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Our Favorite Pop Culture about the Groundhog Day Phenomenon


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Happy Groundhog Day everyone! Not only is this the original silly holiday, it’s also the perfect opportunity to geek out about one of our favorite plot devices in pop culture: the Groundhog Day phenomenon. It’s that iconic – and deliciously frustrating – experience of watching someone get stuck in a time loop, and the fascinating process of getting unstuck. 

 

Books

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

In Lauren Oliver’s young adult novel Before I Fall, popular high school senior Samantha Kingston relives the last day of her life seven times, from the moment she wakes up to her tragic death by car accident, over and over again. Like other stories in this genre, Sam is in shock by these repeating events at first. But as she continues to relive her life, she examines the power of the choices she makes and the way she lives in the world. And even with this familiar device, it’s a coming of age like no other.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop

 

 

Every Day by David Levithan

In David Levithan’s imaginative young adult novel Every Day, time keeps moving forward, but A wakes up every day in a different body, a different life. But here’s the thing: one day they woke up in the body and life of a teen named Justin, and now A can’t get Justin’s girlfriend Rhiannon out of their head. And now they’ll do anything they can to keep loving her. It’s a fascinating and gorgeous exploration of love, gender, and the way we’re all constantly growing and changing.

Buy the book:

Amazon | Books A Million | Barnes & Noble | Bookshop

 

 

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Movies & TV

Russian Doll (2019)

In the Netflix show Russian Doll, created by actor Natasha Lyonne and screenwriter Leslye Headland, a software engineer named Nadia Vulvokov finds herself reliving her 36th birthday over and over again, each day ending with a new and unexpected death. But somewhere along the way, Nadia meets Alan Zaveri, a deeply unhappy man who’s stuck in the same time loop. Will they make it out? Only time will tell. (Ha!)

 

Palm Springs (2020)

While COVID-19 kept Palm Springs from a theatrical release last year, Hulu blessed us with an at-home release of this delightful take on the time loop phenomenon. Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti star as Nyles and Sarah, two guests at a Palm Springs wedding who become seduced by the magic – and evil? – of the desert. When Sarah accidentally follows Nyles into his time loop, they relive the same day over and over again. We won’t give anything away, but Palm Springs has more of a sci-fi logic than any of the other stories we’ve shared here. And it’s so fascinating to watch.

 

 

Photo by Kamaji Ogino from Pexels

Musical Theatre

Groundhog Day (2016)

Because you can’t go wrong with the classic Groundhog Day story, we’re closing out this blog post with an ode to the West End and Broadway musical Groundhog Day, which can be enjoyed in all its cast album glory. We’re big fans of the song “Day Two,” where self-centered TV anchor Phil Connors tries to rationalize the repeating day by listing all the possible reasons this could be happening – and to him of all people. And thanks to the magic of musical theatre, this show goes emotionally deeper than the original movie. Which, obviously, we love.

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