Why we love…

Why We Love Twin Peaks, Reason #3: Agent Dale Cooper (and the Love of Coffee)

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Dale Cooper likes coffee.

I like Dale Cooper.

I also like coffee—a lot.

“Dale? You’re alright.”

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Why We Love Twin Peaks, Reason #2: The Comfort of Generic Suturing

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Warning: some plot details from Twin Peaks, Season 2…

Though it’s nothing today for there to be a half-dozen “fantasy,” “horror,” or “science fiction” shows on a nightly basis, Twin Peaks aired when these elements were restricted to specifically genre-oriented shows. So, in the US, science-fiction shows like Star Trek (TNG ran from 1987-1994) and Quantum Leap (ran from 1989-1993), and horror shows like Friday the 13th (1987-1990); and, in the UK, sf shows like Red Dwarf (1988-2012) and Doctor Who (the old series ran from 1963-1989). And before the trend-setting X-Files (1993-2002), there just weren’t nearly as many shows—mainstream or not—willing to include the fantastic as an element.

Well, never one to be satisfied with the “mainstream,” David Lynch said to hell with convention, grabbed his genre-blender, threw in a big dose of melodrama, and added equal parts police procedural, thriller, horror, and science fiction. And zip! we got Twin Peaks, which is technically “about” an FBI man’s attempt to solve a murder (that of Laura Palmer)… But this is hardly a fair description of a series that explores so much more. Why stick to one type of genre when you could explore all of them? Lynch’s use of different tonalities, atmospheres, and environments (sometimes within the same episode) seems to say something about the complexity and strangeness of human experience, which is just not adequately represented in a “realistic” sort of show.

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Why We Love Twin Peaks, Reason #1: Audrey Horne

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At long last, I’m commencing another “Why We Love…” series. And, you know what, I think I needed a new show—but not just any ol’ show: a spectacular one—to wash out the memory of… that other show (you what I’m talking about, so I won’t invoke it here). Of course, I’m taking you back 25 years this time, but Twin Peaks is a classic; without it, there would be no X-Files or Northern Exposure (two other outstanding TV series from the 1990s). I’ll begin with a little paean to Audrey Horne.

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Why We Love Breaking Bad, Reason #5: The “Fascination of the Abomination” (Mr. White is Not Your Friend)

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Sometime last week I decided to change up one of my Reasons for loving Breaking Bad. Why? Because my original Reason #3, “The Primal Urge of Human Pride,” seemed too similar to “The Beauty of Human Frailty” (Reason #1). And also because I had to admit to myself that the show, and its protagonist Walter White, had something like an unhealthy hold on me. Liking “the bad guy” is frighteningly easy, but analyzing why we like him is something we’re not always willing to do. So, finally, with the stake in my hand, the salt and matches in my pocket, I set forth to deal once and for all with this horror show—what Marlow, in Heart of Darkness, calls the “fascination of the abomination,” which is my Reason #5. (This piece is a little different. You’ve been warned…)

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