Twin Peaks

Podcast #10: The Evolution/Inspiration Of David Lynch’s Twin Peaks In The Pop Culture Medium

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Hello all and welcome back to The Daily Fandom podcast. Today we have a bit of a different topic for our listeners. We have a discussion and dissection of David Lynch’s famous television series, Twin Peaks. How it revolutionized culture, filmmaking, cinematography, and writing in mediums all over the industry. As a huge Lynchian, we wanted to talk about one of our favorite shows of all time and dissect how newly-aged, modern shows have taken notes. This is your The Daily Fandom podcast host and CEO, Shareca, on board for this podcast. So, without further ado, let’s discuss!

We have a new podcast for you, today’s theme: David Lynch and Twin Peaks. Follow us on Patreon for more information about the releases, you can also check out Anchor. We do not own any of the music being used in the podcast, it is copyrighted and credited by Angelo Badalamenti. We paid for the music for the podcast from iTunes. ‘Twin Peaks Theme’ and ‘Laura Palmer’s Theme’ Credit: Released: Sep 11, 1990; ℗ 1989, 1990 Warner Bros. Records Inc. for the U.S. and WEA International Inc. for the world outside of the U.S.

The Twin Peaks Podcast

What makes Twin Peaks so revolutionary? There are countless articles on the internet about this precise conversation. Everyone knows the ingenious reasons why David Lynch is the 90s filmmaker who changed the genre of thriller on television forever. Okay, maybe ‘forever’ is a bit much, but you get the idea. David Lynch, in countless mediums, has been thanked, crowned, and applauded for the inspiration they gave it. Take Atlanta by Donald Glover. It was stated, in an interview that is no longer accessible by that — and I quote —

“Twin peaks was this show I really liked…it was very strange and had a lot of almost, for millennials, was lost-esque at the time,” Donald explained. “A lot of questions would come up with no real answers and there was a mystery, and I kind of wanted to do a show that had those elements but for people who were rappers.”

Now, if you don’t know about Twin Peaks or Atlanta, you may not understand the concept of that quote. You can watch Atlanta on Hulu and Twin Peaks on Netflix if you are so inclined. However, for a little background on both, Donald Glover is a powerhouse of many mediums. He has a moniker Childish Gambino, which he raps under, he is an actor in many films including Solo: A Star Wars Story as Lando, and his own TV series Atlanta, and so much more.

Donald Glover & David Lynch = Two Peas In A Pod

Donald keeps his private life just like the word, you know very little about Donald Glover. He chooses what he wants you to see. Similarly, in that fashion, we have David Lynch. The creator behind films such as: “Louie,” “Thank You, Judge,” and “Zelly And Me.” That is not his entire biography, but it’s a taste. Nonetheless, Lynch has influenced many television shows and films to date, such as: X-Files, Veronica Mars, Bates Motel, and many many more. What makes David Lynch a powerhouse in filmmaking is the likes of his minimalist style.

The Three-Point Plot System

Lynchian’s, if you know the fandom, have praised his ability to have three plot points where one is the main plot, and the other two are subplots. The main plot can be told in one sentence: Laura is murdered. By whom? Who knows. The subplots happen as the show moves forward, “There’s a demon taking over people’s body.” “Laura, a seemingly perfect girl, had her own secrets.” Those three plots make up the first season of Twin Peaks. Easy to remember, right? This is what kept you watching, a show with plots that are easy to remember makes things simple, therefore, you didn’t have to remember what happened the previous episode — you already remembered.

Minimalism is not the only point to be made from David Lynch and his work. You can consider the genre of thriller his liking as well. Formally known as a ‘crime drama,’ I would consider Twin Peaks to be more of a… mystery thriller. You have multiple characters who mysteriously have their own dark secrets. Constantly, a new character comes to the surface about knowing Laura. It could be her therapist, next door neighbor, or even her father with his own dark secrets. Nonetheless, each character provides a bigger purpose to the plot.

David Lynch never presents a character that is useless to the three-plot system. If you have a character they will be important later on. Pay attention to both seasons because, at the end of season two, things may or may not make sense. Even the dead character, Laura, makes sense to the overall plot. Laura drives the plot. Characters like “The Log Lady” are seemingly unimportant when you give them a first look, but if you get to season two, you will slowly begin to realize…

Newly-Aged Examples Of Twin Peaks

Now, speaking on the concept of Lynch’s style, we have a few examples that attempt to mimic what he did in the 90s. You have shows like X-Files, Atlanta, and Veronica Mars. X-Files from 1993 is a special case because David Duchovny also played in Peaks. However, it is a great example because it does follow the three plot system. X-Files is a show about Mulder and Scully, one is a believer and one isn’t. It follows various alien expenditures. The main plot is that. The two separate plots are: Mulder is looking for his missing sister. Who is ‘The Smoking Man?’ The show came right out of the Lynch era, so it’s not surprising that it took some inspiration from the show.

That is why X-Files is such an easy show to follow. It follows a simplistic format that I would call minimalistic. Now, that may not have been enough to convince you, me neither; so, let’s talk about Veronica Mars. One of my favorite shows of all time is this show. The top three without a doubt. A little past the Lynch era, in 2004, Veronica Mars aired. The show, again, follows that simple format. The first season is dealing with Veronica’s best friend’s murder. The subplots: Veronica is dealing with her mother’s disappearance, and her recent break-up with her best friend’s brother. These plots deal with the overall concept of the series, but indefinitely season one. A simple show to follow makes for a cult audience. What these shows have in common is their cult following.

What Defines A Cult Following?

From Veronica to Files to Peaks, they all have a cult following fandom that is deserving of the praise. Everyone likes Files, everyone likes Mars, and everyone likes Peaks. How they gained the following was simple: minimalism. Stick to a simple plot that is easy to follow and no one complains. Tons of shows from the 90s do it, Charmed (there’s a simple format there), Buffy, Daria (animated shows, too!) By saying all of this doesn’t mean Lynch created the format; Seinfeld, in the same token, has a simple format as well and began in 1989.

But Lynch did bring it to the surface after Twin Peaks.

Onto The Last Show, Atlanta

Onto the last show, Atlanta. The show that admitted it’s inspiration was from Twin Peaks. This show follows Earn and his cousin, Paper Boi. Alongside, they have Darius. The show follows Earn trying to make money and provide for his family. Side-plots are Paper Boi trying to become a rapper. And, various flashbacks and important cultural moments that define the show. Aside from the similar plot in this show, however, it takes the cinematography style from Lynch as well. If you look into the show further, the style of Lynch is dark-esque aesthetic.

That twinge that… something could happen at any moment. You don’t know if it will, and it may never happen, but there’s the ominous music in the background to indicate it. Atlanta does that, but with rap, it’s quite a modern spin on Lynch’s thrilling style. Many films have done this from the past decade, Summer of ‘89 is an example we saw recently. Many films create this aesthetic style that has the perfect music to go along with it, Stranger Things as well. When you have a great soundtrack with beautiful cinematography, it keeps watchers watching.

The Perfect Soundtrack + The Perfect Cinematography

Or at least, it keeps me watching. When you have a gorgeously produced film with great music behind it, it creates that sense of happiness and euphoria. Especially when it’s a song you know from your childhood, similar to Stranger Things. A show created in the 80s that has 80s music is going to create a nostalgic effect. Now, the Twin Peaks’ theme song is much more legendary. When you hear it, you know it. There’s no doubt in your mind that you head back to the nostalgia of the series. Veronica Mars and Daria have both done this with their theme songs of the series. Atlanta creates its own music for the series, similarly to Peaks.

Paper Boi actually raps, Donald Glover raps most of the soundtrack, and they grab a few popular mainstream hip-hop tracks from artists that appear in the show. Tying up what we have talked about thus far is simple. David Lynch has created a style that many have mimicked in one way or another. They may not have mimicked it precisely the way Lynch did, but they put their own spin on it. That much we can suffice to say. Again, noted and stated before is that this isn’t something Lynch solely created. Filmmakers before this have created such style, but Lynch has truly made it his own. Providing a new genre for television that not many have dabbled in before.

A Drastic Change To The Culture Medium

Creating a sense of filmmaking that could break the crime drama thriller genre into episodes, as opposed to an entire film. This is what changed the culture medium into something that we haven’t seen before. That crime drama thriller is now being used culture-wide. Stranger Things being a sci-fi version of it, but it still has elements of what Twin Peaks brought to the table. David Lynch has been a powerhouse for the past three decades.

He has created some of the marvelous cinematography and filmmaking styles that we see today. I believe that while Lynch did not create these styles himself, he did create a new way to see them. If you haven’t watched Twin Peaks, the show is marvelous storytelling at its finest. In the amount of two seasons, we get character development, an intriguing plot, and somewhat of a conclusion at the end of the second season.

Twin Peaks & David Lynch Are Something Special

There are pivotal moments in the series such as, S2(E7), when they go between Laura’s father, Leland, and Bob when strangling Maddy Ferguson. At the time, that was such an interesting way to showcase an alternate personality. Or, even more so, a demon overtaking someone’s body. The concept of showcasing that in a television show the way Lynch did was outrageously interesting for the time. If you haven’t watched much of Lynch’s work, I suggest you give his other films a try. They are similar in style and fashion. He’s an interesting character who has a lot of resume work with over fifty films in the industry. If you want to watch Atlanta, it is on Hulu. Twin Peaks is on Netflix. X-Files is on Hulu. And Veronica Mars is on Amazon Prime?

Don’t quote me on that, I just own all of the seasons on DVD. Also Daria is also on Hulu. Streaming services basically have everything nowadays. This has been a super fun and interesting dissection of David Lynch’s mind. Hopefully, he never listens to it. If you haven’t noticed, I am a hardcore Lynchian. I believe dissecting the minds of filmmakers is entirely too interesting not to do all the time. As always, this has been a podcast on The Daily Fandom. I thank you for listening to my rambles about pop culture and filmmaking. As always, stay nerdy, and stay writing that fanfiction that we read every week for our fanfic fridays. We appreciate you, I appreciate you, and I can’t wait to see you here again next time. With all the fandom love we can give, have a great one!