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Geek, Cars, and Gadgets

“Twin Peaks” – Watching the Old Show for the First Time

Twin Peaks first aired back in the early ’90s. I was a full-time college kid with a full-time job and the last thing I could fit in my schedule was time to watch a quirky television show. It seemed like everyone was into it, including my boss. She started bringing donuts into work on a regular basis and is the reason I now love coffee. Still, I didn’t have time for Twin Peaks when it first aired. Now, it’s back, so I’m playing catch up so this time I’ll understand all the fuss.

The show was a big enough deal that even without watching a single episode I still knew about Laura Palmer, donuts and coffee, giants, owls, and the log lady. Once they announced the new limited series I decided it was time to go back and binge watch the originals. The goal was to finish watching the old episodes before the new ones premiered. One look at the calendar and you can see the mission was a spectacular failure.

There are 30 episodes, including two extended season debuts, and a movie. That’s a lot of Twin Peaks. Now there are 18 more episodes on Showtime. I could be trying to play catch-up all summer. I am only a few episodes into season two and now I’m feeling like I’m going to be left behind the Twin Peaks bandwagon yet again.

It’s a bit of a challenge watching a nearly 30-year-old show that, even in it’s day, was weird. It’s dated in some good and bad ways. The hair is fabulously early ’90s and so are the clothes, but the style is almost off-putting. I know, it was weird even then, but combine what was edgy in the ’90s with 30 years of aging and it’s odd in not good ways. It’s like watching old Star Trek episodes that make you cringe a little in their corniness.

I wasn’t even sure I’d make it through the first season, but pushed on through and am enjoying season two quite a bit. Yet, people say it takes a sideways turn toward the middle of the season and gets sort of bad. It did get cancelled for declining ratings, so it makes sense that at some point it looses its lure. If I want to see it all, and I do, then I have to watch the crummy episodes that no one liked, too.

Part of the oddness also comes from binge-watching the show. At the time it aired, people weren’t streaming episodes of anything. Most of us watched a show when it aired and then it became the topic of the next day’s conversations at work and school. No one binge watched this 30 years ago. Turns out, hours on end of owls and giants doesn’t work so well. I’ve been taking a break and watching Episodes, a hilarious British comedy, and then coming back to Twin Peaks.

And now the new series is on the air and my mission henceforth will be to desperately avoid spoilers. Although, with how crazy this show is and how much I still have to watch, I wonder if I’d even understand half the spoilers. Either way, it’s going to be tricky for the next few weeks.

I’m imagining a fair number of you watched the originals and are already on to the new series. So, what do you think? Is it worth it for me to persevere and watch all the old shows? Does the new Twin Peaks hold up to a reboot nearly 30 years later or is it stale coffee and day-old donuts?

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