1076: Groundhog Day

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Groundhog Day
If you closely examine the cosmic background radiation, you can pick up lingering echoes of 'I Got You Babe'.
Title text: If you closely examine the cosmic background radiation, you can pick up lingering echoes of 'I Got You Babe'.


Groundhog Day is a philosophical comedy film from 1993. The main character Phil, portrayed by Bill Murray, finds himself in a time loop, which forces him to relive the same day (February 2) over and over again. This date is the titular Groundhog Day, which is celebrated in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, where the film is set. The folklore ritual consists in removing a groundhog from its burrow. If the sun is shining and the groundhog can see its own shadow, the winter is assumed to continue for six more weeks.

During the course of the film, Phil makes more and more drastic attempts to end the time loop, but not even suicide can prevent his waking up every morning on February 2 with the clock radio on his nightstand invariably playing I Got You Babe by Sonny & Cher. Eventually, his character improves and he finds himself increasingly attached to his coworker Rita (portrayed by Andie MacDowell). The pair gets closer, and, in the end, they sleep together. This breaks the time loop, and Murray's character can finally wake up on February 3. However, whether they had sex before this final scene is disputed, as Phil is still wearing the same clothes as the night before and, when Phil starts kissing her in the morning, Rita comments that he wasn’t so affectionate the previous night. It is therefore left in doubt if they did anything more than literally sleep in the same bed. Randall was apparently not aware of this and apologized for it.

The comic assumes that the loop was indeed not broken, and that Phil and Rita simply had sex night after night for all eternity. It is then stated that not even forever is forever. This can be explained with the mathematical set theory developed by Georg Cantor. Cantor distinguished between transfinite numbers, which are larger than all finite numbers, yet not infinite, and the concept of Absolute Infinity, which he equaled with God. It was a common concern in Cantor's time to preserve the consistency between mathematics and Christian belief. Cantor's philosophical conception of infinity would allow the comic's scenario to eventually reach the transfinite date of February 3.

The last panel references the chronology of the history of the world of Archbishop James Ussher. Ussher deduced the age of the world from the timeline of the Old Testament and calculated the date of Creation to have been nightfall preceding 23 October, 4004 BC. The comic observes that October 23 is exactly 264 days after February 3, which corresponds to the average length of pregnancy. This calculation draws on Ussher's own methodology, which was basically to add the lifespans of the Old Testament genealogy. Although the universe is much older than 6000 years, chronologies like Ussher's can sometimes be found in the arguments of Young Earth Creationism. The comic might therefore be seen as a sideswipe to these theories by introducing Groundhog Day as a possible creation myth. The creation myths of many cultures claim that Earth was born by some sort primordial mother. Here, this role would be assumed by Rita.

The title text refers to the cosmic microwave background radiation, which is often called the lingering sound of the Big Bang and regarded as a strong proof for it. If the universe were indeed the offspring of the film's protagonists, we might hear the faint echo of Murray's radio clock lingering in the cosmic background.


Groundhog Day really didn't end that way. When Bill Murray finally slept with Rita, it didn't break the loop.
[Phil Connors and Rita getting busy under the covers of his bed.]
They just kept having sex, night after night,
[Bed containing Phil and Rita repeats.]
February 2nd after February 2nd...
[Calendar page repeats.]
But nothing is forever. Not even forever
And the day after that sexual infinity
[Calendar page shows Feb 3.]
was February 3rd.
264 days later (the length of a pregnancy) was October 23rd —
[An enormous explosion in space.]
Bishop Ussher's date for the birth of our world.


  • The comic mentions Bill Murray by his own name, and not by his character's (Phil), whereas Andie MacDowell is mentioned as Rita.
    • This could be subconsciously done, since Murray is mostly remembered for his role in this film, although he has had many other successful ones.
    • Alternatively, the other way round, Bill Murray is famous enough from his various other works to be recognized as an actor, while Andie MacDowell is less known to a broad audience.
    • Most likely it is because Randall knew Bill as an actor and was thinking of him as the actor whereas he was thinking of Andie as her role Rita. Whether because of either the above reasons, it is something Randall did in a strange way. Also as mentioned above he did not really remember the movie, as the characters did not have sex with each other in the movie at all, at any time during that endless day.

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If the world is stuck in an infinite loop on February 2nd, how can February 3rd happen? Ever? Davidy22[talk] 13:37, 8 January 2013 (UTC)

I guess February 3rd happens on the omega'th day of that infinite loop? Alpha (talk) 05:25, 22 February 2013 (UTC)

It also happens that the date for the beginning of the world is Mole day... 05:21, 26 October 2013 (UTC)

The name of the main character ist not the only thing Randall got wrong about the movie... In the Wikipedia article, it is specifically mentioned that Phil and Rita did not have sex that night. 19:54, 31 July 2018 (UTC)

I disagree with the Trivia explanation. Around the time this movie came out Andie McDowell was a very famous actor and widely known, on a par with Bill Murray. No, the reason why she is only identified as her character here is the usual casual misogyny, where the woman isn't seen as a human being in her own right.

Out of all people to do that, Randall sure is not a likely candidate (my personal explanation is that everyone trying to find any significant subtext here is overthinking it). Also, sign your comments. 18:56, 4 October 2021 (UTC)