The height of summer-which we’re technically in, even if the weather might make you think otherwise of late- is supposed to be a lazy, hazy time of year. Ideally it would be full of siestas and naps in the sun. And possibly crazy adventures in the forest involving fairies and an ass.
Sadly I’m unlikely to get the chance to sleep away my summer, but at least I’ve got my favourite dream sequences from TV shows to sustain me.
‘Restless’, Buffy the Vampire Slayer
After battling a demonic cyborg named Adam, by combining their essences, the core members of the Scooby gang (Buffy, Willow, Xander and Giles) decided to have a movie night. They crashed out early, and ‘Restless’ gave the audience a chance to investigate each subconscious in turn. The characters’ fears and weaknesses were examined in a way ripe for interpretation, while the surreal nature of dreams was maintained with devices such as confusing French, a musical number and the cheese guy. Buffy’s confrontation with the First Slayer in her dream also gave her confidence in her abilities, and hinted at the origins of her power.
‘Dream a Little Dream of Me’, Supernatural
Bobby disappeared into a coma while investigating a case, so Sam and Dean took African Dream Root in order to enter his mind and rescue him. Despite the misleading brightly lit dreamland and cheery birdsong they encountered, it turned out to be Bobby’s nightmare. In an attempt to take down the guy tormenting Bobby, Sam entered Dean’s dream and got to comb through his subconscious. Seeing Dean’s domestic idyll, and his later confrontation with a demonic duplicate exposing his feelings of self-worth, were heartbreaking but Sam’s badass ability to manipulate dreams was awesome- and perhaps a sign of his developing powers. Plus the episode featured a hilarious sex dream of Sam’s, just to lighten the mood.
‘Landmarks’, How I Met Your Mother
This episode marked Ted’s decision not to back up his girlfriend Zoey (played by the generally irritating Jennifer Morrison) on preserving the Arcadian Hotel any longer- an excellent choice because it led to their breakup, and to her leaving the show. Yay, she was awful. He was greatly swayed by his dream of Barney-as-the-architect, which he at first believed to be an elaborate ploy. His mother showed up in a disturbingly Oedipal moment however, complete with an Inception reference to prove that he was in fact asleep. Although given that Barney’s engaged in various subterfuges to achieve his ends- such as impersonating a cab driver in order to have sex with a woman from every country- I suppose that anything’s possible.
‘Soul Purpose’, Angel
The madcap dreams that Angel experienced in this episode were hallucinations brought on by a poisonous parasite- and they were fabulously wacky. They explored his jealousy of Spike (especially regarding his relationship with Buffy) as well as Angel’s fear that Spike was destined to be the champion referred to in the Shanshu prophecy (about a vampire becoming human). It even featured a blue fairy appearing and sprinkling gold dust on Spike while making him into a real boy. Angel’s feelings of emptiness were also touched on- with Fred pulling his internal organs, and some other junk, out of him and suggesting that they flush the dead goldfish which represented his soul.
‘Toodle Fucking-Oo’, The Sopranos
Dr Melfi dreamt that her patient Tony Soprano crashed his car after running out of Prozac, to the tune of ‘Optimistic Voices’, a rather obscure song from The Wizard of Oz. She ascribed it to feeling that she had abandoned Tony, by dropping him as a client, when he needed her help. The dream was clearly preempted by having run into him at a restaurant, and her awkward response to it- which made her own therapist ask if she had sexual feelings towards Tony. She discussed the dream further in ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’, and even sung a bit of the number.
‘I Am God’, Veronica Mars
In this episode we got to see Veronica’s mind sifting through the details of a case, but in a fanciful fashion through her dreams. She clearly felt incredibly guilty about the recent bus crash which claimed the lives of several of her fellow students, as she was supposed to be on the bus with them and wondered if she was the main target, and was determined to find the culprit and bring them to justice. This explained her recurring nightmares about being on the bus and why she dreamt that the dead students blamed her.
‘New World in My View’, True Blood
After Eric tricked Sookie into drinking his blood they formed a bond, and she began having sex dreams about him- as seen in ‘New World in my View’. The initially sweet nature of it (with him still mourning his maker and mentor Godric) suggested that Sookie had genuine feelings for him, which dangled the possibility that her incredibly irritating relationship with Bill Compton might come to an end. Plus Alexander Skarsgard (who plays Eric) is hawt.
‘The Blair Bitch Project’, Gossip Girl
Blair’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s-esque dream betrayed her love of classic films, which became an important plot point in season four when her and Dan formed an unlikely friendship. It also suited her style perfectly. This nightmarish take on the Hepburn classic revealed Blair’s anguish over her recent take down by Jenny Humphrey, and her fears that she had now become a social pariah.
This episode explored both Cuddy and House’s pop culture-tinged subconscious reactions to Cuddy’s sudden illness and potential death. House’s violent zombie dream suggested that he saw the situation simply in terms of a problem that needed to be aggressively- and medically- dealt with. Cuddy, meanwhile, experienced a sense of “wrongness” from all of her dreams- one of which was a fantastic musical number- and realised that this represented her unease at House’s inappropriate behaviour towards her during her cancer scare.
‘Feels Like Rain’, Treme
As soon as Creighton (John Goodman) appeared on-screen again, acting as if he’d just been off on holiday or something, in this season two episode it was heartbreaking- and obvious that his wife, Toni, was dreaming that he was back. Her desire to have him enjoying Mardi Gras with her and Sofia was palpable- and this happy family fantasy contrasted sharply with the reality of her strained relationship with her daughter, to whom she’d lied about the circumstances of his death.
Comment away with your own favourite dream sequences. Videos are encouraged, especially because this means that I no longer have to put up with the pain of autoplay!