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Eight of TV's weirdest dreams - VIDEOS

by Danny Gallagher, posted Feb 19th 2009 11:04AM
There is no better way to get inside a character's head (without resorting to charging up some power cutting tools and laying down some newspaper) than writing in a dream sequence.

Some of them, however, try to explain too much or cover too much ground and end up becoming the kind of dreams that keeps our Paxil dosage high and GlaxoSmithKline's stock price higher.

These are those mindfreaks.

Bobby's death dream on Dallas - The death of Bobby Ewing was a big shock for die-hard Dallas viewers. The series was known for their series ending cliffhangers that left viewers chewing their fingernails until they hit bone or found out its resolution, which ever came first. The writers, however, found themselves backed into an iron-maiden spiked corner when they killed off Bobby Ewing and then had to bring him back from the dead. Patrick Duffy decided to leave the show, so they killed off his character by having his sister-in-law run him over with a car. When the network tempted him back with a huge salary, the only way they could think of to write him back in was make his death a figment of his wife's active imagination because the writers obviously did have one.

Dangle's cliffhanger dream on Reno 911! - The first season cliffhanger of the groundbreaking Comedy Central series seemed to draw itself into a similar spiky walled corner when a prank in an autopsy room and a certain loose cannon turned into a huge bloodbath. Luckily, the writers had a dream sequence at their disposal and Kenny Freakin' Rogers who woke up next to Dangle in a tastefully decorated bedroom. Then the whole thing turned out to be a dream in Garcia's mind and everything returned to normal. I hadn't laughed this hard since Dallas' dumb Duffy dream device.

The mirror dream from Saturday Night Live - One of Andy Samberg's digital shorts took the atypical horror movie nightmare to an even more uncomfortable level by cramming it full of more shocking yet hilarious images than a Chihuahua dog fighting ring. The "dream within a dream" concept gets injected with anabolic steroids as an innocent Ellen Page wakes up in the dead of night from what seemed to be a rather jarring dream. She goes to the bathroom to splash some water on her face when a goofy mugged zombie jumps in her reflection. The dream launches into a bizarre series of nightmares and dreamscapes that make Eraserhead look like Eraser.

The "entire series is an autistic kid's dream" dream on St. Elsewhere - How do you end six seasons of a medical drama masterpiece that seemed too good to be real? You turn the entire series into a weird freaky dream that took place in the dreamy mind of a mentally retarded boy. The only thing that explains is how Howie Mandel got and stayed there. The extremely surreal ending sparked a new TV hypothesis known as the Tommy Westphall Universe that states several other shows like The X Files, M*A*S*H and It's Gary Shandling's Show also took place in the young boy's mind because St. Elsewhere stars have appeared or starred on them. That's the first plausible explanation I've heard for the unwanted longevity of Howie Do It.

Tony Soprano's dreams on The Sopranos - Part of the genius of The Sopranos was the dream sequences that didn't spell everything out for the audience. It used psychological symbolism to let everyone in on Tony's feelings and thoughts, even the ones he kept from his therapist. The dreams got weirder and weirder as the show ran on from a sex dream about Dr. Melfi to a talking fish that sounds like Big Pussy. I assume that last one means he's conflicted about his need to have sex with Big Pussy or fish.

The pear dream on The Kids in the Hall - Dreams and nightmares are weird. They put people in bizarre situations that seem to make no sense but are supposed to open up a part of ourselves that we wouldn't normally notice on our own. In other words, it's just like a Kids in the Hall sketch. So it's coincidence that the first ever episode of this legendary sketch show feature a dream sequence about a pear that serves as a window to one man's (or woman, depending on who's wearing the dress) insanity.

Bob Hartley's dream on Newhart - It's not just one of the greatest dreams in TV history, but one of the greatest endings to any TV series. That includes the final episode of Yes, Dear because audiences were just happy to learn it was dead. Bob wakes up from a particularly hectic day at his nutty Northern Vermont Inn in his art deco designed Bob Newhart Show bed and realizes the whole series was just a crazy dream. Then his wife, Emily, reluctantly rolls over to hear about the horrid nightmare and the smoking hot blonde he had to share it with. I should only be so lucky. The only girls that appear in my dreams keep trying to strangle me with anchor chains or breastfeed me fire.

The aliens take over Earth with radioactive walnuts dream on The Dick Van Dyke Show - One of the weirdest dreams on television history, nay, psychological history appeared on this seemingly innocent family sitcom. Robert stays up late to watch a horror movie about a race of aliens that take over the world with radioactive walnuts that turn them into their own kind, and the movie ends up taking over his dreams. His workmates, Buddy and Sally, become mindless drones and his own wife becomes an evil alien queen with an extra set of eyes growing out of the back of her head. All of them are under the control of an English speaking Danny Thomas. The walnut industry has yet to recover from the recession this episode caused in the 60's.

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You write an article about dream sequences, and don't mention Northern Exposure! What about Jules et Joel? The whole episode was a dream about Joel having a twin brother.

February 23 2009 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about the 8 Simple Rules episode in which Ritter dreams up a current day Three's Company episode?

Or the House episode in season three in which he dreams up the right treatment of a pacient (Cuddy's date for a ball)?

Or the Gilmore Girls episode in which Lorelai dreams up she's preganant with Luke's twins?

February 20 2009 at 1:25 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What about the dream that Buffy and her friends shared in the season 4 closer? The Cheese Man!

February 20 2009 at 6:13 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Morjana Coffman

The Wild, Wild West episode, 'The Night of the Man Eating House,' guest starring Hurd Hatfield.

Fantastic episode. West (Robert Conrad) and Gordon (Ross Martin) and a local sheriff are escorting a prisoner. They stop for the night, and the prisoner escapes.

They find the prisoner is a deserted mansion... which turns out to be the prisoner's family home, and the home is haunted by the ghost of the prisoner's mother.

Bad things happen. I think the sheriff is killed, and I vaguely remember that either West or Gordon are also killed, and the other is severely injured.

Turns out in the morning, Gordon dreamed the whole episode. However, when he gets up to get the prisoner...the prisoner had escaped.


February 20 2009 at 4:50 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Morjana Coffman's comment

That's one of my favorite episodes of that show (though I don't remember it too well, must dig out the DVD) mostly because the sheriff is played by William Talman who was Hamilton Burger, the DA, on Perry Mason.

February 21 2009 at 3:49 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I dreamt I had a dream where I was reading about dream sequences on TV Squad. Oh...wait... :)

February 20 2009 at 12:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The Cosby Show episode where Cliff dreams the men are pregnant and he ends up giving birth to a huge hoagie and orange soda?????

February 19 2009 at 9:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to chestermcjester's comment

I was going to name the same one.

February 21 2009 at 9:22 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How quickly people forget the Ed episode that he has a "Lucid Dream" that was by far one of the best episodes of a great show!

February 19 2009 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
David Cook is my Idol!

Three I would have added:

1. The Wings episode where Joe dreams he, Helen, and Antonio die in a horrific plane crash only to have the dream start to come true. At the end, it turns out to be a dream within a dream.

2. The NewsRadio episode where they all have heat-induced daydreams. It spoofs the classic St. Elsewhere ending at the end of the episode.

3. The Scrubs episode where Ben dies, but Dr. Cox can't accept it yet and believes he's still around.

February 19 2009 at 2:40 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

wheres the family guy love the y2k episode was just a dream even though it introduced us to one of the shows best characters and best rivalry's the giant chicken

February 19 2009 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Is it still acceptable to use the term "Mentally Retarded" in the U.S? I'm just wondering because in Canada its pretty much only a slur at this point.

February 19 2009 at 1:23 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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