Twin Peaks Usenet Archive

Subject: TP - A possible explanation of BOB (long)
From: (Michael J. Carlin)
Date: 1990-11-14, 16:54

In article <129@3cpu.UUCP> Mike Miller writes:

> >I really think its past time for them to get rid of the BOB plotline.  
> > 
> >There seem to be plenty of other plots going, so why do they keep dragging this
> >out?

I believe you have misunderstood the writers' intentions.  

We all have a dark side that we usually keep in control.  When we are out
driving and another driver cuts us off, what is our reaction?  We get mad
and secretly wish that we could run the other driver off the road or 
shoot him with a gun.  Rarely do we act on these violent urges, instead
settling for honking the horn or giving the finger.  We have emotional
controls that restrain these base urges.  What would happen if these
emotional controls were removed?  What would happen if the Freudian 
superego no longer controlled the Freudian id?  I believe BOB is the
means by which the Twin Peaks writers have chosen to examine this question.

Anyone who has seen the classic science fiction film Forbidden Planet
should recognize BOB.  The relation between the alien mind machine and 
Dr. Morpheus is similar to that between BOB and his host.  Both the alien
device and BOB amplify the emotions and remove the emotional controls of
the user or the host, allowing the monsters in the id to come to the
surface.  In Forbidden Planet, the invisible energy creature brought to
life by the alien device carried out Morpheus' dark, suppressed urges,
whereas in Twin Peaks, the host carries out the vile acts himself.  The
question of who or what is BOB, while interesting, is unimportant to
understanding Twin Peaks.  What is important is understanding BOB's
effect on his host.

Ann Hodgins has an inkling of what's going on.  In article
<> she writes:

> >There seems to be a natural connection between Bob and Lelland and I
> >am tempted to call Bob merely Lelland's repressed feelings.

> >                                                  It adds to my impression
> >that Leland and Bob are not really separate because the motive
> >for Maddy's killing seem to be to express Lelland's real reaction to
> >Maddy's leaving not Bob's reaction. Lelland pretended to be mature and
> >adult about Maddy's personal decision to leave but actually he seems to
> >have felt resentment and abandonment and is petulant about it, angry at
> >Maddy.
> >The way the murder went it seems that the motive was to punish Maddy severely
> >for abandonment not to relish her fear.

BOB is not Leland's repressed feelings, per se, but is the key that 
releases Leland's repressed feelings.  When BOB inhabits Leland, BOB is
somehow able to release his id, amplify his emotions, and induce him to
act on his base urges.  Hence, Leland/BOB sends Maddy on a one-way trip
to Missoula.  What we are seeing is the dark side of Leland's being--the
dark side that we all possess.  

I suspect that this not the first time Leland has hosted BOB.  There
have been strong hints that Leland molested Laura or engaged in incest
(for example, the funeral scene with Leland on Laura's coffin and
Cooper's reading from the secret diary).  Incestuous yearnings are base 
feelings that are normally suppressed--the social and perhaps instinctual
taboos against incest are among the strongest.  In normal circumstances a
father, Leland for example, would not act out these base urges, but a
father whose emotional controls had been removed might.

I believe the same thing has occurred with Ben.  It is not uncommon for 
an adult man, Ben in this case, to be sexually attracted to (or even fall
in love with) under-age girls and to entertain brief thoughts of illicit
sex.  Under normal circumstances a man, including Ben, would not act on
those urges and would quickly dismiss such thoughts.  If BOB were to have
inhabited Ben (I believe the purpose of the scene with MIKE in the hotel
lobby was to establish that), then BOB would have removed Ben's emotional
restraints, freeing Ben to act on his primal urges.  Ben's purchase of
One-Eyed Jacks is probably a consequence of this.

Recall that BOB feeds on fear and the pleasures.  These are the very
things that evoke the strongest urges in us--urges that we continually
struggle to control.  The writers gave us a character with strong,
suppressed sexual urges, Ben, and one with strong, suppressed violent
urges, Leland.  Then they introduced a means by which those characters
could act on these base, primal urges, BOB.  The result, Twin Peaks, is
a window through which we can see the dark side of our souls.

In summary, BOB is a powerful tool allowing the writers and audience to
view the darkest recesses of the many characters' (and our) souls.  It
is unlikely that the writers will discard BOB in the near future.

Mike Carlin