Sunday, 29 November 2009

Twin Peaks and staying on the path...

On Friday I went to a graduation ceremony. The last one I'd been to was mine, back in 1989. I was fresh faced and ready to go. Shake the world and see what dropped out.
Now, twenty years (!?!) later here I am, sitting with all the proud mums and dads, watching their offspring spring off. And I'm wondering "My God, was I ever that young?"
It doesn't seem that long ago, honest.
Oh, by the way, I wasn't there for my kids, I like to believe they're brighter than most but being under ten it wasn't either of them collecting their degrees. It was my wife getting her doctorate (always handy to have one in the house, don't you think?). A lot of things happened in the course of that first decade as a grown-up but I won't bore you with the details. I'll just dwell on one thing.
TWIN PEAKS. My God, a festival of awesomeness. I so wanted to marry Sherilyn Fenn. And Madchen Amick. Dale Cooper was the epitome of cool and I watched the Tuesday episode, taped it and watched it over the week and then the repeat of it on Sunday. For me it caused the hysteria rarely seen outside of a Twilight convention.
It was disturbing, dreamlike and bewildering. It made no sense. It was 'streams of conciousness TV' and bypassed the brain. Owls swooped across the midnight woods, women with logs gave ominous clues and ghosts and demons schemed and screamed but the darkest horrors lay at home.
Who killed Laura Palmer? First, it mattered. Then it didn't. In solving the crime the show lost its way, or so took it's own path into the deep forest that all boundaries fell away and everything good did indeed become everything bad. I struggle to write heroes, mainly because all I can see is the barely supressed villainy. Never trust a guy in a white hat. What's he hiding under there?
I wonder if with plots and arcs and character development we're too on the straight and narrow. Why should the good guys win? Life is cloud chasing, Twin Peaks showed these clouds sometimes gave was to the sun, but more often than not, to storms and terrifying violence. Twin Peaks, in storytelling, strayed way way off the path. It wasn't to the taste of many, maybe even to most, as no matter what we think about ourselves, we ARE afraid of the forest. The warnings of Little Red Riding Hood ring in our ears whenever we're tempted.
Stay on the path. Don't court danger. Be good, obedient children.
I wonder what will become of those graduates as they are put on the road. Will they stick to the tride and tested route towards career and wages and whatever. I know I did for many many years, not daring to look left or right to the trees and never wondering if there might be something just a bit more interesting than all this tarmac. Maybe by stepping off, there is no going back. But think about it. Was there ever a chance to go back? To anything?


Jeannette Towey said...

Oh so right, Sarwat!

I think Lost tries to do now what Twin Peaks did then, but it doesn't really come close. And what's wrong with stories that leave you guessing, that drive you on to read more because they don't fill in all the gaps from the start? Maybe we all get over critiqued, and over edited and the art of stroy telling gets lost as a result.

So here's to more mystery, more unhappy endings, and more to stimulate the little grey cells.


Tam said...

I loved Twin Peaks too! I've never tried to watch it again, I think some things are better left alone...

SarwatC said...

I have got the dvd set, but haven't checked it out for much the same reason.
Spookily enough, I did find my old Twin Peaks posters this w/e including a delectable one of Sherlyn, Madchen and Lara. Oh, and one of Agent Cooper.