Last week’s How I Met Your Mother pregnancy-induced sex-dream plot fell short, and it wasn’t just because it took place after the sex/murder dream heard ’round the world. While this writer plans on staying loyal to HIMYM‘s end, we have to admit the vitriol towards the show isn’t completely unjustified, especially when we see uninspired recycling of mainstay sitcom devices like this one. It may seem cruel to pick on a show for something like a “bad sex dream” plotline, but, you see, unlike real life, dreams do matter in TV. They can be major game changers for plot and character development, the set-up for a really great joke, or even political by nature (as you’ll see in our first example). Click through for our roundup of great TV sex dreams, and tell us which others you think should make the list.
True Blood: Sookie takes on threesome double standards
Last season we got to see Sookie take her V-induced sex dreams into her own hands, confronting her equal love for both Eric and Bill, as well as the threesome double standard. As she points out, everyone is “hunky dory” with a man hooking up with two women, but when the situation is reversed, everyone is “hemmin’ and hawin’.” And then she asks, what’s so unmoral about a woman having her way with two men she loves? Amen. Couldn’t have put it better ourselves.
Buffy: The sex dream that started it all
At the beginning of Season 5 we see Spike hopping mad after another failed attempt to kill his arch-nemesis, raving: “Buffy, Buffy, Buffy. Everywhere I turn she’s there! That nasty little face! That fancy shampoo commercial hair! That whole sodding holier-than-thou attitude!” We of course know where this is going, but we need a sex dream (albeit an unconsummated one) to confirm it. This is a huge win for Team Spuffy, and the sequence of Spike’s post-sex dream gasp, “Oh God no, please no,” roll credits, is priceless. (And yep, there is at least one fan supercut set to the tune of “I Woke Up in Love this Morning.”)
Happy Endings: Dave “Freddy Kruegers” the gang
Dave makes a specialty cocktail for his food truck “Steak Me Home,” which causes all of his friends to start having sex dreams about him. In true Happy Endings form, the gang comes up with some fairly nonsensical solutions for dealing with the problem (ignoring Dave), as well as some hilarious dialogue about it:
Penny: Oh my God, you guys, I had a sex dream about Dave last night.
Brad: So did we! It was even more graphic this time. He made me keep my heels on.
Jane: Mine was like that scene in Varsity Blues, but instead of winning the district championship, Dave had sex with me repeatedly.
Penny: How was that like Varsity Blues?
Jane: John Voight was coaching us.
Brad: Fact. You can’t have a sex dream about someone unless, deep down inside, you’re attracted to them.
Jane: Didn’t you have a sex dream about Fran Sinclair? The mom dinosaur on the TV show Dinosaurs?
30 Rock: When the lines between reality and sex dreams get confusing
When the gang of Happy Endings get “Freddy Kruegered” by their Dave-related sex dreams, their solution is to avoid him. When Jenna and Tracy find themselves in the same situation with Kenneth, they decide to “Elm Street” it, but unfortunately confuse reality and dreams and nearly kill the poor page. The good news is that Kenneth forgives them and they get rid of their “Freaky Kenmares” once and for all. Another example of all these two can accomplish when they decide to put their egos aside and work together for, um, good.
Dinosaurs: Animatronic sex dream
You wouldn’t suspect a live-action dinosaur show on the “TGIF” line-up in the early ’90s to take on social and environmental issues, but Dinosaurs tackled them all, and as a result the series finale is often regarded as one of the best in TV history (everyone dies in a nuclear winter). That all said, it should come as no surprise that the show also took on boners. In the episode appropriately titled “Dirty Dancin’,” Robbie (the Sinclairs’ teenage son) has a sex dream which takes the form of a euphemistic tango scene with his classmate Caroline (see above clip). “Wow, what a dream!” he says when he wakes up and then looks down at… his restless legs, still moving to the beat of his, um, dream. He then confides in a friend at school who explains puberty to him: “Nature’s drums are pounding on a beat you can not ignore.” As sex dream plotlines go, things get really embarrassing when Robbie sees Caroline in class and he gets “urges” once more, prompting his horrified teacher to send him to the school nurse.
So that’s the real reason so many kids were sent to the nurse in junior high…
Six Feet Under: Familial sex dream
The relationship between Brenda and Billy Chenowith seems to be more disturbing to viewers, than say a Cersei and Jaime Lannister, because everything takes place below the surface — unless you count Brenda’s sex dream in the penultimate episode of the series in which she tells Billy, “I love you. I don’t really even know what I mean by that. I love you so much,” and he asks her to touch his man parts. The degree of their incest has been a pretext for debate among Six Feet Under fans and critics — ranging from disgust to “they are meant for each other” — and this dream only fuels the discourse.
Seinfeld: “The group” sex dream
We’ve been conditioned to never fully trust any TV show that opens with a character shutting off their alarm clock (especially if there’s a way-too-good-looking semi-naked person lying next to them); it’s best to assume it’s a dream and wait for the second beep. In an episode called “The Slicer,” Seinfeld riffs on this device with aplomb, opening with Elaine discovering the entire gang in her bed. As they fight for her attention she tells them she needs “space,” and her (real) alarm clock interrupts just in time. The dream, which occurred near the end of the series, clearly is Elaine’s unconscious signaling how unhealthy her relationship with these men has become.
Battlestar Galactica: Divine intervention sex dream
When we first meet Gaius Baltar, he is a bumbling mess, slipping in and out of his very sexual “hallucinations” of Six (which even get their own theme song and a super-sexy red dress) all over the Galactica ship. He’s both the man who caused the demise of the human race and the comic relief of the show, talking to and having sex with… air. And no one knows quite what to do with him. His visions of Six (and hers of him) go on throughout the series, and it isn’t until the last episode that their divine nature is revealed.
Mad Men: If you know you’re dreaming, don’t answer the doorbell
Matthew Weiner has received his fair share of criticism for refusing to sugarcoat humanity (listen to him defend Megan and Don’s S&M to Terry Gross here), as well as for being a little too winky-winky as far as metaphor and theme are concerned. People who have a bee in their bonnet about these aspects of Mad Men had lots to say about the recent sex/murder dream, which also confirmed for some other fans that this remains the greatest show on earth. Whatever your thoughts on the scene, it goes down as a pivotal moment in our collective psychoanalysis of this character.
Side note: we found this bizarre recap that registers Don’s dream as some sort of cliffhanger, and we just want to be sure we’re not missing something, like the possibility Megan has stashed a body somewhere…
Ally McBeal: Confront your gay sex dream
While most of us push our sex dreams down into the deepest crevices of our subconscious, Ling Woo faces hers (and we have to say, if everyone handled their dirty dreams like this… well, the world would be a confusing place). As the episode goes, Ling kisses Ally in a dream and immediately sets up a dinner date to see if there’s anything there. Ally and Ling eventually do share a real kiss, and maybe it’s just that damn Vonda Shepard soundtrack, but it feels like something’s really is there. Yet by the end of the episode the two decide that while they enjoyed the kiss, they like penis (yes, they actually say it). We have to say, we would have really enjoyed watching these two date (and not even because we’re sick perverts who want to see some girl-on-girl action).