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Series / Dream On

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An HBO original comedy made in the first half of The '90s by the creators-to-be of Friends, David Crane and Marta Kaufman. The series was essentially a sex farce, detailing the life of Martin Tupper (Brian Benben), a neurotic New Yorker trying to get laid in the wake of his divorce, his expectations of life addled by a childhood spent watching old TV.

The series used a variation on the Imagine Spot as its primary gimmick. Clips from old movies and TV shows were used for Martin's Imagine Spots. Also, being on HBO, it got a lot racier than network television might imagine.



  • All Guys Want Cheerleaders: In one episode, Martin is suffering from impotence. Trying to cure it, he goes to bed with a busty, blonde cheerleader, naked except for her short skirt and pom-poms. She does the "We got spirit, yes we do!" chant while straddling him. The fact that this doesn't make him "rise to the occasion" seems proof that his condition is really bad.
  • Always Someone Better: Martin's ex-wife Judith's new husband Richard was annoyingly perfect in every way.
  • Big Applesauce: Very much a New York show.
  • Bowdlerization: The series was badly cut when aired on FOX and in syndication
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: A nice little sendup — Martin has to give up coffee. Suddenly every one of the little film clips in his head is about...
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: In one episode, Martin gets a job writing porn movies on the side after realizing how much money can be made by doing so. He decides to quit after coming home one day and seeing the movie that he wrote the script for playing on his television. Coming out of the bedroom with some lube is his teen-aged son. Martin is disgusted at the thought of his son pleasuring himself to a movie he had a hand in creating.
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  • The Ghost: Annoyingly perfect Richard.
  • Imagine Spot: The series' core gimmick.
  • Kavorka Man: Despite being kind of dumpy-looking, Martin hooked up with an astonishing amount of hot naked women.
  • Kissing Cousins: In the episode "Theory of Relativity", Martin and his cousin Sarah (played by Helen "Supergirl" Slater) find themselves attracted to each other but unable to act upon it for most of the episode. When they finally find themselves alone and unable to be interrupted, their mutual passion fizzles out when they notice how much their feet resemble each other's.
  • Looking for Love in All the Wrong Places: Martin Tupper went through woman after woman in a effort to replace his true love, his ex-wife, Judith.
  • Magic Plastic Surgery: Eddie Charles is replaced by a different actor partway through the first series. This is explained away by having him get surgery to change his eyelids. So he gets a whole new face and several extra inches of height! However, everybody says that he doesn't look any different. Martin quips "A little younger maybe." Devilishly clever, these eyelid surgeons!
  • The Missus and the Ex: This happens in the episode "Three Coins in the Dryer". Martin imagines all kinds of craziness about them viciously fighting each other. It turns out that they are rather awkward and uncomfortable with each other, but perfectly nice. Martin's ex-wife only reacts with a friendly detached amusement that they have so obviously been having sex.
  • Prima Donna Director: Sir Roland Moorecock (David Bowie) in "The Second Greatest Story Ever Told" — he's nasty to everyone but is kowtowed to nonetheless. Martin ultimately tries to call him out on his nastiness only to discover that he's more than aware of how much he's resented; he just doesn't care.
  • Spiritual Successor: Kathy Kinney's Mimi is strongly reminiscent of Denny Dillon's Toby.
  • Straight Gay: Both Martin's father Mickey and Mickey's lover Roger.
  • Stylistic Suck: Martin's play/musical, though because the the aforementioned Moorecock thought Martin's play was a dull examination of his divorce.
    Play!Judith: (singing) Take the man from woman, and what you got is "wo" / I am "wo", I am "wo", I am "wo"!
  • The Talk: Spoofed. Martin steels himself to tell Jeremy The Facts Of Life and is hugely relieved when Jeremy says, "Dad, I know all this. We learned it at school." Martin smiles and relaxes, calmly asking if Jeremy has any questions...
    • "Yeah, what's cunnilingus?" Cut to man falling from a building with a horrified scream.
    • Followed immediately by a series of equally direct questions, with similar clips as "responses".
    • Played straight(er) later by Martin talking to Jeremy about a completely different and wrapping up by saying it was "as awkward as bad sex".
    Jeremy: (looking stunned) Sex can be bad?!
  • Who Would Want to Watch Us?: In "The Second-Greatest Story Ever Told", Richard's life is becoming a Biopic. Martin falls in love with the woman playing Judith...and then she meets the man playing Richard...