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Let's Rock! The Twin Peaks Character Countdown (40-31)
And we’re back with some more Twins Peaks! Yup, that’s pretty much the best I could do for the start of this shindig. Am I losing it, or am I just a genius? Honestly, I’m not really sure. But enough about this quick intro, let’s just dive in and start talking some Twin Peaks, seeing as we are after all now entering the time where the characters are all really, REALLY good. Thank goodness; I don’t know if I could take anymore of the doldrums that was the James Hurley section. LET’S ROCK!
40. Blackie O'Reilly
Who else but everyone’s favorite One Eyed Jacks madam could bring us into the top 40? What I like about Blackie is that she’s one of the few women (at least thus far on this countdown) that actually wields a decent amount of power. Other than Ben Horne, she’s the ayatollah of One Eyed Jacks. That’s a huge step up from the “sit around, act cheery and/or blame your children for something” group of mothers down across the border. It also doesn’t hurt that Blackie has a whole lot going on that we’d like to see, such as that heroin addiction and Ben Horne pretty much owning her life because of said heroin addiction. The lesson, as always; don’t do heroin. Also, don’t end up the sister-in-law of a Renault. It doesn’t end the way you want it to.
39. Jean Renault
Right on cue, here’s the man that killed Blackie to follow her on the list. Imagine everyone’s favorite huggable Jacques Renault if you took away his harmless look and made him into an out of control nutball. Have you done it yet? If you have, you’ll realize you have Jean, Jacques and Bernie’s crazy older brother, Blackie’s brother-in-law and just an overall not nice guy. I don’t find him as much fun as Jacques, but overall, Jean turns out to be a better villain, a more memorable presence and just a better straight up diabolical hater. Jacques may not have been the greatest guy, but his worst dalliances were drug running and (you know its coming) rough sex in dirty log cabins. Jean here pretty much makes his younger siblings issues look like minor incidents. Imagine being in the Renault house when these three were kids? I just imagine Jean being the most condescending prick to Jacques, all while he’s beating Bernie into submission. Because hey, something terrible had to happen to Bernie in that scenario.
38. Roadhouse Singer
Was there anything more Lynchian about Twin Peaks than that damn Roadhouse singer? This woman, essayed by the brilliant Julie Cruise, is so strange and out of place that’s she downright captivating. Let me put it this way; I’ve never been to a biker bar/road house, but I’m pretty sure that these places are generally known for being places that feature many a brawl, many a hard rock/blues rock song and many a person trying to be like Patrick Swayze. In David Lynch’s Twin Peaks, a biker bar is apparently a place where riders go to listen to songs that sound like Pink Floyd on dream pop steroids. Only in David Lynch’s mind could that make sense, and only could David Lynch make the road house and its well versed singer enthralling.
37. Leo Johnson
I don’t know if you know this, but Leo Johnson gets a lot of hate from Twin Peaks fans. And honestly, I can see why. He’s not James Hurley levels of “GO AWAY”, but he’s not all that interesting either, despite the fact that he’s a sociopathic murder/wife beater/arsonist/pervert/psychopath. Big, big problem there. He gets up to this part of the list because there are some complex things about him (I do think Leo does love Shelly, albeit in a very deranged, John Hickley loves Jodie Foster kind of way) and because he becomes strangely compelling in season two when the tables are reversed on by Shelly, Bobby and then later Windom Earle. But even with all of that, I can’t justify putting him much higher than 37. I mean for crying out loud, the best thing the dude ever did was say, “NEW SHOES!” while stuck in a coma like state. That’s good, but it’s not good enough, especially with all that potential he had.
36. Thomas Eckhardt
Ah Thomas Eckhardt; an older, wiser, better, not quite as crazy but pretty close version of Leo Johnson. It’s like we’re following up every entry today with a related version to the last one! What makes Thomas so great (and also not that deep) is his sole purpose on the show; to be obsessed as hell with Josie and make her life miserable. He serves no other purpose than that, which in this case works because man, does he scare the shit out of her? And this is a woman who’s had to deal with Ben Horne, Hank Jennings and Catherine Martell; hell, she had to live with Catherine Martell. You shouldn’t be scared of anything after that. That Thomas Eckhardt does that is a testament to his psychotic cool; that it’s the only thing he does is why he’s only at 36. Side note; I’m convinced that Eckhardt being one million times better than John Justice Wheeler is why we see David Warner (who played Eckhardt) playing Billy Zane’s manservant in Titanic. That’s right; Thomas Eckhardt is John Justice Wheeler’s lackey in Titanic. You cannot make that shit up right there.
35. Ronette Pulaski
Poor Ronette; like Laura, she’s another Twin Peaks citizen who looks to be so normal and yet is finding herself partying way too hard and having sex with Jacques and Leo in the worst cabin in the woods since the cabin from Cabin in the Woods. Unlike Laura, she gets no respect from this, which is pretty much what happens when you’re a) not as popular at high school, b) alive and c) alive. Why do you think people are always going to remember Kurt Cobain more than Eddie Vedder? That said Ronette is quietly very important to the show and Fire Walk with Me, seeing as she did kind of witness Laura being killed and ended up in a coma for some time afterwards. In a way, this show could’ve easily been centered around Ronette; all it would’ve taken was a BOB mood swing and Ronette is the show’s big hook while the Laura/Donna/James/Bobby/Shelly/Leo hexagon goes on to be the most annoying TV storyline since anything Riley Finn did on Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You know what; it’s good Ronette lived.
34. Josie Packard
No disrespect to Joan Chen, but this is a case of a character being weighed down by the performer more than anything else. The hallmarks for a solid femme fatale are definitely there with Josie; the problem is that Chen isn’t even remotely convincing. If anything, her shy, innocent look and demeanor make her seem like a dope more than a femme fatale. To me, this is a case where things would’ve worked out better if Isabella Rossellini had gotten the role as planned; not only did she have history with Lynch (she’s one of the best parts of both Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart), but she also was really good at playing that femme fatale role. Put her in and Josie’s memorable as hell (while also not being named Josie). With just Chen, Josie’s okay, and really only serves to make Harry more sympathetic. This is fine, seeing as we all love Harry; we just wish he had a better dance partner is all.
33. Phillip Jeffries
Has one scene in Fire Walk with Me where he shows up at FBI headquarters, spouts some Black Lodge cryptic warnings and disappears. And you know what; that’s all he needed to do. Nothing in Fire Walk with Me is better than the cryptic, out of control Jefferies. He’s the kind of dude you wish spin offs were made about, that had more to do with the show than just that one appearance. If anyone should return for the revival that didn’t get enough time, it’s this guy. What’s David Bowie doing right now? Someone find him and get him back!
32. Sarah Palmer
Only took us forty three spots to get to the first Palmer on this countdown, which just goes to show you that family is the most interesting family ever (while also being the most screwed up). I honestly feel bad for poor Sarah; she was just never going to be able to compete with all of Leland’s issues, Laura being Laura, and Maddy being the most obvious separated by birth sister of all time (come on, there’s no way people who look that much alike are cousins!). Take that and some more interesting characters off the table, and this woman is pretty interesting. She has those same dream visions that Cooper has after all, and can pretty convincingly go from concerned to hysterical to borderline comatose to “WHAT THE HELL IS BOB DOING IN MY LIVING ROOM?!” in the matter of minutes. I would’ve liked to have seen her before all of the shit on the show happened too; those brief moments of her waiting for Laura to come down the stairs in the pilot seem to indicate a loving yet no tolerance for bullshit style parent. What might’ve been if it had been Ronette instead of Laura. Wait, nope, just remembered that love hexagon that would’ve happened. We were better off with crazy, vision Sarah than normal, bad ass mom Sarah.
31. Jerry Horne
Is he the world’s greatest hanger on, Ben Horne’s equal, yet goofy younger brother, underrated businessman or all three? I don’t know and I don’t care, because Jerry Horne is my guy. I’m not sure I would trust him to run a business or even sell me a pig on a stick, but I always find myself enjoying Jerry when he appears. He helps make Ben more enjoyable, he certainly seems to be a lot more fun and unlike Ben, he actually seems to be less of a terrible person. Granted, he has no problem with Ben plotting to burn down mills or taking trips to One Eyed Jacks, but hey, no one is perfect. Here’s hoping that we get to see more of crazy brother Jerry, because frankly, the world needs more of crazy brother Jerry. Then again, the world just needs more David Patrick Kelly. Don’t believe me, watch Twin Peaks again, then watch The Warriors. You’ll be in complete agreement with me soon after.
That’ll do it boys and girls. I’m out for now, though I’ll be back soon with more of this countdown, plus some other stuff (if I can think of other stuff of course). Till next time, some more Dale Cooper musings!