When I die and transition to the next world, I hope I’m allowed a brief stop over in the Red Room…
Twin Peaks was always one of those shows that I’d heard a lot about but had never really had time to experience. When it was released in 1991/1992, I was only 9 years old, so a little young to be caught up in the mystery of who killed Laura Palmer. Even if I hadn’t been prepubescent, it’s probably not the kind of show my mother would have appreciated me watching (she pushed me in more of a Press Gang type direction), so sadly, I missed the boat the first time around and fell into that uneasy limbo of vaguely recognising a Twin Peaks homage when I saw one on another television show, but never fully understanding the significance.
When I was in high school someone bought in an old and well-read copy of The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer and we all blushed and giggled over her explicit and occasionally solo efforts at sexual self-discovery but still, the full context wasn’t there. There was something I was missing out on, a picture I just didn’t quite get.
For a time I thought I might be out of the loop forever.
Then, sometime in about 2010, one of the Australian cable channels (I assume it was Showtime) decided they were going to re-run the entire series from start to finish, one episode a week, on Friday nights. As soon as I saw the commercials I knew my time had come and so, it was with eager enthusiasm and no idea what to expect that I first entered the world of David Lynch…
Where he’s from, the birds sing a pretty song.
I’d be lying if I said it was love at first sight with Twin Peaks or the directorial talents of David Lynch for that matter. Certainly Special Agent Dale Cooper is a charming sort of a chap and the scenery and score of the show are amazing (in that way that makes you think of pine needles and winter time) but there were certainly a lot of episodes I had to go away and think about or come back and revisit, before the show started to grow on me. Thank goodness for Showtime reruns or I might never have come good! What I love so much now about Twin Peaks is the fact that it is strange and jarring, uncomfortable and compulsive, all at the same time. Sure, David Duchovny appearing in the second season is a highlight, as are the ongoing dream sequences, but more than that, it is a series which is unapologetic in its oddity. That’s just something that you don’t see very much any more.
I won’t ruin the Laura Palmer mystery for you, but I will say that there is more to this show than the central murder plot, which soon fades into near obscurity around the other characters. Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne is still one of my style crushes, while there is something in the bad boy personality of Bobby Briggs that speaks to all of us ladies with a self-destructive attraction to emotionally damaged young men. And lest we forget the log lady.
When I heard that David Lynch had agreed to a Twin Peaks revival series I was cautiously optimistic about the idea. Could Twin Peaks possibly hold up 25 years later? Would all the old cast return? Could I get over the confrontational experience of Fire Walk with Me (the prequel to the series, released as a feature film after the cancellation of season two)? Then came the news that Lynch was leaving the project. My log was disappointed, yet I was relieved. Maybe some things were better left in that past.
As it turns out, money talks and now Lynch has signed on for the series, which is due to go into production shortly. In anticipation of that event, I’ve returned to the original and am slowly, very slowly, making my way through all 22 episodes again. For those of you who have only experienced Twin Peaks like this:
consider this a public service announcement. Go and check out the series. I’m not saying it’ll be love at first sight, but perseverance will be rewarding. Twin Peaks stands the television test of time. Where so many shows or films claim to be instant ‘cult classics’ this is the real deal. Expect to be confronted. Expect to scratch your head. Expect to start thinking that maybe it would have been awesome to have been a teenager in the early 90’s when this was all unfolding for the first time. But most of all, expect to be bewitched. I can guarantee you won’t walk away from the world of Twin Peaks the same as you were when you started the journey.
Oh, and remember, she’s full of secrets. There’s always music in the air.