August 24th, 2001

Twin Peaks: Snoqualmie

Too much of a good thing . . .

Hello, my name is Katharine, and I am a recovering English/Philosophy major. ;)

Today, I am happy because, thanks to the wonder of the internet bringing other such twisted souls together, I found out that the image in Cooper's dream (Twin Peaks) that I'd wondered about was actually meant to be the shadow of a bird. This makes utter sense in light of other aspects of the show's plot, which I won't go into here.

I know I'm a type, if a rather small and esoteric one. Heck, I think somebody official associated with Vertigo Comics actually codified us as a subset of a group, after doing a little research on who was reading Neil Gaiman's Sandman. Apparently, English majors are hot for his work, particularly those of us who wore black turtlenecks and crystals at one point in our lives. :) (Hey, that was a long time ago!)

It's not our fault. We've all been poisoned by symbolism, and we're just suckers for a big story arc. Babylon 5, Twin Peaks, Wheel of Time, referential humor and literature, here we all come with our library cards in hand and DVD players at the ready.

I don't know if it was my whispering high school English teacher who poisoned me: I think the seeds were planted well before, by a family full of people who loved to read. A certain part of it is my inherent enjoyment of deduction and interpretation, I'm sure. I love finding the clues and doing the literary forensics of analyzing clues and elements the writer deliberately left behind, hoping that someone might catch him or her. Anything that works on an academic level of myth that would appeal to Campbell scholars is my cup of tea. There's an even smaller subset of English majors divided by heated beverage preferences (coffee vs. tea), but these distinctions are far too fine for the gross implements of marketing, apparently.

Investigating symbolism and theorizing on meanings, preferably in beverage-accompanied discussion with like-minded individuals, is the drug of intellectuals, or so I've been told.

Clearly, I'm hooked to the point of needing a 12-step program, or an emergency intervention of some sort. After being asked to do a panel on Twin Peaks, I've gotten so re-immersed in the Frost/Lynch mythos that I've written a three-and-a-half page outline (see below) . . . and that was me severely restraining my enthusiasm, folks. I have enough material to easily do at least five panels' worth of coverage. Upon further reflection, I think I should be grateful that the show only lasted two seasons, else film school students would never graduate. :/

What is it about this arty Frost/Lynch collaboration that remains so enduringly compelling that the VHS box set remains the number one selling video compilation on Yahoo! over eleven years after its initial release? I'm obviously not alone, and as far as I know, there's no coordinated conspiracy by Peakers to keep it up there, unlike what I've heard about the Scientologists buying copies of Dianetics in bushels to keep it on the bestseller lists.

I thought some of you might enjoy taking a look at this . . . but do not read it if you haven't seen the series! It will ruin some magical moments of discovery, and Lynch places such a high value on mystery that you really damage your enjoyment of his work if you don't experience the revelation in context.

Preliminary Outline for TP Panel

Note: I - VII should run no more than 30 min, with remaining 30 min (at least) for discussion

I. HA: Opening Remarks (K.)

II. Introduction of Panel


  1. Why the panel is good timing
  2. The American pilot from Hong Kong
  3. Current status of Artisan (December release date)
  4. Current history/status of New Line for FWWM
IV. Fight for the Deleted Scenes
  1. Story of French company Ciby
  2. Internet effort to get content on DVD
  3. Why it's unlikely there will be more TP (deaths of Silva and Nance)
  4. Mention flyer in people's seats
V. Symbolism, Mythology and Imagery
  1. Dreams and visions
  2. The color blue
  3. The lodges and the motivations of the spirits: the enemy of my enemy is my friend
  4. Dualism
    1) Twinning (Laura/Maddy, Bob/Mike, Shelley/Bobby, Lodges, doppelgangers)
    2) Drag/identities/alter egos/vessels: Josie, Katherine/Mr. T; Denis/Denise
    3) Disguises at One Eyed Jack's, Leland/BOB, Gerard/MIKE, Senor Droolcup/Giant)
    4) Incomplete people: The arm," Ben Horne (tall)/Jerry Horne (short), the giant/the LMFAP
    5) The geography: two lodges, twin peaks
  5. Drug use (the one armed man, Sara P., Laura)
  6. Flowers (Black Rose, Blue Rose, Harold's orchids, "flower cut down")
  7. Dancing
  8. Andy as town's innocence and conscience
  9. Circles: the fan, the record player, the ring, the circle boots
  10. Elemental symbolism
    1) Water
    "But a town is like a river: Lots of hidden currents and eddies, concealing their own secrets. I haven't even broken the surface yet." Cooper, from the audio tape.
    2) Wood
    "The wood holds many spirits, doesn't it Margaret?" - Hawk.
    3) Fire (cigarettes, burning oil, fireplaces, mill burns)
    4) Air (birds, Cooper)
  11. Mythos in other Lynch works
VI. Influences on other shows
  1. X-Files
  2. Northern Exposure
  3. Picket Fences
  4. Debate on Buffy's season finale
  5. Parallels to Lars von Trier's The Kingdom
VII. Music

VIII. Little-known facts and history

  1. How BOB was found (Frank Silva moving props on set)
  2. ABC's change of the town's population
  3. ABC's push to resolve the story (L. would have never solved, or left it unsolved longer)
  4. Speaking backwards in the lodge (Michael Anderson)
  5. The original script ending for FWWM
  6. The Muppets satire, the SNL skit
  7. Lynch thinks the famous scene in the Red Room is one of his best pieces of work
IX. Open floor for discussion
  1. The ending of the series - what did you think?
  2. Share favorite moments
  3. Tell us who your favorite character is, or character you identify with most
  4. Discuss symbolism
  5. Ask questions
X. Questions Answered
  1. Cooper's fate
    Few care how Annie is; most are far more interested in resolving the 'But What Became of Cooper?' storyline cliffhanger... A couple of years ago, [TP series writer] Harley Peyton addressed this issue with the following newsgroup post: "Just for the record, our original intention was to play it as if good Coop had left the lodge with Bob inside him. Then, at some later date, reveal that it was, in fact, his doppleganger. Too bad we never got the chance." - HP

  2. Was a rescue planned for Agent Cooper?
    Sarah Palmer: "I'"
    Sarah Palmer is acting as a medium when this comes from her mouth. I have a theory that it's Windom speaking through Sarah, daring or inviting (you be the judge) Major Briggs to come in after Cooper and save him. I asked Don Davis (Briggs) himself at the festival in '96 if he was meant to save him and he said "YES!" According to Davis, had the series continued, the Major would have been a pivotal character and the strong spirit and insight given to him by the White Lodge would have made him the only possible choice to release Cooper from the Black Lodge...

  3. Did Audrey die in the bank vault?
    Sherilyn Fenn says no: she was always slated to survive anything, and very nearly had her own spin-off.

  4. What are BOB's origins?
    In a question and answer session, Mark Frost indicated that the idea for BOB originated in American Indian mythology and that he was a local evil spirit whose presence in the Twin Peaks area dates back to ancient times.

  5. What was Lynch's imagery/symbolism and what was Frost's?
    The visual style was basically Lynch and the other directors tried to stay in that vein. Reading Frost's novel "The List of Seven" (see question M5) reveals that much of the supernatural/mystical aspects of the show attributed to Lynch probably came from Frost.

  6. Why didn't Audrey and Cooper get together?
    Kyle MacLachlan objected to the plan to develop a romance between Coop and Audrey and make it the major thread to replace the Laura Palmer arc.

  7. Where might the series have gone in a third season had it not been cancelled?
    First in line at a Mark Frost book signing session - Brian T Kelley The book signing was, I believe, in August of 1994, at the Friar Tuck Bookshop in Saratoga Springs, NY. I apparently was the first person to arrive. Mark Frost was dressed all in black and carried a copy of that day's NY Post. (I was struck by how much he looked like William Gibson, the science fiction writer.)

    He was soft-spoken and friendly, and very tolerant of my fannish enthusiasm. He signed my copy of "The List of 7" as well as my copy of the TP zine "Wrapped In Plastic" that featured a Mark Frost interview. Since I was the only person there, I was able to monopolize him with Twin Peaks questions for a good 20 minutes or so, and he accepted this with good grace and humor. We also talked about "List of 7" and his movie "Storyville."

    Basically, this close encounter just left me feeling sad that Twin Peaks will forever go unfinished and unresolved, because he was very emphatic that there would never be any continuation of the story.

    Apparently Mark Frost and David Lynch had a falling out. He said that Lynch had "burned a lot of bridges, personally and in the industry." Therefore, there was no possibility of his (Frost's) involvement in a sequel. Since both Frost and Lynch created the series (and own the rights to it) they would both have to agree to a continuation in any form, and that just isn't going to happen. He mentioned a Michener-esque novel as something that he might have done if he could, but he couldn't.

    Also, in this conversation Frost let slip some ideas that the 3rd season might have used. It would fast forward 25 years, with Dale Cooper being Twin Peaks' aging pharmacist (!). Also, BOB and MIKE would have been revealed to have come from "a planet made of corn, corn everywhere." BOB stole some special corn (garmonbozia) and fled to Earth, and MIKE pursued him to retrieve it. Frost said that these ideas weren't fully developed and no scripts had been written.

If we have time:

XI. TP Trivia

  1. How long had Ben Horne owned One Eyed Jack's? (5 years)
  2. Who takes Cooper's ring? (the giant)
  3. Who played Pierre Tremond, aka "the creamed corn kid" in the series? (David Lynch's son, Austin Jack Lynch)
XII. Additional resources
  1. Web sites of interest
  2. The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer
  3. Lynch on Lynch - the importance of mystery
  4. Mulholland Drive

Banshee cries

I've got way too much stuff there! We could do a panel on general memories of the show, another on influences, about three or four on symbolism, a panel of folks who've appeared on it, a trivia quiz . . .that's probably a day's worth of track programming right there. :(

Of course, with my luck, all but two of the panel attendees will be there simply for the free doughnuts. :( I mean, I'm wondering if anyone would even recognize me were I to dress up as, say, the Log Lady? I'm not going to do that, but I hope we'll have at least some folks show up for the show. I hope all those box set purchasers aren't out in the heartland somewhere, or if they are, I hope they're attending DragonCon in a little over a week.


We'll see what happens. I'll letcha know. :)