Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

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

Postby douglasb » Fri Sep 01, 2017 5:03 am

Note also that Senorita Dido is a 'bigger' lady (she shares a space with a giant, so is 'strange' by default) and Naido is not just blind, but has no eyes. Physical difference always carries meaning in TP.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby whoisalhedges » Fri Sep 01, 2017 6:56 am

She might be "bigger" by television standards, but I don't think she's any heavier than an average American woman (I am currently rewatching the series in preparation for Sunday, and am as I write this watching her scene in Part 8 - so I'm not just misremembering ;) ).

One could point to the big woman in Part 1 - Ruth's neighbor, I'm sorry, I don't recall her name. Marjorie? Armstrong is her dog. :lol: Anyway, she's a big woman, and one could make the case that she was cast for her size. I just see Dido as... "mom-shaped?" for lack of a better word. Her body is one that would have been seen pretty much any time before the mid-20th century as "feminine," fertile. At any time but our own, Señorita Dido would likely be considered a great beauty - and THAT, in my reading of it, may very well be Lynch's (and Johanna Ray's) intent, that the White Lodge, or wherever they're supposed to be, is a space out of time.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby douglasb » Fri Sep 01, 2017 8:07 am

Sure, I'm not implying she's clinically obese but her body type suggests they sought out her difference rather than just flicked through the casting book of generic skinny twenty something actresses.

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

Postby sylvia_north » Mon Sep 04, 2017 11:41 pm

Just when we thought DL might respect Laura Dern too much to make her get her kit off...

The message everyone seems to be receiving is that Laura is screwed in a lot of different universes, that there was never any saving her.

Bleak outlook for survivors. The over arching idea that women are born to suffer, and this is the thrust of Laura being the One, and Sarah overcome by something demonic. So much for the mother daughter bond established and other moments of the series, film and Diary

This makes good entertainment. So do cowboys groping waitresses apropos of nothing, likely something that happens to Carrie, too. Killing, torturing Laura in many universes is like repeating the snow white story over and over, digging her up to kill her and Wake her up and do it all over again. It satisfies the necrophiliac desires of mass media consumers. Women as martyrs and victims. Another one for the pile I guess.

Lucy shot Mr. C but as someone else said it's kind of a joke, we are still laughing at Lucy and the ridiculousness of the situation because of her incompetence. Punchline? And now she gets cell phones.

The stories we tell shape the culture we live in as well as they are shaped by the culture. When racism appears in Contemporary film it's crucial to the plot, not just turning up the volume to have exciting violence, and it's something to overcome. Sexism just seems like it will always be a necessary evil , or that's the tskeaway of nearly all films, tv, advertising. It fuels the capitalist machine and I don't see it changing because of how ardently this one thing -which is a self fulfilling prophecy- is defended, and repeated over and over and over.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby dronerstone » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:02 am

Well written, Sylvia. Right on, sadly.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Cipher » Tue Sep 05, 2017 6:04 am

Is the ending cruel to Laura?

I'm not sure. My initial reaction to the ending was indeed a sense of disappointment that her triumphant moment in Fire Walk With Me had been ruined by the past/future actions of Cooper. But I don't think her new existence in what reads pretty heavily as a bleak/manufactured reality diminishes her invocation as a totem of acceptance in episode 8, which dovetails entirely with her catharsis in Fire Walk With Me (and indeed the entire series positing that love is the opposite of fear, rather than good the opposite of evil, all cosmology and philosophy extending outward from her personal trauma and acceptance). Her scream darkens the world. Coop's lost at the end, and only beginning the process of self-acceptance Laura endured long ago (only having just been forced to embody a personality that sees his capacities for failure and appetite as anything less than two separate, cartoonish doppelgangers, who we'd been watching earlier in the season as Dougie and Mr. C). She's awake, still totemic, ever more so with the cosmology expanding (so beautifully and naturally!) to incorporate both of her parents. Hope at the end rests with her, despite cutting off at a moment of horror (and I really don't think it's going too far to piece together a possible sense of hope from the series' mythology there, remystified around Laura as it is in the final episodes and part 8).

Returning the story to a tight focus around Laura, revealing some of the more removed and cartoonish elements of its mythology were intentionally pat (false catharsis in episode 17 before the supernatural elements take on a decidedly more strange and personal tone), actually goes a long way toward justifying the patterns of abuse presented this season to me.

When the series seemed to have extended far past the scope of writing a young girl's trauma and uplifting internality onto surreal cosmology, these moments read coldly. Now that it's solidified that it really was that, from start to finish (or at least is that in select moments of the original TV run, in Fire Walk With Me and, subsequently, The Return) I can see more purpose there than before.

I still have misgivings, I still think it's less deftly handled than in previous Lynch works, and I'll say any day of the week that the gendered division of nudity is a thoughtless concession to sexist filmic tropes, but -- I'm a lot less down on it than I was before. Lynch is Lynch; it's not perfect; but I can see some sort of resonance now.

(Doesn't mean there shouldn't have been some female characters with agency as an honest counterpoint in the midst of all that, because there really could and should have been, and I think would have at no expense to the series with a little workshopping, but at least with everything still pointedly spiderwebbing out from Laura at the end, the focus on abuse feels less distanced, less unimaginative, less pat.)

Trying not to condone here, but to register that my reaction has been softened by the final two hours as a response to the previous sixteen to an extent I couldn't have expected.

But -- I am also not a woman, so, one million grains of salt.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby FlyingSquirrel » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:28 am

alreadygoneplaces wrote:
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.


I don't think it's even just physical disability - I've also noticed a tendency to use "unkempt" appearances or anything too far from the stereotype of American middle-class "normality" in negative or comedic contexts. BOB is perhaps Exhibit A of this, but I'd also include some of the people in that house where DoppelCooper goes to pick up Ray and Darya, Leo Johnson's working-class background, the Hutchens couple, and the drunk (?) guy in the jail cell who just drools and repeats everything that everybody else says.

To be fair, we do also see white-collar crime and corruption in characters like Ben Horne, Catherine Martell, and Duncan Todd, though it's worth noting that they seem to hire goons to commit the actual acts of violence rather than doing it themselves.

In Lynch's defense, I do think this is more a product of his more intuitive style than a reflection of any social or political "agenda" on his part. He himself isn't responsible for the fact that our culture does often "demonize The Other," and that images associated with The Other are therefore often effective in producing exactly the sort of inscrutable terror that he aims to evoke. But I do sometimes think maybe he ought to step back and think about what he might be implying with some of his imagery. I've certainly noticed that, in my own (very amateur) occasional attempts to write fiction, I tend to "default" to vaguely "bourgeois-friendly" white male characters in positions of authority if I don't stop and remind myself *not* to do that.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby FlyingSquirrel » Tue Sep 05, 2017 11:57 am

Cipher wrote:(Doesn't mean there shouldn't have been some female characters with agency as an honest counterpoint in the midst of all that, because there really could and should have been, and I think would have at no expense to the series with a little workshopping, but at least with everything still pointedly spiderwebbing out from Laura at the end, the focus on abuse feels less distanced, less unimaginative, less pat.)


I think one weakness of The Return as far as storytelling goes is that hardly *anybody* seems to have meaningful agency aside from the supernatural entities and Lodge denizens. Of course, I suppose that's part of the point - that both Cooper and his doppelganger, as well as Jeffries, Garland Briggs, Windom Earle in the original, and even to some extent the Cole/Albert/Tammy team have found themselves at the mercy of forces that they can't control or understand, and that trying to assert too much control over them usually backfires. Cooper is lost in time and space, DoppelCooper is dead, Jeffries seems like he probably went insane before turning into a teapot or whatever that was supposed to represent, Briggs was able to pass along important information but was (I guess?) killed in what I'm assuming was not just an accident or coincidence, Earle had his soul taken by BOB, and the Blue Rose team are consistently thwarted in their attempt to conduct a logical investigation.

But some of these plot developments are purely arbitrary on paper, and without a whole lot of new insight into some of these characters, it can feel a bit dry and mechanical in places. Replace teapot-Jeffries with, say, Chet Desmond in the form of a giant turnip having the same conversations with DoppelCooper and with the real Cooper, and what changes in terms of plot and character development? Honestly, probably not much. It's effective to the extent that Lynch's direction and the acting performances can sell it (which, for the most part, they do), but it's less of a character-driven narrative than the original series or FWWM were.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Framed_Angel » Tue Sep 05, 2017 12:36 pm

sylvia_north wrote: Lucy shot Mr. C but as someone else said it's kind of a joke, we are still laughing at Lucy and the ridiculousness of the situation because of her incompetence. Punchline? And now she gets cell phones.
Here was my immediate take when Lucy said "I get cell phones now!" -- and I need a rewatch before I can feel confident about this assertion but - - I thought she was telling Andy in so much terms "oh I understand / accept now what happened to our son."

* i.e. Wally's dead, and she's been in denial of that reality, while Andy allowed her out of compassion to indulge the delusion Wally still existed, that he still came around sometimes but otherwise was off on his bike somewhere

** since the son being dead is still only a theory, this assertion may be of nought.. But some kind of tragic air hung around Lucy & Andy for me. The portrait of Wally Brando during his brief appearance felt as doctored as the photo on her desk. I figured he was conjured. Sheriff Truman went-along with her made-up visit from Wally on his motorcycle, Frank's brow creased with concern at some aspect of listening to it he didn't want to state outright.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Deep Thought » Tue Sep 05, 2017 2:38 pm

Cipher wrote:But -- I am also not a woman, so, one million grains of salt.


I wondering how this qualifier changes what you have written in any way. . .

sylvia_north »
Just when we thought DL might respect Laura Dern too much to make her get her kit off...


Is this said with tounge in cheek? I'm hoping so.
"E.g." means "for example". What I think you want to say is "i.e.".
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby KnewItsPa » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:06 pm

sylvia_north wrote:The stories we tell shape the culture we live in as well as they are shaped by the culture.


Did we get any positive images of women at all in TP:TR?
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby Dreamy Audrey » Tue Sep 05, 2017 4:09 pm

Something I mentioned in the disappointed group that really bothered me is the different treatment of Darya and Ray due to their gender, which I was reminded of again in Part 17. Darya and Ray are basically the same role. Both of them are pretending to work for Mr. C. when they are actually working against him. They are working together on the same job and want to split the money. They are both killed by Mr. C. for betraying him. But there are a few differences:

  • During the dinner conversation with Mr. C., one of them just looks bored and is apparently only there as eye candy, while the other one does all the talking.
  • One of them has to sleep with Mr. C. in order to deceive him. The other can be just cool in order to achieve the same.
  • One of them never gets to do anything, the other one gets a few scenes and is trusted with the more important stuff (like the ring).
  • After being killed, one of them is never mentioned again. The other one is mentioned again and was even mentioned by Gordon as an informant of the FBI.
  • One of them has to die in underwear, the other one can die dressed.
(Now guess which one of them is Ray and which one is Darya...)

So, the same role but presented in a completely different way. There was no reason for Darya to die half-naked, it didn't contribute anything to the plot. But I guess it looked just good. And since that was her only purpose, she doesn't have to be mentioned again, unlike Ray, who was an important part in the plot against Mr. C and didn't have to take off his clothes.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby fluorescent light » Tue Sep 05, 2017 5:04 pm

i unfortunately didn't see this thread until recently, have tried to catch up on the last few pages and thanks to those who are doing good critical analysis here...

seems like something should be added about the odd and painful-to-watch diane-cooper sex scene, which seemed to me to be trivialized. it's complicated by the richard/linda dynamic and there were aspects of diane's clear pain that i felt were important to know about, but the musical choice especially seemed absurd and grotesque given what we know about her as a character and what we were witnessing.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby ThumbsUp » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:04 pm

sylvia_north wrote:Just when we thought DL might respect Laura Dern too much to make her get her kit off...

The message everyone seems to be receiving is that Laura is screwed in a lot of different universes, that there was never any saving her.

Bleak outlook for survivors. The over arching idea that women are born to suffer, and this is the thrust of Laura being the One, and Sarah overcome by something demonic. So much for the mother daughter bond established and other moments of the series, film and Diary

This makes good entertainment. So do cowboys groping waitresses apropos of nothing, likely something that happens to Carrie, too. Killing, torturing Laura in many universes is like repeating the snow white story over and over, digging her up to kill her and Wake her up and do it all over again. It satisfies the necrophiliac desires of mass media consumers. Women as martyrs and victims. Another one for the pile I guess.

Lucy shot Mr. C but as someone else said it's kind of a joke, we are still laughing at Lucy and the ridiculousness of the situation because of her incompetence. Punchline? And now she gets cell phones.

The stories we tell shape the culture we live in as well as they are shaped by the culture. When racism appears in Contemporary film it's crucial to the plot, not just turning up the volume to have exciting violence, and it's something to overcome. Sexism just seems like it will always be a necessary evil , or that's the tskeaway of nearly all films, tv, advertising. It fuels the capitalist machine and I don't see it changing because of how ardently this one thing -which is a self fulfilling prophecy- is defended, and repeated over and over and over.


Just wanted to say I think these are wonderful thoughts and valuable reading, thanks for sharing.
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Re: Gender in Twin Peaks: The Return (SPOILERS)

Postby ThumbsUp » Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:12 pm

Dreamy Audrey wrote:Something I mentioned in the disappointed group that really bothered me is the different treatment of Darya and Ray due to their gender, which I was reminded of again in Part 17. Darya and Ray are basically the same role. Both of them are pretending to work for Mr. C. when they are actually working against him. They are working together on the same job and want to split the money. They are both killed by Mr. C. for betraying him. But there are a few differences:

  • During the dinner conversation with Mr. C., one of them just looks bored and is apparently only there as eye candy, while the other one does all the talking.
  • One of them has to sleep with Mr. C. in order to deceive him. The other can be just cool in order to achieve the same.
  • One of them never gets to do anything, the other one gets a few scenes and is trusted with the more important stuff (like the ring).
  • After being killed, one of them is never mentioned again. The other one is mentioned again and was even mentioned by Gordon as an informant of the FBI.
  • One of them has to die in underwear, the other one can die dressed.
(Now guess which one of them is Ray and which one is Darya...)

So, the same role but presented in a completely different way. There was no reason for Darya to die half-naked, it didn't contribute anything to the plot. But I guess it looked just good. And since that was her only purpose, she doesn't have to be mentioned again, unlike Ray, who was an important part in the plot against Mr. C and didn't have to take off his clothes.


Great post. Darya's role and death bothered me as well, and when I first watched it months ago it worried me about where the series was headed.

The naked or near-naked woman/clothed dude is a sexist trope that's a tale as told as time and popped up elsewhere in the Return with Jade and Dougie.

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