Download Return to Twin Peaks: New Approaches to Materiality, Theory, and Genre on Television PDF

TitleReturn to Twin Peaks: New Approaches to Materiality, Theory, and Genre on Television
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan US
ISBN 139781137556950
CategoryArts - Film
Author
LanguageEnglish
File Size2.7 MB
Total Pages262
Table of Contents
                            Cover
Half-Title
Title
Copyright
Contents
List of Figures
Preface
Acknowledgments
Introduction “It is Happening Again”: New Reflections on Twin Peaks
Part I The Matter of Twin Peaks
	1 Wondrous and Strange: The Matter of Twin Peaks
	2 Substance Abuse: Special Agent Dale Cooper, “What’s the Matter?”
	3 “The Owls Are Not What They Seem”: Animals and Nature in Twin Peaks
	4 “That Cherry Pie is Worth a Stop”: Food and Spaces of Consumption in Twin Peaks
	5 “Wrapped in Plastic”: David Lynch’s Material Girls
Part II Twin Peaks , in Theory
	6 Jacques Lacan, Walk with Me: On the Letter
	7 Lodged in a Fantasy Space: Twin Peaks and Hidden Obscenities
Part III Genre, Fandom, and New Reflections
	8 “Complementary Verses”: The Science Fiction of Twin Peaks
	9 “Doing Weird Things for the Sake of Being Weird”: Directing Twin Peaks
	10 “I’ll See You Again in 25 Years”: Paratextually Re-commodifying and Revisiting Anniversary Twin Peaks
	11 Nightmare in Red? Twin Peaks Parody, Homage, Intertextuality, and Mashup
	12 Trapped in the Hysterical Sublime: Twin Peaks, Postmodernism, and the Neoliberal Now
Notes on Contributors
Index
                        
Document Text Contents
Page 2

Return to Twin Peaks

Page 131

6

Jacques Lacan, Walk with Me: On the Letter

Eric Savoy

While the letter may be en souffrance [awaiting delivery], [the subjects] are the
ones who shall suffer from it. By passing beneath its shadow, they become its reflec-
tion. By coming into the letter’s possession—an admirably ambiguous bit of lan-
guage—its meaning possesses them.

—Jacques Lacan, “Seminar on ‘The Purloined Letter’” (21)

Why was there no third season of Twin Peaks ? Among the possi-
ble responses to this vexing question (the dwindling audience, or
the impasse of “creative differences” between David Lynch and
Mark Frost), the most plausible one—for the formalist, at least—is
that the story had arrived at its logical and inevitable conclusion. In
the horrific finale at the Great Northern Hotel, Dale Cooper (Kyle
MacLachlan) smashes his head against the bathroom mirror and,
with ironic glee, gazes upon “his” reflection in its crazed, bloodied
surface: the crazed, ugly face of BOB (Frank Silva). If the narrative
economy of Twin Peaks— specifically, its temporal unfolding or the
seriality of events—is largely predicated on doubling, and thus falls
under the auspices of what Lacan conceptualizes as the “repetition
automatism” (11), then Cooper’s ultimate convergence with his polar
opposite, his gothic Other, is precisely and conclusively uncanny. For
in the logical circuits of repetition and return, it is hardly coinciden-
tal that we have already witnessed the co-incidence, mediated by the
mirror image, of Leland Palmer (Ray Wise) and BOB (episode 14). As
the host who carried what Dexter Morgan of the Showtime TV series

Page 132

124 Eric Savoy

might call the “dark passenger” of BOB until his pitiful death, Leland
Palmer is at once the narrative precursor of Cooper’s destiny as a
split subject and, as the original embodiment of BOB’s agency, the
cog that sets the narrative machinery in motion. The very recurrence
of the mirror’s specular affirmation of the monstrously divided sub-
ject suggests that the machine has done its work: that is, the plot has
come full circle when the angelic Cooper is reincarnated as the slave
of sublime evil (or when we are given conclusive evidence that the
unfathomable Real is inside the Symbolic order). The narrative’s repe-
tition automatism in the guise of “the detective story” has traced not
only the traces of BOB—his letters, about which I shall have some-
thing to say—but also, and ultimately, his transmission to the most
unlikely of carriers. According to these logics, there is nothing more
to tell. Cooper emerges at the series’ close as BOB’s historically next,
and narratively ultimate, addressee. In other words, “the ‘letter en
souffrance’ means . . . that a letter always arrives at its destination”
(Lacan 30).

The metamorphosis of Dale Cooper and Leland Palmer in the
mirror scenes is both a gothic extension and a striking literalization
of Lacan’s model, quoted in my epigraph, of the temporal itinerary
of the letter: just as the subject succumbs to the shadowy allure of
the letter as it circulates, awaiting delivery, he “become[s] its reflec-
tion .” From a Lacanian perspective, one could say that the uncanny
affect of Twin Peaks intensifies as the narrative moves inexorably
toward “realizing”—toward this becoming-literal in the mirror’s
reflection of what is merely Lacan’s theoretical metaphor of “reflec-
tion.” The word becomes the thing. In order to situate the mirror
scenes in relation to the larger narrative, they should be understood
as the clarifying moments that render explicit the soldering of the
subject to BOB’s traces as the Lacanian letter. As such, they arise
from a narrative economy that not only depends upon the circula-
tion of a wide array of “letters,” but that also deploys the letters
as fragments of the Real to which they point. Ultimately, the let-
ter is not a morsel of evidence that the detective manipulates as a
safe distance from the Real; rather, in the field of the gothic, the
letter binds the subject’s unconscious to itself in an insidious and
totalizing manner, thus incorporating the subject into the Real that
he persists in regarding as impossible, elsewhere, and purely Other.
Such are the chiastic logics that subtend Lacan’s argument about the
transposition of subject and object in course of the letter’s narrative
circulation (again, I quote from my epigraph): “By coming into the

Page 261

Index 261

The League of Gentlemen, 222
The Simpsons, 211, 216, 221, 243

“Lisa’s Sax,” 216–17, 225
“Who Shot Mr Burns?,” 216, 219

The Twilight Zone, 165
The Walking Dead, 161, 169, 178,

181, 189
The West Wing, 206
The X-Files, 163, 164, 165, 188,

220, 241
thing theory, 31, 43–4, 45
“Tibetan Method,” 5, 43, 45, 92,

242
Todorov, Tzvetan, 12, 163
traffic light, 17, 29, 31, 34, 35, 37,

73, 183, 216, 217
trees, 30, 34, 35, 36, 37, 39, 57, 73,

80, 91, 137, 149, 166, 167,
172

bonsai, 33, 172
Douglas firs, 55, 79, 90–1
sycamores, 32, 36, 38

Tremayne, Dick. See Buchanan, Ian
Tremond, Mrs. See Bay, Frances;

Williams, Mae
Tremond, Pierre. See Lynch, Austin

Jack
True Blood, 241
Truman, Sheriff Harry S. See

Ontkean, Michael
“Twin Bricks,” 212, 215, 216
Twin Peaks festivals, 15, 197, 200
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.

See Lynch, David
Twin Peaks Gazette, 15
Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery, 1,

196, 197–9, 200–2, 206–7
Twitter, ix, 1, 2, 16, 196, 198, 200,

203–6, 222

uncanny, 29, 31, 39, 40, 52, 53, 55,
93, 94, 117, 123, 124, 130,
134, 135, 136, 138, 140,
186, 205, 215

utopia, 168–9

Venus de Medici, 119
visions, 5, 6, 29, 33, 35, 103, 119,

126, 127, 135, 140, 166,
189n4, 216, 222, 242

Von Dohlen, Lenny, 218
as Harold Smith, 33, 136–9, 146

Waiter. See Worden, Hank
Waiting Room. See Red Room
Waldo, 74, 82
wall tile, 39, 75
Wallenfels, Jessica

as Harriet Hayward, 78
Warehouse, 13, 165
Warner, David

as Thomas Eckhardt, 31, 41, 169
Welcome to Twin Peaks (website),

2, 15–16, 197, 198, 199,
204, 206, 223

Welsh, Kenneth, 2
as Windom Earle, 7, 33, 41,

61–4, 65, 67n13, 68n17, 81,
85, 109–10, 117, 171, 172,
173n3, 188

Western genre, 75, 165
Whedon, Joss, 175, 179. See also

Angel; Buffy the Vampire
Slayer; Firefly

Wheeler, John. See Zane, Billy
White Lodge, 80, 169, 242
Whitehouse, Mary, 244n1
Wilcox, Clay

as Bernard Renault, 153
Wild Palms, 164
Williams, Mae

as Mrs. Tremond, 109, 138 (see
also Bay, Frances)

Wise, Ray, 3, 198, 218
as Father Andrew Westley, 218
as Leland Palmer, 4–7, 8, 29, 34–5,

36, 39, 40, 41, 49, 54, 55, 56,
57, 62, 71, 72, 74, 75, 76, 77,
78, 79, 81, 83, 123–4, 125, 135,
136, 138–9, 152–3, 154, 155,
198, 223, 236–7, 241, 243

Page 262

262 Index

Wiseman, Len, 178, 189
Wolfe, Tom

Bonfire of the Vanities, 231
wood tick, 29, 32
woods, 5, 29, 32, 35–6, 37, 38, 55,

62, 72, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79,
80, 81, 82, 83, 85, 119, 126,
153, 183, 186, 241. See also
trees

Worden, Hank
as the Old Waiter, 52, 64, 139

Wrapped in Plastic (fanzine), 15

YouTube, 2, 198–9, 200, 212, 215

Zabriskie, Grace, 3, 198
as Sarah Palmer, 5, 6, 33, 34–5,

53–5, 56, 62, 74, 183–4,
198, 240

as Visitor One, 67n12
Zane, Billy

as John Wheeler, 73, 74, 83
Zemeckis, Robert, 177–8

Back to the Future, 234, 235
Žižek, Slavoj, 146, 156n2, 230–1

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