Full of Secrets contains virtually everything you need to know about Twin Peaks. This fascinating collection of essays considers David Lynch’s politics, the enigmatic musical score, and the show’s cult status, treatment of violence, obsession with doubling, and silencing of women. Also included are a director and writer list, a cast list, a Twin Peaks calendar, a complete scene breakdown for the entire series, and a comprehensive bibliography.
What a comeback event the first few episodes of the third season of Twin Peaks was. No doubt one of the seminal shows of television history, this book analyses the first two seasons and prequel film Fire Walk With me but rest assured as ever, there are no spoilers contained anywhere within this review.
The twelve detailed analyses contained in this collection are part of the fascinating world of deconstruction that never ceases to revolve around this enigmatic show. It is a shame, then, that it is such a challenge to tease out the interesting bits from a lot of overblown posturing.
Any attempt to intellectualise Twin Peaks (as written by these authors all with a Ph.d) will predictably straddle the fine line between pretentious and sometimes insightful. There is a lot called on here to illustrate points from art and literature all the way through to Semiotics. It underlines the point that when something is a mystery, more obscure references must be pulled in to explain points and thus widen and convolute the original enigma.
The selection of subjects is of varying interest, the internet chatrooms – in their infancy in the early 90’s – is interesting, as the state of US TV and how programmes are marketed to different demographics. Any mention of Umberto Eco is always likely to make my day as well.
The nadir of the book comes in the form of one of the three feminist examinations. It started out as a perfectly fine essay and then became all about phallic imagery that seemingly appeared everywhere in the show, apparently. It wasn’t so much a leap to shoehorn that ideas into the essay as some sort of warp jump across galaxies.
If you look deeply enough into anything you can find something to link to almost anything else, it’s a fun game but need not be written about in such high brow manner, unless you consider that the essays are a parody of themselves of course which would fit in with the feel of the original to series. This selection is varied but all too often become bogged down by their own ridiculousness, it makes the reader wonder how much was intended by the writers and how much is graspingly imagined by the essayists, nevertheless this book has most likely become a peripheral part of the phenomenon for some fans now.
That a TV show can get this level of critique is impressive and speaks volumes for its impact on the landscape of TV and popular culture, the book though is less impressive than this reader hoped. It’s not by any means required reading if you are a fan of the show but it did pass some time whilst waiting for the new episodes.