James Gandolfini as Tony Soprano in The Sopranos
Movies - TV
Buffy The Vampire Slayer And The Sopranos Had One
Oddly Similar Season Finale
The “it was all a dream” trope is a popular TV storytelling device where the events of the episode only occur in the imagination of a protagonist rather than in reality.
In 2000, two of TV's most talked-about shows, “The Sopranos” and “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” both dropped dream-heavy season finales that dug into their protagonists’ psyches.
Season 4 of “Buffy” ends with the episode “Restless,” where the Scooby gang faces off against the First Slayer, who haunts the dreams of Buffy, Giles, Xander, and Willow.
In the Season 2 finale of “The Sopranos,” entitled “Funhouse,” Tony slides between reality and food-poisoned fever dreams, where he confronts that his friend Pussy is a snitch.
Both shows interrogate their main characters’ pasts and nudge them toward a particular future in a near-clairvoyant way while also giving Buffy and Tony a problem to solve.
Both episodes explore the surreality of dreams in similar ways, featuring sequences such as moments of tonal mismatch and strange background noises or music.
“Funhouse” and “Restless” subvert viewer expectations by delivering unreal scenarios that mimic the feeling of a dream and leave the characters with a stronger sense of self.