The return of David Lynch and Mark Frost’s “Twin Peaks” is nothing short of one of television’s most bold, brave, and fascinating shows in a long time. Seemingly unrestrained and constantly breaking expectations, the show has been met, for damn good reason, with near universal critical acclaim.
But one of the aspects about the revival that I haven’t seen brought up is something that is incredibly important: Showtime’s “Twin Peaks” is giving us a series that is led by a majority of older actors, ones who don’t have a youthful glow forcibly placed upon them. While that may seem like an obvious statement and observation, we only need to look at other shows airing on television to see that this is a rare phenomenon that needs to be lauded.
For the most part, we see TV shows that are fronted by youthful stars, ones who bring vitality and energy to their stories. Sometimes these shows will even make it a point to try and explain this, often by saying something along the lines of, “Well, this character is a prodigy/savant. Their age doesn’t matter because they’re so talented and ahead of their time.” But shows will often steer away from having older actors as the main characters because there is probably a fear that, by doing so, the show will then feel tired and restrained. Unless they have a certain amount of clout to their name, Hollywood too often puts aside actors who pass a certain age or attain a certain look.
“Twin Peaks” is taking that concept and not just challenging it, it’s shattering it entirely in so many different ways. People are smitten over Norma and Shelly, some 27 years after they first appeared in the series. While not his usual character, Kyle MacLachlan is astounding viewers with his double-duty roles as both Evil Cooper and Dale Cooper/Dougie Jones. Michael Horse and Harry Goaz bring forth unending waves of nostalgia as Deputy Hawk and Officer Brennan. Miguel Ferrer (rest in peace) is just as snarky and biting as Albert as he was in the original series while David Lynch as Gordon has that same disarming playfulness mixed with intense focus. Ashley Judd and Richard Beymer as Beverly Paige and Benjamin Horne prove that age doesn’t diminish sexual tension/attraction.
What “Twin Peaks” knew from the beginning is that it would have an audience that was comprised of original fans. What they also smartly recognized is that those same fans have aged during that long gap. We are not the same people that we were back in 1990 and 1991. We’ve all grown in our own ways. Some of us have gotten married and had children. Others have locked down careers and put aside extravagances.
No matter what has happened, those years have changed us all. To see the same actors from the original series once again, with all their wrinkles and imperfections but no less glamorous or enchanting, is a powerful feeling. As I celebrated my birthday recently and began dwelling upon the grays appearing rapidly in my hair and the subtle aches in my joints, I realized what “Twin Peaks” is doing helps alleviate my personal fear of aging and it assures me that I can be seen as attractive, important, powerful, charming, engaging, and valid as I enter my twilight years.
“Twin Peaks” has always shown that there is beauty in the simplest of things. Sometimes that can come from recognizing that growing older doesn’t mean losing our touch. If anything, we can age like fine wine…or a damn fine cup of coffee with a slice of cherry pie on the side.