If you’re watching ‘Twin Peaks’ for the first time, you’re going to have questions.
We know you’ve heard of Twin Peaks, David Lynch’s deliciously campy (and creepy) ‘90s mystery cult drama that’s spawned one of the best TV themes ever, a plethora of pop culture references, and hands down the most terrifying imagery you could ever imagine.
There are books (even a new one coming out this October), an annual fan convention, and a pop up diner that opened in London last year, all based on the two-season series. With such a huge cult following, it’s no surprise that earlier this year Showtime announced plans for a reboot, to premiere in 2017. It’s like we’re having the most beautiful dream.
With its return slowly creeping upon us, there’s no better time to start watching Twin Peaks. If you’re a first-time watcher or you’d like to be one, you probably have a ton of burning questions before you dive in. We know that starting a beloved show with a huge fanbase and broad mythology is a bit daunting, so we two hardcore Twin Peaks fans are here to hold your hand during your first venture to Twin Peaks. Welcome.
1. What time period is this? I thought this took place in the ‘90s? Why does everyone seem like they’re in the ‘60s?
Yes, it’s the 1990s and everyone seems like they’re straight out of the 1960s. But no, they’re not in a time warp—they will be later, but that’s later. Just…don’t even worry about it right now.
2. What the heck kind of music is this?
While some may consider the “Twin Peaks” music to be a genre unto itself, we think it best fits into the “Dream Pop” category, which prioritizes mood over melody. We find it rather intoxicating. The only problem is that if you fall asleep while listening to it, you’ll wake up in a room with red curtains where everyone speaks backwards. Just a heads up.
3. Is Twin Peaks Real?
Technically, Twin Peaks is a fictional town, but head over to Snoqualmie, Washington if you ever want to see where it was filmed . Located 25 miles east of Seattle, a little more than 10,000 denizens call the Pacific Northwest town home as of 2016.
While you’re there, visit Ben Horne’s Great Northern Hotel (and Agent Dale Cooper’s temporary home), which is the real-life spa resort, Salish Lodge. Apparently, you can stay there for $230 a night. Why not? We’re pretty sure this town is free of brothels, Black Lodges, and demonic forces named BOB.
4. Who is “Diane”?
Diane is Agent Cooper’s secretary back at FBI Headquarters in DC, his “Girl Friday” so to speak. Cooper takes all his notes on a voice recorder and then ships them back to Diane in D.C. so she can transcribe them. This is how things were done in the old days, before voice recognition software made crackerjack secretaries like Diane obsolete. If you’re wondering what Diane looks like, get ready to keep on wondering. She’s never ever seen during the show.
5. How old is Sherilyn Fenn’s character supposed to be?
High school seductress Audrey Horne is supposed to be 16 but looks totally older than her age, right? The actress that played her, Sherilyn Fenn, was 25 when the series began in 1990. By Hollywood’s standards, a 25-year-old playing a 16-year-old isn’t totally an Andrea Zuckerman situation. Taylor Kitsch was 28 when he played a high school football player in “Friday Night Lights”; Stacey Dash was 29 in “Clueless.” Rachel McAdams was 27 in “Mean Girls.” And the list goes on and on. Honestly, our only explanation is that Sherilyn came out of her mother’s womb a sensual, confident, wise-beyond-her-years badass, which is reflected in her physical appearance.
6. The actor who plays Bob—he’s locked away in some maximum security prison so he can’t “get” me right?
Unfortunately, the actor who played Bob, Frank Silva, passed away in 1995. So, that means he actually CAN “get” you because in the “Twin Peaks” universe, the spiritual realm trumps reality. The best solution we can offer is to sleep with your lights on for the rest of your life, and also make sure that the foot of your bed is up against a wall. If it’s not up against a wall, we can pretty much guarantee that Bob is going to pop up at the foot of your bed one of these nights smiling like the ruthless psychopath that he is. Sorry!
7. Have ceiling fans always been this ominous?
Nope. Until its premiere in 1990, ceiling fans were a completely innocuous and entirely pragmatic invention. Now, they’re just straight up terrifying and a clear sign that something horrific is about to happen. We’d rather sweat it out than turn one of those things on, thank you very much.
8. OK, this is starting to sound scary. Are there monsters?
Monsters exist in all kinds of entities. So if we’re counting demons and demonic forces as “monsters,” then the answer is yes. Expect “metaphorical” demons as well. And generally weird people that act like they’re hiding something or just do odd things like talk to logs. “Twin Peaks” is, more than anything, psychologically terrifying rather than physically so. It’ll make you fear the unknown, and there are PLENTY of things that unknowns, even for hardcore fans today.
9. If “the owls are not what they seem,” then what are they?
They’re just…not what they seem. They seem to be owls,…but they’re NOT. Does that make it more clear? No? OK, just kidding, we have NO idea either.
10. Can I watch this alone?
If you’re easily scared, it’s probably best to turn on a light or two if you’re alone. Although Twin Peaks can be a slow-moving narrative, there’s enough weirdness and mystery to make you feel really unsettled. Plus, Twin Peaks’ dark humor borders on the ridiculous side at times. Its campiness is best enjoyed in the company of fellow TV fans.
11. What’s up with those zigzaggy black and white floors?
The now-iconic chevron floor pattern is found in the Black Lodge, which is…you’ll find out soon enough. Fun fact: Chevron floors are also featured in Lynch’s 1977 horror film Eraserhead, making them a staple Lynchian visual element.
12. Will I be the same after watching this show?
No, you will not be the same. Many pop culture references will make sense to you now.You’ll get instant street cred for attempting to watch one of the scariest series of all time. You’ll never look at cherry pie, coffee, logs, or owls in the same way. Most importantly, you’ll probably never sleep again.
By Liz Brown and Sheila Dichoso