Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return

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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Mr. Reindeer » Tue Aug 29, 2017 6:41 am

A small thing, but it bothered me that Bellina Logan was credited as "Female Doctor." Wasn't she the only doctor in Part 16? Why was her gender relevant to the credit? Couldn't it have just been "Doctor"?
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Framed_Angel » Tue Aug 29, 2017 7:22 am

Novalis wrote:
Framed_Angel wrote:The Mitchum brothers have been for me mostly entertaining and source of much needed humor so I was dismayed seeing this glimpse of latent bully behavior & I wish it'll be just that, a glimpse and inadvertent at that.
Their brutal flooring and kicking of an employee wasn't enough to convince you of their latent bully behaviour? See, this is why I am so over this whole mobster-with-a-heart-of-gold BS...
Easy, there. I meant "latent" because I *do* remember perfectly well the scene when they beat up the casino manager. That was my point, I probably didn't phrase correctly when I said 'my misgivings BEGAN', I meant that something we witnessed earlier quite possibly was resurfacing in Bradley's outburst. Or the ability to pivot from all-smiles to shifting tone at Candie, reminding us of her subservient role, and his volatility.
Novalis wrote:..I hate the way TV thinks it can just recontextualise this crap as being about family values and emotional struggles. Violent criminal is violent.
It seemed like a lot of viewers jumped right on board with embracing the brothers, didn't it? So like I said, I need to re-watch the scene that troubled me. But my rooting for Candie isn't gonna be for her to get a "spin off tv show starring the Mitchum Brothers" -- it's still going to be for her to turn out to be a mole!
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Novalis » Tue Aug 29, 2017 8:04 am

Framed_Angel wrote:
Novalis wrote:
Framed_Angel wrote:The Mitchum brothers have been for me mostly entertaining and source of much needed humor so I was dismayed seeing this glimpse of latent bully behavior & I wish it'll be just that, a glimpse and inadvertent at that.
Their brutal flooring and kicking of an employee wasn't enough to convince you of their latent bully behaviour? See, this is why I am so over this whole mobster-with-a-heart-of-gold BS...
Easy, there. I meant "latent" because I *do* remember perfectly well the scene when they beat up the casino manager. That was my point, I probably didn't phrase correctly when I said 'my misgivings BEGAN', I meant that something we witnessed earlier quite possibly was resurfacing in Bradley's outburst. Or the ability to pivot from all-smiles to shifting tone at Candie, reminding us of her subservient role, and his volatility.
Novalis wrote:..I hate the way TV thinks it can just recontextualise this crap as being about family values and emotional struggles. Violent criminal is violent.
It seemed like a lot of viewers jumped right on board with embracing the brothers, didn't it? So like I said, I need to re-watch the scene that troubled me. But my rooting for Candie isn't gonna be for her to get a "spin off tv show starring the Mitchum Brothers" -- it's still going to be for her to turn out to be a mole!


Understood, and no hard feelings intended. I get angry at myself when I find myself manipulated (by film and TV) into feeling moments of sympathy and identification with people who are presented as having rich inner lives and tender relationships yet are objectively known to be out in the world killing, raping and inflicting misery on people. Sometimes I lash out when I feel its become a trend to hide the reality of violent killers, abusers and aggressors behind so much humanistic subjectivisation, their otherwise tender relationships and so on. I mean, I despise Tarantino as a person while having enjoyed his films: I despise him because I enjoyed them, and they were made to be enjoyed. I guess some of that spilled out here, and sorry if you felt implicated. Trust me it was not my intention.
As a matter of fact, 'Chalfont' was the name of the people that rented this space before. Two Chalfonts. Weird, huh?
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby 4815162342 » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:50 am

Mr. Reindeer wrote:A small thing, but it bothered me that Bellina Logan was credited as "Female Doctor." Wasn't she the only doctor in Part 16? Why was her gender relevant to the credit? Couldn't it have just been "Doctor"?

It is a sign that, in the minds of whoever is responsible for the credits, Doctor is by default male.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby asmahan » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:59 am

Something about Audrey's scenes is that they seem to be the fullest storyline that takes place from a woman's perspective. While The Return is not lacking (in my opinion) in compelling and vibrant female characters, it's pretty spare on women's perspectives compared to the original series and FWWM. Shelly, Diane, Becky, and Nadine have a couple of scenes that we can say are from their perspectives, but for Audrey all her screen time involves her as subject, perhaps even as the Dreamer...
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Mr. Strawberry » Tue Aug 29, 2017 1:40 pm

sylvia_north wrote:Well this just happened.

http://www.tmz.com/2017/08/17/twin-peak ... ed-murder/ Mickey taking notes from Stephen in the trailer park. I loaded a bong for this guy! Name the problem...

If he couldn't load the bong for himself, then he was certainly in no condition to acquire Kool-Aid.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby sylvia_north » Wed Aug 30, 2017 4:22 am

Good Diane discussion on Diane Podcast

https://diane.libsyn.com/twin-peaks-the-return-part-16
starting 17:15- 23: 40 "metaphor for the survivor experience dissociation; Diane remains a mystery
Twin Peaks as a metaphor for child sexual abuse and "how everything is implicated in that"
In TR the metaphor for rape 'succeeds if you're invested in horror, but not the in truth of a character's experience'

40:00 Candy (BEING A ROBOT, like I said :wink: ).

The conversation just prior about the Mitchums being good people and aspiring to good people, they find it touching, but I agree with Framed Angel that this is suspicious that things are as good as they seem for Cooper. At least it is as much of a cop-out as Leland being possessed when "the evil that men do"/male violence is how the problems of Twin Peaks manifest certainly in TPTR and Mr C.'s associates.

Especially if Amy Shiels in her background work for Candie she felt was a victim of trafficking this character cluster needs to be highlighted as a feature of that theme. The Mitchums kill and have these pink pets, but they're good guys? Interesting contradiction/tension, it's been a colorful, sunny, quirky underworld. They don't mention that the girls seeming in a dissociative state; or what the traumatized mind acquiesced to subordination looks like. They are interesting as ornaments to the writers, I guess. Vegas staple/set pieces, the robot woman, or the as-good-as a robot woman, reduced to parts. They say that "In Vegas breasts aren't just body parts, they're entertainment" and the commentary in TR is just that it is what it is.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Novalis » Wed Aug 30, 2017 6:39 am

sylvia_north wrote:Good Diane discussion on Diane Podcast

https://diane.libsyn.com/twin-peaks-the-return-part-16
starting 17:15- 23: 40 "metaphor for the survivor experience dissociation; Diane remains a mystery
Twin Peaks as a metaphor for child sexual abuse and "how everything is implicated in that"
In TR the metaphor for rape 'succeeds if you're invested in horror, but not the in truth of a character's experience'

40:00 Candy (BEING A ROBOT, like I said :wink: ).

The conversation just prior about the Mitchums being good people and aspiring to good people, they find it touching, but I agree with Framed Angel that this is suspicious that things are as good as they seem for Cooper. At least it is as much of a cop-out as Leland being possessed when "the evil that men do"/male violence is how the problems of Twin Peaks manifest certainly in TPTR and Mr C.'s associates.

Especially if Amy Shiels in her background work for Candie she felt was a victim of trafficking this character cluster needs to be highlighted as a feature of that theme. The Mitchums kill and have these pink pets, but they're good guys? Interesting contradiction/tension, it's been a colorful, sunny, quirky underworld. They don't mention that the girls seeming in a dissociative state; or what the traumatized mind acquiesced to subordination looks like. They are interesting as ornaments to the writers, I guess. Vegas staple/set pieces, the robot woman, or the as-good-as a robot woman, reduced to parts. They say that "In Vegas breasts aren't just body parts, they're entertainment" and the commentary in TR is just that it is what it is.


Just made some of the same points myself over in the part 16 thread; maybe they'll go down less well there. Downloading this podcast for later.
As a matter of fact, 'Chalfont' was the name of the people that rented this space before. Two Chalfonts. Weird, huh?
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby alreadygoneplaces » Wed Aug 30, 2017 10:42 am

sylvia_north wrote: If there's some grander cosmic theme L/F are building to, they are definitely using women as a shortcut, as props of negativity.


Bingo, that's also my view in a nutshell.

As a separate thing....

The Charlie character marks yet another instance of Lynch using physical disabilities as a shortcut to the uncanny (and even revulsion), which I'm getting really sick of. It made me of this scene from Living in Oblivion...

https://youtu.be/HrFxciguk38?t=5760 - Skip to 1:36:00 if it doesn't put you in the right place

The dream-sequence stuff in that film seems a largely unfair dig at the original TP (and others), but I do feel there was a seed of truth in there that grows with every Lynch film. There's also a great scene in that film where Peter Dinklage takes offence to the idea of his character representing someone's 'anxiety'.

As with most things Lynch, it's complex and more nuanced than it appears on the surface (or at least, appears to be- making I'm giving too much credit), but the way some of these characters are perceived does shine a light on the problems with this approach... on these boards alone, I've seen the 'giant' and 'little man' at Buella's place described as 'weird grotesques', Charlie as a 'potato'.

I always thought of this with MFAP especially in the original, but MJA's performance was so strong, it papered over the cracks and deflected attention away from this issue.
Last edited by alreadygoneplaces on Wed Aug 30, 2017 2:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Framed_Angel » Wed Aug 30, 2017 1:48 pm

alreadygoneplaces wrote:
The Charlie character marks yet another instance of Lynch using physical disabilities as a shortcut to the uncanny (and even revulsion), which I'm getting really sick of.
I don't want to quote you out of context so I'm pasting the rest of it below. Mainly I wanted to share, although I don't expect many to agree: my speculation that Charlie represesnts Audrey's dependence on drugs. Pill form. To me Charlie's odd appearance would be in sync with resembling a sort of talking, walking capsule of medication! but this is a stretch, I know.
TBH his place within the pantheon of TP:TR characters never struck me as all that exploitative or glaring, or what you're suggesting (I cannot load your link right now, am at work). I found his character very direct and refreshingly unconceited as compared with many of the others. And he had so much to say perhaps more lines than most other new faces, that I feel I've gotten to know him better than the others even if I don't understand him!
alreadygoneplaces wrote: It made me of this scene from Living in Oblivion...
https://youtu.be/HrFxciguk38?t=5760 - Skip to 1:36:00 if it doesn't put you in the right place
The dream-sequence stuff in that film seems a largely unfair dig at the original TP (and others), but I do feel there was a seed of truth in there that grows with every Lynch film. There's also a great scene in that film where Peter Dinklage takes offence to the idea of his character representing someone's 'anxiety'.
As with most things Lynch, it's complex and more nuanced than it appears on the surface (or at least, appears to be- making I'm giving too much credit), but the way some of these characters are perceived does shine a light on the problems with this approach... on these boards alone, I've seen the 'giant' and 'little man' at Buella's place described as 'weird grotesques', Charlie as a 'potato'.
I had the idea of MFAP especially in the original, but MJA's performance was so strong, it papered over the cracks and deflected attention away from this issue.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Manwith » Wed Aug 30, 2017 8:31 pm

4815162342 wrote:
Mr. Reindeer wrote:A small thing, but it bothered me that Bellina Logan was credited as "Female Doctor." Wasn't she the only doctor in Part 16? Why was her gender relevant to the credit? Couldn't it have just been "Doctor"?

It is a sign that, in the minds of whoever is responsible for the credits, Doctor is by default male.


I wonder if the screenplay called her character Doctor or Female Doctor.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby ^◊^ » Wed Aug 30, 2017 11:43 pm

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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Cipher » Thu Aug 31, 2017 4:43 am

Mr. Reindeer wrote:A small thing, but it bothered me that Bellina Logan was credited as "Female Doctor." Wasn't she the only doctor in Part 16? Why was her gender relevant to the credit? Couldn't it have just been "Doctor"?

That's ... yeah, that's really unfortunate.

Also, good eye. That's some AP-style-styled hawkishness, where it's always taboo (for good reason) to mention things like gender or race extraneously -- they have to impact the understanding of the story in some way.

alreadygoneplaces wrote:As a separate thing....

The Charlie character marks yet another instance of Lynch using physical disabilities as a shortcut to the uncanny (and even revulsion), which I'm getting really sick of. It made me of this scene from Living in Oblivion...

https://youtu.be/HrFxciguk38?t=5760 - Skip to 1:36:00 if it doesn't put you in the right place

The dream-sequence stuff in that film seems a largely unfair dig at the original TP (and others), but I do feel there was a seed of truth in there that grows with every Lynch film. There's also a great scene in that film where Peter Dinklage takes offence to the idea of his character representing someone's 'anxiety'.

As with most things Lynch, it's complex and more nuanced than it appears on the surface (or at least, appears to be- making I'm giving too much credit), but the way some of these characters are perceived does shine a light on the problems with this approach... on these boards alone, I've seen the 'giant' and 'little man' at Buella's place described as 'weird grotesques', Charlie as a 'potato'.

I always thought of this with MFAP especially in the original, but MJA's performance was so strong, it papered over the cracks and deflected attention away from this issue.

This has always been a take-it-or-leave-it element of Lynch's work, and it's certainly one I'd rather leave. There's really no justifying it, beyond the occasional visceral effectiveness earned by, say, Michael J Anderson's scenes in the original run (and even then, as you noted, a lot of that rests on his performance). Ike the Spike bothered me in particular this season, as any and all physical abnormalities tend to be invoked for uncanny characters and uncanny situations; there are few physically disabled or even unusually proportioned people inhabiting the "normal" parts of Lynch's worlds.

There are also hardly any non-white ones, and really, it's hard to do anything with the aesthetic dishonesty of those except to chalk them up to the imperfect tendencies of an imperfect artist, though one who's still highly worth appreciating for his strengths. It comes with the territory when dealing with highly personal work, though it doesn't excuse it and doesn't have to.

Of course, the gender portrayal is in a unique situation where it's also at the heart of of the series thematically--to the point that a lack of female perspective can cause the series to feel at odds with itself--whereas the above-mentioned issues are more disappointing from an external social perspective.

That "invested in horror, but not in the truth of a character's experience"* quote above does fall pretty close to my final assessment of The Return at 16/18ths of its run, unfortunately. It's worthwhile in many ways, but unusually limp in this one.

*FWWM and Inland Empire nail both
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Novalis » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:37 am

alreadygoneplaces wrote:The Charlie character marks yet another instance of Lynch using physical disabilities as a shortcut to the uncanny (and even revulsion), which I'm getting really sick of. It made me of this scene from Living in Oblivion...

https://youtu.be/HrFxciguk38?t=5760 - Skip to 1:36:00 if it doesn't put you in the right place

The dream-sequence stuff in that film seems a largely unfair dig at the original TP (and others), but I do feel there was a seed of truth in there that grows with every Lynch film. There's also a great scene in that film where Peter Dinklage takes offence to the idea of his character representing someone's 'anxiety'.

As with most things Lynch, it's complex and more nuanced than it appears on the surface (or at least, appears to be- making I'm giving too much credit), but the way some of these characters are perceived does shine a light on the problems with this approach... on these boards alone, I've seen the 'giant' and 'little man' at Buella's place described as 'weird grotesques', Charlie as a 'potato'.

I always thought of this with MFAP especially in the original, but MJA's performance was so strong, it papered over the cracks and deflected attention away from this issue.


I also think there is some truth in that Living in Oblivion dig. I also want to add something MJA wrote on facebook back in May about this:

Michael J Anderson wrote:He never used me as an "actor". I never actually played a CHARACTER on TP. A strange wiggly little "thing", used to 'represent' strangeness itself. It was choreography. Choreography, btw, that I choreographed myself, but never got credit for, of course.


While we all (presumably) know about MJA's bizarre allegations and wider behaviour, which have seemed unnecessarily hostile, it is worthwhile taking him at his word when it comes to this particular issue.

Of course, the context for actors with conditions like dwarfism and giantism onscreen (we can also mention amputees here -- surely we've all seen the moment in the Lynch (one) documentary where DKL specifically requests of his crew a 'one-legged girl' in what is presented as a moment of 'artistic' quirkiness) has varied considerably since the days of Tod Browning's Freaks, taking in many fantasy roles where differently sized actors play mythological species (dwarves, elves, gnomes, ogres, goblins, and so on). We have to acknowledge those in-universe contexts in which diminutive size or being unusually tall is conventionally coded as being 'from another place' (from Time Bandits to Merlin to Harry Potter, the list is endless), and how this, rightly or wrongly, has provided actors who are little with lots of work. On the other hand, these roles do not always typify and dehumanise the actor to the same extent, and in some cases they can be given real consequential characterisation that does not spring solely from the visual effect of their condition (perhaps X-Men:Days of Future Past's use of Dinklage can be regarded as treading an interesting line here -- I'm still unimpressed; Carnivale, on the other hand, intentionally placed characters with disabilities and conditions alongside others in terms of characterisation, and did not exclusively focus on them as sources of the uncanny). In general, the cinematic use of physical conditions as visual signifiers of the uncanny, or as inscriptions of an anticipated disquieted reaction on the part of the audience, is still pretty dire and cheap across the board. MJA's complaint that Lynch's use of him reduced him to an abstraction on the basis of his condition does, I think, hold water.

A crucial distinction I would make in my own mind is between Twin Peaks (and FWWM) use of MJA and Mulholland Drive's use of Jeanne Bates and Dan Birnbaum (Irene and her companion aka 'the old couple'). While in the latter case, the final scene has the old couple appear through visual effects as tiny, rendering them uncanny in their unrelenting pursuit of Diane, the use of MJA's physical condition in Twin Peaks as a kind of pre-existing practical effect does take on an exploitative dimension. One can ask, why not use a visual effect rather than treating MJA's physical condition as 'a shortcut' to achieving the uncanny? Can the motivations for this decision ever be considered as purely economical, or is there always an ideological component to it (e.g. the habits of western film-makers -- as exemplified by Buscemi's character in Living in Oblivion)? Is there, as the linked video alleges, a case for seeing the 'convenience' of casting people with physical disabilities or medical conditions as laziness and lack of imagination when other routes are available (more so than ever in the digital age), and does this usage of actors border on some form of abuse? It's a thorny question.
As a matter of fact, 'Chalfont' was the name of the people that rented this space before. Two Chalfonts. Weird, huh?
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby whoisalhedges » Fri Sep 01, 2017 4:56 am

Interesting take re: actors of different sizes/physicalities/...Charlie, et.al., Anderson....

Interestingly enough, in a series that does seem to feature Clark Middleton's appearance as a character in itself, and whose use and portrayals of women has got us a separate thread, there's also Ike the Spike. Some people have talked about him being another cheap "welp, we don't have Little Mike, let's get another dwarf" shortcut to the uncanny, but - his size seems to me completely irrelevant. I can't help thinking that reading his size as making him either a more threatening or more comical assassin is projection. Of course it's possible that's a projection Lynch wanted us to make - but then we're getting WAY too deep into trying to determine intent; to the extent that TPTR's treatment of women is problematic, nobody's accusing (nobody here, anyway) that of being intentional.... Point is, there is zero reason Ike Stadtler couldn't have been played by an average-sized actor. So amid all this... perhaps a wink of progress? :lol:

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