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Let's Rock! The Twin Peaks Character Countdown (30-21)
Ladies and gentlemen, I am spent. After spending the day writing a baseball column and working on this for about three hours, I have about as much energy for this intro as I do for watching RAW tonight. So let’s just jump right in. Last time we were at this Twin Peaks countdown, we caught characters 40-31. Which means more goodness is coming to us tonight, though this will be a tad more critical as to explain why these characters didn’t go further. Such is the breaks. LET’S ROCK!
30. Nadine Hurley
A character of two seasons! Seriously; if you take the Nadine Hurley of season one, this woman is racing her nephew James Hurley for the bottom spot. What exactly is likable about a shrill, borderline aggressive person who’s obsessed with creating the first ever silent drape runner? It’s like David Lynch and Mark Frost were asking me to hate her! Alas, season two happened, and Nadine went from the worst to the best, thanks to a failed suicide attempt that made her regress to a high school state of mind and gave her super strength. Sure, the suicide attempt isn’t good, but the chance to relive your high school years AND become a Marvel superhero is pretty cool. Throw in that iconic eye patch (awesome throughout the entire show), and Nadine’s second season is good enough to overrule her first, as well as the fact that she was one of the factors keeping Big Ed and Norma apart. True love in Twin Peaks; it lasts about as long as Rick Pitino in an Italian restaurant. Hey; those were his words, not mine.
29. Hank Jennings
And here’s the other one responsible for keeping Big Ed and Norma apart. You know, the sad thing is that I really think there could’ve been hope for Hank. Sure, he’s a very troubled individual who seems to be cut from the Leo Johnson cloth, but unlike Leo, I think he at least has enough of a conscious to not beat his wife and act like an overall jackass. Then again, maybe that’s what makes him most dangerous. In any event, the former Bookhouse Boy slides in here thanks to his cool leather jacket, his ability to actually land Norma (what the hell was she thinking?!) and the fact that he’s probably the most competent low life thug in town. I just wish those qualities made him more interesting; as it stands the thing that most intrigues me about Hank is how he looks a lot like Dennis Quaid. Maybe that’s what Norma liked about him; the women do love Dennis Quaid. Sure they like bad boys as well, but mostly just Dennis Quaid.
28. Albert Rosenfield
The world’s grumpiest, snarkiest pacifist federal agent clocks in here on account of all those qualities I just mentioned. Yes, he’s not the most likable bloke in the history of the show and yes, you’re going to want to punch Albert in the face multiple times (as Harry did at least once). But forget about that for a second; this guy is a grumpy, snarky pacifist federal agent! Do you know how many of those there actually are?! Like…there’s fewer of those than there are people who think Chelsea is good this year, which is saying something. Thus, you can’t help but love Albert. You could love him more, and it doesn’t help him that he’s beaten out soundly by many other federal agents on this list, but hey, there’s no shame in that.
27. Denise Bryson
Hey, here’s one of them now. Come on, you all knew that the character played by acting legend (and hero of mine) David Duchovny would appear highly here; it was just a matter of how high. Here’s the thing about Denise; the only interesting thing about her is that she’s transgender. Beyond that, there’s not really a whole lot to Denise, unless you think being a federal agent (in a show full of them) is a big deal. What makes this a winning character is the fact that the creators were willing to be so daring by including her in the show, and Duchovny’s winning performance help elevate Denise significantly. Plus, it’s quite nice to see most people actually being accepting of her. Can we possibly get Duchovny back to play Denise again for the return? Who do I have to pay off?
26. Maddy Ferguson
Are we still sure that Maddy isn’t Laura’s separated at birth twin sister? I know she’s supposed to be a cousin, but come on; they look exactly the same. Dye Maddy’s hair blonde, and you’re pretty much looking at a clone. Which actually wouldn’t surprise me; if Twin Peaks can have alternate dimensions and such, clones isn’t much of a stretch. Ahnuld knows what I’m talking about.
As far as why Maddy makes it all the way here, it’s pretty much because she’s the opposite of Laura, which is both good and bad. Whereas Laura was like Drew Barrymore during the 90s, Maddy is like Willow Rosenberg before she discovered witchcraft; kind, sweet, pretty much the coolest customer you could find, hence why she’s able to befriend Donna and James so quickly. The problem is that being the goodie girl will only take you so far. Maddy was nice; Laura was like the most complex human being this side of Hamlet. You can’t compete with that. That said, being in the 20’s is pretty good for Maddy. She doesn’t even get points for potentially ruining Donna and James, mainly because anything that leads to James’ pain fills me to the brim with a feeling of goodness.
25. Doctor William Hayward
Pretty much the stereotypical small town doctor who is kind, knows everyone, and has no problem talking about your low sperm count in the wide open (Andy learned that the hard way). That is, until the end of the show when he finds out Ben Horne may have slept with his wife (and fathered his firstborn daughter), thus leading to him nearly KILLING HIM! Yes, kind Doc Hayward nearly offs Ben Horne like he was one of Immortan Joe’s War Boys. Not enough to rise him out of the top twenty, but hey, not bad at all for the old timer to show some back bone.
24. Bobby Briggs
Played such a big part in the show that it’s hard to rank him lower than this spot, and unlike James Hurley, Bobby isn’t so insufferable that you just want to kick him in the balls (also helpful; he’s also not a piece of wood, unlike Hurley). That said…does anyone really care for Bobby? I mean sure, he kills a guy, seems to have a way with the ladies and looks more like a disgruntled rock star than a football player (yes, Bobby is a football player. I forget that all the time too). But besides that, so what? He’s pretty much just another whiny teenager who doesn’t really deserve all the love and respect he gets from his family, friends or girlfriend. Basically, he’s a more high profile Mike. That’s all well and good, but it’s not exactly putting you in the Dale Cooper range.
23. Shelly Johnson
Make Bobby a female and you’ve got Shelly, with the only difference being that she’s married to Leo Johnson, which makes her far more sympathetic than Bobby could ever hope to be. That said, Shelly does strike me as a pretty good person overall; take her away from the two men in her life, and I think she winds up being someone you could really latch onto. Hell, she’s easy to get invested in as is, despite the fact that most of her actions are dictated by Bobby or Leo. Was it too much to ask for more Norma/Shelly adventures? Speaking of Norma!
22. Norma Jennings
The woman that runs the Double R diner might just be the sweetest one of all in Twin Peaks. Seriously, what flaw is there with this woman? She’s kind, friendly, evidently makes a killer pie (among other things), gives her low life husband a second chance, and is even responsible for an outstanding line that the film Titanic later stole (“I’d rather be his whore than your wife!”. Look it up kids). Sure, maybe she’s two timing Hank with Ed, but let’s be real; both those marriages are as dead as Orson Welles, Hank’s not exactly someone who you’re going to cry over being wronged, and it’s pretty clear that Norma and Ed are meant to be together. Like, they have a future; with jet packs and all that jazz. So it’s not like you can even say she’s a bad person for that either. Really, Norma is just swell. It’s not quite enough to make her top twenty interesting, but it’s good enough for here. We love you Norma. Save us a cookie or something.
21. MIKE/Phillip Gerard
Ah MIKE; what’s not to love? As far as one armed men (and David Lynch tributes to The Fugitive) go, it doesn’t get much better than this man. For one, he actually found redemption by cutting off his arm after seeing the face of God, which is pretty drastic. And most importantly, MIKE delivers what may be the best line in the entire show. “Through the darkness of futures past/ The magician longs to see/ One chants out between two worlds/ Fire Walk With Me.” If you don’t have chills, kindly see yourself out of this column now. Just kidding; or am I?
So why is MIKE still so low here despite that wonderful line? Because of the body he hosts; Phillip Gerard. Man, could Phillip be any more dull? The man is a shoes salesmen for crying out loud. No offense to all potential shoe salesmen reading this (there’s probably not that many), but that’s not exactly the most interesting thing. Add to the fact that Gerard is pretty much a blabbering idiot, and the only thing he’s got going for him is that he’s aware MIKE inhabits him and he’s found ways to try and control it (spoiler; its drugs. It’s always drugs). Pretty much; no Phillip Gerard, and MIKE is breezing his way into the top ten. With Phil, he’s stuck here in the twenties. Such is the life of a one armed shoe salesman possessed by a demon.
That’ll do it! I’m off till tomorrow. Till next time, something something…I don’t know, my brain is fried. It's, dare I say, dust in the wind.