Twin Peaks: The Return – Fake Art Drudgery that Feeds on Fans’ Credulity
In 2017, David Lynch pissed in our glasses and told us it was champagne. This pissy emission is known as Twin Peaks: The Return, a practical joke devised by Lynch to test the limits of his fans’ mindless devotion to him.
The original series of Twin Peaks aired in 1990 and was fresh and funny, a murder mystery combined with a soap opera, directed in David Lynch’s inimitable style. The show became an instant classic and changed television forever. I have personally watched the entire series three times. Due to declining ratings however, the network forced Lynch to reveal the killer halfway through the second season. Following this, Lynch moved onto other things and turned over the writing and direction of the show to a bunch of talentless hacks who ran it into the ground practically overnight. Lynch only returned upon the show’s cancellation in order to write and direct the bewildering series finale, which was his first clue that Twin Peaks fans would hang around and analyse his work for years to come no matter what kind of shit sandwich he served them.
Passing his peak and with his best far behind him, David Lynch soon became unable to make films with any substance and instead turned his efforts toward producing as much confusion and frustration in his audience as possible – emotions he could feed off vampirically in much the same way his characters feed off their victims’ fear in his films. Returning to the Twin Peaks universe, Lynch filmed five hours of footage for a prequel movie, and ensured that any scenes which added a sense of underlying plot or continuity with the original series quickly found their way to the cutting room floor. The result was Fire Walk With Me, an incomprehensible two-hour mess which opened to boos and jeers at the 1992 Cannes Film Festival. Some of the cut scenes were released over twenty years later (!) as The Missing Pieces, an extra on the Fire Walk With Me Blu-ray release which shows that David Lynch could still make a good movie but just chose not to.
No longer sated by pouring contempt on the average cinemagoer, Lynch now turned his sights on his own cast, seeking to destroy their credibility for his own sick amusement. The result was 2017’s Twin Peaks: The Return, a series of incomprehensible and unconnected vignettes designed to make his favourite actors look as stupid as possible. Most noteworthy of these victims was Kyle MacLachlan, who Lynch forced to portray as a doddering Alzheimer’s patient for 16 hours while killing off one of TV’s best-loved characters with relish.
Most fans realized they were being pranked after the two-hour premiere of Twin Peaks: The Return and switched off in droves, with viewing figures plummeting from 506,000 to 195,000 by the third part. Lynch nevertheless knew he could rely on his most loyal and diehard fans to provide the confused sustenance he craved, and unleashed disdain on them for another 16 hours while looking on from a private booth with masturbatory glee.
As the show meandered toward its vague and meaningless finale last Sunday, Lynch knew he could feed off of his fans’ cognitive dissonance left in the void of the show’s non-ending for several years to come; history had already proved that with 1992’s calamitous Fire Walk With Me. Indeed, since the finale of The Return, the internet has been awash with fan theories regarding “what it all means”, many of which are unsurprisingly more creative than the show itself. However, most of these theories are simple displays of pareidolia, the perceiving of patterns in essentially random data – data intentionally planted by Lynch to foster this kind of unhealthy obsessive behaviour. Fans’ interpretations have thus been drawn from scrutinizing the sights, sounds, symbols and dialogue in the show on a frame-by-frame basis and then hallucinating “clues” in these fevered efforts. One poor soul even synced up the final two parts, believing that watching them simultaneously tells a story (it doesn’t). Part of me is waiting for Lynch to jump out of the shadows and say, “You’ve been pranked!” – but I know he would never destroy the source of the cognitive dissonance that sustains him.
The one thing that most stands out from this tragedy is the mental gymnastics people will perform to protect themselves from their own disappointment. I am now under the impression that David Lynch could take a shit directly onto a fan’s chest and the fan would simply reply, “Another masterpiece! Reminiscent of the dream logic used in Mulholland Drive. Five stars.”
The beginning of wisdom is to call things by their proper name, and Twin Peaks: The Return is a soul-sucking waste of time that spits in the face of a loyal fan base. The Return has nothing to do with Twin Peaks at all, and the intermingling of footage from the original series within the final parts only serves to show how far it has drifted from what made the show compelling in the first place. There aren’t any answers to be found in The Return; it is nothing more than an elaborate practical joke set up to feed its creator’s narcissism.
So, let’s all raise a piss-filled glass and toast David Lynch, the pseudointellectual fake artist who has been confusing fans for decades for his own sexual pleasure. Cheers, you prick!