Follow TV Tropes


Playing With / All Just a Dream

Go To

Basic Trope: The whole story was all just a dream.

  • Straight: Near the end of an episode of Alice and Bob, Alice is suddenly awake, confused, and convinces herself that it was all a dream.
  • Exaggerated:
    • A few episodes in a row were all dreams.
    • The whole season was all just a dream.
    • The whole series was all just a dream.
    • Alice's entire life, from the moment she was born, has been a dream.
    • A Long Runner multimedia franchise reveals, 80 years later, that everything in its every work was all a dream.
  • Downplayed:
    • Only a few minutes of the episode was a dream, and it doesn't have much impact on the plot.
    • The entire episode turns out to be a dream based heavily on what had happened to Alice the prior day. It's only the more bizarre elements that were solely from the dream.
    • The episode was a prophetic dream that remains a significant plot point in later episodes.
  • Justified:
    • Alice is volunteering for a dream-simulator program.
    • It was all just a dream.
    • The Big Bad uses the Lotus-Eater Machine to keep Alice away from defeating him.
    • Alice had a blackout, and wakes up as her younger self in the past while she still have her knowledge.
  • Inverted:
  • Subverted:
  • Double Subverted: Dream Within a Dream
  • Parodied: Alice wakes up from a Dream Within a Dream, which was a Dream Within a Dream as well...
  • Zig Zagged: Some variations of Your Mind Makes It Real.
  • Averted: The whole episode is real.
  • Enforced: "I have got a way to let Bob's actor be absent for this episode and not mess up the story line!"
  • Lampshaded: "What? So it was just a dream, huh?"
  • Invoked: Bob sees Alice asleep, and wonders what she's dreaming about.
  • Exploited: Alice is having a lucid dream and knows that it isn't real, and uses this knowledge to do things she would normally be called out on, such as eating all the cookies in the house, playing pranks on her friends, and killing all the people she hates, including some innocent passers-by.
  • Defied:
    • During a dream storyline, everyone involved is up front about the fact that it's a dream, and doesn't want the viewers to be deceived into thinking it's real.
    • A character wakes up from a dream and starts doing everything they can to make it really happen because they don't want it to be just a dream.
  • Discussed: "What? This can't be happening! This has to be some kind of dream!"
  • Conversed:
  • Deconstructed:
    • Dream Apocalypse: The denizens of the protagonist's dream world realize that if he wakes up, they will all cease to exist, and they try to keep them from waking up.
    • Superficial Attachment: The protagonist's dream was lifelike enough for the protagonist to grow attached to them and even become intimate with one or two. However, upon waking up and realizing that all of their friends and family members within the dream weren't real, they go practically catatonic, and they try to find a way to go back to the dream world, but since each dream is different, they cannot hope to succeed and eventually go crazy with the knowledge of an entire world that had existed within his head.
    • The Dream world is a lot better than the real world for the protagonist because it fulfills their greatest desires, allows them to avoid the reality of their situation, or in general be in greater control of their life without actually needing to do anything. Breaking out of it will either lead to anger, annoyance, or in far more dramatic and tragic places, a sad depressing realization of their meaningless place in life, taking far more drastic measures to go back to that dream instead of the real world, or actively rejecting reality completely.

Back to All Just a Dream

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: