For the past few Tuesday nights, as part of TV Bloc Club, we've been catching up with the 90s classic Twin Peaks. We have seen, screamed, live-tweeted and Facebook-discussed the Pilot, Episode 1 ("Traces to Nowhere") and Episode 2 ("Zen, or Skill to Catch A Killer").
In our upcoming recaps, we'll be inviting two Bloc Club members, one who is new to the show and one who is rewatching the series, to share their thoughts about the episodes we've watched so far. This week, we're hearing from Twin Peaks newbie Greg McIntyre.
From the past 3 episodes,
Give us a quick rundown of what has happened so far
Greg: A small town is rocked by the murder of a pretty blond teenager. A charismatic FBI agent is called in to assist and finds some strange circumstances around the murder. Things proceed to get weirder.
It's hard to really convey just how weird. By the end of episode 3, we're watching a dwarf in a fetching red suit dance to jazz while a man sits rigid and terrified while the murder victim whispers to him in a manner that suggests she has alien internal organs that are struggling to form English words and every other word is accompanied by a spasm of her whole body.
The thing I loved the most (e.g. a character, the soundtrack)
G: Just the avant-garde nature of the show. It feels experimental. Whether or not it works, I love that about it. I'm not into predictable sitcom laughs and clichéd interactions. I don't watch TV shows more than once, typically. I like that yellow band in that comfort zone diagram.
I struggle with TV shows where I dislike all of the characters even if they're otherwise brilliant (I call this the Mad Men effect). Yes, I'm shallow, deal with it. Twin Peaks makes its characters likeable via a form of impressionism: many characters in this show are not whole real people, but expressions of personality defects or mental health problems. I played this computer game called Psychonauts once that does something similar. Such characters show their vulnerability so we can relate, and not feel threatened because we can still see the brush strokes. There's mental-dissonance-wife, who just screams and clutches her head in every scene. There's unrufflable-FBI-agent who is investigating a murder but grins like a schoolboy and talks on his dictaphone about how great the local cherry pie is. There's girlfriend-beating-menacing-guy, who uses every second of screen time to look menacing. There's eyepatch-wife, who shouts every line incredulously like everything in her life is the worst thing she's ever dealt with. There's douchey-jock-bully who doesn't seem capable of relating to others if it's not with a sneer. The list goes on and on. It's a really messed up place, that Twin Peaks.
The thing that bugged me the most
G: It feels like they're making it up as they go along. I don't sense that “I see dead people” moment coming. Maybe I'll be proven wrong and I'll be kicking myself at all the clues they left that I didn't notice but somehow I doubt it. It feels more like somebody took a lot of hallucinogenic drugs and wrote a screen play and at the time it seemed real clever. At the time. When they tried to film it, they took a red pen to it in a hurry and tried to fix all the logical inconsistencies and only partly succeeded.
Something I never noticed before (e.g. since it's your first time watching Twin Peaks, has your pre-conception of 90s TV been altered in any way?)
G: There's this vibe of mystery and danger and adventure you get in Twin Peaks that reminds me of the vibe in a lot of other 90s TV shows and which I don't see around much any more. When I was a kid, the video rental store had a section called Adventure. It'd be hard for me to articulate what that meant to kiddies these days. Indiana Jones, Flight of the Navigator, X-Files, Stand By Me, the Goonies, Troll 2. I can't count the number of times I've watched some American pause in slack jawed wonder in glorious 4:3 aspect ratio while VHS artefacts gracefully rippled down the screen. Did we swap that for helicopter parenting and risk-averse TV production decisions at some point? What happened to TV shows about “weird shit”? Did we lose our taste for mystery, in the information age?
Your favourite quote
G:I'm looking forward to the next time I serve somebody coffee and I get to rush out and shout, “Don't drink that coffee! There was a fish in the PRRR-COE-LAY-TORRRR.” If they're true friends, they'll respond with, “You don't piss on hospitality!” and down it in one. Thanks 90s TV.
Huge thanks to Greg for helping out with our recap post! Here's some of our favourite moments from Twitter:
Join us for our next TV Bloc Club viewing party on this Tuesday, August 19, 7.30pm AEST. We'll be watching Episode 3 ("Rest in Pain") and Episode 4 ("The One-Armed Man"). We'll be live-tweeting #blocclub and holding a mini post-episode discussion on our Facebook group.
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