On Sunday, May 21, Twin Peaks will make its unlikely, highly anticipated, sure-to-be-demented return to television. The new 18-episode Showtime series—written by original co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost, and directed by Lynch—will pick up more than 25 years after the events of the original series. In it, we’ll be catching up with old friends (Agent Dale Cooper; Audrey Horne; James Hurley, unfortunately), meeting new characters (Jim Belushi is in this for some reason), and drinking some damn fine coffee (and hot!) Here are just a few ways Milwaukeeans can celebrate this momentous occasion.
1. Get in the mood by watching/rewatching the series’ best episodes
Including the pilot, the original two-season run of Twin Peaks clocks in at 30 episodes. Some are brilliant (everything Lynch-directed), some are great, some are just fine, and some are lousy. If you’re looking to cram in a rewatch before May 21, the first 17 episodes, which contain the entire “Who killed Laura Palmer?” arc, are can’t-miss. From there, it’s best to skip past James’ dreadful out-of-town femme fatale adventure, Ben Horne’s Civil War fever dream, and Nadine Hurley’s superhuman return to high school and pick up around episode 28 or so. Lynch essentially rewrote the go-for-broke series finale on the fly, and it remains one of the most distinctive, disturbing, and uncompromising hours of television ever produced.
2. Check out Mark Frost’s The Secret History Of Twin Peaks from the Milwaukee Public Library
Both Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost were absent for much of season 2, resulting in a show that too often veered toward UFO-heavy nonsense. (Sorry, Major Briggs and Windom Earle.) Frost’s recently released Secret History Of Twin Peaks case file/novel mines the UFO angle for all it’s worth, but it’s still an agreeably dense, delightfully whacked-out exploration of Twin Peaks’ history (Lewis and Clark make appearances) and some of its most notable denizens. Although the upcoming series is being written by Lynch and Frost, Lynch has said Secret History is Frost’s version of Twin Peaks, not his. Oh well, you can still pick it up at any Milwaukee Public Library branch now. (Actual Milwaukee-centric stuff begins…now!)
3. Really get in the mood by watching/rewatching Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me at the Times Cinema
Lynch has been characteristically mum about any season 3 details, though one telling clue is his assertion that the love-it-or-hate-it 1992 Twin Peaks prequel film, Fire Walk With Me, is especially important to the new story. Tonally, the film is a strong rebuke to the sillier, lighter side of Twin Peaks (dig the extended “anti-Peaks” prologue with Chris Isaak and Kiefer Sutherland), depicting the last week of Laura Palmer’s life in excruciating detail. Derided at the time of its release, FWWM is now counted among Lynch’s best works. Still, it remains a deeply disturbing, oft-unpleasant film. If you haven’t seen it in a few years, buckle up and leave the donut jokes at the door: the Times Cinema will screen the film Thursday, May 18 at 7 p.m. Tickets are $5.
4. Go to Anodyne Coffee’s Twin Peaks Night the night before the premiere
On Saturday, May 20, the Bay View Anodyne Coffee is hosting a Twin Peaks Party complete with TP-inspired pizza and drinks (please have a Black Yukon Sucker Punch), donuts, and pie. Elaborate costumes are encouraged, though a roll of plastic or an eyepatch will do in a pinch. The fun begins at 4 p.m. and goes until 9 p.m.
5. Go to Riverwest Public House’s Twin Peaks party the night of the premiere
Hey! New Twin Peaks! Crazy! To celebrate, the Riverwest Public House will throw a Twin Peaks party Sunday, May 21—a.k.a. the night of the premiere. Things kick off at 6 p.m. with a pie/dessert potluck (“This must be where pies go when they die”), followed by a performance by Angelo Badalementi/Twin Peaks cover band Leo Johnson And The New Shoes, some TP-inspired burlesque from Vee Valentine (insert jokes about the unfortunate “Miss Twin Peaks” storyline here), and the two-hour premiere at 8 p.m. That gum we like is finally back in style, and we couldn’t be more excited. Let’s rock!