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"Not Wearing Pants" Dream

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"Quite an example you're setting for your niece dressing like that."

Kruber: You seem a bit quieter of late, elf. Not that I'm complaining, you understand... or that I want you to be quiet... Taal, I'm no good at this.
Kerillian: Relax, mayfly. No offence was taken. I've had bad dreams of late, that's all. A common affliction amongst my kind.
Kruber: Yeah? I know what you mean. Couple of nights ago, I had this one with a giant squig, a jug of lamp oil, and Volkmar the Grim... and I was naked, too.
Kerillian: ... I confess that does sound terrifying, at least to any witnesses.

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.

A Sub-Trope of Anxiety Dreams. See also Fully-Clothed Nudity.

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.

Crashing Dreams may have this as Five-Second Foreshadowing the character is about to wake up naked and awkward. See also Cringe Comedy.


    open/close all folders 

  • 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:

    Comic Books 
  • 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.
  • Mighty Avengers (2013): When the team is attacked by the Beyond Corporation, Spidey is stuck in a scenario where the press is asksing him, fresh off the events of Superior Spider-Man, how everyone will cope without Otto Octavius' genius and if he knows he's not wearing pants.
  • 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.
    • A different Nightmare on Elm Street comic by Wild Storm does this in its first issue, with main character Jade finding herself in her underwear in class. This appears to be a normal anxiety dream brought about by the fact that she's about to start at a new school after moving to Springwood, but quickly turns to horror as her attempt to flee her jeering classmates has her running right into her brother's own nightmare, where Freddy is about to immolate him.
  • 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.

    Comic Strips 
  • 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.
  • Garfield:
    • 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.
  • A variant in Pooch Café where Poncho has a dream he's without his collar (the Pooch Cafe equivalent of nudity) at school.
  • 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.

    Fan Works 
  • 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 A Familiar Friend Harry dreams that he's facing the dragon in the First Task while wearing only boxers and shoes.
  • In In This World For You Harry dreams that his six-year-old self is standing in the Potions classroom wearing nothing but hand-me-down underwear from his much larger cousin.
  • Chloe in Infinity Train: Cherry Bloodlines suffers a variation of this. After seeing her mother wearing a very bold sling bikini at the beach, she has a nightmare of herself wearing it at school, while Yeardley leers at her.
  • 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.
  • The Light of Abyss: When Principal Bump is explaining that students fight Grom because average teen fears are less serious than adult ones, he mentions that this trope pops up a lot, stating that Luz wouldn't believe the number of times that a student's worst fear has turned out to be showing up to class in their underwear.
  • 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.
  • The Palaververse: Wedding March: Talking about bad dreams, this is one component:
    To a certain type of Asinian, this sort of situation was dreamed about, and was on a par with dreams about turning up both understudied and naked to important exams. Assuming said Asinians customarily wore clothes.
  • In the Jackie Chan Adventures fic Queen of All Oni, Jade has one in the third 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.

    Films — Animation 
  • The Dream Production sequence in Inside Out has Riley dream that she has no pants on at school. 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.

    Films — Live-Action 

  • 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.
  • Froggy Goes to School begins with Froggy oversleeping as the bus comes to his house. He rushes to the bus without dressing himself first, which results in him arriving in his underwear and his classmates laughing at him. It is soon revealed that this was all a dream Froggy was having, and he dresses himself before heading off to school.
  • 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 3rd Rock from the Sun: In one episode Harry mentions having a dream where he's naked on a ferris wheel.
  • Downplayed in Angel when the title character 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:
  • 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.
  • The trope is given a wink in the premiere of Farscape when our hero John Crichton wakes up in a cell on an alien spacecraft and hopes he just experienced "a very bad and very twisted dream." Then he realises that he's naked, but unfortunately his predicament is real.
  • Forever Knight. After Don Schanke is killed in an airliner bombing at the start of Season 3, his partner Nick Knight mentions that Schanke told him about having a dream that foretold his death. However as the dream involved him being naked at a bowling alley he didn't take it seriously.
  • Frasier: Subverted in "Murder Most Maris". Niles thinks he's having one of these dreams, when he's actually having a Heroic BSoD and really has stripped off all his clothes in the middle of Cafe Nervosa.
    Niles: [cheerfully] I think I'm having that dream where I'm naked in Nervosa!
    Frasier: I think a lot of people are having that dream.
  • 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 Im 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.
  • The Sandman (2022), "Playing House". Rose Walker discovers she's a Dream Walker when she finds herself walking through the dreams of the other residents of the B&B she's staying at. One man is dreaming that he's naked on the street in broad daylight, begging his wife to let him into the car which she refuses to unlock. This mundane dream serves as a contrast to those of his wife, who dreams of being the heroine of an epic fantasy world.
  • 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.
    • In "Spirit Folk", Harry Kim goes to kiss a holodeck character, the young Irish lass Maggie, only for Tom Paris to turn her into a cow as a prank. When Maggie changes back she complains about having a strange dream where she was walking around the village naked except for a bell around her neck.

  • Gym Class Heroes have a song called “Kid Nothing And The Never-Ending Naked Nightmare” that is partially about this.
  • Pet Shop Boys' song "Dreaming of the Queen" references this in a song whose frame story is, indeed, a dream about the Queen and Princess Diana. It was inspired by the Boys' reading that dreams about embarrassing meetings with the Queen and other royals are common in the UK. A rare example that isn't Played for Laughs, considering the tragic tone of the song.
    For I was in the nude
    The old Queen disapproved
    But people laughed and asked
    For autographs
  • Weird Al's "Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White":
    First I'm goin' shoppin' in my underwear
    Then all of sudden I'm floating in mid-air

    Religion and Mythology 
  • 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.

    Video Games 
  • 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, Lillia — a Living Dream and incredibly shy fawn spirit — weaves through the dreams of others on a regular basis. One of her respawn quotes has her wake up having tangled from one of them, screaming out "Ah, I'm not wearing any pants! Oh-oh. So that's what human nightmares are like." It should be noted that she's both quadrupedal and doesn't even wear anything below the waist.
  • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • 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.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: 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 in 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.
  • 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" (which was later adapted into the book of the same name) 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 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."
  • Dexter's Laboratory: The episode "Dream Machine" climaxes with Dexter having one of these when his attempt to use the titular machine to give himself pleasant dreams fails.
  • 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.
  • The Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "Fangboy" had Chum Chum mention that Fanboy once dreamed he was seen in public without his Underwear of Power.
  • Futurama:
    • 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."
  • Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids: "Nobby's Nightmare" begins with Nobby having a nightmare where he is naked in public and the girl he has a crush on turns out to be an alien before eating him alive. The entire dream comes true at the end of the episode.
  • Parodied in the Harvey Street Kids episode "Elder Skelter" when Frufru confides in Audrey that she had a dream about wearing sweatpants.
  • 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 upon entering Sinestro's ring 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.
  • Mentioned but not shown in King of the Hill: In "The Buck Stops Here," Bill randomly starts telling his friends he had a dream where the four of them were all naked, except for Hank, who was wearing only small see-through underpants made of plastic. The others are disturbed by this, so Hank cuts Bill off the moment he can find an excuse to change the subject, just before Bill got to "the weird part."
  • 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.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode, "Lawnmower Dog", Rick and Morty spoof Inception and go into multiple layers of dreams. There, they meet Scary Terry (a Freddy Krueger Expy), who begins chasing them. A couple hours later, Scary Terry goes to sleep and has a nightmare. As Rick and Morty prepare to incept him, Morty wonders what sort of nightmare a living nightmare has. (The punchline is kind of obvious considering what page this is.)
  • SheZow: In "Guy and Doll", Baby Scarington traps Guy in a super-nightmare where he has to confront his worst fears. One of them involves turning up at school in his underwear.
  • 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.
  • Inverted or parodied in South Park: Cartman has a dream where he's laughed at for wearing normal clothes to school on Pajama Day, after Mr. Garrison's class is told that they're not allowed to participate. (This is, of course, Serious Business.)
  • 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.
  • The second episode of Teacher's Pet, "Pet Project" begins with Leonard Helperman waking up and assuming that his dog Spot attending school as Scott Leadready II was just a dream. After Spot makes it clear that Leonard didn't dream that and it actually happened, Leonard then asks about the time he had no pants on and was chased around town by a man in a gorilla costume. Spot answers that this one was a dream.
  • Trollhunters: While not shown, this appears to be the fear vision that the pixies put Mary in during "Where Is My Mind?" (aka the "What Do They Fear?" Episode), as she's shown running around covering herself with her arms and demanding to know who took her clothes.
  • 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.

    Real Life 
  • 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.
  • Concurrent to the COVID-19 Pandemic, Some people reported dreaming about forgetting their face masks or other protective gear in public.
  • 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.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Not Wearing Pants


Margo "Naked In School" Dream

Penny happens to contact Margo in her dreams and finds her having the usual "Naked At School" type of dream and considers it prime fodder for a favor later.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (11 votes)

Example of:

Main / NotWearingPantsDream

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