Thursday, December 06, 2012

Revisiting Twin Peaks

Revisiting Twin Peaks

I was 17 when it aired and 19 when the movie Fire Walk with Me was released. I didn’t see the movie then and haven’t for a number of years, but thanks to Netflix and AppleTV I’ve recently re-watched the series.

And I have to say I still love this weird series. I’ve always been a fan of the surreal and even weirdness of weirdness sake at times and Twin Peaks gives me what I like. Although nominally about the death of Laura Palmer it is clearly about other things. Like most of David Lynch’s work it deals with the corruption under the wholesome American image. It’s set in roughly the present of the time 1989-1990, but there is a very strong 1950s/1960s aesthetic touching everything about it. The old fashioned diner. The constant moody jazz that made me feel like there should be beatnik dressed in black with a beret, a cigarette, bongos and poetry reading. It has a surface of that classic American wholesomeness. It used the pacific northwest a very unused part of America in terms of television settings and gave it its own feel, interestingly enough around the time Grunge rock became big. Don’t know if it’s coincidence or some big universal weirdness. Grunge’s vibe and Lynch’s were not alike on the surface at least. But that’s clearly a digression.

It does it through a mixture of styles and influences. It is clearly written in part like a classic soap opera with all manner of ridiculous plot twists with melodramatic writing. With the secrets and lurking supernatural menace behind the crimes it also rhymed with Gothic fiction/romance.  It can be slow at times. 

So where does the sci fi come in? It doesn’t but there is a good bit of the fantastic involved.

Spirits, an FBI agent doing weird magic, odd dreams, The Black Lodge, The White Lodge, Alien/Spirit abduction, the backward talking little man who was originally the one armed man's lost arm, the giant/old man, the backwards speech of the Black Lodge. 


The serial killer is a spirit named BOB from the Black Lodge who possessed Laura’s father since childhood. And at the end of the second season he possesses main protagonist and FBI agent Dale Cooper.

All the lodge stuff was very surreal as it was meant to be magic and/or being from a different plane of existence trying to interact with our small human minds. The mood had hints of Lovecraftian cosmic horror, but only more subtly.


The melodrama hovered between boring and quirky/funny, but the goofy comedy of Andy and the ridiculously upbeat Agent Dale Cooper with his chaos magic and love of coffee, cherry pie, Twin Peaks, and Tibetan Buddhism made the show for me.

If you like really weird dark moody stuff and don’t mind some melodrama. Twin Peaks may be worth a shot for you. I know it’s one of my faves.


SteveB said...

Good post! I watched Twin Peaks in grad school and it was the first sort of "appointment TV" that I can recall for me and a couple friends. I enjoyed the characters and you make a good point about the Pacific NW being used really for the first time.

It got a little crazy in the second season, but you've made me think that I should go back and re-watch it sometime.

And I did like me some Madchen Amick.

Budd said...

I still haven't seen it. I need to rectify that.

Shannon Lawrence said...

I don't remember exactly how old I was, but I think I was in high school, possibly middle. I've since bought the series on DVD and enjoyed watching it again. I do enjoy Lynch's mind. Could you imagine being in there? I've never been able to see the actor that played the father the same way. My husband ran into him at LAX and I shuddered and asked if he ran screaming. (He didn't--I would have).

Shannon at The Warrior Muse

msmariah said...

I'll have to revisit it. I remember watching it as a young teenager and not understanding what the heck was going on. Perhaps watching as an adult would be a different experience.

parfums said...

Nice blog
Parfum pas cher