Follow TV Tropes


Dream Sue

Go To
I dreamed Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bruce Springsteen were writing a musical based on my life.
So they flew me to Texas to watch me give quarterback lessons to a young Patrick Mahomes.
Then we all went to Whataburger, where I discovered if I ate patty melts left-handed I'd lose weight.
Roger Fox, Foxtrot July 5 2020

A character dreams themself being perfect in every way, to the point that it resembles a Mary Sue Self-Insert fanfic. Often if this fantasy becomes known to others, it's a source of acute embarrassment to the dreamer.

Usually a Fantasy Sequence, sometimes a Dream Sequence.

A Sister Trope to Her Code Name Was "Mary Sue" (where it's written down for all to see). Contrast to Real Dreams are Weirder.

See also Power Fantasy.


    open/close all folders 

  • The Trix Rabbit had this in one commercial, dreaming of a world where he lorded over those mean and selfish kids who waited on him with his favorite cereal. Unfortunately, he was woken up and brought back to reality by those same kids. "A rabbit can dream, can't he?" he blissfully says.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • Tomo is a Jerkass Genki Girl, overshadowed in class by Chiyo and in gym by Sakaki. One episode focuses on her dreaming of herself as extremely popular, beating Chiyo and Sakaki in their specialties, and becoming the hero of the town.
    • In another episode she imagines what she would be like if she had Sakaki's athleticism and Chiyo's smarts. Of course, Osaka interjects and asks Tomo to take her forgetfulness as well. In the following Fantasy Sequence, she enters the classroom, answers Yukari's question correctly, apologizes for being late, and then leaps across the classroom to her seat.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex. Gino, the protagonist of "Night Cruise", imagines himself as a steely-eyed assassin ready to kill and die for his philosophy, but in real life he finds himself unable to perform with a prostitute, then gets beaten up by her pimp who steals his money and pistol, making Gino beg for his life. At the end of the episode, Kusanagi decides that he'll never act on his fantasies.
  • Early on in Naruto, the titular character imagined himself as a smug Marty Stu who always has to bail Sasuke out of trouble and save the day while winning Sakura's love.
  • Usopp in One Piece sees his alter-ego Sogeking as the courageous warrior and hero he couldn't be. In Ussop's mind, Sogeking even has his own choreographed opening theme song... but to anyone else in reality (except Luffy and Chopper), Usopp is just spacing out while singing badly.
  • Ouran High School Host Club:
    • Tamaki views himself as the one man who can charm anyone. This sorta works on half of the student body, since their rich stereotypes, but doesn't work on the normal (or "poor"). He often has fantasies with himself charming Haruhi and winning her love. This dream is unique as it not only shows Tamaki as a Dream Sue, but Haruhi as a ditz, laughing "Tee hee" as she wears a dress (despite having to pose as a boy), letting Tamaki twirl her around, stopping only to eat fatty tuna. The other members have given this fake Haruhi the nickname of "Dream-Haruhi".
    • Played for laughs when a new transfer student who looks a lot like Haruhi transfers, and happened to be both a genius, an airhead, and head-over-the-heels in love with Tamaki.
  • Shiratori in Yandere Kanojo is like this, and he normally would be right, if he wasn't in a Gag Series. As it is, he's the Butt-Monkey and Unknown Rival.

    Comic Books 
  • Gaston Lagaffe: Lagaffe falls asleep listening to the sports results, and in his dream sees himself punching out a boxer, get simultaneously tackled by an entire rugby team and still scoring, etc.
  • Invisible Emmie: The last chapter reveals that Katie is a creation of Emmie, to serve as the popular, pretty, skilled girl Emmie wishes she was. She starts to go quiet as Emmie speaks up to others, and fades away completely when Emmie lets her go after confessing who she is to her best friend, Brianna.
  • There's a strange variation of this in Lucy Dreaming. Lucy keeps entering dreams where she turns into a random badass action hero. However, it's the character she turns into who's a badass, not Lucy herself. So Lucy ends up terrified in situations that she's not sure how to handle, but manages to handle them anyway, to her own surprise.
  • The Spider-Man one issue story "The Daydreamers" had four members of the main cast daydreaming themselves as Dream Sues. First, Felicia dreamed about being a super-spy as the Black Cat with Spidey (who was Cary Grant under his mask). Then J. Jonah Jameson dreams of beating up Spidey and humiliating him in public, the city regarding Jonah a hero. Then Mary Jane dreams of being an A-List supermodel and movie star, her biography being portrayed on Broadway (eventually snapping back to reality when her sister appears in it, asking for help). Spidey himself imagines himself defeating a whole army of super-villains in his heroic identity and developing a miracle cure for every illness in the world as Peter, with both the Avengers and Fantastic Four begging for him to join him, although the dream turns sour when he's reminded of his past. (The story ends on a somewhat high note when he wakes up and helps a kid who admires him by scaring away some bullies.)

    Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin is a Mr. Imagination who has lots of Dream Sues, the most well-known recurring ones being Stupendous Man, Spaceman Spiff, and Tracer Bullet. Subverted with the fact that they always end up winning "Moral Victories" since the foes they go up against (Calvin's Mom, Ms. Wormwood, Rosaline) are people who have far more power and authority than Calvin.
  • Foxtrot:
    • Pretty much every member of the Fox family has had a dream like this at some point. This is one such example; Roger dreams about having a musical written about his life by Lin-Manuel Miranda and Bruce Springsteen, giving quarterback lessons to a young Patrick Mahomes, and learning that he'll lose weight if he eats left-handed (the punchline being that he and Andy decide that her dream about having a civilized and informed political discussion on Facebook was the crazier dream of the two).
    • One arc played around with this: Jason had a dream where Lara Croft was all over him, which would normally qualify...except one of Jason's defining features is his hatred of girls, so he spends the night running from her. The end of the arc implies that his older brother Peter has been trying to have this dream for quite some time.
  • In Peanuts, Snoopy's favorite Imagine Spot is where he's the heroic World War I Flying Ace. Subverted however, as he's always shot down by his foe the Red Baron. Most of his other imaginary personas are "the world famous" something or other (parodied in one strip where he admits "Actually, there aren't more than a dozen world famous grocery clerks"), although again, there's often a Fantasy Twist where he's not as good at it as he claims (his "world famous lawyer" never knows whether he's prosecution or defence until after the trial). Even Joe Cool, Snoopy's idea of what the coolest guy ever would be like, is a dateless loser who admits to being "scared to death of chicks."

    Fan Fiction 

    Film — Animated 
  • The opening scene of Kung Fu Panda portrays a legendary kung-fu warrior who can make his enemies blind just by his pure awesomeness. Then a voice that's later revealed to belong to Po's (adopted) dad tells him to wake up, and we cut to Po falling out of his bed in surprise.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Ralph from A Christmas Story often imagines himself as a genius whenever nervous or angry. These include being a boy who charms his teacher without even trying, or a child star who loathes his parents for cleaning his "dirty mouth" with soap after he let slip the Atomic F-Bomb.
  • In Daredreamer, Winston and Jennie's dream selves are idealized versions of themselves, with Winston as a huge rock star and Jennie as a bestselling novelist and career woman.
  • John Brown has one at the beginning of Inspector Gadget (1999).
  • Probably the most charitable interpretation of North. Since it ends with the title character waking up, it's not too hard to blame his Black Hole Sue status and the film's numerous offensive stereotypes on him.
  • In a more depressing example, the titular character from the novel-based movie, Precious, often escapes her cruel reality by imagining herself as things she believes she can never be, such as a successful celebrity loved by everyone, a girl capable of getting a very handsome boyfriend, a beautiful white teenager, or, in the saddest example, a girl who's recognized in her yearbook, with friendly teachers and a loving family. This is a Tear Jerker, as in reality she is often outcast, has to resort to extremes to get what she wants, is morbidly obese, is despised and abused by her mother, and raped and impregnated twice by her father.
  • One of the witnesses in Rashomon. Tajomaru's story has him seduce a man's wife with but a kiss, releases the samurai to let him die honorably, and proceeds to win a duel against him while controlling the fight completely. He also insists he did not fall off the horse he stole which resulted in his arrest, but got a stomachache from what must have been some bad water he drank.
  • Thor: The Dark World: In a deleted scene, Loki, now a prisoner for life fantasizes about being crowned the King of Asgard while holding Mjölnir, with the Asgardians cheering at him. He breaks the illusion only when Frigga asks whether it helps him feel better and warns him against forgetting what is real.
  • In Turning Red, Mei imagines herself as one of these in her Imagine Spot of the 4*Town concert including her getting to not only get up on stage, but be proposed to by Robaire during the concert.
  • In UHF, Weird Al's character has quite a few, including one where he's a bespectacled version of Rambo, in a sequence lampooning how absurdly invincible that character is.
  • In Unfaithfully Yours, everything goes perfectly for Alfred in his daydreams. He successfully kills his wife and frames Tony; he martyrs himself in the name of love in the best Humphrey-Bogart-in-Casablanca fashion; and he manfully dies in a game of Russian Roulette after dramatically confronting the cheaters with their crime. However, reality proves…somewhat different.
    • Certain things work in the fantasy sequences that wouldn't at all in reality. For example, speeding up a phonograph recording of Alfred's own voice is sufficient to make it sound exactly like that of his wife. Though he was never able to make the machine speed up his voice in real life afterward, he wouldn't have sounded like his wife even if he had; he'd have sounded like one of the Chipmunks.

  • Animorphs: When Jake becomes a Controller early on, one way the Yeerk tortures him is by replaying an embarrassing fantasy of Jake's from years prior, where he won the big basketball game with a difficult shot and was then congratulated by his brother (a much better basketball player).
  • In The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, Walter constantly dreams of himself being the best of anything, whether a brilliant fighter plane pilot, or a skilled surgeon, or a noble martyr, as opposed to his real life as a Henpecked Husband.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Boy Meets World episode "Hair Today, Goon Tomorrow," Eric dreams he is the star of an imagined TV crime drama, The Good-Looking Guy, complete with opening sequence and theme song.
    "When a crime breaks out, all the cute girls shout, 'Get the good-looking guy.' (Good-looking guy)"
  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Teacher's Pet" opens with Xander dreaming about saving Buffy from a vampire then impressing her by playing his guitar solo.
  • Samurai Gourmet:
    • In the typical samurai sequence, Kasumi is not literally dreaming about an idealized version of himself. The samurai is played by a younger actor, and they both appear together. Nevertheless, the samurai's purpose is to visualize how Kasumi might handle a given situation if he were as badass as a samurai. You sometimes get a result that's seldom seen: A Dream Sue manifestation actually inspires someone into effective and realistic action.
    • However, in the final episode, Dream Sue is completely subverted. For the first time, the man in the samurai getup is Kasumi himself. Since his adversary is his own wife, he just can't bring himself to take any inspiration from his samurai lore. He concedes that he's "got a long way to go" before he can own that costume.
  • The Sandman (2022). In "Playing House", Jed Walker is introduced as a child superhero, with his mother as Mission Control. He wakes up in the rat-infested basement of his abusive foster parents. His mother is actually a rogue from the Dream world who thinks she's helping him escape his torment, but Morpheus accuses her of trapping the boy in a Lotus-Eater Machine instead of helping him escape it in the Waking World.
  • Smallville: Invoked in "Slumber". Clark Kent finds himself entering the dreams of a comatose girl named Sarah Conroy, where she is constantly terrorized by a monster. When Clark manages to kill it, they both wake up. When they meet for real, Sarah asks how he had superpowers, and he says everybody is super in their dreams.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In the episode "Tinker, Tenor, Doctor, Spy", the Doctor installs a daydreaming subroutine where he imagines himself constantly having to assume command of Voyager as the Emergency Command Hologram, who gets the crew out of situations even more single-handedly and hammily than most real Star Trek captains, and scores with Seven of Nine, Janeway, and B'Elanna. It turns out an alien race monitors these daydreams and thinks they're reality, eventually causing the crew to find out, much to his embarrassment.
    • He also has a holodeck fantasy where he is completely human and is the wise, loved, respected, patriarch of the perfect American family. It takes other crew members to point out how unrealistically Stepford all this is.
  • In the Supernatural episode "Tall Tales" (which is The Rashomon), Dean retells an evening in a bar to Bobby as if he is a romantic Dream Sue, with hints of being a perfect hunter as well. The entire setting is glamorized, and a girl just completely swoons over him and showers him with praise, while he insists that he has to do his "duty" of interviewing her because lives are at stake. Sam, by contrast, is turned into a whiny jerk who simply wants to interrupt Dean and his lover, eventually just descending into whining "Blah, Blah, Blah".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • On GLOW, one of the regular skits involved Mountain Fiji, a very large Samoan woman (she was listed as weighing 350 pounds), asleep and dreaming of herself as a sexy Mae West-type whom men adore and women want to be like.

    Video Games 


    Web Original 
  • Dream SMP: This happens to George during his January 27, 2022 stream, though we don't find out it's a dream until the end. To summarize: in the dream, he killed Dream and Techno in a 2v1 fight, killed several of the server's pets (including Shroud, Steve, Edward, Carl, and a good chunk of Techno's dog army) destroyed a large chunk of the server (killing Quackity, Karl, and Callahan — the last one multiple times — along the way), traveled to a stronghold, killed DreamXD himself, went to the End, and apparently killed the dragon (with the End Crystals being destroyed already to make it easier).
  • The Music Freaks: In Jake’s first song, "My Gaming Life", he day-dreams that he’s invincible.
  • In Red vs. Blue, when Church enters Caboose's mind, he finds that Caboose is only able to hold onto Flanderizations (and really bad ones) of the actual characters (and Tucker is also constantly putting himself down with child-like insults, because Caboose doesn't like him). Caboose's mental avatar is of course wise, skilled, and cool. (and feared by the Reds)

    Western Animation 
  • Batgirl has a dream at the beginning of Batman: The Animated Series where she saves Batman from Two-Face, Penguin, and Joker single-handedly. Just as they're about to make out, Dick Grayson wakes her from her nap.
  • In Danny Phantom, when put into a Lotus-Eater Machine, Danny's dream has him as a talented football player, a straight-A student, and a hero beloved by his entire school who's able to defeat Fright Knight easily. Tucker's dream is of himself being rich, having the attention of two beautiful women, and Danny being his janitor instead of the hero.
  • Muttley, the canine cohort of Dick Dastardly, daydreams of himself as important or heroic figures in the Magnificent Muttley segments of Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines. It subverts his actual villainous role on the series.
  • Dog City: The episode "In Your Dreams" presents a deconstruction of this. Eliot, tired after a long day at work on his cartoon Show Within a Show, falls asleep and dreams about being a character in said show, working alongside Ace. Only instead, he upstages the detective by abusing his power as Dog City's creator, solving the case with ease, and earning the attraction of Chief Rosie (whom Ace himself has a crush on). Unlike in most examples of this trope, Ace's behavior being the same as usual means he doesn't idolize Eliot in the least for his ill-gotten accomplishments, and so his disgust with his creator over the whole thing is completely understandable.
  • In Doug. the titular character has several moments per episode where he seems to break from reality and imagine himself as this perfect kid doing things even most adults can't do, like lead an army despite being 12, solve an impossible equation, and save the world as a superhero who conserves his identity without even trying.
  • DuckTales (2017): "A Nightmare on Killmotor Hill!" shows that both Dewey and Huey have dreams to this effect. The former dreams that he's a highly popular high school basketball player, singer, and dancer (a la Troy Bolton) at a school that is literally all about him; the latter dreams that he's taller than everyone else, believing that this will give him the respect from his siblings that he currently lacks.
  • In the Hey Arnold!, episode "Married", Rhonda, using a folding paper fortune teller, shows that Arnold and Helga are meant to be married. The rest of the episode shows them dreaming about what it would be like. Helga dreams about being Happily Married with Arnold, watching him drop Lila, becoming President, and later saving him from a terrorist who turns out to be Lila. Arnold's dream, however is a whole other trope...
  • In the Justice League episode "Only a Dream", the opening sequence is John Dee single-handedly crushing the League and then being congratulated by the whole of the Legion of Doom (mainly by Lex Luthor, the Joker and Grundy). The sequence ends and it's revealed to have been a dream induced by an experimental machine; Dee in reality is a Mook of Luthor's who went to prison after being caught participating in one of Luthor's schemes. When he later gains dream powers, he decides to make the dream a reality by trapping the Justice League members in their worst nightmares.
  • In the Looney Tunes short "From A to Z-Z-Z-Z", elementary school student Ralph Philips keeps daydreaming in class, and has a lot of Dream Sues, imagining himself as a Pony Express rider fighting his way past hordes of Indians, a deep-sea diver fighting a shark and rescuing a sub, a boxer fighting and KOing a big, muscular opponent, and even as General Douglas MacArthur.
  • In The Looney Tunes Show short The Wizard, Daffy Duck spends 3 days of sleep dreaming that he's the most powerful wizard in the universe.
  • Men in Black: The Series had an episode with an alien parasite Lotus-Eater Machine. One got J, and his dreams made him a Mary Sue.
  • In Mickey Mouse, Goofy dreams he is a terrific athlete.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "A Dog and Pony Show", Rarity is kidnapped, and Spike imagines himself as an unstoppable Knight in Shining Armor who'll Save the Princess (as Rarity is dressed as a Princess Classic in his fantasy).
  • The Pepper Ann theme song features a dream sequence like this, where Pepper dreams she's a superheroine in a Lost World who harmlessly deflects spears thrown at her by angry natives, even catching one and spinning it like a baton— and then her alarm goes off.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Homer Simpson occasionally indulges in this; he imagines or portrays himself as thin, muscular, hairy and witty (as opposed to shamefully intoxicated) when he is recalling past events or throwaway anecdotes of his life.
    • Lisa does this often, which isn't surprising since she practically views herself as the Goddess of education. Most of these involve her doing something normal for a kid (like leading a musical, winning a competition, or being class president), but getting ridiculous amounts of praise.
    • The episode "Throw Grampa From The Dane" sees Lisa have a fantasy about falling in love with and marrying a Danish prince...only for Bart to interrupt with his own fantasy about saving Lisa and the prince from a sniper on their wedding day.
      Lisa: Bart, get out of my fantasy!
      Bart: Aw, geez, I just saved your life. How about a "you're welcome"?
  • In an episode of Stretch Armstrong and the Flex Fighters, Nathan, while under the effects of a villain with Dream Weaver powers, dreams that he saves his teammates from the control of said villain, receives some genuine praise from the team's grumpy mentor, and reveals his secret identity to his crush, who quickly accepts it. There's also Ricardo's dream from later in the episode, in which he's a secret agent allying with the Freak Sisters to save his parents from explosives with The Power of Rock.
  • In one episode of Steven Universe: Future, Steven tries to help Peridot remake Camp Pining Hearts by using his powers to record his strange dreams. The first thing he does is add a new character, a buff adult version of himself named "Stefan" who's very popular and whose friends are always happy to accept his help.


Video Example(s):


Po's dream

Po is an extremely powerful Kung Fu master in his dreams.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / DreamSue

Media sources: