"Last night I dreamed that I was eating a giant marshmallow, and when I woke up, my pillow was gone!"
Simply put: a character is dreaming about doing something (such as eating a giant marshmallow) while in the waking world, they are doing that thing to some real object (or person!) at hand, such as their pillow, often ending with them waking up with a mouthful of feathers. This is a staple dream type found in comics and animation. Though eating is the most typical version of this, other activities can also be involved.
The lower the dreamer's intelligence, the more likely this is to happen, and the less need for there to be an actual marshmallow in the dream. Big Eaters are, of course, prone to this trope as well.
Not to be confused with Marshmallow Hell. Though now that it's been mentioned, it's only a matter of time before somebody figures out how to combine them note . Compare Crashing Dreams, Acting Out a Daydream, and Delicious Daydream.
Works featuring marshmallow dreams:
- One chapter of Ayakashi Triangle has Matsuri tasked with getting a Life Energy sample from Suzu while she's sleeping. In the process, Suzu's dream about eating marshmallow's causes her to bite and nibble on Matsuri's breast.
- In To Love Ru and the sequel Darkness, Rito often dreams about ice creams and marshmallows. Due to him being the king of Accidental Perverts, this inevitably leads to him groping and licking any nearby girl. The first time is in the first series with his sister (grabbing her butt); fortunately she pinches his cheek to make him release her. One dream late in Darkness has an incredibly racy version where Rito wakes up with his face in front of Lala's crotch. The specific candy shown in the dream* heavily imply he was giving her cunnilingus.
- In an eyecatch for Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Nanoha is shown happily eating sweet potatoes... pan down to show that it's only a dream, and she's actually gnawing on a struggling Yuuno.
- In INVADERS of the ROKUJYOUMA!? Satomi grabs Ruth in his sleep, dreaming about climbing a tree to catch a beetle. Ruth gets so upset (about him dreaming her as a tree rather than any inappropriate contact), that she develops an unreasoning hatred of Rhinoceros Beetles, despite not even knowing what one looks like until later.
- Some of the extra scenes in the anime of Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid have Shouta, who shares a bed with Lucoa, dream about giant balls crushing him and a bear pushing its paw into his face. In one instance he dreams that he's fighting a sumo wrestler, which naturally translates to him pawing at her chest, which she thinks is flirting.
- An incident in Ranma ½ had Ranma and Ryoga fighting to keep Happosai from slipping into Akane's bed and cuddling with her while she's asleep. Happosai manages to succeed, only to find out the hard way that Akane sometimes fights in her sleep.
- Happy Heroes: In the title card for episode 31, Big M. dreams that he's got a big dinner layed out in front of him. In the real world, Big M. is chewing on Little M.'s foot.
- The title card of Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 2 shows Paddi dreaming that he is eating a grass cake. He wakes up to find he was eating his own pillow while he was sleeping.
- One Zhu Bajie cartoon has a gag where Bajie is hungry and dreaming about various foods, culminating into stumbling upon a giant hamburger and waking up realizing that he is eating his own pillow when he tries to bite into it.
- On one cover of Simpsons Comics, Homer is seen eating his pillow while dreaming of eating a pizza.
- Calvin and Hobbes had this as a minor Running Gag. Hobbes would be having a dream about being in a vicious fight with a ferocious weasel... only to awaken and discover that he had really been ripping his pillow to shreds. Or, occasionally, Calvin.
- One Dilbert strip had Wally dreaming about taking the Pointy-Haired Boss's "Work smarter, not harder" slogan literally and making himself smarter simply by concentrating, which also makes his head swell. In the last panel Wally is at work, his head still swollen, telling Dilbert "And when I woke up my pillow was gone", to which Dilbert responds "Oh wow, you woke up in the wrong punchline."
- Naturally, this has happened to Garfield.
- In the January 24, 1982 strip, he dreams of being in the land of giant breakfasts, eats a pancake, and wakes up wondering where his blanket went.
- Another time, he thought he got up in the middle of the night and ate some jawbreakers, only to find that his marbles were missing.
- The December 16, 2005 strip has Garfield take a bite out of his bed while dreaming about a chocolate chip cookie.
- In The Better Half, Stanley tells Harriet that he dreamed about eating a very large piece of lasagna; when he woke up, their red comforter was gone.
- A wolf tries Counting Sheep, with predictable results.
- A somewhat NSFW fanfic which has been (almost) lost to time titled "Mr. Fuzzywumpus" gives us a variant. Through a chain of events a girl thinks that Sonic, Shadow and Silver are her pets, and she ends up "letting them" sleep in her bed. Shadow wakes up to find Sonic (with Easy Amnesia) cuddling up to him, and Silver ends up in a compromising position trying to separate them.
Sonic gave a little nudge. Silver's left foot lost traction, as his right went sliding over Sonic's far shoulder. His rear end landed quite squarely on Sonic's chest, with his back towards Sonic's feet, and his front towards his pillow. That put something important right in front of Sonic's face.
"I don't know about you guys, but I had a wonderful dream last night..." He turned back to the bed. "It was like being inside a giant ball of cotton candy, only it wasn't all sugary. And talk about soft...ummm...are you two quite all right?"
- And the next morning:
- The Pony Earthverse has turned this into a running gag; whenever characters talk with their ponies for the first time, they end up with a pillow in their mouth.
- This trope is Older Than Print; one of Aesop's Fables is about a milkmaid who dreams about getting rich and arrogantly tossing her hair at the fair, only to find that she's knocked over her milk buckets in real life.
- Similarly, the Arabian Nights tale of the Barber and his Brothers has one of the barber's brothers working in a glass shop, imagine himself opening successively bigger shops and getting rich, then attempting to court the Vizier's daughter and being met with the Vizier's refusal. He attacks the Vizier in his dream and wakes up to find he's knocked over his glass.
- Subverted on The Colbert Report
Colbert: I dreamt I was eating a giant marshmallow, and when I woke up, my giant marshmallow was gone.
- The Golden Girls:
- Subverted in an episode:
Carol: Last night, I dreamt I was eating a giant marshmallow, and when I woke up my boyfriend was gone.
Man: I don't get it.
Carol: It's not a joke.
- Played straight in an episode of After Show Golden Palace, when Chuy — under the guise of "Corny Castillos" — plans on putting this exact joke in his act for the hotel talent show.
- Subverted in an episode:
- Conversed (in a hoedown!) by Colin Mochrie in the UK Whose Line Is It Anyway?. When he has to sing about his worst nightmare, he tells about eating cotton candy and it ends with him waking up with the pillow gone.
- Referenced twice in Kingdom of Loathing:
- The comfy pillow item has this description:
"If you dream that you're eating a giant marshmallow, you'll probably wake up and find this gone, provided you're in a place where people steal your pillow while you're asleep." (This also serves as a justification as to why the item is consumed upon using it.)
- This is also inverted in the description for the giant marshmallow item:
"If you have a dream that you're eating a pillow, you'll probably wake up and find that this is gone."
- The comfy pillow item has this description:
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures gave us an excellent example followed by waking up.
- Skin Horse combines this with Real Dreams are Weirder here; Unity responds to the Abbess's description of her prophetic dream with an inversion of the trope ("I dreamed I ate all the pillows in the house! And when I woke up, all the marshmallows were gone!")
- Slightly Damned gives us a textbook, same-page, same-panel, non-marshmallow example. It's currently the page image.
- Tiger inverted the concept. He bought a giant unstamped sheet of Peeps marshamallow he wanted to carve. Instead he ate it while dreaming he was eating his pillow.
- Also happens in a guest comic where Jessica is having a wonderful dream about a huge feast and wakes up to find she was chewing on Zach's ear.
- In the Busybee Comics series Womble, one comic has the Duchess telling the Womble about a succession of strange dreams, after each of which she awoke to discover her pillow was gone. The comic ends with the Womble lounging on a pile of stolen pillows.
- Sandra on the Rocks manages to combine this with Marshmallow Hell in one comic, although we only hear about it afterwards. Slightly NSFW.
- Stuart Ashen: "Once, I had a dream I was eating a giant marshmallow. When I woke up, my wife was missing and everything was covered in blood!"
- One of the earliest animated examples of this trope was in a Popeye theatrical cartoon from 1939 called "Wotta Nitemare." As the title suggests, Popeye is having an absolutely hellish nightmare involving a demonic Bluto making a complete fool out of the sailor man in front of Olive. Popeye finally finds a can of spinach in his dream and commences guzzling the contents of said can. We then back out of the dream to see the sleeping Popeye on his bed, having punched a hole in his mattress and currently in the process of pulling out the stuffing and eating it, handful by handful. It's even worse when you notice that the mattress appears to have been stuffed with horsehair.
- Played with in Family Guy; Peter initially can't find his pillow, but he was just lying on it. We then see a half-eaten sheep in his room trying to crawl to safety.
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In the episode "Suds", SpongeBob dreams of eating Krabby Patties and wakes up chewing on his pillow. This encourages him to make himself a seanut butter and jellyfish jelly sandwich.
- Also referred to on "Sleepy Time". When SpongeBob meets Gary in the dreamworld, the now erudite Gary tries to explain to him the concept of dreams as a view to another world. When an Emily Dickinson poem goes over SB's head, Gary recites a Limerick more his speed:
There once was an old man from Peru
Who dreamed he was eating his shoe
He woke with a fright
In the middle of the night
To find that his dream had come true.
- In The Fairly OddParents, Chester wakes up eating his pillow, says "You're not the giant marshmallow. Oh well!" and continues eating.
- In an Animaniacs short, that one kid comes out of his house and says "One time, OK, see, one time Randy Beaman's mom had a dream that she ate a big marshmallow and it was really good, and she, and when she woke up...her pillow was gone. 'Cause she ate it. 'K, bye."
- This has happened a couple of times to Homer in The Simpsons.
- In the Care Bears: Welcome to Care-a-Lot episode Night Bears, Grumpy dreams that he has a bottomless pantry, and he starts feasting on the food in the pantry. The scene then fades back to reality, showing that Grumpy is actually invoking this trope.
- A non-sleeping example occurs in the Muppet Babies (1984) episode, "The Great Cookie Robbery". Nanny tasks Gonzo with sharing a box of cookies with his friends to tide them over until lunch, and an Imagine Spot occurs where Piggy has to marry Gonzo to get one of his cookies. Just as Piggy is about to say yes, a wedding cake is brought in, and she chows down on it. As the imagine spot ends, Piggy is revealed to be chewing on a pillow.
- Bridget, the child protagonist from one episode of Sylvanian Families talks in her sleep and reveals she's dreaming of cookies. She takes a chomp out of her pillow before spitting a feather out.
- This is very unlikely to happen during regular sleep because of the phenomenon known as sleep paralysis, wherein the body deactivates most voluntary motor nerves specifically to keep stuff like this from happening.
- Sylvester Stallone claims that this happened while he was gaining weight for his role in Cop Land.