Features and Columns · TV

Emotional Sense, TV Reflexivity, and Divining Sense Out of ‘Twin Peaks’

The owls are not what they seem.
Twin Peaks Explained Screaming
CBS
By  · Published on April 15th, 2022

Welcome to The Queue — your daily distraction of curated video content sourced from across the web. Today, we’re watching a video essay that attempts to divine sense out of the sense-defying Twin Peaks.


Twin Peaks has a well-deserved reputation for being a bit intimidating. The show is legendarily strange. And in an attention economy where you can hardly lob a cherry pie without hitting a “BLANK, Explained” video, Twin Peaks seems like ample fodder for dissection. Only, much like dissection, straightforward sense-making has a tendency to parse and squeeze to the detriment of the organism as a whole.

What’s valuable, new, and entertaining about the video essay below is its approach to the “explained” format. Rather than wield logic like a blunt instrument, the essayist opts to meet series creators Mark Frost and David Lynch on their own often contradictory terms, embracing the meaning that exists in the show’s tensions rather than attempting to rip them apart from one another.

Focusing on the first two seasons and the follow-up film Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me, the essay takes a look at several points of entry to Twin Peaks’ enigmatic view of 1980s television conventions, meaningful death, and the uncomfortably emotional nature of hard truths.

Spoilers ahead for all of you who haven’t seen Twin Peaks for yourselves — which you should go do! Right now!

Watch “Twin Peaks Actually, ACTUALLY EXPLAINED (No But For Real)”:


Who made this?

This video essay attempting to explain Twin Peaks is by Maggie Mae Fish, a Los Angeles-based comedian, actress, and culture critic who releases short films and video essays on her YouTube account. Fish has been featured on College Humor, Screen Junkies, and JASH. She was also a former lead actor and writer at Cracked.com. You can follow Fish on Twitter here.

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Meg Shields is the humble farm boy of your dreams and a senior contributor at Film School Rejects. She currently runs three columns at FSR: The Queue, How'd They Do That?, and Horrorscope. She is also a curator for One Perfect Shot and a freelance writer for hire. Meg can be found screaming about John Boorman's 'Excalibur' on Twitter here: @TheWorstNun. (She/Her).