20 years ago tonight, the pilot episode of Twin Peaks aired on the ABC network. I was in second grade, probably playing with my Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Ghostbusters action figures. I didn’t see Twin Peaks on its original spring run in 1990, but I do remember sitting in the floor of my Aunt Sandra’s living room around this time and an advertisement ran on television. My mom’s cousins seemed to be really excited about the show and spoke highly of it. I don’t remember why, but this moment stuck with me.
Fast forward to the summer of 1990. ABC was re-airing the first season before the second season ramped up. I was walking down the stairs from my family’s bonus room into the kitchen. My mom was huddled near the tiny television set and I could tell she was totally captivated by whatever she was watching. My mom said something like “A girl has been killed, and they’re trying to figure out who did it”…and all I can remember is the shadow of a man walking in the woods. It was all over from there.
As the episodes passed, my young mind had no idea what it was taking in. Dreams about red rooms with backward speaking dwarves, an FBI agent who addressed all his tapes to a “Diane”…and a myna bird getting shot, spilling blood all over the donuts in the sheriff’s station. I quickly became preoccupied with the show, and I found a classmate named Brian who had actually become a fan as well and we quickly became close friends, and still are to this day.
As season 1 turned into season 2, I (spoiler alert!) became obsessed with who could have shot Agent Cooper and more importantly who killed Laura Palmer. I began to draw cartoons (which I painfully can not find, hopefully they are buried in my parents house somewhere safe) of the Giant visiting Cooper, Cooper walking around with wanted posters for BOB and other scenarios I dreamed up in my head.
Unfortunately around this time the nature of the second season turned off the masses of viewers and the show was buried at the 10pm timeslot on Saturday night, right after China Beach. However I was not turned off. The disturbing supernatural tone of the show sucked me in even further. As November of 1990 rolled around, ABC promised that the killer of Laura Palmer would finally be revealed.
All I can remember that night is sitting on the couch with my parents. As the episode (and the series) reached its highest climax, I was so beyond frightened that once Leland Palmer stared back into the mirror to see none other than BOB himself I could not bring myself to watch anymore. I buried my face into the couch and after a few minutes of screaming and howling from the television there was finally silence.
My mom decided I could not handle any more of the show and I couldn’t have agreed more! I didn’t even like being alone in the house at this point I was so beyond freaked out. That did not, however keep me from dreaming and wondering what the hell could have possibly happened after I stopped watching. I was forever changed.
I never laid eyes on Twin Peaks again until the spring of 1998. I saw the VHS box set at the mall and felt a shockwave go through me. I scavenged up the $60 or so that it cost and began watching the show after school every day. Even though I was a sophomore in high school at this point I still avoided watching the show at night.
Needless to say, my life was never the same that summer night in 1990 when I first laid eyes on Twin Peaks. In the last few years I’ve recorded two Twin Peaks themed rock operas, made multiple trips to Washington and California to track down filming sites, and made many new friends along the way-and I still feel there are many stories and dreams to come from it all.
Special thanks to David Lynch, Mark Frost, and everyone involved with the show. I’d also like to thank Brian from dugpa.com, Charles from intwinpeaks.com, and Mischa over at the twin peaks archive for keeping the spirit of Twin Peaks alive through their wonderful websites. I owe all of you a great debt of gratitude.
Categories: Twin Peaks
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