October 2nd, 2014

Likes His Coffee Black

One Peak Always Attends the Other

This always stands out for me as one of the big disappointments of Twin Peaks, the incident in the first season where Agent Cooper finds Audrey Horne waiting for him naked in his bed. No other scene within the first sixteen episodes of the series--except maybe when the omniscient, grandfatherly judge is introduced early in season two--better demonstrates the disconnect between the sensibilities of David Lynch and everyone else working on the show.

First of all, there's a huge problem with logic--a few scenes earlier, Cooper interrupts Audrey when she tries to tell him she'd gotten a job working at the perfume counter at Horne's department store, even though she told him it was important and had bearing on his investigation. This prevents the police from investigating the process of recruiting young women from the perfume counter for the Canadian brothel, One Eyed Jacks. So then Audrey, apparently devastated by the sight of Leland crying, spends hours talking with Cooper in his hotel room and never mentions working at the perfume counter.

But that's just the tip of the problem iceberg. In one fell swoop, the delightful flirtatious tension between Cooper and Audrey is erased, in the process removing a large percentage of what made both characters individually interesting. Where's the girl who asked Cooper if his palms ever itched, the girl who seemed to slightly be getting off on the fact that Laura Palmer'd been killed? And Cooper, whose thoughts trailed off on first sight of Audrey as he asked for juice from grapefruits that had been "freshly squeezed", suddenly turns into a father figure.

This was the beginning of the descent to late second season Audrey's gag inducing, corny First Love relationship with Billy Zane. This was beginning of the end for Cooper.

Well, they both had interesting moments afterwards. I like the scene where Audrey ties a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue for the brothel Madam, Cooper's dreams and enthusiasm for coffee and doughnuts remained delightful. Audrey has several wonderful scenes in the brothel, the mask sequence with her father being one of my favourite scenes of the series. But the two of them never have an interesting scene together again.

I am watching the series again, by the way, since I got the blu-ray set. I can barely believe it, I've watched this show so many times, and I consider it to be so flawed, I don't know how I could be watching it again. I went through periods where I'd just watch the David Lynch directed episodes but there are far too few of those--just six.

It's interesting going through the other credits for Twin Peaks writers and directors. It seems like the writers never worked on anything interesting again while several of the directors have had good careers. The episode I'm complaining about was written by Harley Payton who has written scattered episodes for television shows I've never heard of while the director, Caleb Deschanel, father of Zooey Deschanel, is primarily a cinematographer--he worked on The Passion of the Christ, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, and Jack Reacher. The other writer on Twin Peaks who I kind of like, second to Lynch, is Robert Engels and the most notable things he's written are two episodes of seaQuest DSV and eight episodes of Andromeda. Meanwhile, other prominent Twin Peaks directors Tim Hunter and Lesli Linka Glatter have directed several episodes of Mad Men, Hunter has worked on Breaking Bad, Dexter, Glee, and even one of the recent Twin Peaks homage series, Wayward Pines.

Sometimes I think the fact that there are so many Twin Peaks inspired series owes almost as much to Twin Peaks' flaws as to its virtues. I think a lot of people look at Twin Peaks and think, "Oh, it would be so perfect if I could just reach in and tweak this one thing . . ."