Saturday, July 21, 2007

Twin Peaks Revisited

After seeing two David Lynch movies in as many days (that's a lot because a little Lynch goes a LONG way!), it got me to thinking about Twin Peaks. A quick check of IMDB reminds me that TP aired 17 years ago! That blows my mind. I was devastated when it was canceled. But what makes my head spin even more is not its cancellation (let's face it, despite critical acclaim and cult status, it wasn't a ratings bonanza), but how the hell did it get on network TV to begin with?

I could understand if it was an HBO series. Cable is known for darker, edgier material. But this aired on ABC. The network that gave us the banality of According to Jim and The George Lopez Show. I'm trying to wrap my mind around the pitch meeting between David Lynch and some network exec (who obviously did NOT see Eraserhead or Blue Velvet...):

Lynch: It's a murder mystery...

Exec: Excellent. Murder She Wrote does great numbers for CBS.

Lynch: Well, it's not episodic. There's not a new murder every week. Just the one...

Exec: Only one?

Lynch: Yeah. Who killed Laura Palmer?

Exec: That's it? That's the whole show?

Lynch: Well, no. There's an FBI agent who has to solve the murder. He's like a fish out of water in this weird northern town. So he has to team up with the town sheriff.

Exec: So it's like a buddy action adventure? Like 48 Hours? That could work...

Lynch: Not really.

Exec: So we've got ONE murder, no action, no adventure, no buddies. What do we have to keep the audience interested?

Lynch: We've got pie. And coffee. Lots of pie.

Exec: Hmmmm--well, maybe there's a product placement tie-in with Sara Lee and Maxwell House...What else?

Lynch: Pretty girls. At least three. Four if you count Laura Palmer.

Exec: Isn't she the dead one?

Lynch: (nods and shrugs)

Exec: Make that 3.5 pretty girls. Keep going...

Lynch: Well, there's a one armed man--

Exec: Like the fugitive?

Lynch: Not exactly. And the log lady...

Exec: Log lady? What does she do?

Lynch: She carries around a log.

Exec: Oh.

Lynch: And a giant and dancing dwarf...

Exec: David, this is the 90s. We have to be PC. They're called "little people" not dwarves.

Lynch: Gotcha. And the killer turns out to be an evil force named "BOB."

Exec: Bob?

Lynch: No, BOB.

The Exec looks confused. He clears his throat and rises.

Exec: Well, David--thanks for coming in! We'll discuss this with the programming department and get back to you...

After Lynch leaves, the Exec gets his assistant on speaker phone.

Exec: Doris--get Aaron Spelling on the line. We've got an hour to fill and I need something more grounded and realistic. Like Fantasy Island...

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