The Twin Peaks geek in me twitched like Killer Bob at news that David Lynch and Mark Frost are reviving their freaky TV phenomenon of 1990 to ’91, with nine new shows planned for 2016.
Then I saw the Twitter hashtag Lynch and Frost are using to promote it, on a social media platform that didn’t exist back then: #damngoodcoffee.
It gave me a jolt, like being awoken from a dream by a whispering giant.
My recollection of FBI special agent Dale Cooper’s java fetish is that he always talked about having a “damn fine cup of coffee,” not a “damn good” one. I have the evidence on YouTube, which also didn’t exist back then.
I’m now a little worried about what Lynch and Frost are up to. If they can’t get the small details like this correct, how can we trust them with the big ones?
Twin Peaks was all about the tiny details that added up to one very strange picture, like that town sign seen at the start of every show, indicating a population of 51,201. Why so specific a number? Who’s the extra person?
I have my theories, which I used to write about back in the day when I was the Star’s in-house Twin Peaks maniac. Like many people, I was completely caught up in the hunt for the killer (or killers) of cheerleader Laura Palmer, her body left like a shrink-wrapped Sleeping Beauty in the cold and gloom of her Pacific Northwest hometown.
I’m also now bracing myself for fellow Twin Peaks obsessives to contradict my memory and say no, Cooper used “damn good” more often than “damn fine” to describe his coffee. (The YouTube clip, incidentally, is erroneously labelled as “damn good coffee.”)
Bring it on, I say. It’s going to require dedication on this level of insanity if Lynch and Frost and their Showtime cable host hope to rekindle the magic of a series that really did change television.
Twin Peaks proved that you didn’t have to finish a story or wrap up a mystery in the 30-minute or 60-minute time allotment of conventional TV, as did other big shows of the early ’90s: Law & Order, Northern Exposure, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air and Beverly Hills, 90210.
Individual shows didn’t even have to make sense. You could pack them with bizarre characters like the Log Lady, the dancing dwarf or that whispering giant, and have bizarre tangents like Cooper’s addiction to coffee and doughnuts, and people would keep coming back for more.
You can draw a direct line from Twin Peaks to this year’s True Detective, the series I think most resembles the original Lynch/Frost vision — and which I bet played a role in their announced decision over the weekend to do a “25 Years Later” follow to the original two-season run.
But so much has changed in the past quarter-century, it makes me wonder if they can recapture lightning in a bottle and not just cold coffee in a Thermos. They already dropped the ball once, with Lynch’s misbegotten and multiplex-shunned 1992 film prequel Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
On the plus side, they left us with the cliffhanger of all cliffhangers, and stop reading this second if you don’t know what it is and plan to catch up.
Virtuous Cooper was trapped behind the red curtain in the Black Lodge, his soul apparently snatched by villainous Killer Bob. Never mind a happy ending; this didn’t even feel like an ending and it concluded a wildly uneven second season that left most Peaks freaks, me among them, feeling cheated.
Lynch and Frost admitted that once they’d solved the Palmer killing, they didn’t really know where to take the story, and it showed. If they manage to tie up those loose ends and get Cooper his first hot cup of joe in 25 years, then I’m all for it.
Also on the plus side, the new Twin Peaks will exist in the world of the Internet, meaning that fans can obsess over the story like never before. Back in the early ’90s, people use to congregate around real office water coolers to talk about the show, not the electronic ones we all use now. Many more people will be able to simultaneously discuss each new episode.
The Internet could also prove to be a negative. Total dedication to the show is necessary to make it a real event, but if people tear each episode to shreds immediately after it airs, will it dilute the mystery and dull the pleasure?
And what about binge watchers, another new viewing phenomenon? Will they load up on all nine episodes and turn into office and online killjoys? At the other extreme, will attention-shy tweeters and texters even want to make the effort?
I’m also a little worried about whether Lynch and Frost can resist the push for product placements, something that has also become much bigger in the past quarter-century. Will Cooper’s coffee be Starbucks and his doughnuts come from Tim Hortons?
Lynch and Frost are keeping their cards close to their vest, as is their wont. They’ve declined to discuss casting (although surely Kyle MacLachlan’s Cooper will be back), preferring instead to tweet out happy head-flips like the line they used over the weekend to announce the show’s return: “That gum you like is going to come back in style!”
In style, you say? That sounds hopeful.
I’m damn good with that. I’m even damn fine with it.