Thursday, January 8, 2015

Rockin' back inside your heart

I have been on a self-imposed break with Twin Peaks for two years. I love the series, I want to watch it all the time, and if I don't stop myself I let it consume me and I do actually watch it all the time; neglecting friends, family, my dog, reading, sleep, and food to watch and rewatch the show. I've allowed myself to rewatch the series this week and think I should make it an annual thing. The series is short, with only 30 episodes, and a good way to not go mad with boredom over a long weekend.

That being said, I guess it might be better to be bored than to be obsessed but I don't think anyone can have anything other than those two emotional reactions to Twin Peaks. It is bizarre and brilliant and banal and vapid and sexy and so much fun to get sucked into.

The first, shorter, season is clearly superior and avoided many of the goofy side-story traps that bogged down the second season. The first season is clean and sharp, as slick as Agent Cooper's hairstyle and as rough as Leo Johnson's living room. I love that there are creases in the story and you can see so well how some things were planned and filled out while other things were never meant to be explained.

The second season isn't terrible but there are two things about it that I strongly dislike and, sadly, they make up much of the airtime: James' incredibly dull and predictable interlude with the Marshes and everything having to do with Windom Earle.

People say that finding out who killed Laura Palmer is what killed the series, I think that the revelation of Earle did a lot more to put a stake in the show's heart. Earle's actions and character are out of step with the tone the show tried so hard to establish during the first season and the first half of the second season and everything he touches suffers from it. He is too screechingly evil while being too prosaic to fit into the woods around Twin Peaks; if he were less evil he'd fit in okay with the town, if he were more supernatural or more strange he'd fit in okay with the Black Lodge. It's the combination of him showing "the evil that men do" while not being anything more than a power-hungry man that makes him so frustrating to watch. He even makes Dale look bad - if this is what Cooper's so afraid of maybe he's not all that good at his job.

But the Marshes and Earle aren't enough to ruin the series for me. There are still enough little idiosyncrasies that I can make a home out of the niches they cut into the world. Andy's head injuries, Nadine's reversion to high school, Cooper's non sequiturs, and all that coffee makes it a place that I want to go back to again and again. And it doesn't hurt that the show was filmed in a real place that I want to go back to again and again - the visuals are beautiful and it always makes my heart hurt and long for cherry pie.

     - Alli

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