A stock dream where the subject finds themselves in a familiar social institution (usually school or the workplace) wearing only their underwear, or sometimes nothing at all. This is often coupled with a high-pressure task (such as an examination or a deadline), and the thought that you have somehow forgotten to get dressed this morning. In many cases no one else in the dream notices the dreamer isn't wearing enough clothes until the dreamer themselves notices at which point they typically react by pointing and laughing at the dreamer, who then notices their nudity and react with a Naked Freak-Out. Usually followed by a Skyward Scream followed by them waking up in a Catapult Nightmare.
Usually, this trope is invoked to simply indicate that the person is dreaming. When played straight, it is simply embarrassing, and not in the least bit erotic or terror-inducing. And it will never, ever be prophetic... although in comedy, it's occasionally subverted by having the "bad dream" turn out to not be a dream at all.
This kind of dream is definitely Truth in Television and quite common in fact, though perhaps not as much as media shows it, nor always with the same structure and conclusion. After all, Real Dreams Are Weirder.
See also Out-of-Clothes Experience, Comedic Underwear Exposure, and Naked Freak-Out. Not to be confused with Pants-Free (a specific sight gag where someone is revealed to be partly undressed Behind the Black); the everyday attire of a Half-Dressed Cartoon Animal; a superhero who is Not Wearing Tights; or situations where a character isn't wearing pants but doesn't care. Also not to be confused with Going Commando. Expect Goofy Print Underwear to make an appearance in most cases of this.
The inversion is Nude-Colored Clothes. To a British audience, this trope would be "only wearing pants" since in Britain "pants" are what Americans call "underpants". "Not wearing pants" in Britain would either be "going commando" or "completely nude".
If someone finds themselves unexpectedly naked in public when they're awake, see Naked People Trapped Outside and Gone Swimming, Clothes Stolen. See Sleeps in the Nude for characters who sleep in the buff and Undressing the Unconscious for characters that are stripped while they're unconscious.
- There is an advertisement for Agrofert (a Czech conglomerate holding company) where a woman pole-vaults naked and wakes up from the dream to reveal that she was sleeping on a plane: https://youtu.be/epgOtYi61bo
- In Batman, Tim Drake once commented that normal people have nightmares about accidentally heading to school in their underwear. He doesn't. His nightmares involved accidentally going to school in his Robin uniform.
- Hack/Slash: Cassie's first battle with Ashley Guthrie starts out with one of these.
- In I Killed Adolf Hitler the hero sees himself naked in front of Hitler. No wonder he wakes up screaming.
- Subverted in Grant Morrison's The Invisibles — At one point, Sir Miles and Colonel Friday communicate with one another via dream travel, with Sir Miles appearing in the Dreamscape without his trousers. When Friday makes a snide remark, Sir Miles, unperturbed, calmly points out that it's a common dream image and therefore makes communication easier.
- Iznogoud: In "The Tartar's Talisman", the title object makes the wearer's dreams come true, so naturally, Iznogoud has a naked dream while wearing it. And then, the irascible sultan Pullmankar enters.
- In Little Ego, Ego has a dream where she goes to a party only to discover she had forgotten to put her dress on under her cape. While hiding from her hosts and the other guests, she meets a man who had forgotten to put on anything other than his bow-tie.
- The second story in New Line Cinema's Tales of Horror opens with a girl having a dream about showing up at school naked. She is stated to have these kinds of dreams often, but this one is different because the Dream Walker Serial Killer Freddy Krueger is after her.
- In Tintin, the captain has such a dream. He's in the opera, a parrot-version of Castafiore sings, and the whole audience consists of parrots in black suits, looking disapprovingly at the naked captain.
- In Violine, one of Violine's dreams involves her in just her underwear.
- The title character of Big Nate has a dream where he is naked in class. He has this dream, incidentally, while he's asleep in class.
- Dream of the Rarebit Fiend is already centered around dreams, and of course has a comic where a pants-less man goes out on the street in search of his missing pants. He gets a lot of stares from people and winds up being arrested, presumably for public indecency.
- Jon once had a nightmare, where he was about to address the assembly of the United Nations, with millions of people watching by television- introducing himself as a horrible loser and saying that he forgot to wear pants.
- Subverted in another strip where he thinks he's dreaming about being locked outside without pants.
Jon: I am dreaming, aren't I?
Garfield: Now comes the good part.
- Loriot once made a strip with this as a spoof of etiquette guides, recommending for this case that you should try to wake yourself up by pinching yourself - even if you like the situation.
- Luann once had a dream where not only did she not have pants, she had a mask on her face and shampoo in her hair. Mortified, she suddenly realized this has to be a dream and waited to wake up. When she didn't, she ran out in a panic, and then woke up wondering, "Whatever happened to those beautiful princess in a castle dreams I used to have?"
- Inverted in Mother Goose and Grimm, where Grimmy (a dog) has a nightmare where he's on a busy street while fully dressed.
- A cartoon in Punch shows a man, naked from the waist down, riding the bus, while explaining cheerfully to a horrified elderly woman that this is simply a recurring dream of his in which he always wakes up before reaching a particular stop.
- Jeremy in Zits has a dream where he is naked at school and can't decide if the most disturbing part is that he's naked or that no one notices.
- The Boxer:
[Harry] regained consciousness too quickly for his liking. As he did a mental checklist and found that he was bound, physically and magically. He couldn't touch his own power. From his position on his back on his floor he looked around to find himself, unsurprisingly, in the centre of a ring of Death Eaters. They were back in the graveyard. And he was naked, brilliant. This was way worse than that dream where he was in Transfiguration and he was supposed to transfigure a bird and wrist watch into a cuckoo clock but ended up naked instead.
- Crumpets Aren't My Style:
As the day progressed O'Neill overheard dozens of disturbing dreams recounted. Fortunately they were not all mentioned directly to him. He couldn't seem to walk into a room without hearing about Lieutenant Kemper falling out of a plane or Colonel Linn stepping through the gate and realizing he was naked in front of a battalion of serpent guards.
- Mentioned by Ace in the Doctor Who webcast Death Comes to Time. When Casmus tells her about the importance and significance of dreams, she fires back by mentioning that hers are basically useless.
Ace: I just end up with my trousers down in the classroom!
- Inverted in Earth and Sky. Since ponies think nothing of going without clothes, their version of this trope is when they dream about being overdressed in public. In particular, Diamond Tiara dreams about being back in school, wearing a ridiculously Pimped-Out Dress in the classroom.
- In Isis's Bane: A New Home Harry claims to have dreamt about being naked in front of his class to hide the fact that his actual dream was about a boy Isis killed while he was her host.
- In the Sailor Moon and Ranma ½ crossover No Chance for Fate, this is given a dark twist. Ami does have the normal dream of appearing in school naked. Thanks to her dreams being manipulated, it almost turns into a gang rape until Ranma shows up (their minds are linked) and helps her out.
- In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen of All Oni, Jade has one in the second interlude — and this is the most normal thing about that dream!
- The Miraculous Ladybug fic Sleepy Bug has a variant: Marinette has a dream where she goes to school dressed as Ladybug, not noticing until she gets there and sits down thanks to being sleep deprived within the dream.
- In The Videus Charm Harriet dreams about participating in the Triwizard Tournament while not wearing pants, revealing her snitch underwear to all of Europe.
- Xander's Green Eyed Obsession:
Anya: I can't stop thinking about you. Sometimes in my dreams you're naked.
Xander: If I'm in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, I've had the same one.
- Appears in the Dream Production sequence in Inside Out. Fear thinks said dream is too cliché.
- In Mosaic the protagonist has a disturbing dream where she is chased through the streets by practically everyone in the cast in her bra and panties, it's blatant Fanservice though her obvious terror and the fact she has her limbs stretched unnaturally when they catch her borders on FanDisservice.
- In Osmosis Jones, the Live-Action Show Within a Show dream sequence Ozzy watches about Frank's subconscious features a dream in which Frank is in his daughter's class taking a test he didn't know about or study for... in his underwear and getting laughed at by the kids, the buffalo-wing-eating champion, some bullies from work, etc. and berated by Mrs. Boyd.
- Shrek's nightmare from Shrek the Third has a scene where Shrek walks onto a stage, wearing only a mortarboard hat and a medal, in front of an audience of ogre babies.
- In Another Time, Another Place, Janie worries about Luigi blabbing to the other POWs about having slept with her (made worse by the fact that she can't understand what they're saying) and ends up having a weird, anxiety-fuelled daydream where she imagines herself naked with all the prisoners leering at her.
- In The BFG, three of the title character's bottled dreams, seen beside each other, read "I is naked at work," "I is naked at school" and "I is naked at my wedding."
- Bring It On: The film begins with Torrance having a nightmare where she's doing a cheerleading performance in front of the whole school and as she finishes we see her Toplessness from the Back in front of the crowd that staring laughing and Eating the Eye Candy. she resorts to using her pom-poms to cover herself up before she wakes up and realizes it was just a bad dream.
- In Bull Durham, Nuke LaLoosh had a nightmare about playing naked. When he wakes up on the team bus, wise veteran Crash Davis tells him "it's OK, I have that dream all the time too." Writer/Director Ron Shelton really did play minor league baseball, and this is one of the many parts of the film that are evidently Truth in Television.
- Character: Dreverhaven is a bailiff who is hated by most everybody, due to his business being the serving of eviction notices. In one scene he confronts a Torches and Pitchforks mob outside his office building—while in the nude. They lynch him. Then the entire sequence is revealed to be a Catapult Nightmare.
- The Gift (2015): Robyn has a dream where she sees Gordo peeking on her while she's showering.
- New York Minute introduces Jane while she's having one of these since the plot is about how anxious she is about an upcoming speech that could win a scholarship. The nightmare has her giving a speech and the audience suddenly starts laughing at her, and the camera shifts to shows she's naked with Shoulders-Up Nudity. Confused, she then steps away from behind the podium that was concealing her and the camera changes to a Toplessness from the Back shot where she stands nude in front of the crowd, who starts laughing harder, and she finally notices her nudity. Cue Naked Freak-Out followed by a Catapult Nightmare.
- In Ava XOX, a book targeted at older children and written in the form of diary entries, Ava writes in her diary about having one of these. It was brought on because her gym teacher had said that starting with the next grade, Ava and her classmates would be allowed to use the school showers, hence Ava actually could end up naked at school. She swears she will never use these.
- In Bridget Jones' Diary, Bridget has a recurring nightmare where she has to take A-level French while wearing nothing but her Domestic Science apron.
- In The Hallowed Hunt, Learned Oswin contrasts the god-sent dreams of his wife with his own dreams of this sort. "The gods walk through her dreams as though strolling in a garden. I just have dreams of running lost through my old seminary, with no clothes, late for an examination of a class I did not know I had, and the like."
- Referenced in Dinoverse, when Candayce has a lovely dream of lying out beside a pool in the warm sun, then realizes with horror that she feels the air on her bare chest - and when she wakes up she's naked because she's in the body of a dinosaur.
- In the Dirty Bertie story "Pants!", Bertie loses a bet with his classmate Nick and has to go to school in his underpants and has a dream where Miss Boot calls him to the front of the class and he's in his undies. When he wakes up, he is relieved that it is a dream but nervous about having to go to school in underwear.
- Older Than Radio: The Dream of Councillor Popov (1873), a satire in verse by Aleksey Tolstoy (a cousin of Leo Tolstoy and himself a famous Russian poet, novelist, and playwright)
- The Give Yourself Goosebumps book It's Only A Nightmare uses this in one of the bad endings — in the story branch where the reader teams up with the Sleep Master to fight Lord Morphos, there's a choice to do so by debating him on a stage in a crowded auditorium. If you take this choice, you suddenly find yourself in just your underwear; the Sleep Master then informs you that you're now trapped in this nightmare forever.
- One of Ours: Claude has a dream in which he's walking over to see Enid, only to realize he has no clothes on. In his dream, he leaps into the vegetable garden to hide and then talks with Enid while trying to conceal his nudity.
- Princesses of the Pizza Parlor: Cassie's nightmare in the fourth book, combined with Naked People Are Funny:
she'd been about to make a presentation for her final exam at the Moon Temple's seminary, only to realize halfway through that she was completely naked. When she'd turned to run and hide, everyone had seen the bunny-tail right over her royal bottom, and had laughed even harder.
- In the memoir Reading Lolita In Tehran, the author remembers some women discussing dreams of appearing outside without their veils.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, Cersei Lannister has a nightmare that starts at her sitting on the Iron Throne and everyone admiring her. Then suddenly Tyrion appears and laughs at her, and Cersei realizes that she's not wearing a dress. After that, the dream takes a horrific turn: Cersei stands up, stumbles and is impaled on the blades of which the throne is made of. The throne starts to grind her into a fine red paste like a meatgrinder, and she awakes in horror.
- Chris Van Allsburg's storybook The Sweetest Fig involves self-centered Parisian dentist Monsieur Bibot receiving two figs as payment for a tooth extraction. The lady who gives him these figs says that all of his dreams will come true. Not believing so, Bibot eats one of the figs. The next day his preceding dream comes true; among other things, he walks his dog Marcel in his underwear without noticing.
- In an episode of Angel, the hero dreams that he comes to work but forgets his shoes.
- Babylon 5: "Sic Transit Vir" used this with Ivanova in one episode. She dreamed that she was on the bridge but forgot to get dressed. When she mentions it to Sheridan by saying she dreamed that she went to work feeling vulnerable and exposed ("totally... unprepared for my work"), the Captain responded by saying that at least she didn't dream that she went to work naked.
- Beverly Hills, 90210: One episode has Andrea having a nightmare where she goes to school wearing only her glasses.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
Anya: I can't stop thinking about you. Sometimes in my dreams, you're all naked.
- In the season 1 episode "Nightmares", Xander is forced to live through his dream of suddenly being in his underwear in front of the entire class. Apparently he has this one a lot.
- Willow mentions having such a dream in "The Zeppo:"
Buffy: Do you remember the demon that almost got out the night I died?
Willow: Every nightmare I have that doesn't revolve around academic failure or public nudity is about that thing. In fact, once I dreamt that it attacked me while I was late for a test and naked.
- In "The Harsh Light of the Day", when Anya tells Xander she dreams of him naked he snarks if its the "naked in public" dream type.
Xander: Really. You know, if I'm in the checkout line at Wal-Mart, I've had the same one.
Buffy: You're running to catch the bus naked? That's a dream. Army of vicious vampire creatures? That's a vision. Also, I was awake.
- In "Storyteller", Wood asks Buffy how she can tell the difference between her dreams and her visions.
Wood: A bus to where? I mean, an army of how many?
- Played With in Dark Angel episode "Boo". Max dreams she is chatting with Original Cindy, which ends with Cindy looking down and asking, "Max, where are your clothes?" Max has enough time to realize she's naked before the real Cindy wakes up Max, who fell asleep while she was having a bubble bath. Cindy points out just how risky it is for Max to fall asleep in a bubble bath like that.
- Dead Man's Gun: In "The Bounty Hunter", Raymond Jakes has a nightmare in which he confronts his mentor Retired Gunfighter Mr. Otis in a Showdown at High Noon, and he (Jakes) is wearing nothing but his long johns.
- Doctor Who: Referenced in "Blink"; Sally Sparrow encounters Larry, emerging from the bathroom in the middle of the night. He takes in her presence and offers, "Not... sure, but... really, really hoping... pants?" She tells him no, but with just a hint of a smile on her face.
- On The Drew Carey Show, Drew told his not-quite girlfriend about a dream he had involving her:
Drew: You were on fire and I was squirting you with a giant hose. Then you turned into my mother and my pants fell off.
- Eureka uses this in the same episode everyone winds up sharing dreams, with Carter going to work naked. In the next morning, everyone's acting weird with him and he realizes everyone did actually see him naked, including his Love Interest and his daughter who is very disturbed by it.
- Galavant: An early episode opens with Galavant heroically fighting off an ambush in the woods. Suddenly, Madalena and King Richard (who are nowhere near Galavant's current location) appear and laugh at him for not wearing pants. The scene finally makes sense after Richard's comment.
- Glee: In "Opening Night", Rachel's pre-show jitters manifest as many Anxiety Dreams, including the dream where she's naked in front of her friends.
- In the Haven episode "Lay Me Down", Nathan dreams that he is in class, naked. It soon turns into an Erotic Dream because Audrey is his Hot Teacher, who gives him a spanking with a ruler.
- Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: In the episode "Honey, I'm Dreaming... But Am I?", part of Morpheus' test to Amy involves making her appear naked in front of her entire class, with her only cover being a parachute left over from the falling dream she just escaped, and then quizzing her over the right word to describe her situation. Rather than go with the proper answer of "mortifying", Amy goes with "ironic", and applies lucid dreaming to make her classmates likewise wearing only parachutes as a fashion statement.
- On How I Met Your Mother, Ted has one of these dreams right before starting as a professor. Not only is he missing his pants, but he doesn't even have his hat and whip. Barney comments on it, telling Ted he should have had sex with the hot student in the front row because he already had his pants off.
- Referenced in iCarly when Sam was having a nightmare and Gibby ran into the classroom in his underwear. Sam told him to "Get out! This is my nightmare!"
- In the 2003 sitcom I'm With Her, main character and famous actress Alex has a dream where she's accepting a major award, only to suddenly find herself naked in front of the audience.
- In one episode of Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Casey Novak goes to a judge's house to get an exhumation order signed, only to find him in the middle of a poker game with several other judges. She promptly quips, "I've had this nightmare before, only I was naked." (It's never made clear if this is an actual recurring nightmare or just a little tongue-in-cheek humor referencing this trope.)
- Legacies: In "What Was Hope Doing in Your Dreams?", a stressful week of exams is thwarted by the arrival of a monster who feeds off their fears, with Landon experiences a "naked on school" nightmare as the monster pries on his new school jitters.
- The Magicians (2016): In "The Cock Barrens", Margo has a dream where she's naked in front of the class during a test, covering herself with her arms in panic. Penny happens to contact her during it, invading her dream and ending up actually seeing her naked, much to her horror. He considers it prime fodder for a favor later.
Margo: Penny, if you ever tell anyone you saw—
Penny: Ooh, no, no, no, I'd never. I'd much rather have you owe me huge.
- Malcolm in the Middle: In the episode with Dewey's chickenpox and the dominoes, Hal has a dream that starts with his wife on a white horse, and transitions to him having a test in school for which he didn't study... and suddenly he's in only his underwear.
- Inverted in Married... with Children: In the episode Teacher Pets, while sitting in class, Bud Bundy is humiliated by the actions of his father. He then believes he must be having a nightmare, and if he drops his pants, he'll be so embarrassed he will wake up. He does, and not only does he find out that he isn't dreaming, he finds out he was not wearing underwear.
- In UK mini-series Mister Eleven, protagonist and Hot Teacher Saz has post-coital dreams where she's lecturing her class, explaining to them the logic about her decisions in her love life, all while clad in only a Modesty Bedsheet that keeps threatening to drop as she talks.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000: In the Zombie Nightmare episode, Crow riffs on the title of the movie, saying "Every Zombie Nightmare I have, I'm naked at a hockey game."
- MythBusters: While testing the idea of cabin fever in an Alaska special, Adam, having been stuck alone in a cabin for a few days and acting a little screwier than usual, decides to relate a dream that he had just had to a video camera he is using to keep a sort of diary. It seems to start off as a serious dream about him being in an airliner that's about to crash, but Adam then addressed the passengers on the plane (and follows up with a comment for the camera):
Adam: Listen. I don't think this is a real plane crash 'cause I happen to notice that I'm not wearing any pants. And whenever I'm not wearing any pants, it's probably a dream.
- One episode of Night Court has Bull come to work in the buff. "It's okay, I'm just having that nightmare where I go to work naked." "...Bull, this isn't a dream." Cue the slow burn, the girly scream, and the title.
- Pixel Face: Referenced by Rex in "Mrs. Dynamo's Son":
Rex: Oh no! Is this a dream? Am I going to have to sit an exam with no pants on in a moment?
- In an episode of Power Rangers RPM, Ziggy reveals that he once dreamed that he had gone to school in just his underwear, only to realize that it wasn't a dream. Apparently there was a rash that had spread down the back of something too...
- In the Red Dwarf episode "Thanks for the Memory", Lister looks in on what Rimmer is dreaming. Rimmer is doing a tap dance in a top hat and tails, but no pants.
- Sabrina the Teenage Witch has Sabrina enter Valerie's dream to find her taking a test on which her entire future depends. Then she looks down and all her clothes are gone and has a Naked Freak-Out, running out of the room while trying to cover herself.
- Star Trek: Voyager: "Waking Moments" begins with Tuvok having one about being naked on the bridge. Played for Laughs in that Tuvok refuses to tell the other main characters (save for Janeway, and only when she presses him) the details of his dream and they imagine something far worse for this stoic Vulcan than a mundanity such as being naked.
Tuvok: It appears that in my haste to get to the Bridge, I neglected to put on my uniform.
- The Talmud (Berachot 56-57) includes a Long List of interpretations for dreams. Among them: dreaming that you're naked in Babylonia is a sign that God has forgiven your sins—i.e., you're "bare" of any—but dreaming that you're naked in the Land of Israel means that you're lacking in good deeds instead.
- Parodied in the World Builder game Brownies Dream. One of the dreams involves the title character being back in high school and naked in class. He then wonders what he's worried about, given that he's a cartoon dog who doesn't normally wear clothes, and it turns into a dream about the day he met his girlfriend Jane Doe.
- In Catherine, the protagonist Vincent is forced to run around in nothing but white boxers with pink polka dots during the puzzle sections, which take place in his dreams.
- Dragon Age:
- Dragon Age: Origins: If you nominate Alistair for King of Ferelden, his response is "This is where I wake up, usually. Or everyone points and laughs because I've no clothes on."
- A comment snarky-Hawke can make to Merrill before the final battle of Dragon Age II when she asks if it all feels like a dream: "In a moment, I'll look down and see that I have no pants on."
Merrill: (giggles) The Champion of Kirkwall going into battle naked! Why can't I ever have that dream?
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, an optional conversation between Solas and the Inquisitor takes place in the fade and thus in their dreams. Afterwards, the Inquisitor can remark that they didn't expect to be talking there, but that it at least beats the dream in which they stand naked in front of the war table.
- A quest in The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion involves helping a mage who was experimenting with dreamworlds and became lost within his own subconscious, his body having been locked in a coma for weeks. To enter his dream and wake him up, you need to fall asleep while wearing a special amulet and when you enter the dream, you'll find that the amulet is now the only thing you are wearing (it also applies a constant Silence effect to you, so you can't use magic). While granted, this is to make sure that your inventory is empty so you will complete the puzzles in the manner intended, the mage gets to keep his clothes, so why are you the one that's stuck naked, dammit?!
- Referenced by Newt in Gravity Rush. When Kat uses her gravity-defying stasis field to allow him to fly alongside her, he comments, "This is like one of those dreams, except I have all my clothes!"
- In League of Legends, the Living Dream and (quadrupedal, incredibly shy) fawn spirit Lillia has this as one of her respawn quotes:
- "I'm not wearing any pants! Oh-oh. So that's what human nightmares are like."
- Happens at the beginning of The Longest Journey when April sees a "dream" about Arcadia. Justified, as she actually did unconsciously travel to Arcadia while sleeping in her bed (and she didn't sleep fully-clothed, naturally). It happens again much later when she has to flee after being awakened at night and arrives at Arcadia in just her undies.
- Implied, but ultimately subverted, in the Sam & Max: Freelance Police game "What's New, Beelzebub?". Various characters are living out their worst nightmares, and one is the paranoid Bosco, who is naked, on a stage, and has everyone looking straight at him. Later turns out that it was the "everyone looking straight at him" part that he disliked; he actually doesn't mind being naked in public.
- Sandra And Woo In The Cursed Adventure starts with Sandra finding herself naked at a school play rehearsal. When she wakes up, she suddenly remembers her costume for said play is not ready, implying the dream was her subconscious's way of reminding her.
- In Tomodachi Life, a sleeping Mii may talk in their sleep about having one of these.
Why am I the only one here? And why am I in my underwear? I should go.
- Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse has Ken try to invoke this after the sight of Barbie with messy hair and an ugly dress causes him to think he ended up in a nightmare. Unfortunately, Barbie tells him That Was Not a Dream.
- gen:LOCK: In "The Best Defense", when the pilots are discussing the dreams they've been having, Yaz drops that in hers she was as tall as a Holon and naked. She only seems embarrassed when none of the others own up to also being naked in their dreams, though.
- One of the types of dreams Luna shows in And That's How Equestria Was Made! is 'being naked in front of a crowd', complete with victim on stage staring at the audience in terror. But what do ponies normally wear ...
- The Bare Pit has 2 but since this is a nudist webcomic it gets inverted. The first time it happens the whole world is nude, 2nd time the dreamer is the only one who wears clothes.
- This Buttersafe comic where a boy dreams he's at school in his underwear, complete with a Lampshade Hanging on the whole phenomenon.
- Dork Tower on reflecting it was not like an anxiety dream
- Early in the "Squirrel Prophet" arc of El Goonish Shive, Grace is getting chewed out by an old-fashioned teacher for using the Internet in her research assignment. The teacher then points out she forgot to get dressed, at which point her clothes disappear. Ridicule ensues. This one is a bit odd in that Grace is an Innocent Fanservice Girl, and the nature of her emotional distress isn't so much embarrassment as it is a feeling that she's different from everyone else and doesn't belong.
- Escape from Terra has a comic where Guy dreams he has no pants on while talking to Fiorella.
- This Giselle strip. She wishes for all her dreams to come true; when she complains about losing her pants, the well tells her "if you want the one about Legolas then you better pay more than 20 cents... cheapskate!"
- Hejibits has this example.
- Discussed in The Less Than Epic Adventures of TJ and Amal.
Amal: So what are you dreaming about?
TJ: I'm on Wheel of Fortune... and I'm naked.
Amal: Oh, the naked-in-public dream, that's a classic.
TJ: Yeah, but it's okay, 'cause Vanna White's naked too.
Amal: Vanna White's, like, seventy years old!
TJ: Hey, this is my dream, so she's still bangin'.
- Magick Chicks: Played With in chapter 6, Melissa has a dream where she's about to present a report in front of the class in her underwear. She does not mind though, until she changes into a Magical Girl outfit, which she finds really embarrassing.
- This comic from The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, where Wonderella dreams she is naked at the Oscars.
- Ozy and Millie
Ozy: It was a dream.
- This is number three in Millie's Top Five Dreams Countdown. What makes her dream weird isn't the fact that she's naked at school (that's not too unusual for her), but the fact that her classmates are the 1906 Chicago Cubs as traffic cones.
- Ozy also mentions having a dream of going to school in his underwear. Prompting Millie to ask if he even owns underwear.
- An early Penny Arcade strip involves Tycho standing naked and waving at people in an arcade while Gabe is playing one of the games. When Tycho asks Gabe is he's ever had one of these dreams, Gabe says that he isn't dreaming.
Tycho: You could have told me that before we left the house.
- A Dream Within a Dream comic of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal had one layer of the dream being the man naked in public and all his teeth falling out.
- This Think Before You Think comic has Julia dream she's not wearing pants in public.
- Two Lumps: Snooch woke up screaming from a dream of being naked in front of everybody.
Eben: We're cats. We're naked all the time.
- This is one of the stock dreams referenced in College Humor's "I'm Not Awake" song.
- Played seriously in The Nostalgia Critic's editorial on Eyes Wide Shut, as it's only after the main character gets threatened with a Shameful Strip does he mention relating and having nightmares where he's exposed.
- In the Whateley Universe, one story has Phase going through a long series of nightmares. One nightmare is her naked in the school cafeteria. At which point her physical peculiarity is visible, and the rest of the Superhero School tries to kill her.
- The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: In "I Dream of Jimmy", Carl is seen having one of these prior to Jimmy traveling into Carl's dream-scape.
- In an episode of Aladdin: The Series, Iago and Abu are magically transported to the land of the dead, which gives them the ability to visit living people in their dreams. They manage to convince Aladdin and the Sultan that they're dreaming by pointing out that they aren't wearing pants.
- The Amazing World of Gumball
- Referred to in the episode "The Responsible", where Richard and Nicole have gone to a Parent's Meeting, and Richard is in his underwear.
Richard: This is just like one of those dreams where you go to school naked!
- Played with in "The Dream". Gumball and Darwin, who made themselves share a dream, end up Darwin's dream about being naked at a mall, where everyone is laughing at them. As Darwin wears nothing but shoes, Gumball tries to take his Censor Box. Gumball then points out that since Darwin knows he's in a dream, he can control everything. Darwin then makes it so they're wearing clothes while the customers are only wearing their underwear... and continue laughing at them.
Gumball: Wearing clothes in a nudist mall has just the same level of embarrassment as going to a normal mall naked.
- In "The Night" Teri dreams that she's naked at school. When she finds a pencil and tries to draw clothes on her body (she's made of paper and her features are drawn on), she finds that it's not working, then it shows that she's drawing on herself in her sleep.
- In "The Ghouls," Hank the Construction Man is subjected to this dream by the Fingernail Ghoul; showing up to work at the construction site in his underwear.
- Referred to in the episode "The Responsible", where Richard and Nicole have gone to a Parent's Meeting, and Richard is in his underwear.
- American Dragon: Jake Long:
- The eponymous character ends up in his underwear on a bridge in front of a reporter, his little sister, and his home economics teacher who turns out to be another dragon. He figures he must be having a bad dream because of all the stress of his job and begins acting crazy. However, he was not dreaming and pictures of the event were eventually published.
- Played straight in another episode where Jake dreams that Rotwood points out that he's wearing his underwear to school.
- The Arthur episode "Arthur's Underwear" makes the title character endure at least one every day while suffering a guilt trip from mocking Binky for ripping his pants in front of the class. Eventually, Arthur does end up splitting his pants for real...in front of the whole school! Ironically, the event helps him get over his fears and the nightmares stop. The episode ends with Buster starting to get dreams about forgetting his pants.
- In Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Nightmares and Daydreams", Aang's first nightmare is facing the Fire Lord and then discovering that he wasn't wearing pants. In his final nightmare, he inverts it by declaring that Dream!Ozai was the pantsless one. Complete with the line "My royal parts are showing!"
- In Bob and Margaret, Bob's nervousness about giving a speech at a Dental convention culminates in him having a dream where he's giving the speech naked.
- In the Courage the Cowardly Dog episode "Perfect", one of the nightmares Courage suffers has people pointing and laughing at him while he's juggling. He looks down and discovers to his horror that he's been shaved below the waist.
- Daria has a variant in the first episode, when Daria and Jane have to speak at an assembly in front of the entire school. Jane comments that "Usually when I have this dream I'm wearing pink taffeta."
- In the Extreme Ghostbusters episode "In Your Dreams", being naked in public was Egon's nightmare. Subverted in that he doesn't have a Naked Freak-Out over it.
- In "A Fishful of Dollars", Fry has a dream about being in his old underpants in front of his Ancient Egyptian Algebra class. The dream then turns into an advertisement for Lightspeed Briefs, a much cooler brand of underpants that would make this much less embarrassing. He then learns that advertisements in the 31st century can be beamed directly into people's brains.
- Subverted in "That Darn Katz" — Amy arrives late for her doctrinal hearing, arms laden with all her papers. Just as she mentions that this is like a terrible dream, she drops the papers and suddenly realizes that she rushed out of her apartment in her underwear.
- In the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode "Nightmare Assault", Lady Jaye says that she had a nightmare that she was forced to sing the national anthem for the Super Bowl. Hawk asks what was so bad about that, and she blushes and says, "Let's just say I wasn't exactly in dress uniform."
- In Jackie Chan Adventures episode "Project A, For Astral", Jade enters Jackie's dream, and has to point out Jackie isn't wearing pants to prove that he's dreaming, providing the page image. We also discover that Chan likes Valentine's heart boxer shorts.
- Justice League Action: "The Ringer", Atom's first hallucination begins with him awkwardly accepting his fellow heroes' accolades... and then finding himself wearing nothing but his mask and underpants as everybody laughs at him.
- Ron Stoppable's reveal to Kim Possible in the episode "The Truth Hurts" that his worst nightmare is being in school without wearing any pants. And this is a guy that drops his pants, a lot. And Kim pointed out he actually did come to school with no pants.
- Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness: In one episode, Po has a dream where he is given advice by his pants. At the end of the dream, he wonders, if his pants are floating in front of him, then what is wearing? Looking down, he lets out a shriek and reaches down to cover himself just as he wakes. Mantis glances at him and asks "The talking pants dream again?".
- This trope is alluded to in the M.A.S.K. episode "Eyes of the Skull".
Dusty Hayes: Without my mask, I feel like I'm in one of those dreams where you forget to put pants on.
- In the My Gym Partner's a Monkey episode "The Hyena and the Mighty", Adam had a dream that he came to school in his underpants. Jake informed him that it wasn't a dream.
- The Simpsons: In "Homer Goes to College":
Homer: A test?! This is like one of those bad dreams!
[camera pans out revealing him in his underwear]
[Homer screams in horror]
- An inversion occurs in the Sonic Boom episode, "Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Worse-er"; when Dr. Eggman challenges Tails to catch Sonic, Tails ends up catching Knuckles in a barrel trap he set for Sonic. Later in the episode, when Tails awakens a sleeping Knuckles from the trap, Knuckles thanks him for it, telling him he was having a nightmare where he went to school wearing pants.
- The Superhero Squad Show episode "Blind Rage Knows No Color" has Thanos making Hulk suffer nightmares so that he goes on rampages in his sleep. The Hulk's nightmare at one point has people laugh at him while he's in his underwear.
- In The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat episode "Nightmare on Oak Street", one of the nightmare scenarios Jeepers Creepers uses to torment Felix and Roscoe during his Villain Song involves the two being seen in public in their underwear. It's a rather odd choice, considering that Felix ordinarily goes naked anyway.
- The Ultimate Spider-Man episode "Attack of the Synthezoids" begins with Peter Parker dreaming that he goes to school in his Spider-Man costume. He then looks down and realizes he's missing his pants, exposing his underwear for all to see.
- X-Men: Evolution played with the trope in the episode "Sins of the Son", where Kitty is advised to get some rest to recover from a cold, but hesitates because she keeps dreaming that she goes to school in her pajamas. Much to her misfortune, this ends up happening to her for real when she tries to wake up Nightcrawler, only for him to teleport her and himself to school and in other embarrassing locations while the two are in their sleepwear.
- Pants-less or fully-nude nightmares do occur in real life and are fairly common (as far as nightmares go). The general consensus among health experts is that such dreams are the result of anxiety in the dreamer's waking life (and, you know, people sleeping either completely pantless or in very loose-fitting pajamas). For instance, people preparing for a wedding often report such dreams.
- A subversion was reported in one of the Time Life book series on dreams. A teenage boy reported dreaming that he showed up to class and started stripping to the cheers of his classmates. As he had very recently become sexually active, the researcher speculated he was celebrating his ability to overcome his inhibitions.