Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Jill Duffy on Twin Peaks’ Log Lady Intros

[Jill Duffy , Girl Reporter, looks at some extras on the Twin Peaks DVD that I did not even know about. Ignore the first few seconds of the youtube clip below.]



On the DVDs of Twin Peaks, the viewer has the option of watching the so-called Log Lady Intros. The Log Lady Intros are short, cryptic messages from the Log Lady, a Twin Peaks crazy townie named Margaret Lanterman who cradles a stump of wood at all times. Whether she is really a crazy townie or in fact a misunderstood clairvoyant, or perhaps a mystic who went mad after seeing and knowing too much, is not really known.

The Log Lady intros did not air on the original series, but David Lynch created them and ran them when the show went into syndication on Bravo, according to Wikipedia. The Lanterman character does appear in the show, but her real appeal to me is in these intros.

The intros contain clear and focused camera work, though they look very low budget, with the Log Lady perfectly centered in the frame. She is seated in what we might presume to be her own living room.

In the intros, the Log Lady speaks directly to us viewers and tells us something theoretical and at times otherworldly. Before episode no. 1, she talks about “reasons” – (which I thought could be interpreted ostensibly as “motives”). In episode no. 2, she talks about “ideas,” saying everything we know in this world is someone’s “idea” and that “some ideas can arrive in the form of a dream,” which she repeats for emphasis: “I can say it again: some ideas arrive in the form of a dream.” But no matter the content, the Log Lady is speaking to us. She could be, it seems, filming herself, having set up a simple home video camera in her living room. (I know on the embedded video there is a slow but subtle zoom, but this is not the case on the DVD version.) She is making vignettes of herself for someone -- us. It’s a breaking of the fourth wall, but it feels creepy rather than awakening.

Unlike the rest of the show’s story, which we watch unfold before us or visit in flashbacks, we have no idea when the Log Lady Intros are supposedly being taped within the universe of Twin Peaks. Does the Log Lady make a new tape every day, just as the episodes of Twin Peaks are more or less the events of one consecutive day after the other? Were all the intros filmed after the events of the show? And how does the Log Lady know that we are watching? Why does she have this privilege of speaking to us, of knowing that we are watching, when the rest of Twin Peaks does not? She is a part of the town and a part of the show, and yet somehow, she also has a relationship to the viewer.

It’s these complex series of relationships she has with different worlds – the world within Twin Peaks, the world “beyond the Fire,” and the real world of the television show viewer -- that makes her prescient nature all the more frightening. It makes sense that she knows about the town, and it is creepy that she knows about whatever is beyond the fire, but how in the hell does she know about me? The Log Lady intros blur the line between Twin Peaks and reality, allowing more of that David Lynch creepiness to penetrate beyond the TV screen.

“To introduce this story, let me just say it encompasses the All – it is beyond the Fire, though few would know that meaning. It is a story of many, but begins with one, and I knew her. The one leading to the many is Laura Palmer. Laura is the one.” -- Excerpt from Log Lady Intro before the Pilot

(Note: Although there is some discrepancy about how to number the episodes, I call the pilot simply “the pilot’ and the first one-hour episode no. 1.)

2 comments:

T.Tornado said...

3 years late but:
"It makes sense that she knows about the town, and it is creepy that she knows about whatever is beyond the fire, but how in the hell does she know about me? The Log Lady intros blur the line between Twin Peaks and reality, allowing more of that David Lynch creepiness to penetrate beyond the TV screen."

THANKS for putting this phenomenon into words, love these intros and they do seem to connect my current life events to the show in a very spiritual way,SHE KNOWS ME>

Anonymous said...

Tornado, she knows you because you want her to know you.

The intros are but a cryptic summary of the episodes. That they seem detached from the show in form is not a great quality in my opinion, and I think that they are, in many ways, out of character. The Log Lady has always been cryptical, yet precise in her lines, but she had no need for philosophical renderings. She simply knew things, and she said them. Her sentences were cryptic, yes, but to the point and without filter. Also, she seemed to suffer a lacking in the social skills. She didn't understand people, and they didn't understand her.

Where does this sudden need to talk come from? And the need to explain? The intros are almost boastful. In the series, the Log Lady speaks almost only when she has something important to speak of. And when she doesn't have anything important to say, she spits. Why is she suddenly speaking none-stop to no one i particular - of things that have no urgency whatsoever?