Monday, July 24, 2017

Twin Peaks FAQ: All That's Left to Know About a Place Both Wonderful and Strange review

    I'm a late comer to the TWIN PEAKS franchise since, well, I was twelve years old when the show was initially on the air and it wasn't until recently that I was able to watch it on Netflix. Nevertheless, I have since retroactively devoured a lot of the fandom and its lore. It was a show that had a big effect on my writing and helped create my Esoterrorism, I was a Teenaged Weredeer, and Rules of Supervillainy series. The TWIN PEAKS FAQ sets itself up as the definitive resource on the Twin Peaks series with an episode guide of the show, analysis of the characters, and discussion of both behind-the-scenes as well as on-screen drama. It's more hit than miss, though there's quite a bit of miss in the latter half of the book.

    Basically, when David Bushman is discussing how the show was made or events from the show then he's doing fine. The production was fairly fascinating by itself with a link between Hollywood's favorite surealist and a soap opera writer teaming up to create a megablockuster show which quickly fizzled out but lived on as a cult-classic. We also get discussion of the failed indie movie FIRE WALK WITH ME. David Bushman's love of the series is infectious and he makes a lot of funny little comments that keeps the work entertaining throughout (for the most part). This doesn't attempt to present itself as a serious scholarly work and I think that would have been a mistake for such a quirky series by itself.

    Instead, this is clearly a resource for the fans themselves. I don't agree with all of his conclusions, for example he keeps ripping into James (James Marshall) when I really liked the character, but he was usually right on the money. He also, surprisingly, shies away from gossip with a refusal to tell the story about Lara Flynn Boyle allegedly canning the Audrey-Cooper romance. However, a good chunk of this book is the episode guide and it's an incredibly long series of summarizes which don't really add that much to the story. The majority of people who are buying this book are fans of the series already so some more analysis and less summary would have been welcome.

    Obviously, a lot of this information is now outdated with the existence of Twin Peaks: The Return but it is a humorous novel that covers everything up until that point. The author is entertaining with an irreverent style that makes otherwise dry reading entertaining. Even the Episode Guide, which could have used some sprucing up and commentary to go with it, has enough remarks spread through to keep it from being a bore. Still, the fact so much of the book is taken up with the episode guide affects its overall score. I would have preferred him to keep analyzing the characters and their relationships throughout. Would that have just made it the author's opinion on a popular television show? Yes, but that is why I'm buying it. If I wanted a purely analytical discussion of the show I would have bought THE ESSENTIAL WRAPPED IN PLASTIC: PATHWAYS TO TWIN PEAKS (which I did).

    In conclusion, this is an excellent book for fans of the series who want a entertaining read right up until the episode guide. That doesn't really offer anything new even with the occassional joke scattered throughout. Unfortunately, that takes up a third of the book.


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