Families in the small town of Twin Peaks are, for lack of a better word, bizarre. Even the Haywards, who were arguably built upon the strongest of familial foundations, had some nasty skeletons in their closet — nasty enough to cause Doc Hayward (Warren Frost) to smack Ben Horne's (Richard Beymer) head into a fireplace. With family relationships being what they are in #TwinPeaks, it's not exactly surprising to see that house Brennan has partaken of the town's surreal weirdness.
Yet, as awkward and almost childlike as Lucy (Kimmy Robertson) and Andy (Harry Goaz) appear to be within the seemingly decommissioned wing of the Twin Peaks Police Department, they may have just taken the medal for most well-adjusted family in the town's pockmarked history. That might change as the series progresses, but for now, the Brennans appear to be the embodiment of that eccentric family down the street who cordially insist on inflicting their awful zucchini bread on the neighbors every Christmas. Yeah, they're weird as hell, but they're so sincere that it's hard not to love them.
It took me some time to wrap my head around how Lucy and Andy fit into David Lynch's new vision for Twin Peaks, and while I might never fully understand it, I've landed on a thought that has captured my attention. Based on Lucy's terror at the realization that she was talking to Sheriff Truman 2.0 (Robert Forster) on a cell phone, I figure that she and Andy are still mentally stuck in the early 1990s. Much like Dale Cooper's (Kyle MacLachlan) return to the world of 2017 after being trapped in the Black Lodge for 25 years, Lucy and Andy are the exact same characters that they were when we left them. Watching them interact with a considerably different world fits nicely into Lynch's fixation on emphasizing the unfamiliarity of the familiar. What's nice about this specific manifestation of the uncanny is that it's funny and strangely heartfelt, which is something that we needed after a few episodes full of sentient brain trees and grisly decapitations.
Why would Lynch choose to do this? Outside of the fact that comic relief is necessary for good drama, damned if I know. But one of the things that I've always loved about watching Twin Peaks is to don my tinfoil cap and start simmering up some crackpot theories about what it all means. To my best thinking, there's pretty strong evidence indicating that Lucy and Andy represent the Twin Peaks-lite fans, or those who loved the show without being familiar with — or actively disliking — David Lynch's brand of existential mind-fuckery. Lucy and Andy are familiar faces treading into territory that they may never truly understand, but it's really fun to see the wheels turning as they try to figure it out.
The cherry on top of this fascinating juxtaposition is the introduction of Wally Brando (Michael Cera), the sole heir to house Brennan. Here we have a millennial who grew up thinking that Marlon Brando in The Wild One is the epitome of cool, no doubt because of his parents' particular pop culture diet. Wally's appropriation of his parents' nostalgia and the humble eloquence with which he delivers his monologue is such a metaphorical piñata of symbols, references and cultural commentary that it's hard to pick just one aspect to analyze. But let's stick with the millennial thing; I feel like I've got a good thing going there.
Where the younger generations of bygone eras defined themselves by rebelling against their parents' cultural ideals, interests and standards, it seems like the youth of today are more about appropriation — rebelliously or otherwise. Wally Brando's whole persona is built upon the foundation of a movie that came out in 1953. Whether this appropriation is ironic or genuine, Wally's interest in this 60-year-old film has made it become relevant again — such is the power of youthful appropriation. Some people criticize this practice because the appropriators weren't really there, man, but I happen to love it. How else was I supposed to get a Dale Cooper action figure in this day and age?
The expression on Sheriff Truman's face during this exchange is familiar to anyone who knows a family like this. Truman clearly cares about these people, but at this particular moment, it's obvious that he would rather be elbow-deep in murder evidence than to be in this parking lot with the Brennans. It's an expression that I'm sure #DavidLynch himself has worn when meeting Twin Peaks fans who have no idea about the existence of films like Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive or Inland Empire — could you imagine watching Eraserhead with Lucy and Andy?
Watching the stymied cadence with which the Brennans' scenes play out, we never get the sense that Lynch doesn't love these characters. It's true that a hit of Inland Empire would make your average Twin Peaks fan check their watch and head for the exit, but Lynch loves them nonetheless — just like he loves those crazy Brennans. The critique isn't meant to be offensive to that specific camp of Twin Peaks fans — again, the Brennans seem to be the most functional family on the block — but rather a Lynchian tribute; an homage to casual Twin Peaks fans who had the shit freaked out of them when they watched Fire Walk With Me for the first time.
Based on what we've seen so far, I'd say there's room for everyone at the Twin Peaks formica table — as long as the coffee and donuts are plentiful, that is.
What's your take on the Brennans?