Before I begin, I’d like to take a moment to apologize to Chris Trash and the other Bookgum participants for the tardiness of this post. I’ve been going through some stuff. Well, sort of. I mean, my life is pretty dull, and it’s not like my days are filled with intrigue. I’ve just been feeling bad, which I will address later in this thing.
So, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius*…
I’m not really sure what is expected of me here. I had planned an elaborate thing where I spent a long time ripping this book to shreds and then aping its style with a fourth-wall breaking dialogue with my mother wherein I establish that, perhaps, my take on the material is actually being affected by other factors in my life. It was all very clever and impressive in my head, but I’m just too tired to do it. It was very important to me that everyone be impressed by this stupid blog post, but I’m afraid I just don’t have the energy to worry anymore about being impressive.
For that I also apologize.
So what I’m going to do is give a very brief summary of what the other Bookgumsketeers had to say (very, very brief), and then use those as a jumping off point to give my perspective on the book. I’ll also be drinking as I write, and I will not be revising, so this might end badly.
Godsauce apologizes in advance for the length of this shit. tl;dr. If anyone actually does deign to read this entire thing and sees any typos or grammatical errors, please inform Godsauce forthwith! He can be contacted via Twitter: @Godsauce. Good day!
Although I appreciated the earnest enthusiasm that Ms. Katherine Chloé Cahoon brought to “The Single Girl’s Guide to Meeting European Men”, as a single, straight, American man with no particular interest in trolling for male tail overseas, I found it difficult to read. Since the book is unambiguous in its purpose, it isn’t surprising that Cahoon takes as a given that her readers really want to hook up with European men. She does not, therefore, find it necessary to elucidate what distinguishes European men as singularly worthwhile targets. In fact, it was hard not to take the apparent assumption of European superiority as a personal insult. What do these dudes have that I don’t have, right? As I continued to read, it became my goal to figure that out.
Of course, as Mr. Anchor Management pointed out yesterday, the figure of a romantic stranger from a different land carries an inherent fabulist intrigue. Language and cultural differences create a convenient screen that can help perpetuate the illusion. Ms. Cahoon certainly seems prone to romanticizing her encounters and those of her friends. Still, this alone does not satisfy me as an explanation. There was clearly something specific about these many and varied European experiences that distinguishes them from experiences with Americans. Read more…
Okay, so Chris Trash asked me to write this, and I said I would do it. I’d be curious to know how other Guest Bloggers made their Editor’s Choices, because this was one of the hardest parts of doing Videogum for me. I mean, there is obviously a learning curve to writing a blog, and we had to learn fast. Personally, I was mentally exhausted and sleep deprived when I wrote my entries, and they were not good enough, and I really wish that I could have another chance to make them funnier and deeper and stuff. Still, people care about the Monster’s Ball, and I didn’t want to make a wrong choice. Read more…
After the unprecedented response to my deleted scene from YCMIU (thanks stu!), it seemed apt to provide you with another item that I considered posting during my one-day reign at Videogum. I give you “The Ponymen”:
I thought this was a fun and well done mash-up, and we haven’t seen many of those lately, but it was late in the day when I saw it, and I didn’t want to risk stepping on anyone else’s toes. It is a part of a series of My Little Pony/action movie mash-ups. I’ll put a couple other good ones after the jump. Read more…
I don't know what is supposed to be happening here
Never one to let go of the spotlight, I would like to present y’all with some behind-the-scenes stuff*, including some things that I didn’t put on Videogum when I had the chance. It’ll be like the Godsauce DVD special features menu. Fittingly, first up is a deleted scene.
This short bit was removed from my “You Can Make It Up” feature on Videogum. Part of me wanted to keep it in the story, but it didn’t really match the somber tone that I wanted for the piece. The scene begins immediately after Gabe walks into the donut shop… Read more…
This Sunday edition was too epic to fit properly into a photo post on tumblr.
More alterations after the jump… Old Jim is waiting outside to help him thoroughly experience the themes of his life until he gains optimal knowledge from them and until his emotional attachment to those themes falls off.
In Portlandia, they call that “art”.
Laugh all you want, but 75 hours of Island Nectar from Slatkin & Co. is worth the wait.
Jeffy can probably agree that life has a sick sense of humor, but I’m guessing that hesitation isn’t what’s causing his worst fears to come true.
For the first time, Billy has made his father proud.
Little does Dolly know, P.J. is already OT IV.
I am considering suspending this feature on MOBFD, as it seems a bit redundant. You can find daily and bonus alterations at Godsauce Alters Today’s Family Circus. If you have strong feelings about that, let me know.
Greetings, friends! I apologize for the tardiness and sloppiness of this post, but I have been quite busy with stuff.
I was asked to write this piece about the first proper episode of Twin Peaks because of my longstanding reputation as the world’s foremost David Lynch scholar (nope). While it is true that I have written some delightfully undergraddy shot-by-shot analyses of Lynch films, specifically Blue Velvet and Lost Highway, I must confess that there are a few embarrassing gaps in my Lynch experience, one of which is that I have not seen all of Twin Peaks. I have seen the first few episodes, including the extended feature-film version of the pilot that Lynch made just in case the show wasn’t picked up, but I don’t really know what is going to happen. The good news is that any spoilers contained herein will be lucky guesses!
On to the business at hand!
I’m going to start with a short, shallow introduction to Lynchian themes. If you wish to get to the meat of this thing, scroll down to Special Agent Cooper hanging upside-down…
The first thing that most people figure out about David Lynch is that his movies are really, ostentatiously weird. There are probably many valid explanations for how and why Lynch creates this weirdness, but the effect can be, among other things, hilarious, heartbreaking and frightening, and his films gain much of their power from his ability to evoke these emotions, sometimes simultaneously. The second thing that people figure out about Lynch is that he is very concerned with the concept of dark complexities lying underneath the placid surface of everyday life. A lot of students and critics are dismissive of this analysis, because it seems so obvious, but I think that Lynch’s take is actually more interesting than is immediately evident.
In most of his work, including Twin Peaks, Lynch starts things off with a very short period of realism, which quickly transitions into a stilted exaggeration of the artificiality of the superficial. He uses things like a cranked up Angelo Badalamenti score and intensely amplified but simplistically emotional performances from his actors to underline their surface falsity. It is only then that the audience begins delving into the strange, dark underbelly of Lynch’s world, which devolves into surreal humor and, eventually, schizophrenic insanity. Some people read this as a critique of modern life or the complacency of a well-fed society, but I think it is more of an acknowledgement that the world and the people living in it are tremendously deep and complex, far too complex to be properly understood using standard conventions.
Lynch’s stories all seem to involve people facing, often for the first time, the true depths that exist in the world and the human soul. Looking at his characters, a few major archetypes arise that are often defined by how they respond to having stared into the abyss. Some respond by shutting off their critical faculties and pretending that things are simple. Others sink into the depths and become permanently indentified with the underworld. Some go mad, becoming emotional basketcases or embracing eccentricities that allow them to cope. Then there are Lynch’s heroes, who are able to respect and appreciate the deeper layers of the world while continuing to function in normal society, stronger for their broadened perspective. And, of course, there are the innocents, who might not be well-behaved but are too naïve to have any idea what they are getting into or what depths they already possess.
I think that most of the young characters in Twin Peaks, including Donna, Bobby and James, are in this last category. I also think that Laura Palmer was killed as she was in the process of figuring out which track she was going to take. The reason that her death resonates with me is that, despite all the crazy shit she was getting into, I get the feeling that she would have been one of the heroes had she survived.
Anyway, enough of that crap.
Let’s talk about the episode.
This episode was not actually directed by David Lynch, but it falls between two episodes he did direct: the pilot and Zen and the Art of Killer-Catching. As such, some of the elements are toned down here. Most of the music cues are the same (they really got their money’s worth out of that Badalamenti score), but the volume level isn’t quite as oppressive.
The episode begins with our hero, Special Agent Dale Cooper, hanging upside down and dictating. Cooper seems like the perfect Lynch hero. He has seen the darkness, and it still able to enjoy the world for what it is.
Cooper is exuberant about small pleasures like coffee. He is polite and kind to the locals, but he can also see through their bullshit. He knows that the world is a dark place, and he doesn’t allow that to diminish him. He is also very competent at his job, and while his dictations and small pleasures are often played for amusement, the show never lets us forget that he is in control of his own destiny.
One of the things this episode does is reestablish a few characters from the pilot. So just in case we forgot, Donna and James are falling in lurve but are conflicted about it. Amusingly, both of them see themselves as worldly, but they are still quite naïve and innocent. Hell, even Laura Palmer returns from the grave in the last scene to call James “sweet but dumb.”
We are also reintroduced to Bobby and his letter jacket wearing douchebuddy whose name eludes me. They are sitting in jail from a barfight discussing some sort of criminal enterprise, but the ridiculous bebop score underlines how ridiculous they are. I imagine that we will see more darkness from them later, but not yet. Look at how fearsome Bobby is:
The asshats are cleared and released, and we get to see Bobby at dinner with his parents. Bobby’s father is played by the awesome Don Davis, and he wins my award for best moment of the episode.
Somehow, Bobby is boning Shelly Johnson (Mädchen Amick, *drool*), and we get to spend some quality time with her and her delightful truck-driving husband, Leo.
Leo demands that Shelly do his laundry, and she finds a bloody shirt, which she cleverly hides in a drawer before he catches her with it. He caresses her tenderly.
Later, when Leo can’t find the bloody shirt, he caresses her again with a bar of soap in a sock.
In other news, James is also cleared and released, and his uncle Ed claims to have been drugged at the barfight rather than admit that he got beat up by those two children. Ed has been boning the other waitress at the diner, despite being married to an eyepatched woman named Nadine who is very, very sane. She is so sane, that she has engineered completely silent drapes, even though everyone knows that drapes are meant to be noisy. Luckily for the waitress, she gets to hear about this firsthand.
I’m sure that Nadine won’t be murdering any waitress in her sleep later tonight.
So, the investigation into the murder leads us to the sawmill, where Cooper questions Josie Packard about Laura Palmer, which doesn’t seem to provide any new information.
Fortunately, our hero gets a delicious cup of coffee out of it.
The visit does lead us to some business about Josie’s sister-in-law, Catherine Martell, and Ben Horne, conspiring to burn down the sawmill and then have very offputting sex on the ashes. I had a picture of some of the toe-sucking and cleavage kissing, but ew.
In the Palmer household, Leland is taking care of Sarah. I think that Leland is shady for a couple of reasons. First, when he figured out that Laura had died the sad music got way too loud, which is Lynch code for artifice. Second, when is Ray Wise ever not shady. Anyway, Donna comes and visits Sarah, and they have a moment too long for a gif and too perfect not to embed, so here is the whole scene.
Now, I don’t think I’m giving anything away when I say that the dude she sees there is killer BOB, whom I’m pretty sure I remember from the feature film version of the pilot. I hope we’ll be seeing a lot more of him soon. He is a creepy fellow.
After a long day’s work and a cup of fish coffee, Agent Cooper finally gets to have a slice or three of cherry pie, and we get a visit from the Log Lady, who swears that her log is an eyewitness to something that happened the night of Laura Palmer’s murder.
She is offended when Cooper declines to interrogate the log, so instead of everything being solved in this episode, we’ll get several more seasons of the show.
Finally, we close the episode with our good psychiatrist friend listening to a cassette tape of Laura Palmer and crying. In the cliffhanger of the pilot, someone recovered James’ half of the locket, and now this guy has it.
So there you go! I’m sure there was stuff I missed, so fill in the blanks (TWSS). I also am posting the first draft of this, so if you see typos, let me know on twitter, and I’ll ignore them. I leave you with this.
It was an old springtime ritual in which all of the neighborhood children got off the bus and kicked water on Old Jim, passed out drunk in a puddle from when one of the neighborhood parents sprayed the hose in a futile attempt to get him to move. Sometimes there was vomit, and sometimes there was blood, but there were always good times and happy memories to be made.
There were a lot of bonus comics this week. More alterations (including a bonus Cathy that is one of my new favorites) after the jump… I like to think that the sperm are like Willy Wonka’s fizzy lifting drink, and that Heathcliff won’t be able to return to the ground until he has expelled enough of it.
Luckily for her, it was a marathon of “Bethenny Ever After”.
I don’t know where this is heading. Two notes: All of the male characters are wearing blue socks and Billy is again on the floor.
As luck would have it, Bill Murray, a friend of both Jordan and Ivan Reitman, was available to join the Looney Tunes’ team at the last minute, averting forfeiture.
This alteration was partially inspired by a screening of Road House. I’m not sure where Bil came across that image of the Swayze, but if this particular fixation bleeds into reality, the results should be epic.
Everyone in this bonus “Get Fuzzy” alteration has serious issues they need to work out.
I believe it was Baby Friday that requested an Andy Capp alteration. Although the request was for a political angle which this is not, Larry David has taught me that jokes about huge vaginae are hilarious.
Cathy is pretty lucky to have found such a versatile outfit!
Thirty minutes later, several very religious children beat the shit out of Jeffy.
Billy’s anachronistic surroundings have led him to momentarily stop praying to the television. Perhaps this god of his is a bygone relic, supplanted by newer, wider and flatter gods.
This bonus Garfield was made when I was having a difficult Monday. This was in a response to some particularly unhelpful criticism I received on twitter. Seriously, I do appreciate your feedback. Don’t be shy.