Truman: You saw a giant?
Albert: Any relation to the dwarf?
N.B. New readers should begin with the post from 5/12/09 – “I just know I’m going to get lost in those woods again, tonight. I just know it.”, which, in case anyone was wondering, is a quote from Laura Palmer’s diary.
It’s difficult to believe that it’s actually 20 years ago that ‘Twin Peaks’ was entrancing us for the first time. As is often the case these days, I find myself wondering where all that time has gone….
Right from the start, watching ‘Twin Peaks’ was a very ‘clubby’ affair. Those who ‘didn’t get it’ probably wondered what was keeping the rest of us so amused/fascinated. I found myself discriminating in favour of new acquaintances if they were fellow ‘Peaks’ fans and found that – with some notable exceptions – I could almost predict which of my friends would or would not be aficionados. Lynch would no doubt have been amused to observe this phenomenon; being a ‘Twin Peaks’ fan became a bit like a peculiar kind of freemasonry with its bizarre rituals, greetings and discussions. It wasn’t that we all rushed round babbling about ‘damn fine coffee’ and baking awful cherry pies – it was more subtle than that. ‘Twin Peaks’ became almost a state of mind that could be applied to the rest of our lives as well. We were like ‘The Bookhouse Boys’, I suppose, members of a strange and (almost) secret club.. Maybe Lynch’s relentless focus on the sheer bizarreness of what we like to call ‘ordinary life’ was educating us to find not only our inner Log Lady, but also to recognise that Major Briggs lived just down the road.
The legend that is Albert Rosenfeld
Also, it wasn’t as though, like ‘Star Trek’ fans, we had to don prosthetic pointy ears and polyester Starfleet costumes. There was undoubtedly a huge potential for ‘Twin Peaks’ geekdom in this country, but to my knowledge (and I might well be wrong) it never quite tipped over into the customary trappings of fandom – conventions, costumes, cherry pie bake-offs etc. As I recall, this was in the very infancy of the internet and we simply weren’t conversant enough yet with what it could do to mobilise ourselves that way.
However, that wasn’t the case in the USA, where from a very early stage there were conventions in Washington State attended by members of the cast and crew. Maybe Americans are just better at that kind of stuff than us.
Meanwhile back on our screens, I was quietly rather pleased with myself for identifying Leland as Laura Palmer’s murderer about 3 episodes ahead of when it was officially revealed, though of course I had to keep fairly quiet about that for fear of being howled down by other friends. The episode where the whole Laura thing is resolved was a high-water mark for hyper-ventilation in our house; people had to be hosed down afterwards for fear that they’d self-combust.
That came in the middle of Series 2 of course and because we weren’t really privy to the shenanigans that were going on between Lynch & Frost and the networks, we had no idea where the whole project was heading. Looking back on things now, I get the feeling that even those most closely involved with the series were probably in a similar state of confusion.
The Odd Couple…..
In fact, what we got was a Surrealist’s Tour of the Twin Peaks Universe. The episodes following Leland’s unmasking had an unreal quality about them, a sense of treading water whilst Lynch decided where to go next. Things that had been subplots and details were investigated more thoroughly; there was almost an element of thinking out loud (or on screen) here. The arrival of Annie Blackburn, the whole Major Briggs/Project Blue Book saga, Windom Earle, the James Hurley/ Evelyn Marsh subplot, Ben Horne’s comedy Civil War psychosis, the S&M overtones of Josie’s relationship with Catherine Martell, Audrey falling in love with Billy Zane’s idealistic multi-millionaire…… all of these were recognisably Lynchian ingredients, but lacked that key flavour to unite them into a convincing gumbo.
In the end, the whole Black Lodge/White Lodge thesis probably raised more questions than it answered, but whereas with – for example – Hitchcock, that would have been a problem, with Lynch, it somehow just added to his reputation for unreconciled weirdness. Cooper was left with Bob in control of him, which was probably as big a cliffhanger as could be contrived from the final series, but the networks had seen enough Lynch ‘traumzeit’ for now, thank you very much and let’s get back to gameshows and ‘Cheers’. Oh well…….
So rather like that stupendous love affair of your salad days that begins by shuddering the foundations of your universe, but then creeps meekly out of the door a while later, it seemed as though the whole ‘Twin Peaks’ adventure could be consigned to the memory banks, though it was interesting to see the way in which TV companies began to market things as ‘the NEW ‘Twin Peaks’ (‘Wild Palms’ anyone?).
However, what few of us realised at that stage was that David Lynch hadn’t quite finished with the town of Twin Peaks yet and wasn’t going to let us off that lightly…..
To be continued…..