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Warning: SPOILERS for Palm Springs are about to be spun into play. If you haven’t experienced that particular sci-fi comedy for yourself, turn back around and come back once you’ve taken the ride.
If you’re part of the droves of people who helped make Hulu’s Palm Springs the streaming service’s best opening weekend ever, you’ve probably still got some questions about what exactly happened. Did J.K. Simmons’ Roy ever get out of the loop? What was up with the dinosaurs? How long was Nyles actually in his time loop? Well, there’s answers for each of those questions, especially that last one, as the film’s writer Andy Siara revealed just how long Andy Samberg’s goofball was trapped in recursive purgatory:
I don’t know if I’m supposed to say exactly, but Nyles has been in there for over 40 years. There are versions of the script where—mainly when Sarah comes in—I put titles in of how much time has passed. The main thing I hope got across was that a lot of time had passed. A lifetime of memories has passed, basically.
Over 40 years isn’t terrible when it comes to time loops, and despite some trepidation with what he could or should tell Decider, Andy Siara puts Palm Springs in a relatively comfortable realm when it comes to repetition of the same day. For reference, the classic time loop comedy Groundhog Day has, according to some sources, been calculated to have taken place over just shy of 34 years. So in the grand scheme of things, over four decades is not too far off – and technically, the “Happy Millionth Birthday Dipshit” banner that Cristin Milioti’s Sarah flies for Nyles’ birthday could be accurate.
While the audience didn’t know this particular point of Palm Springs trivia, it was probably engrained in Cristin Milioti and Andy Samberg’s minds. With Andy Siara including that detail in versions of the script into the film, and the leads taking their roles and the details included very seriously, Siara probably made sure that the actors knew that Nyles and Sarah were together for quite a while. And that detail only makes their sweet escape from the loop together all the more beautiful, as they’d lived a pretty long time together in the Palm Springs universe.
Of course, this opens another line of questioning that might be seen as splitting hairs, but is worth asking about anyway. If Nyles’ experience in Palm Springs equated to over 40 years, and he’s already in progress with his temporal chicanery when the story involving Sarah’s loop starts, how long was Sarah consciously stuck in the time loop? Just when you think this comedy hit is giving up its secrets, you’re hit with another mystery that needs solving, which only means watching Palm Springs again on Hulu is a solid and sound idea. You know, if you haven’t watched it already and read all the spoilers we’ve just dumped.