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BY MEGAN LYONS A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bachelor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Dr. Glenn R. Cuomo Sarasota, Florida May 2012
ii TABLE OF CONTENTS Illustrations iii Abstract iv Introduction 1 Chapter 1: On the American Soap Opera, the Detectiv e Novel, & Prime Time 4 Chapter 2: On Twins, Logic, Secrecy, & Film 2 6 Twinning & Doubles 26 About Logic & Trust 34 The Dangers of Secrecy 38 Prime-time Serial VS. Film 45 Chapter 3: On Dreams, Evil & Goodness, the Spectato r, & the Ritual of Incest 52 As a Vision, in a Dream 52 The Role of the Spectator as Detective 58 Conclusion 67 Bibliography 73 Appendix: Characters in Twin Peaks 75
iii ILLUSTRATIONS FIGURE 1 THE BODY OF LAURA PALMER ................. ................................................... ........................... FIGURE 2 TITLE SCREEN TO THE SOAP OPERA, "INVITATIO N TO LOVE" ........................................ FIGURE 3 AUDREY HORNE'S SADDLE SHOES .............. ................................................... ....................... FIGURE 4 LAURA PALMER'S HOMECOMING PHOTO .......... ................................................... ............... FIGURE 5 AGENT COOPER DEMONSTRATES TIBETAN INTUITIV E METHODS ................................ FIGURE 6 A FALLEN DEER HEAD, DISREGARDED .......... ................................................... .................... FIGURE 7 THE STRANGE BUT EVERYDAY ARRANGEMENT OF DO NUTS ........................................ FIGURE 8 MADDY FERGUSON, LAURA PALMER'S IDENTICAL C OUSIN ........................................... FIGURE 9 ENTRY WAY TO THE BLACK LODGE, BOB FADING I NTO/OUT OF TIME AND SPACE .. FIGURE 10 SHELLY JOHNSON REENACTING LELAND PALMER'S FUNERAL BREAKDOWN AT THE DOUBLE "R" DINER .............................. ................................................... ................................... FIGURE 11 LELAND PALMER, CRYING FACE-DOWN ON HIS DA UGHTER'S COFFIN ..................... FIGURE 12 BEN HORNE AND DAUGHTER AUDREY AT ONE EYED JACK'S, A CLOSE ENCOUNTER ......................................... ................................................... ............................................. FIGURE 13 MAJOR BRIGGS, HAVING RETURNED FROM THE WH ITE LODGE, EXPLAINING THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DREAM AND A VISION ....... ................................................... ..... FIGURE 14 THE GIANT, VISITING COOPER IN A DREAM. "T HE THINGS I TELL YOU WILL NOT BE WRONG." ........................................ ................................................... ............................................... FIGURE 15 LAURA PALMER OR HER "COUSIN" IN THE BLACK LODGE/COOPER'S DREAM ........ FIGURE 16 AGENT COOPER AND BOB IN THE FINAL EPISODE ................................................. ........
iv PEAKING IN PARADISE: AN EXPLORATION OF THE TELEVISION SERIES TWIN PEAKS Megan Lyons New College of Florida, 2012 ABSTRACT In 1990, David Lynch (prominent film auteur) and M ark Frost (prolific television producer/writer) premiered what was Lynchs first e xperiment in television serials and Frosts most experimental television series yet. A iring during prime time ABC, the series hour and a half long pilot episode was an i mmediate sensation, inspiring at-home detectives and internet message boards almost insta ntly. The series is a sublime marriage of Lynchs surrea listic film techniques, the forever captivating and winding yet slightly empty soap opera, and the classic detective mystery. The shows cult following still thrives n ow, twenty-plus years later, and the series is regarded as one of televisions greatest complex, quirky endeavors of prime time history. Twin Peaks abrupt ending sparked questions that run the gamu t, viewers contemplating issues such as the line between good and evil, truthfulness and justice, reality and surreality. These questions tend to re main left unanswered, but examining the series and discovering the issues within the small Northwestern town remain worthwhile. __________________ Dr. Glenn R. Cuomo Division of Humanities
1 Introduction When Twin Peaks (TP) was first broadcast in 1990 on ABC's prime time network television, nobody really knew what to expect, or what to make of it. Its creators, Mark Frost and David Lynch, were an unexpected duo. Mark Frost had signifi cant experience in television production and writing, most notably with the series Hill Street Blues auteur reputation as Lynch, his experience in television expresses itself in TP most explicitly through soap opera the David Lynch's first foray into the serial world, TP was immediately intriguing and perplexing: was it a comedy? Why did everybody love Laura Palmer 1 so much? The seri es immediately posed a lot of questions for both its audience and its characters. The most infamous of these, Who killed Laura Palmer? both set the series up to be approached as a traditional detective narrative but also as a sort of prime time soap oper a with a subtle penchant for the comedic. The pilot episode opens with the discovery of Laura Palmer's dead body. As the news trickles down to various townsfolk (her parents, her teachers and classmates, local authority figures) we, the viewers, notice curiously that every person responds in the same, over the top manner. A death is tragic, to be sure, but in this instance the devastation affects even the furthest removed from Laura's personal life. In particular, 1 For a concise explanation of all characters mentioned in this document, see the appendix at the end.
2 there is a lot of screaming. A girl in the high school who is never introduced or explained is seen fleeing in a courtyard, tears in full swing. As this occurs viewers get a taste for how close knit this small, so North it is practically Canadian town must be. We also are introduced to man y of the key characters in TP, and there are quite a lot of them. The pilot episode also sets up the complex web of relationships that exist in Twin Peaks, and we learn almost immediately that there is a significant amount of infidelity within these relat ionships and that most everybody leads a double life Knowing that Laura Palmer was killed and involved in at least a handful of unfaithful relationships herself, the viewer is not so subtly clued in to the notion that Twin Peaks, like most places, has it s share of secrets. In this paper I will investigate the ways in which TP can be examined through the lenses of both the traditional detective narrative, and the most American of all television models, the soap opera. I will also explore the ways that tw inning/doubling affects the viewer's experience, and the way that Agent Cooper's dreams tie into all of this. There will be discussion of the forces of evil both in the town, its residents, and the woods, as well as an examination of the Black Lodge's pla ce in this prime time detective soap. I will attempt to deconstruct the significance of identifying TP as detective novel/soap opera and explore to what means this impacts the viewer's (the reader's) experience. The viewer's role as an at home detective and the ubiquitousness of recurring motifs will be central to this investigation as well. Key elements of this reading also include David Lynch's film techniques and interest in Americana,
3 series, Bertolt Brecht's the ories about theatre particularly his ideas about Chinese theatre and the absence of the fourth wall and how this translates to a living room television screen. TP known now as a cult classic, warrants examination under a more scrutinizing lens than t he living room television set provides. Hopefully the utilization of these tools and elements from TP do the series justice in examining it as more than just another television sitcom from the early 1990s.
4 Chapter 1: On the American Soap Opera, the Dete ctive Novel, & Prime Time creator Mark Frost. As Frost had worked predominantly in televisio n before TP it only makes sense filmed, directed, and wrote all of the Invitation to Love scenes from the first season. Soap operas were conceived in the early twenti eth century before there was even daytime television: they began as radio shows (Allen 4 ) Figure 1 The body of Laura Palmer
5 coined because commercial giants such as Proctor & Gamble entirely funded the production. Not surprisingly, the shows were used as vehic les for advertising; the contents of the shows themselves were less important than the breaks in the episodes. This is made especially apparent when you consider the production pyramid of power: at the top, there was one or a handful of people that decide d the major shape of the series. They sent these ideas blueprints, really, to several writers one rung below them, whose job was to execute scripts that adhered strictly to the plans they had received. The large amount of control the top producers had over a series is evidenced in the episodes themselves (viewers often could not tell the difference between episode writers because there was no room for creativity). The scripts were then sent to actors, who had less than a week to learn their lines. Typ ically, none of these people involved at different levels knew each other, and usually even the writers didn't know the other writers. It was not uncommon for every person in the production pyramid to live several states apart. This largely accounts for why the production value of soap operas is so particular and unique to this genre of television; there is no mistaking the soap opera and its (anti ?)aesthetic. letely undermined by ca pitalism (Allen, 58). Because there was money to be made with this proven to be successful model, creativity (and therefore, room for error), had no place in the series. As a result, the visual impact of the soap was striking in its surrealism: it looke d as if the lighting designer and set designer had never coordinated, and it looked as if the set designer had never given instruction to the prop manager. The sets in most soap operas
6 ended up looking too real and unreal at the same time. But this worke d. America, a country built on capitalism, naturally became enamored with (or at least intrigued by) soap operas. One couldn't have dreamt of a more patriotic model for a television genre: a winding, conclusion evading drama whose momentum depended on th e suspense built up by every commercial break. A chance to reflect on the histrionics while simultaneously figuring out just what kind of cleaner you need to get floors as shiny as those in General Hospital: a product pushing a product The soap operas themselves had to be carefully nuanced in such a way that no ending could ever be reached. This was done by having no main characters but rather a complex web of a community in which most everybody's business crossed paths at some point or another. The endlessness was likewise insured by the constant posing of new questions and conflicts. As long as the characters never addressed fully all of the questions imposed on them by the script, there would always be something to revisit or rework for next week' s episodes. Even when series have ended, such as Love of Life in 1981, no effort was made by the network to tie up loose ends. The ending felt less like closure and more like an indefinite commercial break. This is a key characteristic of soap operas th at A) helps to identify them and B) sounds an awful lot like TP Like any narrative type, there exists a set of codes (Barthes 9 ) that help the reader/viewer to identify and identify with the soap opera. These codes also help reader s /viewer s draw connec tions between soaps and with their own experiences in relation to the soaps. While stylistically TP may not have too much in common with the
7 old Hollywood soap opera aesthetic, we do recognize the interior construction of the world of Twin Peaks to be ver y similar to the worlds constructed within soap operas. These worlds are inclusive and the characters (along with the reader) rarely, if ever, leave the community (to, say, follow a character on their travels), and all visitors are outsiders until they ha ve carved out a place in the community. Figure 2 Title screen to the soap opera, "Invitation to Love" In these fictional worlds, everybody tends to know everybody else and their life's story. As opposed to being character driven, these series are community driven, taking the focus away from any lead roles. The shows are set up in such a way that there is always a high potential for drama, and as we well know, there is almost never any narrative closure that comes with the end of the soap opera. TP likewise is a series that was propelled forth by the sheer volume of characters and unending story lines; the final episode in the series tied up few loose ends and left m ore revelations to be pondered. As with all types of pro ducts, soap operas refer to and exist within the universe of
8 is is how the reader is able to texts. Due to the highly volatile nature of soap operas, producers were always looking for innovative, dramatic twists that would help maintain the momentum of the series. In the early 1980s it became popular to actually conceive of out of this world plot twists: the introduction of science fiction themes: abductions, strange lights, alien type figures. Certainly strange and ever dramatic, similar themes came up in TP during the second season. Twin Peaks readily fulfills much of the criteria that one would use to ass ess the typical soap opera. Twin Peaks even has a soap opera of its own ( Invitation to Love ) that parallels the action on the show, revealing TP 's awareness and acceptance of its soap operatic tendencies. The amount of characters the viewer is introduced to in the pilot episode (along with the high incidence of infidelity) is a clear indicator of the potential for infinite plot twists. There are only a handful of new characters introduced as the series progresses, but the ways in which the plot lines dev elop and flourish only get more labyrinthine. However, any time a new character is introduced the viewer can be assured that the magnitude of plot shifting is about to increase significantly. Furthermore, the characters do not leave the immediate area at any point during the series (for the purposes of analysis, the immediate area includes both Twin Peaks, the town, and One Eyed Jack's, the brothel/casino immediately north of Twin Peaks across the Canadian border); the only exception to this is when Josie travels to Seattle. Even then, what is happening in Seattle
9 remains unbeknownst to all other parties and we must trust Josie's accounts of her travels. The Douglas firs surrounding Twin Peaks hold captive not only the town's citizens, but the viewers.
10 Most of the action that takes place in TP occurs at either the Great Northern Lodge, the police station, the Roadhouse (a biker bar), One Eyed Jack's, or in the homes of the characters. Though there are two funerals throughout the series, the church is by no means a central location in the series. Furthermore, there are absolutely no religious figureheads in Twin Peaks. The figures of power in the series are Agent Dale Cooper of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Sheriff Harry S. Truman of the local po lice station, Benjamin Horne, proprietor of the Great Northern Hotel and various other businesses in town, and Catherine Martell, manager of the town's sawmill. These people function as the authority figures in Twin Peaks (late in season two, the mayor of the town is introduced and then killed off in a disturbingly humorous way; he is no way portrayed as a person of power); there is no place for politics or religion, only business and trust in the local authorities. Throughout the series, these figurehead s not only propel the various plot lines, but we discover that they all possess their own dark secret(s), in keeping with Figure 2 Audrey Horne's saddle shoes
11 the general theme of Twin Peaks/ TP. An equally striking feature of Twin Peaks is that it is a place which exists outside of any con crete time period. There are no calendars or pieces of technology that would indicate the year, nor is there any identifying music, as all of the music in the series was specifically written for the show. Though it has an obvious 1950's style influence, the music is no indicator of the time period because of the ways in which it varies. All of the sets in TP have a very classic American feel to them, but aside from the 1950's influenced half of the twentieth century. The dcor of the homes reveals nothing, nor do the cars. In a sense, the visual aesthetic of TP is selectively retro. There is something anachronistic about the way many of the female characters dress and behave, espec ially Audrey Horne with her saddle shoes and plaid skirts. The preceding image shows a close up shot that lingers on her shoes specifically, emphasizing the 1950s style shoes that have been removed from their original context and put into this one. With these shoes she wears a full, woolen plaid skirt. Audrey Horne's character in particular is one that confuses the viewer/detective's understanding of both time and person in TP (she so closely resembles Donna that it can be difficult to keep track of who' s who at the beginning of the series ; it is eventually revealed that the two are half sisters ). In a video that Donna, Laura, and James made, the two girls are seen dancing o n a hillside wearing nearly floor length, thick wool skirts that would have been entirely out
12 when this action is occurring. The timelessness of this small town contributes to Twin Peaks seeming like a surreal, enc losed place. There are only two points in the entire series in which a date is disclosed, but despite the years being 1989 and 1990, they are seen in the wrong order 2 (1990 several episodes before something that is dated as 1989 in a hospital), and the ye ar is never referenced by any characters. Upon first viewing of the series, one finds it is almost as if the time period is being deliberately concealed from the viewer. Several viewings of the series later, this still appears to be the case, despite the couple of documents that indicate the year. The blatant disregard for time in the series makes TP all the more compelling and intriguing. The series opens with the discovery of her dead body washed ashore a lake Th e news of her death spreads like wildfire and everybody in the town is greatly distressed and mystified by it: classes are cancelled, the sawmill closes for the day. Her death seems to signify something greater to the residents of Twin Peaks: not merely t he death of a young girl, but the death of innocence itself. The arrival of FBI Agent Dale Cooper is equally surprising to the townsfolk. Cooper's entrance, prompted by Laura's murder, marks a new era for this small American town. It is implied that bef ore Agent Cooper's arrival, strange events in Twin Peaks had gone virtually unquestioned and unexplored. Like all small towns, Twin Peaks had its share of 2 The dates are seen on folders at the hospital when Ronette Pulaski is receiving treatment for the trauma she received the night Laura died. The shot in which you can make out the information, however, is very fast and seems to be an afterthought, the purpose of which was no t to expose the date but rather to indicate to the viewer that the girl in this hospital bed was in fact Ronette Pulaski.
13 mystery. Nearly every romantic relationship in the show is unfaithful on both sides, and many of th e characters introduced in the pilot episode suffer from some sort of dramatic personal issue or are involved in some obviously shady business. Once Agent Cooper begins to investigate Laura's death, all sorts of questions and inconsistencies crop up. In nearly every episode, many more questions are posed than are answered; because of this, the plot often takes very unexpected directions and the web of characters is constantly made more tangled and twisted. The life of Laura Palmer was in a way a micro scopic view of the grander scheme of Twin Peaks. As a high school student she was involved in an enormously unrealistic amount of activities while maintaining very good academic standing. She was the iconic Figure 3 Laura Palmer's homecoming photo
14 homecoming queen that dated a football player ( Bobby Briggs). She was also seeing the rebellious motorcyclist James Hurley on the side, had started and maintained a local Meals On Wheels program, tutored Ben Horne's developmentally challenged son and worked at the perfume counter of his department sto re. In addition to all of these extracurricular activities she was involved in a drug ring that smuggled cocaine across the Canadian border and worked at One Eyed Jack's as an escort. Laura was attending therapy sessions with Dr Jacoby and managed to ma ke regular visits to one of the Meals on Wheels participants (Harold Smith), with whom she was entrusting her secret diary. The amount of commitments Laura had was hefty, but what was especially startling was that she managed to maintain her all American homecoming queen image simultaneously, and nobody had even so much as questioned her actions prior to her death. Her homecoming picture is virtually everywhere in Twin Peaks, and the camera lingers on the frame image of her permanent smile in nearly every episode. Everything Laura signified in TP seems incredibly far fetched and unrealistic, much in the same way that soap operas can seem unreal. It is not just that her activities seem far fetched though so much as it is the subtlety with which these fact s are revealed in the series; a viewer likely wouldn't realize how unrealistic Laura's life was until several episodes in. By that point, the reader is hooked, has bought into the world of Twin Peaks and its favorite homecoming queen, and would never ques tion this. Laura's lifestyle is one of many instances of doubling/twinning in the series. Though Laura is dead in the series, her diary and her memory function as the
15 link between all of the other Twin Peaks residents (we recall that during her life Laura was the epitome of local celebrity). Her past actions are what motivate nearly all of the action in the first season. It is almost as if what transpires after her d eath are splinters of her life/memory being played out via external conduits. It is as if you took small pieces of Laura's public and secret lives and magnified them, then installed them into another person who was left to perpetuate these actions post La ura. For example, Donna and James' romantic relationship develops because of a mutual love for Laura. Audrey, who didn't favor Laura much in her life, seems to be a perpetuation of Laura's tendencies towards older men in her pursuit of Agent Cooper and a lso in her undercover pursuits at One Eyed Jack's (we learn that Audrey's father, Ben Horne, frequently slept with Laura while she was working at the brothel, and Ben Horne almost sleeps with his daughter later in the series at the same establishment). Th ese occurrences only further illuminate the extreme instances of twinning/doubling in TP, as well as the town's eerie connection to Laura. Donna and James mention multiple times that Laura possessed secrets that were dark and dangerous. Agent Cooper warn response to her asking if he has any of his own. This theme of secrecy is another echo of Laura's life, but this particular theme is one that has permeated the entire town. Most likely, Twin Peaks had been haunted by secrets all along. As examined in other works by Lynch, the idea that small town American possesses some of the deepest and darkest
16 secrets one could imagine is reinforced as the stories develop in this series. Much of the series deals with th e uncovering of these secrets and resolving them, or with burying these secrets even further. The secrets in this series range from lying about faithfulness/infidelity, plots to burn down establishments, and the everyday, mundane secrets about after schoo l activities. However, the series also deals with one of the most difficult to face secrets in American culture: incest. At the time of airing, TP was the first series to ever thrust this taboo subject matter out into the open. Incest in TP is accompani ed by its own complications, namely that the incestuous acts occur only when the perpetrator is being possessed by an evil force called BOB. This brings up many questions about the nature of incest, the perception of the issue by outside audiences, and so forth more on this later. TP had a strong, short first season and a longer, weaker second season before it was discontinued. In the second season, the plot strays from the original Laura storyline and becomes more akin to a soap opera in that the stor ies become much more far fetched and convoluted. When the series ended, there was no conclusion, but the last couple of episodes were more reminiscent of the first season than many of the other episodes during the second. Mysticism and good versus evil b ecome important issues and are the forces that drive the action towards the end of the series. The role of the detective also becomes stripped of its original meaning at the end of the second season, and many things happen to Agent Cooper unexpectedly tha t really distort the viewe r's original perception of him.
17 the Book (of culture, of life, of life as culture), it makes the text into a prospectus of this Book. Or again: each code is one of the forces that can take over the text (of which the text is the network), one of the voices out of which the text is woven (Barthes, 20 21 ). It is difficult to consider TP without considering previous encounters with detective fic opera; the detective story has been a staple of American culture regardless of its actual cultural roots for as long as there has been a popular culture. The detective novel ha s a rich and extensive history, much more so than the soap, and is usually thought of as a the detective model is one which affirms rather than questions social structures moral codes, and ways of knowing or acquiring information. The crimes that occur are usually proven to be a symptom of personal evil rather than an unidentifiable, overwhelmingly powerful evil or social injustice. Typically these crimes are murders, an d often they involve theft of an expensive item. 3 The detective's goal, of course, is to right what has been wronged by uncovering the facts. The basic formula of the detective story can be outlined as such: 1. A murder occurs, enter the detective 2. Many are suspected 3 More often than not, the thef t is that of an exp ensive piece of (foreign) art, la The Maltese Falcon (1941).
18 3. All but one suspect (who is the murderer) are eliminated 4. The murderer is arrested or dies This very familiar plot structure is likewise seen in TP, albeit in a series of episodes as opposed to a novel or a movie. In the pilot episode, the viewe r has no idea who might have killed Laura Palmer, but there are several suspects introduced: Bobby Briggs, Leo Johnson, and James Hurley. Jacques Renault, a bartender at the Roadhouse, wake of that structure of the first several episodes. The viewer/detective can deduce that the plot will center on her murder and resolving the question of who killed her. Wh at is not expected, and what keeps the viewer interested, are Agent Cooper's unusual techniques in narrowing down suspects. These techniques rely on intuition and dream logic. On the one hand, the viewer might expect the detective to be a very emotional and dramatic character due to the nature of the case and the likeness TP had with contemporary soap operas. On the other, viewers are accustomed to watching the straight laced, fast talking and quick witted Holmesian detective. Agent Cooper fits neither of these molds; he is open and emotional, relaxed, and his approach is an intuitive one. He pays close options when he has questions. In a dream of his, Laura Palmer told him who the killer was but he forgets upon waking. He thusly meets with the local officers the following
19 morning and throws rocks at a glass bottle balanced on a stump. 4 He assures them that this method of feeling out his intuition, which came to him in a dream about Tibet, will help narrow down their options. The officers are willing to engage him but appear somewhat perplexed. In order to determine the likely suspect, Agent Cooper lists the names of Twin Peaks residents that have the letter J in them. 5 Cooper has Sheriff Truman read off the names one by one and briefly describe the person's relationship to Laura. By the time he has narrowed it down to one person, Leo Johnson, the officers seem comfortable with Cooper's unconventional method and even excited Tibet: An extremely spiritual countr y, for centuries the leader of T ibet ha s been known as the Dalai Lama. In 1959, c following a dream I had 3 years ago, I have become deeply moved by the plight of the Tibetan peopl e and filled with a desire to help them. I also awoke from the same dream realizing that I had subconsciously gained know ledge of a deductive technique involving mind body coordination operating hand in hand with the deepest level of intu ition...I will n ow demonstrate. Agent Cooper 4 suggesting that the nature of Agent Cooper's detective skills is one that relies heavily on zen th eory. Though zen itself is not discussed at length in the episode, the overall tone of this episode is one that a viewer well versed in television tropes 5 He settles on the letter J because the last entry in Laura's secret
20 Figure 4 Agent Cooper demonstrates Tibetan intuitive methods Another key signifier of the detective model is the importance and authority facts. The viewer/detective recognizes these clues as forces of the coding that signify TP's place in this particular genre of detective narratives. Clues are both literally and out of which the text is woven (Barthes 21 ). Oftentimes, the detective himself overanalyzes and takes everything to be a clue or a symbol. Every mark bears the trace of its maker (i.e., the murderer). In TP there is absolutely a preoccupation with the inherent meanin this case, though, is that the preoccupation lies with the viewer: it is the viewer who finds it strange that there are always meticulous stacks of donuts waiting for the officers at the police station, it is the viewer who finds it strange when a stuffed moose head is on a
21 table instead of the wall 6 The ritualization of coffee, the camera's tendency to linger on shots of D ouglas firs blowing in the wind, and the curious way that Audrey Horne dress es are similar examples of this. Because of the way the sets were designed and the camera was maneuvered, the reader is forced to meditate on these mundane objects or occurrences and it becomes tricky to sift through the symbolism to determine where the r eal clues are. Though Agent Cooper does not declare everything to be a clue, he does pick up on very subtle hints and connections that are surprising even to him Because the viewer is suspicious of the cornucopia of donuts, the viewer becomes suspicious of how peculiar a 6 This idea to me reflects a making strange of normal, everyday objects. The camera lingers on the normal donuts, because the normal donuts are stacked in the most particular of manners that elevates them to a level of strange not typically found with these everyday pastries. Furthermore, it is even stranger to us when nobody comments on the arrangement of the pastries. The characters in TP seemingly expect that the donuts will be greetin g them, arranged in stacks of two, and are visibly distressed when there are no donuts in sight. Figure 6 The strange but everyday arrangement of donuts Figure 5 A fallen deer head, disregarded
22 lot of the set details are in TP. The effect of this is that the viewer is engaged dually, both with the plot mysteries and with the visual intrigues, which explains the show's cult following. These intrigues, these directorial decisio ns, insure the viewer's active role in participating with the series; the viewer is at once the viewer and also the detective, an agent. Even Cooper's title, Special Agent urges the viewer to use Cooper's agency as their own while unraveling the complexi ties of TP When the viewer had such an active role in the progression of th e series, and the series became aware of this, the show's overall character became much more dynamic and progressed complexly The se lf awareness of the show became more pronoun ced and those behind the camera wield ed control over the show and also over the audience in a very specific way. It could be suggested that this tendency of the series to create a somewhat exclusive dialogue with its viewers/detectives, catering to the on plot lines, would be alienating to other more casual viewers. This may explain the short lifespan of the series, but either way, the dynamic created by the viewer/detective role was very powerful and essentially dictated the shape of the s eries. The forced meditation of mundane things, this making strange of everyday objects in TP reminds the viewer/detective of Brecht's theory of the V effect. 7 While there is no perfect translation for the German term, it is commonly regarded as the acknowledge a fourth wall on the stage. To the contrary, they are hyper aware of their ition. 7 Verfremdungseffekt
23 audience. He achieves this by looking strangely at himself and his work. As a result everything put forward by him has a touch of the amazing (Brecht, 72). The audience and actor work together so that neither of them gets completely enveloped by the action unfolding on stage. TP is fairly different from the Chinese theater for one, there is no stage with a present audience. Thusly the alienation effect in TP uses a different means of achieving a similar sensation; the nature of television necessitates this. Nevertheless, making strange occurs in TP quite often and there are certain elements within the narrative that remind the viewers of the nature of wha t they are watching, things which preclude the viewer from losing themselves in the story and instead remaining one step away, remaining aware of the activity they are engaging in which is watching this narrative unfold. According to Brecht, the V effect prevents the audience from losing itself passively and completely in the character created by the actor, and which consequently leads the audience to be a consciously critical observer (Brecht, PG# ). This is an especially important element of TP due to the investigatory nature of the viewer/detective's role. There are subtle but obviously strange objects and arrangements (such as the aforementioned stacks of donuts) that are distracting and disarming. There are clues for the viewer/detective that enco urage questioning of the narrative in a real world environment that removes one from the show. The living room of the viewer plays a central role in that it becomes the office of the home detective.
24 Engaging in their personal space ensures that there rem ains a level of detachment within the watching of the show. A television show also has the unique ability to maintain this distance naturally due to commercial breaks. TP' viewers wanting more and so the cult following was born. The dichotomy resulting from this distancing effect that simultaneously hooks the viewer/detective is strange by its very nature: we are curious and focused on the drama, but we are sitting on our couch. In one episode, an active member of th e online community alt.tv.twinpeaks claimed to have identified at least twenty five cliffhangers (Jenkins, 55). In the days before DVD players and rewindable/recordable cable television, the users of this online forum counted on one another to clarify plot lines and discuss developments in the series. This online forum naturally grew out of curiosity on behalf of the viewers; the viewers that remained just distanced enough from the series and its strangeness to be able to participate as an outsider looking in. Every question posed by the series was a puzzle to be solved as far as the viewer was concerned. The most important of these mysteries, at least in the beginning, was of course WKLP? At first viewing, any of the suspects proposed could surely have been Laura's killer, particularly the men that figured prominently in her life. These men, like most of the other Twin Peaks residents, are somewhat off kilter. For example, Bobby Briggs and James Hurley both possess serious disparities in their charact er as far as looks and actions are concerned. While they strive to fulfill certain stereotypes, Bobby the popular high school quarterback and James the reclusive biker, both have prominent qualities which
25 suggest that the role is not quite the perfect fit Bobby is a supposed jock yet he walks around wearing a leather jacket, skips football practice, and helps smuggle cocaine across the Canadian border. James, the person we would expect this behavior from, is instead a more sanitized version of the and moody, but also frightened in an almost childlike way. James's most prominent feature is his tendency to pick flight whenever the fight or flight response is engaged. James is also melodramatic and overly romantic, and one would be hard pressed to find any Hell's Angels that possess these traits. Most of the other characters in TP that could be sectored into an archetype have disparities such as these. It is not so mu ch that they are defying stereotypes as they are meticulously crafted to be a subtle parody of that stereotype they may represent. The Log Lady's insight regarding the town's feathered The owls are not what they seem. is a line that resonates with Agent Cooper and the viewers many times throughout the series on his investigation. Similarly, the Log Lady's insight pok es fun at the viewer/detective's role in all of this, as their omniscience allows them the privilege of discovering very early on that nearly nothing is what it seems in Twin Peaks.
26 Chapter 2: On Twins, Logic, Secrecy & Film Twinning & Doubles As is ma de obvious by the title of the series, the motif of twinning or doubling is inescapable in TP Much of the twinning is subtle and provides humor to those that pick up on it, but just as much of this twinning is so obvious that you could only miss it if yo u turned off your television set. The comical self referentiality of the doubling is likewise self aware and can be taken as part of the argument for why TP can be/is considered post modern. The most obvious of twins are Laura and her cousin Maddy, both of whom are played by Sheryl Lee. Maddy arrives in Twin Peaks shortly after Laura's death and stays with Laura's parents. Maddy's eerily similar appearance to Laura causes James to become infatuated with her, and there is also an episode in which she dre sses up as Laura in order to deceive Dr Jacoby. Maddy eventually dies at the hand of Laura's father, as Laura did. Maddy's presence in Twin Peaks is distressing to all three of these men because Laura tormented each of them during her life. Maddy effec tively disrupts and halts whatever grieving period they should have embarked on, and not only draws it out, but makes each of them relive an intimate experience they had with Laura. In this case it is not only a doubling of a person or an object, but of e vents. Her presence prevents James from fully realizing his feelings for Donna, because she is a physical reminder of
27 his romantic relationship with Laura. When Maddy calls Dr Jacoby and repeats words Laura had recorded for him on a cassette tape, we see his attempt at rationalizing what is happening, and his confusion results in tears. In Leland Palmer's case, it is unclear whether Maddy's arrival causes his descent into madness to increase in speed, but it is obvious that she only makes it more difficu could try to have of his reality. The climax of the Maddy Laura doubling is Maddy's death. Though not the same way that Laura died, the scene of her death is a familiar one. Leland dances maniacally to a record in the Palmers' living room 8 (yet another instance of behaviors occur ring multiple times doubling) and eventually kills her. What's more, the reason Agent Cooper came to Twin Peaks to investigate Laura's death was because it had certain simila rities to a case he'd worked on one year prior. A young girl had been killed in Deer Meadow, Nebraska, and a letter had been placed under 8 In keeping with the theme of secrecy in TP it is worth pointing out that Maddy dies in a private space the Palmer home but in the pub lic space the living room of the private. Because Leland is dancing, the viewer gets the feeling that this performance of his has been rehearsed. Maddy meets her death in this public/private space; the murder is just barely kept from the actual public re alm. Figure 7 Maddy Ferguson, Laura Palmer's identical cousin
28 her fingernail, just like with Laura's death. In this way the viewer is presented with a pre Laura, a Laura, and a p ost Laura. The suggestion here is that this cycle could continue indefinitely, as with the transitory nature of BOB himself. Because of the twinning, the viewer/detective becomes acquainted with Laura in a very intimate way. The Laura Maddy twinning is even prefigured in Invitation to Love the soap opera that parallels the action that occurs in TP; a set of twins also played by the same actress (Emerald and Jade) are revealed right before Maddy showed u p in the Palmer's living room. The narrator fo r Invitation to Love anno time we see Maddy, it may take a minute to realize that she like Laura, is played by Sheryl Lee. The Invitat ion to Love announcement is timed well and the joke is so seamlessly incorporated that it may escape even the most attentive of detective/viewers. Lauras aside, there are several other sets of twins that appear in TP. Bobby, Laura's boyfriend, has a best friend named Mike. When Leland Palmer killed Laura, he Figure 8 Invitation to Love, "twin" characters played by the same actress
29 was possessed by BOB, and BOB's ex Peaks and tries to help Agent Cooper solve the crime. The high school aged Mike behaves in a very juvenile manner most of the time, and for most of the series only shows up when he and Bobby are being antagonistic or rowdy. The other Mike, however, is of great interest to Agent Cooper and Sheriff Truman because he represents a connection with BOB. Mike is missing on e arm (hence his being referred to as the One armed man) fire walk with me. TP, and the reason Mike is missing an arm was precisely an effort at exorcising the evil from within himself th at evil has now physically manifested itself as BOB. As such, if anybody were to have an intuitive connection with BOB, it would be Mike. He essentially has an extra sensory connection with BOB and can intuit when he is committing evil acts in the film he helps Ronette Pulaski escape from the train car in which Laura is being killed. In the film, a chance encounter with Laura and Leland Palmer results in the three of them screaming and staring at each other loudly for several uncomfortable minutes. P resumably the screams had something to do with the two conduits of this evil (Leland and Mike) meeting face to face unexpectedly. Laura's reaction likely stems from her intimate connection with all parties. The younger Bob (Bobby Briggs) is, similarly to Laura, a confusing representation of a high school student. Though he's on the football team he rarely goes to practice. He drinks at the Roadhouse on weeknights despite being underage. He is having an affair with a married woman (Shelley Johnson) an d spends more time at her
30 house than he does at school. Bobby is also involved in a drug ring that smuggles cocaine across the Canadian border from One Eyed Jack's to the Roadhouse and to Laura. While BOB is a manifestation of evil, Bobby is on a path of corruption. Despite Bobby's dabbling in the unsavory, his actions seem far more innocent than any of BOB's. Having these two pairs of Mikes and Bobs is amusing and the self awareness makes for a humorous paradox. The two sets of (mostly) antagonistic m ales likewise highlight the stand out characteristics of each duo. Of all the twins in TP there exist only two sets of identical twins: Laura/Maddy and Agent Cooper/Agent Cooper. The double Coopers are particularly of interest because the only explanati on given for them is that there is one good Cooper and one evil Cooper. When he enters the Black Lodge at the end of the series, it is implied that he becomes filled with the spirit of BOB. In the film, Cooper's role is significantly smaller than his rol e in the series, but one of the only times we encounter him he is trying to capture his double on the security camera. This is not expounded on, except for a comment by the she does not specify which one. In the series, Cooper has a dream where he is in the Red Room/Black Lodge with the Man From Another Place 9 and Laura or someone who looks like Laura. The MFAP insists that the girl with them is his cousin, not Laura. The girl herself refuses to disclose either way which one she is. She does state rather cryptically we know, BOB came into being with the severing off of Mike's arm. However, we never 9
31 see BOB inhabit Laura or Maddy. Using this evidence from the series and the evidence in the White Lodge. This is similar to the common heave n/hell dichotomy, but there is never an indication made as to whether either of the Lodges actually hold any connection with heaven or hell. Rather, Agent Cooper explains that the Black Lodge likely exists merely do so at a point in space and in time. The point in space at which the Block Lodge exists can be accessed in the woods. The White Lodge is a plac e never explicitly seen in the series, however its counterpart, the Black Lodge, is visited quite often in dreams and then by characters that Figure 9 Entry way to the Black Lodge, BOB fading into/out of time and space
32 are awake at the end of the series. Like the Deer Meadow/Twin Peaks dynamic, the White Lodge and Black Lodge are presented as opposites. Within the Black Lodge resides evil, and presumably within the White Lodge resides goodness. Sheriff Truman TP instances of twinning do not deal with identical twins but instead two halves of a whole; therefore it is likely that the White Lodge represents that which the Black Lodge does not. The Black Lodge metaphysically exists at a point in space, but the location of the White Lodge is never exposed. Twin Peaks is a town where it is easy to find romance and none of its residents are particularly troubled in matters of the heart. This is evidence that suggests the White Lodge may be a presence within the town itself that causes these things. An especially convincin g example of this occurs when Gordon Cole comes to Twin Peaks to check up on Agent Cooper. Gordon Cole is hard of hearing, as such he yells during every interaction and everybody else must yell back at him to have him hear what they are trying to communic discovers that he can hear everything she says to him perfectly. This rather magical occurrence turns him giddy, and he becomes infatuated with Shelley. It is never explaind why Shelley Jo hnson is the only person he can hear clearly, however the first instance of this happened to Cole takes place in Twin Peaks. The White Lodge may be a strong force of goodness driving all of the town's romantic inclinations. In contrast, any person tainte d by the Black Lodge or its evil (Laura, Leland, Cooper) eventually wind up there, trapped. The inescapable bubble like nature of Twin Peaks and its small town charm
33 harbor secrets until their only way out is via the darkness of the woods that leads into the Black Lodge. The Lodges, though the most mysterious of twins in TP have a life of their own and regulate this small town in ways that neither the local officers nor the Bookhouse Boys can touch. Other less prominent occasions of twinning include th R instance in which Windom Earle assumes the Log Lady's identity during the Miss Twin Peaks contest. Nearly every character also leads a double life, be it by having romantic affairs or engaging in illicit activity. Even Sheriff T ruman has a double life: he and Their purpose is to combat evil and corruption in non traditional, law evading ways. Major Briggs is very much a man of the military (w e never see him out of uniform), however he never divulges the top secret information and projects he is working on, despite it having an immediate impact on his home life. It is later revealed that he may or may not have been involved in military investi gations into extraterrestrials. David Lynch himself plays Agent Cooper's boss, Gordon Cole; the agent/superior relationship is not unlike the actor/director relationship. The Gordon Cole/David Lynch joke is another one that may fly under the radar of cer tain viewers, perhaps the ones taking their role as spectator/detective less seriously. These twins often bring out qualities of the characters that would have otherwise gone unnoticed. Towards the end of the series, Agent Cooper falls in love with Anni e, who ends up in a life threatening situation with Windom Earl. This exact scenario played
34 out once before, except the woman involved was the wife of Windom Earl. It resulted in her death, and Windom Earl kidnaps Annie in order to replay the series of e vents in such a way that is awful all over again for Agent Cooper. Like the various types of Lauras in Twin Peaks, the nature of events to repeat themselves countless times over is perhaps the grimmest instance of twinning in the series. While the ubiqui ty of twins and doubles only adds to the humor in the show, the sense of danger only multiplies with every new revealed twin. Like any good soap opera or mystery novel, the plot lines only continue to thicken with TP 's progression. About Logic & Trust The way that information is revealed in TP is all too often very unusual and not as the viewer, or the characters, might expect. In many cases the information is presented by an inappropriate authority (and promptly accepted), or a false dilemma is perc eived. The fallacies that follow are both distorted and illogical. Oftentimes, the way that characters use logic in TP results in the show having a very surreal feeling without actually having any traditionally surreal visual qualities. Agent Cooper is a prominent figure of authority in Twin Peaks and is trusted by both the townspeople and the viewers. His trustworthiness is a byproduct of his position in the FBI; if the federal government should entrust him with their secrets, why should we not? He i s further proved to be faithful due to his courtesy, honesty, and
35 straightforwardness. It makes logical sense that one would trust him. The Log Lady, however, shares none of the credentials that Cooper possesses. In fact, she is presented as quirky and borderline crazy, as illustrated by her carrying a log everywhere (it is suggested that the log harbors within it the spirit of her late husband). Nevertheless, anything she says captivates the listener (especially when that listener is Cooper.) These st atements of hers tend to be brief and riddle like. Cooper never questions what she says (except to ask for more information), but he takes it to be completely truthful. Though there is presumably no reason why she would lie, there is just as little reaso n for us to believe she is being completely honest. One would presume that being an FBI agent, Cooper would be very skeptical of mystic knowledge relayed to him. It is in Cooper's nature, however, to hold stock in the unexplained and peculiar possibiliti es that are revealed to him. The same force within him that causes him to literally follow his dreams to the path of righteousness is the same force that allows him to be captivated by what the the local officers accidentally stumble upon the Log Lady's cabin. Upon their arrival, she her log informed her that they would be coming, but are in fact two days late. At first questioning, it is not long before Cooper noticeably develops confidence in the information she is sharing with them. She prefaces the conversation by declaring that questioning, she goes on to explain how her log saw two men and two girls running
36 through the woods on the night that Laura Palmer died, followed by a third man. In any other situation it would be absurd to trust anybody who told you that their log a piece of wood had confided in them. What nobody knows at this point is that the information the Log Lady is sharing is indeed what occurred that night; despite not having any way to believe these statemen ts, Cooper in no way brushes off or dismisses what the Log Lady tells them. Throughout the conversation there are more peculiar sounding phrases that she poses as fact; none of the characters respond to them but they carry a serious weight as hinted at by the somber tone of the soundtrack at this point. Should viewers take the time to re watch certain episodes in the series, they will discover that the Log Lady's mysterious statements are prophetic in the same way that Invitation to Love is. Both of these function as a way to clue the viewer, as well as the characters, into what will later occur. The fire motif is one that runs throughout the entire s eries and is often perpetuated by the Log Lady. In the film, the Log Lady accosts Laura to put out. The tender boughs of innocence burn first, and the wind rises and then, all
37 at the Log Lady said: Laura is working as a prostitute out of One Eyed Jack's and at the Roadhouse, drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes underage, usually with older, unsavory men that are paying her for her time and (sexual) attention. Because what th e Log Lady warns is often true, the viewer develops a relationship with her not unlike Cooper's: a trusting one. Regarding false dilemmas, in these instances, there is the fallacy of concluding something based on premises that include only two options wh en there should be three or several. In this case, it would essentially be an ultimatum when in actuality that is far from the case. When Laura's body is discovered, James Hurley becomes paranoid that he will be the suspected guilty party and decides he has to run. Because James was not responsible for Laura's death and had no evidence against him (other than his having no alibi), logically he should not have much to run from. The main motivation for James running actually seems to be his devotion to hi s character type: the rebellious, moody motorcyclist. Having characters make decisions in these illogical ways could be an attempt at getting the viewer to see past the outward appearances of situations and people; once the viewer has accepted the way log ic is usually used in TP it becomes a sublime tendency of the series. In many cases, the situation which is taking place on screen in TP comes across as very surreal due in large part to the way decisions are made on the show. The effect this has on the viewer is that of watching a surreal event unfold with none of the visual surrealist tricks of artists that specialize in surrealism. When the entire situation is surreal the visuals take care of themselves.
38 The Dangers of Secrecy The progression of plot lines in TP comes predominantly from questions surrounding Laura and her death, as discussed earlier. It is important to point out that WKLP? 10 her personal diary (there are actually two copies: twin diaries, one of which was secret and kept with Harold Smith). 11 As is to be expected, the secrets disclosed in her diary shed light on much but raised many questions. Though several people in Twin Peaks are intent on resolvin g the mysteries surrounding Laura's life by uncovering her secrets, all of these people harbor secrets of their own. Agent Cooper, as we know, believes secrets to be terrible things; James and Donna also express a desire to be completely open with one ano ther because they fear secrets drive people apart. Jennifer Lynch (the daughter of David Lynch) published The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer in 1990, in the midst of the series' production. The diary sheds light on several years of Laura's life, from age 1 2 until right before her death. Those viewers that sought out the diary were privileged to information about Laura that greatly enhanced the experience of watching TP. While the diary never explicitly reveals who killed her or who BOB really is, it does 10 Who killed Laura Palmer?, boards. 11 The physical diary of Laura Palmer is obviously a symbol for secrecy, one which is echoed multi ple times in the series by other books/book like object: the double books for the Sawmill, Laura's lockbox at the bank, issues of Flesh World, the locked box gifted to Catherine Martell at the end of the series, etc.
39 her lifelong struggle distinguishing between right and wrong. The diary makes Laura's unbelievable teenage life more accessible and understandable. Reading the diary, we find it is not difficul t to grow attached to Laura, similar to the way the townspeople of Twin Peaks are attached to Laura. The profundity of her internal struggles, even at age 12, is expressed maturely. This is not surprising given that Laura deals with very adult issues s ex, drugs, and otherwise starting at a very young age. She lists the initials of 40 people that she can remember being sexually involved with before she turns 17. The secrets revealed within the diary support the belief of James, Donna, and Agent Coope r diegetic nature of the diary published by Lynch, the diary is useful in that it confirms the immoral nature of secrecy and the general belief in the danger of secrets for the residents of Twin Peaks. In the series, Agent Cooper possesses the diary of Laura Palmer; making the diary available to the viewer/detective confirms that the viewer/detective is still on par with Coop. The secrets people keep from each other in TP the list of which is exha ustive 12 are utilized as tools with which to extract desirable information from other characters. In episode six, Cooper's Dreams there is an exchange between Bobby Briggs and Dr Jacoby that sheds light on Laura's character: 12 Laura's cocaine habit, her secret re lationships, Catherine Martell and Ben Horne's extramarital ego BOB, Bobby Briggs' cocaine dealing/smuggling, Ed Hurley and Norma Jennings' extramarital relationship, the list goes on. It is interesting to note that Maddy Palmer, Laura's cousin that comes to town, seemingly possesses no secrets of her own. If she does, the viewer is never privy to them, and she is more an accomplice in uncovering the secrets James and Donna are investigating themselves.
40 Bobby: Dr Jacoby: Bobby: most of all. Every time she tried to make the world a better place, something terrible inside Dr Jacoby: Bobby: This is the first time in the series that anybody exp resses an honest, believable account of what Laura was like. We know that many of the residents believe that the woods hold a darkness within them; specifically this is mentioned by Hawk, Sheriff Truman, and the Log Lady. The darkness within Laura and th e darkness of BOB both appear to be rooted in or connected to this darkness in the woods. Secrecy and mystery intertwined in Twin Peaks is responsible for much of the interplay between the soap opera/detective narrative tendencies of the series. Mysterie s and secrets are different, yes, but inspire similar actions in those that investigate them. Because the viewer becomes privy to secrets disclosed by various characters to others, the role of the viewer as the Agent is enhanced. In many ways, the viewer /detective is more privileged than those doing the detecting on the show because of
41 the nature of observing from one's living room. Allowing the spectator/detective to the door for more real life twinning of TP themes. The viewer, often in their private home, in their living room at that the public realm of the private. Viewing, in privacy and comfort, the mysteries and secrets within Twin Peaks, the residents of which are often viewing, both in private and public spaces, the soap opera Invitation to Love. The multiplicity here, the windows into televisions into windows, illuminates a small town, many facets of which likely resonate with the home detective. Of all th e secrecy in TP the most troubling and difficult to detect is that of incest. There are all of the romantic relationships that involve infidelity and characters being involved with people they are close to, something that is inescapable in a small town. While not incestuous by definition, it is not uncommon for small groups of people that Similarly, there are subtle yet overt sexual undertones between Andrew and Catherine Martell's interactions once it is revealed that he is still alive; a viewer who didn't know otherwise might believe that they were a married couple. Catherine Martell's confident sensuality and dominance over much of Andrew's actions seem wife l ike. Her body language is often suggestive of someone that feels sexually dominant over another person. Her aggressive, bullying behavior towards her husband make Pete Martell seem more like the little brother figure in her life, further confusing the vi ewer and complicating the relationships between the three of them.
42 At Laura's funeral in the first season, the viewer/detective recalls a somewhat comical incident involving Leland Palmer jumping onto Laura's coffin as it is descending into the earth. The mechanism which lowers the coffin becomes stalled and so Leland, crying face down on top of the coffin, rises and falls as the coffin does, shocked funeral goers looking on. The action is overtly parallel to sexual intercourse, although this early i n the series it is viewed as dramatic and even understandable behavior. The image above on the left is Leland horizontal on the coffin, crying hysterically as it moves up and down. On the right is Shelley Johnson laughing and recounting the story for s ome customers at the Double R Diner. She raises a napkin holder up and down behind the counter, using her fingers to signify Leland's body. The up and down motion is clearly sexual in nature, even in the recounting. These back to back scenes emphasize of the grieving father, and also are a prime example of the show's tendency to Figure 11 Leland Palmer, crying face down on his daughter's coffin Figure 10 Shelly Johnson reenacting Leland Palmer's funeral breakdown at the Double "R" Diner
43 dramatically shift between emotional or somber situations and outright comical or absurd situations. Shelley Johnson is undeniably making light of the situation. The incest secret that Leland holds within him is one which is so well hidden and guarded that it is kept from even himself. 13 BOB, the dark spirit that possesses Leland when he is committing incestuous or otherwise evil acts, consumes him so entirely that it is not until the very end of the series that he is able to confront the truth. The secret of BOB is equally guarded from Laura; in her diary she struggles to understand where BOB is comi ng from, but the closer she gets to figuring out his origin, the closer she gets to death. By the time she dies, there are pages missing from her diary that presumably reveal who and what BOB is, but it is never disclosed to the reader. In the early 199 0s incest was still a very taboo issue. It still is, for that matter. Broadcasting a network television series whose major conflict centered on incest was brave in 1990; David Lynch and Mark Frost questioned the nuclear American family in a way that had never been done before. Because of Lynch's fixation on Americana, the incestuous theme shed light on a very prevalent and real issue in American homes that normally goes un investigated. The blame for the sexual predation does not lie with an actual fami ly member in TP though, and instead with an outside force that is a physical representation of evil. Whether this is a comment on the larger issue of incest in American homes or a comment on the nature of incest itself is unclear. What is clear is that in TP the 13 If one reads The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer that was written and published by Jennifer Lynch (the daughter of David Lynch, yes), one will discover that for the most part, her father's secret incestuous identity BOB was a secret also from Laura.
44 incestuous activity is directly connected to the most evil and otherworldly force, and it is one which results in not only one death but several. The viewer/detective is left with a moral dilemma though: is the behavior excusable because it tak es place while a man is possessed? Surely the spectator/viewer feels empathy towards Leland Palmer during his spiral into insanity. This is further complicated once it is suggested that Agent Cooper has become the next vessel for BOB at the end of the se ries. We trust Agent Cooper any time he wishes to. There are no psychological disorders involved; Agent Cooper is a perfectly hea lthy, level headed individual.
45 Prime time Serial VS. Film Part of what was so intriguing about TP was its subject matter and the way it confronted issues that were rarely, if ever, seen on network television. Visually, the show has a very filmic qua lity to it that recalls David Lynch's style as a filmmaker. Narratively, Figure 12 Ben Horne and daughter Audrey at One Eyed Jack's, a close encounter
46 the show contained subject matter that was not often seen in a prime time hour. Perhaps one of the most shocking scenes, at least in the first season, is when Ben Horne and his daug hter Audrey have a very close run in at One Eyed Jack s while Audrey is working owned by her father, and when she finds out her first client is her father himself, she quickly puts on a decorative porcelain cat mask and, by a stroke of luck, manages to narrowly evade a sexual encounter with him. In the above image taken from the episode, Audrey is quite literally cornered in a bedroom. The bedroom setting is familiar; we know this to be the place where incest typically occurs. A bedroom should be a safe place and yet for many it is only the place where this abuse takes place. The room at One Eyed Jack's is heavily draped in reds and pinks with flowers, silk, and velv et: it is very feminine and sensual in nature. Audrey's frilly lingerie, however, looks like a cross between a child's dress up clothing and adult underwear, and the cat mask that she removes from the wall to shield her face looks out of place in the pala tial, canopied bed. All of these elements contribute to making the scene terribly awkward and very tense: how would Ben Horne react to seeing his daughter in the very bed he has planned on performing the sexual ritual in? Fortunately for Audrey, and even the detective/viewer that is present but cannot help, Ben Horne's brother Jerry interrupts as the unknowing hero and the ritual is unable to commence. Incest is not an issue that is readily discussed in public realms, and it is especially not something dealt with on television (or at least definitely was not in the early 1990s).
47 That the show so brazenly confronted this topic remains rather groundbreaking in the context of prime time television. Furthermore, the major conflict at the beginning of the series ( WKLP? ) is one that explicitly involved incestuous relations between Laura and her father. This occurred not just at the time immediately before her death, but these sexual relations were frequent and at the root of Laura's corruption. Her diary o ften that what has happened is not entirely her father's own fault, but a deeper issue that pervades society (and of course, we later learn that this is in fact the case). The relationship Laura had with her father is hinted at very explicitly during the series. In the movie that followed ( Fire Walk With Me ), there are not onl y several dialogues about it, but the viewer also sees firsthand the incestuous activity. In the film, which takes place during the last seven days of Laura's life, she writes in her diary several times about the encounters with her father. One evening, Leland Palmer drugs his wife (with ketamine, as is suggested by the unexplained white horse standing in the living room) and creeps into Laura's room. We see his physical transformation into BOB, and the interaction is definitely a ritualized one. The mo st disturbing thing about this scene is the blurring of Laura's emotions: at a point, it is almost as if she is enjoying the abuse, taking pleasure in the twisted nature of the sexual experience. In this way the film is thrusting the taboo issue of inces t into an even more controversial realm. It is one thing to show a father sexually abusing his daughter; it is
48 something else to suggest that she could be not entirely opposed to the abuse. Fire Walk With Me shares a lot of similarities with the series, b ut as a rule, it pushes most of the taboo issues brought up by the series just a little further, resulting in a disturbing portrait of a small town girl. The film elucidates other areas of Laura's life, such as her activities at the Roadhouse. In what i s likely the most memorable scene in the film, Donna follows Laura a room full of half naked women dancing with drunk men and with each other to swanky, drum heavy music The lighting in this scene alternates between heavy reds and blues, distorting the images and visually drugging the viewer, pulling them into the club as well. The music is so loud that you cannot hear what the characters are saying (the scene is subti tled), and there are several riddle like exchanges between Laura and Jacques Renault. Donna, Laura's foil innocent, modest desperately tries to engage with this lifestyle out of fear for her best friend. The scene reaches a climax when Donna is drugg ed and dancing topless with one of the men, clinging to Laura's discarded jacket. Laura angrily storms over, presumably upset with the way the man is taking advantage of away from Donna and yells at her for taking her clothing. Laura realizes that she is upset at the way the man is treating Donna, and becomes emotional and erratic, seemingly torn between her own corruption and having let Donna become corrupted. Either w ay, Laura is too intoxicated to smooth over the situation and demands that Jacques remove Donna
49 from the club. The next morning Donna, in the public space of her home (the living room), openly distressed with Laura's behavior, cannot contain her tears. L aura tries to console her and reassures Donna that they are best friends. When Laura's father comes to pick her up, we see him imagine the girls in lingerie on the couch. This daydream of his, jarring and unprompted, further confirms Leland's guilt. Th ere are other very sexually explicit scenes in the series that are equally as provocative though less graphic as those in the film, such as when Dr Jacoby questions Bobby Briggs about his sexual encounters with Laura. He asks him specific details that tri gger tears from Bobby an indicator that the pointed questions he is asking have been prompted by Laura's accounts of the experiences to him. At one point, he asks Bobby if he cried during intercourse with Laura, which just shakes him up even more. It s hould be noted that Dr Jacoby uses Laura's secrets to extract information from Bobby; Laura's people. Laura's secrets did not die with her, they only increased in value. The earlier referenced dialogue between Jacoby and Bobby clarifies for the viewer/detective Laura's internal struggle (a point also elabora ted on in the published diary). P art of what is so disturbing about the issues in TP is the way that the constrain ts of television dictate their being revealed to the viewer. In 1990, showing a father preying on his daughter on network television simply could not be done. As such, it could only be implied. What is impressive is that TP managed to accomplish surpris ingly provocative imagery and situations in a way that may not have happened without the
50 restrictions and accessibility of television. The terrifying shots of BOB's ragged face that are bookended by too long shots of ceiling fans bring an entirely new per spective to what a terrifying image on television might be. Despite the restrictions and accessibility issues, the television medium maintains many similarities with film. The biggest difference between the two is the set time frame that a movie is encap sulated within and the content restrictions placed on television series. The film FWWM is very graphic, as mentioned above, more explicit than the away with much more so to speak. Similarly, because the film occurred after the ending of the series (1992), and because it was a film, David Lynch did not have to deal with pressure from either audiences or producers, and had many more creative liberties while working on it. As opposed to a television series, which is written as it progresses and can change based on perceived audience desires or preferences, a film does not need to cater to any specific expectations. The typical elements of a David Lynch film are strikin g sound design and soundtracking (he has worked almost exclusively with Angelo Badalamenti, and has written or co written all of the music for his films), obsessive attention to detail as well as an obsession with coffee and finger snapping, very harsh or Americana and 50s American culture, and sexual themes, specifically ones which are unconventional and reminiscent of incest. What is particularly jarring about the film, explicitness and Lynch ness aside, is
51 the use of lighting. The club in the roadhouse, as mentioned previously, has drugged out blue and red flashing lighting with occasional strobe lights. In Deer Meadow, the lighting in every single location is e xactly the opposite of what the viewer expects from places in Twin Peaks. Whereas most places in Twin Peaks have warm and inviting lighting, everywhere in Deer Meadow has harsh, flickering lights or dim, dusty lights. In many ways, Deer Meadow is the foi l for Twin Peaks itself (which is no surprise, considering all of the other twins there are in TP ). Even down to the coffee, the smallest of details in Deer Meadow are polar opposite twins of those in Twin Peaks. 14 The film was not well received by critics and was very hit or miss amongst fans. Its running time exceeds two hours, and the pace of FWWM is fairly molasses like. Unlike the series, there is much less emphasis or effort put into comic relief and more of the focus is on creating terrifying or di sorienting scenes despite the film not being a frighteningly ordinary imagery provide a new context for the series and especially for Laura's relationships within the se ries. One thing that is illuminated is that her relationship with James was actually the most beneficial one she could have had: he spent his time trying to convince her to quit using drugs. Bobby, the football star, the boy any girl's parents would trus t, was actually the one providing her with access to as much cocaine as should could snort. This knowledge reminds the detective/viewer that appearances are rarely what they seem to be in TP 14 The manager judging by the looks on their faces, it tastes like tar.
52 Chapter 3: On Dreams, Evil & Goodness, the Spectator & the Rit ual of Incest As a Vision, In a Dream Agent Cooper's deductive methods rely heavily on dream states, Laura's drugged states are often aligned with dreams, Leland Palmer's drugging of his wife is often accompanied by dream like hallucinations, and Major Briggs is preoccupied with dreams and visions and the distinction between the two. Similarly, the Log Lady's riddles tend to be very similar to the statements made by the various people that visit Agent Cooper during his premonitory dreams. These dreams and visions are what carry the series. In the movie, Cooper tells Albert that he knows who the next victim is going to be. The Palmer to a T. While her murder is the original motivation for much of the action in the series, the ubiquitousness of dream states, dream logic, mysticism, and visions are what really drives TP Major Briggs defines the distinction between dreams and visions as he understands it, but th e definition seems to be one that may be applied to the entire series: belie f that dreams and visions are separate affairs. Agent Cooper, however, discusses visions that come to him inside of dreams very often. It would be possible to consider the
53 dreams of Cooper catalogues of the day's events as well, if prophetic dreams could be catalogues of future events. Figure 13 Major Briggs, having returned from the White Lodge, explaining the difference between a dream and a vis ion In addition to relying on his dreams for pursuits related to the Laura Palmer case, Cooper's dreams are peculiar in that they go through a process of gaining his trust with their prophecies. The characters that come to him in his dreams have real li fe counterparts that hold dreamlike roles within the town of Twin Peaks. One of his dream characters, the Giant, promises Agent Cooper in a riddle that he will encounter three expect, Cooper does not feel skeptical about his prophetic dreams at all, and actively seeks out what the giant mentions he will find. When the Giant visits for a second time at the end
54 then tells the Giant that he has seen one of the three things the Giant promised he would, to which the Giant responds that he will not mislead him. This encounter in particular is definitely a vision, despite the Giant being a separat e entity from Cooper himself (and Cooper thusly not revealing himself to himself). This episode is the point in the series where the edges of reality and surreality begin to crossover. Yes, the Giant may be a figment of Cooper's imagination, but this doe sn't explain his prophetic statements or his continued presence throughout the second season as a reliable source of information. As the second season progresses, it becomes more and more apparent that Twin Peaks may be a town that lies at the edge of the door to another reality or dimension, a place accessible only by dreams and visions. This place is the Black Lodge.
55 Figu re 14 The Giant, visiting Cooper in a dream. "The things I tell you will not be wrong." The Giant is not the first source of dream/vision knowledge that aids Cooper in his investigation. Early in the first season, he dreams that he is in a red room with a Maddy, and the cousin in the dream looks just like Laura, not like Maddy). In his dream, Laura/her cousin tells Agent Cooper who killed her. Though he later forgets he regards this dream as an important clue in resolving the mysteries surrounding Laura's death. The little man (referred to earlier as the Man From Another Place/MFAP) states that the woman in the red room with them is in fact his cousin, and not Laura This prefigures Maddy's arrival to Twin Peaks; while we had no prior knowledge of Laura's identical cousin, we recalled
56 Figure 15 Laura Palmer or h is "cousin" in the Black Lodge/Cooper's dream T he dreams of Cooper that take place in the Red Room are also peculiar because of the way characters from the Red Room speak. The lines were all spoken backwards by the actors and then reversed, so that the end speech sounds heavily distorted and unnerving The effect is that of hearing a foreign language; they even subtitle the scenes that take place in the Red Room so that the viewer/detective can understand the exchanges. Our ears deceive us during these scenes: we think we don't know the language that is being spoken, but once we realize that we do, we are frustrated that we require subtitles to decipher what is being said. This confusion takes the familiar: our language, English, and makes it a strange new thing. The tension created by this dream En glish perpetuates the subtle surrealism (the fact that it is in a dream helps it retain
57 believability) and creepy sleight of hand that TP created. It was also a dream about Tibet that prompted Agent Cooper's reliance on his intuition and informs many of h is investigative methods. This feature alone completely subverts the stereotypical detective, hard boiled or otherwise, if only because dreams are not hard facts. The emotional responses he has to these visions/dreams are likewise unexpected and have no place in the detective model, at least not for the strong male protagonist. The subversion is not just with the detective narrative, but with Agent Cooper's role as the male protagonist: following dreams and visions is somewhat fantastical, and generally associated with female characters. Agent Cooper is a very relaxed man, as evidenced by his many breaks for coffee, pie, and donuts. He seems to feel as though Twin Peaks is the town most suited for him, and even talks about purchasing real estate there. When he gets suspended from the FBI for going against protocol and sneaking past the border with the Bookhouse Boys, he remains in Twin Peaks on holiday until Sheriff Truman takes him on as a deputy. When Albert Rosenfield, another FBI agent, comes to to wn to first assist Cooper and later to investigate his activities in Twin Peaks/One Eyed Jack's, the peculiarities that Cooper possesses are accentuated and intensified, as Agent Rosenfield is his polar opposite: straight nd cold. He is aggressive and unpleasant towards the locals, addressing them several times as lesser beings. In the movie, Coop's vision was correct, Rosenfield agreed to help him. Cooper's visions are always
58 correct, and his dreams always lead him to the right place (even if it's somewhat convoluted). As such, dreams and visions become one of the most reliable sources for information in the series alongside the Log L ady. The Role of the Spectator as Detective The TP viewer s place has been discussed at length: they are at once an extension of Agent Cooper himself, a detective, an innocent bystander, and sometimes an omniscient but helpless ally. We know that the viewer/detective is offered a part of Cooper's agency and takes it for their own. This is especially apparent when the camera shots are such that we have the same perspective as Cooper. As it would happen, the viewer s are provided with their own clues as well (hearing Waldo the bird's cries in an empty room, the published diary of Laura Palmer, etc.). The viewer s let the public space of their private space the living room become their very own Twin Peaks in which they deduce and question alongside Agent Cooper. To the casual viewer, TP could have been viewed as a quirky and strange television show. To its dedicated viewers, the rewards were plentiful and the jokes overflowing. The soap opera detective narrative form of the show favors the viewer/ detective that follows the story devotedly and thusly The viewer/detective's omniscient viewpoint allows for access to all of the secrets that the Twin Peaks residents hold and the mor al dilemmas that surround them.
59 Something that is very unique to TP is that while there is a clear protagonist (Agent Cooper), the plot is so sprawling that the good guy, bad guy divisions are virtually non existent. When questions of morality come up, t he viewer typically has more details than the characters in the show might, but this does not always mean it is easier for the The most consistent and obvious moral dilemma in the series has to do with violence done against women: Leo beating his wife Shelley, Laura's sexually abusive father and the way he drugs his wife, the ubiquitous pornographic magazine viewers, perhaps because they deem them to be anti women or dehumanizing. There is nothing new about the objectivist portrayal of women in this series, however, and the astute viewer/detective can surely recall other instances of television and film in wh ich women are objectified, where the plot hinges on the women succumbing to the masculine driven plot lines and stories. What is most shocking about the portrayal of women in TP is that the depiction seems honest. The women of Twin Peaks are familiar; we recognize them as women we've met and known. They are famil iar to us because Twin Peaks is. W e know small town America, we have been told about small town America through various media all our lives and we have been to small town America. Wrought with A mericana and true to form, Lynch has a tendency to explore the area just beneath the surface of American life in TP and all of his other work. Ultimately, the suggestion is that this treatment of women in the traditional, heterosexual domest ic
60 sphere, is less isolated than previously thought and in fact widespread. That there is violence done against women and that sexual abuse of children is more commonplace than we would like to believe are facts that began to finally surface in popular media and news s tories shortly before TP hit the airwaves. 15 associated with sexual coupling (Davenport, 288). If intercourse is a ritual I wou ld argue that it is, albeit with no audience other than the participants then incestuous intercourse is too. Having a spectator, the viewer/detective, elevates the ritual to a performative one, and may even lend credence to it as a true ritual (as oppos ed to one lacking a spectator). Frits Staal (and many of his contemporaries) would argue that a ritual is a transition from the realm of th e profane to that of the sacred (Staal, 488). In the case of incest, the ritual is reversed: the sacred, the innoce nt daughter, is thrust into the realm of the profane due to her father's giving in to his desires. Staal posits that "in ritual activity, the activity itself is all that counts .. not only have we established the rules ourselves, so that we are completely in control; we are also assured of success (Staal, 488). In the case of Laura and BOB/her father, the rules have been established by BOB and are unbeknownst to Leland. By drugging Sarah Palmer and having ritualized the actions from an early age with L aura, BOB is insured 15 in that it shifted the blame from the victim/daughter to the father/abuser. She sets up her discussion in relation to current events and the public acknowledgement (f inally) of these types of abuses.
61 success for several years. It is only when Laura gets older, and after she begins exploring the abusive ritual and trying to demystify it in her diary, that BOB's success becomes threatened. The closer Laura gets to realizing who BOB becomes for BOB. BOB is forced to assert his presence more strongly and prove his power over Laura, eventually driving her to abuse drugs and develop intense paranoia. In Incest, the inverted ritual, is a form of abuse that is not particularly brazen or outwardly obvious; due to the manipulative nature of the abuse, and the repeated encounters tha t begin at an early age, it is very hard to det ect this form of abuse in most cases. Its most real threat is the victim, here Laura, realizing what is occurring and fighting back. Very shortly after Laura finally realized that her assailant was her father possessed she was killed by him. Once the m ysteries surrounding Laura's murder are mostly resolved, TP doubles back in on itself, and the ever astute viewer/detective realizes that the story starts all over again, p resumably for the third time, since the first was with the murder in Deer Meadow pre TP BOB's next victim is Laura reincarnated, her uncanny D oppelgnger of a cousin, Maddy. The joke here is one reserved for the viewer: the actress that plays Laura also plays Maddy. Because of this, it can be difficult to take her entrance seriously. The fact that the town hardly bats an eyelash at her indicates that this quirk is entirely outside of Tricks aside, Maddy's sweet demeanor wins over Laura's friends Ja mes and
62 Donna, as well as us, the detective/viewers. Meanwhile, the mental health of Leland Palmer continues its rapid descent to insanity. His manic outbursts of dancing/crying hysterically occur more and more frequently. For some time, it is as if BOB had left Leland when Laura died. Perhaps that lack is what triggered his emotional and disruptive behavior. Regardless, once Leland (or BOB?) recognizes that Maddy is quite literally a twin of his late daughter, BOB returns to the surface with full forc e. The detective/viewer is now familiar with Leland and can deduce that a twin killing is inevitable; at this point it is only a question of when the ritual will transpire. According to Catherine Bell, human activity possesses four features that are depe ndent on various factors. Ritual practice is: 1. situational 2. strategic 3. embedded in a mis recognition of what it is in fact doing, and 4. able to reproduce or reconfigure a vision of the ord er of power in the world (Bell, 22 ). What Bell discusses in this artic le does not directly address the ritual of incestuous intercourse, however these four points standing alone become very relevant within this particular ritualized act. Leland's sexual advances and domination over his daughter occurs within a very specific context: the family's home, at night, while Sarah Palmer is passed out or hallucinating because of the ketamine with which he has dosed her. Were it not for very specific precautions, these activities would be unable to occur. Here, the
63 situational and the strategic are so closely intertwined that they are almost the same; the context is dependent on the strategy and his strategy is dependent on the context being what he expects it to be, what he has become familiar with. Mis recognition is particularl y important in the case of Leland Palmer performing intercourse with his daughter. Presumably, Leland is unaware of the abuse he has done to Laura because when it occurs he is possessed by an outside force, the figure known as BOB. 16 Leland is unable to r ecognize that he is the force, or at the very least the physical representation of the force, that has driven his daughter into the miserable situations she was involved with right before her death. If he is cognitive of anything BOB does, he certainly ne ver reveals it. As a spectator, the detective/viewer, recognizes the way in which these pieces all come together before anybody in Twin Peaks can (thanks to the privilege of omniscience that is inherent with devoting oneself to any television series). B ell's fourth point, being able to reconfigure a vision of the order of power in the world, harkens also to Leland's possession by BOB: he is absent when BOB is performing the profane ritual, but because of the total evil that possesses him, he can function normally when the evil leaves after the sexua l encounters. By definition, people are relatively sane if they can recognize the power structures in which they live. As evidenced by the fact that Leland has a stable job, lives in a nice home, and is fairl y social, the spectator can agree that outside of the profane ritual Leland is a normal functioning member of his community. 16 Now may be an appropriate time to note that the only definition provided for BOB's name, what it
64 The emotional state of Leland Palmer as we know him in the series is one which is highly volatile: at one moment, he may be fine, seconds later, he is violently dancing and crying. When he enters these states of overwhelming emotions, Leland has no conception of the spectacle he is causing, nor of the spectators around him. As viewers, we become uncomfortable and feel helplessly us eless, unable to calm down Leland or smooth over the ruptured social setting. The viewer s may also experience relief because they are not the ones that have to handle the situation. Their participation is implicit and requires only that they attentively watch what unfolds on their television screen. The series ends with Agent Cooper journeying into the waiting room of the Black heavy use of strobe lights, the semi no n linear plot structure of the episode, and the overall mood of the episode indicate a grimness and darkness unparalleled in any of the preceding episodes. At the end of the episode, Agent Cooper wakes up in his hotel room in the Great Northern, and the v iewer expects he may be back to normal though amnesiac a typical trope of television. Instead, Cooper visits the bath room, at which point it is revealed to the viewer that what Agent Cooper now sees in the mirror is not his face but the face of BOB. Co even their shape seems to have taken on the shape of evil incarnate. Because this is the last episode, and a conclusion is hardly reached ( la most soap operas), the viewer/detective can only presume that the significance of BOB possessing Cooper is that this cycle of evil manifesting itsel f or inhabiting parasitically these living bodies is a circle which will remain unbroken, and
65 only continue to corrupt. The Black Lodge inhabitants feed on fear, specifically from the resident s of Twin Peaks. The end of the series is unsettling in that the viewer/detective is forced to wonder if Twin Peaks will remain haunted and possessed by the evil forces within the woods, within the Black Lodge, forever. Because Agent Cooper, the most pro minent force of goodness throughout the entire series, is the person that BOB chooses as his next host, the viewer/detective questions whether there was an evil within him the whole time, or whether there was never any stopping the enveloping forces of dar kness. The ending of TP poses more questions than the rest of the series did, especially those regarding human will and where the line is between evil and goodness, and whether any c hoice is involved in these. Because of this, its untimely ending only fu rther size even now.
66 Figure 16 Agent Cooper and BOB in the final episode. In many ways, TP was written such that the viewer/detective could participate more readily with their watching experience than with most television shows. Whereas a typical soap opera is too complex for a v iewer to keep up with everything that is going on, and the typical detective narrative merely invites the reader along for the ride, TP coaxes the viewer/detective to play along and work through the clues. By sprinkling several inside jokes into each episo de, jokes that are reserved for the viewer/detective and not for any characters in the series, the show encourages an attentiveness akin to a dialogue. TP 's greater project then becomes one of maintaining this dialogue with the viewer/detective. The view er/detective's role was and is just as important to the series as any other part of it.
67 Conclusion Today, more than twenty years since TP first aired on network television, audiences are still captivated by the series' quirkiness and mystery. TP has bee n scrutinized by a devoted group of academics who have written about the show. The series has been examined through most lenses one could imagine: as a descendent of the gothic tradition, as a feminist series, as an anti women series, as a fluke. The show undeniably lends itself to these multiple, sometimes conflicting, interpretations. The preceding interpretation as a series that falls into multiple overlapping genres of television and narrative is one that is very straightforward yet complex. TP p ossesses all of the major plot and visual necessities of the typical soap opera. The unending web of characters who are intimately involved with one another, the dramatic music, the impossible lifestyles of its characters that are presented as being normal As we know, there is even a soap opera ( Invitation to Love ) that traces the plot lines of the first season, creating a dialogue within the series that confirms the show's self awareness. Because of this, TP maintains light heartedness despite the trage dies of the first several episodes. No matter what takes place, Invitation to Love reminds the viewer/detective that TP is still just a television show and a very funny one at that whenever the plot thickens or even just appears to. The best examples of this are when two men on the series get into a fight right before Bobby and Mike confront James at the Roadhouse, and when Invitation to Love announces that Emerald and Jade are played by the same actress right before Maddy appears in the Palmer living room.
68 The production value of TP, however, was drastically different from that of the original soap operas. Entirely funded by household product companies such as Johnson & Johnson, the earliest soap operas served the purpose of firstly being a venue i n which to push products to consumers. Viewer entertainment took a backseat to this ploy; what gossip ridden/inspiring story webs). TP did not have to cater to any specific advertising campaign, and thusly the soap opera feel of the series was entirely artificial, designed to humor the astute viewer and be undetected by the more casual viewer. The cleverness of TP is further revealed when the viewer/detective recognizes th eir role as being one that shares Agent Cooper's agency and understands that there are traces of the traditional detective narrative present. Like the soap opera's perversion in TP this model is likewise subject to comedic relishes and alterations withi n the series. In TP quirky, intuitive leading male protagonist who takes a rather unorthodox approach towards all things, including his investigations. Unlike most leading male protagonist detectives, Cooper relies heavily on gut feelings and visions/dreams to proceed with his investigations. His approach is one that is accepted by most but that makes many skeptics question the process of acquiring knowledge. Cooper does n ot conform to typical expectations of the fictive detective; the subverting of expectations on behalf of the viewer and of the other characters adds a depth to the series that is unlike anything found in the typical detective fiction.
69 Agent Albert Rosenf ield, Cooper's foil, is cold and abrasive. He has little patience for the local police officers, and seems reluctant to help Agent Cooper (despite his having agreed to in FWWM ). Rosenfield is offensive and upsetting to Sheriff Truman and Deputy Andy Bren nan, verbally insulting them on multiple occasions. If what the viewer is expecting is the hard boiled detective of the detective tradition, they won't find it in TP Instead there is an interpretation of the genre that simultaneously exaggerates and ign ores key traits of the narrative model. The other major detective figure in TP is the viewer. The way that knowledge is revealed in the series and the viewer's privilege of being able to view what happens in most corners of Twin Peaks begs for the acti ve involvement with the series on behalf of the viewer. The viewer/detective's place in Twin Peaks was essential to the show's progression. This is evidenced not only by the show content, but by the myriad of extra diegetic products inspired by the serie s and also by the fact that the alt.tv internet message board was one of the first messag e boards on the internet ever (Jenkins, 51). While there is no way to know if any of the plot lines developed in such a way that was inspired by the viewer's partic ipation and endless discussions surrounding the series, it is no stretch to say that the show certainly catered to this cult The inside jokes and self awareness present in the series added an element of comedy that was reser ved only for these dedicated Peakers. In this way, the series became more similar to the soap operas it was channeling: soap operas thrive off of their devoted fan base.
70 These two disparate television series types, the soap opera and the detective narra tive, become infinitely more dense and intriguing when combined. The way TP was written brings out the most interesting elements of each of these genres, and there is a transcendence of typical television series that occurs when they meet. There is a wei rdness to TP that is an underlying current on which the show depends. While the show is often casually credited only to David Lynch, the show was very much a collaborative process between him and Mark Frost and then everybody else on the production crew. David Lynch wrote and directed surprisingly few episodes, especially in the second season. The show is undeniably his, though, and similar to the strange synchronicity of the blending of the two genres, the influence of everybody else involved combined w ith David Lynch's strong presence produced something that became more than the sum of its parts. Television is not usually thought of as being an especially artistic medium; it is more often perceived as quite the opposite. TP elevates the medium and exp loits its confines to produce a new type of art form in the realm of serial visual media. The combining of two or multiple genres in a television series or a film is not particularly uncommon, however, and surely there must be an explanation for TP 's tra nscendent qualities. Lynch's very unique aesthetic preferences and attention to detail and specificity of subject matter do a lot for the show, as does its curious timelessness. Even the episodes that David Lynch had little to do with were shot in a film ic style reminiscent of his movies. The music further alienated the series from the everyday
71 television show because all of it was original and unique to the series, as well as being mostly anachronistic, 1950s style music and sultry lounge singing. As previously noted, the impositions placed on television directors by networks and other higher ups necessitates a family friendly end product, or at least a product that does not offend the average television viewer. The content matter of TP incest, dom estic violence, drugs straddles the line of appropriateness narrowly, but instead of coming off as cheesy or lacking taste, the show very creatively and oftentimes subtly addressed the issues that it set out to confront. However, TP 's provocative nature remains one of its most noticeable traits and also one which hooks viewers even now. Examining a series as complex and multi faceted as TP presents a problem in that it would be nigh impossible to explore every single detail. There are too many subplo ts to count on one hand and too many symbols or clues, colors and riddles to decode them all and explain the way in which it all fits together. This is the major challenge in discussing an entire series as opposed to a single film or novel. It is also ch allenging to pluck out significant details from the series and attempt to do it justice within that limited scope. Despite this, even the briefest investigations into TP result in an uncovering of the series and an insight into it that warrant more attent ion than most television series. These examinations are only made more urgent, or more worthwhile, when at the end of the series we realize that we are not going to be provided with closure. Most of the conflicts that come up towards the end of the seco nd season are left hanging without resolution or explanation. While originally all anybody wanted to know was WKLP? we
72 now find our selves more dying to know whether Audrey died with the bank explosion, whether Agent Cooper was doomed to the Black Lodge n ow that he was possessed with the spirit of BOB, whether Twin Peaks will ever have any sort of peace from the Black Lodge. Like most soap operas, the world of Twin Peaks ended in media res Its untimely demise likely contributes to it s cultish following, however. As viewer/detectives, we now thrive on wondering what if? Lynch had made a film tying up loose ends several years later, what if the final scene, with Cooper confronting BOB in the bathr accidental role in the series had never happened? While TP' s transcendent nature might be hard to put into words entirely, the evidence for why it is so worthy of an in depth investigation is there. It enjoyed a n immensely positive critical response and inspired its worldwide viewer/detectives to question the series and actively engage with the show and with one another. The fact that the series is responsible for one of the internet's first message boards now one of the most common types of websites on the 'net is a testament to how truly influential the series was. It holds a unique place in television history, one which has not since been replicated and likely never will. The series' lack of closure and subtle surrealism have at least been immortalized by word of mouth, DVDs, and Netflix, keeping the channels of discussion and speculation wide open wider open than they were in the 1990s.
73 Bibliography Allen, Robert C. Speaking of Soap Operas Chapel H ill: Th e University of North Carolina Press, 1985. Print. Barthes, Roland. S/Z. New York: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, Inc, 1974. Print. Bell, Catherine. Ritual Theory, Ritual Practice New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. Print. Brecht, Bert olt. On Th eatre: the Development of an Aesthetic Trans. John Willett. New York: Hill and Wang; London: Methuen, 1992. Print. Twin Peaks : Culture, Feminism, and Literature/Film Quarterly 21.4 (1993): 255 59. Print. Twin Peaks Literature/Film Quarterly 21.4 (1993): 248 54. Print. Stupid?: alt.tv.twinpeaks, the d. David Lavery. 51 79. Print. Twin Peaks Ed. David Lavery. 120 129. Print. Lavery, David. Full of Secrets: Critical Approaches to Twin Peaks. Detroit: Wayne State University Press. Print. Twin Peaks and Literature/Film Quarterly 21.4 (1993): 260 70. Print. Lynch, Jennifer. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer. New York: Gallery Books, 1990.
74 Print. ntering the Body of Reality in Twin P eaks Ed. David Lavery. 144 159. Print. Readings in Ritual Studies. Ed. Ronald L. Grimes. Upper Saddle River: Pr entice Hall, Inc, 1996: 483 494 Print. the Fantastic in Twin Peaks Ed. David Lavery. 70 81. Print. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Dir. David Lynch. Perf. Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly, David Bowie, Chris Isaak, Harry Dean Stanton, Ray Wise, Kyle MacLachlan. New Line Home Entertainment, 2002. DVD. Twin Peaks: The Complete Series (The Definitive Gold Box Edition) Dir. David Lynch and Mark Frost. Perf. Kyle MacLachlan, Mic hael Ontkean, Sheryl Lee, Dana Ashbrook, Ray Wise. Paramount, 2007. DVD.
75 Appendix: Characters in Twin Peaks FBI Agents Agent Dal e Cooper Head of Laura Palmer investigation Agent Albert Rosenfield Comes to Twin Peaks to assist Cooper, and later to inform him of his suspension from the FBI Agent Chester Desmond Disappeared Agent during the investigation of the murder of Teresa Ba nks Agent Gordon Cole Regional chief of FBI, mostly deaf, played by David Lynch Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department Sheriff Harry S Truman Helps Cooper solve Laura Palmer case, involved with the Bookhouse Boys, in love with Josie Packard Deputy Hawk Nativ e American, expert tracker, tells Cooper about the existence of Deputy Andy Brennan Somewhat dopey officer, inadvertently uncovers important clues throughout the series Palmer Family Laura Palmer Murdered teenage girl, involved with drugs, prostitution, and copious amounts of community service. Very popular. Leland Palmer Local attorney, works with Ben Horne. Goes crazy after Laura's death, maniacally breaks into song and dance very often. Sarah Palmer Laura's deranged, chain smoking, alcoholic mother Maddy Ferguson Laura's identical cousin from Missoula, Montana Laura's Friends Donna Hayward Laura's best friend, in love with James Hurley James Hurley Laura's secret lover, falls in love
76 with Donna. Moody and reminiscent of James De an. Bobby Briggs Laura's public boyfriend, football player, drug dealer. Secretly involved with Shelley Johnson. Mike Nelson Bobby Briggs' best friend, football player Audrey Horne Daughter of Ben Horne. Crafty, enamored with Agent Cooper, seems to h ave come straight out of the 1950s Ronette Pulaski Local high schooler, involved with drugs and prostitution with Laura, narrowly escapes death the night Laura is killed. Worked at One Eyed Jack's Other Important Figures BOB Malevolent fire spirit that killed Laura Palmer and haunts the woods Annie Blackburn Norma Jennings' younger sister, falls in love with Agent Cooper Major Garland Briggs US Military Intelligence, has a connection with the Lodges Windom Earle Agent Cooper's former partner who se wife Cooper loved. Comes to Twin Peaks to seek revenge on Agent Cooper The Giant Supernatural being that visits Agent Cooper in dreams to give him clues Ben Horne Owner of Great Northern Hotel and Horne's Department Store, richest man in town, works with Catherine Martell (secretly). Leland Palmer is his attorney. Owns One Eyed Jack's, Ed Hurley Owns local gas station. Uncle to James Hurley. In an affair with Norma Jennings. Member of the
77 Bookhouse Boys Dr Lawrence Jacoby Local therapi st, Laura's psychiatrist, in love with Laura Norma Jennings affair with Ed Hurley. Shelley Johnson Leo Johnson, involved in an affair with Bobby Briggs Leo Johnson Married to Shelley John son. Involved with Jacques Renault's drug ring. Has been sexually involved with Laura Palmer The Log Lady A widow with divining powers that come to her through her log Man From Another Place (MFAP) Resident of the Red Room in the Black Lodge, literally Mike/Philip Gerard/The One Armed Man Former associate, now enemy, of BOB Catherine Martell Her brother Andrew owned/owns the Sawmill. Involved with Ben Horne Pete Martell Catherine's husband. Avid fisherman, discovers the body of Laur a Palmer Josie Packard Widow of Andrew Packard, was left the Sawmill. In an affai r with Sherrif Truman. Discover s Catherin e Martell's plans to burn the Sawmill Jacques Renault Bartender at One Eyed Jack's and the Roadhouse, drug smuggler, involved with Laura Palmer Harold Smith Xenophobic horticulturalist with whom Laura entrusts her secret diary. Meals on Wheels participant