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"Twin Peaks" Reevaluated

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by rontokyo, Mar 29, 2003.

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  1. rontokyo

    rontokyo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Loved it when it first aired. Found it fascinating, in fact. Weeell, it's airing nightly here in Tokyo on a subscriber satellite channel and even though I'm starved for English-language programming, I'm finding the second go-round of this show to be a quite different experience than when I first saw it. Sure, knowing "who dunnit" will take some of the fun out of it, but when my wife asked me what I thought of the show after 4-5 episodes, I told here it's really nothing more than a wiggy soap opera [in the literal/derisive sense] with a wonderful soundtrack and beautiful opening credits' visuals. Was I wrong the first go-round and am now seeing the production for what it really is? Or have I become old and cynical, unable to appreciate inventive, quirky drama and will be doomed to a life of pooh-poohing Seinfeld and Simpsons reruns?
     
  2. Ed Bishop

    Ed Bishop Incredibly, I'm still here

    You're getting old; join the ever-expanding Hoffman Forum Old Fart's Club. I'm not sure what the starting age is, but apparently the two of us have hit it.;) :D

    I think it's simply a case of familiarity and repetition. For those who watched it on ABC during its first airing(or subsequent re-airing), or later on with the intros on the Bravo cable channel, it was most definitely a new experience not just for television, but one could argue it trumped most cinema of the day(1990/91), too. What might make it less repeatable than other series(say, THE TWILIGHT ZONE, AVENGERS, many others)is that its pace is basically a measured one, with the same music over and over--music by Angelo Badalamenti that is so original(yet familiar with its past references)that after two or three eps you've had enough. I bought the 1st season DVD box when it came out--doesn't have the 2-hour pilot, as WB owns that--and watched it once, put it away and haven't played it since. Not because there's anything *bad* about it, just that I got a pretty full cup the first and second times around.

    Yet it's one of those *must have* series, just for its beautiful imagery, fascinating and quirky characters, and the sheer mystery of good and evil, and what we never see that's not invisible, just hidden. David Lynch had touched on this before to a mild degree with ERASERHEAD and then the remarkable BLUE VELVET and the erratic but fascinating WILD AT HEART.
    The latter two films have visual imagery that is mundane at first, but grows into the most sinister type of emotional force: too many to get into here.
    TP did the same, but with far more characters and plot threads. That worked for the first season. The second has great passages, too, but I think viewers expected it to be a resolved, one-shot mini-series. When given a 2nd season, Lynch and his gang decided to defy expectations, much to the consternation, even anger, of the loyal following they had built. I stuck with it to the end, but I understood what pushed many fans away: plenty of questions and mystery, but no answers. Worse, turning a hero into a seeming villain? Unthinkable even in anything but the most obscure cinema, let alone mainstream TV.

    I did find that watching the *prequel* film TWIN PEAKS: FIRE WALK WITH ME serves as a truly brilliant introduction to the series, and I'd recommend it as a re-starting point even to the jaded. I prefer to liken TP to some of my fave quirky recording artists, from Eno and Vangelis to Miles and Trane: when they hit a certain frequency and style and you lock into both, nothing else matters musically. TWIN PEAKS was like that after the initial shock and delight of the first run. Yet it's a fascinating illusion to drink in, but you gotta be in the mood. Just as sake is not for everybody:D, neither is Khatchaturian in classical, John Cage, or even John Cale. TP was a niche series that today would have wound up on HBO(probably for the worse?).

    ED:cool:
     
  3. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    Things didn't hold together that well for every episode of the second season (supposedly a lot of debate went back and forth between the network and the creators over how to handle the show; one concession the show made was letting the murder get solved by Coop), but for the most part it was very, very good. The first was brilliant. Man, I miss those characters. Didn't want to leave Coop the way he was.
     
  4. rontokyo

    rontokyo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Old-ER! Old-ER! But even still, I never thought it would happen to me.

    Many interesting comments, Ed. [But I'll only nitpick this one!] I think it's more than, as you say, familiarity and repetition. I'm about 6-7 episodes into the first year, and right now my suspicion is that the show is over-rated. Stripped of it's first go-round awe and hoopla, what you've basically got is a wacky soap opera that alternatively spoofs and expands the genre, but after all is said and done, the episodes meander at a painfully deliberate pace with a whole lot LESS going on than viewers are made to believe due to the huge number of quirky characters and [almost] never-ending plot twists.

    Don't get me wrong. It's still fun to watch. And whereas I'll maybe change my tune at the conclusion of the series, at this stage of the game I kinda feel that it's simply not as good as I [and millions others] first thought it was. [Where'd I put that damn bottle of sake anyway?]
     
  5. Joel Cairo

    Joel Cairo Media Doctor (& Video Gort) Staff

    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    TP at 13: Still some of the best television ever made.

    Although the scripting takes a noticeable dip after the killer of Laura Palmer is revealed, and the series sags in the middle as a result (approx eps 14-19), the final third regains its stride quite nicely, and the series climaxes with Cooper's shattering journey "through the looking glass".

    And even in it's current truncated state, TP:FWWM is an excellent addition to the canon, with a surprisingly strong performance by Sheryl Lee, and appearances by many of the series' regulars. I would however, recommend that it be seen **after** one has viewed the entire series-- the 2-hour TV pilot episode is the proper introduction to the world of Twin Peaks.

    And that's my capsule review!

    -Kevin
     
  6. Scott Wheeler

    Scott Wheeler Forum Resident

    Location:
    ---------------
    Twin Peaks was a soap opera by design. David Lynch wanted to do a soap opera only the way he could do one. It is the nature of soap operas to rely on discovery to keep the watcher interested. So, naturally, Twin Peaks is at it's best on first viewing. You will find Dark Shadows to be very much the same upon rewatching. It looses something as well. The thing I loved about Twin Peaks that so many people who didn't get the first time around is that IMO it wasn't about who killed Laura Palmer as much as it was about the dark secrets and eccentricies of small town life.
     
  7. rontokyo

    rontokyo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    I quite agree. I think the greatest hoot watching it the first go-round is being slowly introduced to all the characters--and their lovers. AND their secret lovers.

    And in true soap opera fashion David Lynch takes us on a journey with plot twists, red herrings and characters who can change from scene-to-scene such that we never *really know* who anyone is. It's all part of the fun . . . the first viewing. But those bizzare plot twists, red herrings and flip-flopping characters all begin to look like a smoke screen the second time. As I said earlier, I believe there's actually less going on here than meets the eye. But of course that's true of all soap operas.
     
  8. RDK

    RDK Active Member

    Location:
    Los Angeles, CA
    Ah, heck... I thought this was gonna be another Anna K. thread!

    ;)

    Seriously, though, while I watched this show religiously when it first aired, my memories of it are less than favorable. I don't even remember who killed Laura Palmer. I think this is one of those "you had to be there" kinda shows/tv experiences, like watching a week-old baseball game.

    Ray
     
  9. Matt

    Matt New Member

    Location:
    Illinois
    There was a rumor that the X-Files was going to do a cross-over with Twin Peaks (anyone remember David Duchovny's cross-dressing DEA agent on Twin Peaks?), but it was nothing more than a rumor. The creators were very aware of it, though, and I wish they did it. It would've given the last two inconsistent seasons a real boost.
     
  10. Ken_McAlinden

    Ken_McAlinden MichiGort Staff

    Location:
    Livonia, MI
    :laugh:
    I could see it now: Under heavy hypnotic regression therapy, Mulder realizes that he himself was abducted as a child while wearing his sister's clothes.

    Regards,
     
  11. Rich Malloy

    Rich Malloy Forum Resident

    I still think episodes 2 and 3 are among the greatest hours of fiction ever aired on television.
    I think it works better as an ending point, a final closing of the circle, so I agree with the notion of it as a re-starting point. You know... if you've never seen the series, definitely do not start with "FIRE WALK WITH ME"! It's meant to be the end of the cycle... and then the beginning of the recycle...
     
  12. rontokyo

    rontokyo Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    Well, guys, I've just finished episode 14 and I'm afraid that my original opinion still stands [for me at least]: there just isn't that much happening here. Sure the characters are quirky and some of the sequences amusing [the kids investigating the murder ala Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys, though here their "investigations" not only accomplish nothing, they are directly responsible for one heart attack and one suicide]. Laura's father is possessed. Ooooh, scary. And certainly not that original.

    Ever notice how so many of the productions that are really special to you remain fascinating even with repeated viewings? They're always fresh and there's always something new to discover/appreciate. I'm afraid that Twin Peaks, again for me, isn't among that group.
     
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