Disclaimer: If, like me, you did not watch Twin Peaks when it was on TV 20/21 years ago, this may contain spoilers.
Oh, David Lynch, the joy of streaming has brought me the quirk of Twin Peaks over two decades after it originally aired. You are one odd duck, mister. I hear that you are into Transcendental Meditation; will I have visions with owls and giants and little people and backwards talking and strobe lights if I take up the practice, too?
My predilection for quirk should make me an insta-fan. Some of my favorite movies are quirktastic romps like Best in Show, Muriel’s Wedding, and Waking Ned Devine. In fact one of my favorite TV shows of all-time, the neurotically quirky Northern Exposure, began airing at the same time as Twin Peaks. I’m guessing my 12-year-old self was more interested in ogling John Corbett than Kyle MacLachalan, which, in retrospect, was rather a shame. But I’ll get to that later.
I mostly loved the melodrama/soap opera of the beginning Twin Peaks plot line: Who killed Laura Palmer? Though I will admit that even though I was watching this mostly consecutively, I got lost in the twists and turns, characters, and 4 million plot lines going at once. Or maybe I’m just a little slow. Anyway, there were over-the-top displays of emotion by Laura’s mother, played by the lady who plays Bill’s mother on Big Love. And who couldn’t enjoy that the sheriff’s name was Harry S. Truman? So, my love was going pretty strong throughout the first season and into the second one, with exceptions I’ll discuss later, but there’s a weird middle chunk between the episode where we discover who/what killed Laura (David, was it really some weird possessive spirit, or did I get that totally wrong?) and the final six episodes or so. In my search for pictures, I noticed conjecture that this lull was because they were never sure how much longer they would be on-air, so they solved the murder when they thought the plug might be pulled but then had to come up with another plot line. Which, of course, left the end of season two as a cliff-hanger, never to be solved. Was Cooper possessed by the evil spirit, Bob? Would harm come to his new love, Annie? The world will never know.
As with most enjoyable quirk, the characters and the actors that flesh out those characters tend to make it worth watching. Here are my favorite:
Agent Cooper–FBI agent sent to Twin Peaks to help solve Laura’s murder. Actually I like him even more when he is temporarily suspended from the FBI and abandons his suit for flannel. I dubbed this “Lumberjack” Cooper.
Sorry, the picture is kind of dark, but he’s adorable in flannel, right? You’re already ahead of me, aren’t you. Yes, that’s David Duchovny as DEA agent Dennis/Denise. Pictured above he’s Dennis…
…but sometimes he’s Denise! Thank you, David Lynch. Though pre-Mulder Duchovny isn’t the sexiest woman I thoroughly enjoyed this. You get extra props for the fake-out scene when we’re ogling those sexy legs and then you pan up to reveal…they belong to Dennis/Denise. If they weren’t stunt legs, your legs are lovely shaved, Mr. Duchovny.
How can you not love stunner Sherilyn Fenn as one of Laura’s friends, Audrey? I am sure that her looks have been compared to a young Elizabeth Taylor before, but I’ll say it again. She’s mesmerizing to watch, especially through Lynch’s lens.
And that’s a young Heather Graham on the left as Annie, former nun and sister to diner owner, Norma, played by the lovely Peggy Lipton (not pictured). I just love seeing people in things before they were famous. And Heather as Annie, Cooper’s love interest later in season two, is endearing.
Simple Deputy Andy may be my favorite character. I couldn’t find a good picture of him, but this is one of my favorite scenes of the series.
Maybe it’s a little drawn out, but I love that Andy’s perceived bumbling leads to the discovery of a clue. Take that, jerky FBI agent played by that guy from Crossing Jordan!
So, to recap, I apparently love the people I find attractive (drag is fun?), the mostly enjoyable melodrama, and the underdog and love, as per my usual taste.
However, there were some things that I couldn’t get past. Maybe I’m unsophisticated, Mr. Lynch, I just don’t know.
David Lynch Hates “Pepileptic”* Dogs
Did people sue you after they had seizures from the 2900 strobe light scenes? I had to hide my face and ask my husband when I could look again. This detracted from my ability to pay full attention. Maybe that was your dastardly plan, Lynch–”Only those who can enjoy the full splendor of strobe lights will be given the secret handshake to all of my esoteric knowledge. MUAWAHAHA!”
Were You a Deaf Jazz Musician in a Previous Life?
I can dig some jazzy background music or even melodramatic variations on the theme song, but it’s supposed to remain in the background, not overwhelm/distract from the action in the scene. Maybe there was just bad sound mixing, but it was so freakin’ loud. OY! I do adore the new-agey theme song, especially since it’s on my cheesetastic Pure Moods CD.
Clowns are Scary and Violence Against Women is a Lousy Plot Line
One of the more disturbing subplots involves abusive trucker, Leo, and his waitress wife, Shelly (pictured above with Heather Graham). At the end of season one Leo gets shot, which he totally deserved because he was always beating up on/intimidating Shelly, and becomes a vegetable. His actual condition was never really clarified, but it seemed to make him unresponsive and drooly and have to be fed by Shelly.
Kudos to the poor actor who had to stare off into space for a lot of season two, with baby food dripping down his chin. But THEN, inexplicably, he’s “revived” and flees the house. (There is a creepy clown in that scene so I’m not going to look it up or post it so as not to traumatize myself or you.)
Doddering Old Fools are HILARIOUS!
This is my least favorite scene from the entire series. Oh no, Agent Cooper is shot! Ancient Room Service Man delivers his warm milk and bumbles around for a freakin’ eternity while Agent Cooper bleeds to death on the floor! So nervous-making, I can’t watch this again, and I almost had to turn it off the first and only time I watched the entire scene. But, it seems that for many of you, this is your favorite scene in all of Twin Peaks or even all of television, period. If you’re one of those people, enjoy and you’re welcome, but I never want to be shot in your vicinity.
*This is from Flight of the Conchords, when they are trying to woo a nutty epileptic dog-owner, played by Kristen Wiig, with a song for the epileptic dogs.