So many Twilight Zone episodes, TNG episodes, really any serial story does a show where a character wakes up in an ideal life that isn’t theirs and they reject it. Bruce Wayne wakes up and his parents are alive, he’s marrying selina kyle, and someone else is Batman. He knows it isn’t real but everyone around him tries to convince him he’s crazy and mid-episode he almost thinks he might be and then something happens that proves it. Batman knows he’s dreaming when he picks up a book and the words are jumbled because reading is right brain and dreaming is left brain. Riker sees an image of his wife and it’s a holodeck character. Neo learns he doesn’t need to dodge bullets. Blah blah It’s A Wonderful Life.
But that doesn’t get to happen to us. So many of us feel like yelling “This is not my life!” Even though we have most or all of the things we want, things that should make us happy. And the people around us don’t try to convince we’re crazy, they try to convince we’re normal and everyone feels this way. It’s a story that might last 120 years and never have a point, no resolution or redemption.
It’s why hero’s journey tales don’t usually start with heroes. They start with children and hobbits, powerless people who rise up. It’s why fastidious business men get swept off their feet by manic pixie dream girls in male romantic comedies like 500 Days Of Summer (and really everything with Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Even Inception) It’s why protagonists always get to wake up. Because we never do.