You could argue that any time is a good time for a delightfully cheesy and genuinely funny rom-com to debut on a streaming service, but the timing of Andy Samberg’s Palm Springs couldn’t be more perfect. The release of this particular movie at this particular time feels like it was part of some kind of cosmic intervention. Palm Springs is about two people who become caught in an infinite time loop while attending a wedding in the middle of the Californian desert. Together, they live the same day over and over and over, with no real means of escape. I may not exactly know the feeling but, also, throw in a virus and swap Palm Springs for the three-mile radius around my apartment and… I know the feeling.
Without giving too much away, Nyles (Andy) and Sarah (Cristin Milioti) do the usual things main characters in a rom-com do, while also navigating their current situation of restarting the same day every time they fall asleep. Sarah is cool, hot, and a bit of a mess without falling into manic-pixie-dream-girl territory. Cristin is also 34 years old, which is something I actually appreciated more than I expected. Andy, my long-time number-one celebrity crush, also looks just as good as ever. As my friend Terri said, he is definitive proof that being unproblematic is good for your skin. (An unrelated side note: I also want to find out exactly who wrote the dialogue for the one Australian character because my god, it was bloody spot on.)
The comfort I found in the rinse-and-repeat repetitiveness of Palm Springs felt shocking similar to the mindless gratification I’ve found in watching back-to-back episodes of Love Island Australia. If you haven’t succumbed to the allure of Love Island yet, the plot of this reality TV show is essentially “group of young hot singles agree to lock themselves in an island villa for weeks, in an attempt to find love and Instagram fame.” Take away the whole young-hot-and-single thing, and the beach-island-paradise thing, and, yet again, you have yourself a scenario that’s felt somewhat akin to the situation quarantined individuals have been feeling since March.
If there’s one thing my TV and movie watching habits during this time have taught me, it’s that watching people live out silly little character arcs, silly little dramas, and silly little love stories without going anywhere feels a whole lot better than watching someone do all the things I currently can’t. So long as I’m stuck inside without the stimulation of new people, places, and things, the comfort of the familiar feels important. When I watch Love Island Australia, it’s the familiarity of the slang and countless stereotypes (tradies get the ladies!). And when I watched Palm Springs I was comforted not only by the anguish Nyles and Sarah felt when they initially discovered their predicament, but also the reminder that there is joy to be found in moments of mundane repetition and that—in rom-coms and in real life—if there’s a way into a bad situation, there’s eventually going to be a way out too.
Images via Everett Collection.