Palm Springs (Hulu)

Anyone seen this and interested in analyzing? I really enjoyed it. Pretty sure there’s a story there.

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I know this thread was a while ago, but I just watched it (and enjoyed it). I was struck by the conflict being abstract in places, almost like dramatica was on the surface of it, not even in the subtext. I really enjoyed it though. Some dialogue could be written down and it would look like it was the pre storytelling stage of one @JohnDusenberry 's conflict corner exercises!


I wouldn’t mind trying an analysis but it’s been a while since I saw it. Has anyone else seen it?

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This is the bit from the screenplay I was thinking of when I said it felt like a pre-storytelling conflict corner exercise at times:

Nyles and Sarah sit by a small fire, empty desert vista
behind them. Sarah holds a cheeseburger. Nyles chews a Twix.
Think of it like this –
Nyles holds up his half-eaten Twix and gestures to the area
that’s gone.
Everything in this void here, where
the Twix once was but is now in my
stomach, is the past.
He gestures to the remainder of the Twix bar –
And everything that’s left to eat is
the future, encased in chocolate.
Sarah keeps listening… Nyles gestures to the void again.
None of this concerns me. The who,
what, why of your past. You got
here, that’s all that matters. You
ate some Twix and pooped it out. No
need to sift through the shit.
But if you really want to know
someone deeper, it does matter. You
have to know the whole package.
Packages suck. Does what you said to
Tala at the altar concern me? Nah.
All that matters is it convinced you
to let it go. This –
He shows his next bite – layers of crunchy cookie, caramel –
– the next bite is all that
(takes another bite)
Devote all of your energy to what’s
happening in this precise moment.
(another bite)
Now. And again –
(another bite, chewing)
Passing… Now…
With every ‘Now,’ Nyles watches an imaginary figure drift
away - from the Twix - off into the distance.
Sarah stares back at him, unimpressed.
I was married for two years.
You don’t need to tell me about
I still am, technically. Divorce
takes a while.
My family hated him. My dad’s the
kind of guy who desperately tries to
see the good in everyone, and even
he hated the guy.
Good thing none of that matters
Sarah ignores Nyles’ attempt to keep her from opening up.
I knew it wasn’t going to work out
when I said ‘yes,’ I knew it wasn’t
going to work out when I moved to
Austin for him, I knew it wasn’t
going to work out as I walked down
the aisle. But I went through with
it. And it didn’t work out.
And ignoring all of that would make
me destined to repeat it.

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I remember that scene! And trying not analyze it as I was watching :slight_smile:

I think it’s pretty obvious that, like Groundhog Day, the Concerns are bottom right (Present/Conceiving/Learning/Conscious). Groundhog Day has the OS in Physics though. I would flip the the OS and RS for this one – with all the lies and manipulations and resentments etc. it feels much more like an OS Psychology story.

What do you think?

Not sure how far we’ll get but just in case, if anyone is reading this and hasn’t seen the movie, BEWARE OF SPOILERS IN THIS THREAD.


I’m so bad at this haha. I find it really hard to see the throughlines, and get away from the characters and the storytelling. Nothing is obvious to me! So I’m very happy you suggested the bottom right.
And it feels like OS concern of conceiving makes sense. The protagonist is Sarah; she’s the one driving towards achieving the ‘goal’ which seems to fit with conceiving an idea, she’s always coming up with hypotheses about what could be going on with the time thing.
I’d put Nyles as the main character player and in Mind. Which means ‘conscious’. Which I just looked up and it said “When one has all the facts, knows all the impact – both positive and negative; when one is fully aware of detrimental consequences and still decides on the poor course of action, there is something wrong with the way one arrives at conclusions. This is the subject of stories focusing on the Conscious. The key here is not to redefine who a character is but to lead him to relearn how to weigh an issue so his conclusions are less destructive to himself and/or others.”
This seems so perfect for Nyles. He seems almost omniscient at the beginning, he has played out all the possible consequences of every scenario and this awareness is problematic for him. It makes life feel meaningless and he has a fixed attitude of nihilism about it.
So that makes Sarah the influence character with a concern of present. Her big problem is having to relive the present eternally. And specifically waking up to the sisters fiance every day.
And relationship in doing is perfect. All the stuff they do together, flying a plane, learning a dance, etc etc , that’s how they go from slightly ambivalent to soulmates.

Who is the change character do you think?

Sidenote: I also watched ‘the map of tiny perfect things’ a few months ago which has a very similar premise. Also enjoyable.

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Well being too sure of myself is how I get myself into trouble haha! I’m usually a lot less sure when we get below the Concern level.

However, I think we’re totally on the same page here so far – I agree with almost everything you said. (I was starting to quote your post but realized I would be quoting the whole thing!)

So actually for this quad it would be an RS in Learning rather than Doing which I still think works – the Physics part is all of the activities they do together, the Learning part is Learning about this world together. The shared experience is all centered around learning and gathering information.

I think Nyles is the change character. He goes from being completely cynical and resigned, having nothing to live for, to being in love and wanting to escape with Sarah. It feels like he’s adopting her perspective by going from Be-er to Do-er – and for that matter from being stuck in his head (Mind) to dealing with his situation (Universe).

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Doh! Of course it is learning. And I think it still fits, they’re kind of experimenting with what is possible in this physics they find themselves subject to. There’s a lot of the process of exchanging information and challenging perspectives and experimenting going on in ways that develop the relationship. Even in the scene I excerpted above, there is learning happening there, Nyles using the twix analogy for time. And the process of learning also causes conflict in the relationship at times.

I learned a lot from this explanation. I had a sense Nyles was a change character but couldn’t get much further than that to explain why. But he absolutely goes from be-er to do-er. At the start his whole philosophy is you can’t change anything external so you have no choice but to change how you respond internally. How you ‘be’. And even at the end he is still presenting that as an option, but ultimately he takes radical action with her.
Drivers? What would be the first driver? The earthquake revealing the cave (but not shown till later) ultimately leading Nyles to decide to seduce Sarah for the thousandth time? The crossbow man appearing leading Sarah to decide to follow Nyles into the cave (she emphasizes that she chose to later)?
What do you think…

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Hmm … I’m not great with drivers, but it seems to me that the earthquake thing is backstory. I think it’s Sarah going through the portal … but maybe including everything from the crossbow to that moment?

FWIW the last time this came up in a thread Jim clarified that it’s not actually part of Dramatica theory, just something that people have noticed over time – so I’m not sure it’s always true. Sometimes you see it really clearly though.

EDIT regarding the drivers – I’m suggesting it’s Sarah going through the portal because that’s really seems like the beginning of the inequity that has to be resolved by this story.

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Thanks for this explanation! That was what I was wondering about, what counts as backstory. I always find it a bit confusing.

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I keep thinking why wouldn’t the RS be in psychology and the OS in physics…

I could be wrong for sure.

But if you think about the things that concern all the characters – the crossbow guy (what’s his name?), the bride and groom, the family etc. – they all seem consumed with Psychology problems. If you look at some of the gists under Psychology, there’s stuff like “Being crazy toward someone”, “being harsh,” “being irresponsible” “being manipulated”, “bullying”, “pretending”. Tala’s fiancé is cheating on her with Sarah, Nyles girlfriend is cheating on him, Nyles himself has taken the time loop as an opportunity to manipulate everyone (because he knows what they will say). It all strikes me as dysfunctional family stuff.

Wheras the growth in the RS happens through the activities they share – the things they, and only they, can do together in this reality.

Thank you. This has confirmed that one thing that may be leading me astray is a tendency to think of the os as the external events and the subjective throughlines as the internal domains.

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