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#atozchallenge: G is for Gordon…

 

Today’s rather late entry for the #atozchallenge is a celebration of one of my favourite David Lynch creations; himself.

Because the sixth time we delve into my B-Z of Twin Peaks we find FBI Regional Bureau Chief Gordon Cole, played by, you guessed it, David Lynch.

One of the most endearing things about Twin Peaks is the way moments of innocent and absurd comedy produce a welcome counterpoint to the darker themes, Lynch’s character being one of the prime examples of this comic relief. He apparently took Cole’s name from a minor character in 1950’s Sunset Boulevard, one of his favourite movies.

Gordon Cole is Special Agent Dale Cooper’s immediate superior and initially only appears as a voice on a phone speaker, albeit a very loud one. The reason for this becomes clear when Cole finally arrives in town; he is severely deaf and wears two hearing aids, meaning that he TALKS AT FULL VOLUME ALL THE TIME! and constantly mishears people, leading to some great comic moments.

The reason for Gordon’s deafness is never really addressed, although he does say at one point is that “it’s a long story” . But there is a twist; in one of the scenes from the show that still makes me laugh out loud even now, after all the times I’ve seen it.
Here’s FBI Bureau Chief Gordon Cole meeting “miraculous” waitress Shelley Johnson for the first time, ordering some of that famous cherry pie.

#atozchallenge: G is for Gordon.

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2017 in A - Z challenge, Blogging, TV, Twin Peaks

 

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N-n-n-n-nine Tina…

Okay, so I couldn’t think of a 9-based name for my ninth instalment of interactive inanities, there only being so many number related puns to go round.
Anyway it gives me the chance to crowbar in an electro classic before we get started.

Now let’s get back to the business at hand, following on from the Stephen King double header yesterday which included The Shining..

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…the film version of which was directed by Stanley Kubrick.
Kubrick also directed A Clockwork Orange..
…taken from the novel by Anthony Burgess.
Tim Burgess is the leader of The Charlatans..
Tim Booth is the leader of James.
…and along with US composer Angelo Badalamenti, he records as Booth and the Bad Angel.

Badalamenti works extensively with David Lynch (well obviously I was going to get him in here somehow) and I have great pleasure to share with you his entire second album, The Big Dream.

And because they’re my rules and I’m the one making them up as I go along, here’s two bonus films.
The first is an in-depth documentary on the making of Lynch’s extraordinary and disturbing Eraserhead and the second a rare look at Rabbits, another strange glimpse into the Lynchian psyche.

Sweet dreams.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2013 in Arts, Blogging, Films, Music, Tenuous Lynx

 

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Peaking too early…

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Most of the rumours of a sequel or reboot of Twin Peaks from David Lynch have recently been quashed by the man himself.

I have mixed feelings about this, as the show finished prematurely. Because there were obviously questions left unanswered.

A lot of questions.

Many of these were addressed in the – even darker, sleazier – prequel movie, Fire, Walk With Me, but given the timeline of events in the series, now would be an ideal time to bring events up to date.

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But, on balance, I think it would be unwise to try and recapture the essence of what made the series so unique in the first place, that unselfconscious oddness which has been so often aped – with varying degrees of success – by shows like The X-Files and Happy Town.

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After all, what made the show so much fun to watch was the interaction between Cooper and the inhabitants of the town when he first arrives.
His growing friendship with the flirtatious Audrey Horne is a good example.

Also, his romance in season two, with Annie Blackburn, (an early role for Heather Graham) sister of RR Diner owner, Norma Jennings, is central to the later plot line.

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Here’s a couple of great clips, the second showing not only Cooper’s softer side, but Lynch himself, appearing in his recurring role as Cooper’s boss, Gordon Cole, who also features in this first scene.

And now, The Joke…

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Other new arrivals in town have quite an impact too.
Sheryl Lee (who plays Laura) turns up to cause all sorts of emotional turmoil as Madeline Ferguson, Laura’s cousin…

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…to say nothing of future X-Files star, David Duchovny as transvestite DEA agent Denise (formerly Dennis) Bryson

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Here he is, arriving in the Sheriff’s office for the first time.

One of my favourite occasional characters is that of Albert Rosenfeld, played with aggressive comic precision by Miguel Ferrer.
Here is his abrasive entry into sleepy Twin Peaks society.

…and a glimpse into his personal philosophy.

To go too much into the plot of season two would spoil the big reveal, so I’ll just say that when you’ve finished watching it, you’ll want to see the story before the story.

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Fire, Walk With Me tells the story of the last ten days of Laura Palmer’s life, ending at the exact point that the series begins.
It’s an altogether more hardcore vision of Twin Peaks, starring many, but not all original cast members, along with Kiefer Sutherland, Harry Dean Stanton, and Chris Isaak.

The plot contains so many spoilers for the series that it’s almost impossible to discuss it, so I shall just say this.

***Don’t watch the trailer, don’t read the review, don’t even read the DVD cover***

Not until you’ve seen the series anyway.

And that is all I will say on the subject.
Probably done me good to get it off my chest.

Although, having spent all this time reminiscing, I have a feeling that I may have to start from the beginning, all over again.

As the giant says –

The Twin Peaks – Gold Edition DVD boxset is out now.

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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in TV, Twin Peaks

 

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Giants, Owls, Mike, and Bob…

Nowadays, it’s always worth checking out a new TV series online (especially a US show) before committing yourself to watching something that, only one or two seasons in, could suddenly vanish from your screen, a victim of the studio losing confidence in it, or deciding that the ratings are not impressive enough.

I’ve lost track of the number of interesting, inventive shows that have ceased to exist in this irritating manner over the last few years.
Sometimes it’s simply a case of shows like promising, high-tech conspiracy/Sci-fi thriller Flash Forward, or big budget alien invasion series The Event being canceled hallway through their run.
Or if you’re lucky, producers get advanced warning of the impending demise of a series, and in the case of Joss Whedon‘s intriguing Dollhouse, are able to tie up any loose ends with a couple of hastily written episodes before the corporate axe falls.

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Twin Peaks was to have a slightly different fate however.

While the original series gained popular and critical acclaim, ABC studios repeatedly insisted that David Lynch reveal the identity of Laura Palmer’s killer at the end of the first season.
This went against the idea that Lynch had at the start, originally intending that the identity of Laura’s killer would remain a mystery.

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The result of this was the show lost it’s way slightly during season two, including too many side plots which, despite some interesting ideas, detracted from the intricate main storyline.

Because this was never going to be any normal murder investigation, even from the beginning.

And it’s not only the idiosyncratic Agent Cooper who is conscious of the differences in Twin Peaks, as we find when The Bookhouse Boys (Harry, Hawk, and Big Ed Hurley, played by another Lynch regular, Everett McGill) tell him about the history of the area.

Big Ed isn’t any stranger to strangeness, being married as he is, to Nadine Hurley, (Wendy Robie, in a truly unhinged performance) who provides many of the show’s comedy moments.

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Here is one of her typical scenes.

The “darkness” in the woods that Harry talks about is hinted at by many of the characters, most notably The Log Lady and Major Briggs who, we discover, has a lot more information than he is at liberty to reveal.

This is one of numerous mentions of Owls, and “their” appearance heralds the arrival of the supernatural element of the show.
The first time we are made aware of this is early on, during Cooper’s dream.

This scene is also the first time that we hear about Bob and Mike, the One Armed Man (not to be confused with – or more likely, most definitely intended to be confused with – Bobby Briggs and Mike Nelson, two of Laura’s high school friends)

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…and then later on, when Cooper has his first visit from the giant (no, really, he’s a giant), the significance of the Owls is reinforced.

This otherworldly undercurrent is what saves the later episodes, building to an utterly riveting climax to the series which, although bizarre and unconventional, even by Lynch’s standards, is still one of the most memorable pieces of television ever.

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In my final post on The Best TV Show Ever, I will give you a few more tasters to tempt you into the world of Twin Peaks, and hopefully remind those of you who have already been there why you loved it in the first place.

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Don’t touch that dial…

 
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Posted by on April 28, 2013 in TV, Twin Peaks

 

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TV gets Lynched…

The TV event of 1990, as far as I was concerned anyway, was the arrival on our screens of what can only be described as “Soap Noir”, David Lynch’s groundbreaking, genre-defying cult classic Twin Peaks.

As I may have mentioned in passing, I’m a massive fan of his work, and the idea of having a slice of Lynch on the TV every week was a film nerd’s dream.
And us nerds, we weren’t disappointed.

As I sat down in my tiny bedsit in Crowborough to watch the feature-length pilot, I was instantly drawn into Lynch-land by the haunting theme, composed by long time Lynch collaborator, Angelo BadalamentI

The series opens with the discovery, by Pete Martell (Lynch regular, Jack Nance) of a body, wrapped in plastic, on the shore from which he is fishing.

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Leaving the body as he finds it, he calls the Sheriff, Harry S. Truman (played by the slow talking, amiable Michael Ontkean) who arrives with one of the show’s first recognisable Lynchian comic creations, bumbling, slow witted deputy, Andy Brennan (Harry Goaz) who, on discovering that the body is that of popular local homecoming queen, Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee), repeatedly bursts into tears whilst attempting to photograph the scene.

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The significance of her identity is continually reinforced by each successive character’s reaction to the news. The town doctor/medical examiner, Will Hayward, who arrives to transport the body (twinkly-eyed but world weary Warren Frost) is shocked that the sweet and innocent girl he delivered into the world should turn up so brutally murdered.

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Watch the opening scene here.

The show features many well established actors, as well as a whole host of newcomers made famous by their roles in it. One of the recognisable stars who appears throughout is Grace Zabriskie, known for roles in TV series Seinfeld, and movies such as Fried Green Tomatoes…, and other Lynch projects like Wild at Heart and Inland Empire. She stars as Sarah Palmer, Laura’s mother, and we first meet her when she finds Laura’s bed unslept in, and is ringing round her friends trying to find where she spent the night.

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Meanwhile, we see Laura’s father, Leland, receiving the news of her death from Sheriff Truman, while at work at The Great Northern Hotel.
Unfortunately, his wife has just rung him..

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…and overhears the conversation, leaving her in her default state for much of the series, which can be pretty much summed up by;

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During the following scenes, we see various school friends hearing of Laura’s murder.

Her boyfriend, Bobby Briggs (the swaggering Dana Ashbrook)

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..classmate and best friend, Donna Hayward (wholesome girl-next-door Lara Flynn Boyle)

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…and pouting teen sex kitten Audrey Horne (played with smouldering silver screen vampishness by Sherilyn Fenn)

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Even re-watching the series, as I have many times, the whole Twin Peaks universe seems trapped in a bubble of timelessness, neither of it’s time, nor dated by the passage of time. The presence of so much warm hued pine, used in many of the interiors, lends a comfortable glow to the atmosphere, sometimes at odds with events taking place there.
And it’s this juxtaposition of the cosy, familiar surroundings of small town life, where even the thought of murder is alien to those that live there, that makes the increasingly bizarre story that unfolds in and around their tight knit community all the more shocking.

The Great Northern, located at the top of the waterfall;

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The RR Diner;

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I realise that it seems as if this is going to be, even at it’s most condensed, a very long winded analysis, but I think I should at least try to set the scene, to give those of you new to the strange world that is Twin Peaks, a feel for the ambience of the place which our hero, Dale Cooper is about to enter…

I shall bear in mind the fact that a friend of mine was actually forced to stop watching the show, just to avoid discussing it with me each week (sorry Simon) and rein in my tendency to ramble, as we follow him on his strange trip.

Stay tuned.

Photos – the David Lynch archive.

 
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Posted by on April 21, 2013 in TV, Twin Peaks

 

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