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“Twin Peaks” — less influential than desired.

“Twin Peaks” — less influential than desired. (photo)

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The Guardian‘s got an article full of reflections from an even cross-section of the “Twin Peaks” cast twenty years on. It’s nice to see frontman Kyle MacLachlan placed on on the same level as the invaluably squeaky-voiced Kimmy Robertson. If “The Wire” is the greatest consistent TV show ever made, “Twin Peaks” has some of the greatest episodes ever made.

But it’s Lara Flynn Boyle, of all people, who gets to the heart of the matter: “At the Emmys every year they show clips of shows that are well remembered. They never show clips of ‘Twin Peaks’!” Spot on. For all the talk of how “Twin Peaks” paved the way for weirder and wilder TV — by which is generally meant “Northern Exposure,” “The X-Files,” “Lost,” “Carnivale” and not much else — its legacy mostly lies in the fact that the show is as a significant part of David Lynch’s work than anything else (even if David Chase claims it as an influence on “The Sopranos”), something no one else from film has pulled off on TV (yet, anyway, and I won’t accept any arguments on behalf of “Miami Vice”).

The tell-tale fact here would be trying to envision debuting “Twin Peaks” — legendary influence and all — on network TV now. It’s hard to do. The influential stuff is mostly macro — juggling a lot of characters, slowly expanding plotlines where the ostensible point is the red herring (“Lost,” again).

None of which has much to do with what makes “Twin Peaks” special. That would be Lynch; specifically, the just-this-side-of-soporific pacing and feeling for the intuitive rather than rational scare. More than any of its successors, “Twin Peaks” wasn’t interested in being coherent or even offering you much of an in — from the moment Laura Palmer’s body is found wrapped in plastic, there’s nothing to grab onto, no sense of an outside reality that can be referred to.

03252010_duchovny.jpgIt is, in short, the most undiluted expression of a known cinematic director on TV; “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” had nothing on “Peaks” — and if you don’t agree, try to imagine Hitchcock (by no means a stupid businessman) trying to load the equivalent of, say, “Marnie” or “The Birds” onto the show. It’d be impossible and alienating. “Twin Peaks” came at a weird moment: there’s no nudity, but the violence is at least as disturbing as anything in “Blue Velvet.”

But it’s mostly about that pace: that slow crawl and the unmediated gaps between goofy comedy and intense atmosphere. Influence is sometimes a matter of all the wrong things. In the case of “Twin Peaks,” the things that made the show really great were, in fact, the things that were characteristic of Lynch, not the ensemble or the prolonged narrative or whatever. The best moments stand alone in time: they are “Lynchian,” a tone that’s unreplicable without his subconscious. The rest is just a superficial gloss.

(Unless we’re talking about Nike’s “Twin Peaks” inspired sneakers. That’s just as strange, really.)

[Photos: “Twin Peaks,” Paramount Home Entertainment, 1990-91]

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The Best Of The Last

Portlandia Goes Out With A Bang

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The end is near. In mere days Portlandia wraps up its final season, and oh what a season it’s been. Lucky for you, you can watch the entire season right now right here and on the IFC app, including this free episode courtesy of Subaru.

But now, let’s take a moment to look back at some of the new classics Fred and Carrie have so thoughtfully bestowed upon us. (We’ll be looking back through tear-blurred eyes, but you do you.)

Couples Dinner

It’s not that being single sucks, it’s that you suck if you’re single.

Cancel it!

A sketch for anyone who has cancelled more appointments than they’ve kept. Which is everyone.

Forgotten America

This one’s a “Serial” killer…everything both right and wrong about true crime podcasts.

Wedding Planners

The only bad wedding is a boring wedding.

Disaster Hut

It’s only the end of the world if your doomsday kit doesn’t include rosé.

Catch up on Portlandia’s final episodes on demand and at

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Your Portlandia Personality Test

The New Portlandia Webseries Is Going Your Way

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Carrie and Fred understand that although we have so much in common, we’re each so beautifully unique and different. To help us navigate those differences, Portlandia has found an easy and honest way to embrace our special selves in the form of a progressive new traffic system: a specific lane for every kind of driver. It’s all in honor of the show’s 8th and final season, and it’s all presented by Subaru.

Ready to find out who you really are? Match your personality to a lane and hop on the expressway to self-understanding.

Lane 10: Trucks Piled With Junk

Your junk is falling out of your trunk. Shake a tail light, people — this lane is for you.

Lane 33: Twins

You’re like a Gemini, but waaaay more pedestrian. Maybe you and a friend just wear the same outfits a lot. Who cares, it’s just twinning enough to make you feel special.

Lane 27: Broken Windows

Bad luck follows you around and everyone knows it. Your proverbial seat is always damp from proverbial rain. Is this the universe telling you to swallow your pride? Yes.

Lane 69: Filthy Cars

You’re all about convenience. Getting your car washed while you drive is a no-brainer.

Lane 43: Newly Divorced Singles

It’s been a while since you’ve driven alone, and you don’t know the rules of the road anymore. What’s too fast? What’s too slow? Are you sending the right signals? Don’t worry, the breakdown lane is nearby if you need it.

Still can’t find a lane to match your personality? Check out all the videos here. And see the final season of Portlandia this spring on IFC.

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Last-Minute Holiday Gift Guide

Hits from the '80s are on repeat all Christmas Eve and Day on IFC.

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GIFs via Giphy, Photos via The Everett Collection

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