20 weird things you forgot about the original 'Twin Peaks'

"Twin Peaks" returns for its decades-late third season in May, so it's time to look back at all the quirky happenings from the original television series.


Amanda Kooser

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The first two episodes are pretty tame

Warning: Tons of spoilers from "Twin Peaks" seasons 1 and 2.

Who killed Laura Palmer? It's the question that sparked a television phenomenon. More than a murder mystery, "Twin Peaks" broke new ground on the small screen by allowing surreal director David Lynch and creative partner Mark Frost to run wild with a show combining bizarre nightmare visions, soap opera shout-outs and strange dream sequences.

After more than 25 years away, "Twin Peaks" returns on Showtime this May for a third season. Before we step back into its creepy world of lodges, dark forests and murderous entities, let's look back at everything we forgot about the original two seasons.

"Twin Peaks" is famous for pushing the boundaries of television at the time of its debut in 1990. Nobody had seen anything quite like it (and its surreal scenes of backwards-talking people, piles of doughnuts and subtle horror) on the small screen. The pilot and first regular episode, however, are surprisingly tame. They lean more heavily on soap opera tropes of affairs and muddled relationships than the unsettling David Lynch visions that became the series' calling card.

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Donna Hayward has two sisters

Nobody will blame you for completely forgetting that Donna Hayward, Laura Palmer's best friend, had two sisters. Harriet and Gersten barely earn a blip in the show, appearing only a couple of times during its run. The Hayward family even has a family dinner with Donna's new boyfriend early in the series...minus the sisters. Where are they? Nobody seems to know or care.

It's worth noting that Alicia Witt, who plays Gersten Hayward, is listed as part of the cast for the new "Twin Peaks."

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The fashions scream early '90s

There's a timeless quality to "Twin Peaks" in many ways, especially with its retro '50s imagery and classic diner scenes. But there's also a very early-'90s look to the fashions. There are colorful track suits, wide suit jacket shoulders and the show's famous parade of ugly sweaters. Here, Donna Hayward and Maddy Ferguson model a couple of those slouchy, brightly colored sweaters.

While "Twin Peaks" endures outside of time, you'll never quite forget when it was originally filmed.

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The first season is only eight episodes long

Including the 90-minute pilot, there are a mere eight episodes in the first season of "Twin Peaks." That was a fleeting debut even by today's standards of short cable television seasons. Still, Lynch and his cohorts packed plenty of memorable moments into that handful of episodes, including this scene where Agent Cooper tosses rocks at a bottle while the sheriff's department colleagues Hawk and Truman watch in amazement. Note the doughnuts in the background.

The second season came in with a more network-typical round of 22 episodes.

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Doughnuts galore

You remember watching "Twin Peaks." You remember there were a lot of doughnuts, especially at the police station. Now double the number of doughnuts you recall. Now triple it. You're still short.

There are a whole freak-ton of doughnuts in the show. Doughnuts stand in stacks on the conference table. Officers eat doughnuts while investigating crime scenes. Stacks and stacks of pink doughnut boxes haunt the coffee room at the sheriff's office.

If you plan to rewatch the series, then also plan to buy yourself some doughnuts to eat while doing so.

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There's no way Twin Peaks has 51,201 people

Twin Peaks is a small town. Everyone knows each other. The iconic welcome sign from the opening credits says the town has 51,201 people, but that feels like a gross exaggeration once you're ensconced in Twin Peaks' insular world.

The "Welcome to Twin Peaks: Access Guide to the Town" tie-in book from 1991 notes the sign has a typo and should really read "5,120.1," though there's no explanation given for the fraction of a person.

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Agent Cooper can be a twit

Suave and determined Agent Cooper may be the hero of "Twin Peaks," but he's kind of a twit sometimes, particularly in the first season. He's not above smirking at besotted high-school girl Audrey Horne. Also in the first season, Cooper turns to Sheriff Truman to declare "Who's the babe?" when he first sees mill-owner Josie Packard. Fortunately, his positive qualities, like his intellect and enthusiasm for pine trees, outweigh his occasional bad behavior. It also helps that his character cleaned up his act for the second season.

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Bob really is scary

If you rewatch "Twin Peaks" many years later, you might think you'll be cool with it. You'll be levelheaded. It won't be that scary. And then Bob'll show up and you'll get prickles down your spine all over again. The malicious and mysterious spirit of Bob is truly a frightening horror creation thanks to his power and indiscriminate brutality.

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Beyond cherry pie

Agent Cooper may be obsessed with cherry pie, but it's not the only flavor referenced in the series. Donna Hayward's mom whips up a huckleberry pie in the first season. Huckleberry pie and chocolate peanut butter pie are also on the menu at the RR Diner.

In case you're wondering, Cooper likes his huckleberry pie heated, with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on the side. And if you can't decide on your favorite berry, the diner also offers a three-berry pie.

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Taxidermy is everywhere

If you like looking at taxidermy, then "Twin Peaks" is the series of your dreams. It's everywhere, hanging on walls and even laying on tables, as in this scene where Sheriff Truman and Agent Cooper notice a giant stuffed head. They're told it fell off the wall.

Pete Martell, the manager of the local sawmill, seems to be particularly fond of taxidermy. He shows off a prized fish, noting it was bigger when he caught it.

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The worst hospital food ever

The second season's premiere featured a running gag (emphasis on the gag) about how bad the food is at Calhoun Memorial Hospital in Twin Peaks. A variety of characters recuperate in the facility and each one is tortured with a horrifying tray of sludge. Even one of the doctors complains about the food.

In this scene, Pete Martell makes the unfortunate decision to sniff the unappetizing goop.

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Oh, the mullets

The hairstyles of "Twin Peaks" are another reminder of the time period it was filmed in. There are some glorious mullets on display.

Here, Sheriff Truman sports a restrained mullet. Ex-con Hank Jennings rocks a luxurious mullet. High-school hooligan Mike Nelson flashes his feathered version of the business-in-the-front, party-in-the-back hairstyle. Even Deputy Hawk pulls off a faux mullet with the way he slicks down the top of his long hair. It remains to be seen if the mullet-fest will return in the new 2017 episodes.

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You might not remember who shot Agent Cooper

It's the last episode of the first season of "Twin Peaks." Agent Cooper takes a phone call in his hotel room. He hears a knock at the door. He answers it, only to receive some gunshot wounds to the torso. And cut. This cliff-hanger ending sent fans into a frenzy when it originally aired. "Who shot Agent Cooper?" was the rallying cry between the series' two seasons.

We did find out who shot Cooper in the second season, but it's easy to forget the culprit was mill-owner and widow Josie Packard. With the show's central mystery still unsolved at the end of season 1, the attack on Cooper seemed to take a back seat to the bigger question of "Who killed Laura Palmer?"

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Leo Johnson has a lot of vehicles

Leo Johnson is one bad dude, but he's a bad dude with a lot of vehicles. The trucker goes to work in a massive semi emblazoned with "Big Pussycat" on the side. He revs about in a bright-red Chevrolet Corvette for his show-off car. And if that's not enough, he also maintains a Ford pickup truck. That's a whole lot of transportation options for a guy who's not even done building his own house.

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So much plaid

Plaid is the unofficial uniform of choice for the residents of Twin Peaks. There are plaid blankets, plaid jackets, plaid shirts and plaid dresses. If it can be made with plaid, it can be found somewhere in the show's two seasons. Even Agent Cooper adopts the look while on suspension from the FBI.

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Weasel cam

The pine weasel, a supposedly endangered species threatened by the Ghostwood development, gets it own moment in the spotlight when one of the critters gets loose during a fashion-show fund-raiser. This results in a stomach-churning weasel-cam from the masked animal's point of view.

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David Lynch's son has a cameo

David Lynch's son Austin Jack Lynch makes a brief but memorable cameo appearance in the second episode of season 2. He appears as a young boy who is practicing magic and ends up holding creamed corn in his hands. You'll just have to rewatch it if you want some sort of explanation for this bizarre sequence. It's also notable the boy seems to be dressed up to look quite a bit like his father, complete with up-swept hair.

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There are a lot of bad disguises

This is Mr. Tojamura. Mr. Tojamura is actually Catherine Martell, manager of the Packard Sawmill, in disguise as a Japanese businessman. Even her own husband doesn't recognize her when he meets her, despite the blatant weirdness of the costume and makeup.

Agent Cooper's former partner Windom Earle is another purveyor of terrible disguises. He moves around Twin Peaks as a trucker, a leather-wearing biker, a fisherman and a scholar, and even doubles as the Log Lady at one point.

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Josie Packard ends up in a drawer knob

Josie Packard, played by Joan Chen, exited the series by dying from fright in a hotel room in season 2. Her passing involves an eerie scene with Bob crawling over a bed, the Man from Another Place dancing and Packard's face screaming from a wood drawer knob on a nightstand.

Is that her soul trapped in the drawer pull? Why did her body weigh just 65 pounds at the autopsy? "Twin Peaks" doesn't often give us easy answers.

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There are a million cliff-hangers

Even casual "Twin Peaks" watchers remember the big cliff-hanger from the end of season 2: Agent Cooper appears to be possessed by the evil, murderous spirit Bob. But that's not the only unresolved issue from the original series.

Will Big Ed ever get to marry Norma? What happened with Leo and the spiders? Do Bobby and Shelly end up together? Will Heidi the German waitress ever make it to work on time? We'll have to wait until the new series debuts in May to get at least some of these answers.

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