David Lynch and Mark Frost made something really weird happen, and I’m not talking about Laura Palmer’s murder, a dancing dwarf, a Log Lady or an owl. They turned primetime TV into a giant indie art-house theater, and regular American channel surfers by the millions became its black-turtlenecked denizens. The story of a teen girl’s death in the Pacific Northwest—and the pie-eating, deadpan-soliloquy-spouting FBI agent investigating it—carried on the theme, from Lynch movies like Blue Velvet, of sordid secrets and ancient horrors hid behind a facade of wholesome Americana, proving that TV could equal or surpass film in its storytelling ambitions. Twin Peaks may have had the shelf life of a freshly poured cup of coffee, but it was damn fine nonetheless.
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