• Kyle MacLachlan in the revival of 'Twin Peaks'. (Showtime)Source: Showtime
Bring it on, Lynch mob.
By
Evan Valletta

22 Jun 2017 - 3:21 PM  UPDATED 22 Jun 2017 - 5:03 PM

Oh, my superlative expletive. If I see one more article kneeling at the curtained-off altar of Twin Peaks, I’m going to hurl cherry pies at my own face until I lose the ability to read.

Look, people’s tastes are people’s tastes. I never got into Buffy or Peep Show or Peppa Pig, but I can understand why all three are lauded and attracted rabid fan bases. Heck, I’ll bat for shows that I find excruciating, as you need to cultivate a definition of trash in order to know your treasure.

But by the shovel of that character who collects shovels, when it comes to David Lynch’s glorified student film of a TV series, the world needs to be brought down a few (thousand) pegs until it realises it’s been hoodwinked – massively, brutally and objectively hoodwinked.

 

No, that thing does not symbolise another thing

Somewhere right now, David Lynch is levitating and laughing off his white quaff at the fact his elaborate practical joke still works after a 26-year hiatus. An army of critics and thinkers are dissecting each image in every frame of this third season and providing hypothesis after hypothesis on their individual and collective significance.

From Dazed: “…fleeting allusion and underlying symbolism is behind every astral projection, neon sign or weird backwards-but-not gesture. Nothing is by accident.”

Poppycock. Lynch is as obsessed by random, disconnected and entirely vacuous imagery as a toddler is by wrapping paper. Whatever cool or sexy unsettling or upsetting image appeals to Lynch’s tastes, he tosses into a bucket then empties it all onto an editing timeline.

The fact we need to fight so hard to find some pattern or assemblage of logic and meaning is further proof of the show’s dead eyes and the most impressive aspect of Lynch’s proficiency as the artful trickster.

 

No, you haven’t found a way to justify the horrendous acting

Sure, the acting style in Twin Peaks is deliberate, but that doesn’t make it any more watchable. Please stop feigning appreciation of it – it’s an insult to the ghost of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

Intentionally satirising soap operas?

Intentionally camp?

Intentionally artificial in order to draw attention to the artifice of performance?

Intentionally unrealistic to underline the unreality that plays out before our eyes?

Intentionally monotone in order to draw more attention to what’s going on underneath?

Every one of those reasons might make the indulgent performance style more interesting and understandable for roughly 30 seconds, after which all that remains is an indulgent performance style.

 

No, you’re not on some alternative, enlightened wavelength

You just don’t get it, man.

Hilariously, the more one lambasts the show, the more one is labelled a philistine. Any criticism unleashes the relentless elitism of Twin Peaks fans, as if the show requires an advanced network of neurons in order to be fully understood.

In this wonderfully (and perhaps appropriately) nonsensical article from Vulture, the writer insists we need to experience the show on Lynch’s terms (a running qualifier from many a US TV critic). It's as if any instinctual gripe can be corrected by remembering everything was by intention, whether or not that intention is evident or solvable. In fact, this Vulture writer verbally whips himself for expressing confusion in previous reviews. Poor guy.

Never before has a showrunner been able to use such unbridled sycophancy to their benefit. This series revival is even more dislocated and arbitrary than the original – as if Lynch is testing viewer patience as much as possible purely to see how many of us end up hospitalised. The pacing makes a snail seem speedy – shots of inaction are held for so long that I kept checking whether I’ve accidentally hit the pause button.

If you hadn’t known a thing about Twin Peaks and the first episode of the third season was released by an unknown showrunner, I can guarantee you’d think it was the best-looking piece of television made by a conceptual art student you’ve ever seen.

The music remains awesome, I’ll give it that.

 

Watch David Lynch talk about Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me at SBS On Demand:

More on the Guide
How to make a TV revival that isn't pointless and terrible
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The 10 shows that wouldn’t exist without 'Twin Peaks'
These series all owe a debt to David Lynch’s TV masterpiece.