Richard snoring on her face, bending over the bed and rolling on top of her.
  • In the American Dad! episode "Return of the Bling", Stan has a vision of c. 1980 Ronald Reagan who tells him he must push forward with his goal for the episode, then offers him a hot dog. Reagan starts hitting him in the face with it—turns out it was the end of a rubber hose that a drunk girl was trying to use to feed him alcohol.
    Stan: There better not be a wiener slapping me in the face when I wake up.
  • A little different, but... in The Boondocks episode "Ballin'", Riley's dream of being an NBA superstar is hijacked by Granddad, who appears as his manager. The dream quickly degenerates into them arguing over whose dream it is.
  • Classic Disney Shorts:
    • In The Mad Doctor Mickey is Strapped to an Operating Table with a buzzsaw slowly being lowered toward his stomach. The scene then dissolves to Mickey in bed, with a mosquito flying overhead and stinging him awake at the exact moment he gets "cut open".
    • In Mickey's Garden, Mickey gets hit with a shot of poisonous bug spray and hallucinates that he's in a gigantic garden filled with life-sized bugs. Towards the end, Mickey wrestles with a snake that suddenly starts to spray water on him, before fading to reveal he's actually tangled in a garden hose.
    • In Pluto's Judgement Day, Pluto dreams that of being tried for his crimes against cats and sentenced to the "hot seat". As Pluto is lowered into a bonfire, the scene fades to him sleeping by the fireplace, and an ember pops out and hits him in the rear right at the "drop".
  • In the Dan Vs. episode "The Wolf-Man," Dan dreams that he's about kiss a supermodel, but she suddenly turns into a screaming monster. The "screaming" is actually his alarm clock ringing.
  • On Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines, this happens all the time to Muttley in the Magnificent Muttley shorts.
  • DuckTales (2017): In "The Outlaw Scrooge McDuck", Johnny from Ottoman Empire appears out of nowhere after Scrooge and Goldie are imprisoned. The scene immediately cuts to Louie recording the show so he can watch it later, much to Scrooge's consternation.
  • One episode of Fantastic Four: The Animated Series does this in a manner referencing The Mask, where Human Torch has a dream about dating Crystal, only for her to start licking him in his dream because her giant dog Lockjaw was actually licking him awake in reality.
  • In the Futurama episode "The Sting", Leela's fevered coma dream gets crazier and crazier as Fry continually wakes her from her Dream Within a Dream. When she finally awakens for real, she finds he's been sitting by her bed for two weeks begging her to wake up.
  • Johnny Bravo: "A Gel For Johnny" involves Johnny searching the entire town for a replacement for his favorite brand of hair gel. The episode gets weirder and weirder, until he finally reaches an oasis with giant hair gel bottles and bikini girls. While he's having his hair treated, one of the girls suddenly starts rambling like a radio host, prompting Johnny to suddenly wake up and find out that the entire episode was just a dream. But the main problem still stands: He's out of hair gel.
  • The Legend of Vox Machina: In Season 2, Scanlan is knocked out during the battle with Umbrasyl, and then dreams of being Happily Married, telling stories to his grandchildren until they turn into Vax yelling at him to wake up.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • In "The Great Piggy Bank Robbery", Daffy finds his piggy bank and starts kissing it, then wakes up to find he's kissing a real pig, who kisses him back.
    • In Porky's Hero Agency, Porky dreams of being a hero-for-hire in Ancient Greece. Near the end of the cartoon, Porky is corned by the Gorgon, who tries to force him to open his eyes so she can petrify him. It then fades to Porky's mother waking him up in the morning.
  • In an episode of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, Flapjack has a dream in which he's cheered by a group of sailors for successfully dredging up a small treasure chest. The sailors start chanting his name, and Flapjack awakens to Captain K'nuckles shouting for him.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "May The Best Pet Win", while flying across the skies, Rainbow Dash sees Owlowiscious (Twilight Sparkle's owl) and they fly together... until its head then turns to Winona's (Applejack's dog), then Angel's (Fluttershy's bunny), then its body turns to Gummy's (Pinkie Pie's alligator). And then its tongue becomes Opalescence (Rarity's cat), causing her to fall. And promptly wake up. Turns out her freaky dream was a result of the rest of the mane cast's pets being noisy around her tree. But one would wonder how Gummy and Angel even make noises that would get her to think of them subconsciously.
  • In The Replacements episode "Serf's Up", Todd has a dream where he's a peasant and Riley is a cruel and spoiled princess. At the end, Princess Riley shakes Todd, saying his name over and over again. Of course, this is because the real Riley is shaking him awake.
  • Rocket Power opened the episode "Mr. B Is In the House" with this; it starts with Otto riding a literal rocket-powered skateboard through the desert, but just as he's making a big jump between two cliffs, a radio deejay suddenly says from out of nowhere "Good morning, Ocean Shores!", causing Otto to fall between the cliffs ala Wile E. Coyote as the deejay continues yakking on. Just as he hits the ground, Otto wakes up in his room in a Catapult Nightmare fashion as the deejay says that it's the first day of school in Ocean Shores.
  • Rocko's Modern Life:
    • At the beginning of "I See London, I See France", Rocko is dreaming of a romantic dinner with a French lady wallaby, who leans in to say something to him... in Heffer's voice. Cue Rocko waking up as their airplane is landing at the Paris airport.
    • In the episode, "Bedfellows", when Heffer is staying at Rocko's for a couple of days, he winds up hogging Rocko's bed and snoring loudly. Rocko can't get any sleep and tries to use a cattle prod on him to wake him up. It doesn't work. The next day, Heffer comments how he had a dream that electric eels were biting his butt.
  • The Simpsons hangs a lampshade on it in "Duffless", when Bart dreams of winning the science fair:
    Principal Skinner: This is the best entry at the Science Fair! First prize, first prize, first prize, first prize...
    [Bart wakes up]
    Lisa: First prize, first prize, first prize!
    Bart: Why are you saying that?
    Lisa: Just screwing with your mind. Heheheh.
    • Played straight in "Barting Over," when Lisa dreams of being at the Kennedy Center Honors, only for Marge's vacuuming (as it's spring cleaning) to wake her up, complete with a Match Cut from Lisa's reaction to the vacuuming sound in her dream to her lying awake in bed with the same expression.
    • Also played humorously straight in "Yokel Chords," when Marge has a romantic dream of riding a horse with James Patterson (voicing himself in a guest appearance), and just as James is saying "Marge, the real mystery is why we're still talking when I could be kissing your...", he suddenly makes the noise of an alarm clock ringing as his eyes and tongue rapidly wiggle from side to side, to which Marge then wakes up to her alarm clock going off.
    • Similar to before in "Lisa's Rival" Marge has a romantic fantasy of a sailor after reading an erotic novel but when she and the sailor are about to kiss he hears the sound of Lisa's saxophone and complains that he's not in the mood anymore Marge tells Lisa "Stop blowing my sex... your sax... Stop blowing your sax!"
    • In "Skinner's Sense of Snow" Homer and Ned Flanders are stuck in a car filling with gas fumes, Homer passes out and dreams he's an ancient Arabian Sultan, in his dream a camel begins nudging him and making a noise that sounds vaguely like his name this turns into Ned trying to wake him up.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants
    • In "Dying For Pie", the episode opens with an Imagine Spot of Squidward on an island playing tropical music on a piano when he's interrupted by SpongeBob ringing a bell yelling "Order up, Squidward!", which resulted from his ringing alarm clock.
    • In "Penny Foolish", Mr. Krabs is grocery shopping when he looks out the window and sees SpongeBob picking a penny off the sidewalk. While on line to pay, Krabs can't stop thinking about that penny and recalls the image of SpongeBob picking it up until he starts saying "Sir? Sir?", before cutting to the cashier shouting "Sir, you're holding up the line!".
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: "Red Belt" opens with Marco having a nightmare, which ends with Star calling out his name. Marco awakens to find Star peeking through a portal into his bedroom, trying to wake him up.
  • A Thousand and One... Americas: In some of the episodes, this is how Chris wakes up from whatever he's dreaming of. Something happens in the dream (for example, in one case he smells the smoke of a Peace Pipe, and in another he's seeing a huge sea wave coming at him), and then wakes up and confuses an ongoing event from the real world with that of the dream (respectively, the smell actually comes from the pie his mother is baking, and the water sound comes from the bathroom where his mother is filling up the bathtub). In most cases, it makes Chris believe he's still dreaming even after having woken up (much to the laugh of his brother).
  • In the pilot episode of Villainous, Dr. Flug has a dream of Black Hat congratulating him for defeating a superhero, only to suddenly start bobbing his head up and down, chanting "MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY!" which turns out to be Flug's quirky airplane alarm clock.
  • In the We Bare Bears short "Dreamium", Panda tries to drown out the noise of his brothers playing video games with a downloadable "soothing sounds" app. Unfortunately, the noises provided (rain, the ocean, and whirring fans) keep giving Panda crazy nightmares.
  • Winston's Potty Chair has three instances of this:
    • The first one occurs at the beginning, where Winston dreams that he gets splashed by a wave at the beach. His mom then wakes him up, and they find that he wet his diaper.
    • The second one occurs when Winston wears his potty chair as a hat and imagines that he's the chief of a tribe. When his older brother, Tony tells him that his potty is not a hat, Winston imagines one of the tribesmen saying the words in Tony's voice.
    • The third one happens when Winston imagines that he's in a prehistoric forest while reading a book about dinosaurs. Winston imagines himself falling into a puddle, and then he finds out from his father that he wet his pants.

    Real Life 
  • That Other Wiki says this is called "dream incorporation".
  • Ah, the good old falling dream. You know, the one where you're falling and wake up on the floor.
  • Anyone who has ever fallen asleep with the TV or radio on can attest to it affecting their dreams in strange ways. Waking up to a clock radio can also have this effect, adding Awesome Music to your dream as it fades if you're lucky.


Video Example(s):


Nicole's Dream

Nicole's dream of relaxing at a beach keeps getting interrupted by Richard snoring on her face and tilting the bed; all of which are depicted in her dream world as loud foghorns, strong wind currents and crashing waves.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / CrashingDreams

Media sources: