All the way back in 1990, the world certainly was a different place, and a large number of major events were seen across the globe. After 27 years in prison, Nelson Mandela was finally freed. U.S. President George Bush and Soviet Union leader Mikhail Gorbachev signed a treaty to end chemical weapon production as the 46 year long Cold War was entering its final stages. As this war was ending, The Gulf War was just getting started. The Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit. East and West Germany were finally unified. And the World Health Organization removed homosexuality from its list of diseases (took you long enough, WHO).
But in the world of entertainment, there was only one thing that anyone was interested in that year. A question on everyone’s lips. Who killed Laura Palmer?
Twin Peaks debuted on April 8, 1990 and quickly became one of the most talked about shows in network television history. There had never been a show like it before, and really there hasn’t been one since. I will be talking at length about the show a lot more in the future, but for now I just want to talk about my personal experience with the show.
When Twin Peaks first hit screens I was only about 4 1/2 years old, therfore much too young to know of or give a shit about the hype surrounding anything adults were interested in. I had my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Looney Tunes, and this new show called The Simpsons to watch (you may have heard of it). When I reached my teenage years I much preferred my own company over the company of others, and was a bit of a loner. I wasn’t really interested in chasing girls. What I really immersed myself in was pop culture, and film. My developing love of film led me to seek out the work of David Lynch after seeing Mulholland Drive when I was 16 (still one of my favourite movies of all time). The more of his work I watched, the more I loved and respected his work, and I couldn’t get enough. Then I found the entire Twin Peaks series on VHS in one of my local video stores. I immediately hired them out, took them home, and devoured all 30 episodes (including the pilot, which was included on these Australian sets, nice) over the course of one weekend, ignoring any and all distractions from the outside world.
After finishing my viewing of the entire run, including the amazing and harrowing final episode, I found myself with a sense of peace. I’ve heard many people say how disturbing they find the show, and that watching it made them feel depressed, even dirty. There are some very dark elements to Twin Peaks, sure, and some pure embodiments of evil that will scare the fucking shit out of some, but to me, Twin Peaks is, more than anything else, beautiful and magical.
I instantly fell in love with many of the characters, especially Dale Cooper, Audrey Horne, and for some strange reason, Bobby Briggs, even though for all intents and purpouses, he’s an arsehole. Mostly due to David Lynch’s direction (not on every episode, but his presence could always be felt), Twin Peakshad a way of focusing on these little pieces of minutiae that under anyone else would feel boring, but in Twin Peaks, is somehow inviting. In fact, inviting might be one of the most important words to describe the show. In most of Lynch’s body of work, there’s always a sense of dread or anticipation, and the viewer never really gets a chance to feel comfortable in the world that they’re looking into. Perhaps due to the contribtution of Mark Frost, co-creator of Twin Peaks, there’s warmth in this town and these characters. When you visit Twin Peaks from the comfort of your couch, you feel at home.
Twin Peaks, to me, is the greatest television show ever made, and I hope that you, Dear Reader, will seek it out if you haven’t already, and appreciate the beauty and the magic that will unfold before your eyes.
Before I go, I’ll leave you with this quote from Dale Cooper:
Harry, I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt at the men’s store, a catnap in your office chair or two cups of good hot black coffee. Like this.
To this day, I still carry those words with me, and I start every day with a strong cup of “good hot black coffee.” Twin Peaks knows how to hit the right notes. So grab yourself a cup, and listen below to the stirring theme music from Twin Peaks. Enjoy.