June 1st, 2011


In Which We Get Twisted (& #ROW80 Check-In)

Or, The past--it haunts us, precious.

I hope everyone had a fun and productive Memorial Day Weekend, as well as a safe one. Three day weekends oftimes go to people’s heads, ensuring they make really stoopid decisions. For me, however, long weekends mean shutting myself into my air conditioned condo and indulging in some marathon or other. So, in between working on Plot Point 1 of Big Dang Project I immersed myself in the wonderfully weird world of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks. When it first came out I wasn’t allowed to stay up past, like, 2:00pm even on a weekend, so I missed this show when it first came out. I finally caught it in two-episode-at-a-time viewings on Bravo some years later.

What I’d forgotten (as a viewer):

·         How adorable Kyle MacLachlan was back in The Day (you know The Day to which I refer). How’d he get so tanned/jowlly/creepy-skeleton smiled? Looking back, I think Twin Peaks and Agent Cooper marked the advent of my preference for dark eyes. 


·         How wonderfully playful-frightening-dark-hilarious David Lynch’s work is. Like the TV version of an Alice Cooper song cycle.


·         What incredible, if sometimes underappreciated character actors, turned up. Ray Wise was downright creepy, even when he was normal-Leland, and Miguel Ferrar as the face-we-recognize-but-never-quite-place (even though he’s in, like, everything) as the hysterical Zen-jerk Agent Albert.


What occurred to me (as a writer):

·         David Lynch is a master of symbolism and character dream work. In fact, both play a major part in his story-telling. Agent Cooper had to interpret his strange dreams and visions in order to solve the murder of Laura Palmer.


·         Character quirkiness can be fun, but sometimes too much of a good thing. Log Lady. One-eyed Nadine with the strength of the Hulk. Everyone in the Sherriff’s department except the actual Sherriff being dumb as a box o’rocks. The brothers Horne. Even David himself showed up at one point as the deaf Gordon Mc-Shouty-Pants. (Which, I have to admit, was pretty funny.)


·         Overly judicious editing can sometimes be a curse. It turns out the entirety of Laura Palmer’s murder investigation encompassed all of ten or twelve days. Yet day and night scenes were mixed and matched like patchwork, lab results were returned in a matter of hours, and a young girl this close to a fatal overdose of heroine was able to recover overnight with no apparent ill effects. Also, when said young girl calls for help, no phone call trace was made to, yanno, find her.


·         When the story is done, that’s when it should stop. Twin Peaks was a great show, don’t get me wrong, but it was built on and around the premise of Laura Palmer’s murder. The show (which got all of eight episodes the first season and then something like the thirty for the second season—which speaks to the ratings of the first) may have made a better miniseries. The show continued on for half a season after Laura’s murder was solved. Babylon 5 had a five-year story planned, and they stopped after five years, when everything was wrapped up. Period.


So. On to your favorite and mine, ROW80. Plot Point 1 has been tagged and bagged. I decided it was the perfect spot to smack FK between the eyes with his past and get him all twisted around. The whole running-away-from-his-problems only to get run over by them later theme is becoming apparent. While (unlike Midpoint), everything does not necessarily change, some things do. He’s going to start building walls around his home town to symbolize the walls he’s built around himself, so I’ll earmark that point for later (thank you, Aristotle’s Incline.) Because now he knows they’ll find him again, though he’ll be thinking of others this time rather than himself (thank you, Mythic Cycle).

Next, it’s on to Plot Point 2, the last turning point before the climactic scene sequence, when only one course of action becomes available to poor FK.

Until then, give some encouragement to your fellow ROW-ers, here.