In the Middleman episode "The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome", most of the title captions contain palindromic numbers (9:29 PM, 88 seconds later), but a few of them don't (for example, at around the 16:20 mark of the episode, Wendy goes to her apartment in the mirror universe at 11:52 AM). Is there any reason for this, or any secondary joke I'm missing?


Okay, having rewatched this I'm pretty sure it's for practical reasons.

There are three non-palindromic times:

  • The one I mentioned in the question, where Wendy goes to her apartment.
  • Two in rapid succession when the two alternate-universe Ivans are being interrogated, one in each universe.

The one where Wendy goes to her apartment really wants to happen somewhere around noon, so they can establish that alt-Lacey's specialty is rabbit stew. This means it needs to be a four-digit time, making it a lot harder to palindromize (and there's a slightly later scene that uses seconds to cheat the palindrome into existence; presumably they decided that would only be funny once).

The two in rapid succession... are in rapid succession. If the scenes stuck to palindromic times, they'd have to be either simultaneous or at least 11 minutes apart.

So it looks like they used palindromic times whenever they could do it without distorting the story (or some other joke), and didn't bother trying to shoehorn them in at the expense of anything else.

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