Why I Love Twin Peaks (Part I)

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     I always remember growing up hearing how Twin Peaks was mentioned as such the strangest of shows. It was the first time I heard the term Cult Show. That’s a pretty succinct way of nailing that down. As there weren’t many shows available on VHS, I didn’t really get much of a chance to watch it. Until 2001, when the first season was released. Then in 2007, the entire series was bestowed upon us (season 2 wasn’t released till then as well), and I was finally able to find out the truth about this strange, fucked up little town. The title sequence, while a bit long, mischievously misleads the audience into thinking it’s a sweet, small town drama. Oh shit, this is not that show. I came to realize that the title sequence was a way to troll prime time audiences into watching it. Brilliant. Then as the show unfolds, the sequence gets all the more creepy. The theme song seems to long for a peace that the town will never achieve again. And all because of the death of a teenage girl named Laura Palmer.
     On the show Laura Palmer comes off as more of a mythic figure.  Her death had sent shockwaves through out the town. When the principal of the school ends the school day because of a student’s death, it leaves a lot to the imagination that one person could affect so many people, classmates and adults alike. That’s the draw, the lynchpin to the whole thing. Her death begins the unraveling of this town’s darkest secrets. The crafting of this simple mythology, among the mundane dealings of life, manages to cast a spell that is hard to shake. The more and you uncover the truth of who Laura was and what shady shit she was up to, you will never be able to forget it.
     In a sea of dark surrealistic moments comes FBI Agent Dale Cooper. In true David Lynch fashion, he exists as our way in, our eyes and ears in a style befitting Raymond Chandler. The man loves pies and a damn fine cup of coffee, with an infectious sunny disposition. It’s through him that we see the Red Room, and get to meet The Man From Another Place, which is where shit starts to get really fucking crazy. I don’t want to put anyone off, but good luck trying to explain Bob as a concept and a character. Where Dale meets Laura in a dream and she tells him who killed her. Granted, he forgets what she says, but it is a great launching point for the character. Cooper is such a sweet, lovable character, that the fate that befalls him in the finale caused fans to get angry, clamoring for some sort of resolution, one we never thought we’d get.
     I feel like I’m short changing the residents of this town, and they are aplenty. Yes, there is the infamous Log Lady (she walks around with a log that claims to be sentient), Sheriff Harry S. Truman, the grounded reality of the show, Deputy Andy, Audrey, Shelly and Leo, Laura’s parents, Jimmy, Bobby, you’re getting the picture. They all play a part in the mythology, they all have in some sort of away, could be the responsible one in Laura’s death. I might have said too much, or nothing at all…
     One thing that I’ve heard that some fans of the show were not happy with was the fact that we do find out who killed Laura. The original intention of creators David Lynch and Mark Frost was to never reveal who was her killer. They always knew who did it, they just didn’t want to tell you who it was. While that alone is intriguing to me, and the revelation did help cause the show to be canceled, it still plays as a great piece of surrealism. It’s still one of my favorite episodes. The reason to keep watching after that, is that there’s something nefarious lurking beneath the town, the truth about the Black Lodge. And then it’s canceled.
     After 8 years of thinking, “Well, that’s that” the show is being brought back. It’s a treatment to the show’s power, that even though we as fans know who killed Laura Palmer, we just need more of this fucking place. Shit is far from over. Yeah, the show is weird and quirky, but there’s a lot of that on television now, and Twin Peaks was the seed that blossomed a ton of serialized shows (Lost owes a fucking debt to Lynch and Frost). And while the movie followed only a year after the cancelation, not many people were all too pleased with it, as you’ll find out soon.

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