Sheldon in the Time Machine
Sheldon in the Time Machine

It is to no surprise that the Time Machine from the 1960 title film would eventually make an appearance on the ever-most-popular TV series The Big Bang Theory. In the fourteenth episode of the first season entitled “The Nerdvana Annihilation”, Leonard finds a miniature model of the Time Machine on eBay, and along with Sheldon, Howard, and Raj, he wins the auction. When it gets delivered, however, it actually turns out to be a full-scale model. Once they have it set up in the apartment, Leonard takes it for a spin, pretending to travel into the future. Throughout the episode, Leonard struggles with his nerdiness and wishes he could really use the Time Machine to stop himself from bidding on it in order to make himself become more attractive to Penny, to which Sheldon brings up the fact that by doing so he would create a paradox, much like the one Marty McFly made with his mother in the film Back to the Future.

Sheldon being terrorized by Morlocks
Sheldon being terrorized by Morlocks

At the end of the episode, Sheldon dreams of traveling to the year 802,701 like in the actual film, but then gets terrorized by a group of Morlocks who try to eat him, only to wake up to find another group of Morlocks trying to eat him, and finally wakes up again to suggest that the Time Machine be removed from the apartment.

Leonard in the Time Machine as Raj, Sheldon, and Howard watch
Leonard in the Time Machine as Raj, Sheldon, and Howard watch

During the scene where Leonard pretends to travel into the future, I noticed two mistakes when comparing the functionality of Time Machine to that in the original film. First, Leonard sets dials on the Time Machine for March 10, 1876, then decides on January 10, 2328. In the actual film, there were no dials to set. George Wells simply pulled or pushed on the lever to travel back and forth through time. This is unlike the dials that had to be set in the DeLorean in the Back to the Future trilogy. Second, after Leonard sets the dials for January 10, 2328, which is obviously in the future, he pulls back on the lever to pretend to travel through time. George specifically stated in the film that you pull the lever backwards to travel into the past and forwards to travel into the future. Hence, Leonard pulled the lever the wrong way. Being a fan of the film The Time Machine and a true nerd, I would think Leonard should have known this. This scene can be seen below.

RJ Onyx Moonshadow

RJ Onyx Moonshadow

"Back to the Future" began his interest in time travel and led him to study astrophysics, quantum physics, and cosmology. That was only the beginning as he was hooked on other time travel films and shows, starting with "The Terminator", "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure", "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III", and "The Time Machine".

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