37

We know that Phil was stuck in Groundhog Day for many, many years, by his own reckoning, and that he was fully aware of it throughout his ordeal. But it seems that everyone else was blissfully ignorant of Phil's predicament, and had no idea that anything was amiss. For example, when Phil spends a day with Rita, and somehow manages to woo her, she falls asleep still wooed, but wakes up the next morning with no recollection of the wooing.

This seems to suggest the troubling prospect that the entire world has been unwittingly sucked into the same time loop as Phil, and that they are all completely unaware that anything unusual is happening. The same person is being born again and again, and no one notices. The same person is dying again and again, and no one notices.

Is this really what the writer, director, and producers had in mind? Is the entire world stuck in Phil's time loop?

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    They don't experience the time loop, which resets the entire world for everyone except Phil. The only thing they know is that anyone who interacting with Phil both before and after Groundhog Day see a huge change in personality and skills/abilities in a very short amount of time. Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 8:43
  • 17
    Wibbley-wobbley, timey-wimey... once the loop resets, the things from the previous loop have not happened. No-one was born, no-one died. Phil is looped back into a world where all the things that will happen that day have not happened. There is no "repeating" of the day... except for Phil. ;-)
    – DevSolar
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 13:53
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    I like to believe that in tens of thousands of alternate worlds the corpse of Phil was found with no obvious cause of death.
    – Murphy
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 15:03
  • 4
    @Murphy youtube.com/watch?v=vBkBS4O3yvY
    – Lindsey D
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 16:56
  • 2
    Here's my question. Phil is the only one not affected by the time loop. To him, each day is a new day, he has all of his memories from previous iterations, maintains all the knowledge he gained, retains all of the skills. However, when he kills himself multiple times, he simply wakes up the same day, like it never happened, but he remembers it happening. If he's the only one not affected by the loop, how is it he's still alive?
    – Robert
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 17:00

6 Answers 6

42

Every other character in the movie seems completely unaware of the time loop - as you'd expect. However, it's possible that they're still experiencing something of it; in an early version of the script, we get the following exchange (emphasis mine):

Phil Try the white chocolate.

Rita Oh, yuk, don't make me sick.

Phil (making a mental note) No white chocolate.

Rita There's something so familiar about this. Do you ever have deja vu?

Groundhog Day (1993) - Second revision

This suggests that, Rita, at least, has some awareness of the repeating time. She's also somewhat central to the timeloop itself, so this may not apply to any other residents of the town.

In comments, Jack B Nimble confirms that a version of this does appear in the final film, though the implication was removed:

Rita: Do you ever have deja vu?

Phil: Didn't you just ask me that?

Groundhog Day (1993)

In this context, it seems like Phil is just making a joke. It's unclear whether the implication in the earlier script was meant to be preserved or not.

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    +1: For doing some research, and not just typing straight out of your head. Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 12:30
  • Rita does at one point say that final line. Phil replies "didn't you just ask me that?" Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 13:59
  • @JackBNimble Thanks for the confirmation; added a note Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 14:41
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    I think the line where Rita asks if Phil has ever had déjà vu is supposed to be interpreted as humorous, rather than actually revealing anything about Rita's experience. Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 17:58
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    My interpretation of the line in the movie is different. All day long, pun intended, Phil says to himself "No white chocolate', 'no fudge, no white chocolate' and other ticks to remind himself. I'm assuming that Phil is learning more than one thing per loop to appeal to Rita and on that loop in particular, this is not the first time Phil has said out loud "no" about something. Hence she jokes about deja vu.
    – Lan
    Commented Feb 3, 2016 at 2:12
17

this answer is completely opinion based, but I think it's logically consistent, downvote to your hearts content

The thing is, according to the "groundhog day rules" (that only Phil knows the day started over again) you've no way of knowing how many times you've asked this question.

You can't know if you've lived this day once, ten times, or a million times.

It could be argued that Punxsutawney was cut off from the rest of the world later that day by a Snowstorm, so therefore only Punxsutawney needed to be in the time loop, but I think differently.

Not only was the entire planet stuck in the time loop, but the entire universe was too. If not then astronomic observations would have shown that some time had been skipped.

So "logically" for this to work, the universe re-set it's self after Phil falls asleep. Only Phil isn't reset, only Phil remembers the other times today happened (because fate/god/magic/whatever).

So everyone else remembers the day happening once, because they got reset, as far as the rest of the universe is concerned that day only happened once.

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    The first line gets you plus one, which gives the question a negative one.
    – Mazura
    Commented Jul 20, 2015 at 17:52
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    Also the same episode of Jeopardy plays on the TV each day, and I assume that they don't broadcast from Punxsutawney as it's such a small town. That suggests that outside of Punxsutawney is also in the time loop. Commented Jul 23, 2015 at 5:54
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    A quick google shows Jeopardy IS NOT recorded in Punxsutawney . . . "The original Jeopardy! series was taped in Studio 6A at NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, and The All-New Jeopardy! was taped in Studio 3 at NBC's Burbank Studios at 3000 West Alameda Avenue in Burbank, California" Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 8:38
10

If you think about it as a timeloop where everything is reset, I guess the entire universe should be reset. I mean, otherwise the winter would pass and the rest of the world would try to reach Punxatowney sooner or later. But...

What if Phil is the one who travels back in time every 6AM? Then nothing is reset because nothing had happened yet. Isn't that a much more viable explanation?

1
  • This is how I always viewed it. Not that the world reset around him while he continued forward in time, but rather his consciousness was sent backwards 24 hours every day. This makes more sense considering he kills himself many times. If he was not effected by the reset he would stay dead. If he was he would retain no memories. Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 20:18
4

There doesn't have to be a loop for anyone except Phil.

The multiverse (or meta-universe) is the hypothetical set of infinite or finite possible universes (including the Universe we consistently experience) that together comprise everything that exists: the entirety of space, time, matter, and energy as well as the physical laws and constants that describe them. The various universes within the multiverse are sometimes ... called "parallel universes" or "alternate universes".

One idea that is seriously contemplated by some physicists is a universe in which not only can everything happen but everything does happen. This idea is used to explain quantum uncertainty.

Thus each of Phil's days is an alternate reality for the rest of the world. All of these realities exist simultaneously. They would exist in some form whether or not Phil was involved.

Somehow Phil repeatedly jumps 'sideways' to the same time in a different reality always starting at the same instant

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    Do he need to "jump" between universes? Couldn't it be that a lot of "Phils" in parallel universes can simply share experiences with each other for a day?
    – mg30rg
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 12:10
  • 1
    except he seems to remember them linearly
    – simpleuser
    Commented Nov 18, 2015 at 11:25
1

My theory:

Rather than the town, world, or universe resetting, it is Phil's consciousness (not even his "physical" self) that is travelling in time, repeatedly returning to the same morning, until he becomes worthy enough to move forward again in the world. As his choices cause events to unfold differently each time, he spawns a whole array of alternate universes. We have no knowledge of how Feb 3 and beyond unfolds in each of the alternate universes, except the one at the end of the movie where he makes his successful exit.

By this model, the rest of the world experiences just one day, but in a multiverse of alternate realities which diverge as the effects of Phil's choices and actions ripple out.

0

If we assume that the writers did not intend to have a logical break, we can in fact deduce that most of the entire universe is affected.

Why ?

While it is also possible that other people or things far away from him experience the same ordeal and Phil is not able to find them, a part of the world not affected would necessarily try to find other spots to communicate and share. After Phil realizes that suicide is not an option, we can be sure that he will try everything to get out of it like kidnapping a SR-71 and flying to Madagascar (to get out of the reset range) or setting up signs in the news to try to reach other people. That he fails means that only very few things or people on the planet are not experiencing the reset.

Resetting the Earth without resetting the other planets and the Moon would remove the other planets from a stable orbit, so after a while our inner planets are going awry and that would be catastrophic.

If the reset happens only in the whole solar system, astronomers would see that Barnards Star ridiculously speeds up. So it seems that at least the Milky Way is affected.

For the multiverse proposals: The problem of a multiple universe is the problem of continuity, Phils decision should not have an effect. Because there is only one desirable outcome, the 3rd February would begin overwhelmingly likely with a dead,drunken,imprisoned or ritaless Phil.

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    Interesting idea.. But it overlooks the possibility that Phil is just being routed back in time, each time. Or, more accurately, his consciousness is. No need to change the universe, and it doesn't matter how far he travels; at the end of a defined period, his mind is sent back to a previous point.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Jul 21, 2015 at 14:16
  • @K-H-W No, that does not work. If Phil or his consciousness is routed back in time, he will like all other people forget the experienced day. Mind set back => no memory. That he in fact remember Groundhog Day and is able to use it to learn stuff means that the timeloop is in fact real and influences the universe. Commented Jul 22, 2015 at 9:03
  • @ThorstenS. - Nope. If Phil's consciousness is travelling back to the previous morning, he can create an alternate timeline, while the other one is closed because it nor will ever be created, neither continued without the acts of the _former" Phil who will act differently because of the experiences earned on the now closed timeline.
    – mg30rg
    Commented Jul 24, 2015 at 8:04
  • @ThorstenS. - Not at all; I didn't say his mind is REGRESSED to the previous point, nor that the viewer's perspective moves back there, I said his consciousness is sent back... without being changed by the experience, so his consciousness is aware of the loop. No need for an alternate timeline, either -- he's recycling the same one, over and over. Arguably, we're riding along with him, or the movie would only be one day long, that day being his final day there.
    – K-H-W
    Commented Jul 27, 2015 at 2:02
  • @K-H-W well done. See my link as well, in the same vein.
    – Mike Arrh
    Commented Jan 23, 2023 at 19:56

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