Friday Five: ‘Twin Peaks’ Parts 1-4 Are Surreal, Wonderful, Baffling and Everything I Dreamed Of But Didn’t Know It Yet

+ Sorry, people, you’ll have to bear with me while I turn this space into a mini Twin Peaks blog. (I do have fashion/life/summer stuff written, but it takes me foreverrrrrr to take pictures for posts. I miss the days when you could slap any old picture on a post without being harassed by a copyright troll!) The new long-awaited season debuted last week, and it was all extremely exciting, strange, weird, confusing, bewildering and challenging all at once. And I am SO VERY EXCITED BY IT ALL!

I don’t want to give away any spoilers, but ach, it’s so hard. There’s the return of Agent Dale Cooper, probably my favorite straight male character of all time. (Let’s just say the new Twin Peaks is an acting tour-de-force for Kyle MacLachlan.) Then there’s the return of various characters, sometimes in the same daffy circumstances — but sometimes in places you least expect. There’s riveting, shit-your-pants horror and scares, goofball humor and that beautiful, twisted sense of doomed Americana that Lynch is so fixated by. And of course, dreamy, perfectly wan yet glamorous music. There are some tiresome bits — the show is beyond lily-white, and some of the horndog moments are just so whatever — but I’m enjoying the show, often baffled by it (and that’s saying a lot as a David Lynch/Twin Peaks obsessive) but never not fascinated.

My excitement goes beyond 90s nostalgia and Twin Peaks fangirling, though. It simply excites my brain in a way that great, flawed yet rich works of art do. The show is a fascinating object of contemplation on a lot of levels in terms of art and cultural history. There’s the sheer craft and mastery of David Lynch’s filmmaking — he’s helming all episodes of the series and the result is a sometimes frustrating but often riveting sense of vision and intention behind every moment. The command of camera movement, the beautiful, subtle yet effective sound and music, the disturbing dark visuals leavened with moments of ironically square humor — it’s all there, and all pretty much cranked up to the max.

As a Lynch fan, I really do have to blab about where this new series fits into his work as a whole. If you carefully consider Lynch’s filmography, the original ‘Twin Peaks’ was definitely rich emotional and storytelling territory for Lynch at that point — like in ‘Blue Velvet,’ it’s a placid surface but with a seething underlayer of corruption, abuse, pain and trauma underneath, but with a much more expanded sense of mythology. But considering the TV show purely visually, he’s still finding and refining his visual signatures. But then I rewatched ‘Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me’ and was struck by how, visually, it felt like almost a rough draft of the visual work in ‘Mulholland Drive,’ which to me is Lynch’s masterwork. The film prequel didn’t just take advantage of the lack of TV standards and practices to amp up the violence and sex (though it did, big time.) Lynch also opened up the film language he used, making for a bleak, despairing yet still emotionally gripping story about what is essentially a story about incest and abuse. Their woozy, disembodied push-ins, the hallucinogenic montages — they all showed the disintegration and psychic violence that came about from the bodily violence Laura Palmer experienced, and these were elements of the ‘Twin Peaks’ mythology that were subsumed by the TV series’ relative tameness, not to mention its fancies of quirk and irony.

Interestingly, this new show feels to me like taking the powers of craft that Lynch showed in ‘Mulholland Drive’ — not to mention his own experiments in painting and video art — and revisiting some of his most fertile storytelling material. It’s a damn powerful combination. Essentially, he has the visual prowess and mastery to match this particular story universe — the scale of his ability fits the scale of his storytelling ambitions, which is always an exciting thing to see in any artist. It’s this amazing spiral for Lynch, and he’s finally marrying his mature gifts as a filmmaker with the most resonant characters, settings and concerns of his career. And all in what’s essentially an 18-hour movie as well!

I have so many other nerd things to discuss about the new ‘Twin Peaks,’ like where it sits in the history of television, and I’m dying to geek out on the brilliant sound design. (I love how record scratches begin each section into the Black Lodge, for instance.) I’m sure there will be an instance of each Friday Five where I mention something, because that’s how much of a nerd I am. So…stay tuned?

+ Okay, if you’re aren’t Twin Peaking along with me, I’ll just mention here that I’m very excited about the dress that I’m wearing today. As I mentioned last week, I bought a bunch of Victoria Beckham for Target items on sale, including this white-and-pink patterned shift. I love this dress in particular because it reminds me of something my mother would’ve worn when she was younger — in fact, the whole collection kind of has that vibe for me in a way. (Must be all the nods to mod fashion.) It’s funny because I had written off a lot of fashion collabos over the years, but I found this one to be resonant for me because of the way it told a story of childhood enchantment through clothing. A lot of my early imagination and sense of beauty was inspired directly from my mother’s clothing — she loved florals, colors, clean lines — and often I wonder if how I dress will linger in my son’s memory when he gets older. It’s definitely an interesting way to think about fashion, and something I’m just beginning to explore.

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