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Welcome To Twin Peaks

post #1 of 2333
Thread Starter 
I just got the Definitive Gold Box for the holidays, and I'm both excited and wary.

Back in the age of dinosaurs, before Tivo and DVD, I tried my damnedest to be home each week for Twin Peaks. I was fascinated by the show - alternately confused, elated, frightened, and amused.

I'd never seen anything like it (David Lynch was an unknown quantity to me then), but I knew that I liked watching it. I also knew that it scared the bejeezus out of me.

I don't know that there's ever been a piece of entertainment that managed to utterly creep me out the way that Peaks did. Totally innocuous images, like stairs, or ceiling fans, gained immense spookiness under Lynch's guidance. Without having seen these episodes since they first aired, I still remember the image of Bob crawling over the sofa as if it were yesterday - it's seared into my brain.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, Dale Cooper remains one of those formative childhood heroes that's stayed with me. I think I'm as excited to watch the show as I am largely due to my memories of Maclachlan's performance and the odd, winning, sincerity of the character. "Diane, I'm holding in my hand a box of chocolate bunnies" may help explain some of, if not all of, Joss Whedon's career.

I've read all about how Season Two loses the plot and meanders painfully. I know that some of the show has aged poorly. But I also know that the consensus is that the final episode makes it all worth it, and I'm excited to take the journey again.

I thought I'd throw my reactions up on here as I go along out of a desire to share in the experience. Anyone care to watch along with me, ala the Chud book club? I'd love to get into a discussion on the show - everything from actors to performances to scripts to mood to mythos and atmosphere and on and on, anon.

I'm starting tonight, with the pilot and the first episode. I'll post my meandering thoughts tomorrow. I welcome any and all fellow travelers.
post #2 of 2333
I assume you're watching this with coffee and a box of donuts?
post #3 of 2333
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdHocken View Post
I assume you're watching this with coffee and a box of donuts?
Thought I'd start things out with a damned fine piece of cherry pie, actually.
post #4 of 2333
I was a big fan of the show. Loved the Julee Cruise "Falling" soundtrack and Sherilyn Fenn was an absolute goddess in my eyes.

Agree that Season 2 loses a lot of its bite. But its worth it for the final episode (which you'll need to understand Fire Walk With Me) and David Duchovney.

P.S- you'll hate, just hate Heather Graham in Season 2. Give me Audrey!
post #5 of 2333
I'm under the impression that anything Lynch shoots automatically comes off weird and spooky. No matter what it is: Eating a sandwich, filling up a soda cup, washing your car, buying toliet paper, doing your taxes. Anything.
post #6 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdHocken View Post
I'm under the impression that anything Lynch shoots automatically comes off weird and spooky. No matter what it is: Eating a sandwich, filling up a soda cup, washing your car, buying toliet paper, doing your taxes. Anything.
The Straight Story's not creepy at all, but I'm guessing he had to work pretty hard at that.
post #7 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by EdHocken View Post
I'm under the impression that anything Lynch shoots automatically comes off weird and spooky. No matter what it is: Eating a sandwich, filling up a soda cup, washing your car, buying toliet paper, doing your taxes. Anything.
Speaking of which: David Lynch's Goofy Movie.
post #8 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by DaveB View Post
The Straight Story's not creepy at all, but I'm guessing he had to work pretty hard at that.
It isn't although there still is that inherent strangeness.
post #9 of 2333
I watched the Pilot on the network's website a few weeks ago, but then couldn't continue. I've always been intrigued by the mystique surrounding this series, so I'll try to start up again and go along with you.
post #10 of 2333
Possibly my favorite show ever. The trick is to stop after the main mystery is solved.
post #11 of 2333
Thread Starter 
Twin Peaks, Season One: The Pilot

Watching the pilot was a surreal experience in more ways than one. I haven't seen this little bit o' heaven in eighteen years, yet I found myself remembering certain scenes/moments as they came along with that weird, long-distance memory thing we sometimes experience. In a way, it was a little "Lynchian," in that my 'adult' self and my 'teen' self stared across the expanse of those years at one another, quietly blinking and generally creeping each other out.

Ed Hocken's comment about Lynch having the ability to make sandwiches spooky is funny, but also pretty accurate. I've mentioned above that the show spooked me as a younger man. Well, it's just as eerie to me now. How is it possible to pull menacing atmosphere out of anything and everything, the way that Lynch does here?

I suspect it has a lot to do with the sound design of his stuff - there's an ominous noise for every occasion in Twin Peaks, apparently - but I'm not a filmmaker, just a film lover, so I've no real idea why the hairs on the back of my neck kept threatening to pop straight up over the course of two hours. Anyone care to school me on this?

Rather than recap the plot, here are some scattered observations/impressions:

1) I remember Cooper being goofy and quirky, but I don’t remember the ‘take no shit’ FBI-guy moments. I enjoy the way that Maclachlan’s chosen to deliver lines like “Here’s how this is going to work: we ask the questions, and you answer the questions. It’s that simple.” The phrase ‘Hardboiled Optimist’ isn’t used much, and I think that’s because, like jumbo shrimp, it’s something of an oxymoron. But Maclachlan/Cooper pulls that dichotomy off effortlessly, and the combination is like catnip to me.

2) It’s been exactly one episode, and I already know I’m going to be itching for the fast-forward button every time Joan Chen’s storyline comes to the fore.

3) Bobby’s drunken(?), whacked-out, car hood surfing routine is quintessential Twin Peaks to me. It’s bizarre, a teensy bit eerie, weirdly funny, and lasts juuuuust long enough to be both too long and not long enough (a trick that Family Guy attempts, over and over again, with a depressing lack of success). It's that last, herky-jerky dip he makes that really sells the moment.

4) Leo Johnson looks a lot younger to me than I remember. In fact, a lot of the characters/actors on this show do. It's strange - as I'm getting older, I'm noticing that my perception of aging is changing. When I first watched this show back in the day, Leo Johnson seemed like an adult - a scary, abusive, weirdly-haired adult. Watching his scene with Shelly last night it struck me that he looks far more like a kid than a grown-up. What a strange effect of aging that is.

5) No dancing midgets, no ooky-spooky giants....maybe they're waiting for me in the next episode?

6) Kyle MacLachlan is amazing on this show. Have I mentioned yet how much I love the character of Cooper? The Gold Box comes with a fun extras disc, and I popped it in just before bed last night to watch the two Saturday Night Live clips included with the materials. Hollywood is a strange town, and you often hear stories about how you're hot one minute and nobody in the next minute. It isn't that Maclachlan hasn't been working steadily since the show, or that he's lost any of his talent - it's more that his cultural moment (his '15 minutes,' if you want to be all cliched about it) came and went eighteen years ago, and it's clearly documented for us here.

On a similar note: I deduct points from any SNL sketch prominently featuring Kevin Nealon, but Phil Hartman is solid gold as Leland Palmer in the sketch here. The sketch itself is kind of lame on the whole, but as a piece of time-warp nostalgia, it's pretty priceless.

7) I can sort of see how Season Two is going to derail (correct me if I'm wrong). There's an impressive balancing act here between whimsy, melodrama, and eerieness that could easily go awry. Methinks the show will tip way too far into quirky small-town melodrama (that eye-patch lady already looks like a future offender), and back away from the eerieness, before regaining its bearings for the last episode. But we'll see. My standards for entertainment tend to be forgiving when the show/film in questions is something I once loved.

8) I totally wanted Bobby's haircut as a teenager. It looks patently ridiculous now, in the way that so many 90's styles do (and yet, we never realize that as its happening), but it's still Lynch-cool.

9) Lara Flynn Boyle had a personality? And warmth? Why didn't anyone tell me? The Lara Flynn Boyle I know is a cold mannequin of a woman, prone to icy-bitch roles and (probably) eating the hearts of children to stay young.

10) Lynch and Frost do an admirably nice job here of setting up the central mystery and leaving breadcrumb trails all over the place for future stories.

11) Was this really a buzzed-over, hit series? It's so relentlessly ODD. Hooray for America. Even if we couldn't sustain our interest (and even if the show's runners couldn't sustain the quality), I'm proud of us for taking this strange beast into our homes every week.

12) Julee Cruise, the chanteuse who sings "Falling" in the pilot, is one freaky-looking lady. Listening to her voice, I'd always pictured her as a Monroe-esque torch singer, but instead she appears to be one of those butch-female-biker torch singers you hear so much about. Or don't.

On the whole, I dug the hell out of the pilot. Enough quirk to make me smile, enough menace to make me shiver....that's the peanut butter/chocolate combination that made me a fan of the show to begin with.
post #12 of 2333
Twin Peaks is one of my all-time favorite shows up until the resolution of the "main" mystery.

I definitely think it loses its way after that, but there's still enough goodness that I enjoy the rest of the 2nd season. Especially because the you need the lead up to the (mostly) awesome finale, which in turn gets you to the awesome (in my opinion) film.

ALL of that messiness is worth it for the "Pink Room" scene in the film.

I remember the first time I saw the episode where Leland kicks it, and was just floored at how awesome it was (last year was the first time I had watched the series).


And I've only seen this as an adult... and many moments of the show (as well as Lynch's other works) are some of the few things that can genuinely creep me out of my skin.

Bob crawling towards/over the couch seriously fucked me up, and I was 27 the first time I saw it.
post #13 of 2333
Funny you mention "Hardboiled Optimist" I always figured Cooper to be in the vein of the 1950s "Swell" guy.
post #14 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by woodsy View Post
Possibly my favorite show ever. The trick is to stop after the main mystery is solved.
Bingo.

I was a massive fan when it first came out, and I bought the Gold Box edition a while back. Myself and my wife watched an episode or two nightly for a couple of weeks and just relished every wonderful, weird and wacky minute (and Bob was still scary as all bejeesus) - got to the resolution of the Laura Palmer case (about 3 eps into season 2, right?) and we just turned to one another and said - 'Let's leave it there. All that Black Lodge stuff is Anus anyway. And the way the second season ends is the biggest FUCK YOU to an audience I can remember'. We may not have said all those words, but that was the gist. It really is a near-prefect show up until that point.
post #15 of 2333
PS Great post Jesse I couldn't believe how young Leo looked either!
post #16 of 2333
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeypants View Post
Twin Peaks is one of my all-time favorite shows up until the resolution of the "main" mystery.

I definitely think it loses its way after that, but there's still enough goodness that I enjoy the rest of the 2nd season. Especially because the you need the lead up to the (mostly) awesome finale, which in turn gets you to the awesome (in my opinion) film.

ALL of that messiness is worth it for the "Pink Room" scene in the film.
It;'s nice to hear from a fan of the film. I've heard many people say that it was a huge disappointment, but their reasons for thinking so mostly strike me as being wrong-headed (with the exception of the criticism that there isn't enough Cooper in it - if that's the case, sitting through the film will be harder than it would be otherwise). I've never seen the movie, and I'm sort of on the fence about whether or not I'll watch it when I'm done with the series. If you're recommending it as highly as you seem to be, I'll throw it on the rental queue.

Quote:
Originally Posted by joeypants View Post
I've only seen this as an adult... and many moments of the show (as well as Lynch's other works) are some of the few things that can genuinely creep me out of my skin.

Bob crawling towards/over the couch seriously fucked me up, and I was 27 the first time I saw it.
I'm not being flip when I say that Bob's couch crawl has been the stuff of my nightmares for going on 18 years now. It's both comforting and discomfiting to know that it had the same effect on you as an adult as it did when I was a teen.

And if I'm being honest, I'm more than a little hesitant to revisit that moment again. If my viewing of the pilot is any indication, Lynch has lost none of his power to deeply unnerve me with this show. I like scary films/shows, and ordinarily I can flop down on the couch late at night after the wife has gone to bed and watch them without any problem.

But last night I found myself flipping all the lights on before I started the dvd. Yes, it makes me a big puss. But it also shores up my belief that Lynch taps into some seriously disturbing stuff with his art, and especially with his creation of Bob and use of Black Lodge mythology. As I'm typing this, I know I'm going to make myself sit through it again, if only to prove to myself that it's 'only a tv show,' but I also know that I'm going to regret that decision as much as anything else.


ETA:

Ed - A 1950's "Swell guy" is exactly the kind of aura he gives off. Nice turn of phrase.

Phil - Thanks! Despite your warning, I think I'm going to ride this train to the end. There's too much stuff in Season 2 that I'd like to re-visit (including Duchovony's performance, Maclachlan's work, and a morbid curiosity to see how bad it'll get). And it's nice to know that I wasn't the only one doing a double-take on Leo. Growing old is weird.
post #17 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Custer View Post
11) Was this really a buzzed-over, hit series?
No. It was a buzzed-over flop. ABC gave it a whirl, but the show's ratings were never what they hoped. This was back when networks would give a show some time to catch on. Wiseguy went four seasons around the same time period without ever finding its audience.
post #18 of 2333
Oh, can you explain what that "signature coral" look is all about (it's mentioned in the promotional materials for the box set)
post #19 of 2333
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil View Post
Oh, can you explain what that "signature coral" look is all about (it's mentioned in the promotional materials for the box set)
Not sure what this refers to - the closest I can get to an explanation right now is that the Set has an advert for Lynch's "Signature Cup" coffee.

Given that it's Lynch, I fully expect said coffee to come with a little mutated fetus in every bag of beans.
post #20 of 2333
I hear it's pretty decent coffee. I consider getting it for my mom but she's not familar with Lynch. That would make for an awkward conversation.
post #21 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Custer View Post
Not sure what this refers to
This:
LL
post #22 of 2333
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil View Post
This:
I don't know what to make of that. The show looks fantastic - the pilot was exceptionally atmospheric, especially for having been crafting in the pre-digital era. Maybe they 'burnished' the picture with a certain hue/glow that Lynch favors? If I'm enlightened, I'll let you know.

And because I'm on a kick for the next few weeks, here's a free version of "The Autobiography of Dale Cooper - My life, My tapes":

http://www.twin-peaks.fr/articles/cooperbio.html

I owned this book back in the day. I probably still have it lying around somewhere. This is turning into quite the memory lane for me.
post #23 of 2333
Yeah, there was Agent Cooper's book and Laura's Secret Diary (complete with missing pages). So freaky, so fun.

And I'll see your Bob crawling over the couch and raise you a Laura's mom realizing that she saw Bob crouched at the foot of Laura's bed in Fire Walk With Me. It is to shudder.
post #24 of 2333
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mattioli View Post
Yeah, there was Agent Cooper's book and Laura's Secret Diary (complete with missing pages). So freaky, so fun.

And I'll see your Bob crawling over the couch and raise you a Laura's mom realizing that she saw Bob crouched at the foot of Laura's bed in Fire Walk With Me. It is to shudder.
Yikes. Just reading that makes me never want to see it.

So, of course, I just added the film to my online queue. Why oh why must I abuse my fragile psyche this way?

Next thing you know I'll be adding Pet Sematary and holding "Zelda-thons".
post #25 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Custer View Post
Next thing you know I'll be adding Pet Sematary and holding "Zelda-thons".
And now I can plan to have nightmares tonight. Thank you.

Seriously, though, I was introduced to the world of Twin Peaks via Fire Walk With Me and, while a friend had to explain the relationships to me, it blew my mind. No one captures the disorienting and sinister nature of nightmares like David Lynch.
post #26 of 2333
I really hated the movie. It just felt nothing like the series to me. And I loved the series.
post #27 of 2333
The show's great, but in my opinion kicks it up a notch when Miguel Ferrer enters the picture. He's fucking great, and a nice foil to Agent Cooper's optimism as well as just being plain nasty to every single Twin Peaks resident.

Also?

"Albert Rosenfield. A-L-B-E-R-T R-O-S-E-N-F-I-E-L-D."

*sticks tongue out*
post #28 of 2333
Jesse:

I think my love for the film really comes from my love of all things Lynch. It's definitely flawed, and I can totally see how people who are really only fans of Peaks (but not of Lynch's other work) hated it.

It's weirder than Peaks, and lacks most of the series' lighthearted humor and really, really ramps the creepy into the stratosphere. It rarely, if ever, feels like the show.

But to me, that's a good thing. I wouldn't have wanted to see the show stretched out into a film format. That "soap opera" feel is pretty much gone, which is kind of appropriate seeing as how the film is a "prequel."

Ray Wise is all kinds of awesome, of course. Ah... wish I could say more. Definitely watch so we can discuss.
post #29 of 2333
And yeah, I think I find Lynch far creepier now than I ever could've as a teen/kid.

He really taps into the stuff that scares me as an adult - things I would've never thought about, let alone been scared of when I was younger.

It's the same reason I was bored to tears merely years ago when Mulholland Dr. came out (at 20 years old), yet absolutely flipped for it when I revisited it this past year (at 27). The nightclub scene at the end creeped me out severely. I frequently have extremely vivid/terrifying/surreal nightmares, and it felt like someone sort of crawled into my head and extracted that feeling. Beautiful, but terrifying at the same time (in the best way).
post #30 of 2333
Yeah I love that show too, the second seasons trails off but it's still worth watching. Pretty much every Bob flash is creepy as hell. I didn't watch the show when it was on and mistakenly watched Fire Walk With Me first - on video around 93 before I thought I would ever see the show- so when I did watch the VHS version it lost a bit of it's punch. Still awesome though. I bought the first season when it came out on DVD in what 2000? 2001? I have the bootleg/Hong Kong version of the pilot with the horrible sound. I waited the five years or so to get the second season. When the gold box came out I was a little pissed. I just can't justify buying it again, but those extras sound pretty cool. I remember watching that SNL episode with Kyle MacLachlan, although it didn't mean all that much to me. Maybe if it comes out on Bluray I'll double dip.

I don't think MacLachlan is really that good of an actor, but Lynch uses him perfectly. His stiffness and "gee shucks" demeanor is exactly right for Dale Cooper and Jeffery Beaumont (Blue Velvet). But I've never really liked him in anything else. But I'll echo the love for Miguel Ferrer and David Duchovney
post #31 of 2333
I bought that Laura Palmer: Secret Diary book. Its not exactly In Canon with the show buts its an interesting read. Did anyone here catch the clues written inside the book.

Sherilyn Fenn is an absolute Goddess. I eagerly watched each episode just for more Audrey/Cooper goodness. That early Season 1 episode where Cooper returns to his room and finds Fenn in her head still sticks in my memory even now.
post #32 of 2333
I've recently been introduced to the works of David Lynch and just rented the first season of Twin Peaks. Then I discovered you can stream pretty much the entire series on IMDB.

Fuck/bah humbug/I'm loving the show anyways.
post #33 of 2333
Fuck watching it on a computer screen.

I'm very lucky in that my best friend has a huge screen/HD projector (though for regular DVD's the HD doesn't matter as much) and I was introduced to this series that way.
post #34 of 2333
Computer screen is all I gots unfortunately.
post #35 of 2333
"Hey, FELLAHS! Don't DRINK that KAHWFEE!!...You'll never guess...There was A FISH IN the Perk'o'later....sorry..."

Jack Nance...you and your inflections are sadly missed.

Rest In Peace.
post #36 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jakespeare View Post
Computer screen is all I gots unfortunately.

Jakespeare, if you're watching the series on a computer screen, you will never in a bill-trillion years expreince the series. You'll think you have experienced the series, but you'll be *cough* cheated.

It's such a sadness. That you think you've seen a series on your FUCKING COMPUTER SCREEN.

(my apologies if you don't get the reference.)
post #37 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syd View Post
Jakespeare, if you're watching the series on a computer screen, you will never in a bill-trillion years expreince the series. You'll think you have experienced the series, but you'll be *cough* cheated.

It's such a sadness. That you think you've seen a series on your FUCKING COMPUTER SCREEN.

(my apologies if you don't get the reference.)
Yeah, I'm blanking. Sorry.
post #38 of 2333
post #39 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Syd View Post
The show's great, but in my opinion kicks it up a notch when Miguel Ferrer enters the picture. He's fucking great, and a nice foil to Agent Cooper's optimism as well as just being plain nasty to every single Twin Peaks resident.

Also?

"Albert Rosenfield. A-L-B-E-R-T R-O-S-E-N-F-I-E-L-D."

*sticks tongue out*
Pity this brilliant entrance of a charactor only lasted about 5 episodes, and then he started to become conscious of his female side...WHAT???!
post #40 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil View Post
There's a recording studio in 'The Black Lodge'?
Should'nt Lynch of been talking backwards?
post #41 of 2333
...The Owls are NOT what they Seem...
post #42 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Phil View Post
Aha. I probably should've caught that.
post #43 of 2333
Thread Starter 
Twin Peaks, Season One: Episode One

This episode was more and less than I was expecting.

More, because we get Bob's beyond-creepy introduction to the show, and less, because the soapy aspects of this show are reallllllllllly soapy. Like, "One Life To Live" soapy.

Random thoughts:

1) Bob!

2) Yup. It's all about the sound with this show. Bad enough that Mrs. Palmer, mid-hug, catches a leering Bob staring up at her like some malevolent cancer invading her home. It's the music - a droning, Eastern-sounding, holy/unholy noise - that rockets the first glimpse of the show's Face Of Evil from creepy to terrifying.

3) This is some soapy stuff. Donna's confession to her mother, and Ben Horne's confrontation with Audrey, manage to have both the overwrought language of my grandmother's 'stories' and their awkward sense of timing, acting-wise. I found myself unsure as to whether the awkwardness was calculated. Are Lynch, Frost and the cast commenting on soap operas at this point? Or are they unabashedly making one without irony? It's difficult to tell.

4) The whole coffee and pie thing gets a lot of play in this episode. It comes right up to the edge of being too repetitious, but steers away in time. Nance's "fish in the percolator" bit helps, as does the throwaway comment "I can still taste the fish in the coffee" later in the episode.

5) The show's doing a good job of providing possible murder suspects all over the place. I have no idea whether Lynch and Frost knew going in who would end up being the killer - whether or not they ever planned to reveal it - but at this point there are a whole lotta suspects.

6) Leo, while younger than remembered, is also more brutal than remembered. When he slips the soap into the sock at the sink (hooray for alliteration!) its a moment that, nowadays, might be cut away from immediately. Not in Twin Peaks. We get to watch the wind up, the cowering of Shelly in the corner.....and that THWAP sound right after the screen goes black feels a lot like Lynch giving me the finger. It's rightly horrifying.

7) Let's discuss violence against women. So far, we have a murdered prom queen, a second, mentally and physically violated female victim, a classic domestic abuse case of a housewife, a threatened daughter....and we're just finished with ep. 1. Having seen some of Lynch's work post-Peaks, I'm familiar with his fondness for putting women in horrible situations. But they feel extra-highlighted to me in this show. Is Lynch using femininity destroyed/degraded as a way of commenting on the corruption that seems to be a grand theme of the show? Is he engaging in a long, inglorious tradition of women-in-peril for more mundane reasons? Because it suits the story?

8) Hey! It's Scully's Dad! The cigarette in the meatloaf was a nice touch.

9) What is the Great Northern, exactly? It seems like the sort of rustic luxury hotel you'd find in Yellowstone, not on the edge of a logging town in Washington. And what exactly were the businessmen doing there that Horne was so upset about them leaving? Something about contracts? I remember them from the pilot, and I remember them leaving in a huff, but that's about it.

10) No giggly German waitress in this one.

11) We hear/see Laura twice in this episode: Once, as James is remembering how he got his half of the locket, and once at the end of the episode, where Hawaii Doc listens to creepily-private sounding tapes of Laura talking to him, and where its revealed that somehow, he's got a half of the heart necklace (in a coconut, no less).

Dramatically speaking, her first appearance, which is visual as well as auditory, serves to shore up our impression of Laura as a slightly-off, sweet girl. There's again a seriously soapish quality to the moment between her and James, but that quality is undercut by a strange flatness in her eyes.

Her second appearance, in which we hear but do not see her, is more revealing - as if by stripping away her image, we're getting closer to the truth of what she is/was. We hear that she loves James' sweetness, but that he's so very dull - and that she knows 'she'll get lost in those woods again tonight." It's a sad, eerie moment. Self-destructive people often seem to be aware of both their capacity for self-harm, and their inability to do anything about it.

As of now, I'm assuming that the mystery man she speaks about is Bob - which means that the woods are likely as much figurative as they are literal.

And with that - Hawaii Doc laying back in a chair surrounded by Hawaiian kitsch, listening to Laura's private dark confessions - the episode ends.

Loved the sense of encroaching darkness. Remain unmoved by possibly faux soap tone. Looking forward to ep. 2.
post #44 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Custer View Post
3) This is some soapy stuff. Donna's confession to her mother, and Ben Horne's confrontation with Audrey, manage to have both the overwrought language of my grandmother's 'stories' and their awkward sense of timing, acting-wise. I found myself unsure as to whether the awkwardness was calculated. Are Lynch, Frost and the cast commenting on soap operas at this point? Or are they unabashedly making one without irony? It's difficult to tell.
I think the inclusion of the cutaways to "Invitation to Love" (not sure if you've gotten those yet) indicate that it's the former, at least primarily.

Quote:
7) Let's discuss violence against women. So far, we have a murdered prom queen, a second, mentally and physically violated female victim, a classic domestic abuse case of a housewife, a threatened daughter....and we're just finished with ep. 1. Having seen some of Lynch's work post-Peaks, I'm familiar with his fondness for putting women in horrible situations. But they feel extra-highlighted to me in this show. Is Lynch using femininity destroyed/degraded as a way of commenting on the corruption that seems to be a grand theme of the show? Is he engaging in a long, inglorious tradition of women-in-peril for more mundane reasons? Because it suits the story?
In the early goings, I think it's easy to view the abuse/women-in-peril situations through the soapy lens that, as viewers, we're used to. But as the series goes on, and the violence gets more disturbing and more brutal, I think the show almost becomes accusatory towards the viewer. "Hey, this is the stuff that you want to watch, right?" Fire Walk With Me takes this to very uncomfortable extremes.
post #45 of 2333
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt M View Post
I think the inclusion of the cutaways to "Invitation to Love" (not sure if you've gotten those yet) indicate that it's the former, at least primarily.
No idea what you're talking about, so I'm assuming that I haven't gotten those yet. Glad to hear there's a meta-element to it, though. It'll make it easier to watch in a not-quite-explainable kind of way.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt M View Post
In the early goings, I think it's easy to view the abuse/women-in-peril situations through the soapy lens that, as viewers, we're used to. But as the series goes on, and the violence gets more disturbing and more brutal, I think the show almost becomes accusatory towards the viewer. "Hey, this is the stuff that you want to watch, right?" Fire Walk With Me takes this to very uncomfortable extremes.
What's interesting about your comment (from my perspective): That soapy lens you're talking about already feels as if its disintegrating. The discovery of Laura's body, while rife with overwrought emotional moments from pretty much every cast member, was still shot through with an almost voyeuristic naturalness. Andy's crying at the scene, and Laura's parents' total breakdowns, were uncomfortable in their immediacy. Subsequent violence (the woman in her nightgown walking, shivering, down the tracks, and Shelly's fetal pleading) only augmented that sense of peeking in on something terrible.

If, as you say, the violence becomes more pronounced, I'm going to have a difficult time with it. As I've already brought up in the Funny Games remake thread, I'm not the kind of person who seeks out violence as entertainment. Any accusatory element is likely to make me feel extremely uncomfortable, in the same way that Haneke's finger-pointing did.

Of course, that's arguably the point - even if I don't consider myself to be someone drawn to bloodshed. I'm still watching, after all.
post #46 of 2333
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jesse Custer View Post
What's interesting about your comment (from my perspective): That soapy lens you're talking about already feels as if its disintegrating. The discovery of Laura's body, while rife with overwrought emotional moments from pretty much every cast member, was still shot through with an almost voyeuristic naturalness. Andy's crying at the scene, and Laura's parents' total breakdowns, were uncomfortable in their immediacy.
You're absolutely right. For me, you could boil it down to one scene in the pilot: Leland and Sarah simultaneously realizing that Laura's dead over the phone. It's soapy, then it's uncomfortably soapy, then it's really and truly sad, and then, with Sarah's piercing shriek, the scene ends on a moment of pure horror.

Quote:
If, as you say, the violence becomes more pronounced, I'm going to have a difficult time with it.
I don't want to oversell this, as I don't think the violence gets systematically worse (Shelly getting beaten with the soap is still among the worst moments). But there's a crucial murder in season 2* that's one of the most terrifying things Lynch has ever shot. It's almost unfathomable that it was allowed on network TV.

*If you watched the series all the way through, you'll probably remember the one I mean, but I won't spoil it, just in case. Except to say that, sadly, it's not James Hurley getting beaten to death.
post #47 of 2333
Thread Starter 
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Originally Posted by Matt M View Post
You're absolutely right. For me, you could boil it down to one scene in the pilot: Leland and Sarah simultaneously realizing that Laura's dead over the phone. It's soapy, then it's uncomfortably soapy, then it's really and truly sad, and then, with Sarah's piercing shriek, the scene ends on a moment of pure horror.
That sums it up perfectly. It's as though they're pushing straight through the melodrama - stretching and breaking it - in search of something rawer and more visceral. There's nothing 'classy' about that acting. It doesn't have the refined, painterly quality of Oscar-worthy weep-fests, and it doesn't remain in the realm of over-the-top B-movie chest beating. It goes past that point, and ends up horrifically close to actual emotional agony.

Not to rhapsodize about it excessively - it's not like looking into the eye of God or anything. But it gets under the skin in a way that feels very, very real.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt M View Post
But there's a crucial murder in season 2* that's one of the most terrifying things Lynch has ever shot. It's almost unfathomable that it was allowed on network TV.

*If you watched the series all the way through, you'll probably remember the one I mean, but I won't spoil it, just in case. Except to say that, sadly, it's not James Hurley getting beaten to death.
I do not, in fact, remember what you're talking about. And I'm both glad and apprehensive about it now. And sorry it's not James. Though, in James' defense, he has a moment in the first episode with Donna, where her parents leave for a moment, that's ridiculously charming in its open innocence (Something along the lines of "I'm really glad to see you," followed by the sort of smile that's utterly emotionally unguarded). Not much of an actor, perhaps, but he has an innate childlike quality there that makes me think it's the reason Lynch hired him.
post #48 of 2333
I think James is used very well in the first season, making the actor's liabilities a crucial part of his character. When they try to push him 'dark,' it's among the worst character arcs in TV history.

Out of curiosity, do you remember who the killer is? Or should we tiptoe around that?
post #49 of 2333
The second season murder you're all speaking of is one of the most, if not the most brutal things I've seen, TV or no.

I was absolutely in shock (and still am) that it was every aired on TV.

They really dump it all on you in that episode, and though extremely disturbing and terrifying, it's quite amazing as well.
post #50 of 2333
Thread Starter 
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Originally Posted by Matt M View Post
I think James is used very well in the first season, making the actor's liabilities a crucial part of his character. When they try to push him 'dark,' it's among the worst character arcs in TV history.

Out of curiosity, do you remember who the killer is? Or should we tiptoe around that?
They make him "dark"? I'm already dreading that.

And yes, I do remember who Laura's killer is, though for the sake of anyone reading along with us for the first time, I'm purposefully not saying their name. I'm attempting to let this re-watching be as 'pure' as possible, so I've avoided reading up on what happens when and to who, and any comments I'm making will hopefully not spoil anything for folks like Jakespeare. If you all could do me the favor of not dropping any mega-spoilers regarding the main plotline it would be much appreciated.

Given that the show's as old as it is though, and that you might not want to play by those rules, I'm not expecting anyone to feel bad if they let something slip. That said, I'm enjoying reading the comments here as much as I'm enjoying revisiting the show.

ETA:

Oh, and I forgot to mention the Log Lady, who makes her first appearance in the first episode.

I'd forgotten all about her. I love that her log 'saw something that night,' and that Cooper is required to ask the log what it saw.

I'm wondering now whether her character is weird for weirdness' sake, or if she and her lil' wooden friend are representative of something.
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