Of my childhood memories there were few that stuck out more than Twin Peaks. It fit into my early aesthetic, which gravitated either towards adventure cartoons, or weird music videos like Burning Down the House by the Talking Heads, or that horrifying Taco video for Putting on the Ritz. Sigh. I literally just shuddered. That song creeps me out.
So did Twin Peaks. I’m not going to pretend like I got it as a kid, or, for that matter, not even now really, but I really appreciated it as this strange oddity in a sea of the mundane. For a brief moment in time, it captured the suburban mind, becoming so much a part of the zeitgeist that it was parodied on SNL. Watching it properly as a young adult, I could see why: it’s an engaging series on virtually every level, from comedy to mystery to horror with a dash of soap operatics thrown in. And that soundtrack. Yeesh. Has anything influenced me more?
In celebration of the impending return of Twin Peaks, we caught up with a few folks in the community to pick their brains about what scene/episode stuck out the most for them. For me, it was either the creepiness of Windom Earle and his black teeth, or the insanity of the Pink Room, Angelo Badalementi at his absolute finest. For Phil, a newbie at Twin Peaks, “it’s maybe when Leland with his fresh white hair is singing that ‘mares eat oats and does eat oats’ song because that’s when I first thought something is really wrong with this fucker.”
Salena Filicia – killii killii; Julie of the Wolves
“Zen or the Skill to Catch a Killer” – I love the silliness of this episode. The arrival of Jerry Horne at the beginning of this episode with his brie and butter baguettes had to be one of the most ridiculous scenes of the series to film. I was hooked on this series as soon as I watched the pilot, but this episode ensured that I would watch until the end. The casting of this series is perfect and Zen or the Skill to Catch a Killer emphasizes why those casting decisions were made (except for James. James is lame and should have just been written out of the series).
The script is often cheesy and the acting intentionally awkward. This cast nails awkward and cheesy. This episode has everything. It has Audrey’s diner dancing, the introduction of Albert Rosenfield, Pete gives a second mention to the fish in the percolator, Andy gets a rock to the head, Leland is crazy and Sarah Palmer’s reactions to it are both the best and the worst, and you get Dale Cooper’s crazy dream about the the Arm/the Man From Another Place and Laura in the Black Lodge. This episode opens a lot of doors in the Twin Peaks world and it’s the most fun episode to watch.
William Benton – Cat Casual & The Holy Midnight
The knee-jerk reaction when picking a favorite episode of Twin Peaks is, of course, the final one. And it certainly is hard to fuck with. But I am going to assume that everybody says that- cos they do- and say that, perhaps….my favorite might be Rest In Pain. It comes to mind because I feel like it might be when the show starts firing on all/multiple cylinders. The mystery, the suspense, the quirky, the eccentric, the camp and comedy- it all gels with the story line and we are fully enveloped in the world of Twin Peaks.
I have been in love with Audrey Horn for more than half of my life. I love the opening scene when she is waiting for Dale to emerge for breakfast and he quickly deduces that she had slipped the “Jack With One Eye” note. Subsequently, Dale’s anti-climactic description of his dream in which Laura’s killer was revealed is a wonderfully typical Twin Peaks scene. And there’s Albert vs. the sheriff and doctor, from which we see that Cooper’s bond with the town is more important to him than FBI protocol. Major Briggs is a bad-ass, Bobby is a twat. And Leland at the funeral…
ANYWAYS. I love every bit of it. If you “get” it from here in the show, you are on the ride.
Shaina Wagner – Poorcastle Festival
Any time Dale Cooper has a cup of coffee in hand would be my favorite scene(s). Strange, I know, considering how many delightfully horrifying scenes take place in Twin Peaks, but despite all the weird shit, it’s endearing to watch Kyle McLaughlin’s character enjoy the simple things, such as a slice of cherry pie and a damn fine cup of coffee. Oh, and those Douglas Firs.
Which leads me to why I enjoy this show so fucking much. Anyone who’s ever invested time in the series, or any Lynch project for that matter, without a doubt feels the sense of displaced tension and unease, without really being able to put a finger on it. You watch these characters’ storylines attempt to remain linear, but an eerie and unknown force disrupts any predictable plot, leaving us unnerved and absolutely terrified.
Despite the obvious unpredictability and no way of knowing what the hell is going on, over these cups of coffee, some pretty essential character development takes place. It’s a long list, but these interactions over coffee took place with just about every character in the series, fish or no fish. My favorite of which being the first time Audrey Horne and Agent Cooper meet *squeal*. I suppose it was less about the coffee, and more about the scenes themselves.
John King – Louisville Is For Lovers; Louisville Zombie Attack
It’s funny how, as we get older, we begin to echo the stereotypes we loathed as children. As a young ankle biter I hated sentences that began “When I was a child…” but now, at nearly 40, I find myself saying it more and more. And yet.. when I was a child, without DVRs, streaming services, and search engines offering the world at our fingertips, many things were immediate. If you really loved a television show you had to plan ahead as to not miss an episode. And for this I am thankful. The slightly askew world of Frost & Lynch was so mesmerizing to my father that he chose to let his pre-adolescent son watch Twin Peaks, rather than risk missing an episode.
For me the draw was instant, having even read The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer in recent years. But for me the magnetism was almost completely having to do with one single character.
Even as a preteen, I realized that the smart money was to fall for a girl like Donna; smart and thoughtful, strong and yet demure and empathetic with a finely calibrated moral barometer. But the smart choice isn’t what humans are known to favor, and so I was instantly drawn to Audrey.
The moment she first appears on screen the music instantly changes from ominous to an intriguing tone of beatnik jazz that cues us in that even in a town instantly gripped in mourning someone has mischief on the mind.. and saddle shoes on the feet. As Audrey walks out from the Great Northern to her chauffeured ride to school, she is impeccably dressed in 1950s throwback attire; a muted pink cashmere sweater and high-waist plaid wool skirt.
And Audrey’s first close-up? Just her iconic saddle shoes as she sits in the car, toes pointed to the pavement as if her every movement is direct and deliberate. That was all it took. It was all over for me. No more thoughts of Donna, I was instantly ruined. Completely programmed for the heart-breakers right out the gate; and a little more than a casual appreciation for saddle shoes ever since. I’ll admit to asking someone out once who was dressed in top Audrey fashion. I am still aware that a magnetism toward the Donna types may have saved me a bit of heartache, and yet I do not regret one moment.
But we cannot forget America’s favorite Post Mortem Sweetheart: Laura Palmer. From the first moment we see her still face and blue lips we were instantly heartbroken for a character we knew absolutely nothing about. A single frame that captured the attention of the entire nation and encapsulated the entire franchise. An angel with a plastic sheet halo. The image has become so iconic that it has probably curtailed a could have been strong career of actress Sheryl Lee. Never reaching the popularity of other cast members of Twin Peaks, I, even to this day when she pops up as a guest character in T.V. shows or commercials am reminded of that image of the homecoming queen wrapped in plastic and tossed aside to be washed ashore to be found incidentally by an angler. The image is too striking and the emotion felt is too strong to be cast aside while watching Lee peddle laundry detergent.