It is happening again. Twenty-five years later, David Lynch’s groundbreaking series Twin Peaks continues. The limited event series airs Sundays at 9pm ET/PT, starting May 21st, only on SHOWTIME. To celebrate, we’re sharing our favorite moments from Twin Peaks; breaking down the show’s cultural impact, from TV to fan art; and building an IRL Tribute to Twin Peaks in Brooklyn (RSVP now!). Tune in to see how the mystery evolves; stay for the damn good coffee.
Since our offices are clearly teeming with ideas about what a Twin Peaks party should entail, we thought we’d share some thoughts — ranging from very doable ideas, to very ridiculous ones — with you, dear readers, so you can throw your very own Lynchian theme party.
Create a Nook with a Tape Recorder Where People can Leave Messages for Diane
Diane may never have been seen on Twin Peaks, but if she exists at all, she probably knows the inner-workings of Dale Cooper’s brain better than anyone. Why not also let her get to know the minutiae of everyone else’s life at your party? Set up a Diane — aka a tape recorder — at your party and have your guests leave messages for the series’ most complex (unseen and potentially unreal) character. Even if she never gets the messages, you’ll certainly be left with some weird sound bytes to cherish.
Courtesy of Twin Peaks Productions Decorate all Doorknobs With Photos of Attendees One of the characters who suffered the worst fate on Twin Peaks was Joan Chen’s Josie Packard, who just couldn’t catch a break in life — and even in the afterlife ended up stuck in a doorknob. This is both a good way to honor a character who found no respite on the series, and to remind your friends, as Twin Peaks always did, that life is precarious, and that from one minute to the next, you never know when you’ll metamorphose into furniture. Use your party to speak to this most universal of human experiences.
Courtesy of Twin Peaks Productions Only Serve Cherry Pie and Coffee-Infused Booze While normally at parties some people might expect cheese plates, wine, and the like, immersion really is key for a Twin Peaks party; if you really want to capture the Twin Peaks vibe, you need to unsettle people with the overload and repetition of small, sweet comforts. Bring out a cherry pie. Then keep bringing out more. Make this the only food you serve. Simultaneously, ensure that all drinks come with a bit of coffee liqueur — or go right ahead and just serve Irish coffee. Your guests will be feeling like wired, paranoid detectives in no time. All drinks must be served in mugs.
Courtesy of Twin Peaks Productions Ensure that the DJ Only Plays Retro Songs feat. Melancholy Songstresses, and/or Owl Sounds “The owls [may not be] what they seem,” but neither are the faux-innocuous retro tunes in David Lynch’s work. For Twin Peaks, Angelo Badalamenti and Julee Cruise collaborated on some eerily pleasant tunes, and throughout the director’s oeuvre, one of the most common traits of his deeply unsettling work is the usage of foreboding musical Americana. So whip out the most wholesome and ever-so- slightly sad music, and simply wait until it starts to feel vaguely sinister. If you absolutely need to mix it up, stick with work by musicians who appear in Showtime’s upcoming season — it’s a pretty extensive list.
Courtesy of Twin Peaks Productions Make a Red Room Though it certainly doesn’t have much screen-time, Twin Peaks’ horrific red room (situated in the mysterious Black Lodge) — in which spirits create vicious doppelgängers of those who pass through — is probably the most iconic setting in the series. Luckily, it’s not all that hard to recreate. (Much easier than, say, a burnt-down lumber factory or a kitschy hotel.) All you need are red curtains and a smattering of inexplicably creepy friends, and voila! Obviously, if you want to go all out, a Roman statue (marble might be out of your budget range…but styrofoam likely isn’t) and a pair of standing horn-shaped lamps would really bring the look together.
Courtesy of Twin Peaks Productions Pretend You’ve Seen Bob; Shriek Wildly in the Middle of the Party Much of the frights in Twin Peaks come simply from actors making abrupt, wonderfully melodramatic tonal shifts — as Grace Zabriskie often does as Sarah Palmer. If you want your party to really feel like Twin Peaks, I hate to say it, but you’re going to have to overcome your stage fright and feign real fright. What would a Twin Peaks party be without someone scaring everyone present by pretending to hallucinate an evil spirit?
Courtesy of Twin Peaks Productions Impose an Early ’90s Dress Code Luckily high-waisted pants are back in (or are they already out again? If so, they’ll be in again-again by the time you actually throw this party), so this shouldn’t be too burdensome for anyone. But it’s pretty essential to a good Twin Peaks party that people dress like they’re a) trying to tightly squeeze their whole torsos into pants or high skirts while b) swimming in patterned sweaters and plaid shirts. After all, the sartorial pairing of girdling tension and performative comfort speaks to the very nature of the show.
Courtesy of Twin Peaks Productions Decorate with a Pile of Logs If you’re stuck throwing your party in the middle of the city, or the middle of the desert, or the middle of anywhere that’s not a haunted lumber town in Washington, it might be a good (and not that expensive) idea to have a pile of logs lying around. After all, logs were, themselves, pretty prophetic in the series, so surely they’d make for engaging party guests. You could also place a pad of paper next to the pile of logs, so that your actually-living guests could write down everything the logs have foreshadowed for them.
Courtesy of Twin Peaks Productions Dress Your Pet as an Owl That’s “Not What [it] Seems” One of Twin Peaks’ most inexplicably creepy quotes — the aforementioned “the owls are not what they seem” comment — really sets a tone for the series as a whole. Honor it by dressing your pet — be it a dog, cat, octopus, or rock — in an owl costume, and wait for guests to realize that, right in front of their very eyes, the quote about owls transgressing their given form is coming to life. Have an Emotional Dancing Contest One famous scene in Twin Peaks sees the bereaved Leland Palmer cry-dancing on a dance floor with no one in particular, as suddenly others at the party try to cover up his display of grief before it results in bad PR by imitating his odd dancing to make it look normal. And everyone at your party should, at some point, have to do the same. Hold a cry-dancing competition towards the end of the evening, once everyone’s feeling really weird after drinking too many of those coffee cocktails.