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Friday, 23 of April of 2021

Category » DVD First Watch

DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “The Last Evening”

Twin Peaks title cardThe thing about shows built around singular mysteries is: how do you keep them going? How do you keep a show centered on one question – “Who killed Laura Palmer?” – viable for longer than a season? Such a premise can only be built upon for so long before it becomes stretched too thin for even the most forgiving of suspended disbeliefs. And you can only hold back answers for so long before the audience starts getting antsy.

Well guess what, show. I’m there.

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DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “Realization Time”

Twin Peaks title cardThe question of who killed Laura Palmer has been eclipsed by the question of why. Close behind is the question of how everyone figures out the why, as our three sets of detectives – Cooper, Harry, and the Twin Peaks sheriff’s department; Audrey; James, Donna, and Maddie – each pursue their own leads to discover Laura’s murderer.

Cooper and Harry have uncovered enough evidence to place Leo and Jacques at the murder scene, but not enough evidence for why they would have committed the murder. Audrey’s quest to figure out the connection between Laura’s job at Horne’s department store and her job at One Eyed Jacks leads Audrey down the same path – and into an interview where Audrey displays her talent for tying cherry stems with her mouth. James, Donna, and Maddie cook up an elaborate ruse to get Dr. Jacoby away from his office so that it can be searched for a missing tape recording.

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DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “Cooper’s Dreams”

Twin Peaks title cardYou know, sometimes it’s hard to turn off your inner critic. I’ve discovered recently that I tend to have a million questions running through my mind when I watch a show, from where it was filmed to how much special effects might have cost to who the guy is playing the second extra from the left. That kind of inner monologue can be distracting and can even ruin the viewing experience.

The kind of thoughts you want to have while watching a show are more along the lines of: why did that character say that? What is the significance of that item? Whodunit? And, boy howdy, I’ve been having lots of those questions with Twin Peaks.

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DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “The One-Armed Man”

Twin Peaks title card“Harry, in the heat of the investigative pursuit, the shortest distance between two points is not necessarily a straight line.”

Oh, how the narrative of Twin Peaks weaves and winds. Characters becoming connected to other characters, plot threads finding one another and twisting into new and more complicated stories – we are getting the tale of Laura Palmer’s murder, but we’re taking the scenic route. And along the way, we’re picking up tales for everyone else in Twin Peaks, it seems.

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DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “Rest in Pain”

Twin Peaks title cardRelationships, relationships, relationships.

Our lives are one big puzzle composed of various pieces that constitute the various relationships we have. All our relationships are interconnected in a social-structure version of Six Degrees of Separation and by interlocking them, a picture can be created of who we are and why. Such connections are the building blocks of all character-driven stories.

Relationships. Who has them, what kind they are, where they are going, where they have been, how they are related – more than a murder mystery, Twin Peaks is a show about relationships. Laura Palmer’s murder – and the solving thereof – is inextricably wrapped up in who these characters are, how they came to be that way, and what they mean to each other. The significance of character interactions has been so drilled into me by the first three episodes that when new characters were introduced and old characters finally given face time in this episode, I automatically suspected that they would become important.

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DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “Zen, or The Skill to Catch a Killer”

Twin Peaks title cardEverything about Twin Peaks lends itself to the tone of the show, from the music to the odd characters to the plot itself. The show is set up and paced in a way that is reminiscent of dime-store paperback murder mysteries: there’s a certain lingo to the tale, a certain flavor the characters, a certain atmosphere to the location that combine to create a very distinctive experience. It’s kind of delicious.

With every little bit we discover about the inhabitants of Twin Peaks, knots come unraveled and new ones tangle up and the threads of our disparate storylines start weaving into one another.

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DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “Traces to Nowhere”

Twin Peaks title cardAll small towns are hosts to their fair share of crazy. It’s a rule, a code that the universe must obey. Some towns, it must be said, have a few more odd citizens per capita than others. Whether this concentration of strange is a by-product of isolation, limited gene pools, circumstance or chance varies. For Twin Peaks, I get the feeling that something else is to blame.

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DVD First Watch: Twin Peaks – “Pilot”

Wading into pop culture is a bit like going to university. It’s a hodgepodge of people with a hodgepodge of interests forced to live together in relative harmony. Don’t take a particular class – read a specific book, see a certain film or watch a certain show, tune in to a musical group – and there’s a hole in your education, an understanding you will fail to have. There are frats and sororities and clubs dedicated to topics of all kinds – shows, songs, characters, plot-holes – and if you aren’t part of them, you’re jeered or pitied. Or both.

And just like university, there’s simply too much to take in, so you miss things. You can still understand their place in pop culture – I have never seen Lost or The Simpsons, but I “get” many of the references made to them and I have a pretty solid grasp of where they fit in the grand scheme of things – but you will never quite fit in with those who have actually had the experience.

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Catchin’ Up with Breaking Bad – The Ground Floor (Episodes 02.04-02.06)

“Nobody even noticed.”

Jesse takes care of Spooge's child while waiting for him to come him.

The only person on this show that's not a jackass.

This show is forever being compared to Weeds by people who don’t know any better and, as I approach the middle of season 2, I’m starting to see that the show is slowly drifting toward trying to be the antipode of the goofy, almost slapstick nature of the Showtime series in every way. Like Walt keeping an actual job in conjunction with his drug trade (no matter how impossible it seems that he can maintain both) vs Nancy’s flighty and short-lived attempts at legitimacy. Or Walt having to contend with struggles inflicted upon him while Nancy usually deals with problems she gets herself into. Or Walt having no need for a comedy troupe to back him up, instead partnering with a character that could easily be a cheap stereotype but is nothing of the sort.

As Breaking Bad develops, it’s almost like the show is purposefully wrecking the comparison. As we sink deeper with Walt and Jesse, another comparison comes to mind: Spring in Requiem for a Dream. Just as Tyrone and Harry come up with the idea to distribute their own product, so do our hapless heroes here. And just with that movie, as things start to go well, we can only assume disaster and doom are sure to follow. I’m not saying that Badger is going to end up in a hotel room with an old man demanding “ass to ass.” But I’m also not saying that’s out of the question.

During lunch last week, Noel and I discussed how the build up to the mid-season was where the show finally recovered from the writers’ strike and started to really build where it wanted to go. Fittingly, this is where Jesse uses the phrase “the ground floor,” and it means so many things for this show at this point of the series. It’s a new beginning for them, a new direction. And, really, it’s all downhill from here. In a good way. Well, good for us. Bad for Spooge.
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Catchin’ Up with Breaking Bad – The Trouble with Tuco (Episodes 02.01-02.03)

“Ding!”

Walt and Jesse meditate their options at Tuco's desert outpost.

We are sca-reeeeewed.


Noel did a write-up of Breaking Bad Season 1 back in April but, unlike him, I’ve always been intrigued by the show but never got around to actually watching (whereas he caved to peer pressure). Part of it was because I have a tangle of other shows that dominate my weeks and part of it was that I have absolutely no excuses whatsoever. I’m inherently lazy and the thought of sitting through another show was just too much. Not to mention I had a feeling a show about a dude with cancer paying the bills by selling meth would have the same marathon effect on me that Six Feet Under would have: clinical depression and a number of medications just to stay stable.

But, happily, Breaking Bad is different than I expected and doesn’t make me feel like a raincloud-haunted iota. There’s action! Drama that’s not cancer-related! Comedy that works and doesn’t just elucidate the hopelessness of the characters’ situations, further driving you into an existential tailspin! No, Breaking Bad is a different kind of show. As most of you probably know because you’ve watched it already.

If you haven’t watched it, let me tell you now that this intends to be spoilerific (terrific in spoilers). I ask that, at the very least, you catch up on the episodes in the title (since I’m writing these posts before any knowledge of the show’s future) since, as witty and charming as I am via prose, the series itself is far better than my analysis of it.

Especially since I’m going to, inevitably, compare it to Chuck and Weeds. You write what you know.

Read on, you cool babies!

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