Thursday April 8th marks the 20th anniversary of the debut of Twin Peaks, one of the most influential and memorable programs in the history of television. Over the next two days Biff Bam Pop writers share their memories of the show. Up next is Andy Burns:
Like anyone who watched the show about cherry pie, damn good coffee, and dancing dwarves, Twin Peaks had an indelible effect on my life. It introduced me to the brilliance of David Lynch, and gave me an appreciation of surrealism that continues to this day. I didn’t know what a long tracking shot was in cinema until Lynch utilized it during the pilot episode. Lynch (and co-creator Mark Frost) created strangely compelling characters that lived in a town that seemed so normal on the surface, but who led dark, strange, and haunted lives.
I loved Twin Peaks. Loved it, bought the “I Shot Agent Cooper” t-shirt, and read the book (The Secret Diary Of Laura Palmer, penned by Lynch’s daughter Jennifer). I owned the Angelo Badalamenti soundtrack on cassette and went to my first movie all by myself when Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me was released in August 1992. Heck, I even bought the new video game Deadly Premonitions, which had been in development hell for three years, after trailers for the game under its original name Rainy Woods showed it to be a blatant Twin Peaks homage (ripoff, depending on your point of view). I see it in the trailers for the new tv show Happy Town, set to debut on ABC later this month, the same network that first broadcast Twin Peaks twenty years ago.
I remember when the HBO series Carnivale debut a few years back and Michael J. Anderson, the Man From Another Place on Twin Peaks, was on a promo tour, visiting the radio station where I worked. Upon expressing my love of Twin Peaks, Anderson recited a poem that any fan would have loved to have heard whispered in their ears:
Thru the darkness of Future Past the magician longs to see/one chants out between two worlds/ Fire – walk with me.
Every six months or so I have a Twin Peaks nightmare. I wake up in a cold sweat after seeing the leering face of BOB rushing towards me, just like Agent Cooper did in the series finale, one of the greatest and most unique hours of television ever produced. I carry Twin Peaks with me wherever I go. While I had a seven season love affair with Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Twin Peaks is and likely always will be my most beloved television show.
While I’ll never understand why ABC moved the show from its Thursday night time slot during its first season to Saturday nights for its second, that move wound up giving me the final memory of the show I’ll leave you with. On Saturday November 10th, 1990, Twin Peaks was going to reveal who killed Laura Palmer. I was visiting my Dad that weekend and my ten- year-old sister wanted to stay up to watch the show with me. My step-mom was a little hesitant, but I told her it would be ok for my sister to watch the show.
“It’s weird, but not scary,” I reassured her.
Boy, was I wrong. At the end of that hour of television I didn’t want to go upstairs, I was so scared. I know my sister didn’t slept right for months. Just how scary was it? Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails once called the scene “the scariest, most violent thing (he’d) ever seen on television.” See for yourself if you’d like, but if you watch the scene below make no mistake, you will know who killed Laura Palmer. There will be no going back. You’ve been warned.
Showing THAT to a ten year old? Yeah, bad call on my part. I guess I pay for it every six months or so, when BOB haunts my dreams.