Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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Mr. Reindeer
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

Post by Mr. Reindeer »

Something about McKenna’s attitude in general toward Sheryl in that filmed interview bugged me. It seemed like she was way more interested in Kyle. Whenever Sheryl answered a question, rather than responding to the answer as good interviewers do, McKenna would often just curtly pivot to something else (usually directed at Kyle). It felt a little dismissive to me. But like you, maybe I was reading too much into it. It just left me with a slightly irked feeling, even though as you say I overall really enjoyed it.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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Jonah wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 1:05 pm I had thought of Mike's monologue, from the international pilot and Episode 2. But it never really indicated that it was supernatural (until Episode 15 or so). I mean, maybe a little with "lived among the people" but even then it sounds more like they were serial killers, not supernatural. Even all the stuff about a magician and "two worlds", I mean, it sounds more lyrical than literal, like he's reciting a poem. The convenience store just sounded like a regular one. I don't think there's a strong indication of a supernatural origin in that speech - at that time at least, until later revelations.

The circle of candles and all the rest, the basement etc., was very standard serial killer tropes of the day in my opinon, and could all be dismissed as crazy behaviour and atmosphere, etc. Viewing it strictly in the context of those episodes, I mean - of course, once we see a clearer picture in later episodes, all of this stuff can be viewed differently, but at the time those revelations weren't there to paint those scenes n a supernatural lense. (Even the red room itself was pretty firmly ensconced as being "just a dream". The narrative even had Cooper experiencing it all as a dream - not the international pilot, but Episode 2.) Leland recognising the man from the picture yet no indication of aging might have given some pause - but then again maybe not, plus Leland was mostly being dismissed as pretty crazy at this point anyway, so he was very much an unreliable character.
I think my first impression of there being something supernatural was in the pilot, and not the international one. There's just a certain ominous feeling to it and things like the serial killer rites, while they could be profanely ritualistic, could easily be viewed as occult, especially things like "Fire Walk With Me" just have a spiritual vibe to them.

As for other indications, the idea of "a darkness in these woods" is hinted at, Log Lady could just be a kook but there's the suggestion of psychic phenomenon to it, and once the Giant shows up it gets harder and harder to say there's alternative explanations. You even have Briggs with his readout suggesting sci-fi elements, and then also his dream he shares with Bobby is visionary.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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Mr. Reindeer wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 9:53 am Something about McKenna’s attitude in general toward Sheryl in that filmed interview bugged me. It seemed like she was way more interested in Kyle. Whenever Sheryl answered a question, rather than responding to the answer as good interviewers do, McKenna would often just curtly pivot to something else (usually directed at Kyle). It felt a little dismissive to me. But like you, maybe I was reading too much into it. It just left me with a slightly irked feeling, even though as you say I overall really enjoyed it.
I also got that impression, but I think maybe it was just an attempt to juggle the time given that it was a duo interview. I think it's just that here and there it wasn't as graceful as it could be.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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when did Maddy wear frumpy clothes? That question makes zero sense.

Room to Dream seems cool on the surface, but picking up a chapter, glancing through it and seeing so many *clearly* inaccurate statements one after the other was quite disheartening. Unfortunate to think many will read it as gospel and perpetuate the myths.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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Brad D wrote: Mon Jun 14, 2021 11:38 am when did Maddy wear frumpy clothes? That question makes zero sense.

Room to Dream seems cool on the surface, but picking up a chapter, glancing through it and seeing so many *clearly* inaccurate statements one after the other was quite disheartening. Unfortunate to think many will read it as gospel and perpetuate the myths.
She does cover quite a bit of skin and her taste is less colorful than other characters, but style wise she was always my favorite next to Audrey. :)

I'm optimistic that its readers are more critical than that, plus it's not as if myths weren't already being well-perpetuated, even despite your (great) efforts in Reflections.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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eyeboogers wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 12:59 pm
Jonah wrote: Sun Jun 13, 2021 10:00 am I stll don't think it indicated he was supernatural though. Even the international pilot just had him as a drifter (who had killed with Mike) and was living in the basement of the hospital. There was no indication the convenience store or anything else was supernatural.
I don't know if I agree with there being "no indication". This is Mike's monologue from the pilot:

"Through the darkness of future's past, the magician longs to see. One chants out between two worlds... "Fire... walk with me." We lived among the people. I think you say, convenience store. We lived above it. I mean it like it is... like it sounds. I too have been touched by the devilish one. Tattoo on the left shoulder... Oh, but when I saw the face of God, I was changed. I took the entire arm off. My name is Mike. His name is Bob."

Then there was the whole humming sound thing, the circle of candles...It doesn't sound like the behavior of the average TV serial-killing-drifter to me.
All the indications were in retrospect. (Like in The Sixth Sense, all the indications are that **spoiler alert*** Bruce Willis is a ghost, but for 99% of the viewing public, those clues only became obvious after the reveal.)

I know there were some fans who picked up on Bob being an inhabiting spirit before Ep. 15, but I think the vast majority thought he was a real person.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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I guess I'm more or less agreeing with everyone at once here. But overall I think that the trail that Jonah is chasing here is mostly correct. As mtwentz says, I think the indications are there, but most become VERY apparent in retrospect. Hell, some clues might even have been unintentionally, serendipitously apparent, at least as far as they apply to Leland being the killer. I guess there's really a few questions: at what point did people realize it was a supernatural thing, at what point did they realize that Bob was an inhabiting spirit, and at what point did they realize it was Leland?

Personally, when I first saw the series I think that I had assumed something supernatural was taking place at some point, but I don't know at what point exactly, or how supernatural. Possibly not until Season 2. Cooper's dream in E02 might have just been a dream rather than something supernatural, for example, and the same goes for his vision of The Giant in E08; and for the record, I don't think Mike's monologue and boiler room scene from the International Pilot gives it away either, as that had always seemed more artistic/poetic than supernatural to me. I also don't know at what point I fully understood that Bob was an inhabiting spirit. Possibly when Mike was freaking out at the end of E13, as I remember thinking that Ben was likely the killer. Throughout, I really had no clue or perhaps let myself commit to the suspicion that it was Leland, and neither do most viewers I've watched it with since then, even if it's often very obvious in retrospect. The great thing is that there's always Leland's grief that accounts for his actions and hides their true nature, so most viewers end up discounting the possibility that Leland is the killer with everything else that is going on and all the other suspects.

But, if you just go by the legend and some of the initial reviews of E14, it seems as though quite a few people were not aware that Bob was an inhabiting spirit, as I believe that a large part of the reason many contemporary viewers were (at first) disappointed and disapproving of the killer reveal was that they felt cheated. I've read reviews that basically say "you can't pull a bait and switch like that." I don't wish to speak for anyone who watched it as it aired, and I know everyone would have had a different experience anyway, but in general I don't believe that most average viewers could allow themselves to wrap their heads around the idea that Bob was supernatural. That extra layer of narrative simply was less familiar to those who still thought they were watching a murder mystery series. Today, we can pick up on it more readily since it has influenced so much other TV, much as how Mulholland Drive's narrative seems to be so much more accessible in light of subsequent Lynch works and its dream-style subtly bleeding into so many other films of the century.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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I can't buy that most people were writing it off as "it's just a dream" when Cooper himself in-show is giving spiritual methods creedence, given the rock throwing, and just the idea that his dream could somehow be the source of progress in a real-world investigation. Many people I've watched with at some point way before even the Giant shows up felt they were being prompted to expect some kind of paranormal element, either minor or major. What I agree is absolutely impossible to predict is the idea of BOB as an invading entity, which is why Ep 14 is so shocking even if you're leaning in the mystic direction.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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AXX°N N. wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:22 pm I can't buy that most people were writing it off as "it's just a dream" when Cooper himself in-show is giving spiritual methods creedence, given the rock throwing, and just the idea that his dream could somehow be the source of progress in a real-world investigation. Many people I've watched with at some point way before even the Giant shows up felt they were being prompted to expect some kind of paranormal element, either minor or major. What I agree is absolutely impossible to predict is the idea of BOB as an invading entity, which is why Ep 14 is so shocking even if you're leaning in the mystic direction.
There is another way a dream can solve a mystery other than it pointing to the supernatural.

Subconsciously, Cooper might notice something 'off' about Leland. But his conscious mind is unable to accept it. So it takes his dreams to sort it out, through symbolism, who the killer is.

That would have been shades of Suspicion, or whichever Hitchcock film had Gregory Peck naming the killer through dream symbolism.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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mtwentz wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:33 pmThere is another way a dream can solve a mystery other than it pointing to the supernatural.

Subconsciously, Cooper might notice something 'off' about Leland. But his conscious mind is unable to accept it. So it takes his dreams to sort it out, through symbolism, who the killer is.

That would have been shades of Suspicion, or whichever Hitchcock film had Gregory Peck naming the killer through dream symbolism.
That's true and I don't discount that, the show seems to be hinting at many possibilities and Cooper doesn't seem strictly mystical, more open-minded and not liable to discount anything. But part of that is that he himself doesn't hand-wave it as strictly mundane.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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AXX°N N. wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:41 pm
mtwentz wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:33 pmThere is another way a dream can solve a mystery other than it pointing to the supernatural.

Subconsciously, Cooper might notice something 'off' about Leland. But his conscious mind is unable to accept it. So it takes his dreams to sort it out, through symbolism, who the killer is.

That would have been shades of Suspicion, or whichever Hitchcock film had Gregory Peck naming the killer through dream symbolism.
That's true and I don't discount that, the show seems to be hinting at many possibilities and Cooper doesn't seem strictly mystical, more open-minded and not liable to discount anything. But part of that is that he himself doesn't hand-wave it as strictly mundane.
I still prefer Twin Peaks as being open to interpretation: is BOB real or is he the personification of Leland's darker side? Of course, the moment Cooper stepped through the Red Curtains, that kind of blew any 'rational interpretation' out of the water.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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AXX°N N. wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 3:22 pm I can't buy that most people were writing it off as "it's just a dream" when Cooper himself in-show is giving spiritual methods creedence, given the rock throwing, and just the idea that his dream could somehow be the source of progress in a real-world investigation. Many people I've watched with at some point way before even the Giant shows up felt they were being prompted to expect some kind of paranormal element, either minor or major. What I agree is absolutely impossible to predict is the idea of BOB as an invading entity, which is why Ep 14 is so shocking even if you're leaning in the mystic direction.
For what it's worth, I'm mainly focusing on Bob as the supernatural element here -- that the murder itself is presented as supernatural. The discussion of when a viewer might have noticed the supernatural is based in part on a somewhat vague definition of the term, so I get what you're saying and admit that I'm limiting my focus to something more concrete. As far as the rest, dreams and visions and all that, I really believe that seeing the series in even a post X-Files world is different than seeing it prior...that whole familiarity with certain types of art thing. I can buy that some merely viewed Coop's dreams as something entirely separate from the real world without picking up on them being "literally" supernatural, but then again I admit that I'm speaking from a very literal, more basic point of view here, whereas you're thinking of it in a much more advanced, open-minded way. Still, as mtwentz alludes, I don't think that many average viewers would have believed that the early dream is necessarily anything more than a vision, but again I think that I'm just thinking of the word supernatural in a more literal way, and the more I think about it, the more it seems what I'm describing is indeed some form of supernatural. So again, I was mainly focusing on Bob as an inhabiting entity, which I'm glad to see we agree on, as that unexpectedness is indeed partly what makes that moment so effective.
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Re: Why exactly did ABC treat the show so badly?

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LateReg wrote: Tue Jun 15, 2021 4:32 pmFor what it's worth, I'm mainly focusing on Bob as the supernatural element here -- that the murder itself is presented as supernatural. The discussion of when a viewer might have noticed the supernatural is based in part on a somewhat vague definition of the term, so I get what you're saying and admit that I'm limiting my focus to something more concrete. As far as the rest, dreams and visions and all that, I really believe that seeing the series in even a post X-Files world is different than seeing it prior...that whole familiarity with certain types of art thing. I can buy that some merely viewed Coop's dreams as something entirely separate from the real world without picking up on them being "literally" supernatural, but then again I admit that I'm speaking from a very literal, more basic point of view here, whereas you're thinking of it in a much more advanced, open-minded way. Still, as mtwentz alludes, I don't think that many average viewers would have believed that the early dream is necessarily anything more than a vision, but again I think that I'm just thinking of the word supernatural in a more literal way, and the more I think about it, the more it seems what I'm describing is indeed some form of supernatural. So again, I was mainly focusing on Bob as an inhabiting entity, which I'm glad to see we agree on, as that unexpectedness is indeed partly what makes that moment so effective.
I can see where you're coming from regarding the cultural context aspect. Another thing worth thinking about is the fact that, were we to place ourselves in that time period, even as Lynch fans we'd be less inclined to believe the series would tend so heavily supernatural. Sure, Eraserhead is extremely surreal, but it comes across less as literally occult than it does symbolic. Then we have Elephant Man, a biopic & Blue Velvet, which is one of his most realistic works. Wild at Heart has some (vague) occult elements but you could chalk it up to voodoo as part of the regional setting, and then you've got Dune which is mystical but is closer to Star Wars mysticism than anything. It's only in a post Lost Highway, post Mulholland Dr. & Inland Empire world that Lynch's work is almost guaranteed to be metaphysical.
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