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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.
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    • Plus in Part 2 he sees himself playing "Johnny B. Goode" and figures he's pretty good. It's there in his nod/smirk.
    • In a deleted scene set just after the McFly family dinner in 1985, we saw Marty put his demo tape in an envelope, addressed to a record company, but he just put it down and decided not to go and post it. At the end of the film, once he's back from 1955 and wakes up in his bed, before he even realises his family have changed, you can see him carrying the envelope, implying he's going to post it after all. His trip to the past did teach him to be more confident, and he's actually doing exactly what Jennifer suggested he do: send his tape to a record company and see what happens next
  • People love to bring up how nonsensical it is that George, no matter how rage-fuelled, was somehow able to knock out Biff in a single punch. But look at the punch closer, George originally tries to hit Biff with his right hand, only for Biff to grab him and put him in an arm-lock, and it's only when Lorraine is pushed to the ground that George spins round and smacks Biff with his LEFT hand. Now earlier in the film we see George writing his sci-fi stories in the lunch-room, and he's using his right hand. But even back in the 50s, it was commonplace for schools to insist on right-handedness even if a person was born a lefty. In this case, it's possible that George was born left-handed, forced to pretend he was right-handed by school (since we see him writing with his right-hand) but still managed to maintain a degree of dominant strength in his left hand. As such, when he went up against Biff, of course his right hand was useless, whereas his left hand was basically a WMD against Biff's smug face
  • 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.
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    • 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.
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    • 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.)
    • There is a third possibility. Just after arriving in 1955, Marty is forced to escape the Peabody farm after Old Man Peabody mistakes him for an alien and shot at him. In the confusion, Marty accidentally ran over a pine tree. A branch may have snagged some electrical wiring, causing an intermittent short circuit or caused some sort of damage to the electrical system. Marty even told 1955 Doc that there was something wrong with the starter, so 1955 Doc probably repaired the damage later on (the car's rear end was jacked up—probably to examine why it wouldn't start), didn't do a good enough job and it was 1985 Doc (who knew the car) that finished repairs. Notably, between that point in the film and after Marty returns to 1985 is the only time when the car stalls or fails to start. The only other time the engine failed was simply due to lack of gasoline and no suitable substitute fuel in Part III.
  • One may wonder 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.
  • 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.
      • What's horrifying about this is that Doc had been told in 1955 that he invents a time machine by 1985, 1955 Doc must have reached a revelation that he has thirty years to invent a working time machine or the universe gets torn apart by the paradox if he fails. This explains a lot about why he spends the next thirty years of his life pouring his entire family fortune into his research, his willingness to deal with Libyan terrorists and his rejection of being told any more about future events by Marty citing that he refuses to take the "responsibility" as a lot is already riding on him. No pressure, right?
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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 BttF2, 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 1983. 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...
  • 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.
  • 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.
    • But Uncle Joey is never mentioned in the improved timeline. It's never said if he's still in prison or not. Though a deleted scene from Part II shows that Lorainne was expecting Joey to get out of prison again in 2015 (and Marty telling her they should wait until he's been released to celebrate), while the comic book has a storyarc where Joey does get out in 1986.
  • 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.
  • Why does Doc Brown continue to insist not letting Marty tell him about his death? 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.
    • Or that he figured that knowing the future locks you into it, making it a "fixed point."
      • Retroactive Fridge Brilliance: In Doctor Who, the Doctor manages to fake his death, but makes it seem as if he died, in order to keep a fixed point from being fucked up. Doc Brown probably came to a similar conclusion; as long as Marty thinks that he was dead, he would still go into the past, and time would continue on its natural course.
    • 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.
  • 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.
    • Technically subverted in a doubly brilliant method since when Doc, Marty, Jennifer and Einstein return from 2015 to 1985A, they hear an AEROPLANE instead of a HELICOPTER, it's also a flying vehicle but not the SAME one we'd expect, much like how they ARE in 1985 alright, but not the SAME 1985 that they know
  • 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.
    • He also could've just explained it away that he was showing a relative / new prospective student (or both) around the place, being that handsome and charming young Calvin Klein fellow
  • 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 could 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.
    • The lightning storm itself might have been the result of all the temporal disturbances taking place in 1955, which ironically enabled not one, but two instances of time travel on its own.
  • 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've 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.
    • Unlikely as the Doc claims he never made anything that works... unless he did intend to make something that let hair grow back, but he failed, and the result was a side-effect of halting hair-loss, meaning that just like the mind-reading machine mentioned above, he didn't realize he had actually technically succeeded, just in a very round-about kind of way
  • 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.
    • Word of God lampshaded this in the DVD commentary.
    • The writers showed a great deal of foresight in realizing this possibility for the 'Cafe 80's' scene in Part II, which may be seen as a throwaway gag but is actually a pretty good prediction of 80's nostalgia while the 80's were still going on.
  • 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.
  • 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 sister is now more socially outgoing, 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 McFly 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.
  • 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.
  • In 1955, Marty carelessly informs Goldie Wilson that he's going to be mayor. While this was already going to happen by 1985, it's possible that Marty's words encouraged Goldie a little more. While this has already been brought up, think of the town in this case. In the original 1985, there's a porno theatre on the main street, Lyon Estates looks like a slum for low-income families, and the town is plagued by the machinations of the local mad scientist Emmett Brown. Now consider the town in the later movies, with George McFly, local author winning an award, and local mad scientist Emmett Brown commended for his work in the field of science. Not only that, but while the porno theatre is still there in 1985, the town is obviously thriving by 2015, with a sprawling mall, a lake in the middle of the town, trendy shops everywhere, Goldie Wilson III promoting hover-conversions for cars (possibly something he himself invented)... overall not only has the town's condition massively improved but it may all have been the work of Goldie Wilson II becoming mayor and, as he said at the time, 'cleaning up this town'. Maybe Marty's idea of him being mayor encouraged him to try even harder than before?
  • More Fridge Heartwarming courtesy of the comic: in the "Who Is Marty McFly?" arc, Doc is forced to gun down a series of animatronic copies of Marty to protect the real Marty. Since they had both initially believed that these were versions of Marty from other timelines and Doc has only just figured out the truth, he hastily assures Marty that it's not what it looks like, explaining, "I would never hurt you, no matter what timeline you came from." With this in mind, we—and they—probably should have realized the truth earlier when one of the "Martys" socked Doc in the face, even when he was trying to reason with them and offer a solution to the problem. The real Marty wouldn't hurt Doc either!

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.
  • 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.
    • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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, it's 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...
      • Or they could have temporarily caused serious havoc in Hill Valley in 1955 until they were taken down by the citizenry. Assault rifles and grenade launchers have existed in very close to their present form since the World War II era, and the kind of serious gun control laws that brought the term "zip gun" into prominence in the 1980's weren't enacted until the '60's, so it's extremely unlikely that Old Man Peabody was the only armed citizen in town.
      • They more than likely wouldn't just go back to 1955 and cause some chaos. They'd go back in time where major events took place, and remake the world into their ideal. So it'd be even worse.
      • Again though, this whole scenario revolves around them taking the time to read Brown's notes instead of just leaving with their stolen plutonium after starting a gunfight in a public place. They are not going to care enough about the DeLorean to investigate anything because there is no legitimate reason for them to be interested in it. And when the police arrive and find the corpse of notoriously crazy Doc Brown who was shot whilst testing out a time machine? They are going to call the bomb squad to blow it up once they realise that there is a nuclear reactor on the back of it. There is no danger of the time machine falling into anyone's hands.
  • 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.
    • In addition to no one wanting to mess with Biff, this is 1955. Everyone surrounding them probably thought that she deserved it for her low-cut dress and her loose attitude to sex and drink. Values Dissonance at its finest. We also have no idea where Brown got that Alpha-rhythm generator from. Given how he is a man quite happy to steal plutonium from terrorists it is not unreasonable to suggest that he stole it from somewhere that would have legitimate use for it such as a hospital, a dentist, or even an old-people's home as an alternative for sleeping pills. Remember that almost everything has at least one malicious use in the wrong hands no matter how useful it is.
  • Lorraine was a victim of attempted rape by Biff Tannen, whom drops by at the McFly household every now and then. Imagine how uncomfortable it must feel for Lorraine to be anywhere near the person who almost raped her.
    • Or how incredibly satisfying it must be to watch her former bully and rapist cower every time her husband walks into the room. Everyone keeps assuming that it was George and not her that hired Biff, but not everyone responds to trauma in the same way.
  • The "Who is Marty McFly?" storyline in the IDW comic series not only teases out the existential repercussions of the first film's Happy Ending and milks them for all they're worth, it features a Nightmare Sequence (spurred by a speculation from another character that the Lone Pines timeline may reassert itself) in which Marty helplessly watches himself fade from existence. Was he legitimately traumatized by that experience?
  • The comics also reveal that the Doc of 1985-A, whom we were told was sent to a mental institution, was also lobotomized. That's bad enough in itself, but the Marty of that timeline was shipped off to boarding school by his new stepdad. Does he know? Does he not know? Will he ever find out? There's no non-horrifying option.
  • Judging by Doc's excitement when he successfully sends Einstein 1 minute into the future, one gets the impression he wasn't completely sure it world work. However he positioned himself and Marty right in front of a car speeding towards them at 88 miles per hour!

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