Friday, June 02, 2006
Smell Those Trees or A "Twin Peaks" Guide
It was a marvelous moment, a rare event embedded in memory. I had received a review copy of the pilot episode of "Twin Peaks" in early 1990. Already a fan of filmmaker David Lynch, I was greatly skeptical he would make anyting worthwhile just for television How very wrong I was.
Within minutes of starting the tape, I was ushered into a neo-gothic surreal television mystery, with ghostly music and bizarre language. It was the start of a cultural milestone. As many reviewers later said, the character of Laura Palmer was an instant American icon because she arrived dead to TV screens, and the mythmaking of why and how and who was a central focus of the show.
I was in a rather feverish state of mind as I carefully took that videotape to a friend's house to make sure this program was as exceptional as I thought. We watched, called over more friends, and watched it again. Like millions of other TV watchers, we gathered in groups to watch every episode and debate every oddity of language and image. And the women, too, we talked a lot about them. Shelly and Audrey and Donna.
I still have that screener video. Wouldn't part with it for anything.
Today, via MetaFilter, I found a website that offers an episode guide that so far, seems very well researched and has fascinating commentary. Here's a sample:
"But the legacy remains, more striking with each year that passes. The immediate effect was very noticeable—for a brief period, surrealism and experimentalism were suddenly acceptable on American television. Shows like Eerie, Indiana and Wild Palms (both overseen by film directors, Joe Dante and Oliver Stone respectively) attempted to cash in on the craze for all things weird, with varying degrees of success. The show that scooped up most of Twin Peaks’ hungry fans must have been The X-Files, shoehorning familiar Peaks-inspired weirdo FBI agent antics into a more straightforward Sci-Fi serial format to enormous popular acclaim. In recent years the genre-blending aspect of Twin Peaks has been felt time and again, in shows such as Chicago Hope (hospital drama/soap/comedy), Firefly (western/Sci-Fi) and perhaps most notably Lost (mystery/thriller/Sci-Fi/etc.)."
Link to it here. (Note: It is worth remarking that David Duchovny, star of X-Files, was first featured as a cross-dressing FBI agent in Peaks.)
Smell those trees. Have some coffee and a slice of cherry pie. Don't go into the woods. Leo needs new shoes. Break the code, solve the crime. "Laura ... Laura!"