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Indulgent Fantasy Segue

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Dr. Kelso: What are you thinking, Ted?
Ted (inner thoughts): (holding a letter opener) I could jam this through the soft spot on his temple, then slit my wrists with it before anyone got in here to stop me.
Ted (out loud): The usual, sir.
Dr. Kelso: Well, you'd never do it, you don't have the guts.

Alice is positively furious with Bob, but she's sitting still and trying her damnedest to keep her rage at a low simmer. Finally, she cannot take anymore; she snaps and breaks a chair over Bob's head, empties an automatic weapon into his body and takes a roaring chainsaw to the remains before cackling like a madwoman over her former friend's corpse.

...Now back to reality: Alice is still sitting there, still giving the evil eye to a very much unharmed Bob. What just happened? We were treated to an Indulgent Fantasy Segue, where the show went straight into Alice's head and showed us what she was thinking without announcing it to the audience first. It's almost exclusively a comedic device, and almost always involves the person inflicting sudden, shocking violence on someone else.

Sub-Trope of Daydream Surprise, which need not be violent. Contrast Imagine Spot, where it's clear from the start that this is all in Alice's head, sometimes through the use of a Fade to White. Compare Enemy Without. It's as good a means as any for enabling Superdickery.

Occasionally the thing the character would like to do is shown to be in complete contrast to what they actually do. A particularly detached individual may even get angry or concerned about events within their fantasy segue, and take these out on whoever they're talking to.

Compare Power Fantasy and Premature Aggravation, getting offended by an insult the other person hasn't even uttered due to overthinking. Not to be confused with Chaos While They're Not Looking, where the fight between parties actually happens and they pretend it didn't for a third party.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Amagi Brilliant Park, when Moffle is made to Walk the Plank, he imagines epicly leaping to safety, Breaking the Bonds, then kicking the pirate's asses. He then attempts it for real, but slips and falls.
  • One chapter of Ayakashi Triangle has Suzu asking Matsuri to touch her in suggestive ways under the logic it was alright because he's currently a girl. Matsuri complies without complaining, then imagines suddenly grabbing Suzu's breasts, and decides they still shouldn't be doing this kind of thing.
  • Fairy Tail: The heroes have been sent to Edolas, a dimension where their powers don't work. Natsu and Wendy are arrested and locked in a cell. Natsu loses his temper and imagines himself using his Breath Weapon to destroy the door. Cut to reality and he's ineffectually blowing on the door.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex has an episode centered on one character's increasingly elaborate fantasy segues of killing the VIP he chauffeurs for political reasons. Given that this is interspersed with his plans to commit the attack, tension is added to each fantasy segue. At the end of the episode, Section 9 concludes that he'll never take the final step.
  • In the Lupin III manga, the titular character finds himself captured by Inspector Zenigata. Lupin then drops his pen and the Inspector picks it up, only to get kicked in the face and to have Lupin escape. The scene then cuts back to Zenigata telling Lupin to keep dreaming and to pick up his own pen.
  • A non-comedic twist in Macross Plus. After a humiliating end to his YF-21 test, Guld's Valkyrie ends up on top of Isamu's. Guld imagines how easy it would be, at the speed and altitude they're flying, to apply a slight downwards force and smash Isamu horrifically into the ground. Unfortunately for both of them, the YF-21 responds to mental commands, and does exactly what Guld had only imagined.
  • Maria no Danzai: Akihiro Yuda briefly fantasizes about slicing a rude customer's neck open with a boxcutter. Clearly, being tormented by Okaya's gang in middle school left a mark in him.
  • Outbreak Company: When Myucel gets attacked, Shinichi declares he will save her and imagines himself charging at the attacker like an action hero. When he tries it for real, he runs really slowly, closes his eyes, screams in a way that sounds like he's crying, and flails his arms like a spaz. Minori has to interfere before he ended up hurting himself.
  • Early in Ranma ½, Akane runs into Ranma and Shampoo in the bath. The next chapter opens with Ranma vehemently declaring the evidence to be entirely circumstantial, all while Akane cries and screams gibberish hysterically. Ranma then slaps her once, decisively, to shut her up... but it was all just his own fantasy. Confident, he strides out to confront the real Akane, who is all smiles and cheer and kicks him into the lower stratosphere.
  • The Rising of the Shield Hero: After discovering that the King and his daughter had orchestrated his downward spiral from day one, Naofumi briefly imagines himself angrily tearing his shield off of his arm and throwing it, the shield shattering as Raphtalia abandons him as soon as she is freed, only for the shield to reappear on his arm. Even as Raphtalia confesses that she believes him, Naofumi is too Blinded by Rage to really hear her, desperately trying to pry the shield off of his arm and denouncing it as a curse.
  • Sakamoto Days: In the first chapter, Taro Sakamoto stops an angry customer from threatening a child who spilled something on him... and then stabs the guy in the neck. That turns out to be just his imagination, and Sakamoto actually lets the guy off with a warning. Later in the chapter, he has a similar fantasy about breaking Shin's neck (which Shin, who can read minds, picks up on). Sakamoto fantasizing about offing Shin for being a nuisance becomes something of a Running Gag in the series.

    Comic Books 
  • After The Authority takes over the USA, they end up having to fulfill mundane leadership tasks such as meeting with foreign dignitaries. Midnighter usually daydreams about violently murdering said world leaders. For added comedy, his teammates complain about this, because these fantasies get shared telepathically.
  • The Joker has an indulgent fantasy segue in Batman RIP during a Rorschach test. It involves the death of billions from airborne Joker Virus, the lunatics escaping Arkham, and the Joker cutting Batman and Robin's throats with a straight razor. Their blood forms a flower shape.
    Therapist: What do you see in this one?
    Joker: Another pretty flower...
  • Deadpool has what he calls P.O.V. ('Pool-o-vision), and claims he is editorially mandated to have at least two per issue.
  • Empowered: Happens sometimes, often with a character saying something they don't actually say or thinking more perverted thoughts. The violent variant does show up but is rarer. These segments are always ended with the phrase "END COUNTERFACTUAL SCENARIO."
  • In Old Man Logan, the eponymous character has one of these when the Hulk Gang shows up.
  • Detective Hartigan has one of these in Sin City: That Yellow Bastard. Not played for comedy.
  • In one issue of Superman, Superman of all people momentarily visualizes beating Manchester Black to death after Black apparently killed Lois Lane, only to snap back to reality and arrest him instead, saying that killing Black wouldn't bring Lois back.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has Cyclonus, who had not been on the friendliest terms with fellow Lost Light member Whirl, be given a deal by the latter to settle all scores if they made it off Luna 1 alive together. Later, when Whirl asked Cyclonus if their deal was still good, he accepts after he imagines shoving Whirl into a nearby smelting pool.
  • Non-comedic example: issue #7 of the short-lived horror comic Twisted Tales contained a story called "Shut-In" that was almost entirely one long, very gruesome fantasy segue. And then another just before the story's end.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man #45 has Spidey heroically and violently rescue a mutant from the X-Men. Cut back to reality and Professor X is quite amused.
    Spider-Man: It was just a thought.
  • V for Vendetta has a short set of these when Evey imagines unmasking V. Not comic, but not particularly nasty.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Bloom County strip, Opus fantasizes about taking a firehose to all the people smoking in a no-smoking section of a restaurant, before concluding wistfully that "Ms. Manners wouldn't approve."
  • In a Foxtrot strip from June 2011, Paige is hogging the computer while Jason wants to play Portal. He fantasizes about dropping her through a vertical portal loop.


    Film — Animation 
  • Despicable Me: Gru has one in which he dances around in joy from dumping the girls at Super Silly Fun Land.
  • In DC League Of Superpets, a jealous Krypto has one where he thows Lois into orbit.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • The early 1990s rollerblading flick Airborne shows the Jerk Jock getting so angry about The New Guy flirting with his girl, he rushes the kid and tosses him out of the third-story window. Cut back to the Jock, still fuming at the new guy, who is completely unhurt and still flirting with his girl.
  • Alan has one in Alan Partridge: Alpha Papa when he imagines taking the shotgun off Pat and going on an action hero rampage through the studio to rescue the hostages. However, he spends so long imagining it that he fails to actually pick up the shotgun.
  • In The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Max Dillon daydreams lashing out at his boss, Mr. Smythe (B.J. Novak), grabbing him and screaming at him, before the film cuts back to Max standing silently. Granted, this was more of a nod to his mental instability.
  • At one point, American Animals appears to move into The Heist, which goes off flawlessly with Warren displaying James Bond levels of badass-ness. However, this turns out to be Warren envisioning how the heist will go. The actual robbery runs a lot less smoothly.
  • American Psycho could invoke this, depending on your interpretation of the movie. It's deliberately made ambiguous to what extent Patrick Bateman is telling the truth, but some moments are a bit too blatant to ignore, like casually telling a barista that he wants to "stab her to death and play with her blood". She doesn't even react.
  • Not exactly violent, but not nice or professional either: Dr. Sobel in Analyze This imagines rudely yelling what he considers obvious at his patient.
  • Many surrealistically weird and disturbing scenes in the movie Belle de Jour eventually turn out to be the titular protagonist's masochist fantasies.
  • In The Circus, the Little Tramp imagines himself knocking his romantic rival on his butt. This is done with a then-innovative special effect showing the Tramp stepping out of his own body.
  • Creepshow (1982)
    • Segment "The Lonesome Death of Jordy Verrill". After finding a meteor, Jordy has fantasies about selling it to a scientist for a lot of money, and later one about the scientist refusing to pay any money for it because Jordy broke it in half after pouring water on it.
    • Segment "The Crate". While at a party, Professor Northrup fantasizes about killing his wife Wilma by shooting her. The assembled guests applaud him, then Wilma yells at him and he snaps out of it. He does it again when he imagines strangling her.
  • Dr. Wai in "The Scripture with No Words": Basically every action scene in the film featuring the titular doctor, a badass Adventurer Archaeologist, is the daydreams of the writer Chow Si-kit imagining himself being an action hero while trying to escape his mundane life as a writer and attempting to come up with a new bestseller.
    • Charlie gets one of these as payback though: when Viola is asking her a list of personal questions, Charlie imagines smashing Viola with a frying pan. In reality, once again, she is sitting there and smiling.
  • The end of Dumb and Dumber, where in a fit of jealousy, Lloyd imagines emptying a revolver into Mary's husband before Mary snaps him out of his violent reverie so she can introduce him to her husband.
  • Although Friday is a comedy, it has a dramatic application of this trope at the end. Craig confronts the neighborhood thug Deebo with a gun, which his family begs him not to use. Deebo says, "Yeah, 'put that gun down, son'... and get knocked out like your father used to." Craig briefly imagines pulling the trigger on Deebo, who had caused so much hurt to so many people, but remembers his father's earlier lesson and sets the gun aside.
  • The film Griff the Invisible is full of them, as the protagonist likes to pretend he is a superhero by night.
  • High Fidelity had a scene where Rob's ex-girlfriend's new boyfriend Ian shows up at his store and smarmily asks if Rob can stop acting so hostile. When he says "So, shall we leave it at that then?" Rob swears at him and tells him to get out. Then it cuts to Ian saying "So, shall we leave it at that then?" again, to which Rob reacts by trying to physically assault Ian, who runs like a coward while Dick and Barry hold Rob back from kicking his ass. Ian says the line a third time, which now depicts Dick smacking Ian in the jaw with a telephone, all three assaulting him and kicking him on the ground, and finally Dick crushing him to death with a massive A/C unit. Finally, it cuts to Ian saying the line again in real life, to which Rob reacts by rather anti-climactically shrugging.
  • In Horrible Bosses after Nick learns that his boss David Harken has screwed him out of a promotion by promoting himself in spite of all the hard work Nick did for him, he immediately imagines throwing Harken out of the nearest window to the delight of the other mistreated employees.
    • In the sequel, Rex and the gang imagine succeeding with their kidnapping-and-ransom scheme, picturing themselves sunbathing by a pool and surrounded by money, hot girls, and Dale's wife and kids.
  • The Limey: When Wilson is inconspicuously attending one of Valentine's parties to scope out the man who killed his daughter, he fantasizes about just shooting him right there and then in full view of everyone.
  • Towards the end of Living in Oblivion, several characters have extended Fantasy Sequences, all of which are revealing about their hopes:
  • Mean Girls: Cady imagines beating the living daylights out of the Alpha Bitch over the guy they both want. Then she remembers she's no longer in the wilds of Africa, so she instead puts on a friendly smile. At the very end of the film, Cady's narration reveals that the peace may not remain intact for much longer with the introduction of Junior Plastics. They share a brief death stare- AND GET RAMMED BY A BUS! "Only kidding!"
  • In the British 2001 comedy-drama Mean Machine, based heavily on the classic movie The Longest Yard, you see the inmates-team's psychotic goalie 'Monk' having one of these during the big match. Of course, considering that he's a raving lunatic who has been known to kill people with his bare hands, you really can't tell that it's just an Indulgent Fantasy Segue until it ends...
  • From the movie Monster-in-Law, Viola imagines smashing Charlie's head into the food repeatedly, while in reality, they were smiling politely.
  • At the beginning of the Soviet film Moscow — Cassiopeia, Vitya accidentally reads aloud a note indicating that a girl in his class likes him. Then another boy starts playing a march on his tape player, causing everyone to burst out laughing. Vitya imagines walking through the rows, striking everyone with a finger (It Makes Sense in Context). Cut back to Vitya simply standing there, adjusting his glasses.
  • In Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Rick imagines himself in the lead role of The Great Escape when asked about how he nearly got cast.
  • In one of the modern-day interpretations of Pride and Prejudice Elizabeth Bennet engages in these frequently, such as throwing a Bible at Collins' head amid cheers from the gathered church congregation, or hurling water into Darcy's face and storming out in a huff. These always take place in slow motion and with specific background music.
  • A cut scene from Pulp Fiction had Jules in the diner at the end violently killing the two robbers, only to cut back to him sitting there, probably cursing his recent commitment to non-violence.
  • There's one of these in Ravenous (1999), set to a song called "Cannibal Fantasy" of all things.
  • In Requiem for a Dream when Marion is at the restaurant with her psychiatrist, she imagines herself impaling his hand with a fork.
    • Also at the beginning with Harry imagining stealing a cop's gun to play catch with it.
  • In Ride Along, when Ben tells James he wants to marry his sister, James immediately imagines shooting him without a word.
  • A not-insignificant part of the 1947 film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty is made up of these, with Mitty (a pulp writer), slipping into various fantasy segues ranging from murders and high adventure to a musical number where he plays a Camp Gay fashion designer.
    • Same holds true of the 2013 remake. In this case, Mitty is an editor at LIFE magazine, and his fantasies include a superhero fight with his rival and doing skateboarding tricks to impress his love interest.
  • In Serial Killing 4 Dummys, protagonist Casey Nolan keeps having Imagine Spots where he brutally murders whatever person is currently annoying him.
  • Used in Slumdog Millionaire when Jamal meets his brother (on a scaffold in a skyscraper under construction) after years apart and imagines rushing him off the side and killing them both. (Arguably an Imagine Spot, as this is in a flashback and we know Jamal is alive in the present.)
  • Smiley Face is essentially a string of these stretched to feature length.
  • In Spy Kids, Gregorio Cortez dreams of fighting an obnoxious parent, throwing him through the school window, and being cheered by the whole school.
  • Suicide Squad (2016): Enchantress starts offering to the Suicide Squad to have their wishes fulfilled in exchange for allegiance to her near the end of the film, and starts by installing happy scenarios in the minds of each of them. Diablo doesn't buy it since he refuses to believe her magic can restore his dead wife and children that he burned himself.
  • Throw Momma from the Train with Danny DeVito's myriad ways to kill his mother.
  • The scene from True Lies where Harry fantasizes about smashing Simon (Bill Paxton)'s face, for messing with his wife and then bragging to him about it, is particularly hilarious.

  • In Different Seasons: Apt Pupil, Todd fantasizes about stabbing one of his teachers in the eyes with a pencil.
  • Discworld: In a case of a non-violent, yet criminal Indulgent Fantasy, von Lipwig in Going Postal has a brief (one run-on paragraph long) fantasy of abandoning Adora Belle and his position as Postmaster immediately after Mr. Pump discontinues monitoring him, but snaps out of it when he realizes his old con-artist career just wouldn't hold the same thrill anymore. In keeping with the theme of second chances that had been running through the book, he mentally lives out his entire miserable life up to just before his lonely death when "an angel appeared".
    Sometimes you do get more than one.
  • The Great Gatsby has a form of this.
    "The master's body!" the butler roared into the telephone. "I'm sorry madam but we cannot furnish it. It's too hot to touch this noon!"
    What he really said was, "Yes... yes... all right."
  • The Goosebumps book Monster Blood II.
  • The Handmaid's Tale has several of these, due to the narrator telling the story after the fact and trying to decide between idealizing herself and telling her true story.
  • Harley Quinn: Reckoning: When Harleen is particularly upset and angry, she has vivid Imagine Spots of engaging in cathartic violence, which are always narrated as if they're actually happening before narrator-Harleen stops and says that actually she only imagined that and in reality she did something more restrained. Not played entirely for laughs, because they're a reminder that Harleen has serious mental problems. The last one, in particular, is played entirely for drama when Harleen pictures herself going to town on the villain — and then stops in shock at the realization that this time it's actually happening and not just in her head, and she couldn't tell the difference.
  • In Maria Dahvana Headley's book The Mere Wife, the Maternally Challenged Willa recalls an incident in which a baby who was not hers latched onto her breast while she was breastfeeding. She reacts with the restraint you'd expect.
    There was, however, a momentary escapade inside Willa's head, a bad adventure during which she broke the offending baby's neck and served the infant as a snack, surrounded by sippy yogurt and smashed peas.
  • Odd Thomas: In Brother Odd, Odd Thomas, faced with an Eldritch Abomination, invites it to kiss his ass. He then (narrating) describes in graphic and hilarious detail how it proceeds to eviscerate him, before coming back to reality and admitting that he did, in fact, escape.
  • Inverted in Pet Sematary, with an extended fantasy segue in which the baby didn't get hit by a car. Not present in the movie, where it's just a series of Big Nos over baby pictures.
  • Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has one of these, with Lizzy decapitating Lydia to get her to shut up.
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, the inspiration for the above two films of the same name. The story itself is just a series of Mitty's fantasies as he goes about his dull routine.
  • In Star Trek: New Frontier, Xyon has one when he sees Kalinda kissing Tania. Whether he would've done anything is unknown, however, thanks to his father's quick thinking.
  • A variation is used in Star Wars Legends novel Enemy Lines I: Rebel Dream. Luke Skywalker has a Force premonition (which is almost always predictive of the future) of his friend Wedge Antilles pulling a blaster on an Obstructive Bureaucrat come to visit, and to give him marching orders that are not to the benefit of him, his friends, or even the New Republic in general. Luke suppresses his reaction when he (quickly) realizes this wasn't what Wedge intended to do... just what Wedge wanted to do.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Ally McBeal: This joke was used about 50 times in every single episode ever. For one character, the fantasies turned into hallucinations brought on by a brain tumor.
  • Battlestar Galactica: A relatively rare non-humorous example showed up in the season 4 opener, where Tigh, having just discovered that he's a Cylon, imagines that he shoots Adama, and then snaps back to reality. Particularly nightmarish since, at the end of Season 1, the exact same thing happened, and that time it was in-continuity.
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • The episode "The Recombination Hypothesis" turns out to be an episode-long fantasy about Leonard restarting his relationship with Penny.
    • In "The Thespian Catalyst", Raj has a series of fantasies in which Howard lets him have sex with Bernadette, culminating in a Bollywood dance number.
  • In Blindspot, Roman finally decides to tell his girlfriend the truth about himself. He does. Then she stabs him. Cue the "snap back", and him continuing to lie.
  • The Boys (2019): The first season has one, in the first episode, when "Vought" lawyer offers Hughie compensation.
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine, "The Big House, Part 2": Rosa Diaz jumps through the safety glass in prison and attacks Lt. Hawkins, just like she said she would, but it turns out to be her vivid imagination. Hawkins is the dirty cop who got her (who's innocent) to jail. Lampshaded and used as a Brick Joke because Rosa previously said to Captain Holt and Detective Santiago that beating her up in her imagination wouldn't be satisfying.
    Rosa: How do I stop myself from smashing through the glass and squeezing the life out of her with my bare hands?
    Amy: Maybe you could just imagine doing that. It'd be probably just as fun as actually doing it, right?
    Rosa: No.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Non-comedic example in the episode "Who Are You". Faith has done a Grand Theft Me on Buffy, and when she hears Willow saying something snarky about Faith has a sudden fantasy of stabbing her. On returning to reality even Faith seems shocked, and as 'Buffy' she assures Willow that she won't let Faith hurt her.
    • Faith does the same in the Angel episode "Sanctuary". She was a little less than sane at the time.
    • Done painfully in "The Body", with Buffy imagining the EMTs reviving her dead mother.
  • CSI:
    • In an episode Grissom gets stabbed in the throat. As they were only moments away from a cliffhanger anyway, it's perhaps a pity the incident turns out to be a delusion.
    • Another episode opened with lab tech Archie sorting through a suitcase full of cocaine, documenting all the packets of coke. He lifts one up, and BOOM, a pressure-triggered bomb goes off, killing Archie. Turns out, it was the first in a series of scenarios in Hodge's prototype board game, "Lab Rats".
    • One episode ends with the murderer of the week undertaking a heist to the tune of Queen's "Under Pressure". Everything goes exactly according to plan - but then it snaps back to reveal the man was actually fatally injured by his own bomb and the "success" part was a dying delusion.
  • Used often on Days of Our Lives, though often for dramatic purposes instead of funny.
  • There are several in Dexter:
    • In season 3, Miguel Prado finds Dexter at the scene of a fresh kill and accidentally gets blood on his shirt. He later gives Dexter the bloody shirt as a token of friendship and a guarantee of secrecy. When Dexter becomes suspicious and tests the shirt, he discovers that it's a fake, daubed with animal blood. His explosion of rage is revealed to be this trope.
    • In season 7, there are two examples in the same episode. The first is Dexter standing in line at the post office for a long time, and when he reaches the front the desk lady closes the line. Then he imagines slitting her throat in front of everyone. He imagines doing the same to Masuka back at the office when he imagines Masuka insulting him.
  • All over the place in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, and its remake Reggie Perrin, as Reggie constantly fantasises to escape the endless drudgery of his life. Some of them are very brief compared to other instances of the trope - a wrecking ball will crash through the wall and knock Reggie's mother-in-law away, then it'll snap back again, all in the space of two seconds.
  • One episode of Family Matters did this three times with three different people as a Running Gag.
  • Happy Days: In "They Call It Potsie Love," Joanie develops a crush on Potsie. She falls asleep on the living room couch and fantasizes about getting married to him.
  • After Vogler has been using his promise of money to fight with House in the first season, an episode opens with House telling Vogler he has liver cancer and a better chance of dying than living, but House assures him they'll do everything they can, elating Vogler, who finally admits out-loud that House is damn good and is humbled by this treatment after spending so much time torturing House because of his "unorthodox" ways. Of course, House is daydreaming.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: Dennis becomes so frustrated with his new neighbor that he strips naked, grabs a rake, and beats the man to death. Then Mac asks him what he's doing- turns out he's standing in the middle of the yard, fuming to himself.
  • Legends of Tomorrow: In "Aruba-Con", Sara copes with her annoying manager by fantasizing about beating him down and slashing his throat. Yikes.
  • A rare serious occurrence in Medium when Allison helps with jury selection for a trial, using her psychic talents to figure out who the prosecution should try to get on the jury even if their files suggest they're not the types of people who would give them what they want; namely, the death penalty. One of the files marked "rejected" is for a religious woman whom Allison "sees" next to a comatose woman in a hospital, talking about how her beliefs don't jibe with ending another's life prematurely. The comatose woman is her brain-dead mother; cut to massive fit of rage as she rips apart the room, destroying the life-support equipment, revealing that she wants nothing more than to have it turned off and feels smothered by her religion. Cut back to the woman sitting quietly, with the room intact.
  • In My Mad Fat Diary, Rae does this to Chloe in “It’s a Wonderful Rae: Part 2” by dragging Chloe from the cafe they're sitting in out onto the street, dropping her in the road. Rae then gets into a van and proceeds to run her over before it's revealed that the whole sequence was all in Rae's head.
  • Oz: Rebadow, a kindly old prisoner, starts to become obsessed with the idea of killing after the leader of one of the gangs forces him to take out one of his rivals. At one point he fantasizes about laying into the crowd in the cafeteria with a machine gun before he snaps out of it.
  • Happens a couple of times with Dr. David Sandstrom in ReGenesis momentarily fantasizing about beating the crap out of Obstructive Bureaucrats and the like.
  • In "Homesick" from Resident Alien, Harry, a Hugh Mann alien, is looking to kill the boy Max, who can see through to his actual alien form. He talks about this to the bartender D'Arcy, mentioning having tried to kill someone the last time he drank the local whiskey, but she just assumes he's being facetious and tells him that if he's going to kill someone, he should Make It Look Like an Accident. The show goes to commercial. When it returns, the scene is set at the the Hawthorne household, with the father Ben smelling what sounds like propane gas and then lighting a cigar, causing the place to go kaboom. Harry is then shown, supposedly giving Ben a counseling session, but actually thinking to himself that an explosion is a good option because it looks like an accident while doodling ideas for other accidental deaths on a notepad that Ben believes he using to take notes about their session.
  • This is the central gimmick of Samurai Gourmet. Once (or more) an episode mild-mannered Kasumi will indulge in a fantasy where a Sengoku ronin demonstrates how a real badass would handle his social dilemma. Only once was violence the samurai's answer; usually it's closer to Easy Evangelism, though holding a sword does help. However, the fantasies are not pure indulgence, as they always inspire increased assertiveness in Kasumi—not that he follows through every time.
  • In Scrubs, this happens so often that when something outrageous does happen, such as Dr. Cox punching Dr. Kelso in the nose for berating Elliot, the audience assumes that the show is about to "snap back" at any moment. This isn't helped by the fact that one such "segue" went on so long it became a form of All Just a Dream.
  • Six Feet Under:
    • Claire's math teacher ridicules her for not having an interest in algebra. She fantasises staring at the teacher and setting their hair on fire with her mind.
    • Nate is informed by a doctor that he has an untreatable yet potentially fatal medical condition. However, the doctor gives him this news in such a nonchalant and insensitive manner that Nate fantasises about violently murdering him on the spot. He resorts to verbally abusing the man instead.
  • Spaced uses this quite a lot. The trope was so associated with the programme for Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright that they consciously avoided doing it when making Shaun of the Dead, according to their commentary track for the film.
    • One obvious moment is when Daisy accuses Tim of sabotaging her relationship out of bitterness:
      Tim: Yes. Yes. And I'd do it again! I do it again in an instant! AHAHAHAHAHA! (leaps out of the window)
    • The character of Tyres is also portrayed with heavy use of this, his sudden mood-whiplashes leaving other characters unsure of if they have imagined what he just said. Finally, by the first episode of the second series, Daisy seems so used to her life being full of this, she seems to expect it after she beats up a couple of Matrix-style agents with previously unrevealed kung-fu prowess:
      Daisy: That just happened, didn't it?
      Tim: Um... yeah.
  • Star Trek:
    • An interesting variant is seen in an episode of Star Trek: Voyager in which Tuvok, bothered by Neelix trying to get him to smile, snaps and throttles Neelix to death... only to utter those words immortal to the Star Trek universe, "computer - end program."
    • "Hollow Pursuits" from Star Trek: The Next Generation opens with Reginald Barclay telling Geordi La Forge to take his holier than thou attitude and get out of his life after he chastises him for hanging out in Ten Forward while being on duty, then pushing him away. When Riker tells him that it's insubordination, he raises a glass and states "Here's to insubordination," and so things continue until he is interrupted by a comm message calling him away and he declares "save program," ending the holodeck simulation. A couple of other simulations are presented this way later in the episode, though with the expectation that the audience should be able to figure it out, given what they've already seen.
  • In one episode of Two and a Half Men, Charlie imagines tearing Alan's arm off and beating him with it.
  • Voyagers!: The action sequence that opens the pilot episode, "Voyagers", is Jeffrey Jones' daydream as he imagines him and his family being attacked by pirates and himself trying to rescue his parents. Cut to reality, and it turns out Jeff is an orphan.
  • In The Young Ones episode "Summer Holiday", Neil gets so frustrated by the others' insults, that he turns into The Incredible Hulk, bursts out of his clothes, and beats up the others. When he snaps out of the fantasy, everything is back to normal, but his clothes are still shredded to bits.
    Vyvyan: What's happened to all your clothes, Neil?
    Neil: I think I'd better just go upstairs and lie down for a bit, actually.

    Tabletop Games 
  • One Warhammer 40,000 audio drama features Kharn the Betrayer working with a group of other Chaos Space Marines, and while he's outwardly calm, there's repeated instances where the narration describes him butchering his teammates before shifting viewpoints and having a supposedly "killed" characters ask Kharn why he's spacing out. When he actually does cut loose and murder everyone, it fakes the listener out again by being presented exactly the same way as the fantasies.

  • Fangirls opens with a scene of Edna and Harry escaping from the police and running away together, which is then revealed to be part of Edna's fanfic.

    Video Games 
  • In 13 Sentinels: Aegis Rim, Megumi has a brief one when her jealously towards Iori makes her envision pointing her gun in front of Iori and shooting her point-blank. Realizing she can't let jealousy the best of her, she instead opts to shoot Iori in the leg.
  • Dragon Age II, what with its Unreliable Narrator Varric, goes into one of these where Varric singlehandedly storms his brother's home, Tony Montana-style. Then Cassandra yells at him and he tells what really happened. Something similar happens at the beginning, only without Varric being there.
  • In Freddi Fish: The Case of the Missing Kelp Seeds, Freddi has an unused one where she feeds Luther to Eddie, then turns and makes an Eyelid Pull Taunt expression.
    Luther: Whatcha thinking about, Freddi?
    Freddi: Oh, nothing, Luther.
  • Near the beginning of Gears of War 3, Cole finds himself at the old thrashball stadium where he used to play. In order to destroy the Lambent infestation, he grabs a bomb and runs towards the end of the field and tosses it at the spike. As he’s doing this, he puts on his old thrashball helmet and flashesback to when he won the game against the Eagles.
  • Lowain in Granblue Fantasy Versus isn't exactly a great fighter, but he and his bros can manage to pull off some crazy things to keep up with the rest of the cast. When you get to their win screen, though, it shows they were just imagining the entire fight at the bar.
  • Outpost 2: One of the 'Tales From New Terra' vignettes has Juno "Tank" Steele confronting the Dark Elder Axen Moon and his two alien Shade companions. At the end of the vignette, it's revealed that the whole sequence was imagined by Juno Steele, an overseer at a refinery in an attempt to liven up his otherwise boring job.
  • In Poker Night at the Inventory, if Heavy loses a hand, he will occasionally flip the table and begin massacring the other players. Shortly afterward, the scene cuts back to Heavy sitting at the table, sternly asking to be dealt a new hand.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Umineko: When They Cry, the scene where Maria kills her mother Rosa over and over again in retaliation for Rosa tearing apart her beloved stuffed lion, Sakutarou is implied to either be this or All Just a Dream. Either way, it was all in Maria's head.

    Web Animation 
  • Sonic Colors: Rise of the Wisps: Jade does this at Sonic's request to spice up the story a little before Tails just tells her to keep it to the facts so they can understand what happened better.
  • Sonic for Hire does this in "Two Bad Characters" in which Tails offers to be in a movie with Sonic, Sonic's response is to shoot Tails to death while laughing crazy until Tails wakes him up.


    Web Videos 
  • Noob has one it its Season 3 premiere. Works perfectly to remind the audience how much Gaea hates Omega Zell, but is also a Dirty Coward that won't get in a fight if she can avoid it.

    Western Animation 
  • All Hail King Julien: In "Pineapple of my eye", when Julien presents the pineapple to the kingdom, Mort gets jealous of it and attacks it viciously, which turns out to be a fantasy. Clover vows to find whoever took the pineapple and is then shown attacking every lemur in the kingdom. As she slaps one around, it suddenly turns into Maurice, revealing that it was one of Clover's Cowboy Cop fantasies.
  • American Dad!:
    • The episode "Bullocks to Stan" had Stan finding out his boss and daughter are sleeping together. He then suddenly shoots his boss and chloroforms Hayley, but notices the mailman and chases him down before killing him. He then sees a blind man who quickly points out he's blind and didn't see anything, getting Stan to back off. We then suddenly cut back to the moment where Stan found out about his boss and daughter's affair, the whole sequence being a daydream... though Stan realizes the bystander in his daydream was lying about being "blind", he saw his gun!
    • The episode "Surro-Gate" had Francine confess to Stan about having become a surrogate mother for a gay couple's child. Stan flipped out and came at her with a broken beer bottle. Then with a chainsaw. Then with a ferocious leopard. Then with a ferocious leopard ''holding'' a chainsaw. All this is then revealed to be Francine worrying about what would happen if she told Stan the truth. And, since the world of American Dad! is so bizarre and Stan is so nuts, all of this actually seemed entirely possible until Francine woke up from her fantasy.
    • In "100 A.D.", when Stan finds a letter from Hayley saying she has eloped with Jeff, he gets so angry, the letter burns up in his hand and he proceeds to fly around the world and reverse time. It turns out he merely fainted and hit his head on the corner of the table, though he still thinks he's traveled back in time.
    • "Fartbreak Hotel" has Francine feeling burned out on her routine and unappreciated by her family. When they begin complaining about a small change in the usual dinner, she calmly explains that she had been indulging a fantasy where she didn't have to put up with their petty complaints and clean up after them while brutally murdering them all one by one. The scene then switches back to reality where her family stares aghast (apparently having heard her describe their violent deaths) and quickly begins wolfing down dinner while telling her how great it is.
  • Arcane. In "Everybody Wants to Be My Enemy", Silco gives Marcus—the Enforcer on his payroll—one of Jinx's grenades as fake evidence as against the Firelights. He sees Marcus eyeing the grenade pin and taunts him that he could pull it and become "the martyr you've always seen yourself as". Marcus angrily does so, blowing them both to pieces... only to cut back to reality with Silco telling Marcus, "Then what are you waiting for?" Marcus takes the grenade and leaves the room instead.
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers: In "The Big Clam-Up", the episode opens with Ma-Ti as a noir detective asking a female client into his office. It turns out to be Gaia arriving with another case. Ma-Ti is a little slow to break out of the fantasy, leading him to introduce himself as "Dash Raymond" and call Gaia "doll" without thinking.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Doomsday Sanction", Milo, a third-rate supervillain with a falling position in the Government Conspiracy, has one of these fantasies. After one poor performance review too many, he pulls out a laser gun from under the table and... meekly takes his pink slip before releasing Doomsday as payback.
  • In The Spectacular Spider-Man, Punch-Clock Villain Otto Octavius fantasizes about attacking his domineering boss Norman Osborn mere minutes before massive electromagnetic shock causes him to snap and he does it for real.
  • Family Guy lampshades and inverts this. Peter imagines killing himself with a revolver and splattering his brains on the wall. Cut to reality, they're still in the bar.
    Peter: I was just having one of my Scrubs fantasy moments.
  • Megas XLR does this for the benefit of both the main character and a good deal of the audience: Coop, struggling through the endless bureaucracy of the Department of Motor Vehicles, groans that he hates the DMV... then imagines himself piloting Megas in an elaborate destruction of the DMV building, starting with stomping on it repeatedly and culminating in an extended weapons barrage that leaves it as a smoking crater. At which point he opens fire again. Cathartic.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Spike goes into one of these during "A Dog and Pony Show", complete with ludicrous amounts of muscle, a chin so manly Transformers: Animated would be jealous, and much Curb Stomp Battling as he epically saves and seduces Damsel in Distress Rarity (who's even wearing a very Princess Peach dress for full tropey goodness).
  • The whole premise of the "Magnificent Muttley" segments of Dastardly & Muttley in Their Flying Machines is that Muttley fantasizes about beating Dick Dastardly in settings where the former is the hero and the latter is the villain.
  • The music video for The Simpsons' "Do the Bartman" works like this; it's not clear that Bart has only been imagining changing the music and taking over the recital till the end.
  • In every episode of Totally Spies!, whenever Mandy does something to tick Clover off, she fantasizes about doing something to Mandy to hurt her, like how in one episode she fantasized about tying Mandy up to a target and throwing a car at her.
  • During the Touch-A-Trucka-Thon in the Trollhunters episode "Airheads", Strickler mocks Jim over losing the Killing Stone and the fact that he is dating his mother. In reaction, Jim forfeits the contest by letting go of the car and punching Strickler to the ground in front of everybody. It then cuts back to the real world, Jim still touching the truck and the punch not having occurred in the first place.


Lloyd's got a gun!

Lloyd imagines emptying a revolver into Mary's husband before getting talked out of his reverie.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

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