Poll: Criticism of The Return

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What is your main criticism of The Return as a whole

General pacing too slow
1
1%
Lack of character development
8
11%
Lack of Peaksy mood music
4
6%
Not enough Twin Peaks storylines
2
3%
Not quirky enough
2
3%
Dropped plotlines
16
22%
All of the above
17
24%
I have no negative criticism
22
31%
 
Total votes: 72
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powerleftist
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby powerleftist » Fri Sep 08, 2017 12:58 pm

I would add 'the finale'. Also, 'Dougie'.

I voted 'dropped plotlines', though. Some ideas and characters were interesting. The Audrey thing got me completely hooked. But in the end everything felt half-baked and too vague; the lack of Audrey last Sunday left me speechless. I'm already starting to forget details.
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mine
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby mine » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:52 pm

It's a balance issue. It's not anything specifically but how it ties together. It's less than the sum of it's parts essentially.

The pacing alone didn't bother me. What bothered me about that was that it became repetitive very early. It too often ended up feeling pointless. I actually liked the mood the slow scenes conveyed in the finale (even the driving scenes) but what brought them down was that they had no appropriate context by the time it was all over.

Lack of character development wouldn't necessarily be an issue if it was a trade off of a strong mystery plot. Same applies to the dropped storylines. I don't think these things would be perceived as much of an issue if there was something to balance that out. One of the things viewers are most often alienated by when expecting a mystery in a show is when writers spend too much time on storylines that don't add up to anything and rush the plot at the last minute barely making sense out of it. The Return had a lot of stuff that looked interesting but never fulfilled its potential.
Cooper's purpose for most of the time was really just being out of the way. It feels like a cop out rather than an actual storyline because it was easier to have him debilitated than work him in something like The Return. Cooper was never someone who could stand still (non coincidentally this is very obvious from the minute he gets out of the coma) so there was no easy way of making him work within a narrative who's most recognizable trait is it's stillness and slowness. The scenes in isolation featuring the various versions of Cooper could be really good but again the lack of a decent narrative that would provide them with context they're not more than a cool way of keeping Cooper out of the way.

The to be continued ending for me brings everything down a few notches because it feels so uninspired. In retrospect it makes it harder to take the whole thing seriously.
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referendum
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby referendum » Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:58 pm

@gabriel
Then again, I believe destinations are the priority, not journeys. Essentially, TPTR was four months of wasted time!


erm, what was your last 4 months like? You get to your destination? Was it all a waste of time? Now what?
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby BOB1 » Fri Sep 08, 2017 2:40 pm

I don't know about Gabriel but mine were shitty. And The Return didn't help at all. It showed the world as a hideous place and people as dispensable puppets who didn't matter and could be dropped at any place.

Therefore I voted "lack of character d." although I could as well go with dropped plotlines because it actually resulted in the same - the characters were undeveloped because Lynch & Frost didn't care about them, they didn't want to tell us anything about them, they showed us only shards of their lives, which in most cases were irrelevant and useless moments, so they dropped them wherever. It's one and the same. That's why the best one-word description of The Return that I've heard so far is: sociopathic.

Of course there were exceptions: Dougie and the people around him were nice (nice, huh? a pair of gangsters and three pink bunnies :roll: yet yes, they had more human touch to them than 80% of other characters), Hawk and Log Lady were treated as human beings, not puppets, and Frank Truman was great, I think due to the actor but what do I know. That's probably about it.
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Gloomferret
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby Gloomferret » Sat Sep 09, 2017 2:24 am

Deep Thought wrote:I thought the poll would maybe be looking at academic criticism (hmmm, how will that get put into a poll? I wondered), but this is more along the lines of a Jay Sherman review, "It Stinks!" :D


That would be tricky yes, but definitely an interesting approach for a later date. Polls are by their nature simplistic and I wanted to include more options but really didn't want to dilute it too much. I did consider having ' Dougie' as one of the options but decided most people's issues with Dougie would fall into one of the other answers. This poll is just one method of collating opinions for the article though, to try and get a quick indication of the main issue people had.
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby Gabriel » Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:58 am

BOB1 wrote:I don't know about Gabriel but mine were shitty. And The Return didn't help at all. It showed the world as a hideous place and people as dispensable puppets who didn't matter and could be dropped at any place.

Therefore I voted "lack of character d." although I could as well go with dropped plotlines because it actually resulted in the same - the characters were undeveloped because Lynch & Frost didn't care about them, they didn't want to tell us anything about them, they showed us only shards of their lives, which in most cases were irrelevant and useless moments, so they dropped them wherever. It's one and the same. That's why the best one-word description of The Return that I've heard so far is: sociopathic.

Of course there were exceptions: Dougie and the people around him were nice (nice, huh? a pair of gangsters and three pink bunnies :roll: yet yes, they had more human touch to them than 80% of other characters), Hawk and Log Lady were treated as human beings, not puppets, and Frank Truman was great, I think due to the actor but what do I know. That's probably about it.

TPTR was like watching someone you know who has developed Alzheimer's. TPTR would have brief flashes of what made the original great, then go back to being confused and disjointed, constantly falling over itself.

Characters and plotlines came and went without purpose. Why were Shelly and her daughter in the show? Why were Norma, Ed, Jacobs and Nadine there? Why was Shelly's son-in-law hanging out with Gersten Hayward? In fact, I didn't realise it was Alicia Witt playing the girl and subsequently finding that out added nothing to the experience.

It just felt like a bunch of scenes thrown together and that there were meant to be lots of other scenes shot that simply didn't happen or were chopped.

I'd love it if they published an annotated original nine-hour screenplay; it would be a great companion piece to the other two books!!
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby Soolsma » Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:01 am

''not quirky enough'' :lol: sure
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby AnotherBlueRoseCase » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:24 am

No option for it just being a complete disaster?

Below is my own rant/summary on that subject, to give you some ideas. You might also want to check the 300-page forensic dissection of the flaws on the Profoundly Disappointed thread and search it for posts by judasbooth, David Locke, Gabriel and mlsstwrt: viewtopic.php?f=29&t=3544

It’s understandable if people think calling The Return a disaster is hyperbolic. Artistic disasters are not that easy to produce. Again, simple incompetence is not enough. E.g. telenovelas don’t aim high enough to experience the fall and splat of real disasters. So if I read the word ‘disaster’ on a TV discussion board I’d assume it was hyperbole. 

But in the case of The Return it really isn’t. I am heavily invested in Twin Peaks and therefore want precision about what’s happened here. The Return isn’t just bad or disappointing like The Godfather III. Its flaws are so serious and mutually accentuating that it’s caused discussions among serious fans about whether it’s one of the worst dramas ever aired, or at least this decade. Its bravery in conception and episode 8 may save it from such a verdict, but it’s sad that anyone is even having to ask such questions about the follow-up to Fire Walk with Me and Inland Empire. 

Disasters are often the result of extreme over-confidence, of the kind that might lead someone in old age to return to a medium after decades away and completely take for granted an audience’s desire to reconnect with a beloved character like Dale Cooper. So the over-confident artist decides to tease and tease and tease and tease and tease and tease and tease and tease the audience with that character’s return – any TR fan who skipped a ‘tease’ now knows how the show feels at this end – and this just one among dozens of eccentrically protracted teases. But like an over-confident lover, by the time he finally gets down to business he finds his partner’s been asleep for hours. 

An odd feature of certain disasters is that they can be closer to artistic successes than artistic failures are. The Return’s acting provokes more winces than an amateur dramatic production’s would, for instance, because of the obvious talent onscreen, so that even the actors’ lack of preparation for the weak dialogue can’t hide all glimmers of that talent. But rather than improving the overall impression, the talent actually damages it by way of contrast. This show didn’t have to turn out this badly, we conclude, but nevertheless it did, which makes the whole experience even worse. As with works of genius, disasters are rare, mysterious beasts that obey their own weird laws, and deserve close study by those new to the medium in question. 

Of course, several respected artists, at least when asked by journalists, have said they like The Return. But how many high-profile artists said on release how poor they found The Godfather III or True Detective 2 or The Phantom Menace? As for professional critics, it’s likely that after watching those four episodes on 22nd May they wanted to acknowledge their ambition and bravery. TV drama is generally so poor that it makes sense to encourage ambition if your job is to wade through cookie-cutter mediocrity. 

And if The Godfather III were an eighteen-hour weekly show, a cheerleading reviewer who never once mentioned Sofia Coppola’s performance over those hours would deserve little respect. So critics who refuse to defend The Return’s glaring shortcomings beyond an occasional “Yes, much of it is boring, but in the best possible way!” should not be taken too seriously either, as they’re being at best selectively honest. In fact, this refusal may be one of the strongest if subtlest arguments for the series’ weakness. The reason they don’t defend obvious flaws such as the offensive portrayal of older women, we might suspect, is because they cannot. They’re indefensible. But this kind of thing simply doesn’t happen in honest critical debate. Some defences have been impressive, of course, and in the early weeks you’d find yourself thinking “Seen that way, it doesn’t seem so bad.” But every defence was then defeated by the grim reality of the next episode. 

It would of course make cheerleading pros more credible if they’d a history of praising other works featuring lots of terrible acting and dialogue, severe tediousness, severe ugliness, refusal of suspension of disbelief, obsessive self-tribute, the character played by the writer-director being one of the few likable and relatable people in a world of bozos, psychotics, ciphers, vermin, junkies, aliens, fembots and other replicants, ballbusters, beautiful young women with a pathetic penchant for blokes nearing 60 almost peeing themselves, and so on, else we might suspect that once again this stuff is only getting a free pass because of the director’s name.  

It’s quite something having to type such sentences in relation to any drama, never mind the successor to something as generous as Fire Walk with Me. This series’ positioning of Gordon Cole is so out-there that even a factual description starts sounding like a rant, and makes you wonder if Lynch is indeed testing and even trolling his admirers. Imagine any other artist pulling such a stunt. David Simon or Jane Campion or Sean Penn. Try it. Picture Vince Gilligan self-cast as almost the only likable 3D character in series that relentlessly celebrates his own career and otherwise features mainly bozos, vermin, psychotics, perverts, ciphers, ballbusters, junkies, replicants and aliens, and the critical furore that would result. Gilligan’s pals would be remiss if they didn’t have a quiet word, right? “Vince, this throne you’re considering...”

You also have to wonder what Mark Frost thinks of all those allusions to Lynch’s career. Were they agreed/demanded/coaxed during those Skype calls about the script? “Old friend, there’s been not a single nod to ole Erayyserhayyd for a whole ten pages here. I thought we were best buds again?” If not, did Lynch go ahead and compulsively celebrate his own career yet again without okaying it with his co-showrunner? Hard to say which possibility shows them both in a worse light.   

Again, these aren’t questions you ask of a mere failure. The Return is a doppelganger of what a masterpiece Twin Peaks would look like. 
Lynch on Trump, mid-2018: "He could go down as one of the greatest presidents in history."
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby Novalis » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:39 am

Soolsma wrote:''not quirky enough'' :lol: sure


What? I was deadly serious when I voted. :)

Actually I think that there's more than one kind of quirky, beyond out-and-out absurdism. One thing I did miss was the walking-bass jazz accompaniment to one or two of the more off-beat, dippy, conversations. I think for example the exchanges between Andy and Lucy in the earlier parts could have been warmed a little by a touch of that.

Also there was not enough appreciation of coffee. While pie got its own sub-plot in the climactic struggle between Norma and the guy who wanted to use Monsanto GM cherries for her franchise, coffee was barely mentioned.
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby wxray » Sat Sep 09, 2017 5:51 am

If there were "Other" I'd add:
- Too much David Lynch acting

I liked his acting, best I've seen. He's come a long way from the Sand Miner Supervisor days. But just too damn much of him. Also didn't like his character Gordon talking about his ability to obtain an erection. Whatever. Had enough.
Last edited by wxray on Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:34 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby Venus » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:05 am

Spacevessel wrote:Where's the "all of the above" option?

You beat me to it
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Novalis
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby Novalis » Sat Sep 09, 2017 6:41 am

wxray wrote:...talking about his ability to obtain an erection...


I also didn't appreciate that, or the way we had to see Tammy's blushful half-smile in response. It was a bit like a lecherous grandad preening himself when his grandson brings home a new girlfriend. Overfamiliar? Something like that; he crossed a line in any case.

Albert: You're going soft in your old age.
Cole: Not where it counts, buddy.

[Tammy stifles a smile uncomfortably]


I tried to think of a more charitable ways to look at this exchange, like maybe Cole was hinting that he had become something akin to the Vajra-sattvas ('diamond-souled') as talked about by Blavastsky in The Secret Doctrine (Vol 1, p. 52). Or, more simply, that he still had a firm mind, not flaccid with age. These alternatives felt to me like overstretching credibility, like I was basically making excuses for an irreducibly embarrassing moment. And even if the writers had intended it to be ambiguous, it was written in a way that the lowest common denominator still took precedence over other possibilities. We wouldn't have that suppressed smile from Tammy otherwise. It really didn't do much service to either character in this respect -- if it was an innocent statement, are we then supposed to think of Tammy as having a prurient mind? No-one comes out of this untarnished.

Seems like a minor gripe in retrospect, but there it is.
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby Deep Thought » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:45 am

Novalis wrote:
wxray wrote:...talking about his ability to obtain an erection...


I also didn't appreciate that, or the way we had to see Tammy's blushful half-smile in response. It was a bit like a lecherous grandad preening himself when his grandson brings home a new girlfriend. Overfamiliar? Something like that; he crossed a line in any case.

Albert: You're going soft in your old age.
Cole: Not where it counts, buddy.

[Tammy stifles a smile uncomfortably]


I tried to think of a more charitable ways to look at this exchange, like maybe Cole was hinting that he had become something akin to the Vajra-sattvas ('diamond-souled') as talked about by Blavastsky in The Secret Doctrine (Vol 1, p. 52). Or, more simply, that he still had a firm mind, not flaccid with age. These alternatives felt to me like overstretching credibility, like I was basically making excuses for an irreducibly embarrassing moment. And even if the writers had intended it to be ambiguous, it was written in a way that the lowest common denominator still took precedence over other possibilities. We wouldn't have that suppressed smile from Tammy otherwise. It really didn't do much service to either character in this respect -- if it was an innocent statement, are we then supposed to think of Tammy as having a prurient mind? No-one comes out of this untarnished.

Seems like a minor gripe in retrospect, but there it is.


Why is Cole viewed as some saintly character? I voted none of the above, but I would have liked to see Cole get his just desserts, him being a scion of Bob, imo. Seems overt to me. "He's dead" brings to mind "Next!"
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Melong
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby Melong » Sat Sep 09, 2017 7:52 am

No option for positive criticism? Typical. :roll:

I vote none of the above.
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Re: Poll: Criticism of The Return

Postby N. Needleman » Sat Sep 09, 2017 8:14 am

AnotherBlueRoseCase wrote:Of course, several respected artists, at least when asked by journalists, have said they like The Return. But how many high-profile artists said on release how poor they found The Godfather III or True Detective 2 or The Phantom Menace?


I'll give you the same response I gave you the first time you posted this exact same message: "Lots".
AnotherBlueRoseCase wrote:The Return is clearly guaranteed a future audience among stoners and other drug users.

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