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Twin Peaks? More Like Chin Freaks! - The Book of the Celestial Cow

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April 21st, 2009


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10:00 pm - Twin Peaks? More Like Chin Freaks!
I went into Twin Peaks knowing a few things: it was weird, it got bad after they revealed who killed Laura Palmer, and who killed Laura Palmer. Not that the spoiler really mattered since I didn't know the whole story.

Everyone knows what Twin Peaks is about. In the small town of Twin Peaks, WA, the town sweetheart, Laura Palmer, is murdered. Enter Agent Dale Cooper to investigate the mystery. But, oh ho, there is more to this town than small town charm! For instance, basically all the main characters are cheating on each other. Or just plain cheating each other. There are business schemes, bad marriages, illicit affairs, and all sorts of other shenanigans. I was surprised that the pilot was relatively normal, but the show got weirder and weirder as it progressed, incorporating dreams and the supernatural.

This was my first exposure to David Lynch. I have yet to see any of his movies, but now I know not to expect them to make any sense. Most of the weirdness in Twin Peaks is weird for the sake of being weird without any real explanation, but not in a Grant Morrison way. Grant Morrison just wants to have fun. David Lynch wants to fuck with you. After a while, I just accepted that the weird shit was not going to have any logical explanation and went with it on its own terms. Sure, there's a dancing midget. Sure, there's a mysteriously appearing giant. Sure, there's a one-armed man. Bring it on, Lynch.

What kept me engaged were the quirky, likable characters. From the moment Kyle MacLachlan steps onscreen, you know Agent Dale Cooper is going to be a character for the ages, easily earning himself a place on all future Top X TV Characters of All Time lists. Although he's obviously a proto-Mulder, he's very much his own person. He completely owns the show with his stoicism, deductive skills, and complete sincerity. He forms a strong friendship with Sheriff Harry S. Truman, who's an all-around good guy. He's well respected by Deputy Hawk, a Native American who spends a refreshingly small percentage of his screentime imparting sage spiritual wisdom, usually just walking around and being awesome. Coop is one of the few who respect Andy, who's a bit slow but has a good heart and is actually useful every now and then. Andy's a perfect match for the receptionist, Lucy, who is hilariously redundant and similarly adorable. I basically loved the whole police department.

There are a lot of other adult characters, but with the exception of the very pretty Norma, owner of her own diner, I was more interested in the various teenagers. The girls were pretty and the boys were angsty. Especially in the first season, they were the ones to pay attention to since they were the ones who really knew Laura. My favorite teen was Audrey Horne, who starts out as kind of an annoying bitch but really grows over the course of the series.

As you might have gathered, there are a shitload of characters, which helps makes the town of Twin Peaks feel real and populated. Of course, this also means that in any given episode, you're likely not to care about a small chunk of the storylines. On the other hand, there are a slew of fun guest stars like Miguel Ferrer, David Duchovny, Billy Zane, Heather Graham, and even David Lynch himself. Also a hot redhead.

A quick note on music before we enter the homestretch: I have the Lost Highway soundtrack, so I was familiar with Angelo Badalamenti's general style. But the soundtrack to Twin Peaks is one of the many things that set it apart. It's supposed to be a creepy, disturbing murder mystery, and the music is generally jazzy and sentimental. It's an interesting contrast. Even though I wondered whether Badalamenti was supremely lazy back in the nineties, since the whole series uses the same three or four pieces of music over and over.

The first season is usually heralded as the good one (and I don't think you'll find anyone who will disagree). Each episode—each episode takes place over a 24-hour time period, which is a storytelling framework I enjoy—builds and improves upon the previous one. Beyond the murder mystery, the show provides a compelling picture of a town grieving, both collectively and individually. While there are vague hints of supernatural elements, there's nothing too outlandish. In the second season, however, the supernatural elements are more enhanced, which results in the story making less sense. The mystery and intrigue also heat up, though, leading to an incredibly unsatisfying mystery resolution for such a classic show. The show then flounders for a few episodes before introducing a new antagonist who breathes life back into the show. Yet, the show has so many characters by that point that it struggles to give them all plotlines, so we're also treated to a lot of pointless shit. And just as the show is getting fairly interesting again—and attempting to tie the series together—we get a terrible series finale. So much WTF it was dripping out of my television screen. Not to mention the resolution of the puzzle box storyline.

But that's Twin Peaks for you. Weird, frustrating, boring, engaging, hilarious, interesting, confusing, intriguing, silly, adorable, disturbing. It's quite a marvel that a show like it lasted 29 episodes on ABC—and at one point was a bona fide hit. Regardless of how good it actually is, it's like ariiadne says: that sure was on TV.
Current Mood: hothot
Current Music: Coldplay - Daylight

(38 memoirs | Describe me as "inscrutable")

Comments:


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From:roxybisquaint
Date:April 22nd, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)
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This was my first exposure to David Lynch. I have yet to see any of his movies, but now I know not to expect them to make any sense. Most of the weirdness in Twin Peaks is weird for the sake of being weird without any real explanation

That's David Lynch exactly - weird for the sake of being weird. He does bizarre characters really well, but at the end of the day, that's about all he's got to offer from what I've seen of his work. So I gave up after "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me" (the film that followed the series).

Twin Peaks was such a cool phenomenon, though. It was the first show that I ever sat around with friends discussing and speculating about. It really was great fun... until the Laura Palmer mystery was solved anyway. I don't even remember now how the series ended, but I still feel bitter about it :P
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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 22nd, 2009 05:31 am (UTC)
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I still want to see his movies, though. Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Lost Highway, Mulholland Dr. They all sound interesting, and at least they only take a couple hours of my time.
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From:cedrhil
Date:April 22nd, 2009 05:21 am (UTC)

Twin Peakes

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When I was in high school, there were two older boys in my school who were identical twins. And their last name was Peake. So of course everyone referred to them as the Twin Peakes. And they were really cute! I had a huge crush on both of them. :) So while I've never seen the show, Twin Peak(e)s has a special meaning for me!
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From:electricmonk
Date:April 22nd, 2009 05:41 am (UTC)

More like...

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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 22nd, 2009 06:02 am (UTC)

Good, me like bird who knows own name.

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That was amazing.
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From:cerulgalactus
Date:April 22nd, 2009 05:51 am (UTC)
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Don't let your friend up there warn you off Lynch - noone does unsettling weird as much or as well as he. The only film of his that I would say is purposefully weird for the sake of it is Inland Empire.
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From:glasseseater
Date:April 22nd, 2009 06:56 am (UTC)
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David Lynch once tried to convince me to join a cult!
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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 22nd, 2009 07:11 am (UTC)
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Personally?
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From:selenak
Date:April 22nd, 2009 09:49 am (UTC)
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Ah, Twin Peaks. I saw it when it first broacast, and reacted pretty much as you did. Am still fond of the show, and have some meta posts stashed.k
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From:sophiap
Date:April 22nd, 2009 11:18 am (UTC)
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Oh, yes. Even though the ending of the last season infuriated me (it would have infuriated me less if there'd been a next season), that was some damn fine TV.
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From:etherealclarity
Date:April 22nd, 2009 12:37 pm (UTC)
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After I got through the first season, I was like... what? No more of this. I just read the wikipedia to see how it ends, and you're right, it's very unsatisfying.

Overall, meh.
From:dotificus
Date:April 22nd, 2009 01:57 pm (UTC)
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Ooooo! I haven't seen it since it first aired, but I lurved this show. I agree the latter eps were weak, but I watched all of them. I still cared to see what would happen, even if what happened was less intriguing and satisfying, unlike other TV shows, ::coughBtVScough::

I don't know if "weird for the sake of weird" is quite right. I remember feeling more like weird for the sake of deeply, strangely stirring. Like Lynch was reaching into nightmare corners of my soul and giving things a nudge.

Now I want to put it in my Netflix queue. Also, I want pie.
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From:gymble
Date:April 22nd, 2009 02:04 pm (UTC)
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I actually watched some of Twin Peaks back in the day because my older sister was too scared to watch by herself. I seem to recall a mix of awesomeness with WTF.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 22nd, 2009 05:41 pm (UTC)
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Icon!

Heh, the pilot is normal enough right up until the Black Lodge at the end!*
Yeah, that's only the European version.

And, I think it is worth mentioning, that that (HOW'S ANNIE?) was never meant to be the series finale just the season finale, but it got canceled.
They knew there was no chance of renewal! I mean, they'd just barely scraped by with six more episodes.

I know what the makers said they had planned for season 3, if you are curious.
Sure.

I love it a lot, except the James-noir storyline that never intersects with anyone else's. You can literally skip the whole thing and it never, ever, ever matters.
Ha ha ha, yeah, I was complaining about that too last night. The blonde woman is hot, but that storyline is so completely pointless.

Audrey is everyone's (mine included) favorite because she rocks that hard.
Yay! I really have no idea what most fans think of things, so I'm glad Audrey is well loved. She's this great combination of cute and sexy. I liked Donna at first, but good God, did she get dull.

Makes me sort of sad when I see Sherilynn Fenn being a lame CW mom. (See also: Mädchen Amick.)
Heh, yeah. Amy Sherman-Palladino must have been a Twin Peaks fan. Luke's sister even showed up in one episode.
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From:trailer_spot
Date:April 22nd, 2009 05:59 pm (UTC)
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When the series was shown for the first time many, many years ago on German TV I started drawing a graph who's connected to whom and who did what. Not knowing that all of it pretty much went nowhere. :D But that didn't make it any less fun to watch.

A clip I like.
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From:beeker121
Date:April 23rd, 2009 01:36 am (UTC)
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I watched this when it first aired. My boyfriend recently got the box set and I am curious to marathon the whole thing again. It was funny because it was big enough to be in Time magazine after maybe three weeks, but I think I'm the only kid in my whole town who watched it (or at least no one else wanted to admit they did at school).
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From:bigboobedcanuck
Date:April 23rd, 2009 01:53 am (UTC)
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Ah, Twin Peaks. This was such a seminal show for me. I was 16/17, and it was just like nothing else I'd ever seen. My best friend and I loved it and would discuss it at school with our cool English teacher. Good times.

After a while, I just accepted that the weird shit was not going to have any logical explanation and went with it on its own terms.

Twin Peaks is one of the reasons I'm a very patient TV viewer with shows such as Lost. Sometimes the answer is "the owls are not what they seem," and I'm totally fine with that. I really appreciate weirdness/supernatural stuff for its own sake, because I find the answer is rarely more satisfying than the question.

S2 did unfortunately veer off into a few crappy storylines (James runs away and meets an older womazzzzzzzzzzzzzz), but Windom Earle did get things going again. Have you watched Fire Walk With Me? The first half an hour tests even my patience, but it's well worth watching. Sheryl Lee is fucking heartbreaking. Also, even though it's a prequel, there is something in there about Cooper's fate.

I'm sorry you already knew the killer, though. Man, that was a hell of a reveal back in the day. His murder of Maddie was utterly terrifying and disturbing.

Also, how great was Miguel Ferrer? "Look, it's trying to think." I *love* Albert.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 23rd, 2009 03:54 am (UTC)
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Icon!

Sometimes the answer is "the owls are not what they seem,"
I spent THE ENTIRE REST OF THE GODDAMN SERIES waiting for that to pay off. SIGH.

I'm totally fine with that.
I kind of am fine with that, though. It just sounds so cool!

(James runs away and meets an older womazzzzzzzzzzzzzz)
Ha ha, everyone remembers this for sucking!

Have you watched Fire Walk With Me? The first half an hour tests even my patience, but it's well worth watching. Sheryl Lee is fucking heartbreaking. Also, even though it's a prequel, there is something in there about Cooper's fate.
Meh, I skimmed the Wikipedia summary, and it didn't seem like something I needed to make a point to watch.

I'm sorry you already knew the killer, though. Man, that was a hell of a reveal back in the day. His murder of Maddie was utterly terrifying and disturbing.
Oh man, it so was. Gah.

Also, how great was Miguel Ferrer? "Look, it's trying to think." I *love* Albert.
Hee, he was pretty great! So awesomely dickish.
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From:bluesetude
Date:April 23rd, 2009 03:03 pm (UTC)
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Blue Velvet (especially) and Mulholland Drive are both excellent. If you can get your hands on it, David Foster Wallace's essay on Lynch (written in 1996 for Premiere magazine while Lynch was filming Lost Highway—it's collected in DFW's first book of essays) is a great read, and did a lot to deepen my appreciation of Lynch's movies. DFW manages to describe Lynch's aesthetics such that "weird for the sake of weird" seems like a totally worthwhile goal.

I also enjoyed the first season of Twin Peaks but never got around to revisiting it once they released the second season on DVD.
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From:spectralbovine
Date:April 23rd, 2009 03:08 pm (UTC)
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Oh, I forgot about Blue Velvet, duh. Maybe because it actually seems more normal than the other ones, even though I don't know much about it beyond the ear. I'll keep an eye out for that essay, though.

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