These women have seeeeeecrets. There is much they won't say. There is
much they cannot reveal. They are known for playing women who know more
than they let on. They are women whom we think we know but really don't
know at all. They are mystery babes. They are mixed up in murder. They
look good in sweaters. They are the women of Twin Peaks -or, at least,
three of the women of Twin Peaks. They are six peaks. Which is to say,
there are other twin peaks on the series, but together these three
account for exactly six of those peaks. And that is only one of their
None of these three women is Laura Palmer, homecoming queen, corpse.
Laura Palmer is dead, and we are sick of her, anyway. We never knew
her, but then nobody seemed to either, what with her secrets and all.
Laura Palmer is a pop-culture martyr: She came dead and wrapped in
plastic. She came dead so that America could investigate her murder for
one hour each week on network television. Laura died in order to bring
us to Twin Peaks, a voluptuous, woody town in an unnamed Pacific
Northwest state, where the women are minxes, the mean eat pie, and the
coffee is a life force. (There are no children, just teenagers.) Twin
Peaks is dark Mayberry: If Thelma Lou had sex with Goober behind Barney
Fife's back - that is Twin Peaks.
Like cream in coffee, sex beclouds Twin Peaks. We never see it - plain
old fornication, that is - but we know it's there, everywhere, lurking.
As Sheriff Harry S. Truman put it in one episode, "There's a sort of
evil out there, strange in the woods - a darkness, a presence." He
means sex. Laura Palmer died by sex. All of the others live by it,
furtively. The cherry pies taste of it, rapturously so. The women smell
of it, even the ones who are supposed to be virgins. As such,
television has never known women like Twin Peaks women, full of wiles
and ellipses and desperation. "They're dreamy," says David Lynch,
himself a dreamer who, with Mark Frost, codreamed Twin Peaks, in
addition to dreaming his own films Blue Velvet and Wild at Heart.
"These girls are authentically dreamy. They're all boss chicks. And
they're just jam-packed with secrets."
Let us consider these three, in particular:
There is Lara Flynn Boyle as Donna Hayward, the Good Girl, who may not
be all good; Sherilyn Fenn as Audrey Horne, the Bad Girl, who can't be
all bad (those cherry stems! that tongue!); and Mädchen Amick as Shelly
Johnson, the Waitress, who is probably good and bad, but boy, can she
pour coffee! Kittens all, they drive men to despair. "In the grand
design," said Special Agent Dale Cooper, observing the local
pulchritude while on the trail of Laura's killer, "women were drawn
from a different set of blueprints." But how different are Twin Peaks
women? Who drew up the blueprints for these three? Just what do they
know about sex? What are their dreams? Do they have boyfriends? Did
they kill Laura Palmer? Can we blame them? Which of them can really do
the cherry trick?
There was only one way to make them come clean.
We told them they could have all the pie they wanted.
We took them to pie houses and watched them eat.
And then we listened to them talk.
Dossiers on each encounter follow.
SHELLY THE WAITRESS ORDERS COCONUT CREAM
She comes to the house of pies. There was a time, it is said, when
Houses of Pies ruled the Earth, spanned the globe, covered the map. But
now, sadly, typically, like a forgotten chain link, only one House of
Pies survives, in Los Angeles, and this is where Mädchen Amick meets us
late one afternoon. She is nineteen. Her skin is translucent. Her hair
is blonder than we remember until we remember that we were thinking of
someone else. Her first name dwells beneath an umlaut: twin dots, a
horizontal colon, snake eyes. It is a German name, Mädchen, which means
young girl and is pronounced as if the d were a y. David Lynch calls
her Madge-Kin, largely because he is unusual. Mädchen speaks with no
accent. She is a Reno girl, which is to say she emerged from the
desert. She drives a Jeep Cherokee. Her blouse billows and plunges and
suggests that she isn't shy about décolletage.
HER LIFE AMID PIE.
"Hi, Leo, I brought you some pie." As Shelly
Johnson, she spoke those words just before Shelly's scumbag trucker
husband, Leo, beat her with a bar of soap wrapped in a sock. (Mädchen
remembers the soap to be Safeguard.) Anyway, Shelly extended the plate
of pie - probably cherry - and Leo, psychotic that he is, slapped it
away. Then he hit her with the soap for losing his shirt in the
laundry. "This is gonna hurt you," he said.
The good news: None of this has ruined pie for her! Mädchen likes pie
fine. She grows gleeful at the prospect of coconut cream. "I haven't
had a good coconut cream in this town," she says, as only an actress in
Los Angeles might. "The best is in Hawaii." But she marvels at the
range of pie now before her. Besides coconut cream, we order a slice of
fresh strawberry and a slice of cherry, because it would be wrong not
WHY SHELLY HAD A GUN IN HER CLEAVAGE.
Shelly is a sex bomb. A
high-school dropout, she now works for Peggy Lipton at the Double R
Diner. Shelly wears her waitress uniform like loose lingerie. She
dallies with bad boys: married a jerk, took as a lover the surly
high-school quarterback Bobby Briggs (he was also dead Laura Palmer's
swain.) "Shelly's got kind of cheerful, out-front attitude towards
sex," says Lynch. "She and Bobby light up the screen, they're so hot
together." They are, in fact, unsuitable for family viewing: When
Shelly got a gun to keep Leo at bay, she rubbed its snout against her
black camisole, between her breasts. She then begged her boyfriend to
show her how to use it: "Teach me, Bobby, teach me," she cried.
Mädchen blushes at mention of the gun. "I guess it could have been a
metaphor for what's between them when they're making love," she says.
This seems like a good guess.
SHE KNEW A GIRL WHO KILLED A MAN.
Shelly shot Leo, but Leo didn't die.
"I kind of based Shelly on someone I knew," says Mädchen. "She just
kept going out with these really bad guys who were abusing her. Then
one time she did exactly like Shelly did. Defended herself by shooting
a gun. I think the guy died." She will say no more.
A GUY IS PEEING IN THE PARKING LOT.
"Oh!" she says, startled. "How
about this?" We look out the window of the House of Pies and see a
fellow relieving himself behind his car. "At least it's not my car,"
she says, herself relieved.
SHE'S NOT DEAD, BUT SHE COULD PLAY DEAD ON TV.
Shelly is this hot:
Currently, she is trapped in a burning sawmill that was set aflame by
Leo. At the end of last season's finale, Shelly was in danger of
becoming cinder. Does she pull through? "You never know," says Mädchen,
taunting as only a prime-time coquette will. "I could be dead and be
just a picture on the wall."
MYSTERIES OF DAVID LYNCH, DIRECTOR, PART ONE.
While directing an early
episode, the peculiar auteur gave Mädchen the following instruction:
"He had me do a scene that never aired where I just kept tilting my
head back until I was staring straight up at the ceiling," she says. "I
ask him if someone would normally do that. He said no."
SHE SAYS SHE HAS NO SECRETS, BUT HERE ARE SOME, ANYWAY.
She appeared in
a Julio Iglesias music video. "I was his babe," she says. "He sure tans
a lot." She lived through a plane crash (her stepfather's plane lost a
propeller; nobody was hurt). She recently dreamed that spiders covered
her body (she had just seen Arachnophobia). She has stolen from hotels
such items as towels, drinking glasses, a water pitcher and pillows. "I
really needed this set of good pillows, and I really liked them," she
says, ashamed. She is engaged to musician David Alexis, who substituted
her name for his in the co-writing credits for the current funk tune
"Money," by Lakeside. And most important, like Twin Peaks Bad Girl
Audrey Horne, she can knot a cherry stem inside her mouth, using her
tongue and teeth. "I've been doing it for years," she says.
THE CHERRY STEM MUST BE FLACCID FIRST.
We later make her prove that she
can actually do this; she performs the feat without flaw or deception.
Long-stemmed cherries are preferable. Tip for beginners: "You have to
bite up the stem to make it limber," says Mädchen. "Bite it until it
ON WHETHER SHE KILLED LAURA PALMER AND HOW SHE LIKED HER PIE.
swears she doesn't know who killed Laura Palmer, even though several
new episodes have already been shot. Could she have done it? "I don't
know," she says. "I may have. I may have been jealous of Laura Palmer.
I doubt it, but I may have." And the coconut cream? "This is damned
good pie. Second best."