TWIN PEAKS (Retrospective and Drinking Game)

READER NOTE – Catch all the Latest on The 2017 Showtime Return of Twin Peaks RIGHT HERE AT THE SPIN!

When I was in kindgergarten, my mother let me stay up late on Friday nights and watch Dallas with her.  When I was ten, the entire family was glued to the TV screen on Wednesday nights wondering, “Who Killed Laura Palmer?”

April 10, 2007 marked the long delayed DVD release of the second (and final) season of Twin Peaks, the ground-breaking television series that aired on ABC from 1990-1991.  For my money, it was the greatest television series ever produced.

Combining classic soap opera elements with a centralized murder mystery, deadpan humor, dark mysticism, a labyrinthine mythology, and a style all its own, Twin Peaks was the co-creation of revolutionary film auteur David Lynch (The Elephant Man, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive) and TV veteran Mark Frost (Hill Street Blues). This was the first series to feature production values equal to that of film and boldly set the stage for the green-lighting of such trailblazing shows like Northern Exposure, Picket Fences, and The X-Files.  Its influence can still be felt today in popular programs like 24, Desperate Housewives and LOST, and in the standard practice of premium cable channels HBO and Showtime to treat original drama series with the same care of an epic, big-budget film.

When it premiered as a mid-season replacement in early 1990, Twin Peaks was an instant hit that sucked viewers in from the opening scenes of a beautiful young dead girl wrapped in plastic discovered on the banks of a river running through a majestic, small Northwestern town.  The show proceeded to show the intertwining tales of the townsfolk coming to terms with their dark secrets while a quirky outsider (Kyle MacLachlan as Special Federal Agent Dale Cooper) attempted to solve the murder of their beloved Homecoming Queen, Laura Palmer.

ABC execs pressured the producers to solve the mystery in season two, feeling they were losing viewers who felt like they were being strung along, and the answer to who killed Laura Palmer can be found smack-dab in the middle of the new DVD compilation.  What happens after this mind-blowing revelation is a roller coaster ride of soap opera theatrics (complete with a young David Duchovny as a cross-dressing DEA agent and a then unknown Heather Graham as an adorably mysterious waitress named Annie) and a diabolical thickening of the show’s shadowy mythology surrounding the White and Black Lodges, the Dancing Midget (aka Man from Another Place), the Red Room, the Giant, and Killer Bob.  It was all just too weird for mainstream viewers, and those devout fans found it hard to find the show as ABC jumbled the time slot until its ultimate cancellation.  Foreseeing the impending doom, Lynch crafted one of the all time great series finales/cliffhangers that still has cultists wondering, “How’s Annie?”  The searing and unnerving last episode is haunting and shocking and unlike anything ever done on TV before or since.

The complete second season (all 22 episodes), like the first season DVD released back in 2001, is beautifully transferred and chock full of special features that will have enthusiasts squealing with delight.  I especially enjoyed the “interactive grid” interviews that featured close to a dozen cast members talking about their auditions, the production, and the legacy of the show which continues to bring in new fans over fifteen years later.  It’s also fun to play “six degrees of Twin Peaks” as we see how the Deschanels (Caleb was on of the directors and Mary Jo played Mrs. Haywood, and they are the parents of current stars Emily and Zooey) and Gyllenhaals (Stephen, the father of stars Jake and Maggie, also directed an episode) were intertwined with the show and how David Fincher’s sister was part of the staff.


Without further adieu…no great cult TV show is without an accompanying drinking game:

Drink every time:

Cooper orders a cup of coffee (HOT!) or a piece of pie (DAMN FINE!).

Cooper talks to “DIANE.”

People “hang out” and chat about important plot points at the Double RR Cafe.

Someone other than Cooper eats a donut, a piece of pie, or drinks coffee.

You see a shot of tree branches blowing in the wind, or the streetlight blowing in the wind.

James and Donna look all gooey-eyed, stare at each other, pine for each other, or kiss.

Mrs. Palmer cries out “Leland!” or “Laura!”

They show the Homecoming Queen picture of Laura Palmer.

Audrey does something kinky (like dance, flirt with Cooper, or tie a cherry stem in a knot with her tongue).

Something related to logging is showed.

The Log Lady appears.

The Log Lady tells a story about what her Log saw that night.

They show an owl.

Someone says “the owls are not what they seem” or “fire walk with me.”

It’s a social anytime someone gets shot or dies, Leo drools or says “new shoes,” Nadine does her cheerleader bit, the Giant appears, Killer Bob acts up, or the Midget dances.

Written by David H. Schleicher


  1. Daf – I think you got them all. Thank God for Twin Peaks those first few weeks in the Burlington Apartment. I can’t believe I would have gone my whole life without this cult classic and the drinking game.


  2. Always a fav this one. I recall this is the first time I learned how important music was to creating or adding to the atmosphere of the piece.
    Enjoyed your write up a great deal.

    Evan-the one thing I forgot to mention in the piece…Angelo Badalementi’s music! Truly transcendant and really added to the feel of the show. I still listen to the soundtrack, and the music pops into my head often (especially when weird things happen in my daily life…suddenly, the snapping fingers before the “dancing midget.”)–DHS

  3. Adult folk were always talking about “Who killed Laura Palmer” throughout my childhood too, and I never got to see it, my Mum wouldn’t let me sit up that late.

    Lita, well now you can find out what all the hub-bub was about! -DHS

  4. Hi Dave,

    Funnily enough, I rewatched the first season recently – up to the resolution of the Laura Palma mystery – and had the pleasure of introducing the series to my wife. Unfortunately season 2 is not yet available in Europe on DVD. I still have VHS copies that I bought in the 90s but they are in terrible condition now. Suffice to say that the show had a profound impact on me – it was a gateway to a lot of film, tv and even musical preferences.

    The drinking game sounds murderous by the way.

    Thanks for your comments on ‘Into the Wild’, I think I might have been quite annoyed when I wrote the review, which is why it is so vicious.


    James, I still have my original VHS set, too, as a memento. I’m surprised the complete series is not available yet in Europe. Lord knows we waited long enough for it here stateside. –DHS

  5. I am the creator of the Bring Back Twin Peaks Movement. I would be honored if you were on board with the Cause!

    You are a true fan and It’s always great to meet Peaks fans! We only want a new Peaks project of some kind or a continuation if David Lynch and Mark Frost are involved.
    In January Mark Frost said “All I can say is this. Twin Peaks is a continuing story, that comes from both David and myself” in response to a question about bringing it back and the whole Cooper and 25 years in the Lodge plot. David Lynch said that he was seriously thinking about going back into television in a recent interview in France. Hopefully the stars are in fact aligning as we think they are behind the scenes.

    I hope to hear back from you soon! Take care.


    • Truly a wonderful movement you have started over there on the FB – it’s great to see so many fans still out there and so much creativity (the Missing Agent Cooper posters are a hoot!). I’ll be happy to spread the word! Hopefully someone will take notice.

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