Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

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AgentEcho
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Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby AgentEcho » Thu Jun 01, 2017 8:36 pm

While the show itself may buck trends, the existence of Twin Peaks: The Return is part of a recent trend of revivals. In each case the marketing behind the revivals is banking heavily on fan nostalgia. And the excited fan bases are approaching the new material with high expectations. It's not uncommon to see fans presenting a wishlist. And sometimes demands.

Two recent revivals almost overlapped... in fact one ended the day before the other arrived. Samurai Jack and Twin Peaks. These both happen to be among my favorite shows of all time. Not to get into too much plot detail regarding Jack if people haven't seen it, but the new season started off firmly establishing they were taking the character places we'd never seen him before in the previous seasons. The fans were generally receptive to this at first because the show delivered on the action they expected, but they kept pushing the character deeper into unfamiliar territory. At a certain point there was a fairly vocal revolt among many fans who were uncomfortable with the direction of the story and the character that the creator of the story and character decided to take. This isn't what they watch Samurai Jack for, to some up the argument.

And as that ended, Twin Peaks dropped four new hours of material in one night. If the polls taken on this forum are any indication, it's a minority, but nonetheless there's a vocal minority who are really unhappy with the direction of the show so far. The complaints that it's not Twin Peaksy enough, there's not enough original cast members and action in the town itself, not enough jazzy Badalamenti, etc. are pretty common.

Now I want to make it clear that there's nothing wrong with criticizing the show. But I have to address some fundamental problems with the concept of fans setting expectations for new content and then being disappointed if those expectations are not met. I mean, there's a kind of incredible hubris in fans thinking their expectations of how a franchise should continue a story should carry more weight than the direction the creators of the franchise want to take it. Do you really not believe Mark Frost and David Lynch have the right to do what they want to with the Twin Peaks franchise?

I know it's somewhat natural to have expectations. But as a general rule in life, let alone enjoying fiction, expectations, or goals, should be set within the realm of things we as individuals have control over. And we have absolutely no control over what the creators of fiction decide to do with their work. Our only job is to experience what they create. By setting expectations over something you have no control over, you are creating a condition that's likely going to result in disappointment. And you could be creating a condition that can lead to a much more enjoyable experience.

The fiction needs to work on the level that the creators intend it work at, and if it's not working on that level, criticism is warranted. But considering we are still at the beginning of a long story, we've barely scratched the surface of what is being offered there. FWWM provides a terrific analogy... we're probably at the half an hour mark of that movie. Half an hour into that movie we hadn't entered Twin Peaks or been reintroduced to Laura Palmer yet. Imagine stopping that movie half an hour in and trying to make an assessment of the thing without knowing anything of what was planned for Laura's character in the film.

Star Wars fans celebrated in mass when the franchise was separated from the creator. It's now a franchise that basically is being run by fans. And fans seem happy about it. The Force Awakens basically had no other creative goal behind it other than rekindling fan nostalgia (and maybe introducing some new characters who will move the story forward). Is that what fans want these days? Would (that segment) of fans be happier if Twin Peaks and Samurai Jack were revived as works of fan fiction rather than the creators of those franchises continuing and concluding their story?

I'm hoping the answer for the majority is "no". I mean, it's downright miraculous that this thing has been revived after a quarter century and that David Lynch is directing the whole thing and has complete creative control. It's no less miraculous now than it was when it was announced. You owe it to yourself not to delude yourself into thinking your expectations of what Twin Peaks should be carries any weight. You're not obligated to enjoy what is offered, but given the miracle this revival is, you certainly owe it to yourself to experience what David Lynch and Mark Frost have created with an open mind.
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OrsonWelles
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby OrsonWelles » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:23 am

I agree with you. Though a big part of loving a show is not based on rationality, but on emotional connection, a click with the material that has been offered. People connect with a show (or a band for that matter) and associate it with elements of their own life. When it has such a huge importance in your life and you dislike the revival, it works in the same way, on a very emotional instead of rational level. At least that's how experience things.

I could see myself being devestated if I didn't like it, or disappointed if it was really a nostalgia trip. So I understand people who are disappointed with the new show. Though I dislike the whole "People who like it are blind Lynch-fanboys"-rant.
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby Jatriot » Fri Jun 02, 2017 12:33 am

Well said

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AgentEcho
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby AgentEcho » Fri Jun 02, 2017 11:51 pm

OrsonWelles wrote:I agree with you. Though a big part of loving a show is not based on rationality, but on emotional connection, a click with the material that has been offered. People connect with a show (or a band for that matter) and associate it with elements of their own life. When it has such a huge importance in your life and you dislike the revival, it works in the same way, on a very emotional instead of rational level. At least that's how experience things.

I could see myself being devestated if I didn't like it, or disappointed if it was really a nostalgia trip. So I understand people who are disappointed with the new show. Though I dislike the whole "People who like it are blind Lynch-fanboys"-rant.


I can definitely understand that. But that's why I'm bringing this up. What we as the audience has control over is how we watch and what we bring with us. If you watch the show on a smart phone while riding the subway, will you have the same emotional connection as you would if you watched it in a darkened room with a large television a big sound system? It's not an altogether different situation than coming at it with expectations versus being open to experience whatever Lynch and Frost have to offer. I don't know how attached people are to their expectations... I don't really find it that difficult to set them aside myself. When I first heard MJA and Ontkean wouldn't be involved, I was disappointed that such iconic characters would not be back, but I rather quickly came to terms with it. We will have a week between new episodes until the thing is over, that's plenty of time to set aside whatever you expected the series to be and get ready to take in whatever Lynch and Frost decide to do with their story. Doing so won't diminish your enjoyment when things you did expect come to fruition.

I'm hoping I've avoided any sweeping generalizations ala the "Lynch fanboy" rants. I've had some issues myself, top among them Tammy Preston, but I'm willing to see where they go with the character and hopeful it won't be as silly as what we've seen so far.
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby Dalai Cooper » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:16 am

Obviously it's embarrassing as hell when rubes resort to the ludicrous "people who will like anything Lynch does no matter what" strawman, but shouldn't we extend the same good faith to people who simply don't like the new series so far? Maybe you really have come into this with no expectations, but you have come in with a set of preferences, as have we all, because art & our response to it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Some people's preferences might be more rigid and codified than others', but we all have them.

I dunno I love the new show and I agree with some of what you say here but it's a little presumptuous to start a thread like "guys lemme explain to you how to watch things"
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby AgentEcho » Sat Jun 03, 2017 6:02 am

Dalai Cooper wrote:Obviously it's embarrassing as hell when rubes resort to the ludicrous "people who will like anything Lynch does no matter what" strawman, but shouldn't we extend the same good faith to people who simply don't like the new series so far? Maybe you really have come into this with no expectations, but you have come in with a set of preferences, as have we all, because art & our response to it doesn't exist in a vacuum. Some people's preferences might be more rigid and codified than others', but we all have them.

I dunno I love the new show and I agree with some of what you say here but it's a little presumptuous to start a thread like "guys lemme explain to you how to watch things"


Sorry, obviously I'm biased here being the guy who started this, but no I'm not being presumptuous. This is clearly something that fans are doing, I've explained at length why I find it problematic. Would you like me not to express my opinion on a public forum? Also I've taken measures not to generalize, so what do I need to do be extending the same courteousy? Give it equal time to the other opinions I've expressed? Sorry, no I gave it enough time even if it's not enough for you to acknowledge it.
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Gabriel
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby Gabriel » Sat Jun 03, 2017 1:15 pm

As I've stated many times – and chatting to a couple of friends who are fans today, I know I'm not alone – if this show had been promoted as a new Lynch series that would feature characters from Twin Peaks, the reaction would likely have been less mixed. As a Lynch series, it's great.

However, if you promote something with a 'brand name' one inevitably has expectations. If one likes Crawford's Custard Cream biscuits, one expects two pale biscuits sandwiched by a light, creamy centre. If you order new custard creams and they instead have chocolate biscuits and jam amidst the light cream, you might feel aggrieved. So, it's not fan 'hubris' really to be thrown somewhat when a show turns up called Twin Peaks and instead get a really strange spinoff show.

The show, onscreen, says 'Twin Peaks.' If it said 'Twin Peaks: the Return' on the screen or 'Twin Peaks: Black Lodge' or 'Twin Peaks: Cooper's Return,' one might accept something being radically different. 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,' for example, separates it from the show. Opening with the name 'Twin Peaks in the same font with the same music creates fair expectations. FWWM didn't. Names bring associations, not hubris.
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby AgentEcho » Sat Jun 03, 2017 3:25 pm

Gabriel wrote:As I've stated many times – and chatting to a couple of friends who are fans today, I know I'm not alone – if this show had been promoted as a new Lynch series that would feature characters from Twin Peaks, the reaction would likely have been less mixed. As a Lynch series, it's great.

However, if you promote something with a 'brand name' one inevitably has expectations. If one likes Crawford's Custard Cream biscuits, one expects two pale biscuits sandwiched by a light, creamy centre. If you order new custard creams and they instead have chocolate biscuits and jam amidst the light cream, you might feel aggrieved. So, it's not fan 'hubris' really to be thrown somewhat when a show turns up called Twin Peaks and instead get a really strange spinoff show.

The show, onscreen, says 'Twin Peaks.' If it said 'Twin Peaks: the Return' on the screen or 'Twin Peaks: Black Lodge' or 'Twin Peaks: Cooper's Return,' one might accept something being radically different. 'Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me,' for example, separates it from the show. Opening with the name 'Twin Peaks in the same font with the same music creates fair expectations. FWWM didn't. Names bring associations, not hubris.


Thanks for responding Gabriel, I was hoping someone whom I was addressing would chime in. Expectations are natural when you are dealing with a recognizable franchise like Twin Peaks. All I'm saying is, expectations can and should be managed. You are not a slave to your expectations if you choose not to be. And here's the thing about what you are saying... you are saying that Lynch and Frost, the creators of Twin Peaks,. by deciding to return to the franchise they created and using the same name, are beholden to meet YOUR expectations. It doesn't matter if you are not alone... I wouldn't have posted this if there weren't a bunch of people thinking this... but no matter how many of you there are, you are all individuals with individual expectations. And you think your expectations take a priority over the creative vision of Lynch and Frost. You call it association.... I call it hubris.
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby Gabriel » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:01 am

Hi Agent Echo! It's an interesting discussion, so thanks for starting it. What I was talking about was the universal expectation a brand creates, which is actually a business issue. If you use a particular known brand name, such as 'Twin Peaks,' it creates an expectation in a consumer, based on familiarity. That's not arrogance; that's perfectly fair and normal. You can't blame fans being thrown for a loop when Twin Peaks returns with the same music and title font, then operates as a completely different show. If a brand operates contrary to an expectation it's previously created, you can't blame people for not immediately warmly embracing it.

Like I said, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me started with different music and a different title sequence. It made itself something separate from the outset. 'The Return' isn't featured in the titles, the music is the same and it sets up a continuation of the old series. It's a brand expectation. Had the show started with new music and billed itself as 'Twin Peaks: the Return in the opening titles, I doubt there'd have been much issue. You can't blame people for feeling conned when you go out of your way to associate yourself with a brand, then do something completely different.
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby Dalai Cooper » Sun Jun 04, 2017 6:49 am

I don't know, maybe the casual viewer so beloved of hand-wringers round here has cause to feel "conned" by the title and theme music of this show but those of us who post to this board have had ample reason to expect something like what we've got for a very long time now, by paying attention to comments from lynch, frost & nevins. Many posters here, maybe even a majority, have been predicting a different feel, a lot of time spent outside the town, &c, for at least a year. Seemed a common sentiment to me, anyway, I seem to remember a lot of people saying things along the lines of "all I expect is that it'll be nothing I could have expected"

I also don't feel that any of the trailers were particularly misleading as to the tone of the show but ymmv
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby AgentEcho » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:36 am

Gabriel wrote:Hi Agent Echo! It's an interesting discussion, so thanks for starting it. What I was talking about was the universal expectation a brand creates, which is actually a business issue. If you use a particular known brand name, such as 'Twin Peaks,' it creates an expectation in a consumer, based on familiarity. That's not arrogance; that's perfectly fair and normal. You can't blame fans being thrown for a loop when Twin Peaks returns with the same music and title font, then operates as a completely different show. If a brand operates contrary to an expectation it's previously created, you can't blame people for not immediately warmly embracing it.

Like I said, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me started with different music and a different title sequence. It made itself something separate from the outset. 'The Return' isn't featured in the titles, the music is the same and it sets up a continuation of the old series. It's a brand expectation. Had the show started with new music and billed itself as 'Twin Peaks: the Return in the opening titles, I doubt there'd have been much issue. You can't blame people for feeling conned when you go out of your way to associate yourself with a brand, then do something completely different.


Is there really a universal expectation for a brand though? Universal implies everyone has the same expectation. There may be a majority of a certain fan base that has a certain expectation (like say, jazzy Badalamenti music for Twin Peaks) but the more expectations you list, the more they would be individual expectations and not universal ones. And what would be expected of Lynch and Frost? Are they obligated to parse through a long list of potential fan expectations and determine which ones are "universal"? Is there a threshold where an individual expectation becomes a universal one? Like say, it's shared by 90% of the fan base? Is contemplating all this a necessary part of their creative process? I would say it shouldn't be... that they are only obligated to create the story and experience that piqued their interest enough to undergo this massive creative process in the first place. They have had enough to worry about in that process without trying to get a pulse on what the majority of fans expect.

That being said, I doubt they are ignorant of what most fans would expect and in many cases it is in keeping with there own creative vision for the project. I think they are making us wait for a lot of it (like jazzy Badalamenti music... I would be willing to bet that will be coming in spades before the series is over). Maybe the wait will make it that much sweeter when we get it?
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby Dalai Cooper » Sun Jun 04, 2017 9:58 am

lol honestly I suspect it's the people who think that wall-to-wall badalamenti cocked-eyebrow clarinet solo is just around the corner who need to adjust their expectations
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby Panapaok » Sun Jun 04, 2017 10:42 am

Dalai Cooper wrote:I don't know, maybe the casual viewer so beloved of hand-wringers round here has cause to feel "conned" by the title and theme music of this show but those of us who post to this board have had ample reason to expect something like what we've got for a very long time now, by paying attention to comments from lynch, frost & nevins. Many posters here, maybe even a majority, have been predicting a different feel, a lot of time spent outside the town, &c, for at least a year. Seemed a common sentiment to me, anyway, I seem to remember a lot of people saying things along the lines of "all I expect is that it'll be nothing I could have expected"

I also don't feel that any of the trailers were particularly misleading as to the tone of the show but ymmv
Yep. General audiences who watched the original series back in the day and never bothered to do it again must have been definitely shocked by the premiere episode, lol. But all of us, who are both Twin Peaks and David Lynch fans, and we followed the production during the last three years, certainly knew and expected something different. Also, they never concealed the fact that this series would be a different beast altogether. All of them, Lynch, Frost and Showtime. I don't think they ever created expectations for us, of what it would be. And of course the few teasers underlined the tone of the new series too. Even if it was called Twin Peaks: The Return, most people who feel disappointed now, would feel the exact same way.
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby LurkerAtTheThreshold » Tue Jun 06, 2017 6:56 am

I respect your opinion.

But honestly, people are going to react however they genuinely feel about something. You can't tell people to force themselves to see something through rose coloured glasses just out of respect for the creators.

I think people trashing outright verbal abuse to Frost or Lynch or any of the actors publicly is horrible, even towards Michael J Anderson or James Marshall.
But if longtime fans, (And let's be honest, no casual viewers are coming on here to badmouth the new series) - are simply expressing their honest feelings in a forum dedicated to the subject, there really can't be any cause for objection imo, whilst I can understand negative comments clogging the main discussing threads being potentially disheartening for those just trying to discuss the new series, and enjoy themselves discussing the clues and plot elements-- if it's confined to specialised threads it actually creates a more healthy and robust discussion imo.

As someone who came into the new season with high expectations and was a bit sad that the episodes didn't captivate me the way I'd hoped, it was really great to have other people who felt the same way, (who were hardcore fans of TP and Lynch) and discuss that dissatisfaction.

In some ways it was those conversations that provided the catharsis to get over it, and exactly as you say; just appreciate the Season wherever it goes as Frost and Lynch intended it to be seen.

I think that there's people on both sides of the fence who are rightly exhausted by what we're seeing in this series, frustration, elation, annoyance, anger, fear, bewilderment are just some of the emotions that this series demands of anyone who watches it. And props to the creators for the power of it.

For some the experience isn't highly enjoyable, and for others it's been a wild ride, meanwhile, all of us who are still going along for the ride still have no idea what to expect or what's coming. We all have fears; that good Coop will never get back, that dougie Jones will stick around forever, that explanations of mysteries won't be enough to carry the series.
These fears are reasonable and articulated fairly well by the critics, but the comments made by those who remain faithful are also valid.

Personally I'm here for the long haul, each week I will do my best to come from a fresh perspective. All I know is so far it's already been a very emotional roller coaster ride, which is rare for me from merely watching television.

Even the original series made me bewildered and angered at various points when I first watched it. I remember having loads of emotions whilst first viewing, albeit the captivating coffee and donuts and clues, snapping fingers and Dream dancing was a lot more cozy and welcoming than this new season, which at times I've actually felt like turning off, from sheer boredom, nausea and unpleasantness seemingly without end.

Only time is going to tell how this series pans out, and wether the deliberate hardship thus far put on the viewer is going to come round and pay off.

Like you, I remain faithful and eagerly await episode 6 -
Come back Coop, we miss you
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Re: Expectation setting by fans in the modern cyber arena

Postby Gabriel » Tue Jun 06, 2017 11:37 am

Well said, LurkerAtTheThreshold!! When people start throwing around cheap jibes such as 'hand wringers,' they're being nasty. I'm not condemning people who love the new show unreservedly. I actually wonder why people would feel so threatened by those who are honest about their feelings on the show! I like it with reservations!!

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