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Time travel

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Langham-timeapparatus

Langham's time travel apparatus.

Mcc-ripple

The Ghost of Christmas past flies Scrooge into the ripples of time.

Mcc-portal

Reality warps as Scrooge is transported to the future through a portal.

Streetweliveon-timebarrier

Grover drives Elmo into the time barrier.

Superman-turnbacktime

Superman turns back the Earth.

Tmscomic-preview-timemachine

One of Bunsen's time machines.

MuppetExperiment019

Bunsen's Dial-a-Time Phone.

Time travel is the concept of moving objects forward or backward in time. It has been used as a plot device in fiction since at least the 19th century. Some notable examples include Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, H.G. Wells The Time Machine, The Terminator and Back to the Future. In reality, current human understanding of physics does not permit traveling backwards in time, but using Albert Einstein's special and general theories of relativity, it is theoretically possible to travel forward in time by means of time dilation.

The method by which characters are usually shown to have moved through time in fiction, is by way of a special device that carries an individual to the distant past or future; for example, the DeLorean in Back to the Future or the TARDIS in Doctor Who. In Somewhere in Time, A Christmas Carol and The Time Traveler's Wife, the displacement of time is by supernatural means. In other stories, a character's perception of the past or future is seen as a means to communicate with those moments in time in order to bring light to the present.

As time is generally seen as the fourth dimension, a related concept is that of moving to a parallel universe by means of a portal, wormhole or supernatural means. The end result being that the individual has travelled to a location or dream state unreachable from our own universe by physical means. Examples include The Wizard of Oz, Alice in Wonderland and South Park's Imaginationland.

Physical time displacement

  • The Muppet Experiment was an online and Disneyland game held in 2008 in which the Muppets became trapped in the year 1937 thanks to a device called the Time Rewinder. Using Muppet Labs' Dial-a-Time Phone, Dr. Honeydew was able to communicate with Kermit, who provided clues to players in the present as to how to find his friends.
  • Unable to stand the wait for a playset to arrive at the nursery in "Six-to-Eight Weeks", Baby Gonzo runs around in circles fast enough to create a blue hole (black holes are too scary for kids) transporting himself and Baby Piggy into the future.
  • After discovering what a typewriter is used for, Baby Gonzo creates a character inspired by Sam Spade for his novel in the Muppet Babies episode "Romancing the Weirdo". Realizing that he needs to bring his lead characters together for the ending, his character uses a time machine to travel back to where he left her in chapter four.
  • In Muppets Tonight episode 101, Dr. Bunsen Honeydew (as a contestant on a dating game) tells Michelle Pfeiffer that their date might consist of examining the skin cells from their "bippies" in his lab. He later adds that they could also manipulate time with their bippies.
  • In Jim Henson's Muppets for GameBoy, Kermit and Animal have to rescue their friends, who are transferred back in time by Bunsen's time machine. Among the eras they visit include one million B.C., ancient Egypt, the Roman Empire, Mayan civilization, the Dark Ages and America's western frontier.
  • A Movie Mania short spoofing The Terminator features Kermit the Frog as a cybernetic entity from the future, sent back through time to save humanity. His efforts are halted when Miss Piggy mistakes him for her Kermit, and suspects him of having an affair with Sarah Connor.
  • When Jason Segel announces that Florence and the Machine are the musical guests on the episode of Saturday Night Live that he's hosting, Statler jokes that he hopes Florence brought a time machine so he and Waldorf can go back to before they heard Segel's song with the Muppets.
  • An early script for The Muppets features a Temporal Displacement Machine invented by Bunsen that slows down time so that Beaker may redirect the trajectory of the bowling ball in Gonzo's act. Later, Tex Richman pulls a gun on Piggy and Kermit. Bunsen uses the machine to induce Bullet-Point-of-View, which slows down normal time once again. While Kermit reminds Fozzie that they're supposed to be acting in slow-motion, Gonzo's bowlling ball flies off his hand and deflects the bullet.

Perceptive time

  • Reading his life line in The Muppet Show episode 511, and looking into his future, a gypsy tells Paul Simon to sing fast (implying he doesn't have much time left).

Alternate dimensions

  • Alice in Wonderland tells the story of a girl who travels to a realm of practical impossibilities after she follows a white rabbit through a rabbit hole. The suggestion is made that the events take place in Alice's dreams, but leave it up to the viewer as to whether or not she has actually traveled there. Versions of the story that retain the excursion to Wonderland include Abby in Wonderland, Dreamchild and the 1999 TV movie Alice in Wonderland.
  • The Wizard of Oz is another example of displacement in an inaccessible land that may or may not only have taken place in the protagonist's head. The Muppets' Wizard of Oz takes a more literal tone as Dorothy Gale is shown to have been transported back to the real world without an indication that it was just a dream.
  • Labyrinth plays on similar "did-she-or-didn't-she" themes presented in Alice in Wonderland and The Wizard of Oz, but with far more evidence for displacement. For example, Jareth appears in the real world and the Goblins are shown to monitor Sarah's actions from the other side.
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