12 Jan What’choo Watching – 1/11/17
The wife and I are revisiting Twin Peaks.
She’s never been before but I spent a season and a movie there in college. I never made it to the second season but looked up the big “Bob” reveal at the end of season 2, grappled with “Fire Walk With Me” in relation to the rest of David Lynch’s body of work and met the return of the series on Showtime with equal parts excitement and skepticism.
I also thought I had nothing to say about Twin Peaks that hadn’t been said a million times by better writers in hundreds of locations. But this time, I think, I recognized something I definitely didn’t see early on – artistic conflict.
I’ve gone down the Lynch rabbit hole, all the way to his short films and ill advised musical ventures and if there’s one thing I’ve deduced it’s that David Lynch is living proof of the auteur theory. I cannot imagine anyone on his sets, from the actors to the crew members to his financiers, have any god damn idea what he’s up to. I’m not even sure he knows what he’s up to until he’s got it which is why his original films (I’m setting aside Dune, The Elephant Man and A Straight Story [a title so fitting as to be both painfully obvious and painfully obtuse at the same time]), above all, are ethereal and hard to pin down.
I heard a rumor once that I can’t find anywhere online of an editor struggling with Lynch until, in the middle of the night, the director smacked his forehead and said “That’s what I meant!”
Twin Peaks is absolutely of a piece with Blue Velvet (it basically has the same theme), Mulholland Drive and Inland Empire in terms of tone but during the rewatch I was fascinated how the show ping ponged between dozens of characters and, essentially, settled into a soap opera structure. Given the show makes a point to mock soap operas (or does it) with the ubiquitous “Invitation to Love” that struck me as odd. Lynch is often completely lacking in structure but he always makes his own twisted kind of sense.
Which led to me sto start thinking about Mark Frost, the co-creator and principal showrunner of Twin Peaks. They fell out on set, as I understand it, and when Lynch returned for the final episode and followed with “Fire Walk With Me” it was a pretty harsh departure from what came before, as I understand it. Almost like Lynch came back with the condition that he could do his thing with this show that had double the characters of any other show on TV. “Fire Walk With Me” is as challenging a film as Lynch ever made and it both fulfilled the promise of Twin Peaks and subverted it. I can’t wait to see what he does with the Showtime series coming up. And catch up with Coop, who I hope hasn’t let Bob get the best of him.