Earlier this year the writers of Biff Bam Pop! paid tribute to David Lynch and Mark Frost’s groundbreaking ABC tv series Twin Peaks, which this year celebrated its 20th anniversary. For those of us that watched the series during its initial two season run all those years ago, it’s still hard to believe that so much time has passed since we (along with Pete Martell) discovered Laura Palmer, wrapped in plastic; Agent Dale Cooper, Douglas Fir and coffee enthusiast; the seductive Audrey Horn, who had a way with a cherry stem. Leland Palmer, The Log Lady, Deputy Andy, Bobby Briggs, The Man From Another Place, BOB – all of them have been engrained in my memories since encountering them way back in 1990. And while the series may have done well during its first season, part of the series’ legacy is how spectacularly it crashed and burned during its second and final season, plagued by a horrible timeslot and muddled storytelling. However, those of us that love Twin Peaks love it something fierce.
That’s the case with James Roday, one of the stars of the USA Network’s Psych. It was his love of Twin Peaks that led to “Dual Spires”, last week’s episode of Psych and full-blown tribute to the series. The cast and creators even managed to lure some series alumni to guest star – Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs), Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), Lenny Van Dohlen (Harold Smith), Robyn Lively (Lana), Catherine Coulson (The Log Lady) and Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer). According to various interviews, Roday, who plays psychic detective Shawn Spenser on the series, grew up on Twin Peaks, even befriending Dana Ashbrook when the two worked on a series together about ten years ago. It was the unabashed admiration for Twin Peaks that helped bring all of the former cast together again.
The story is simple – Shawn and his partner Gus receive a mysterious email telling them to get to the small town of Dual Spires, population of 288 and home of a Cinnamon Festival. Soon enough, the duo are investigating the murder of a young girl, Paula Merral, whose body is discovered washed up, wrapped in plastic. Thus begins an episode that is more than just a nod and a wink to Twin Peaks. From the very first line about a woman in Washington building silent drape runners, I knew I was in for a treat.
There was so many shout outs to the series, I probably lost count and even missed a few. But there I was sitting next to The Queen, whispering things like “Windham Earle was Coop’s enemy in season 2” or “Maudette Hornsby’s name is pretty close to Audrey Horne” when every little homage revealed itself. I laughed at the score, clearly inspired by the great work of original Twin Peaks composer Angelo Badalamenti and was literally thrilled with the long shot of a ceiling fan and stairs that Shawn and Gus were walking up. If you’re a fan, you totally get it, I’m sure. As someone who really has missed Twin Peaks since it went off the air, this episode of Psyche was like some sort of crazy television crack. While I won’t ruin the story for you or give away the culprit, I will say that the final scene of the show manages to throw in every essential reference that may not have appeared throughout the hour.
While I’d heard of Psych, I’d never watched an episode before this past week. I have to admit, even without the Twin Peaks aspects of the series, I think I could very well enjoy watching it. There’s quite a few pop culture references throughout and the two leads are very appealing. But really, this episode was all about celebrating the magic of a series that inspired those that watched it and countless network shows that have appeared in the last 20 years. If you were ever a fan of Twin Peaks, you must find a way to watch Psych’s “Dual Spires”.
Preferably with a cup of damn good coffee in your hands.