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11 TV Show Fan Theories That Prove Everything Is Just A Dream

Spoiler: It's all of them. All of the shows.

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1. Rugrats

Nickelodeon

This is probably one of the more well-known ~it was all a dream~ fan theories. It goes like this:

Angelica was a lonely child, neglected by her parents, and dreamed up the rest of the Rugrats to keep her company. But that's not the darkest part – the babies were all real at one point, they just tragically died. Chuckie died in a car accident, which explains his father's neurotic behaviour. Tommy was stillborn, which drove Stu to madness and is why he spends all of his time in the basement, making toys. Phil and Lil's mother had an abortion, and Angelica never knew the sex of the baby, so she invented identical twins, one male, and one female. Kimi was taken away by social services because her mother was a drug addict. The only real baby was Dil, which is why he was the only baby who didn't talk in the show.

Don't worry if you're totally horrified by this theory, though – the show's creator, Arlene Klasky, told BuzzFeed last year that it's definitely not true.

2. Friends

NBC

A couple of years ago, a Twitter user came up with a theory that said the entire plot of Friends was just a delusion of Phoebe's meth-addled mind. According to the theory, Phoebe is a homeless meth addict who sleeps on a bench in Central Park and watches the rest of the gang through the window of the coffee shop, imagining that she's a part of their perfect lives. Their names aren't Joey, Chandler, Ross, Monica, or Rachel at all – those are just the names Phoebe's imagined for them, and they also have completely different personalities.

The series would end with them walking past Phoebe on the street and referring to her as "the crazy lady who always stares at us". She then goes back to Central Park, where she falls asleep on a bench in front of the iconic fountain. It starts to rain, and she puts up six brightly-coloured umbrellas.

3. The Walking Dead

AMC

In the grand tradition of zombie apocalypse stories, this one started with its central character waking up from a coma – so, of course, there's a fan theory claiming that Rick has been in the coma this whole time, and the apocalypse is all just a figment of his imagination. It all began when people on Reddit started questioning the claim that Rick would have survived in a coma for 46 days (after the apocalypse began and before he woke up) without water or general care.

Fans have speculated for years that the series will end with Rick either waking up from his coma or having his life support turned off with Lori, Carl, and Shane crying at his bedside – but this, too, has been debunked by the show's creator. So instead let's focus on the batshit theory that Rick "died" while he was in the coma but had already been infected by the virus – it affected him differently because he was in a coma, so Rick is, in fact, a conscious Walker.

4. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

The WB

This one is all thanks to the season six episode "Normal Again". In it, Buffy is the victim of a demon who makes her believe she is confined to a mental institution and that all of her friends – and her status as the slayer – are imaginary. Fans have theorised that this episode alone shows Buffy in her true state, and the rest of the series is just in her head. In "reality", Buffy's mother is still alive and married to her father, Dawn doesn't exist and is actually just a figment of Buffy's imagination (which explains why she just appeared out of nowhere in season five), and her life as the slayer is simply an escapist delusion. The end of the episode sees Buffy "choose" the Sunnydale reality, therefore submitting to her delusion for good.

Joss Whedon, the show's creator, has agreed that this episode leaves the entire series up for interpretation, but personally doesn't subscribe to the theory, and thinks Buffy's life as the slayer was the "real" world.

5. Breaking Bad

AMC

Earlier in his career, Bryan Cranston – who played Walter White in Breaking Bad – had a role in Malcolm in the Middle as Malcolm's dad, Hal. Obviously, because nothing is sacred, this led fans to theorise that the entirety of Breaking Bad was just a vivid dream Hal was having from his bedroom in the world of Malcolm in the Middle. They even filmed a spoofy alternate ending which saw Hal waking up in bed next to his wife, Lois, and describing the terrifying events of the dream he just had.

There are more Breaking Bad/Malcolm in the Middle crossover theories, mostly revolving around the idea that Hal and Walt are actually the same person – or Walt is a grown-up Malcolm.

6. Saved By The Bell

NBC

This theory is based on the existence of a different show: Good Morning, Miss Bliss, an '80s teen sitcom which aired on the Disney Channel and featured a middle school-aged Zack Morris and a few other familiar faces, like his friends Screech Powers and Lisa Turtle.

In the show, Zack goes to a boring school in Indiana, is unpopular, not great with girls, his parents are divorced, and he has a brother. This theory states that the show's spin-off, Saved By The Bell, is in fact a product of Zack's imagination in which he goes to a cool school in sunny California and he's popular, great at everything he tries, and gets to date the hottest girl in school. His parents are married, and he's an only child, meaning he receives all their attention. The writer of the theory even goes so far as to claim that the show's theme song – which describes a day in the life of an unfortunate failure of a high school student – is demonstrating what Zack's life is "really" like.

7. The Simpsons

FOX

In the beginning, The Simpsons was all 100% ~real~ – but this fan theory argues that Homer has been in a coma since a 1993 episode, and the events of the show have been in his imagination for the last 24 years.

It starts with a 1992 episode, "Homer the Heretic", which sees Homer have a conversation with God. During the conversation, God hints that Homer will die within six months – and, sure enough, six months later an episode aired which saw Homer involved in an accident that landed him in a coma. At the end of the episode, Homer suddenly wakes up and starts to choke Bart, but the theorist thinks this ending is too convenient, and that Homer never woke up from the coma at all.

This explains why none of the characters ever age, why the episodes' plots suddenly became significantly more far-fetched after 1993, and why a steady stream of super-famous people started appearing in Springfield – because it's all in Homer's imagination. Sadly, though, the Simpsons' showrunner, Al Jean, debunked the theory in 2015, calling it "intriguing but false".

8. Pretty Little Liars

ABC Family

Fans of Pretty Little Liars are known for their far-fetched (and somehow still totally plausible within the reality of the show) fan theories, so it's no surprise that at least one of them involves the entire show being a figment of one of the characters' imaginations.

Back in 2015, some PLL fans began to speculate that the entire show was happening inside Aria's head during her time as a patient at Radley Sanitorium. They claim that the little girl we see murder her twin sister in the Halloween episode of season two actually grew up to be Aria, and she was sent to Radley as a result. The events of the show are, in fact, just the plot of a book that Aria is writing while locked up at Radley. As if that wasn't enough, there's another theory that claims Spencer is in Radley alongside Aria, that the two are frenemies, and that Emily and Hanna are totally fabricated by the pair of them.

9. Grey's Anatomy

ABC

The theory that Meredith Grey has Alzheimer's disease and the entire show is her telling far-fetched, half made-up stories to her children has been a longtime favourite with fans.

It all started in the first ever episode of the show, at the end of which it was revealed that Meredith's voiceover throughout the episode had actually been her telling a story to her mother in an assisted living facility. Ever since, fans have speculated that each episode is simply a story that Meredith is telling her children some time in the future, and that she weaves fact with fiction as the Alzheimer's takes over her mind. That explains why Grey Sloan and the people that work there are struck by an uncommonly high number of tragic accidents – because Meredith thinks it makes for a good story.

10. Pokémon

TV Tokyo

A popular CreepyPasta theory claims that, after Ash was struck by lightning within the first few episodes of Pokémon: Indigo League, he fell into a coma and the events of the following episodes are all just an elaborate dream. The theory states that the rest of the series shows Ash fulfilling his wildest fantasies of becoming a Pokémon master, which is the "real" Ash attempting to escape the reality of his coma.

This explains why Ash never really ages, why nobody ever changes clothes, and why despite travelling huge distances he never really travels by bike – because he was riding a bike when he was struck by lightning. It also explains why, despite travelling to a wide range of locations, each town he goes to has the same police officer and the same nurse at each Pokémon gym. There's a whole lot more evidence that would take several paragraphs to unpack, so if you want to learn more, please go here.

11. The Fresh Prince of Bel Air

NBC

A Reddit user came up with this theory entirely based on the show's theme song – that Will is dead, and the events of the show are actually him working through his issues in heaven (or, more likely, purgatory).

The theory says that Will was killed in the playground in West Philadelphia (when he "got in one little fight" and his "mom got scared"). The driver of the taxi he gets to Bel Air is God – that's why he felt the cab was "rare" – and he goes to live in heaven with a fabricated rich family in a huge mansion.

In conclusion: Fan theories are wild and every show is Lost. Goodbye.

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