Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Peter Pan: Twin Peaks for Kids Part 1 of 2

“Peter Pan flew with children, Lois...in a fairy tale.” So spoke Christopher Reeve, who made us believe a man (not an actress portraying a male youth) could fly. That poignant scene between two consenting adults is why I got problems with Steven Spielberg's Hook

Robin V Superman
Sure, Robin Williams was a brilliant actor working alongside one of cinema’s most talented, the director of Jaws, E.T., Indian Jones and The Shia LaBeouf Abortion that Never Happened. No one’s perfect. Hook’s insurmountable hurdle was having a cinematic adult Peter Pan in a time after 1938. Superman isn’t Peter Pan for adults. Superman is almost the Anti-Pan. The character’s story is mostly about growing up, not with reluctance, but on a cosmic folk tale level of adventure, which Smallville failed at showing for 10 long years. From a baby on Krypton to stumbling awkward blue collar young man in a big city, to romance with Lois, Superman reflects the experience of becoming and steadily continuing life in the daily grind of adulthood with super heroics as set dressing, much in the same way how those great early Spider-Man comics dealt with adolescence. Superman is an aspiration, not in regards to biceps, but for morality, humility, and conduct. The only documented case I’m aware of a grown man who wished he was Peter Pan was a so called king of Pop. I’m sure he was never associated with accusations of child abuse, right?

Just saying, Peter Pan is messed up!

So what does Peter Pan have to do with incest and Twin Peaks? If you type in a search for TP and PP together you’ll mostly just get links about Johnny Thorne’s favorite book. Johnny was a mentally handicapped man tutored by Laura Palmer. It seems to be Lynch showing his hand, but being very coy about doing a modern reinterpretation of the children’s classic tale. One could argue that is a little too vague for the director when compared to Wild at Heart’s strong connection to The Wizard of Oz, but does Marilyn Monroe’s life immediately jump to mind after watching Mulholland Drive? Regardless, let us strap on our Alan Moore goggles and slit the tender throat of innocence. 

 Bored on a Sunday and needing to escape blazing sun I sought shelter in a library and picked up Peter Pan and became horrified by some very familiar beats seen in Twin Peaks, such as upper middle class Dads as the main villains or tragic heroes, moms willingly ignoring incest, appearances of the unbelievable well into the beginning chapters or episodes, magical wild beings sneaking into children’s bedrooms, and when is a thimble is a kiss and when a kiss is a ring that will seal your soul in the Black Lodge or Never Land.

Daddy Issues

Where Leland Palmer begins and Bob begins is highly debatable and ambiguous. The same goes for George Darling, father to Wendy Angela Darling, and Captain Hook and Peter. Most adaptations of Peter Pan have the same actor playing George Darling and Capt. Hook. One doesn’t need a strong subtext prescription to see the Freudian battle going on for a maturing schoolgirl clinging to childhood fantasies when faced with the authoritarian world of adulthood represented by her father, a banker (Pirate). Leland Palmer was a lawyer (Pirate).

Damn Fine TV
If Hook is the manifestation of adulthood corruption, then Peter Pan is perhaps the lost boyhood innocence of George Darling. Wendy first meets Peter because she wakes up from his crying and inability to reattach his shadow. I don’t think I’m reading into it too much to assume George Darling is having a conflict of conscience given J.M Barrie’s own biography. 

David Lynch’s Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me is as much Leland Palmer’s story of tragic failures as it is Laura’s demise. As much as I prefer to think that all rapists are soulless inhuman monsters that should for rest of their days be punished severely, I don’t have enough medical or psychological knowledge to say for certain that 100% of rape criminals are irredeemable or unrepentant. Peter Pan and Twin Peaks remain ambiguous for good reason. Not even the great Zen detective, Dale Cooper can say for certain how much control Bob had for Leland when states, “Is it anymore easier to believe a man would rape and murder his own daughter?” The demonic possession of Bob could translate to simply "the evil that men do" or mental disorders, but in the world of TP, and with the prospect of more episodes from Lynch, it is still doubtful that Cooper's question can ever be truly answered.

Bob’s ex partner in murder, Mike (another possible side of Leland) tried to repent by cutting off an arm, which connects to Capt Hook’s obvious loss in a battle with Peter. Mike who spends most of his screen time chasing after and harassing Leland to the point of a nervous breakdown is also similar to the Crocodile that stalks Hook. Both examples are past events continuing to haunt the fathers', and perhaps highlighting that sacrificial bribery of self mutational are not enough to appease their guilty consciences. Fear of being exposed is only a matter of time in regards to the fates of Hook and Leland at least. Time is relentless, which Barrie hits us over the head with the Tick Tock Croc. Lynch uses another common household object to remind Bob's hosts of aging; mirrors. "How's Annie?"

Spooky stuff for October. Next time I'll be harping on  the Mom/Tinkerbell jealously and something about a horse in relation to the dog that is a nanny.

"Don't tempt me, Frodo!"

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