My Evolving Reaction to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

I am sure I will continue to have scintillating thoughts as I continue to endure this show, so I may as well start a thread here rather than throw them away on Twitter & Faceborg.

The best way to comprehend what mathematicians mean by Infinity is to contemplate the weirdness of the new Twin Peaks

New #TwinPeaks = a combination of the sublime, the ridiculous, & #DavidLynch‘s slow-burn revenge on mainstream TV for canceling the show.

The show is like what aliens from another galaxy would make, if they tried to imitate our TV & got everything wrong.

With Twin Peaks 2017, I think Lynch takes the point of view of his inter-dimensional predator, decimating humankind while viewing them as stupid, bumbling puppets incapable of grasping the reality they are lost in.

The funniest thing about Lynch’s new Twin Peaks is imagining the expressions on the faces of the show’s money men when they first saw it.

Does #DavidLynch care how bad #TwinPeaks is as long as it’s weird? He takes badness to surreal levels, and vice versa.

After watching episode 4 of #TwinPeaks, I was compelled to report Lynch to the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Actors.

I was also compelled to start my own “fan-edit”: to rescue Lynch’s genius from his willed perversity and asininity. Watch this space.

I don’t think I have ever had the experience of feeling compelled to go on watching a show that at the same time I find almost unwatchably awful. That’s a feat in & of itself.

Is Lynch’s point with Twin Peaks to show us just how distorted, pointless, and grotesque our addiction to pop culture is?

The show creates a new medium: aesthetics as torture.

*

Update July 1 2017:

Having caught up on Twin Peaks, I’m not sure how evolved my thoughts are going to be.

Ep 6 had a bit more narrative drive & the hit & run death of the child was genuinely horrific, but then, how hard is it to make something like that horrific? All it really takes is the will (and the clout) to show it. Where the contrast between good Lynch and bad Lynch becomes most stark is in his use of violence. In Wild at Heart it was titillating, in Blue Velvet traumatic. In Lost Highway it started out traumatic and ended up titillating, empty of emotional weight. The violence in this new show seems mostly of this latter sort.

I suspect a split between Lynch’s TM-calibrated brain states and his delvings into the id. It is like the one is compensatory for the other, without any real integration happening.

The problem with TP so far, IMO, is that besides “Dougie” (the new all-autistic Lynch protagonist), the human dimension is lacking. Lynch doesn’t seem bothered about giving us a way “in” to his dream realm.

BV remains his stand-out work because Jeffrey is the perfect stand-in for us, the viewer, as we are both repelled by and irresistibly drawn into Lynch underworld. The transcendental vision only comes about through that recognition of what draws us to the darkness, and as we integrate it, like the robin eating the beetle. In TP, neither the darkness nor the light are weighted in anything recognizably human.

Ep 8: I guess I can see why it got people’s attention, with the White Sands atomic portal-opening sequence, the arrival of Demon Bob and his hobo-zombie-alien hordes taking over the airwaves and inducing mass hypnosis. But IMO it could have been a third of the length and worked better. A lot of it just seemed like Lynch getting off on being Lynch.

The weirdo sequences in the white lodge(?) lacked the frisson of the eerie that ep 1 captured so well. I noticed also a bit of a Kubrick vibe to this episode. It is Lynch in the role or Revealer of the Big Mysteries, yawn, truth too deep for dialogue or narrative. We are invited just to submit to his aural-visual magick and be awed.

Where is Lynch in all this? Same place Kubrick is in 2001. They are the men behind the movie curtain.

Art that conceals the artists and turns them into Demiurgos is supposed to be myth-making. But myths without a human dimension are meaningless except as dark dissociation fantasies. It’s the flip side of a Spielbergian affirmation of our humanness.

Is this all Bob’s eye view stuff? When the Ahriman Demon was evoked by the primordial splitting of Matter (mother), and its first encounter with humanity was a fake town filled with mannequins, was that the template for Bob’s vision? And is that DL’s TM-turbo-boosted vision also? That human beings are manufactured meat puppets in need of da/emonic animation – or disembowelment?

The appeal of the new TP is probably most of all in its gnomic impenetrability. It gives nods to the APC UFO-occult-paranoid demographic and hooks us with the promise of glimpsing Inside Secrets of the Black Lodge (which I suppose we are). It gives us just enough rope to hang ourselves.

17 thoughts on “My Evolving Reaction to David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

  1. Wow, there’s a new Twin Peaks? I didn’t know. Were you a fan of the first one? I think if I watched it again now there’s a lot more I would understand.

  2. Out of curiosity, I thought of reading some reviews to get a sense of how people were responding to it. Then, I decided to check here to see if you’d written about it and—voila!

    I couldn’t agree more with your points here. It really wasn’t until seeing his animated shorts, Dumbland, that I realized the insanity of his sense of humor (meaning, I laughed to the point of feeling insane, which was itself horrifying). My curiosity in Lynch also grew after listening to both albums he recently released, but mostly Crazy Clown Time.

    The new Twin Peaks feels like a satire of itself, and by extension the whole complex of New TV.

    “The show is like what aliens from another galaxy would make, if they tried to imitate our TV & got everything wrong.”

    —This though is the most accurate thing anyone could ever say about it.

  3. Nice to read that. Big part of why I wrote about this was to reality check:am I seeing the same show others are?

    I found myself getting quite angry while watching the last two episodes, not entirely sure why but I think it has to do with how Lynch has created for himself a cultural niche (audience cult) and now he got a chance to do whatever the hell he wanted via that niche, carte blanche, and what he chose to do is IMO badly marred by self-indulgence; but because he’s Lynch he’s going to get praised for it.

    As I wrote in Blood Poets, there is good Lynch & bad Lynch and very little twilight between.

    Good Lynch:
    Eraserhead
    Elephant Man
    Blue Velvet

    First third of Lost Highway (up to but not including “This is some spooky shit we got here”)
    Mulholland Drive
    About a third of Inland Empire
    About a quarter of Twin Peaks S03 so far.

    Bad Lynch:
    Dune
    Wild at Heart
    Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

    The second two thirds of Lost Highway
    So far over half of Twin Peaks S03

    So-so Lynch:
    The Straight Story
    Twin Peaks
    S01-2
    Most of Inland Empire

  4. I should check it out. Is Bowie in Fire Walk With Me ?

    And Jasun, if i may veer off a little here, have you seen the show The Americans ?

    • The Americans.

      Yeah, I have wondered this too. Horsley talks about marriage and the challenge of its intimacy on his podcast sometimes and The Americans does an interesting job of exploring a similar theme.

  5. I simply refuse to expose myself to this new show. I have an almost sacred attitude to the first series. I feel like it is one of the best on-screen portrayals of the occult and high strangeness/paranormal. But I agree with you that Lynch is either on/off and to me that is well exhibited within the show itself. It pretty much falls apart after the murder is solved.

    And your wonderful one-liners only confirm my worst fears. I think Lynch has been caught in a provocateur-loop for some time. Obsessing over surfaces and sensual elements rather than balancing that with content is never good for any narrative artist.

  6. I am just finding out about the new twin peaks show. My husband was watching reruns of the old one a while back. I watched a little to satisfy my curiosity. I thought it was wierd and mildly entertaining. Didn’t feel it was worth my time though. We saw Eraserhead years back and it’s still the most bizarre movie I’ve ever seen. With those, we knew we weren’t David Lynch fans. A few months ago, we dicided to give him another try and watched Mullholland Drive. That movie was the last straw for us. We felt it strung us along and then made no sense at all. It was a wasted 2 hours. We hated it so much and felt it was so bizarre and in Lynch’s style, we vowed to never watch anything else of his. I’ll tell my husband about the new twin peaks, but I don’t think we’ll watch it. He seems to write things just to be wierd, not to make any sense.

    • I think that Lynch is so determined to be weird that he would rather do scenes that are so bad they seem weird than try and do good dramatic scenes that aren’t especially weird. I think that he can only sustain his inspiration for about 10% of his creative time, and that the rest of the time he just wings it; lacking any genuinely inspired weirdness, he fakes it. Weirdness that is forced is just “off,” and when a scene is extremely off, lacking inspiration, it can attain new depths of ineptitude and so seem “weird” and not just inept. The scenes in the new season that take place in Twin Peaks itself, with the sheriff and the bunny and Wally and all that, are of this so-bad-it’s-eerie caliber.

      They also have the nature of a high-school production.

      • Maybe it’s actually a veiled commentary on the US election and aftermath. Fake, weird, high school production caliber – sounds about right.

  7. I watched episode 4 for the second time last nite. The first time I was begnning to catch what Lynch is about, or I supposed so. Spoof. Spoofing what? Soaps sure, nitetime ‘drama; too. Mystery by all means, horror. The running gag and plot mover. Officer, name slips my mind this moment. Dale Cooper I think. Laura Palmer the unsolved case, murdered woman from first Twin Peaks is ongoing central to plot. Lynch is sort of cousin to Tarantino, the biggest of media fans, observing everything about the mediums, then story lining it with due respect to film. But Lynch is more emphatic with the comic (silly) side of film and television. The long, long takes, actors ‘posing as if almost statue then delivering their lines, the interiminable pauses. The mysterious surreal rooms. Marvelous satire.

    I was no fan of Lynch’s first Twin Peaks although I think I caught most of them. (I probably would be now that I know something more than I did then) I don’t remember much. But this time, now I am laughing, actually laughing out loud, as lol signatory means, I don’t believe that there is any big message going on. This is mostly laid back but quite obvious, Spoof. Once the ‘code’ is broken, the SOAP syndrome and the manner in which they are delivered. Talk and talk, back and forth in a room, about personal affairs as if they are going on in your own house. Intrigues. Freaky folks in the family, treated as if normal in all families.

    Anyway, before this episode 4 watching, my Brother John said he is about to catch up, hasn’t watched any yet, wondered what I thought. I said that I was ambivalent so far. That I got bored. But found it mesmereizing. And watched all the way thru. Now that I’ve figured out what is going on, I think, that he is making comedy, humor, disguised as first Twin Peaks serious, but this time much less subtle about the serious. I compare this to the American favorites, radio personalities (and TV later) Bob & Ray who did characters taken from media as well as real life and spoofed that broadly, yet nuanced and delivered up as folks who took themselves seriously. Thus elicited the wonderful satire radio humour of which there is no more like it on radio or television, or hard to find anyway. I suppose the ONION does some, yes, it does on thinking about a few television clips I’ve caught, but I rarely turn to it, don’t watch it, or read it so I am not really a good judge in The ONION’S regard.

    Anyway, what I will tell my Brother, who loves Bob & Ray, as I do, is that, “John, we’ve got David Lynch doing some television in his off-beat manner that is a Bob & Ray here!” Imagine that, that I could extrapolate from Lynch and this new Twin Peaks a relationship, a close one even, to our favorites Bob & Ray.

    The funniest of all actors, in my view, is David Lynch, of all actors. Assuming this annoyingly LOUD voice, and stilted delivery, like a bad actor. They are all excellent., McLaughlin (SP), looking healthy, handsome after over 20 years. Naomi Watts is super. Handling her end of the spoof, serious, yet edged with the spoof. They all do the spoof perfectly, very serious but spoofing. Twin Peaks 2 is very funny.

  8. Episode 8. Well. Made me think of Nick Redfern’s Final Events and The Machine behind reality that Dan Mitchell wrote about on his blog Luminosity.

    Jasun. Do you know if Dan Mitchell has ever done more writing maybe under a different blog? Just curious if you knew. Thanks.

  9. After “Dan Mitchell” took down luminosity, he had a blog called transmissions from the imaginal. This was taken down and the posts deleted a few times as I recall, until he finally took it down permanently. I have been unable to locate any internet presence from him since the final take down. Jason Offutt, who was in contact with him several years ago, may know something: http://mysteriousuniverse.org/2011/11/the-mysterious-harlequin-part-one/

    As for episode 8, it was the first episode of the new run that really got my attention. I would be interested in your thoughts as well, Jasun, when you catch up.

    • Having caught up on Twin Peaks, I’m not sure how evolved my thoughts are going to be.

      Ep 6 had a bit more narrative drive & the hit & run death of the child was genuinely horrific, but then, how hard is it to make something like that horrific? All it really takes is the will (and the clout) to show it. Where the contrast between good Lynch and bad Lynch becomes most stark is in his use of violence. In Wild at Heart it was titillating, in Blue Velvet traumatic. In Lost Highway it started out traumatic and ended up titillating, empty of emotional weight. The violence in this new show seems mostly of this latter sort.

      I suspect a split between Lynch’s TM-calibrated brain states and his delvings into the id. It is like the one is compensatory for the other, without any real integration happening.

      The problem with TP so far, IMO, is that besides “Dougie” (the new all-autistic Lynch protagonist), the human dimension is lacking. Lynch doesn’t seem bothered about giving us a way “in” to his dream realm.

      BV remains his stand-out work because Jeffrey is the perfect stand-in for us, the viewer, as we are both repelled by and irresistibly drawn into Lynch underworld. The transcendental vision only comes about through that recognition of what draws us to the darkness, and as we integrate it, like the robin eating the beetle. In TP, neither the darkness nor the light are weighted in anything recognizably human.

      Ep 8: I guess I can see why it got people’s attention, with the White Sands atomic portal-opening sequence, the arrival of Demon Bob and his hobo-zombie-alien hordes taking over the airwaves and inducing mass hypnosis. But IMO it could have been a third of the length and worked better. A lot of it just seemed like Lynch getting off on being Lynch.

      The weirdo sequences in the white lodge(?) lacked the frisson of the eerie that ep 1 captured so well. I noticed also a bit of a Kubrick vibe to this episode. It is Lynch in the role or Revealer of the Big Mysteries, yawn, truth too deep for dialogue or narrative. We are invited just to submit to his aural-visual magick and be awed.

      Where is Lynch in all this? Same place Kubrick is in 2001. They are the men behind the movie curtain.

      Art that conceals the artists and turns them into Demiurgos is supposed to be myth-making. But myths without a human dimension are meaningless except as dark dissociation fantasies. It’s the flip side of a Spielbergian affirmation of our humanness.

      Is this all Bob’s eye view stuff? When the Ahriman Demon was evoked by the primordial splitting of Matter (mother), and its first encounter with humanity was a fake town filled with mannequins, was that the template for Bob’s vision? And is that DL’s TM-turbo-boosted vision also? That human beings are manufactured meat puppets in need of da/emonic animation – or disembowelment?

      The appeal of the new TP is probably most of all in its gnomic impenetrability. It gives nods to the APC UFO-occult-paranoid demographic and hooks us with the promise of glimpsing Inside Secrets of the Black Lodge (which I suppose we are). It gives us just enough rope to hang ourselves.

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