It’s Sunday night, April 8th, 1990. I’m a… Sophomore in high school. None of my friends have cars yet and so the four guys or so that comprise my suburban ‘crew’ walk the heavily wooded streets at night*, drink on the big wooden porch behind our local library and generally begin working up the courage to perform our first real attempts at battering the word ‘curfew’ out of our parents’ vocabulary. However, that really wouldn’t happen for another couple months – until summer rolled around and brought with it that frenzy-inducing teenage energy that causes sixteen/seventeen-year-olds everywhere to sneak out windows, make paper mache heads to tuck under their covers** and tell bold face lies to their parents just to get another hour or so out with their friends. Or perhaps more importantly, that same young summer zeal causes the bonds of the moment to resound for decades to come with meaning and emotion.
This zeal doesn’t just apply to interpersonal relationships. It certainly didn’t stop there for me. It carried over to comics, music, movies and believe it or not, even television (on a couple of occasions back then). Sunday April 8th 1990 I was not out carousing on the tree-lined streets of suburbia. Instead I was killing time, being a kid, acting bored, watching tv with my Dad when what should we stumble upon but the ABC movie of the week, what I found out later was the 2-hour pilot episode of one of the most influential viewings of my life: David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks.
Recently I lent the series to a good friend who’d never seen it before. Talking to her about it I began to feel the itch to re-watch it myself. It’s been three-and-a-half years since my last viewing and probably five before that. Obviously as time has gone by my palette has grown (as has the quality level for even network tv) – there are sooo many movies, shows, comics, books, bands, etc now that there is simply not enough time in a year, let alone a day, to watch and re-watch everything that I might want to. But the Twin Peaks itch – once it really sets in it’s hard to deny, and so here I am, halfway through season one again.
Halfway through season one and it strikes me how really freakin’ lucky I was to have given my rebellion a rest for a night that April 8th, long enough at least to happen to sit down in front of the tv at just the right moment to get involved with something that would change my life.
It wasn’t the sheer genius of that pilot, directed of course by Lynch, that caused the frenzy that still has not died***, although that was definitely the foundation for it. It was not realizing at first that what I was watching was to be an ongoing series and tuning in two nights later for what I thought was the conclusion and having it not end there. That really got my interest level up. Then, a week after that it was the fact that I forgot the time and ended up tuning in only to catch the final ten minutes of the infamous dream sequence that ended the second episode and, well, after my first glimpse of the Red Room and the Little Man from Another Place that changed everything for me. My tastes today, my relationship with the fiction that really moves me and my opening to a form of music I love and otherwise would have had no other introduction to (Jazz) is directly due to this show and that particular event (to be triple underlined and multiplied by a thousand a year and a half or so later when ABC finally aired the final two episodes as one two hour ‘tv event’ and Lynch stepped in, scrapped Mark Frost’s reportedly Dental-phobic script for the final act and took us viewers on the most abstract masterpiece ever seen on broadcast television – Twin Peaks’ conclusion literally ripped the top of my head off and threw it out the window (still never got that back…).
So 1990 was a pretty bad year for a lot of pop culture (bel biv devoe? mc hammer?) but one thing I’ll always love it for – Twin Peaks. I’m working my way back through it and I’m hip deep in Douglas Fir and as happy as Agent Cooper telling Anne Blackbird a penguin joke!!!
Okay, I’ve gotta wind this up, Takashi has decorated the Time Machine to look like Leo and Shelly’s living room. Takashi – cue the Angelo Badalamenti – !!!KCOR S’TEL
* The particular South Chicago Suburb I grew up in was essentially carved into a forest preserve, thus there are tons of trees everywhere. Perfect for hiding teenagers’ actions of the illicit type, hmm?
** If they also watched Escape From Alcatraz with their father’s when
they were young enough for it to burn that technique into their heads
*** I subscribed to and read every word of Win-Mill Production’s Twin Peaks magazine WRAPPED IN PLASTIC until it finally went on hiatus in 2005.