We all know that the right silk bedding set can make a big difference in the quality of your sleep and thus the quality of your dreams. With that connection in mind, we decided to dive in to the world of dreams on the small screen.
Even when The Wizard of Oz was fresh in theaters, the “it was all a dream” trope was getting old. Writers have learned to avoid excusing outlandish events with dream rationale because it tells the viewer that what they were watching wasn’t important. That said, dream sequences can work powerfully on both the big and small screen. Here are the top five TV scenes that turned out to be dreams.
#5: SNL Deconstructs the Dream
Some of Saturday Night Live’s most creative sketches happened within the context of their digital shorts. “The Mirror” parodies the overuse of nightmare sequences to get cheap scares from the audience. In the short, Ellen Page plays a girl who sees a zombie in the bathroom, only to wake up from her nightmare in a cold sweat. This happens again and again until we’re not sure who’s dreaming what.
#4: Tony In a Coma
David Chase made ample use of dream sequences in his HBO masterpiece, “The Sopranos.” Perhaps none were as effective as Tony’s sixth-season dream of a different life, far away from the violence of the mafia. The dreamscape puts Tony in the role of a traveling salesman while his body remains on a hospital bed back in the real world.
#3: Mork From Ork
Some of the best dream sequences in TV and movie history leave doubt as to whether the events really occurred or not. This happened on a later season episode of “Happy Days” when Richie Cunningham had an encounter with the mysterious Mork from Ork. While the events of the show are revealed to be a dream, Mork got his own spinoff show, seemingly legitimizing his reality. “Mork and Mindy” went on to become a big hit in its own right, vaulting Robin Williams to superstardom.
#2: Bob Newhart Flips the Script
Bob Newhart is one of the few television performers who can legitimately claim to have had two hit sitcoms. After finishing up “The Bob Newhart Show,” he went on to star in “Newhart” as the proprietor of a small New England bed and breakfast. The final scene of the series framed the entirety of the show as a dream when Newhart woke up next to his original TV wife, Suzanne Pleshette. The show is often cited as one of the most effective TV finales of all time.
#1: Bobby Ewing Takes a Shower
When Patrick Duffy left “Dallas” after season eight, producers were forced to take the show in a new direction. They killed off Duffy’s Bobby Ewing and built season nine off the events of his death. When Duffy decided to return for the 10th season, the writers had to come up with an explanation for his absence. The scene of Victoria Principal opening the shower door to find her husband inside has gone on to become a truly legendary moment in TV history.