Twin Peaks Usenet Archive

Subject: Re: Twin Peaks _WILL_ be renewed (but should we be happy?)
From: petersen@netcom.UUCP (Barbara Petersen)
Date: 1990-05-21, 10:29

In article <265721a7.3741@petunia.CalPoly.EDU>, dgross@polyslo.CalPoly.EDU 
(Dave Gross) writes (quoting from a newspaper article (?) about the future
of Twin Peaks):

Twin Peaks 101 -- Final Exam:
	In 30 words or less, describe why Twin Peaks has been a success.

> > 	"We now know that a mystery format -- if it has personalities that are
> > interesting and somewhat quirky -- can succeed in both a children's and
> > an adult market," said Mark McPherson, speaking at a news conference for the
> > network.

Wrong.  Trick question -- it can't be done.  No points.

> > 	Bessie Clary, who has been in charge of coordinating the various
> > directors of this season's episodes, will be in charge of the new direction
> > Twin Peaks will be taking next season.  "We envision a more encapsulated
> > version of Twin Peaks -- with a single mystery being raised and solved each
> > show.  Of course the strange elements will still be there:  Lucy's remarks
> > and Cooper's personality -- but these will take backstage to a more easily
> > digestible plot."

Bleah.  Sounds dreadful.  Unfortunately, it's not in the least bit surprising.
It has always seemed that the primary qualification for a network programming 
position is the ability and willingness to, ultimately, force any show into
a standard-form, three-lines-or-less mold, regardless of how well it really
fits there.  The sorts of things that Twin Peaks has -- a non-trivial plot that
requires multiple episodes to resolve; clues/events presented such that their 
significance might take a few minutes, a few hours, or even a few days to sink
in, instead of being tube-fed to the audience point by agonizing point; 
characters that are complex and interesting, and don't always segregate well
into "good guys" and "bad guys"; high quality, non-mundane production values;
the attitude that a single show can be quirky and bizarre and obscure and funny 
and dramatic and horrifying and satirical and exciting and thought-provoking
and more, all at once; and so on (I could go on for a while, but I'm sure the
reader can fill in the rest for him/herself) -- these possibilities are utterly
alien to the folks in "TV-land".  (Due, perhaps, to the belief that such things
would overtax the short attention spans, limited mental capacities, and 
defective comprehensional abilities that they assume their viewers possess.) 
Clearly, the process of removing the above elements from Twin Peaks, of mashing
it into the mold, has begun.

I had retained some small shred of hope (mostly wishful thinking, really) that
Twin Peaks might survive the transformation to a weekly series with (much of)
its character intact.  Sadly, I think it'll be better off ending as it is.

> >                  [McPherson again]  "It's become a fad already.  We think it
> > will outlast the Simpsons.  Never underestimate the power of a cult following
> > with teens and pre-teens."

Translation: "Make up any other rule you want, but never overestimate the 
intelligence of your viewers."

Barbara Petersen
..{apple, claris, dlb, tandem, teraida}!netcom!petersen    petersen@netcom.uucp
                   "Oh, by the way, which one's Pink?"