Trapped in the Hysterical Sublime: Twin Peaks, Postmodernism, and the Neoliberal Now

  • Linnie Blake


In 1990, I was living in Oxford in the United Kingdom and working as a policy writer for OXFAM. I shared a house with a chain-smoking Deleuzian, a psychiatric nurse, and an unemployed van driver. All in our twenties but with little else in common, we were an unlikely collection of housemates and most of the time we went our separate ways. Then Twin Peaks happened. Twin Peaks changed everything. Within a couple of weeks of taping the pilot episode, we had taken to meeting together as a household to watch it live. Friends were invited. On one occasion, probably best forgotten, there was dressing up. We were four very different people but we all loved this. We rejoiced in its humor. We adopted its catch phrases. We each had favorite characters and favorite things—the Little Man’s (Michael J. Anderson) dancing, Dr. Jacoby’s (Russ Tamblyn) glasses, Ben Horne’s (Richard Beymer) “little Elvis,” Lucy’s (Kimmy Robertson) voice. We suspected there was no real meaning to the thing, that it was a game of some sort where the search for meaning was more significant than the meaning itself. That too was exciting. And even when perplexed and frustrated by its endless deferrals, as happened often during the second season, we enjoyed its intensely realized period flavor. We had all grown up under the moral sway of the National Viewers and Listeners Association, a group that in 1983 had argued for the censorship of video releases likely to deprave and corrupt young people such as ourselves.1


Twin Peak Detective Story Favorite Character Representational Practice Sexual Masoch 
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© Linnie Blake 2016

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  • Linnie Blake

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