TV

'Twin Peaks': Flame Wars, Walk With Me

On 22 May, Twin Peaks returns; unfortunately, so does everything else that surrounds any significant pop culture text. This is how it will go.


Twin Peaks

Cast: Mädchen Amick, Dana Ashbrook, Sheryl Lee
Network: Showtime
Amazon

My log has something to tell you.

My log knows the ways of popular culture. Of the fans that brighten the flame. My log has seen television revivals come and go. My log has a Twitter account.

Behind all memes are reasons. Reasons can explain the absurd.

Twin Peaks will return. It is a miracle. But it will open a gateway.

My log knows what is to come.

Can you hear it?

I will translate.

On the first week David Lynch will be a genius. It is wondrous! the people will cry. Articles will scatter like dandelion seeds. 'THIS is why Twin Peaks had to return', they will say. 'Lynch and Frost teach modern television creators how to do it.' Much shade will be thrown at the most recent season of The Walking Dead.

On the second week, columnists and critics will agree that the show is taking its time. But this is universe building, they will argue. Perhaps the weirdness is not quite so quirky, some will suggest. It is still better than everything else on television. Listicles filled with spoilers counting the '10 Best Things About the New Twin Peaks' will clog websites everywhere. People will already tire of their workmate's references to 'damn fine' black coffee.

In week three there will be disparaging chatter about some of the returning actors, and whether or not they should have come back. Magazines will create spreads of the female cast members, rating them alongside photographs taken of them 20 years ago. Copyeditors will ask who has 'let themself go the most?' The male cast will be referred to as 'distinguished'. Humanity will continue to die a little inside.

In week four conspiracy theories will abound. What does that salt shaker mean?! Enough with the owls! Memes will fly wildly on Twitter. One line, taken out of context in episode two, will have become so ubiquitous and overused in daily conversation that your aunt will facebook you to ask what it means. A Guardian newspaper columnist will list reasons why this new series is exactly what Twin Peaks was once all about.

Sarah Palmer (Grace Zabriskie) stocks up for a long, troubling season

Week five will leave viewers wondering aloud whether the long pauses and abstract dialogue are intentional. People will haunt comments sections of articles loudly proclaiming that they 'Don't care!' about this series. That they 'heard' it wasn't that good in the first place. That they are only writing this in every comments section, on every review that they find, because they are 'SO UNINTERESTED! SERIOUSLY!' Critics begin to wonder whether Twin Peaks has shown its age. In the wake of Breaking Bad and Mad Men, does Twin Peaks still have 'it' anymore? A Guardian newspaper columnist will list reasons why this new series is the complete opposite of everything that Twin Peaks was once all about.

In week six the online anger will rise. 'Why don't we KNOW anything yet?! Where are the answers?! We waited 20 years for THIS!?!?' they will furiously type, despite having only binge-watched the series a month ago. Reviewers cataloguing episode summaries on websites like the AV Club will wonder why the screenwriters are concentrating on the peripheral characters?! Think pieces about why they are actually important, even though they appear completely irrelevant to anything, will emerge. Some will sound nearly convincing. #Where'sAnnie?

In week seven the 'fans' will become apoplectic. A beloved character and actor from the original series that they have not thought about for a decade has been treated unfairly! Boycotts are threatened. #HAVETOSPEAKUPHEARINGISGONE. Capitalising on this anger, an organised conservative moral outrage group will petition Showtime to cancel the show. They will demand an investigation into whether something screened in a previous episode was too disturbing for broadcast. The FCC will issue non-committal statement about looking into the matter.

On the eighth week Saturday Night Live will do a sketch claiming that Twin Peaks is actually about Donald Trump. The White House is now the Red Room. Jeff Sessions is the Man From Another Place. Paul Ryan is an uptight nerd possessed by darkness. Steve Bannon is Bob. Ivanka, a vague beauty queen with no defined personality, is ogled like a trophy to distract everyone from the evil goings on barely obscured behind the scenes. Alec Baldwin will play Trump as a dim-witted Log in an unconvincing toupee, carried around by Vladimir Putin in a dress.

My log is not amused.

Week nine will bring with it hand-wringing think pieces. 'Lynch might just be a weird old man with singular antiquated beliefs!', they will suggest. Is he celebrating, or mocking what he thinks is 'weird'?! Maybe Blue Velvet wasn't that good after all.

DEA Agent Denise (David Duchovny) wonders if she heard that correctly

Week ten there will be a controversy. Perhaps Denise Bryson, the transgender character played by David Duchovny, will be presented in an arguably unflattering light. Perhaps someone will rethink the use of the word 'dwarf' on national television. A critic will write an article titled 'Twin Peaks Is Not a Safe Space'. It will be unclear if this is meant to be satirical. #CancelTP

In week 11, people will have moved on to the return of Game of Thrones. Can you believe that Khaleesi did that thing that she did? It was about time! Critics will praise Game of Thrones in inverse proportion to their criticism of Twin Peaks. 'David Lynch withholds too much!' They will gnash their teeth. Game of Thrones will cut a dude's head off and show you some rude bits. That's how you tell a story!

In week 12, disparaging think pieces propagate. Everyone will be reminded that before it was cool to brag to everyone you know about how underappreciated Twin Peaks was, it was fun to slag off the second season, while it was still screening, for not being as great as you wanted. Endless columns will lament that Lynch is just stringing his audience along. Just like before. This is why Twin Peaks got cancelled in the first place, they will say. #Waiting25Years

In week 13 many clever, ironic people, who are all very popular and hip, will write disparaging comments about how Twin Peaks is still on television. Yawn. I forgot that was even a thing, etc. I watched that new Archie Riverdale show and it was weirder. Did you see Gravity Falls? #LodgeAComplaint

In week 14 a subsection of Tumblr fans will be disheartened when it becomes clear that the romance they were shipping is never to be. Whether this romance was between a stale box of donuts and a taxidermied deer head is obscured. #DoughADeer

On the 15th week, the week before the show ends, fan theories will run amuck. Entire Wikis will flourish and fade daily. Click-bait websites will dangle promises of 'WHAT IT ALL MEANS' behind several pages of single sentence paragraphs and single paragraph pages and a confetti of pop-up ads. There will be rage from those who love the series; rage from those who 'have never and will never watch it! Why doesn't everyone just shut up?!'; and rage from those who believe that Twin Peaks is just not as good as it was when James Hurley went on that stupid road trip.

On the final week, there will be no definitive resolution. The answers the show offers will be nebulous. Much will remain obscure. Articles will be written praising a work that is willing to excite, entice, and respect its audience in such a way; others will be written calling the show a fraud. David Lynch will be labelled a scam artist; a genius; an auteur; a hack. Twin Peaks will be called exploitative; ridiculous; outdated; cutting-edge. It will be both hip and derivative to hate on it; its defenders will be equal parts brave and gullible sheep. It will be the greatest; it will be the worst. Proof of the revival model; evidence of why it never works.

Twins; mirrors of one another. The darkness in the light. Inextricable.

#CUin25Years

Twin Peaks will probably be magnificent; but none will be able to tell anymore. The flames will rise regardless. The smoke will blind. From the warmth of recognition to a fandom ablaze.

In the feedback is the fire. All that is good burns.

It happened to Arrested Development. To The X-Files. Even Gilmore Girls got a working over.

All of this has happened before.

All it will happen again.

All of this my log has foreseen.

And, yeah, that Rosanne reunion sounds like a terrible idea.


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