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Let's Rock! The Twin Peaks Character Countdown (75-71)
IT IS HAPPENING AGAIN! IT! IS! HAPPENING! AGAIN! Hey, it’s a Twin Peaks column, I’m starting it off with a Twin Peaks quote. Yes, one of your two favorite weird, cult shows from the 90s (the other being The X-Files, also returning soon) is coming back in style in the near distant future, armed with co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost (directing and writing all episodes respectively), a cast of almost the usual suspects and a whole lot of “what the hell is going on here?!” feels. And even though I’m still not sure when Peaks is dropping again (some say 2016, others says 2017), I feel in the mood to start writing about the famed show. And what better place to start than ranking the rich crop of characters the show had from worst to first? Oh yes, this isn’t going to be your usual list from yours truly; instead of looking at the worst or the best, I’m going to look at both, counting my way down from all 75 major/minor characters of the show till we get to number one. You will read about the worst, you will read about the mediocre, the good, the great, and in the words of Randy Savage, DA CREAM OF DA CROP! If you’re already a fan of Twin Peaks, think of this as a way to remind yourself who you want to see return for the revival and who you’d like to never see again. If you’ve never watched the show before and want to get into it, think of it as preparation on who will excite and annoy you. So with that, I think it’s time to begin. In the words from a future member of this list, LET’S ROCK!
75. James Hurley
Yes, we’re starting out with a big name for this shindig. No doubt, James Hurley, biker with a heart of gold and a face so dopey that he should’ve been the seventh dwarf, is an important part of the series. He was Laura’s true love, Donna’s true love (on second thought, maybe this dope act really was a façade to get the ladies), Bookhouse Boy member (Twin Peaks charter vigilante group/secret society), dude with really, really spiky hair. And yet, if I never had to see him again, I’d feel great. The problem with poor James is that he’s either being uproariously funny for all the wrong reasons or he’s duller than the dullest block of wood. Hell, sometimes he flips back and forth between the two in a single scene! Remember when he and Donna find out Laura’s dead in the pilot episode? His reaction is less sad and more “I FORGOT TO POOP BEFORE CLASS!”, followed by him breaking a pencil in what has to be the funniest, dullest thing ever.
That’s pretty much how James remains the rest of the show too. Whereas other characters grow, James remains mopey, dull, and prone to over the top outbursts that leave me in a state of laughter. His worst crime is that he actually holds down two interesting characters like Laura’s sunny, creepy cousin (because she looks just like Laura dammit!) Maddie and Donna, who goes from mousy girl in season one to Alfred Hitchcock lady in season two, only it would’ve been better if she cut Hurley’s dead weight (coincidentally, it did once Hurley left Twin Peaks). Dammit Hurley! I guess what I’m trying to say is that, while James Hurley certainly has some important moments, he’s the worst and if he doesn’t show up in the revived show next year or the year after, I’ll celebrate more than when CM Punk beat John Cena at Money in the Bank 2011. I don’t care if him and Donna are meant to be together; find her someone else. Hell, have her be the new owner of One Eyed Jacks. How’s that for an interesting fall from grace?
74. Bernard Renault
Poor Bernie. He never was that bright as Leo Johnson would say. He also wasn’t really that interesting either. The best I can recall of the youngest Renault bro is that he was arrested for drugs, sent to prison, released and then popped like a zit by everyone’s favorite sociopathic trucker because…reasons! Just as well I think. I’m sure Bernie was a swell guy as crazy Canadians go, but he didn’t have the whole drug running/bartending/wood chipping skills package Jacques had, nor Jean’s “I’m a raging lunatic who’s gonna murder your face!” thing. At least he had the most interesting death though. The other two guys went out via being shot or smothering via pillow. All we see of Bernie is him being wrapped like one of Killer Moth’s victims, and knowing Leo Johnson, I’m pretty sure he had his fun.
I know what you’re thinking, so I’ll let Jack Nicholson ask the question for you.
Here’s the best answer I can give to you and Jack; Cappy was a young assistant for the Twin Peaks Sheriff’s Department who was also part of the Bookhouse Boys, dressed like a biker version of Harry and did absolutely nothing except assist Cooper and dig up stuff about the dugpas. Really, the only reason he’s on the list is because Joey Paulson (the biker who took Donna to see James in the pilot) didn’t have enough screen time to make this list. And thus ends the tale of Cappy; he wasn’t good, he wasn’t bad, he was simply there. I think I just described James Van Der Beek’s career.
72. Annie Blackburn
I’ll give Annie this; she has one really cool moment in Fire Walk With Me when she informs Laura that “the good Dale is stuck in the lodge”, thus letting us know that the hero of our story is alive and…alright not really well, but he’s alive! Otherwise, Annie is pretty much just all noise. Look, in another parallel universe where the DC Cinematic Universe came out first and Edward Furlong is the most powerful man in show business, Annie might be a really, really compelling character. And hell, if she appears in the revival, I won’t shed a tear; she doesn’t have “James Hurley” go away heat or anything. What she also doesn’t have though is anything interesting about her. I find her to be less of a closed off person with a tortured past than a blank sheet of paper that someone wrote on with a pen containing no ink. And here’s the worst part; she ended up being Dale Cooper’s one and only over Audrey Horne. Yes…Annie Blackburn, former nun, student at Hayden Christensen’s school of the non interesting, was deemed to be a better romantic interest than Audrey Horne. There are tragedies, there are travesties, there’s the Wayne Gretzky trade and then there’s this. I get there was all sorts of political mumbo jumbo going on behind the seasons, but come on guys! Cooper and Blackburn instead of Cooper and Horne? That’s like going to the video game store and choosing Final Fantasy X-2 over Final Fantasy X. And no, I’m not taking this too seriously. Okay, perhaps I am, but it’s my column, I’ll do what I want!
71. Chester Desmond
The anti-Coop! Poor Agent Desmond; if he didn’t have Cooper, Albert, Cole, Jefferies and even his own partner Sam to go up against, he might’ve had a shot at getting into the 50s here. Alas, all five of those guys are way more interesting than him; hell, if there had been more than five seconds of the mime woman from Fire Walk With Me, she would’ve made this over him. I think what works against Chess (can I call him Chess? Whatever, I’m doing it anyway) is that he wasn’t even supposed to exist; he only does exist because Kyle MacLachlan didn’t want a huge role in the film, and thus Cooper was replaced with Chess. So not only was Agent Desmond investigating something Cooper was meant to, he was also doing it a lot less interestingly as Coop would’ve. And thus, here we are at number 71. By the way, does anyone know what happened to Chess? Is he in the lodge too? Is he dead? Did he fake disappearing just to hang out with Harry Dean Stanton in that crummy trailer park? I’d dig further, but I actually don’t care, which pretty much sums this all up.
That’ll do it folks! I’ll be back tomorrow with entry two of this countdown, not to mention something else as well. Till next time, let's see how Ben Horne is doing, that crazy critter!