Twin Peaks
Episode One

Episode Report Card
Something's Fishy

A long, slow pan of the room is soon to be accompanied by Cooper's latest address to Diane, in which he brings her up to date on the activities that landed him in Room 315 of the Great Northern. The room fulfills Truman's promise of being "clean, reasonably priced accommodations," and Cooper adds a few thoughts on his satisfaction concerning issues as diverse as the quality of the mattress, the bathroom, and the telephone. It's a very routine iteration of the first night of his stay, all of which makes the visual irony of what appears on the other end of this pan all the more effective. For during the "clean, reasonably priced accommodations" line in this opening speech, the camera pans to two black-clad feet suspended from a bar just below the ceiling, and the camera proceeds to pan slowly down the length of a human being hanging upside-down. The socks are held up by suspenders, which from this angle and in association with the shoes look very bondage-like in their appearance. Further on, the camera reaches a pair of bare knees, and there is one heart-stopping moment in which we see only skin, the indication of any future naughty-bits-concealing fabric growing more unlikely by the second. I wonder for but a brief moment of sheer, dawning horror if the middle American focus groups and Nielsen families were so vocal about their alienation from the Pilot that the execs at ABC decided to tinker with the tone of the entire series and turn it into a bawdy, cutting-edge weekly chronicle called 1-900-FBI-LOVE, a show about the wild times of a law-enforcing federal bachelor who the ladies can't resist and who lives by the credo "anything you say or do can and will cause me to be held against you in a court of love." Anything to keep up with that upstart new Fox network everyone keeps talking about. Because, you know, it's 1990 and all.

But this, oh thank the programming gods above, turns out to not so much be the case. As the camera pans down a bit more, the clothing reappears in the form of boxers and a tank top, and as Cooper enters the portion of his speech which muses on the television's reception, the camera stops on his face and I realize that we've caught up with him in the middle of his morning exercises. Finally treated to a more comprehensive shot of the room, we see Cooper hanging upside-down in his entirety. But, he adds, "the true test of any hotel, as you well know, Diane, is that morning cup of coffee, which I'll be getting back to you about within a half hour." She must be so relieved, as I can only imagine how that information comes to bear on her daily tasks as his assistant. Or as his tape recorder, as the case very well may be. He turns off the tape recorder, gets down from the poll, thinks of another essential piece of information necessary to recount to his intrepid Diane, and flips the tape recorder back on as the music abruptly ceases and an air of utmost seriousness descends. Uh-oh. What unforeseen plot development could this dramatic tonal shift signify? How 'bout this? "Diane, it struck me again earlier this morning. There are two things that continue to trouble me, and I'm speaking now not only as an agent of the bureau, but also as a human being. What really went on between Marilyn Monroe and the Kennedys, and who really pulled the trigger on JFK?" Hee. Dang, three and a half full minutes into this episode and I've already forgotten to communicate the most important piece of information yet: I freakin' love this show.

Downstairs in the dining room at the Great Northern, a waitress pours Cooper his first cup of Twin Peaks coffee, taken black, and he keeps her from leaving until he has taken the appropriate interval to sip it, swish it around a bit, take in the aroma and bouquet, and generally endear us to him even further, if such a thing is possible. It is, as Cooper reports, "a damn fine cup of coffee." The flattered waitress leaves him the entire pot, and Cooper embarks on the multi-volume process of ordering his breakfast, further establishing his trademark idiosyncrasies with requests like, "Two eggs over hard. I know, don't tell me, it's hard on the arteries. But old habits die hard, just about as hard as I want those eggs." Audrey appears at the door of the dining room, her hair and make-up highly evolved from the Pilot and some of her bad-girl schoolish vixen characterization tuned down, a shrewd move considering I don't think we ever see her in school again. Stymied in his attempt to order grapefruit juice after catching her eye, Cooper reports that he only wants juice that is "freshly squeezed." And actually, I think that's the name of one of the tracks on the soundtrack, the one playing now in which Snare Drum Shuffle features the melody played on a vibes-related instrument of some kind, rather than the obligatory saxophone. I love this song. It's almost as good as the next track on the Twin Peaks soundtrack which also maintains a similar melody to this one, entitled "It's Horne-tastic!"

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Twin Peaks




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