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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Twin Peaks S01E01: Pilot

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Before I get to the actual show: Tribal Council time.

Okay, so I was glad to see quite a few of you expressed interest in watching this show, maybe writing about it occasionally, etc. Twin Peaks fever is in the air. Polythene Pam, however, pointed out that not long ago on a Videogum thread Gabe asked for recommendations for TV Club this summer and Twin Peaks looked to have the biggest backing in the comments, though Gabe has not given any indication about what he plans to do.

Chris Trash and I both consulted the oracle of Werttrew, but he really didn't have any info on that. His guess was that it might be a bit before that TV club happens and that it wouldn't be Twin Peaks. Personally, I would bet against it being TP too, but that's just a hunch on both our parts.

Obviously, if Vgum did end up covering this show, it might be superfluous for us to have done this a month or two earlier. In theory, this would be a very different thing, maybe more in the spirit of Bookgum (RIP) with different people sharing thoughts on whatever aspect/character/scene stood out to them as opposed to a full on recap. But I can understand if people want to wait and see.

As I said, my hunch is that Vgum won't go TP, I think enough people want to watch the show right now, and I think this will be different enough even if Gabe does cover it. But really, it's up to everyone else who would be involved in this. Vote now! free polls
Go ahead with Twin Peaks on MOBFD?
Yes Wait to see what Vgum does   

Okay, enough of that. On to the actual episode:

As I said in the intro post, I've seen most of Lynch's work but not even a minute of this show. I'm very interested to see how his very distinctive style translates in a long-form story; while we've seen some big name directors step into television via miniseries (i.e. Spielberg - Band of Brothers), I can't think of any immediate parallels to Lynch crossing over to TV for Twin Peaks.

I imagine, especially for a director used to having considerable creative freedom and only occasionally straying near the mainstream (Elephant Man), there were some sacrifices required in producing a network TV show. In fact, Lynch would attempt another neo-noir show about a decade later when he filmed Mulholland Drive as a TV pilot. The execs weren't won over that time around, so he shot some more footage to wrap up the story and turned it into (IMO) arguably his best film.

Whether the Twin Peaks pilot could have easily segued into a feature film is debatable - most of its 90+ minutes are spent establishing characters and piling mysteries upon mysteries. I was surprised, though, at how fast the plot moved, revelations about Laura Palmer's (RIP) past coming quickly, and some of the underlying town dynamics already emerging.

"Who's the lady with the log?" "We call her Log Lady."

We're already running a little long here, so I'll just touch on some odds and ends:

- Agent Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan): Very much based on the old-timey, wise cracking, noir detective type. Complete opposite of the small-town folks: he's unfazed by any revelation of human depravity, but always in awe of the natural setting. As goofy as he, he seems entirely comfortable and confident in himself and the situation. I predict as the case/show progresses and shit gets Lynchy, even he might encounter things that he isn't prepared for.

- Are all the boyfriends in this show assholes? Some very unconscious masculinity at work in this town.

- The score by Angelo Badalamenti is very reminicent of some of his other scores for Lynch's films. Particularly the synthy Laura Palmer's Theme. Good fit, those two.

- The scene where both Laura's parents learn of her death at the same time, from opposite ends of the phone, was brilliant, with both construing what happened without being told a word.
In the event we vote to carry on with this, we will cover episode 2 on Monday. I know several of you volunteered, but Godsauce mentioned he had done some in-depth study of a couple Lynch films. A scholar of both Bill Keane and David Lynch! So, if you want it, next episode is yours Godsauce. If this week doesn't work for him, see you all again next Monday.

Also, I set up a Writeboard for Twin Peaks. Basically we can all access it and write/edit whatever we want on the document page. Favorite quotes, observations, jokes. Whatever. Could be a good way for everyone to share random thoughts that the main post authors can tack on to the end of each write-up? We'll see. Don't be shy!

Link: Twin Peaks discussion Writeboard
Password: enhance


  1. I hit both the "unconscious masculinity" and "Laura Palmer's Theme" links and was so creeped out. I missed the Dear Women video & (unknowlingly) had Laura'sTheme in the background. I kept thinking "why is this so menacing?!"

  2. Love it! Could I write one? I promise that I know nothing about David Lynch, Twin Peaks, or most other things, for that matter.

  3. Sorry, I didn't mean to play the naysayer. I'm completely on board for doing Twin Peaks here, especially as I've never seen it and have been looking for a reason to start. There's no sense waiting on something that was never really decided to begin with.

  4. I've been looking forward to watching Twin Peaks for a very long time now. I saw Fire Walk With Me and the majority of Lynch's films about five to eight years ago now, but didn't the gumption to watch the actual series until about a year ago when I put it at the top of my Netflix queue.

    Then I waited. And waited. And waited. It sat at the top of my queue for over three months and the first disc never came. "Very long wait" Netflix told me. Then I had to suspend my Netflix account because I'm unemployed and need to eat food every so often and so yeah, so there you go.

    I wish I could participate in these recaps but for the sake of not spoiling anything, I will be holding off. So sad.

    But I will say I did see some of season 2 back when I was watching all the other films, and David Duchovny was in the second season, and that's awesome.

  5. Nothing to apologize for, Pam. Glad you brought it up - I'd completely forgotten about that thread

    And KajusX, if you really want to watch with us right now, most of us don't use all 5 of the allowable devices for Netflix Instant. I'd be fine giving you access to mine for a few months.

  6. I actually just finished re-watching Twin Peaks last month. I really do love this show, and havebeen having some great debate about the ending with friends who watched it as well.

    And aren't James and Donna the worst?!?

  7. @Stu I appreciate the sentiment, but that's ok. I can hold off. I'll just make sure to come back and read these suckers once I do watch it. ^_^

  8. Sorry, I've been an absentee monster. I've been busy. I'd be happy to write up episode 2. It's been a long time since I've done anything like this, so you might have to do without shot-by-shot analysis.