How To Survive A Time Loop, According To Palm Springs

Palm Springs Nyles and Sarah sitting by the fire

Warning: SPOILERS for Palm Springs are in order. If you’re not familiar with this particular loop in time, don’t head into the cave just yet.

The recent release of Hulu’s big streaming hit Palm Springs has brought back a genre of films that, while popular, doesn’t take up a lot of the sci-fi landscape. As such, the adventures of Nyles (Andy Samberg) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) are familiar enough that audiences have devoured them with glee, but they’re also different enough that some true surprises are waiting to be had. At the crossroads of the familiar and the fresh, there are some lessons to be learned as to how to survive, and potentially escape, a time loop; and they’re pretty smart at that.

Through references and spoilers to Palm Springs’ overall plot, we’re going to talk out how the film teaches us to do both of those things. So if you’re not familiar with the film’s nuts and bolts just yet, you really should go in cold for your first experience. Don’t worry, there’s enough to attract audiences into multiple viewings, and you really should read this rundown after you’ve seen the movie at least once. You can only ever see Palm Springs for the first time once, and you need to take advantage of that fact. Just as you should keep the following tips and tricks in mind when trying to escape your own time trap.

Palm Springs Misty and Nyles screaming at each other

Learn The Ins And Outs Of Your Time Loop

If you’re going to be trapped in the same place for an extended period of time, you’ll need to know how everything works in order to keep things fresh. Palm Springs showed us some of the interesting ways that both Nyles and Sarah decided to have fun with the fact that they were living in the same day, and they were increasingly creative. Knowing there’s a list of things you have and haven’t done can help you progress through the phase where you’re not quite sure if you’re ever going to escape. Not to mention, if you eventually become familiar enough with the people and scenarios you’re being surrounded with, there’s a chance you could have a real light bulb moment and figure out the strategy to moving forward.

Palm Springs Sarah and Nyles drinking in the pool

Always Have Someone To Talk To

Even in a time loop movie that isn’t Palm Springs, it’s very important for the person stuck in this particular sci-fi rut to have someone they know they can talk to. Whether this person is trapped in the same circumstances or not, bouncing ideas off of that other party is advised, so as to figure out the key life lessons you need to learn in this unintended period of frozen time. If said party does happen to be as trapped as you are, you might want to make sure you warn them a little more emphatically before they go wandering into that glowing cave. Then again, Nyles did warn Sarah as well as he could with an arrow sticking out of his body.

Palm Springs Sarah sits at the bar, bored

Sort Your Life Problems Out While You Have The Time

If you’re already stuck reliving the same day over and over again, you’re being given an an amazing choice to turn your life around. Sarah’s character in Palm Springs is introduced to us as the black sheep of the family, who makes mistakes like sleep with her sister’s husband to be (Tyler Hoechlin) and get drunk enough that she is unable to make a toast. Meanwhile, Nyles finds himself so comfortable in the time loop, he eventually never wants to leave and just wants to live through November 9th in perpetuity, with Sarah by his side. Ultimately, both parties reflect on their behavior and make the choice to be better people together, as well as to escape the time loop with each other to rely on. So if you’re caught up in the events of one singular day, take some time to figure out the mistakes of your past and how to forgive yourself for those actions.

Palm Springs Nyles dances through a couple at the wedding

Remember To Have Fun With Your Situation

Working your way through a recursive temporal loop doesn’t have to be all about fixing your life or even finding a way out. Hypothetically, you might not ever find a way out, and this could be your home forever. So if this is it, you may as well have fun with your new found omnipotence. Impress people with your knowledge of how exactly to dance through a random crowd at a wedding! Better still, you could grab a friend, head to your local biker bar and do a crazy musical number while flipping everyone off! Is there a bomb in the wedding cake? There can be, if you plan ahead the next cycle. Even if you eventually learn the way to leave this cursed scenario, you may as well take advantage of the temporary lack of consequences that are at your disposal and break into that dream house you’ve always wanted to hang out in.

Palm Springs Sarah researches quantum physics at the diner

Learn The Ins And Outs Of Quantum Physics

If you’re super serious about exiting a Palm Springs-style time loop, there’s one surefire way that will be able to show you the conclusive truth as to whether or not you’ll even be able to leave. Using the infinite time given to you, it’s not hard to hole up at a local diner like Sarah did and learn basic quantum physics. Once you’ve learned the building blocks of this subject often heralded as an extremely difficult sit, you can then plan your escape out of the time loop. That, in turn, leads to the experimental phase, where you can use everything from a goat to… well, pretty much only a goat in Palm Springs’ case, in order to test your theories to escape. With a constantly resetting laboratory and your memory still intact after each passing day, you’ll have an explosive solution figured out in no time.

Palm Springs Roy talking in his backyard

Find Your Irvine

Perhaps the most important point to Palm Springs’ philosophical journey is the one that sticks the closest to the heart. It’s also the catchphrase of the film, which J.K. Simmons’ Roy delivers to Nyles in three simple words: “Find your Irvine.” Named after the California town that Roy happens to live in, when this previously adversarial presence resigns himself to potentially never leaving the time loop, he does the next best thing: he finds peace in living in the same exact day with his wife and children back in Irvine.

Finding your “Irvine” is important to not only figuring out what you’re going to do once you’ve exhausted the fun and challenges of a time loop, it also factors into determining the type of person you want to be in the future. After reconciling with your past, this is the big step forward that any time loop would allow you to pursue. Palm Springs shows Nyles and Sarah agreeing to leave the loop together, finding Irvine in each other; and if a time loop isn’t good for this sort of soul searching, then what is it good for?

Should you ever be stuck in a time loop, these are perhaps the greatest tips that Palm Springs could ever have given to an audience looking to maximize their potential in a scenario they’ll probably never experience. That being said, it’s always better to be overprepared for the future, and you’ll be able to say you’re geared up for a potential Groundhog Day scenario, just as you’re ready for a potential zombie outbreak or dinosaur containment failure situation. If you’re looking to live through Nyles and Sarah’s loop yet again, or if you read through this rundown without seeing the movie for yourself, it’s available now for your viewing pleasure.

Mike Reyes
Senior Movies Contributor

Mike Reyes is the Senior Movie Contributor at CinemaBlend, though that title’s more of a guideline really. Passionate about entertainment since grade school, the movies have always held a special place in his life, which explains his current occupation. Mike graduated from Drew University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science, but swore off of running for public office a long time ago. Mike's expertise ranges from James Bond to everything Alita, making for a brilliantly eclectic resume. He fights for the user.