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Why are we so in love with time loops, time travel, and body switching?

Film audiences love plots centered on time loops, time travel, body switching, and similar phenomena. From Groundhog Day to Freaky Friday, to the myriad of specials where a character wishes it were Christmas every day, we can’t seem to get enough of this type of plot device. Why though, when we know by rights, these devices should be stale?

A few reasons come to mind. Perhaps it’s because characters in a time loop or body switch are doing what we want to do–get another chance at doing something, or see how the other half lives. Perhaps it’s because we want to reassure ourselves time is dependable and thus, these things could never happen. Of course, these are only two possible explanations.

  • Consider expanding the topic to include literature, or connect this trope with how we view these films and how the films progress. – SarahKnauf 5 years ago
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  • Good idea, although I'm not as familiar with time travel literature. :) Does anyone out there have suggestions? – RubyBelle 5 years ago
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  • Interesting topic. I think that looking at the Harry Potter series use of time travel would be interesting. It was only really used in the third book, and they brought it back for the recent play (which most seemed to not enjoy from what I heard). – Daonso 5 years ago
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  • Cool topic. I'm sure there's a lot of research in psychology and communication out there that could be useful. And actually, while I think it's good that your topic is specific, I'm just going to throw out it there that this angle could be applied to really any of the plot devices we see over and over again. Any of it could make for an interesting study. – OBri 5 years ago
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  • Yes, it could. I think it was Shakespeare who said there are only what, 13 plots? And yet writers manage to make old plot devices original all the time. I'd love to see someone examine the most popular devices--not only time loops but others. Some are even genre-specific, like the plot where two business rivals end up in a romantic relationship, or the one where the murderer looks like the most innocent person alive. – Stephanie M. 5 years ago
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  • A topic I would most certainly like to read on. I could think many related titles in animation and comics but would be interested in hearing more from film. – dekichan 5 years ago
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