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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I had the biggest crush on Sherilyn Fenn back in the early 1990s. Yes, she was in some real stinkers—Ruby (1992), and that weird atrocity, Boxing Helena (1993). (How did Julian Sands not get cast in Twin Peaks?) But she was also “Audrey Horne,” one of the many extraordinary creations of David Lynch.

Audrey.

Cheeky and glamorous, weird but charming (weirdly charming? charmingly weird?). Is this why I named my cat Audrey? Coincidentally, both Audreys have black-and-white feet. We see a lot of Audrey’s feet (I mean, Twin Peaks Audrey): she’s always sashaying down or along something, swaying to Angelo Badalamenti in a diner… that’s probably the iconic moment for Audrey Horne.

Though her trademark footwear are those black-and-white Oxfords, she slips into other shoes, playing the gumshoe, for example, when she passes on information to Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan). She steps lightly when she has to, plays the clown—and even the dutiful daughter—when it suits her purpose.

The music in Twin Peaks is terrific, but I always like the “Audrey Horne” music the best: noirish, slinky and sly. “God, I love this music. Isn’t it too dreamy?” (Here’s a taste of it.) That’s Audrey, in the third episode of the first season, sipping her coffee at the “double-R.” She seems to talk and behave like a woman from a different era—but I think she makes it her own: she makes that older era somehow fresh again.