The City of Absurdity   TWIN PEAKS

  To some people, the smell of coffee, doughnuts and cherry pie just won't be the same.

Television Guide, June 1991

Devotees of ABC's "Twin Peaks" have had time to brace themselves for Monday's two-hour finale of the offbeat serial, since the network announced weeks ago that the last two episodes – the second of which was directed by co-creator and co-executive producer David Lynch – would be combined into a last hurrah. However, several key players (including Lynch himself) have started to imply that "Peaks" might not be over completely, with the possibility of a subsequent theatrical movie under discussion. That should come as welcome information to the show's fans, since Monday's offering is destined to leave some threads hanging, with one of the major plots involving the efforts of Dale Cooper (played by Kyle MacLachlan) and Sheriff Harry S. Truman (Michael Ontkean) to save the winner of the Miss Twin Peaks contest from the clutches of the sinister Windom Earle (Kenneth Welsh).

Lynch's "Peaks" production partner Mark Frost says that continuing the saga on the movie screen was considered an option "only when it looked like we probably weren't going to come back (on ABC) and have a chance to close out the stories that we'd started. There are a lot of moving parts to that, though, and we just have to see if they can all fit together. I can't speak for David, but for me, this has been a year filled with all sorts of different feelings ... elation, frustration, happiness, disappointment. You name it, it was there."

Indeed after starting out phenomenally in the spring of 1990, "Twin Peaks" was moved to a Saturday-night berth for the start of the 1990-1991 season, and its ratings quickly plunged. By the time the decision was made to restore it to Thursday nights, too much ground had been lost, since it then was beaten regularly in the Nielsens by all the other Network competition.

"I think the show had a meteoric rise and kind of a similar plummet, in terms of viewership," Frost says. "There were still millions of people watching it every week quite loyally, and we're certainly grateful for all of their support, but I think a lot of things contributed to the show's short life span. Among them was the tremendous hype that surrounded ('Peaks') when it first came on, because that can raise expectations to extraordinary degrees, and it probably robs anything of its ability to survive over the long term. It gets eaten up quicker. Also, there were some programming choices that I think could have been wiser (regarding) handling the show, but we probably could have done better with some of our work in the second half of the season."

While Frost feels that Monday doesn't necessarily mark the absolute conclusion of "Twin Peaks," that view is shared by others involved in the project, such as co-star Ontkean.

"This is certainly something that's going to be ongoing in some form or other, at some time or other," the actor says. "It'd be fun to do it again, because there's still some stuff to explore, but it would be a different medium and a different ball game."

Though Ontkean recalls a general feeling on the set that the end of "Peaks" as a TV series was near, he says, "When you're working with David (Lynch), the atmosphere is always very energized and very positive. He also has a great sense of humor though people might perceive him otherwise because his work is somewhat dark. We were aware that the show had been doing poorly in that horse rase called 'the ratings,' so it was generally thought that we were doing our last shows. For some reason though, we didn't feel it would end there. The concept is so strong and the characters are so finely drawn, I'm sure we'll do it in another form.

"I'm not quite ready to say goodbye to it, and I don't think the audience is, so there may be another way to play the game."

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