Monday, July 10, 2017

Black Lodge Yelp Review, or David Lynch At His Worst

Last weekend, Dr Desert Flower and I spent many hours finishing watching the 1990-91 Twin Peaks CBS television series, on Netflix.  DDF was resting after an outpatient procedure, and I was icing a pinched left elbow bursa that was jammed between the left arm-rest and the Delta 737-800's fuselage on row 14A, after we flew from LAX to Covington Kentucky on July 2nd for DDF's best friend's birthday party.  We were stationary humans last weekend, with considerable time on our hands.  Then, late last Saturday night, we began watching the 2017 Showtime series "Twin Peaks The Return" upon multiple recommendations of DDF's friends and co-workers who heaped high praise upon David Lynch's new work.  (Rotten Tomatoes has their reviews of them here: link, though I vehemently disagree with the tremendously positively reviews you'll find there)

The original 1990s TV series was not bad.  Some slow parts, some meaningless parts, far too many teenage-angst-romance sub-plots that now, as a man in his 50s, I could not care less about... but all in all, not a bad two seasons.  You find out who All killed Laura Palmer, you find out about the nature of the pervasive evil "Bob" represents, and there's a whole bunch of little side plots that progress nicely; many of them wrapped up with a neat bow, some of them left open ended.  DDF and I hoped that the 2017 follow-up would close those open loops.  That was a false hope that never came to fruition.

Instead, we got introduced to Dougie Jones, who when spoken to, repeated the last few words annoyingly.  Repeated the last few words, annoyingly.  This got really old fast. Really old fast.  It was not germane to what was happening back in Twin Peaks, and by all means, appeared to be completely irrelevant.  Completely irrelevant.  I would have rather had another teenage love triangle plot line instead of static-filled Dougie's scenes of endless fragmented repetition. Fragmented repetition.

Then, instead of Twin Peaks Washington, there was a major shocking sub-plot in the imaginary "Buck Horn South Dakota".  [Twin Peaks WA doesn't exist either, but was filmed in Snoqualmine, North Bend, and Fall City WA as well as Malibu CA]  How Buck Horn ties into Twin Peaks, no one figures out.  How does the hole-in-the-wall NYC high rise mutilation tie into anything, no one knows.  How does static-filled Dougie Jones in Las Vegas tie into Twin Peaks Washington, still, no one knows.  Very little happened in Twin Peaks in the 2017 series.  Most of it was putting you to sleep in NYC, scaring you in South Dakota, or making your eyes roll in Las Vegas.

All of this was very Lynchian, disjointed, fragmented, bizarre, mysterious, but it was watchable for the most part until the final episode.  New characters got introduced.  Some of them got killed,  Many good comedians played non-comedic parts.  Lynch pulled out all of his favorite actors and put them in the line-up who were still alive.  That is... until the final episode.  The final episode, for the first 20 minutes (the first 1/3rd), was a real episode.  There was plot, dialogue, progression, continuity... for the most part.  After the 20th or 22nd minute, the rest of the final episode became a masterbation exercise by David Lynch, a platform for him to take Eraserhead (or Labyrinth Man if you're in France) to the next level of inane, unfathomable, nauseatingly stagnant and boring "art expression" that drives an intelligent viewer mad.  I am so glad we watched it for free on our "Free Showtime Trial" which we will cancel next week.

Nuclear explosions in the New Mexico desert... is the mushroom cloud the one armed man's missing arm that is also a stunted growth and leafless sycamore tree in the Black Lodge who crackles with electricity?   Are the ubiquitous and ever-flowing red curtains of the Black Lodge representative of the blood that flows when evil manifests itself in the material world, or the fireballs of nuclear fission?  Are the shadowy black-and-white mobs of "woodsmen" who come out of no where and dive upon motionless, shot, evil, mulleted Dale Cooper in league with the nicotine zombie who takes over AM radio?  The crazy golden shovel Twin Peaks psychiatrist who rants on AM radio, is he supposed to analogous to the nicotine zombie guy?  The doppelgänger who turned into a small golden pea / pellet, is that related to the flying frog creature that hatched on a nearly black screen after the second nuclear explosion?

If those were the only questions, ok, I could grapple with it and wait and see for the next season.  BUT, those snippets took painstaking, excruciatingly slow minutes to get to, as characters slowly, slowly, slowly ascended stairs, or stared into nothingness, or gathered around an inanimate object that made no sense whatsoever.  "Meticulous" is how the Nerdist called these scenes.  Excruciatingly painful while-at-the-same-time eye-lollingly boring was how DDF and I saw it.  We'd fast forward at 4X or 8X for 15 or 30 seconds, and oh-my-gosh, the heavy-set lady had made it to the other side of the room.  Another 15 or 30 seconds, and the elderly giant had turned, 90 degrees.  Another 15 or 30 seconds, and the lady stares at the golden orb.  Arrrrghhhhh!

The final episode of the 1991 series had Kyle MacLaughlin running around the Black Lodge for about 5 minutes too long.  The final episode of the 2017 series had David Lynch and a team of special effects technicians running around for 35 minutes too long, tediously.  I could not care less if Showtime's Twin Peaks continues, or falls on its sword and goes away.  I've wasted far too many minutes of my life watching David Lynch's work on my TV, atrophying my brain.  "Has it given you nightmares?" ... one of DDF's friends asked us.  No, it's made my eyes tired from rolling (Anderson Cooper style), and it's motivated me to warn others to not waste their time watching something that'll squander their time and neurons...  unless... perhaps, they're on acid, and want to enhance their trip, or they're taking a contemporary art class and are forced to watch it as a class assignment.

No thanks.  I have a sock drawer I need to rearrange, or a garage to clean, or a thousand other things to do that are a much better use of my time.

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