Despite the volume of true-blue millennials who identify as ’90s kids–and rightly so, because our birth years never lie–one thing definitely flew over our young heads: the birth of Twin Peaks. We might know its name, or have a semblance of an idea of its brilliance straight from the minds of David Lynch and Mark Frost, but what we don’t know is how it changed the game as the generations before us once knew it. Culturally imploding what TV was in the ’80s and ’90s, we are now living off the imprint of Twin Peaks wherever we look, we just don’t know it. Mind-blowing cliffhangers at the end of each episodes weren’t a thing in the time of 90210 and the early Law & Order, and the fact that Lynch opened the gate to genre-bending series that fused police procedural, soap opera, psychological horror, and avant garde treatment as early as 1990 only proves that this was a show that lived before its time.
Now that Showtime enthralls us with the continuation of the series after more than two decades, we have physical proof that there is a TV God watching over us as we watch our favorite shows. But for any fanatic who’s been asking “How’s Annie?” for the past few years, here are 25 fun facts of this phenomenon–not including what made The Double R Diner’s coffee so damn fine.
1. Twin Peaks: The Return was supposed to premiere exactly 25 years after its series finale in 1991, almost working seamlessly with Special Agent Cooper’s first dream in the Red Room where Laura Palmer eerily says “I’ll see you again in 25 years.” But as the saying goes, shit happens.
2. In its early conception, as David Lynch was trying to get the script picked up, Gary Levine (then Vice President of ABC Drama Development, now at Showtime) admitted he was interested, but scared of David Lynch. Mainly because Blue Velvet freaked the hell out of him.
3. Before the location for the show was final, it was initially named Northwest Passage, targeting North Dakota as its location. But after being shot down by composer Angelo Badalementi, Seattle was named the home of the show, ending with Twin Peaks from the mountains at the back.
4. As you can see from the previous entry, David Lynch didn’t really have things ironed out. Just like the fact that he saw Twin Peaks as a TV movie. After the pilot got high ratings, it was picked up for a seven-part series.
5. For the role of Laura Palmer, Lynch planned to cast a local from Seattle to literally just “play the dead girl” due to budget constraints. But upon seeing Sheryl Lee wrapped in plastic (one of the most iconic images of her, second only to her homecoming photo) and shooting the home movie that James films of her and Donna, Lynch saw an enigmatic twinkle in hr eyes in those short takes, leading her to become a recurring cast member in flashbacks and also taking the life of Laura’s look-alike cousin Maddy Ferguson.
6. A more known trivia is the BOB accident. Frank Silva, who plays (spoiler alert) the dark, malicious spirit who inhabits Laura Palmer’s killer, was actually a set designer. Lynch shot him behind the bars of the bed (creating one of the show’s most haunting scenes to date) on a whim after finding out he was also an actor. At the end of the first episode, a scene was deemed unusable by the Director of Photography because a crew member was caught in the reflection–who turned out to be BOB. Everything came together, thus the creation of BOB was formed.
7. Just like the similar but modern phenomenon Game of Thrones, Twin Peaks was the first to serve up mystery hardcore. Only Frost and Lynch knew who the killer was, and no one else. But their plan to leave it open-ended was vetoed by studio mandate, leading to the hastily shot 10-minute of BOB in the pilot. But Frost and Lynch kept their secrecy as shooting went along, giving edited scripts to the actors only with their parts, shredding scripts after shooting, and even planting three different endings and killers as a precaution for spoilers.
8. “The Man From Another Place” might seem to be just another inhabitant of the Black Lodge, eerily dancing and talking in his strange botched English language. But in Lynch’s follow-up film Fire Walk with Me, it’s indicated that he is the true form of the spirit MIKE, BOB’s nemesis who inhabits the one-armed shoe seller, Phillip Gerard.
9. The Double RR Diner resides at the real-life Mar T Cafe. During one day of filming, production would have six to ten pies made each day. And though the cherry pie was often the character favorite, absolutely no one from the crew would have it for breaks, opting for the chocolate peanut butter or banana pies instead.
10. To the casual viewer, Invitation to Love might sound vaguely familiar, but the soap opera-within-soap opera was a constant in the show, making an appearance on someone’s TV every episode except the pilot, also paralleling things happening in the show, such as Leo’s abuse of Shelly.
11. With the twists, turns, and Tibetan superstitions Special Agent Cooper took, one scene brought them to a veterinary clinic which involved a llama. The simple but seamless scene had Cooper enter the room as a llama was on its way out, just as the llama walks, looks at Dale, and exits, all shot in one take (achieved by having Kyle McLachlan chew food prior to filming).
12. The Red Room scene in Cooper’s dream was never scripted. The idea came to Lynch as he was leaning against a warm car, then the vision of the Red Room with Little MIKE in it came to him.
13. Although the Red Room almost never happened, it’s become a quintessential image in the phenomenon that is Twin Peaks. A lot of random elements come to play in the eerie ante: the red curtains, the statue of Venus de Medici, the thick consistency of Cooper’s beloved coffee, and the unmistakable shadows floating across the backdrop. But one element that absolutely, undeniably captures the attention of the viewer is its iconic black-and-white chevron floor, which–fun fact–matches the patterned floor in David Lynch’s movie, Eraserhead.
14. Again, speaking of the brilliance that goes on in the Red Room, another stroke of genius that comes into play is the use of riddles and non sequiturs. Nailing the slow absurdities that tie the strangeness that goes on in the Black Lodge, Lynch films the characters in reverse–dancing to jazz and reading their lines completely in reverse. He then plays the footage backwards.
15. As any viewer can attest to, the show had a lot of subplots brewing beneath the surface: drug deals and arson plans here and there, affairs at every corner of the street. But one little character jumbled up in the Laura Palmer murder case is one Audrey Horne, the sexy and reckless high school femme fatale hiding behind her daddy’s girl facade. The character reached icon status with her ’50s style and two unforgettable scenes–dancing to jazz music in the middle of the diner, and tying a knot with a cherry stem and handing it to Blackie.
16. Cross culture trivia! To any Gilmore Girls fan out there, Sherilyn Fenn (who plays Audrey Horne) was on the show as two different characters: first as Sasha a.k.a. Jess’ dad’s girlfriend, planting a failed spin-off for Jess in the West Coast, but when that didn’t fly off, Sherilyn came back as Luke’s elusive ex-girlfriend, Anna Nardini. Another familiar face that was on Gilmore Girls is Mädchen Amick, who played the beautiful waitress and abused wife Shelly, as the annoying Sherry. Still familiar? She also plays another annoying character in The CW’s Riverdale, Betty’s mom Alice Cooper.
17. Bouncing back to the character of Audrey Horne, there was an ongoing subplot of unrequited love between her and Special Agent Dale Cooper. But it turns out, there were hints leading up to a romance between them, but that was put to a stop, courtesy of Kyle MacLachlan’s girlfriend at the time, none other than Lara Flynne Boyle who played Donna.
18. The last and resounding line of the Season 2 finale–that of Agent Cooper’s maniacal laughter and repeated questions of “How’s Annie?”–wasn’t in the original script. And yes, the doe-eyed Annie was played by Heather Graham.
19. In frustration over the cancelled season, David Lynch took matters in his own hands, weaving the back story of Laura Palmer before she died. In Fire Walk with Me, it seems as though he may have had too much fun; the film reached four hours without cuts.
20. Although the series was cancelled because of its low ratings, real still recognizes real. The show made thousands of viewers fall in love and remain loyal, with a handful of fans creating the Wrapped in Plastic zine as an ode to Laura Palmer. The community grew and evolved while sharing their love for the then-demised series, and led them to hold an annual Twin Peaks Festival.
21. With a lot of back and forth over the years as to whether David Lynch would ever pick up where they left off, it was all in the air, with only a slim chance of it coming true. Until he and Mark Frost simultaneously tweeted this in October 3, 2014 at 11:30AM–the same time Cooper arrived in Twin Peaks
Dear Twitter Friends: That gum you like is going to come back in style! #damngoodcoffee
— David Lynch (@DAVID_LYNCH) October 3, 2014
Dear Twitter Friends: That gum you like is going to come back in style.#damngoodcoffee
— Mark Frost (@mfrost11) October 3, 2014
22. Reviving the mysteries of the beloved town, Twin Peaks: The Return came back strong, from nine ordered episodes to 18 due to its popularity.
23. One of the weirdest characters and most essential key player to the mysteries was the Log Lady. Actress Margaret Lanterman was on board to breathe life into her character again and was able to shoot some scenes, but died in 2015. Another would-be returning character is David Bowie.
24. The Return has a whopping number of 217 cast members–39 of them returning characters, including David Lynch as Gordon Cole.
25. Referencing one of his greatest works, David Lynch takes the Twin Peaks area to Tower Theater in Los Angeles. Otherwise known as Club Silencio, from Mullholand Drive. Things come full circle.–JANROE THE BOAT
Bonus point: Fan favorite from RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 7 Katya Zamolodchikova is a big David Lynch/Twin Peaks fan, always flaunting some Laura Palmer realness.