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Mad at a Dream

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"You shoot me in a dream, you'd better wake up and apologize."
Mr. White, Reservoir Dogs

We can't control what we dream about. We can barely control what we do in our dream, and we certainly can't control what we do in someone else's dream. However, people aren't purely rational. Sometimes it's possible to be mad at a friend not for something that they've done, but rather something they did in a dream or a simulation, which they'd have no control over. Very likely to involve a Bewildering Punishment. Of course it's impossible to know what you did when you didn't actually do it, especially if You Know What You Did is in place and the "slighted" party doesn't share why they're so angry or if their only description of what's "transpired" is a Non Sequitur that makes no sense to anyone who didn't experience the dream.

An easy source of drama, this allows a character to be slighted by another without actually having done something wrong, creating a conflict and a simple resolution, not to mention the chance for a bonding moment.

Can be Truth in Television.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Doctor Slump: One mostly silent chapter involves Senbei going on a literal dream date with Midori, but various other characters derail the dream with poop. Senbei keeps waking up and berating the people involved, culminating in him storming the police station with intent to beat up the cops. This just gets him arrested.
  • In Is This A Zombie?, Haruna has an Erotic Dream about Ayumu where he removes her clothes and seduces her. She is at first scared and confused, but then starts enjoying it. When she wakes up, she angrily beats Ayumu up.
  • Yotsuba&! "#56: Schedules" opens with Yotsuba having a nightmare in which Yousuke (her adoptive father) eats a large portion of a bag of her candy. She wakes up crying and promptly smacks him on the face for it. Even after he explains to her that it was a nightmare and proves it by getting her to see that it's all still there, she still demands "Even if it was a dream, say you're sorry!!".
  • Kill Me Baby: Yasuna once dreams that Sonya has killed Bouncy Bun #2 with a sniper rifle, and tries to avenge her in the real world, only to receive a beating herself instead.
  • Ranma Ĺ: In one episode, Ryoga has an Imagine Spot of what would happen if he decided to live with Akane as P-chan while Akane grew up and married Ranma, which ends up with Akane and Ranma throwing him out in the trash for making their baby cry. He later accuses Ranma of throwing him out with the trash, which of course confuses Ranma since that only happened in Ryoga's imagination.

    Comic Books 
  • During an old Jimmy Olsen comic, Jimmy awakens from a dream where he is married to Lucy Lane, only for her to keep harassing him about his bond with Superman at every turn. When she calls him saying that she no longer has a date for that night and asks if he would like to take her out, Jimmy retorts that he definitely won't after the way she kept messing with his and Superman's relationship.
  • Archie Comics:
    • During one strip, Jughead dreams he's about to devour a mountain of burgers, only for Archie to get in the way and stop him before he can start feasting. Jughead wakes up extremely peeved, to the point that when he later comes across Archie, who gives him a cheerful greeting, Jug coldly tells him to mind his own business, much to Archie's natural confusion.
    • A different strip has Betty and Veronica fighting each other over Archie in a shared dream; it turns out they were having a sleepover at Ron's house but they got into a quarrel because Archie called Betty while she was there, and they fell asleep fighting over the whole thing. Having both woken up cranky and disheveled from the experience, they both turn on Archie and blame him for the whole mess when he walks up and cheerfully greets them. Poor, bewildered Archie decides to just go right back home and go to bed.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Discussed in Reservoir Dogs, where Mr. White tells Mr. Blonde that if he so much as shoots him in a dream, he'd better wake up and apologize.

  • Happens to Jack Torrence's mother in the The Shining. Apparently his father dreamed she did something he didn't like. When he wakes up, he beats her into a coma for it. This is one of Jack's defining memories of his childhood.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dead Like Me: When Mason offers to take care of George's dog, she imagine him and the dog hottubbing with beautiful women. George later calls Mason out on the absurdity of hottubbing with a dog. Mason has no idea what she's talking about.
  • One episode of How I Met Your Mother revolves around Marshall finding out who his wife Lily had an Erotic Dream about. When he figures out who, he treats the subject of the dream with disdain as though he actually did it.
  • Discussed in Girl Code, where some of the cast mention that they've gotten angry at a friend for things they did in a dream. Of course, they also discuss the opposite, where they wind up attracted to a friend for their actions in a dream.
  • Friends:
    • Phoebe and Ross have a Feud Episode where she's mad at him for something... then reveals at the end of an episode that she's mad because he called her boring... and then he pulled off his energy mask and was Cameron Diaz. At this point she finally realizes that this "might have been a dream".
    • When Ross has a crush on Rachel, he gets jealous when she has a sex dream about Chandler. He confronts Chandler, who sarcastically apologizes with the excuse that it was someone else's subconscious.
  • I Love Lucy:
    • In "Ricky's Old Girlfriend", Lucy dreams that Ricky left her for Carlotta, leaving her poor and homeless on the streets with only a button given to her in her coin cup. Ricky, of course, doesn't get why she's so angry at him when she wakes up.
    • In, "Lucy Goes to Scotland," Lucy has a near-entire episode dream sequence, in which being the last of the McGillicuddy Clan, she's to be fed to a cantankerous two-headed dragon (Fred and Ethel) that awakens every thirty years, and eats only McGillicuddy's. At one point in the dream, she meets Scott McTavish McDougal McCardo (Ricky), who falls in love with her, and vows to prevent the dragon from eating her, even if it means sacrificing his own life... but when the dragon is brought to the village for its meal, Scotty chickens out at the last minute, and Lucy is thrown to the dragon. Lucy then wakes up, and proceeds to hit Ricky with her pillow in a fit of rage, despite Ricky not knowing why she's upset with him.
  • One episode of Ally McBeal started with Ally waking up angry with Larry because she had a dream where he dumped her.
  • An episode of Boy Meets World had Cory receive some bad advice from Feeny in a dream, for which he blamed the real Feeny.
  • Home Improvement had an episode where Tim and Jill are both dreaming of what they'll be like when they'll be old. In Jill's dream, Tim, in addition to calling Jill an old biddy, opened a window, causing Jill's dissertation to go flying, followed by using one of the pages to wipe his mouth. Upon waking up, Jill angrily starts berating Tim.
    Jill: 'Old biddy'? I'm an old biddy?!
    Tim: Sometimes.
  • An episode of Frasier, which showed one dream from all the main characters, had Daphne dream that Niles was surrounded by young women while her pregnancy weight was hugely exaggerated. She woke up and punched him.
  • An episode of My Family has Abby getting angry at Rodger because he cheated on her dream. She refuses to let it go until she has a subsequent dream in which she cheats on him...with Orlando Bloom.
  • In the Walker, Texas Ranger episode "Silk Dreams", assistant district attorney Alex Cahill keeps having nightmares of Walker getting shot, eventually working up to his partner, Trivette, shooting him. At the end, when everything has been worked out, Walker makes a comment which Alex interprets to mean she looks terrible. She begins saying it was all his fault for getting shot in her dreams and worrying her, and when he points out it was Trivette who shot him in her dreams, she turns her irritation on him. Then Walker puts an end to it by pulling her onto the dance floor.
  • An episode of Victorious begins with Cat angry at Robbie because he allowed a bunch of children to eat her in a dream she had.
  • In The Munsters episode "Will Success Spoil Herman Munster", after Herman becomes a big recording star, Lily dreams that he files for divorce, stating that he needs to change wives as much as he changes his socks. This causes Lily to angrily wake up and plot with the rest of the family to nip Herman's career in the bud.
  • One episode of Life on Mars (2006) opens with Sam Tyler having a dream where Gene Hunt kicks in a sex offender in a claymation sequence. When Sam awakes and makes his way to the station later on, he grabs Gene by the collar and growls, "Stay out of Camberwick Green!"
  • In "Burial" from Yellowjackets, Shauna is angry at the other Yellowjackets for their actions in her dream. In reality, she passed out during her Tragic Stillbirth and dreamed her baby being born alive and then cannibalized by the other survivors.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: After having a dream that his parents were replaced by aliens who were experimenting on him, Calvin greets his mother at his next meal with a great deal of suspicion.
    Mom: Hereís your breakfast. Whatís the matter?
    Calvin: Prove youíre my mom.
  • One Foxtrot comic has Paige falling asleep while Jason tells her about the upcoming Jurassic Park movie, causing her to have a dream that she's on an island where a character based on Jason has genetically engineered dinosaurs from Quincy the iguana's DNA and, for reasons never explained, made the carnivores so that they only will eat females named Paige. The dream ends with Paige running for the ocean upon hearing that the "Quincyraptors" have escaped and she wakes up to glare daggers at Jason.
  • In one Garfield strip, Garfield dreams about finding a giant hamburger, only for Odie to eat it before he can. Garfield then wakes up and kicks Odie, telling him to stay out of his dreams.
  • Heart of the City:
    Heart's Mom: Let me get this straight. You're mad at me because I married the scary lollipop guy from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in your dream?!
    Heart: Not only that! You should have seen the ugly dress you made me wear!

    Puppet Shows 
  • One of the 29th season episodes of Sesame Street has Elmo feeling really, really angry after having a really bad dream. Luis and Gabi help him take deep breaths before he tells the story. He explains to them that there were two Elmos in his dream, and he got frustrated when his twin kept repeating everything he did and he became jealous of him. Luis and Gabi keep helping Elmo breathe as he talks through feeling angry. They tell him that it was a dream and that there's one Elmo. Elmo feels better and goes back to sleep to make up with his twin so they can play together.
  • Wimzie's House: Deconstructed in the episode "You're Not My Friend," in which Wimzie has a nightmare that Jonas was never her friend, and never liked her. The next day during daycare, Wimzie is very hostile and abrasive towards Jonas, leaving him very confused and rather sad, since he's unaware that she's getting back at him for hurting her feelings in her dream. In the end, when he does finally learn about it, he tells her it was just a dream.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Ray Romano (of Everybody Loves Raymond) once described getting in trouble with his wife because she dreamed he used one of her girlfriend's breasts as earmuffs. He called it a moment that he knew he was truly married after he had to apologize to her for it.
  • Tim Hawkins, a comedian, lists being on your wife's wrong side for doing something bad in her dreams as one of the dangers of marriage (watch it here).
    I was being chased by a grizzly bear. It was going to eat me...and you did nothing....You were playing poker with a rabbit. And that's the thing, you would do something like that, too. You'd play poker with a rabbit while I was getting eaten by a bear.
  • Jeff Foxworthy said during one of his routines that his wife once got mad at him because she had a dream where he was making out with Heather Locklear. His response? "Hell, I wasn't dreaming anything. Send her over to my dream and we'll both be happy."
  • In one routine, Jim Gaffigan asks the audience if they ever had a dream where someone did something to them and was still angry with that person after waking up.
    They're like "Hey, how's it going?" and you just go, "Fuck you. Don't act like you didn't push me off that cliff. You're lucky I could fly, mister!"
  • Jerry Seinfeld:
    There's nothing the female brain cannot do. It will solve all problems of earth and life. Having completed that, it will move on to the hypothetical. Theoretical situations. That may or may not occur. The female needs to know how you might respond. "If you faked your own death, and I found out about it, what would you say then?" "What are we talkin' about now?" "Oh, I dreamt the whole thing last night, so don't deny it!"

    Video Games 
  • Solatorobo: Inverted when Red (unconscious after a Virtual Training Simulation) stumbles across Elh in the shower and gets slapped for it, since he's the one dreaming.
  • Elsword: in one supplementary comic, Aisha dreams about her and her friends suddenly growing up with only her noticing, and in particular, Elsword has changed from a brash hothead to a more levelheaded and compassionate young man - and she gets flustered at him. When she wakes up and meets Elsword (who, as usual, is being an insensitive jerk) she almost blurts out that he was nice in her dreams... before she stopped and shouts "YOU'LL NEVER TURN OUT TO BE LIKE THAT! NEVER!!"
  • In The Simpsons Game, after completion of the first level, The Land of Chocolate, Homer Simpson rants about the following below after he wakes up:
    Homer: Not...wha?? Damn it, I was dreaming!! Why is life so unfair? All I want is the ability to eat everything inside and turn into a giant ball! Is that too much to ask? Damn you, reality!!
  • In Fire Emblem: The Blazing Blade, Hector's B Support with Eliwood involves Hector retelling a Prophetic Dream about his daughter, who gets taken away by a red-headed boy who looks similar to Eliwood.
    Hector: No matter how close we may be, Iíll notĖIíll not give up my daughter!
    Eliwood: Hector! Letís hope your dream doesnít come true, eh? For my sake.

    Web Animation 
  • Ultra Fast Pony. The episode "Random Eye Magic" involves Rainbow Dash playing a very irritating prank on Twilight Sparkle—then the entire episode turns out to be All Just a Dream. Several episodes later, in "Shameless Self Reference", Twilight admits that she's still angry at Dash for the dreamed prank (among several other, real incidents). Oddly enough, Rainbow Dash mentions that prank first, as if she remembered actually committing it.

  • An early Ozy and Millie strip has Millie feeling guilty for being mad at Ozy for taking her cookie in a dream. Ozy fixes this by actually taking her cookie so her anger can stop being unfounded.
    Millie: You're a good friend you weasly toadface.
  • Survivor: Fan Characters Season Nine: Madison, a pretty but shallow model, gets angry at her showmance partner, the handsome but stupid Brenton Bubbles, because he yelled at her. In her dream. The onlookers are baffled by this.
  • Sheldon: This strip has Sheldon mad at Arthur for something that happened in his dream - specifically, in his dream Arthur had fourteen camels and he wouldn't give Sheldon one and then he flew them to the moon and left Sheldon in Maine and he was a jerk. In the next strip, he's STILL mad at Arthur, despite Arthur's pointing out that it was just a dream. Then an equally-quite angry Gramp comes in.
    Gramp: Why wouldn't you let me feed your Pegasus at the 1910 World's Fair??
    Arthur: COME ON.
  • In Nedroid, Beartato has gone missing and Reginald is searching for him. He decides he needs to think like Beartato in order to find him, then through a bizarre train of logic, the Beartato in his imagination threatens to kill Reginald. The Alt Text reads "For weeks afterward, Reginald is angry at Beartato over this."
  • Strange Planet:
    "Last night in a semiconscious state, I imagined you betrayed me. When I awoke these imagined events made me suspicious of the real you. What an irrational reaction."
    "And yet."
  • In a Questionable Contents strip, Dora (who was still dating Marten at the time) dreams that she sees Marten making out with a random girl, so she uses her magic abilities to turn them both into bunnies. Then the bunnies start doing it. The last panel shows her punching the real Marten in the arm without waking up.
  • One Life of Maid storyline has Flandre dream of herself as a knight fighting a dragon that abducted her sister Remillia. Before she can land the killing blow, however, Sakuya swoops in and kills the dragon, getting Remillia's gratitude. When Flandre wakes up, she runs up to Sakuya and starts yelling at her.

    Western Animation 
  • In the episode "The Dream" of The Amazing World of Gumball, Gumball holds a grudge against Darwin after seeing him kiss Penny in a dream. Things quickly escalate with Gumball almost inadvertently killing Penny out of jealousy and Darwin attempting to patch things up by travelling inside said dream to try and change the outcome, which results in Darwin kissing Sussie and in turn holding a grudge against Gumball.
  • In the American Dad! episode "The Most Adequate Christmas Ever", it was shown that Stan once had a dream where Steve convinced him to give his kidney to a homeless man. Stan woke up in horror just before the surgery, then walked over to Steve's room, pushed him out of bed, and yelled at him for what his dream self did.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: The episode "Rock-A-Bye Ed" has Ed develop an extreme fear of Jonny 2x4 after a nightmare with Jonny's face imposed on Ed's mom's body. This eventually leads to Ed hugging Jonny while saying, "I love you, Mom!" Strangely enough, this whole episode was an Acid Reflux Nightmare of Jonny's, meaning that the whole episode revolved around Ed being Mad at a Dream Within A Dream.
  • In the Kick Buttowski: Suburban Daredevil episode "Rocked", Kick's dream of being a superhero abruptly ends with the villain being unmasked as Brad. Kick immediately goes to Brad's room and punches him in the shoulder, telling him, "Stay out of my dreams!"
  • The Popeye short "Wotta Nitemare" primarily takes place in a bad dream Popeye is having where things are just not going right for the sailor and Bluto is mistreating both him and Olive Oyl. When Popeye finally wakes up, he's so mad that he gets out of bed to find and punch out a bewildered Bluto.
  • In "Truth or Poll" from Arthur, Brain and Binky get into a poll-taking competition with each other after Binky manipulates polls to his own advantage. Binky ends up having a nightmare in which he gets baked into a pie because using Brain's logic, which is actually a twisted version of his own logic, 100% of respondents said that they wanted Binky to be baked into a pie. That morning, when Brain offers to take a poll on Miss McGrady's behalf because Binky's are misleading, Binky gripes "Well, at least I'm not putting kids in pies!"
  • King of the Hill had an episode where Hank dreamed about barbecuing naked with his neighbor Nancy Gribble. Just about everyone who found out about the dream (including his wife Peggy, Nancy's husband Dale, and her ex-lover John Redcorn) acted as if Hank had slept with her in real life, never mind the fact that in the dream they didn't go any further than grilling and eating hamburgers while making casual, friendly conversation.
  • One episode of CatDog has Dog becoming fond of a stuffed kitten toy he names Little Cat. This causes Cat to have a bad dream where Dog decides to literally attach himself to Little Cat, leaving Cat attached to Winslow (making them Winslow-Cat). The dream makes Cat decide to move out of the house, telling Dog that he refuses to be replaced by Little Cat, and also adding "And I will not stand for Winslow-Cat!"
  • In the Rugrats episode "Farewell, My Friend," Tommy leads the babies in exploring Chaz's new backyard greenhouse; however, once inside, they get spooked by a "Shadow Guy" (Chaz's gardening outfit) and Chuckie's glasses get broken. That night, an already rattled Chuckie dreams that he and the other babies are mountain climbing. Tommy tries to coax Chuckie into jumping over a gap by saying "Trust me! I'm your friend," but Chuckie ends up falling while screaming "I thought you were my friend!" The next day, when Tommy suggests going back to the greenhouse, Chuckie puts his foot down and refuses to go, explaining that every time he goes on an adventure, he ends up getting his glasses broken, or chased by a Shadow Guy, or falling off a mountain. Naturally, Tommy gets confused by the "mountain" comment.


Video Example(s):


Stay out of Camberwick Green!

After experiencing a claymation dream wherein Gene Hunt kicks in a sex offender, Sam Tyler awakens to tell him, "Stay out of Camberwick Green!"

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / MadAtADream

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