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Langham's time travel apparatus.

Doc's time machine.

The Ghost of Christmas Past ripples time.

Reality warps as Scrooge is transported to the future.

Grover drives Elmo into the time barrier.

Superman turns back the Earth.

One of Bunsen's time machines.

Bunsen's Dial-a-Time Phone.

Burning rubber into the past. ("Back to the Nursery")

Gonzo's blue hole. ("Six-to-Eight Weeks")

Gonzo's protagonist prepares to travel backward in his own novel. ("Romancing the Weirdo")

Lightning flies faster than time.

GameBoy's time travel adventures.

Wolle and Pferd's time machine from Sesamstrasse prรคsentiert: Die Zeitmaschine (2017).

A squirrel accidentally being zapped through time on Sesamstrasse prรคsentiert: Die Zeitmaschine (2017).

Summer Penguin's time machine.

The monster at the end of this timeline.

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 traveled 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

  • In The Muppet Show episode 519, Chris Langham uses a device that moves him backwards in time while the outside viewer perceives time as moving forward.
  • One of Muppet Labs' first attempts at building a time machine was depicted in the 1981 book Kermit & Cleopigtra. Stored in a broom closet, Kermit and Beauregard stumble upon the device and find themselves transported back to ancient Egypt where they meet Cleopigtra. Back in the present, Robin and Scooter are able to observe their friends in the past by way of the history books and ultimately succeed in bringing the travelers home.
  • When Mokey, Wembley, and Boober re-enact an ancient ceremony in the Sacred Cave in "Mokey, Then and Now," they're mysteriously transported back to the past, to an era of bald Fraggles who never laugh. The framing portion of the episode involves Doc tricking Sprocket into believing he's traveled into the future by way of a time machine he's built for Miss Peeliewallie's class play.
  • 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.
  • Fughetta Faffner, a ghost who inhabits the world of the living, has the ability to stop time. She uses the opportunity to commune with busts of dead composers who impart their advice on whatever scenario Fughetta is struggling with at any given moment.
  • In the Sesame Street direct-to-video production Dinosaurs!, the Dinosaur Fairy sends Elmo, Telly, and Abby Cadabby back millions of years to experience life as dinosaurs.
  • In Muppets Tonight episode 101, 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 Muppets Tonight episode 108, Bunsen mistakes Hercule Poirot for Superman (skipping over everyone else's confusion that he is Hercules) and asks if he will fly around the Earth backwards to go back in time, as Superman did in Superman: The Movie. Breaking character, Jason Alexander states that it's not possible to travel back in time by flying backwards around the Earth.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 bowling ball flies off his hand and deflects the bullet.
  • In The Muppets episode "Going, Going, Gonzo", Lips says Scooter would need a time machine to take Dr. Teeth's advice of leaving home at the age of 14. Floyd offers his friend Eddie's time machine which Zoot says he uses on weekends, "I climb in there on Friday, when I get out, it's Saturday. The whole thing takes about a day."
  • Summer Penguin sings about her time machine in the Muppet Babies: Show and Tell short "The Great Muppet (Short) Musical". Constructed atop the merry-go-round in the Nursery's backyard, the contraption spins, creating a spherical energy field around the device loosely fashioned after H.G. Wells' stationary vehicle. Her example in song, "build a time machine, travel through history", takes her to ancient Egypt in the vicinity of The Sphinx.
  • At The Muppets Take the O2, Gonzo performs a magic act, intending to propel the entire O2 Arena backwards in time. He winds up resetting the entire show, when Doctor Who appears to fix everything.
  • While attempting to evade The Monster at the End of This Story, Grover slides the video timeline backwards to the beginning of the special. Deciding he needs to go further back, he and Elmo observe several moments in the past, including the day Grover's Mommy removed the training wheels from his bike, a moment when Grover feared what might be in the dark (a robot under his bed), and the prehistoric days of dinosaurs.

Perceptive time


  • The Wilkins Coffee ad "Crystal Ball" shows Wontkins visiting Snikliw the Swamee to have his fortune told. Since he doesn't drink Wilkins Coffee, he doesn't have a future (spontaneously combusting on the spot).
  • In a 1975 Sesame Street sketch, Cookie Monster sets up a faux fortune telling apparatus to trick Ernie into paying a cookie for his fortune: "You will soon be kissed by a grateful Cookie Monster."
  • 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).
  • To accommodate judging a poultry show on the other side of town in The Jim Henson Hour episode "Videotape", Gonzo pre-records himself for the purposes of interacting with Kermit and Digit in Muppet Central. He explains that he's able to do this because he's very good at predicting what Kermit will say. This foresight into the future is emphasized when Digit uses a remote control to rewind his playback.

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 Creature Shop-effects TV movie Alice in Wonderland.
  • The Wizard of Oz is another example of displacement in an otherwise 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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