Twin Peaks is considered by many to be one of the most influential television series ever made. In it, David Lynch beautifully translated the enigmatic world of surrealism and structured it within the popular conventions of the mystery genre. Infused with modernist sensibilities and otherworldly humour, Twin Peaks changed television forever.
Over the years, Lynch has remained tight-lipped about his artistic intentions: “I don’t ever explain it. Because it’s not a word thing. It would reduce it, make it smaller. A film or a painting – each thing is its own sort of language and it’s not right to try to say the same thing in words. The words are not there. The language of film, cinema, is the language it was put into, and the English language – it’s not going to translate. It’s going to lose.”
Instead, the filmmaker believes that it is up to the audience to interpret his art in their own ways. “If there’s 100 people in the audience, you’re going to get 100 different interpretations, especially when things get abstract. It’s beautiful,” Lynch maintains. “Everybody’s a detective and whatever they come up with is valid in my mind.”
As a celebration of David Lynch’s treatment of the surreal in the television medium, we take a look at 10 crazy theories that fans have come up with in order to explain the bizarre events that take place in Twin Peaks.
10 craziest ‘Twin Peaks’ fan theories of all time:
10. Season Two and the Gulf War
This particular fan theory is definitely one of the most farfetched ones out there. One admirer of the show correlated the second season’s release date to the Gulf War which broke out a few months after that. While thinking about the connection, the fan concluded that it must be the government’s fault that Twin Peaks got cancelled.
The logic behind this claim was the interpretation of the second season of Twin Peaks as an allegorical take on the Gulf War. Since Lynch was allegedly satirising America’s position in the conflict, the viewer believed that the government stepped in and pulled the plug.
9. Everything happened in Laura’s head
Twin Peaks is a perfect example of oneiric media that can transport the viewer into the bowels of dreamscapes. In many ways, the entire show is an episodic breakdown of the structures of dreams. It is a philosophical incursion into the logic of dreaming, urging us to explore the hidden recesses of our own minds.
One theory suggests that the entire show took place inside Laura Palmer‘s head and it supports its claim by reminding us of the third season’s end. When “Carrie” screams in the final moments, a faint voice can be heard calling Laura’s name which resembles the voice of her mother – Sarah Palmer. It’s a possibility that the show has a circular structure which intends to lead us right back to the start.
8. What is the Red Room?
The Red Room is undoubtedly one of the most mysterious creations in the entirety of Twin Peaks. It is a place that exists outside space and time, immune to the laws of physics. With its modernist design and the disturbing phenomena that take place inside it, the Red Room has a haunting presence.
A fan has compared the room to the uterine walls of Laura Palmer, conceptualising the Red Room as a surreal womb and Agent Cooper as a giant baby. The fan explained: “My interpretation brings Dale Cooper into the womb of Laura Palmer (the soft velvet curtains could very well by associated with the intra-uterine lining of a birth canal… Cooper’s skin was indeed wrinkled somewhat – as if he himself were not ready to be born, not ready to leave the uterus until completion (of his dream, perhaps? Of solving the mystery, perhaps?”
7. Trapped in an alternate dimension
Due to the complicated narrative structure of Twin Peaks, it is extremely difficult to distinguish between the show’s reality and the illusions which populate Lynch’s labyrinth. Many fans have considered the possibility of alternate universes linked to the main world of Twin Peaks due to the law of causality.
According to a popular theory among fans, “Judy” did not let Laura Palmer escape her destiny. The theory suggests that an alternative world was generated due to Cooper’s intervention and Laura was relegated to an alternate dimension by Judy. In addition to that, all her traces of her identity are erased from the history of Twin Peaks.
6. Bob and Pennywise
The titular character of Stephen King‘s It, Pennywise the demented clown has haunted children for decades now. King’s creation has become an indispensable part of popular culture, synonymous with the general perception of the horror genre and evil clowns.
Fans have stated that both Bob from Twin Peaks and Pennywise have the uncanny ability to engage in inter-dimensional travel and shapeshifting. Based on these similarities and more (like their penchant for feeding on the fears of their victims), people have come to the conclusion that Bob and Pennywise are the same entity.
5. Is Laura Palmer Agent Cooper’s Mom?
Probably one of the more preposterous claims out there, Eileen G. Mykkels explained in an article why she fervently believes that Laura Palmer is actually the mother of Agent Cooper. Mykkels defends her claim by comparing the similarities of the two characters, ranging from their mutual dislike of asparagus to their identical dreaming habits.
Mykkels writes, “Connecting Dale and Laura in such a way would certainly be within the confines of previously established thematic elements and only serves to strengthen that message. Laura’s strength passed down to Dale, both victims of the same demonic entity, and both, ultimately stronger than he, protecting and saving each other.”
4. Bob the penis
The inter-dimensional antagonist who haunts the world of Twin Peaks, Bob is a pretty memorable creation. His existential purpose is to terrorise humanity and consume the pain and suffering that is induced by him. Bob was named the fifth greatest TV villain of all time by Rolling Stone.
Since Laura Palmer was sexually assaulted by her father when he was possessed by the demonic entity, one fan claimed that it was a nickname for Leland Palmer’s penis: “Bob was just a name for the dark side of Leland (or it could have been a name for his penis… because Bobby calls his ‘pocket rocket’ and Ben calls his ‘little Elvis’. I know that’s not exactly what they said on the show, but I think they were just trying to get those names by the censors).”
3. The Last Two Episodes
Twin Peaks: The Return followed in the footsteps of the original seasons and featured a highly complex timeline that confused many members of the audience. In order to make sense of the events, some fans claimed that the correct way to watch the final two episodes of The Return was to play them simultaneously!
While such a viewing experience is sure to be an experimental one, indulging in that complicated the interpretation of the show’s narrative even further. More importantly, David Lynch addressed this theory himself and dismissed it as “bullshit”.
2. The Legend of D. B. Cooper
On November 24 of 1971, a man with the alias of D. B. Cooper took control of a Boeing 747 in the US and demanded $200,000 in ransom. After getting the money, he proceeded to parachute off the plane mid-air in turbulent weather. The FBI searched for him for 45 years but D. B. Cooper still remains unknown.
Lynch admitted himself that Agent Cooper’s name was a reference to D. B. Cooper. Like the infamous air pirate, Agent Cooper jumps into the bizarre world of Twin Peaks to make sense of the mysteries of this hostile world but he remains an unsolvable mystery to himself.
1. Does Cooper actually like coffee?
It is a well-known fact that Agent Cooper loves his coffee; it keeps him going as he navigates alternate dimensions and grapples with the existence of otherworldly entities. Cooper’s life motto is: “I’m going to let you in on a little secret: Every day, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen. It could be a new shirt in a men’s store, a catnap in your office chair, or two cups of good, hot, black coffee.”
One fan punctured Cooper’s persona with the blasphemous claim that he was only putting on an act. In order to get close to the locals of Twin Peaks, Cooper pretended that he liked coffee. Although Cooper’s character is mysterious enough, it is extremely ambitious to attack his undeniable love for coffee.