Monday, June 29, 2015

Salute to Major Briggs

There is more in heaven and earth than is
dreamt of in our philosophy.

RIP Don Sinclair Davis 

(August 4, 1942 – June 29, 2008)

I think one of the saddest things about Twin Peaks returning in 2017 is that the wonderfully talented Don Davis won't be a part of it. Major Briggs is one of my favorite characters. If I'm being honest, I have a lot of favorite characters, but there certainly was something special about Major Briggs. The unique combination of his controlled insights and depth made each scene he was in just a little more fun and mysterious. It takes a special kind of intelligence to pull that off, especially in the genuine manner that Don did. 

In the early part of the series Major Briggs seemed to be a little stern and humorless, but that was what made him so funny. His delivery was intense, but underneath there was always a sense of compassion and goodness. Season 1 gave the distinct impression that the Briggs family was a bit dysfunctional. Watch here - "Afraid!?!" or here for family counseling. Over time, I think next to the Hayward's, they actually turned out to be one of the most loving families in town.

In season 2 it slowly becomes apparent that, although unconventional, the Major had a ton of love for his son Bobby Briggs, played by the amazing Dana Ashbrook, and his wife Betty Briggs, played by the lovely Charlotte Stewart. Despite the "classified" nature of his work, he always found a unique way of expressing himself to his family. See here is his "Vision of Light" speech given to Bobby. Also watch his return after disappearing while night fishing with Cooper here. I feel like there is no doubt he was a devoted family man.

In addition, much like Agent Cooper, Major Briggs' particular set of mental hardware seemed to be pivotal in uncovering more about the Black Lodge. It appeared the owls knew it, see here, as did Windom Earle. Watch here & here. (That reminds me. I should do a blog post dedicated to Windom's many costumes) Nonetheless, the Major's presence in Twin Peaks was invaluable and Don's acting ability was inspiring. He is and will continue to be greatly missed!

Perhaps 25 years later Bobby might be ready to follow in his father's footsteps?

Enjoy this touching tribute to Don from TP Fest!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Thoughts on 'The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer'

"The man behind the mask is looking for the book with the pages torn out!"

A book by Jennifer Lynch

Starting on Laura Palmer's 12th birthday and ending just a few days before her death, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer offers a unique insight into the mind of our beloved victim. 

I recently decided to reread this book since the hype of Twin Peaks returning has heightened everything related to the show. I had only read it once before when I was 17 years old. At that time it was impossible to find a copy, because it was out of print. A girl I knew from school mentioned she had a copy and I begged her to let me borrow it. We weren't that close of friends so she probably thought I was completely weird when I kept asking her to bring it into school for me. However she finally did and I was thrilled. I recall at that time thinking it was terrific, a little sexy and offered some new information on Laura's life. Also being a teenage girl myself and having kept a diary of my own for years, I could relate to the way it was written. 

Rereading this book now as an adult I found it disturbing on a whole new level. Because it's supposed to be a diary, the writing is chopped up. At times it seemed childish and at other times it almost seemed like the ramblings of a crazy person. There are moments when Bob takes over Laura's thoughts and speaks to her through her writing. I found that very unsettling, but I still liked it. I've always felt anything with Bob is horrifyingly fun.

Half way through The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer I was entrenched in the sickness of it. At times I almost felt guilty for reading a diary about Laura's pain and liking it. Her story is the most haunting throughout the show and obviously in the movie as well. So while reading her internal thoughts I felt like I was intruding in a way and making her more of a victim somehow. I guess that makes it a good read. There is a lot to take in within the pages of this book, but mostly I felt sad for Laura. 

The last 10 pages or so of the book I thought were the best. There were several mentions of things related to the series that got me thinking. Cooper reads to Ben Horne when they arrest him for Laura's murder on the show that Laura wrote, "I'm going to have to tell the world about Benjamin." It's always been my impression that she might be referring to the fact that Ben Horne is Donna's father. Or possibly the fact that he owned One Eyed Jack's. 

It was also interesting to read about her trysts with several women, including Josie and Blackie. I never got the feeling from Josie on the show that she was bisexual. The most touching was the way Laura genuinely cared for Johnny Horne. His reaction to her death in the series makes a deeper sense now. In the book Laura says she felt James was her last chance to find the light. It made me think of Laura and James' final moments in the woods in FWWM before she jumps off his motorcycle at Sparkwood & 21. She was so fucked up at that point and essentially making her life ending choice by telling James to let her go.

At the core of Twin Peaks is Laura's tragic death. In this book the reader gets a front row seat to what was lurking in her mind. It makes sense why she "allowed" herself to be killed. Her choice was to either let Bob inhabit her or die. Not great options. Her demise took years. Her drug and sexual exploits dictated her life and all because she felt like if she did bad things Bob might not want her anymore. I think Jennifer Lynch did a great job expressing Laura's feelings and gave fans a dark, yet insightful peek into what led to where the show begins.

In my opinion, The Secret Diary of Laura Palmer is a "must read" for Twin Peaks fans. You'll see it fits nicely into the show's mythology. Even as a stand alone novel it holds it's own. In 2016 or 2017, I have a feeling we'll all be getting lost in those woods again. Thinking of that raises a good question, can Bob be killed? Listen here to Sheryl Lee reading an excerpt from the book in 1990.

Enjoy this clip of Jennifer Lynch talking about the book below!

You may also like ---- > Laura Walked With Me

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Fox Mulder Meet Denise Bryson

One Man. One carries an unabashed belief in the unknown, the other wears a skirt and a wig. Both have unusual approaches to their careers, although only one saves the day in a blue waitress uniform and thigh high stockings!

Every Twin Peaks fan knows that a couple years before David Dochovny became the infamous Fox Mulder on the X-Files, he played the hilarious role of a cross-dressing DEA Agent named Denise Bryson on Twin Peaks. Although only in a few episodes, Agent Bryson is widely beloved as one of Twin Peaks best and funniest side characters. With the news of both the X-Files and Twin Peaks returning, I think fans would love it if Denise found her way back to Twin Peaks and it looks like its going to happen. Read here --- > Denise Bryson Back?

I am first and foremost a Twin Peaks fan, but I'm also a big fan of the X-Files. Not to the extreme degree that I love Twin Peaks, but it's one of my all time favorite shows. I watched the first few seasons of the X-Files faithfully in the 90's and saw the first X-Files movie (1998) in the theater. I lost track of the later seasons, but eventually I caught up with the entire series and watched the second X-Files movie (2008), which I wasn't crazy about. 

However, I always loved Fox Mulder an the terrific chemistry he shared with Agent Dana Scully (the wonderfully talented, Gillian Anderson), but mostly I was fascinated by aliens. I devoured the conspiracy episodes and usually enjoyed the stand alone ones. Some of the stand alone episodes are the most classic of the series, others were tough to get through. Overall I enjoyed Fox, Dana, the Smoking Man, Skinner and The Lone Gunmen the most and of course...aliens! 

Not to mention there were several Twin Peaks actors that found their way onto the X-Files over the years. That list includes Michael Horse (Hawk), Ken Welsh (Windom Earle), Richard Beymer (Ben Horne), Gary Bullock (Sheriff Cable), Don Davis (Major Briggs), Michael Anderson (Little Man aka the arm), Frances Bay (Mrs. Tremond), Claire Stansfield (Sid), Robin Lively (Lana), and Jan D'Arcy (Sylvia Horne), just to name a few.

"Trust No One!" ~ Deep Throat

It seems Twin Peaks helped to pave the way for the X-Files and other shows like it, but the X-Files became a legend all on it's own. I think as soon as I heard the opening theme I was hooked as a kid. It took awhile for the show to pick up steam and kind of reminded me of the 80's show, Friday the 13th: The Series. As the first season went on, The X-Files got better and better. Many of the episodes were creepy, scary and just plain weird, but always fun to watch. My affection for The X-files deepened with every government conspiracy episode that I watched. 

Special Agent Dale Cooper had a captivating quality in Twin Peaks. I believe David Dochovny's, Fox Mulder was greatly inspired by Kyle Maclachlan's portrayal of Dale Cooper. They shared the same boyish curiosity, both were walking their own unique path and were often misunderstood by their peers. I think in Twin Peaks Dale's uniqueness was embraced a bit more, unfortunately for Fox Mulder his choices often left him on the outside looking in. Regardless, Dochovny uses his own special dry wit to give both Fox Mulder and Agent Denise Bryson an unforgettable scene stealing prowess.

I still put my panties on one leg at a time, if you know what I mean!
For X-Files fans who aren't familiar with Twin Peaks, Agent Bryson's character was originally known to Dale Cooper as Dennis. He only learned that Agent Bryson had a lifestyle change when Agent Bryson walked into the Twin Peaks Sheriff's station wearing a long brunette wig, high heels and a skirt. Watch here --- > Agent Bryson 

He later explained to Dale that he'd been on a stakeout that required he wore woman's clothing and found that it relaxed him. After which, he decided to go by the name of Denise and made wearing woman's clothes a permanent thing. It didn't take long for Agent Bryson to win everyone over, not to mention he saved Dale's life at Dead Dog Farm. 

It looks like 2016 & 2017 will be good years for fans of both shows, in addition to David Duchovny fans in general. Personally I'm thrilled!