Twin Peaks: Perfect Soap Opera

Twin Peaks is almost the perfect tv show. I say this as a person who has clocked many hours watching tv shows. I’ve watched many episodes of Gene Roddenberry’s Andromeda. I’ve watch the entirety of Blake’s 7. Believe me, I’ve put in the time.

Twin Peaks is, at its best, an unsettling show. The protagonist, Dale Cooper, is a very strange character by today’s tv standards. He’s dedicated to the ideals of the FBI and being a good person much in the same way I imagine a person being dedicated to the 12-steps of recovery. He gets sincerely excited about simple things, seems to operate at almost Columbo levels of angst (which is to say near zero), and constantly has bizarre one sided conversations with a woman named Diane who is never shown in the show. On top of being a suited official of the government, he’s also a kind of shaman in the sense that he operates heavily on a mystical level.

The perfect Dale Cooper moment:

Dale Cooper comes to the town of Twin Peaks, which is a fictional town in Washington that might as well be straight out of The Twilight Zone. Twin Peaks exists both in Washington and in some kind of dream universe where every person is both mundane and completely bizarre. Some people drift in languidly, while others vibrate with manic fury. Some people act with an almost saintly compassion, others radiate menace so malevolently you hate them instantly.

But what makes David Lynch, the co-creator of the show, so brilliant in my mind is that Twin Peaks is both a parody and a dream. It perfectly parodies the genre of soap operas, but like every perfect parody it also is a fantastic representative of the genre. Twin Peaks is a soap opera made entirely out of soap operas. Every person is the main character in a soap opera. Every person is caught in a drama that’s so strange it creates overlapping mysteries that it’s hard to believe any place like Twin Peaks could exist.

Twin Peaks is also subliminally disturbing. Like take the opening sequence, everything about Twin Peaks is off somehow that’s hard to describe. For example, take the shade of green that the title and credits are in, they’re amazingly gross, or the weird music and the strange cinematography:

I’m excited that Twin Peaks is coming back. No other tv show has done nearly as well as what Twin Peaks did at it’s best. So far XFiles is probably the closest at creating the kind of mystery that Twin Peaks could create, as well as being just inherently weird. Towards the end Twin Peaks was just a show where the people behind it were trying to be weird, but Twin Peaks in its prime could just be, and in that state it was more bizarre than anything people could dare to try and emulate.


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