This is one of the most recognisable images in television history. The prom queen photo of Laura Palmer from TV series Twin Peaks.
“She’s dead. Wrapped in plastic.”
Overcome by some unexplainable impulse this weekend, I dragged out the box set, dusted it off and settled down with a cup of tea. Watching the pilot episode, I realised how much the images went on to influence my tastes in later life. Crucially, a love for the surreal, sub-cultures and general weirdness. I was about 14 years old when the series debuted in Singapore.
Misty landscapes of Douglas-firs.
Dead animal heads.
The fashion sense of Audrey Horne and Donna Hayward.
And of course, how could I not mention the dancing dwarf.
It aired on British TV 22 years ago, and is still one of the best TV series ever to hit our boxes. Andrew Anthony wrote in The Observer in 2012:
“It also marked a decisive turning point in US television drama. Before Twin Peaks there was plenty of well-made American TV, though it was mostly generic and limited in ambition. But Lynch, a cinema auteur, tore up conventions and almost single-handedly reinvented TV drama. The standard narrative arc went out of the window, and in its place came idiosyncratic character studies, an elliptical plot, dialogue that brought the bizarre and the banal together in a captivating verbal marriage, and imagery quite unlike anything seen on the small screen. There was also, of course, the haunting theme music by Angelo Badalamenti that seemed to plug directly into the eerier quarters of the subconscious.”
For nostalgia’s sake, I’d like to end with one of the most memorable quotes from the series. In the words of Agent Cooper,
“That’s a damn fine cup of coffee.”