After 20 or so tries I finally passed level 50 on candy crush saga, but now I can't move on without paying to unlock new levels or asking friends on Facebook. What's up with that? And the little owl icon said it would "unlock new dreamy content" after I passed level 50 too, but no such luck. What am I missing? I only got one star, is that not a passing grade?
As long as you get one star you have passed that level.
You should be able to unlock the next episode by completing quests. Click on the play quests button as shown here:
If you don't see the quests button you should logout of Facebook and try again. This feature is so that players without an Internet connection can continue playing the game.
The "dreamy content" is called the Dream World. There are currently 320 levels to play in the Dream World with slightly different game mechanics (you have to keep Odus the owl from falling off a ledge).
To access this you need to click on this button:
If you play Candy Crush on phone you can do the Mystery Quests. If you complete one quest, you have to wait 24 hours before you do one. So in other words that's around 72 hours to wait.
As for unlocking the new dreamy content, you actually have to unlock the next episode that's after level 50 before you can access it. It does not matter how many stars you got on level 50. You must unlock level 51 first.