Fridge / Back to the Future

Fridge Logic
  • So the DeLorean's flying circuits were destroyed when the lightning bolt struck it, but it was in mid air when that happened, so shouldn't it have plummeted to the ground and exploded when it arrived in 1885?
    • Likely that Every Car Is a Pinto was averted. And the car wasn't that high up; maybe twenty feet or so. A hard landing, but a survivable one.
  • This one always bothered me about George. Wouldn't his son growing up to be the spitting image of his wife's high school crush be enough to make him certain he's been cheated on? She even named him after the guy's nickname!
    • Marty wouldn't be born for some 13 years after 'Calvin' completely disappeared from their lives. Plus they only knew the guy for a week. It's unlikely that either of them remember exactly what he looked like by the time Marty grows into a teenager.
      • Plus the third movie reveals that George's ancestors looked like Marty, so he will more likely think that Marty is the spitting image of them. On top of that, Marty is the youngest of the kids, so unless 'Calvin' somehow reconnected with and slept with Lorraine thirteen years after she and George got together - despite her discovering her lack of attraction to him in 1955 - it'd be impossible.
  • At the very end of the game, three different future versions of Marty show up, all asking for him and Doc's help. But shouldn't at least two of them be in the process of fading away if their timeline isn't currently dominant?
    • Presumably, the ripple effect had not caught up with them yet.
    • The comic book Astro City addressed this phenomenon perfectly! In a story three future versions of a character showed up. All three of them existed because in rodenberrian physics terms the quantum states for the existence of each was equally probable at that moment in time. As the adventure progressed and events unfolded one faded away then another leaving the final, 'inevitable' future version.
  • When Marty returns to 1985 at the end of BTTF and finds out that his entire family is different... where the hell is 1985' Marty? BTTF2 and the Telltale games establish that each version of 1985 has a Marty that is doing stuff (run out of town, run out of town again, camping, what have you), but won't they eventually return? And if they somehow vanish when original!Marty appears, he isn't getting the new memories of those timelines, so even when he finally gets back to 1985, his life could potentially be very different, and he wouldn't know what he should.
    • At the end of BTTF, Marty returns to see the "new" Marty leave in the time machine as Doc is shot at by the Libyans. Where that Marty went at that point is subject to Wild Mass Guessing.
      • Possible Fridge Horror: That Marty went back to the same week, but was a Marty of an alternate timeline, henceforth events played out differently and (assuming this new Marty made it back at all) he too would be coming back to an entirely alternate timeline from Marty-A.
    • This one is simple: The 1985's Marty you ask for, just went to 1955, and lived through everything the other Marty did. It's a Stable Time Loop of Marty giving confidence to George, and George raising Marty as a determined man. The Marty who we see in Back to the Future Part I is the one who started the Loop.
      • Adding to that, when time must catch up to itself, it establishes changes based on the current timeline. When Marty returned he saw that he still existed, meaning it would only be a matter of time before Marty would completely forget about his old familial life and instead be replaced with the memories of his current one. The way this works is similar to the slow fade-out of Marty's hand, except where that was erasing him from existence in this case it's simply reassembling Marty's identity, which is EXACTLY why in the following films his personality changes to reflect his new upbringing (i.e. his need to defend his honor when someone calls him chicken because he now grew up with a confident, assertive father figure).
      • Doc appears in the second movie to recognize that this happens, because he insisted on going back to 1955 to fix the corrupted timeline immediately, even though the time circuits on the DeLorean were acting up.
      • Shown when Jennifer shows up in BTTF Part II. Yes, she was played by another actress, but she could have had different DNA but Marty would only recognizer her as Jennifer, not "why do you look different" Jennifer.
    • What the "new" Marty that the "original" Marty inadvertently created would experience when going back to 1955 does raise some questions. It can't be exactly like the "original" Marty's experience. Presumably he would push young George out of the way of the car, preventing his parents from falling in love, just as original Marty did. But he wouldn't think he was changing the way his parents met, because he grew up in the altered timeline where George never got hit by the car. It raises the question of what the George and Lorraine of the altered timeline told their kids regarding how they fell in love. Did they mention that Lorraine briefly fell for a mysterious young man who seemed to come out of nowhere and then never was heard from again, before George succeeded in winning her heart? If so, this Marty might put two and two together and realize he was the young man they spoke about—in which case his experience would look a lot like the "You Already Changed the Past" trope. And that would affect the whole way he and Doc come to view time travel, because it would make the past seem much less malleable to them. In that case, you wonder why he or Doc would even bother to try to meddle with time like they do in the sequels, creating even further paradoxes... Ok, I have to stop, my head's starting to hurt.
    • It works like the YOU'RE FIRED fax, only Marty is the fax paper. He'd exist, and come to exist in his time, place, and position that he always did, as long as George and Lorraine got together, but what's "printed" on him could only change after some time had elapsed. He goes back a little while after Lorraine realized she'd be with George for the rest of her life, so the changes didn't catch up with him until after he'd gone back to 1985. New Marty IS Old Marty, just with new memories. The Marty that goes back to 1955 at the end of the movie whose memories have, presumably, never been changed and match the new ones, will just do the same things he always did, for a different reason (he might not know why Lorraine is attracted to him after he gets hit by a car, but he'd definitely want to save his father's life from getting run over). Or, since Doc knows how 4th-dimensional correspondence works, he could have hidden a letter for Marty in the DeLorean explaining it all.
  • In BTTF 3, Marty suggests to Doc that they bring Clara to 1985 with them, but Doc dismisses this, mentioning that it's not worth disrupting the timeline. However, in the original timeline, Clara fell into Shonash Ravine and died anyway, so bringing her with them would actually preserve the timeline.
    • Except, now it's "Eastwood Ravine" instead of "Clayton Ravine."
  • Since Marty's ancestor Maggie McFly looks like his mom Lorraine Baines, does that mean the McFlys and Baines' are related somehow?
    • No. Word of God is that McFly men are just predisposed to find people who look like Lorraine attractive.
      • So...Word of God is that McFly men have an Oedipus complex?
      • The whole first movie is basically about Marty having to navigate around the Oedipus complex; this should not come as a huge surprise.
  • The time train. I'll accept the Hand Wave that it runs on steam, fine. But how the hell did Doc convince a mechanic in 2015 to hover-convert it? How did he even get it to them in the first place? After all, it's a train. They're generally not known for doing all that well when off their tracks.
    • He couldn't have had a 2015 mechanic do it at all (because there'd be no more way to get the train up to 88 mph without running the same Future-Or-Bust risk that he and Marty take in III). He had to have done it himself.
      • Fridge Brilliance: He had saved the unused damaged flying parts from the DeLorean and simply waited until available resources were discovered to either repair them or re-engineer their mechanics. This is why when we see the Doc again, enough time has elapsed for him to have two young sons.
      • Doc went forward in time enough to find the person who invented the mechanism that allow cars (and hoverboards) to fly, then stole the tech and maybe even killed the inventor - or paid them not to invent it. And that's why we didn't have hoverboards and flying car in the real 2015.
      • On the other hand, as of September 1, the Doc had given up on repairing the DeLorean or, presumably, building another time machine. He had also decided that the DeLorean must be destroyed because it could only cause heartbreak and disaster. When the train appears, it's clear that all that has changed. Why? In a word, Clara. She's shown to be extremely intelligent in her own right and may have suggested 19th-century solutions to some of the problems with making a working time machine, and she has probably changed the Doc's outlook on life to be much more optimistic.
      • The comics actually explain how this is: Doc dismantled the hoverboard that was left behind and used one of it's core pieces to store up the 1.21 Jiggawatts and he built a new Flux Capacitor. As another troper mentioned above, there was no way for the train to get up to 88 MPH without crashing it so he got a steam-powered tricycle and used the Flux Capacitor to turn it into a proto-time machine, but he needed a diving suit since there was no frame to protect his body from time traveling. He jumped forward to 2035 and grabbed all the parts he needed to turn the train into a flying time machine before heading back and finishing it.
  • How long can the necessary power from a bolt of lightning persist in a power line? Doc and Marty know the minute the lightning bolt struck because of the flyer but a lightning bolt travels really fast and Marty has to hit the power line driving at 88 miles per hour with at the instantaneous moment that the line is being flooded with electrical current. It would seem to me that know the minute of the lightning bolt strike is not nearly good enough.
    • The only way I can think of to get around this is to temporarily store the power in an array of ultra capacitors to be discharged on contact with the wire, and after all Doc is an expert in capacitors since he built an entirely new kind of capacitor that somehow enables time travel.
    • Actually, this works without anything exotic. The amount of energy stored in a capacitor is ½CV^2 where C is the charge and V is the voltage. in other words, quadruple the charge and you just quadruple the power, quadruple the voltage and you increase the energy sixteen-fold. Lightning is extremely high voltage so not very much capacitance is needed. the parasitic capacitance between the wire and the ground may be enough even. In any case, very high voltage capacitors were some of the first electrical components created and would be easily built by someone familiar with electronics with 1955 or even 1855 materials.
  • In Part III, Marty yells at Mad Dog: "Hey, lighten up, jerk!" The reaction from everyone (including Mad Dog) is confusion. Those words did exist in 1885 but not in the slang context that Marty was using. It sounded like gibberish to everyone. Mad Dog quickly deduces, however, that the tone was challenging.
  • When in 1955, Marty had a picture of him and his siblings with him. Why couldn't he just claim to Lorraine that the woman in the picture was his girlfriend? With "Calvin" already "taken", it could have caused her to move on. I'm a tad tired, so if I misremember something, do note.
    • His sister was wearing a sweatshirt that said "Class of 1984" and his brother's head had already faded from the photo by the time Marty realized what was going on. Showing Lorraine a picture of a guy with no head and a sweatshirt with a date nearly 30 years in the future would raise questions that Marty couldn't conceivably answer without revealing that he's Lorraine's son from the future, which would be a bad idea.

Fridge Brilliance
  • People often complain that Marty didn't conquer his fears or do what his dad did and get extra confidence to get his dream career. I thought the same until I thought of it, Marty was terrified that people were going to reject his music, and only did the audition in front of a few teachers, but he got over it and managed to do it in front of hundreds of people. Sure they didn't like the end of it, but he is so confident by the end of "Johnny B. Goode" that he says "I guess you guys aren't ready for that yet. But your kids are gonna love it!" He might not just be talking about Rock & Roll but about his music as well.
    • That's good, but there's another (perhaps complimentary) explanation. At the beginning of the film, Marty's rant about "I don't think I could take that kind of a rejection" is said almost word for word by George in 1955 (and Marty even says in 1985 that "I sound like my old man"). Seeing that, with just the courage to take the risk, his father made good on his creative ambitions may have shown Marty that he can do exactly the same thing.
  • In Real Life, the early model DMC-12s were plagued with alternator issues. The battery was infamously unreliable when several appliances were running, leaving drivers stranded (most famously, Johnny Carson was a victim of the DMC-12's poor battery performance). The frequent stalling of the DeLorean in Part 1 could be plot convenience... Or it could be a reference to the Delorean's reputation for unreliability.
    • Two other possibilities. One: the Libyans actually managed to hit the DeLorean during the parking lot chase and damaged the starter and engine. This might also explain the short circuit from Part II. Two: Each time the car stalls, another DeLorean is about to time travel. When Marty stalls just before returning to 1985, the Marty and Doc from Part II are across town, burning the Sports Almanac, and sending Doc back to 1885. When the car stalls upon Marty's return to 1985, his other self is about to time travel back to 1955. It seems only one DeLorean can time travel at any given point.
      • Well, Marty did watch himself go back to 1955. Another time travel did occur shortly before he reached the mall on foot, however; Einstein was sent forward in time one minute. The last short-out could, by your theory, be attributed to that.
    • That's really good. It could also be that the DeLorean stalls as a way of time itself trying subtly to prevent paradoxes. The most notable stall is Marty when he finally returns to 1985, and he has to run to the mall on foot, where he arrives basically just in time to see his past self travel back to 1955. The stall not only prevented two Marty's from being in exactly the same place at the same time, but also prevented Marty from interfering with the event of him going back to 1955 in the first place (which would have been an almost unavoidable side-effect of trying to warn Doc.)
  • This troper always wondered why 1955!Lorraine/her family would take Marty's pants off while he was knocked out. Then he realized that since the car hit Marty in his leg/shin/thigh area, they probably took his pants off in order to check for bruises or any other serious injuries. Obviously he wasn't injured, so they just forgot to put his pants back on or had a hard time doing so.
  • In Part 3, when waiting for Doc to fire the "starter-pistol" to let Marty know when to floor it for the screen of the drive-in movie theater, you hear Marty quip, "Hi-ho, Silver." What color is a DeLorean?
  • When Marty first shows up at 1955 Doc Brown's house in the first installment, he's testing a thought reading device. He makes a series of guesses as to why Marty is there, ending with noticing Marty's jacket and asking if he's looking for donations for the coast guard. Running gag, OR, did Doc actually pick up the memory of Marty being asked if he's with the Coast Guard earlier in the day?
    • He sure did. "You come from a great distance?" refers to how Marty traveled 30 years from 1985 to 1955. Next, "You want me to buy a subscription to the Saturday Evening Post?" refers to how Marty uses a newspaper to verify that he's in the past. Lastly, "You want me to make a donation to the Coast Guard Youth Auxiliary?" refers to both the woman who wanted donations to save the clock tower in 1985, and the fact that a few people in 1955 (Lou the cafe owner, Skinhead the gang member, and Stella Baines) thought Marty was a sailor judging from his vest.
      • On the other hand, Doc is touching Marty's vest before he says the stuff about the Coast Guard, so he clearly isn't getting this one from his machine. Later, he himself says that the Time Machine is his first invention that actually worked.
      • While several characters from the '50s naturally assume Marty's vest is a life preserver, it is Marty who tells Lorraine's mom that he works for the Coast Guard. Doc doesn't know Marty said that, yet he's the only other person that day who associates Marty's jacket specifically with "Coast Guard." That seems a funny coincidence, and does lend support to the idea that the mind-reading device really is picking up something.
      • I just figured that Doc was too distracted by the apparent failure to notice that he had achieved a partial success.
      • To be fair, after Marty explained what happened, Doc says that the thought-reading device "doesn't work at all!" Maybe Doc considered it one of his few working inventions in Twin Pines' 1985!
      • Plus, Marty's probably not in the best state of mind anyways, so his head's gotta be all over the place even before Doc suddenly hooked him up to the crazy hat without explanation.
  • Why does the DeLorean lack a rear-view mirror? Not only because vision the back is blocked off by the time machine engine, but to avoid reflecting the light of the flux capacitor into the eyes of the driver. (There's a label on the glass which warns of blinding light.)
    • It's also a neat metaphor. When you're in the DeLorean, you don't need to look back, because you can always go back.
  • If the Libyans knew jack squat about building a nuke, they never would have gone to Doc Brown in the first place.
    • Doc Brown burned down his house, wasted his family fortune, and spent 30 years trying to invent his time machine. In 1985, he is reduced to living in his former garage next to a Burger King, driving a shady truck advertising "24 HR Scientific Services," and hanging out with ignored and insecure high school kids, all the while being treated as an outcast by his community (even Strickland calls him a "real nutcase"). It's plausible that Doc has cultivated black market connections in order to make some money and get the raw materials he needs for his experiments and inventions. These connections probably helped him get in touch with the Libyans and even corrupt officials at the nuclear research center in order to get the plutonium he needed for the time machine.
  • Also in the first film, regarding Marty only setting a few minutes' worth of lead time in returning to the past: keeping in mind that Marty didn't want to screw up the timeline worse than it already was (he knew he couldn't run into himself in the future/present), he gave himself as little time as possible to screw things up in. Also, he wasn't expecting the DeLorean to fail on him.
    • Alternatively, Marty simply has "no concept of time". Marty could have wasted his only opportunity to go back to the future because he felt he needed to change his clothes. Moreover, at the beginning of the film, he arrives late to school for the fourth day in a row. Granted, the Doc set his clocks back 25 minutes on the fourth day, but why was Marty late the other three days? Maybe he's just a habitually late person. The reason he only gave himself ten minutes to warn the Doc was because Marty completely underestimated the amount of time required to tell him, with or without the car.
    • Another in the first film: Doc says he's calculated the exact time Marty has to start to hit the cable the instant the lightening hits. Marty misses the start time, but still gets there in time. Why was Doc wrong? He miscalculated the DeLorean's more advanced acceleration compared to the contemporary cars he was familiar with.
      • Worth noting the DeLorean hits 88 miles an hour well before it hits the cable.
    • Marty's plan was really kind of dumb. Even if he had arrived in time to warn Doc, his very appearance would have probably screwed up time again, because it would have prevented 1985 Marty from being sent back—thus generating a new paradox. Marty wasn't thinking clearly when he came up with the "10 minutes early" plan, because he was desperate to save Doc's life, and he was already a reckless and impulsive teen who still didn't fully understand the consequences of meddling with time.
      • Consider for a moment that he wouldn't even need to muck up his other self from going back to 1985. Back to the Future Part II has a central theme based around not seeing your other self (to avoid a paradox). In Jennifer's case in the aforementioned film the "best" scenario conveniently happens. Of course, who's to say that Marty would be so fortunate? If Marty had made it in time and his past self had seen his future self that alone might have been enough to create a galaxy/universe destroying paradox. The only reason that Biff seemed to be immune is because he was probably too stupid to realize that he was with his future self or something. Of course this assume that Doc's musing on paradoxes is even correct (though would you really want to take the risk?)
  • In the second and third movies, Marty suddenly seems to have a problem with being called "chicken" (or "yellow", etc.) Although it seems to come out of nowhere, but in the first film no one calls him chicken, they may call him a lot of things but no one really questions his bravery.
    • It may also be that after the events of the first movie, Marty's father now has a reputation for bravery and standing up to bullies, that Marty may feel now obligated to live up to.
    • The whole "chicken thing" may actually be from the original timeline. Remember Marty originally never liked being compared to his father because he thought of his old man as a coward. Even after the timeline was changed, that habit still lingered.
      • Not to mention he does seem slightly hot-blooded to begin with in Part 1 (nearly starting a fistfight with Biff in the cafeteria until Strickland shows up) even though nobody calls him chicken, perhaps as a result of this. After part 1, he's doing his best to avoid messing with the timeline more by not getting into fights like when he walked away from Biff after retrieving the almanac and when he planned not to be anywhere near Hill Valley when he and Buford were supposed to fight, since fighting is what got his mom really hot for him back in Part 1. But calling him a coward still gets under his skin.
    • He had 5 minutes with his new dad before Doc picked him up. My guess is that it's the ripple effect. In the ideal 1985, Marty has grown up with his cool dad and has become a bit cocky about it, and his new traits are slowly replacing his old ones of original 1985.
  • In the Telltale game, Marty makes a reference to the Mario brothers. This gets really interesting when you consider that Super Mario Bros., the game most people know Mario from, came out in North America in March of 1986 - about two months before the game starts. It's likely it was on Marty's mind because it had just come out and he was currently obsessed with it (much like how Wild Gunman would have come out less than two months before the time Marty came from in the movies).
    • Alternately, Marty could've been referring to the earlier Mario Bros. game, which was released in North America in 1983.
  • Regarding the Ripple Effect-Proof Memory in the first movie; Marty's actions in 1955 caused his brother and sister to be completely erased, then remade, in time. However, he himself was only partly erased before being brought back. This would explain why he kept his old memories, whilst still having some personality changes (e.g.; the "chicken" problem, deciding to send his demo tape into the record company after all), even though the rest of his family are now completely different.
  • The Telltale game again, episode 2 this time. If you examine the bug zapper in 1986 before Biff and his brothers show up, Marty wonders when they got it, implying that it wasn't there in the alpha timeline and came about as a result of the alteration. Considering the only net major change made to the timeline was Kid Tannen's non-arrest and the resulting skyrocketing of crime in Hill Valley, you'd think doing something about the bugs on the front porch would be the farthest thing from the McFlys' minds. So what's the connection? When I saw Marty exploit its presence to KO the Tannen gang, a theory came to mind: the bug zapper was deliberately put there as a Tannen trap. The "past" Marty, being the clever little punk he is, had it hung there and perhaps upped its voltage for the primary purpose of using it to shock the Tannens into giving up the fight whenever they came to collect, much like the "present" Marty did. Small wonder the Tannens had to run the "past" Marty out of town...
    • It seems it's time I defended my logic. The bug zapper's still there in Episode 3, even though Hill Valley's now run by Citizen Brown instead of the Tannens. It's simply there for the proper purpose of a bug zapper in this particular timeline (if dust mites are sufficient to get a whole house quarantined, of course they'll take the bugs on the front porch seriously). In fact, maybe the bug zapper's preservation is an example of how time likes to keep its alterations minimized whenever possible. "The universe eats paradoxes for breakfast" sort of deal. I don't know how to explain it better.
  • Another one for the Telltale game, this time for Episode 3. When Marty was finally convincing Citizen Brown that they could fix the DeLorean, Marty shows him Doc's notebook, which naturally should be blank as Citizen Brown never invented a time machine. The notebook is indeed blank except for the drawing of the Flux Capacitor. Why would the drawing of the Flux Capacitor not be blank as well? When Citizen Brown looked closely at the drawing and then looked closely at his own logo, he has a moment of dawning comprehension and is then completely convinced that he could fix the time machine. A good eye would notice that Citizen Brown's logo actually DOES look vaguely like the drawing of the Flux Capacitor. The drawing of the Flux Capacitor still exists because Citizen Brown had the exact same accident that Doc did and based his own logo on his vision of the Flux Capacitor!
    • This theory has quite a bit of ground to stand on when you think about it. The Doc gets a vision about a three-pronged shape, and somehow this is how the Doc discovers time travel. While how this happened in the original timeline is up for debate, in the "new" timeline, Marty showed up shortly after and claimed to be a time traveller, facilitating the idea that the Doc could use the idea to travel through time. In the corresponding period in the alternate timeline, Citizen Brown is married to Edna, and thus any ideas coming to his head at that time would revolve around her and her visions... so the rule-governed society based use comes to be!
  • It's made clear that Hill Valley is kinda crummy and pretty inconsequential. But Marty and Doc are very lucky that this is the case, because it makes it the perfect testbed for time travel. No matter how much they alter Hill Valley's history, it won't greatly affect the rest of the world, which makes messing up history less catastrophic, and makes it safer to alter history for the better (e.g. Marty's family, Marty's kids and Clara Clayton). This is explicitly stated in the Telltale game, in which changes that could potentially affect the world fail to to do so miserably; in Episode 2, the prevention of Biff's gangster father's imprisonment results in the existence of the fifth biggest crime syndicate in the state, and in Episode 3, the alternate Hill Valley's strict societal model only has one other adopter, the already law-heavy Singapore.
    • This wasn't always the case, however. In Btt F 2, Biff's meddling with the timeline somehow got Richard Nixon elected to at least four terms and the Vietnam War is still going on as of 1985. Though it could be argued his meddling was financial in nature rather then social giving him a lot more room to influence those outside of Hill Valley. After all it really isn't of world changing significance if someone did or did not get layed at the prom but millions upon millions of dollars suddenly ending up in a different set of hands...
  • The Telltale game episode 3. "X11" is the code you have to set a Citizen Plus' watch to in order to induce a hypnotic trance. X11 seems like kind of a random letter-number combination, doesn't it? Not exactly. It's not X11, it's XII— the Roman numeral for twelve. This is in perfect keeping with the clock motifs that tend to haunt Time Travel stories.
  • The ending. Marty and Doc are naturally confused by the fact that Edna and Kid were married and well-adjusted... except when one remembers that Citizen Brown didn't want Edna to become a Crazy Cat Lady in 1986. Because of Citizen Brown's interference of Marty, he guaranteed that Edna would have a good future!
  • Here's an example from Back to the Future I never thought of until I saw it for the umpteenth time: Marty's father's explanation for why he was in the street to get run over by Lorraine's father? Birdwatching. Well, he was packing binoculars, but that's not the only reason it's appropriate. He was there looking at Lorraine. What's 50's slang for an attractive young woman? A bird. He was, so to speak, literally bird watching.
  • As a longtime fan of the series, I always found it odd that the third movie would begin with a slow panning of Marty, just, sleeping. It wasn't until just now when I realized why - the poor guy spent the entire previous movie running around solving problem after problem, with no breaks in between (unless you count getting knocked unconscious). With all that in mind, it's very satisfying to see him gets the rest he so very deserved!
    • Not to mention that, if you do the math, he'd been awake for over 24 hours straight (excluding the "almost 2 hours" of the KO), with a significant amount of tiring physical activity, much of which takes place in the last three of those hours.
    • If you extend this further, Marty has had a hell of a couple of weeks. Week or so in the past, get back, go to sleep, wake up, see the new 1985, go to the future, go to bad!1985, go BACK to 1955, run around, go to the wild west for a week, and then back to 1985 again. Marty just can't catch a break. - Alphacat
      • Also, Marty and Jennifer don't get their weekend down at the lake. Both have spent the whole weekend time traveling and/or passed out.
      • This comes up in the games series as well. Episode 5 starts with Marty hardcore passed out (he still has his shoes on). When he asks why no one woke him, he's told that he looked like he really needed the rest, and asked how long it's been since he slept. He has no idea: between all the time-travel shenanigans, he has no concept of his personal time.
  • The first movie makes mention of Marty's uncle Joey who is perpetually in prison for one reason or another. Once he goes back to 1955 he sees his uncle as a baby who is always sitting in his crib and his mother (Marty's grandmother) says that he just cries whenever they take him out so they just leave him in there and move the crib around the house. It wasn't until years later that I realized Joey feels insecure without the bars and most likely suffers from some mild form of mental illness and thus commits crimes to get into prison and thus feel "safe". In the altered timeline, George has enough money to get him the help he needs.
  • So in the first movie, Lorraine falls in love and later marries George after he is involved in a car accident because she feels sorry for him. In the second movie, it is implied that Jennifer marries Marty because she feels sorry for him after he is involved in a car accident. Can't believe it took me so long to realize that.
  • Working this out in a vacuum... (shut up; some of us who didn't grow up with the internet don't realize that pre-internet subjects are scrutinized by anyone on the internet.) I always assumed that Doc was just crazy and had set all of his clocks wrong, not that his house being non-synchronous was an earlier experiment... until the umpteenth rerun.
    • And I've assumed that Marty had always been vulnerable to coward-adjectives: complete immunity to ripple effect still inconclusive.
  • Okay, this troper has watched Back to the Future (the first one) for the 50th time and this plot point occurred to me. Why does Doc Brown continue to insist not letting Marty tell him about his death? And then it hit me. It wasn't just because he didn't want to know what's going on, but from the sequence he saw when he saw the Oh, Crap! moment on the video he watched, he figured out that he would die. And because he knew of his death, he didn't want Marty to worry about his own death. At least this troper thinks so.
    • Or that he figured that knowing the future locks you into it, making it a "fixed point."
    • This one isn't all that hard to figure out. Doc was watching a video pertaining to the development of his time machine, and Marty at that moment first chooses to try to tell him about the future. From that point on Doc does not want to know anything about it. There are a lot of good reasons for why this could be. First, by his own admission the time machine was the first thing he invented that worked. Considering he spent his entire life as an inventor without success, imagine the vindication for him when he learned he not only eventually created something that works, but something as amazing as a time machine. Now imagine if he perceived a chance to never achieve that ambition if Marty told him something he did not want to hear. If Marty told him something that could make him change his future, then he could very well never invent the one thing that keeps his whole life from having been a failure. Consider also that Doc can see that Marty has quite clearly screwed up his own future. Doc by contrast does not want the same thing to happen to him. Even if he guessed the information was about his death, all not knowing would men is that he would die when he always died. At the end he puts in point blank when he says he refuses to accept the responsibility. For all his brilliance he cannot foresee what the future will be, he was not willing to risk changing his future or that of anyone else connected to him any more than he had to. It takes him many years and an obviously great amount of curiosity before he reassembles Marty's letter and receives the warning.
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Marty accepts a challenge from Buford, but plans on him and Doc being out of there before Buford arrives. However, knowing Buford, if he'd arrived in Hill Valley only to find that Marty had left town, I'm pretty sure all hell would've broken loose in one form or another, affecting 1985 in a bad way. Did Marty stop to consider this? My guess is probably not, but it sure is a damn good thing Doc can't hold his whisky.
  • In the third movie, Doc takes Marty to the desert to make sure that he has not an accident while he travels back in time, citing specifically that he could hit a tree that was there in 1885. What was the first thing Marty did when he time-traveled to 1955 for the first time? He hit a tree. Fortunately, only a small one.
  • Typically, a helicopter indicates to the audience that Marty is indeed back in 1985: we see one at the end of Part I (with the searchlight shining on the Clocktower) and we hear one at the end of Part III (when the DeLorean is drifting past the Eastwood Ravine sign). However, we don't hear one right away upon landing back in 1985 in Part II, helping the audience to believe that Marty may be stuck in the wrong year. However, we do hear a helicopter right at the moment when Marty gets the date from Strickland's newspaper, confirming that we ARE in 1985—just not the right one.
  • A double example: First, the paralleling color-themed names of the two mayors of Hill Valley in Part I, Red Thomas and Goldie Wilson. Secondly, could their last names be a reference (even unintentional) to Thomas F."Biff Tannen" Wilson?
  • I couldn't ever explain why Doc thought asking who the president of the United States was would be a foolproof plan to catching Marty in his lie; after all, how would Doc know if he was lying? But what his reaction to Marty's answer? "The actor?!" He thought that Marty, being just a kid, wouldn't be clever enough to think up a plausible name off the top of his head, and would resort to saying someone remotely famous. The joke becomes that much funnier now.
  • I always wondered why Doc Brown can just walk into the high school in the first movie and have absolutely no one question him in any way. Then I realized that in 1955, he wasn't "insane and probably dangerous loner" Doc Brown, he's Emmett L. "local(and slightly eccentric) millionaire who helped out with the Manhattan Project" Brown. He was initially thought up favorably by the people of Hill Valley, until he put everything he had into his work and was shunned as a result.
  • There's been a lot of speculation as to what happened to the Marty we see go back to 1955 at the end of the film (Marty II). I puzzled and puzzled until I stumbled across the scene in Pt. III in which Doc doesn't remember dressing Marty in those ridiculous clothes. Why is this relevant? This Doc, much like the Marty we follow throughout the films, is from a timeline which no longer exists, and has memories of it. This Doc does not recall his interactions with Marty set into motion by his own presence in 1885. However you explain it, somehow the mechanics of time-travel in this universe absorb versions of time-travelers with altered pasts into the original one without their memories (at least, as far as we can see) to maintain continuity.
  • With all the changes Marty made in the first movie, how could he and Doc Brown be sure that the time the lightning struck the clock tower hadn't changed too? By noticing that the "Save the Clock Tower" Flyer doesn't fade like the picture does!
    • Marty had not do anything in 1955 that may change that thing. Mother nature does not care if Lorraine falls in love with George, Biff or someone else, of if Marty banishes into thin air or not.
  • Why were Doc and Marty falling out in Part III? In the original movie, Marty's father George had originally been a total wimp, so Marty looked up to Doc as a father figure. But in 1955, he bonds with young George, learning they were more alike than he'd originally believed, and it leaves a lasting impact, as in the new 1985, George is a confident, successful writer. George had become Marty's father figure once again.
  • Somewhat related to the above, if Crispin Glover had signed on to the sequels, he would've played Seamus McFly in Part III. Which would have been brilliant, because in Part I, Marty offered advice to Crispin's character, and in Part III, Crispin would've offered advice to Marty.
  • It's widely known that the time machine originally had been conceived as a chamber (specifically a refrigerator), and to travel back to 1985, Doc and Marty originally would've gone into the desert to a nuclear testing site to get the 1.21 gigawatts of electricity. In Part III, Doc sends Marty to 1885 at a drive-in theater in the desert. So the Bobs finally used that idea in some form!
  • Marty walks in on Biff while he's watching Clint Eastwood in the hot tub. The scene in particular has Clint be shot several times and being knocked down, before revealing he was wearing a bulletproof vest. Sound familiar?
  • When 1955 Doc views the video of himself from 1985, he remarks, "Thank God I still got my hair!" It does seem strange that his hairline is at exactly the same level of recession in 1955 and 1985. (In contrast, Christopher Lloyd himself, 30 years after making the film, is almost entirely bald.) Maybe Doc invented something that halts, but doesn't reverse, hair loss.
  • A bit of a meta example - the first film was clearly designed to provide a nostalgic view of 1950s-era America and much Lampshade Hanging is done pointing out how much things have changed from the 50s to "present day". Except "present day" was in the mid-80s, meaning people reading this are now as far removed from the setting of Back to the Future's "present" as its original audience was from its "past" setting. Hilariously, the film is so jam-packed with 80s pop culture, from fashion to music to technology, the segments of the film set in "the present" are now just as much of a nostalgic throwback for children of the 80s as the past segments were for children of the 50s.
  • It seems odd at first that after the Libyans crash that we never hear from them again, but they were traveling between 60 and 70mph in a vehicle not known for its safety with one of the two hanging out of the open sun roof with an RPG-7 rocket launcher. RPG-7 grenades have impact fuses without any additional safety devices. If the impact with the photo-mat didn't kill them both outright, the blast from the RPG would have surely finished them off.
  • 1955!Doc scoffed at the Japanese parts used to make the DeLorean claiming "no wonder it fell apart, the parts are from Japan!" While this was mostly a jab at the "Buy American" attitude the 80s had (when the film was made), he was justified in saying that because Japan was still recovering from World War II which ended 10 years prior. While unintentional, Doc looked worried when Marty says everything is made in Japan because it means a former enemy has become a dominant power again. If true, it's invoking the Japan Takes Over the World trope which was a major concern in the 80s (which was also referenced in the second movie).
  • At first, Biff's grandmother is simply a grouchy character for the sake of a grouchy character. However, once you play the Telltale game and learn who Biff's parents are, you begin to realize that maybe she didn't have much reason to like Biff at all: her son was a bootlegger under a life sentence and Biff is turning out like him.
  • Marty's original family were a bunch of losers. His brother works in a fast food joint, his sister is apparently completely cynical and jaded and his dad is working some low level white collar grunt job while being bullied to to Biff, his superior's, work for him as well, meanwhile his mother's overweight, an alcoholic and has an apparently spiteful attitude to anybody else being even remotely happy. The house is also a crap hole. After he returns to 1985 they're completely different. His brother now has some kind of office job, his parents are Happily Married and successful, the house is nicer and now Biff is working as a car cleaner (presumably, George is doing the job he helped Biff into himself). Some people have criticized this ending as being too materialistic, but it's really not. Only one small change in the timeline has led to such a dramatic improvement in the Mc Fly family, that change being George learned to stand up for himself and to not give up in the face of adversity. If you pay attention, George has only just got his first novel published, even though he presumably has been trying since the 50s. The original George probably wrote his first manuscript, got a rejection, and gave up because he was trampled down and broken. His kids, unconsciously following his example, are the same way. The new George probably wrote his first manuscript, got a rejection, and started work on another better manuscript. That also got rejected, so did the next one and the next one. But he didn't ever give up and by 1985 his persistence has finally been rewarded. In the meantime he was probably doing the job Biff was originally doing because he was clearly good enough to do it. His kids, unconsciously following his example, are the same way.
  • In the animated series, Marty gives his name as Jimmy Olsen during one of the trips into the past, which might seem weird given Jimmy's somewhat joke-like reputation. Then you remember that by 1991, Jimmy was known as "Mr. Action" and no longer needed Superman to bail him out quite so often, so Marty may have had an entirely different perspective on the character.
  • In the first episode of the game, in Marty's dream of the first experiment, the Delorean doesn't show up at 1:21 a.m. like in the movie. Come part 4, the Delorean repaired by Citizen Brown, due to its damage, first arrives a few minutes after he intended, then about 2 months after the date he intended to go to in 1931, then several hours back in time when he tried to go back one minute. In other words, just like in the dream, the Delorean didn't arrive at the time it was supposed to.
  • After Marty gets hit with his grandfather's car in 1955, he wakes up to Lorraine telling him he's been asleep for almost nine hours. He doesn't look too banged up to have passed out for that long. But then you remember that Marty had to meet Doc at 1 AM the night he went back in time, without much more than what looked like a cat nap after dinner. He'd have probably been awake for over twenty-four hours real time, not to mention mentally exhausted from what was happening, and was sleeping it off (there's the Reality Subtext that Michal J. Fox was only sleeping two hours a night at this point, splitting his time between filming both this movie and Family Ties).
  • Fridge Heartwarming: Marty tells 1955!Lorraine that she might regret drinking later in life when she takes a swig from her mother's personal liquor stash. 1985!Lorraine, she's a bloated alcoholic, so he knows for a fact that she's going to regret it. This also makes his discovery about her smoking even funnier: he expects her to drink and is shocked that she sleeps around, but smoking warrants a Spit Take.

Fridge Horror

  • Doc Brown made the deal with the Libyans to obtain plutonium in 1985. Perhaps the Libyans behind the Pan-Am Flight 103 originally planned to detonate a nuke aboard a plane and Doc cheating them set their timetable back 3 years.
  • Biff attempted to rape Lorraine in 1955.
    • And it's Marty's fault!
    • In the end of the Part I movie, Biff still is around the family... as some kind of friend! They even acknowledge if it weren't for Biff being a jerk and an almost rapist, they wouldn't be together.
      • I don't think Biff is a "friend" of the McFlys'. He's only there to work on their cars, as part of his auto-detailing job. Biff's just being a massive suck-up to everyone because he's terrified of George now, and is thus trying to be on his best behavior around him.
    • In the 1985-A of Part II, they're married and there's obviously no love lost between them. When Lorraine-A tries to leave, Biff-A threatens her kids, which means he's been holding that over her head. In other words, he's been raping her since they got married.
      • Also, Lorraine-A says to Marty "Oh, they must've hit you hard on the head this time", making us realize how particularly horrible Marty-A's childhood must have been in this time.
      • To take this one step further: don't forget that the Biff of 1985-A murdered George McFly in 1973-A. It's entirely possible that Lorraine witnessed this, and was finally coerced into marrying Biff (and prevented from reporting him to the police) by the threat that either she or one of her children may be next. What a charming guy.
      • Looking at her reaction during the newsreel, Lorraine isn't exactly a beaming bride.
    • After Lorraine attempts to leave, listen to her words. She's using classic abuse victim phrases to excuse Biff's behavior, stating that "she deserved it" and "he looks after us, he deserves our respect." Despite her (quite refreshing) outburst when she threatens to leave, Lorraine is a broken woman by this point, and it's positively gut-wrenching to watch, especially if you have an experience with abuse personally. Then, compare her in 1955, where she tells Biff she wouldn't marry him "even if [he] had a million dollars," before kicking him in the shin and slamming him over the head with her dress box. How this feisty girl became the broken woman of 1985A is best left unexplored.
  • After Marty learned his lesson in the past in Part III, he decides not to race with Needles just because he called him "chicken", and thus prevents the accident that would ruin his life. Nice Aesop about ignoring jerks who can get you into trouble, right? Until you realize that, according to Marty's mom in 2015, Jennifer probably married Marty just because she felt sorry for him after the accident, which can mean that in this new timeline Marty Jr. and Marlene could as well never have been born...
    • Or Jennifer could have a higher respect for Marty and his own change. Or her knowledge of time travel and having kids in the future influencing her decision to marry him.
      • Take it another step forward. In the original timeline, Lorraine is really adamant against girls being the pursuers of men because "they're just asking for trouble." Lorraine of the original timeline may have been raped by Biff as well.
      • Fridge Brilliance: It's like how George and Lorraine met. Originally, Lorraine only fell in love with Marty's father because he was run over by a car, but in the end she falls for him anyways even though he was never hit.
    • Or that Marty becomes a Rock God.
    • Yes, Jennifer felt sorry for the Marty who constantly pitied himself after the accident, but she genuinely loves the Marty we know who doesn't race with Needles.
    • The Telltale game implies that they're still together at least in 2011.
    • In the directors commentary of the first film, it was up to Lorraine, not Marty, to stop the near squicktastic Oedipal canoodling between them while they were in the car before the prom. That means if she kissed Marty and it didn't feel like it was "kissing her brother", Biff never approached the car for the attempted rape, and George never came over to the car, either Marty would have (willingly mind you) gone into some serious Philip J. Fry levels of "Pastnastification" in which 2 things could have happened.
      • He suddenly has a older brother/sister he never had before or...
      • He's his OWN FATHER in a unwitting Stable Time Loop
      • Fun Fact: The only reason this didn't even remotely happen in the film is that Disney was one of the film's main producers.
      • Marty never would have slept with his own mother. Maybe the reason it was up to Lorraine to stop things between them was just because if Marty turned her down she wouldn't have gotten over him and wouldn't have been open to a relationship with George. Lorraine on her own had to realize that dating Marty was not a good idea so she could move on.
      • ^This
      • Marty's reaction through the movie is pretty clear that he's terrified by his mother's letch for him. The reason's mostly because of the incest, but also partly because Lorraine's stories of what she was like at his age weren't remotely true. It wasn't implausible that it was up to Lorraine to break it off, it fit the story perfectly: Marty did everything he could think of to get her to back down, and was panicking because she was into it.
    • That's also a case of Fridge Brilliance: People have the ability to unconsciously detect the genetic viability of potential offspring in another person. Sometimes it's by way of pheromones and other times by saliva. This is one reason why two people in Real Life just might not be the right "type" for each other. So, when Lorraine kisses Marty, she gets biologically "turned-off" because she senses his genetic material mixing with hers wouldn't make for a very healthy kid.
      • Maybe some people have that ability, but surely not all. There have been cases where siblings were separated at a young age, then later met as strangers, fell in love, and got married. And they didn't realize anything was wrong until years later when they decided to trace their family histories...
      • Incest and inbreeding isn't quite as dangerous as the 'redneck stereotype' suggests. If the family has been incorporating new genetic material on a fairly regular basis, even a brother and sister may not be incompatible enough yet to set off the woman's genetic viability detection system. Problems don't start to show up until incest has been pervasive for a few generations.
      • This is more of a call back to Lorraine's apparently oft-retold story about how she knew George was the man for her when she kissed him. Since that was true in both timelines, kissing Marty may have given her a strong signal it would end badly. They padded it with a joke the audience was in on with the brother bit.
  • O.K., here's a pretty good one I noticed after my 9000th viewing of Back to the Future. You know how people ask if "You kiss your mother with that mouth?" when you swear? Well, early in the first movie when the McFlys are eating dinner, Marty's brother Dave lets out a loud "Damn!" when he realized he was late for work. His mother then proceeded tell him not to swear and then asked him for a kiss on the cheek.
  • Marty's mom asks his brother to "kiss your mother before you go". She means a kiss on the cheek, of course. Later, in 1955, Marty gets an actual kiss from his mother.
  • In Back to the Future, when Marty returns to 1985, a lot of things are different than when he felt, including his girlfriend's appearance. The meta explanation for this is a simple case of The Other Darrin. However, it becomes horrifying when you consider a possible in-universe explanation. What if his own parents weren't the only teenage couple whose meeting Marty disrupted? Maybe, during the chase with Biff or the Johnny B. Goode recital, Jennifer's parents were in the crowd and were too busy watching Marty to meet each other? Than, at a later time, one parent or the other got married to someone else and had a daughter named Jennifer with them. So the reason Jennifer looks different when Marty gets back is that she has one different parent than before, and is essentially a completely different person.
    • But they both happen to look just like Claudia Wells?
      • Or Elisabeth Shue?
      • Since the second Jennifer had one parent in common with the first one, it makes sense that she would look similar.
  • There are fully armed Libyan terrorists freely driving around America. Fully armed Libyan terrorists planning to build a dirty bomb and who were in no way defeated by the end of the movie.
    • Not defeated? They crashed into a Photo-fox kiosk at upwards of 70mph. Seeing as how neither were wearing seat belts and were driving a car where the only crumple zone is one's face, the only place they are going is the hospital or the morgue.
      • Speaking of which, a man in possession of stolen nuclear material has plenty of time to casually pack his bags for a trip after a gun battle at the local mall?
  • When Marty accidentally prevented his parents from falling in love, they probably would have both gone off to marry other people, meaning that Marty erased at least two other children from time itself in order to ensure his own existence.
    • People can get married and not have children, y'know, the wedding isn't what makes the babies. Not to mention that Lorraine at least would probably have ended up marrying Biff if Marty hadn't gotten his folks back together.
      • Even if it's true that George and Lorraine married other people and each had at least one child, there were at least three children who were not born because of this. And if the people they married were supposed to marry and have children with someone else then that's more children that don't exist. And the original spouse of the people who now married George and Lorraine might have married people who were supposed to marry someone else and have children themselves and so on and so on. Who knows how many people might suddenly have not existed because George and Lorraine didn't get together? And there's no reason to think that it better to let the alternate universe children exist at the cost of all the original universe children.
      • Plus, we can probably forgive Marty for being more concerned over the fate of his own actual siblings rather than hypothetical alternative history children who may-or-may-not exist in some alternative future he's not even aware of. The guy has trouble thinking fourth dimensionally at the best of times, and he doesn't learn that changing the past creates alternative futures for proper until the next movie.
  • During the course of the Telltale games, Doc is erased from time, and Hill Valley is both turned into a dystopian police state AND wiped from the map.. This means that Marty is the only original human being left in time. (We can be generous and say the rest of the world wasn't terribly affected, but given that Hill Valley was relocated in one timeline, and the lengthy span of time involved, not affecting anything outside of Hill Valley becomes less likely.) Technically, nobody is exactly who he knows anymore... And how the hell is he supposed to know what his timeline-native self did up to the point he returned. I don't know about anyone else, but this is pretty horrifying. - Alphacat
  • In the Telltale Games, the Citizen Brown episode, Marty tells Citizen Brown that he was supposed to invent the time machine. His reaction isn't that bad; he's skeptical at first and tries to help him later on. But imagine this: You live your life, doing what you do, and suddenly someone presents you with evidence that you wasted your life, you could have done way more with what you were given, your entire existence is a mistake. He takes it surprisingly well and even manages to do what he was supposed to do, but really, how likely is it that Doc could invent time travel in half a year, when it took the movie Doc, who even had the opportunity to study the time machine, 30 years? This is kind of hinted at in Episode 4, when the ethics of personality overriding is discussed, but I think this would be a lot more horrific than it is portrayed in the game.
  • We all know how much of a Crapsack World Biff made when he screwed with history. Imagine if the Libyans discovered the time machine...
    • Actually probably nothing. There really is no conceivable reason why they would get in that car and speed off at 88 MPH instead off just taking back the plutonium and escaping in their van. And even if they did its very likely they would have been shot pretty quickly in 1955 - maybe even by Old Man Peabody given how he was packing a shotgun and had the element of surprise.
      • In order to have got into the USA without attracting too much attention, at least some of them would have had to know English. If one of them had, say, looked at the little notebook Doc was scribbling on, or noticed the big "Destination Time" and "Last Time Departed From" inside the car, well, there were four Libyans, and they had an assault rifle and a rocket launcher. They could have caused serious havoc in 1955, and that's assuming they didn't deliberately go further back in time...
  • In the third movie, Marty and Doc learn that Doc will die of a gunshot wound on September 5th 1885. They assume that he will be shot on September 5th. However, it transpires that Doc would actually have been shot on September 3rd, and took two days to bleed out; it's not lingered on, but some thought about this suggests that in the original timeline, Doc's death was long, lingering, painful, and at the mercy of less-than-spectacular late nineteenth-century Old West medical practices.
    • Word of God in the DVD Commentary says pretty much that, omitting only the "less-than-spectacular late nineteenth-century Old West medical practices" part.
  • Marty's near-hanging in Part III is extremely terrifying in many ways. First, it's established that the newspapers stopped keeping track of Buford Tannen's kills, so if Marty died, nobody would know about it. Second, on a meta-level, Michael J. Fox himself nearly got hanged for real shooting the scene. On top of that, he'd just had his first child, and his father died during shooting (production was stopped so that Fox could attend his funeral), so his newborn child could've lost his father and his grandfather within months of each other.
  • In the first film, the 1955 Doc is amazed to find out an invention of his, namely the time machine, actually materialized and works in the future. Then in Part III, after he successfully uses it himself to send Marty back to 1985, he discovers a letter by his 1985 self explicitly telling Marty to destroy it immediately after returning to 1985 himself. It had to have shocked him that he'd go from pride to regret over the time machine.
  • Cracked points out some new disturbing implications, like, Doc burning down his house for the insurance money, the fact that there were bystanders when Biff was molesting Lorraine who didn't try to intervene, new implications about the deleted scene between Biff and the former mechanic Terry, the fact that the "sleep-inducing alpha rhythm generator" clearly is an electronic version of a roofie, the revelation that millions more people died in 1985-A because the Vietnam War went on longer (as noted by a newspaper article), and just how many people had their futures altered because of the locomotive theft in part III.
  • Lorraine was a victim of attempted rape by Biff Tannen, whom drops by at the Mc Fly household every now and then. Imagine how uncomfortable it must feel for Lorraine to be anywhere near the person who almost raped her.

Alternative Title(s): Back To The Future The Game

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Fridge/BacktoTheFuture