Sharing Pie and Secrets With the Mystery Girls of ‘Twin Peaks’
These women have seeeeeecrets. There is much they won’t say. There is much they cannot reveal. They are known for playing women who know more than they let on. They are women whom we think we know but really don’t know at all. They are mystery babes. They are mixed up in murder. They look good in sweaters. They are the women of Twin Peaks – or, at least, three of the women of Twin Peaks. They are six peaks. Which is to say, there are other twin peaks on the series, but together these three account for exactly six of those peaks. And that is only one of their secrets.
None of these three women is Laura Palmer, homecoming queen, corpse. Laura Palmer is dead, and we are sick of her, anyway. We never knew her, but then nobody else seemed to either, what with her secrets and all. Laura Palmer is a pop-culture martyr: She came dead and wrapped in plastic. She came dead so that America could investigate her murder for one hour each week on network television. Laura died in order to bring us to Twin Peaks, a voluptuous, woody town in an unnamed Pacific Northwest state, where the women are minxes, the men eat pie, and the coffee is a life force. (There are no children, just teenagers.) Twin Peaks is dark Mayberry: If Thelma Lou had sex with Goober behind Barney Fife’s back – that is Twin Peaks.
Like cream in coffee, sex beclouds Twin Peaks. We never see it – plain old fornication, that is – but we know it’s there, everywhere, lurking. As Sheriff Harry S. Truman put it in one episode, ”There’s a sort of evil out there, strange in the woods – a darkness, a presence.” He means sex. Laura Palmer died by sex. All of the others live by it, furtively. The cherry pies taste of it, rapturously so. The women smell of it, even the ones who are supposed to be virgins. As such, television has never known women like Twin Peaks women, full of wiles and ellipses and desperation. ”They’re dreamy,” says David Lynch, himself a dreamer who, with Mark Frost, codreamed Twin Peaks, in addition to dreaming his own films Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart.”These girls are authentically dreamy. They’re all boss chicks. And they’re just jampacked with secrets.”
Let us consider these three, in particular:
There is Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna Hayward, the Good Girl, who may not be all good; Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne, the Bad Girl, who can’t be all bad (those cherry stems! that tongue!); and Madchen Amick as Shelly Johnson, the Waitress, who is probably good and bad, but boy, can she pour coffee! Kittens all, they drive men to despair. ”In the grand design,” said Special Agent Dale Cooper, observing the local pulchritude while on the trail of Laura’s killer, ”women were drawn from a different set of blueprints.” But how different are Twin Peaks women? Who drew up the blueprints for these three? Just what do they know about sex? What are their dreams? Do they have boyfriends? Did they kill Laura Palmer? Can we blame them? Which of them can really do the cherry trick?