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Welcome To Twin Peaks
#1
I just got the Definitive Gold Box for the holidays, and I'm both excited and wary.

Back in the age of dinosaurs, before Tivo and DVD, I tried my damnedest to be home each week for Twin Peaks. I was fascinated by the show - alternately confused, elated, frightened, and amused.

I'd never seen anything like it (David Lynch was an unknown quantity to me then), but I knew that I liked watching it. I also knew that it scared the bejeezus out of me.

I don't know that there's ever been a piece of entertainment that managed to utterly creep me out the way that Peaks did. Totally innocuous images, like stairs, or ceiling fans, gained immense spookiness under Lynch's guidance. Without having seen these episodes since they first aired, I still remember the image of Bob crawling over the sofa as if it were yesterday - it's seared into my brain.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Dale Cooper remains one of those formative childhood heroes that's stayed with me. I think I'm as excited to watch the show as I am largely due to my memories of Maclachlan's performance and the odd, winning, sincerity of the character. "Diane, I'm holding in my hand a box of chocolate bunnies" may help explain some of, if not all of, Joss Whedon's career.

I've read all about how Season Two loses the plot and meanders painfully. I know that some of the show has aged poorly. But I also know that the consensus is that the final episode makes it all worth it, and I'm excited to take the journey again.

I thought I'd throw my reactions up on here as I go along out of a desire to share in the experience. Anyone care to watch along with me, ala the Chud book club? I'd love to get into a discussion on the show - everything from actors to performances to scripts to mood to mythos and atmosphere and on and on, anon.

I'm starting tonight, with the pilot and the first episode. I'll post my meandering thoughts tomorrow. I welcome any and all fellow travelers.
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#2
I assume you're watching this with coffee and a box of donuts?
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#3
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Originally Posted by EdHocken
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I assume you're watching this with coffee and a box of donuts?

Thought I'd start things out with a damned fine piece of cherry pie, actually.
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#4
I was a big fan of the show. Loved the Julee Cruise "Falling" soundtrack and Sherilyn Fenn was an absolute goddess in my eyes.

Agree that Season 2 loses a lot of its bite. But its worth it for the final episode (which you'll need to understand Fire Walk With Me) and David Duchovney.

P.S- you'll hate, just hate Heather Graham in Season 2. Give me Audrey!
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#5
I'm under the impression that anything Lynch shoots automatically comes off weird and spooky. No matter what it is: Eating a sandwich, filling up a soda cup, washing your car, buying toliet paper, doing your taxes. Anything.
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#6
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Originally Posted by EdHocken
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I'm under the impression that anything Lynch shoots automatically comes off weird and spooky. No matter what it is: Eating a sandwich, filling up a soda cup, washing your car, buying toliet paper, doing your taxes. Anything.

The Straight Story's not creepy at all, but I'm guessing he had to work pretty hard at that.
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#7
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Originally Posted by EdHocken
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I'm under the impression that anything Lynch shoots automatically comes off weird and spooky. No matter what it is: Eating a sandwich, filling up a soda cup, washing your car, buying toliet paper, doing your taxes. Anything.

Speaking of which: David Lynch's Goofy Movie.
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#8
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Originally Posted by DaveB
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The Straight Story's not creepy at all, but I'm guessing he had to work pretty hard at that.

It isn't although there still is that inherent strangeness.
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#9
I watched the Pilot on the network's website a few weeks ago, but then couldn't continue. I've always been intrigued by the mystique surrounding this series, so I'll try to start up again and go along with you.
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#10
Possibly my favorite show ever. The trick is to stop after the main mystery is solved.
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#11
Twin Peaks, Season One: The Pilot

Watching the pilot was a surreal experience in more ways than one. I haven't seen this little bit o' heaven in eighteen years, yet I found myself remembering certain scenes/moments as they came along with that weird, long-distance memory thing we sometimes experience. In a way, it was a little "Lynchian," in that my 'adult' self and my 'teen' self stared across the expanse of those years at one another, quietly blinking and generally creeping each other out.

Ed Hocken's comment about Lynch having the ability to make sandwiches spooky is funny, but also pretty accurate. I've mentioned above that the show spooked me as a younger man. Well, it's just as eerie to me now. How is it possible to pull menacing atmosphere out of anything and everything, the way that Lynch does here?

I suspect it has a lot to do with the sound design of his stuff - there's an ominous noise for every occasion in Twin Peaks, apparently - but I'm not a filmmaker, just a film lover, so I've no real idea why the hairs on the back of my neck kept threatening to pop straight up over the course of two hours. Anyone care to school me on this?

Rather than recap the plot, here are some scattered observations/impressions:

1) I remember Cooper being goofy and quirky, but I don’t remember the ‘take no shit’ FBI-guy moments. I enjoy the way that Maclachlan’s chosen to deliver lines like “Here’s how this is going to work: we ask the questions, and you answer the questions. It’s that simple.” The phrase ‘Hardboiled Optimist’ isn’t used much, and I think that’s because, like jumbo shrimp, it’s something of an oxymoron. But Maclachlan/Cooper pulls that dichotomy off effortlessly, and the combination is like catnip to me.

2) It’s been exactly one episode, and I already know I’m going to be itching for the fast-forward button every time Joan Chen’s storyline comes to the fore.

3) Bobby’s drunken(?), whacked-out, car hood surfing routine is quintessential Twin Peaks to me. It’s bizarre, a teensy bit eerie, weirdly funny, and lasts juuuuust long enough to be both too long and not long enough (a trick that Family Guy attempts, over and over again, with a depressing lack of success). It's that last, herky-jerky dip he makes that really sells the moment.

4) Leo Johnson looks a lot younger to me than I remember. In fact, a lot of the characters/actors on this show do. It's strange - as I'm getting older, I'm noticing that my perception of aging is changing. When I first watched this show back in the day, Leo Johnson seemed like an adult - a scary, abusive, weirdly-haired adult. Watching his scene with Shelly last night it struck me that he looks far more like a kid than a grown-up. What a strange effect of aging that is.

5) No dancing midgets, no ooky-spooky giants....maybe they're waiting for me in the next episode?

6) Kyle MacLachlan is amazing on this show. Have I mentioned yet how much I love the character of Cooper? The Gold Box comes with a fun extras disc, and I popped it in just before bed last night to watch the two Saturday Night Live clips included with the materials. Hollywood is a strange town, and you often hear stories about how you're hot one minute and nobody in the next minute. It isn't that Maclachlan hasn't been working steadily since the show, or that he's lost any of his talent - it's more that his cultural moment (his '15 minutes,' if you want to be all cliched about it) came and went eighteen years ago, and it's clearly documented for us here.

On a similar note: I deduct points from any SNL sketch prominently featuring Kevin Nealon, but Phil Hartman is solid gold as Leland Palmer in the sketch here. The sketch itself is kind of lame on the whole, but as a piece of time-warp nostalgia, it's pretty priceless.

7) I can sort of see how Season Two is going to derail (correct me if I'm wrong). There's an impressive balancing act here between whimsy, melodrama, and eerieness that could easily go awry. Methinks the show will tip way too far into quirky small-town melodrama (that eye-patch lady already looks like a future offender), and back away from the eerieness, before regaining its bearings for the last episode. But we'll see. My standards for entertainment tend to be forgiving when the show/film in questions is something I once loved.

8) I totally wanted Bobby's haircut as a teenager. It looks patently ridiculous now, in the way that so many 90's styles do (and yet, we never realize that as its happening), but it's still Lynch-cool.

9) Lara Flynn Boyle had a personality? And warmth? Why didn't anyone tell me? The Lara Flynn Boyle I know is a cold mannequin of a woman, prone to icy-bitch roles and (probably) eating the hearts of children to stay young.

10) Lynch and Frost do an admirably nice job here of setting up the central mystery and leaving breadcrumb trails all over the place for future stories.

11) Was this really a buzzed-over, hit series? It's so relentlessly ODD. Hooray for America. Even if we couldn't sustain our interest (and even if the show's runners couldn't sustain the quality), I'm proud of us for taking this strange beast into our homes every week.

12) Julee Cruise, the chanteuse who sings "Falling" in the pilot, is one freaky-looking lady. Listening to her voice, I'd always pictured her as a Monroe-esque torch singer, but instead she appears to be one of those butch-female-biker torch singers you hear so much about. Or don't.

On the whole, I dug the hell out of the pilot. Enough quirk to make me smile, enough menace to make me shiver....that's the peanut butter/chocolate combination that made me a fan of the show to begin with.
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#12
Twin Peaks is one of my all-time favorite shows up until the resolution of the "main" mystery.

I definitely think it loses its way after that, but there's still enough goodness that I enjoy the rest of the 2nd season. Especially because the you need the lead up to the (mostly) awesome finale, which in turn gets you to the awesome (in my opinion) film.

ALL of that messiness is worth it for the "Pink Room" scene in the film.

I remember the first time I saw the episode where Leland kicks it, and was just floored at how awesome it was (last year was the first time I had watched the series).


And I've only seen this as an adult... and many moments of the show (as well as Lynch's other works) are some of the few things that can genuinely creep me out of my skin.

Bob crawling towards/over the couch seriously fucked me up, and I was 27 the first time I saw it.
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#13
Funny you mention "Hardboiled Optimist" I always figured Cooper to be in the vein of the 1950s "Swell" guy.
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#14
Quote:

Originally Posted by woodsy
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Possibly my favorite show ever. The trick is to stop after the main mystery is solved.

Bingo.

I was a massive fan when it first came out, and I bought the Gold Box edition a while back. Myself and my wife watched an episode or two nightly for a couple of weeks and just relished every wonderful, weird and wacky minute (and Bob was still scary as all bejeesus) - got to the resolution of the Laura Palmer case (about 3 eps into season 2, right?) and we just turned to one another and said - 'Let's leave it there. All that Black Lodge stuff is Anus anyway. And the way the second season ends is the biggest FUCK YOU to an audience I can remember'. We may not have said all those words, but that was the gist. It really is a near-prefect show up until that point.
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#15
PS Great post Jesse I couldn't believe how young Leo looked either!
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#16
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Originally Posted by joeypants
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Twin Peaks is one of my all-time favorite shows up until the resolution of the "main" mystery.

I definitely think it loses its way after that, but there's still enough goodness that I enjoy the rest of the 2nd season. Especially because the you need the lead up to the (mostly) awesome finale, which in turn gets you to the awesome (in my opinion) film.

ALL of that messiness is worth it for the "Pink Room" scene in the film.

It;'s nice to hear from a fan of the film. I've heard many people say that it was a huge disappointment, but their reasons for thinking so mostly strike me as being wrong-headed (with the exception of the criticism that there isn't enough Cooper in it - if that's the case, sitting through the film will be harder than it would be otherwise). I've never seen the movie, and I'm sort of on the fence about whether or not I'll watch it when I'm done with the series. If you're recommending it as highly as you seem to be, I'll throw it on the rental queue.

Quote:

Originally Posted by joeypants
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I've only seen this as an adult... and many moments of the show (as well as Lynch's other works) are some of the few things that can genuinely creep me out of my skin.

Bob crawling towards/over the couch seriously fucked me up, and I was 27 the first time I saw it.

I'm not being flip when I say that Bob's couch crawl has been the stuff of my nightmares for going on 18 years now. It's both comforting and discomfiting to know that it had the same effect on you as an adult as it did when I was a teen.

And if I'm being honest, I'm more than a little hesitant to revisit that moment again. If my viewing of the pilot is any indication, Lynch has lost none of his power to deeply unnerve me with this show. I like scary films/shows, and ordinarily I can flop down on the couch late at night after the wife has gone to bed and watch them without any problem.

But last night I found myself flipping all the lights on before I started the dvd. Yes, it makes me a big puss. But it also shores up my belief that Lynch taps into some seriously disturbing stuff with his art, and especially with his creation of Bob and use of Black Lodge mythology. As I'm typing this, I know I'm going to make myself sit through it again, if only to prove to myself that it's 'only a tv show,' but I also know that I'm going to regret that decision as much as anything else.


ETA:

Ed - A 1950's "Swell guy" is exactly the kind of aura he gives off. Nice turn of phrase.

Phil - Thanks! Despite your warning, I think I'm going to ride this train to the end. There's too much stuff in Season 2 that I'd like to re-visit (including Duchovony's performance, Maclachlan's work, and a morbid curiosity to see how bad it'll get). And it's nice to know that I wasn't the only one doing a double-take on Leo. Growing old is weird.
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#17
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Originally Posted by Jesse Custer
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11) Was this really a buzzed-over, hit series?

No. It was a buzzed-over flop. ABC gave it a whirl, but the show's ratings were never what they hoped. This was back when networks would give a show some time to catch on. Wiseguy went four seasons around the same time period without ever finding its audience.
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#18
Oh, can you explain what that "signature coral" look is all about (it's mentioned in the promotional materials for the box set)
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#19
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Originally Posted by Phil
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Oh, can you explain what that "signature coral" look is all about (it's mentioned in the promotional materials for the box set)

Not sure what this refers to - the closest I can get to an explanation right now is that the Set has an advert for Lynch's "Signature Cup" coffee.

Given that it's Lynch, I fully expect said coffee to come with a little mutated fetus in every bag of beans.
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#20
I hear it's pretty decent coffee. I consider getting it for my mom but she's not familar with Lynch. That would make for an awkward conversation.
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#21
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jesse Custer
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Not sure what this refers to

This:
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#22
Quote:

Originally Posted by Phil
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This:

I don't know what to make of that. The show looks fantastic - the pilot was exceptionally atmospheric, especially for having been crafting in the pre-digital era. Maybe they 'burnished' the picture with a certain hue/glow that Lynch favors? If I'm enlightened, I'll let you know.

And because I'm on a kick for the next few weeks, here's a free version of "The Autobiography of Dale Cooper - My life, My tapes":

http://www.twin-peaks.fr/articles/cooperbio.html

I owned this book back in the day. I probably still have it lying around somewhere. This is turning into quite the memory lane for me.
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#23
Yeah, there was Agent Cooper's book and Laura's Secret Diary (complete with missing pages). So freaky, so fun.

And I'll see your Bob crawling over the couch and raise you a Laura's mom realizing that she saw Bob crouched at the foot of Laura's bed in Fire Walk With Me. It is to shudder.
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#24
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Originally Posted by Mattioli
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Yeah, there was Agent Cooper's book and Laura's Secret Diary (complete with missing pages). So freaky, so fun.

And I'll see your Bob crawling over the couch and raise you a Laura's mom realizing that she saw Bob crouched at the foot of Laura's bed in Fire Walk With Me. It is to shudder.

Yikes. Just reading that makes me never want to see it.

So, of course, I just added the film to my online queue. Why oh why must I abuse my fragile psyche this way?

Next thing you know I'll be adding Pet Sematary and holding "Zelda-thons".
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#25
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jesse Custer
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Next thing you know I'll be adding Pet Sematary and holding "Zelda-thons".

And now I can plan to have nightmares tonight. Thank you.

Seriously, though, I was introduced to the world of Twin Peaks via Fire Walk With Me and, while a friend had to explain the relationships to me, it blew my mind. No one captures the disorienting and sinister nature of nightmares like David Lynch.
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#26
I really hated the movie. It just felt nothing like the series to me. And I loved the series.
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#27
The show's great, but in my opinion kicks it up a notch when Miguel Ferrer enters the picture. He's fucking great, and a nice foil to Agent Cooper's optimism as well as just being plain nasty to every single Twin Peaks resident.

Also?

"Albert Rosenfield. A-L-B-E-R-T R-O-S-E-N-F-I-E-L-D."

*sticks tongue out*
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#28
Jesse:

I think my love for the film really comes from my love of all things Lynch. It's definitely flawed, and I can totally see how people who are really only fans of Peaks (but not of Lynch's other work) hated it.

It's weirder than Peaks, and lacks most of the series' lighthearted humor and really, really ramps the creepy into the stratosphere. It rarely, if ever, feels like the show.

But to me, that's a good thing. I wouldn't have wanted to see the show stretched out into a film format. That "soap opera" feel is pretty much gone, which is kind of appropriate seeing as how the film is a "prequel."

Ray Wise is all kinds of awesome, of course. Ah... wish I could say more. Definitely watch so we can discuss.
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#29
And yeah, I think I find Lynch far creepier now than I ever could've as a teen/kid.

He really taps into the stuff that scares me as an adult - things I would've never thought about, let alone been scared of when I was younger.

It's the same reason I was bored to tears merely years ago when Mulholland Dr. came out (at 20 years old), yet absolutely flipped for it when I revisited it this past year (at 27). The nightclub scene at the end creeped me out severely. I frequently have extremely vivid/terrifying/surreal nightmares, and it felt like someone sort of crawled into my head and extracted that feeling. Beautiful, but terrifying at the same time (in the best way).
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#30
Yeah I love that show too, the second seasons trails off but it's still worth watching. Pretty much every Bob flash is creepy as hell. I didn't watch the show when it was on and mistakenly watched Fire Walk With Me first - on video around 93 before I thought I would ever see the show- so when I did watch the VHS version it lost a bit of it's punch. Still awesome though. I bought the first season when it came out on DVD in what 2000? 2001? I have the bootleg/Hong Kong version of the pilot with the horrible sound. I waited the five years or so to get the second season. When the gold box came out I was a little pissed. I just can't justify buying it again, but those extras sound pretty cool. I remember watching that SNL episode with Kyle MacLachlan, although it didn't mean all that much to me. Maybe if it comes out on Bluray I'll double dip.

I don't think MacLachlan is really that good of an actor, but Lynch uses him perfectly. His stiffness and "gee shucks" demeanor is exactly right for Dale Cooper and Jeffery Beaumont (Blue Velvet). But I've never really liked him in anything else. But I'll echo the love for Miguel Ferrer and David Duchovney
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#31
I bought that Laura Palmer: Secret Diary book. Its not exactly In Canon with the show buts its an interesting read. Did anyone here catch the clues written inside the book.

Sherilyn Fenn is an absolute Goddess. I eagerly watched each episode just for more Audrey/Cooper goodness. That early Season 1 episode where Cooper returns to his room and finds Fenn in her head still sticks in my memory even now.
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#32
I've recently been introduced to the works of David Lynch and just rented the first season of Twin Peaks. Then I discovered you can stream pretty much the entire series on IMDB.

Fuck/bah humbug/I'm loving the show anyways.
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#33
Fuck watching it on a computer screen.

I'm very lucky in that my best friend has a huge screen/HD projector (though for regular DVD's the HD doesn't matter as much) and I was introduced to this series that way.
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#34
Computer screen is all I gots unfortunately.
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#35
"Hey, FELLAHS! Don't DRINK that KAHWFEE!!...You'll never guess...There was A FISH IN the Perk'o'later....sorry..."

Jack Nance...you and your inflections are sadly missed.

Rest In Peace.
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