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Since it premiered almost 27 years ago, "Twin Peaks" has been one of the most praised and most reviled shows in TV history.
The vision of executive producers David Lynch and Mark Frost, the eight-part, nine-hour story of the town where Laura Palmer was murdered became a pop-culture sensation when it aired in spring 1990. But when it returned for a 23-episode Season 2, it quickly became clear that Lynch and Frost didn't really have a plan; the ratings plummeted, and "Twin Peaks" was canceled.
You could argue that, had it been a closed-ended miniseries that ended with the revelation of who killed Laura Palmer, it would have been a triumph. Lynch would argue otherwise.
"Who killed Laura Palmer was a question that we did not ever really want to answer," he said. "And that Laura Palmer mystery was the goose that laid these little golden eggs. And then at a certain point, we were told we needed to wrap that up and it never really got going again after that."
That was the most information Lynch provided about "Twin Peaks," which returns for an 18-episode Season 3 on May 21 on Showtime. Lynch, who directed all 18 hours, is … well … an individual. An unusual individual. And, while he agreed to appear this week before members of the Television Critics Association, he wasn't actually there to answer questions.
It wasn't just that he said things like, "I'm not really at liberty to talk about that" and "I would rather not discuss that." Lynch responded in non sequiturs that elicited laughter.
That's not a complaint. Listening to him not answer questions was highly entertaining. Kind of weird, but entertaining.
Here are some more exchanges:
• Asked how he and Frost worked together, Lynch said, "Well, in the beginning, many years ago, we were, Mark and I, as if lost in the wilderness, as it always is in the beginning, and then we seemed to find some mountain, and we begin to climb, and when we rounded the mountain, we entered a deep forest, and going through the forest for a time, the trees began to thin. And when we came out of the woods, we discovered this small town called Twin Peaks. And we got to know many of the people in Twin Peaks, and the people who visited Twin Peaks, and we discovered a mystery, and within this mystery were many other mysteries. And we discovered a world, and within this world, there were other worlds, and that's how it started, and that's what brought us here today. This story continues."
• But how do you and Frost work together? "We work together on Skype," Frost said.
• What should people expect from the revival? "This word 'expect' is a magical word. And people expect things, and their expectations are met, hopefully, when they see the thing," Lynch said.
• What do you think of Showtime describing the revival as the "pure heroin" version of David Lynch? "I hear heroin is a very popular drug these days," Lynch said.
• Are you aware of the excitement among fans for this revival? "I'm too in the middle, and I don't go out much," Lynch said.
With just about anybody else, a series of non-answers would have been frustrating. With Lynch, it was fun.
And, honestly, who wants spoilers that would ruin watching the "Twin Peaks" revival?
As weird as it was, "Twin Peaks" star Kyle MacLachlan, who returns as Agent Cooper, said, "You guys got a lot. You did really, really well. He must like you."
The actors were also instructed to answer questions without saying much of anything.
"When David Lynch tells you, 'Get on that panel, but don't tell them anything,' you do exactly what David Lynch tells you to do," said Robert Forster, a newcomer to the "Twin Peaks" cast.
And the cast followed Lynch's instructions. Like when Laura Dern was asked if she's playing the character of Diane, Agent Cooper's secretary who was never seen onscreen.
"I am not at liberty to discuss anything except how incredibly excited I am to join these guys," Dern said. "And I will tell you I am playing my very own character, different than their characters, and yet not able to discuss who the character is.
"Maybe I don't even know who I'm playing. That's also possible when you're working with David Lynch. I may find out right when you do."