Grunge and Twin Peaks

[CW: Chris Cornell’s death.]

So, Twin Peaks is back, with new episodes on Showtime.

I was never a Twin Peaks fan.

In fact, I actively disliked the show.

I had a couple of friends who LOVED it, who were not particularly good friends to me, so that was one thing. The other thing was, I could not figure out what the POINT of the damn series was. Where was the plot? Where was the story? Where was the line from A to B that made clear all the ways people were confusing and complicated? Where were the motives explained and the consequences earned?

Twin Peaks was not the story I needed, when it first aired.

When Twin Peaks first aired, I was reading Melanie Rawn’s Sunrunner books. You know, those epic doorstoppers. I was also reading Charles de Lint, Emma Bull, and Pamela Dean. I was watching a LOT of very bad late night tv — does anyone else remember CBS’s Crimetime? Sweating Bullets, Forever Knight, Dangerous Curves, Silk Stalkings, and Dark Justice? I certainly do! I was *not* reading comics anymore, nope, just reading Hellblazer, Shade the Changing Man, Sandman, She-Hulk, Excalibur, you know, not actual COMICS like X-Men or anything, just a couple *mature* titles here and there.

I was at a point in my life when I wanted stories to be clean and straightforward. I wanted easy prose that didn’t make me stop and re-read things. I wanted stories that were new to me but also familiar. I didn’t want a challenge from my entertainment.

A couple years later, I was REVELING in challenging fiction. I wanted the weird, the quirky, the tesseract of self-referential, I wanted dark themes and weird joy. I spent a lot of dates at the Lagoon theater in Uptown. I read a lot of very angry Comix. If Twin Peaks had aired then? I would have LOVED it. But I missed it by a few years.

These things happen.

Chris Cornell died last week. A lot of folks were talking about the importance grunge music in their lives, the importance of Cornell’s work. How grunge was the music that refused to indulge the post-Cold-War lie that everything was alright now, that the kids were alright.

I was not in the right place to be really into grunge, when it first hit in the 90s.

When grunge was HUGE and completely unavoidable, I was desperate for music by, about, and for women. Angry women, queer women, women who rocked the fuck out. So I loved Hole, and Babes in Toyland, but I was REALLY into Melissa Etheridge and Tori Amos and Ani DiFranco. Now, decades later, I can look back and see how important and valuable grunge was, both musically and culturally. But I don’t miss it the way I miss Prince or Bowie.

I try, when discussing cultural works, to remember past-me. Past-me needed and loved different things than present-me. Heck, there are a MULTITUDE of past me’s, all needing and wanting different stories. I try to not say a work is terrible, but to say it’s not for me right now. And I usually try to imagine who the work might be for.

I don’t always manage this, obviously! But I try.

All that said? I watched the first twenty minutes of the new, Showtime, Twin Peaks series yesterday. And you know what?

Wow, this is really NOT for me right now.


I hope all y’all enjoy it!



One Response

  1. I get a little of that too. When Mad Max: Fury Road came out, I thought it was… fine? Very well done but not quite my thing. But I left it with a huge sense that 23-year-old Becky would have LOVED it.

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