That’s true, isn’t it? The show has featured dream sequences, with Sleepless In Ponyville being the most notable, and being nightmare sequences, no less. I never thought of that, and it does make me curious about how they would handle it if they did that. I doubt it for the most part, but I have faith that the writers could do something interesting with it. Season four has so far been great examples of taking well-known television show formulas and twisting them around a little bit.
But anyway, if you guys want my favourite examples off the top of my head, they’re right here. I only have three at the moment. XD But they do them very well, for different reasons.
~The “Gopher It” episode of Corner Gas. Even though the dream was actually a daydream, but I digress. This episode was playing the trope for laughs, right alongside parodying when things in a show changes drastically to sell more (showcased by Corner Gas and The Ruby being bought out by a bigger company) and also characters leaving. It happens in a way that’s both really silly and yet strikingly believable because of how the characters play it within the dream sequence. It’s even kind of sad, depending how you look at it. Lacey leaves Dog River to go open a restaurant in her hometown of Toronto, Davis ends up transferred into Wullerton, Emma is the Mayor (good or bad is up to you), and Brent had to sell Corner Gas and lose a friend in the process. The parting scene was surprisingly touching and felt very real. And how did it all start? Because Hank had the idea to get prairie dog statues to set up around town.
~The “Dude Of The Living Dead” episode of 6Teen. As you can already see by the title, it’s a parody of Night/Dawn of The Living Dead. Jude has an elaborate dream about the Galleria Mall suddenly infested by zombies, and so he and his friends have to find a way to stop them before coming infected themselves. It’s a tribute to the original Night of the Living Dead and how zombies featured today have become “the infected”. It was a Halloween two-parter special, and was, honestly, pretty creepy. The atmosphere was played up very well, there was great music, the characters were pretty much playing it straight like a parody, and it was pretty fun. What makes it work is that you pretty much know how absurd it is, which makes the fact that it was all just a dream work to its advantage. Hey, zombies appear without explanation and also are defeated by hot sauce. At least it was entertaining and a fun little loving jab at the zombie genre. And in the end, it did help Jude gather his courage to make amends with Starr.
~The “Arnold Visits Arnie” episode of Hey Arnold! With the exception of the dream’s ending, it was a pretty interesting way of making it happen in a Slice of Life kind of way. What worked with this episode is actually the fact that it delves into Arnold’s subconscious. I already wrote an essay’s worth analysis on this episode, so I won’t repeat myself too much. It’s a neat dive into his psyche and makes for a lot of interesting theories. Hilda is an especially interesting example, because she is basically Helga if she weren’t a bully. Because of this, Arnold is actually taken by her and actually makes the effort to try to win her heart. Crude Lulu is easy, which showcases that Arnold would pick genuine true love over a casual fling any day. Then it descends into a nightmarish freak show, before Arnold wakes up and we see it was all a dream. It works also because we get a good look at his psyche, and nothing was lost in the long run, but we did gain a lot. That’s all part of why it works.