Lifestyle, Movies & TV

The Frustrating Comfort of the Time Loop Trope

Earlier this summer I watched “Palm Springs” on Hulu, a movie about two strangers who are trapped in a time loop. While it was exhausting watching them make the same mistakes as they try to escape this time loop, I felt oddly comforted by the movie.

Nyles and Sarah — the two characters played by Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti — are forced to relive the wedding day of Sarah’s sister. Sarah spends each day trying to find a way to escape, whereas Nyles has been stuck for longer and has given up on escaping. Instead, he views it as an opportunity to do anything and everything. Nyles knows his actions have zero consequences and decides to take advantage of this. 

Though there is a lot of fear in being stuck in one day or even one moment of your life, time loops also provide a sense of security. As a viewer, I sometimes wish I had a chance to experience a time loop.

In today’s society, there’s a constant anxiety in life with believing you’re making the right choice. That’s not to say people in the past never felt this way, but we’re in an era of over-exposure. 

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | Graphic Artist

With social media apps like Instagram and TikTok, viewers are constantly funneling videos of others’ lives to our feeds — causing many to feel like the possibilities are endless in all respects of life. 

While this is an encouraging point of view, it can also make people feel extremely lost. Whether it’s our jobs or our relationships, some of us become scared to say yes to the first option because there might be something out there that’s better 

The time loop can ease some of that anxiety. Sure, I don’t want to live the same day over and over again for the rest of my life. However, if I were like Nyles, I would be able to see how my actions lead to different outcomes without the fear of screwing up because everyone will forget when the time loop restarts. 

That’s probably the best aspect of the time loop. At the end of it all, you can restart. In life, if you hurt someone’s feelings or trip on the sidewalk in front of everyone, you don’t have to worry about all the emotions that come with those things. You can ignore it and move on to the next day.

But the scary and frustrating part in all of this can be just that. Nobody will remember you the next day, at least not the way they did yesterday. You also don’t get to experience the growth that comes with making mistakes or having regrets. 

There are many movies and TV shows that have used this trope. The classic, “Groundhog Day,” portrays Bill Murray stuck on the worst day of his life. In the TV show, “Russian Doll,” Natasha Lyonne keeps attending the same event and dies at the end of each night. Even the movie “About Time,” is arguably a time-loop-trope-adjacent film. Domhnall Gleeson plays a character who falls in love with a girl and uses time travel to repeatedly go back to the moment they met until he can win her over. 

At the end of the day, all these movies teach us the same thing. No matter how many chances we get to relive a certain day or experience, we’ll never get it quite right. 

You may as well live every day to the fullest extent and stop worrying about the things you wish you could change. 


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