Sure, I have a deep and abiding love for Agent Cooper, but it borders more on worship than “hey, let’s stay in and watch an action film tonight.” That, and he’s hella crazy.
(People have stopped saying “hella” now, haven’t they.)
Which is why I began looking at Sheriff Harry S. Truman and his head of lush curls with a more discerning eye.
And it’s also why, when I turned off the last episode of Twin Peaks, I said, “Huh. What’s Michael Ontkean, also known as Sheriff Harry S. Truman, up to nowadays?”
(I seriously said that.)
(I wish I had someone to talk to.)
In learning what he’s up to nowadays, I learned a few things about what he was up to thenadays, like he was a hockey player, which I totally didn’t realize, because his teeth looked to be in pretty good shape, ha, ha, ha.
Like many Twin Peaks alums, or at least the one I’ve looked up so far, Ontkean began his career as a child actor, with a role as “Jeremy” on a 1950s TV series called “Hudson’s Bay,” which I have just now heard of. Then there’s an 11-year gap (during which I can only assume he focused on hockey and/or masked vigilanteism) before his role as “Man” on Ironside, which is probably a TV show about a boat, but I’m going to pretend is about robots.
His big break came with 1977′s Slap Shot, in which he played a hockey player and sat next to Paul Newman in a scene or two.
He did some more stuff that I’m not even going to pretend to have heard of/care about, and finally it was the ’90s and Twin Peaks was birthed from David Lynch’s brain like some sort of crazed Athena.
Ontkean wowed audiences by acting like he was in love with Josie Packard, who was dreadfully played by Joan Chen. (As an aside, it took me until this most recent re-watching of Twin Peaks to finally decide that it is not that Josie Packard is a horrible actor, but that Joan Chen is.) Also, he put up with Cooper’s mystic bullshit like a champ. Also, he had that gorgeous head of hair.
And, of course, like other former Twin Peaks stars, Ontkean went on to have a productive and fulfilling career in … wait, where did he go for the last two decades, anyway?
Well, immediately after Twin Peaks, he did some TV movies, including one called Legacy of Lies (1992), which was probably some incest story or something. Also another one called The Stepford Husbands (1996), because no one has come up with an original idea since Twin Peaks apparently. In the late ’90s, he had a role in Disney’s Summer of the Monkeys, which, shame on me, I assumed was a horror film like Dawn of the Dead, but is apparently a family-friendly flick. About monkeys.
Then it was on to more made-for-TV movies, like 2002′s A Killing Spring and guest appearances on the Outer Limits. Which actually happened before A Killing Spring, so I wrote that sentence totally out of chronological order.
From 2004 to 2005, Ontkean played Gordon Matthews on North Shore (some sort of romance drama), which doesn’t even get his name listed above Shannon Doherty’s on North Shore’s IMDB page. That makes me sad. In 2008, he was in the short-lived comedy Sophie, which I’ve never actually heard of before now. (OK, actually, everything on his resume, except for Twin Peaks, I’ve never heard of before now, even that hockey movie with Newman.) His most recent IMDB entry is as Cousin six in a movie in post-production called The Descendants, which makes me hope he’s making a real living coaching hockey or something, because that six is totally not capitalized.
He currently lives in Hawaii, so there’s hope for a guest shot on Hawaii Five-O, which I assume won’t be canceled despite CBS’ insistence on keeping Daniel Dae Kim fully clothed.
So I finally finished re-watching every episode of Twin Peaks, even the really, really crappy ones at the end.
And when it was all over, one thing stuck in my craw.
Why did they let Shelly Johnson compete in the Miss Twin Peaks pageant?
Shelly Johnson is the wife of Leo Johnson, which makes her a married woman, which makes her a Mrs., which makes her ineligible! If it was open to married women, shouldn’t they call it the Ms. Twin Peaks pageant?
And I know that shouldn’t bother me so much, especially when there are far more major annoyances to consider, like: why did they throw Heather Graham into the show at the last minute as a love interest for Dale Cooper?
Why did Billy Zane’s character tuck his sweater into his pants (that were hooked with a belt)?
Why was Sheriff Truman so easily satisfied with someone calling an attempt on his life a result of “sexual jealousy”?
Why did Windom Earle suck so bad?
Why did the “man from another place” have such a horrible, horrible combover?
How did Killer BOB possess Cooper?
WHY DID I KEEP WATCHING THIS SHOW AFTER IT STARTED SUCKING, JESUS!
Dear Extra who danced into homeroom in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks,
I think I love you.
Not for your looks, because, for the brief moment I saw you, you were markedly average. Not for your brains, because you’re an extra playing a high school student. Not for your fashion sense, because Twin Peaks aired a long time ago, and only Coop’s clothes still look good. No, not for any of those things, Extra who danced into homeroom in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks. I love you for the way you danced into homeroom in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks.
It was beatiful. The bell rang, signalling class time. The last of the extras walked across the hall. And then you — marvelous, wonderful, spectacular you! Did a crazy dance into homeroom. Almost as if you could hear the music that we, the viewers, were listening to.
It was beautiful, and I love you, Extra who danced into homeroom in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks.
(I mean, you’re no Coop, but it’s not like I stand a chance in hell with him.)
(Plus, it’s like everybody in your town is cheating on each other, Extra who danced into homeroom in the pilot episode of Twin Peaks, and I’m hoping that you, as an extra, just wouldn’t have the budget for that sort of behavior.)
Anyway, save a dance for me!
Some characters are dead when their television series begin. Especially when it is their horrible, brutal murders that propel the plot along. Two such characters are Veronica Mars’s Lilly Kane and Twin Peaks’ Laura Palmer.
So they have that in common, at least.
But which of them was the better murder victim?
Or is that just cruel to ask?
Anyway, on to the battle of dead chicks!
Physicality. Lilly Kane is played by Amanda Seyfried, whom I believe we can all agree is one smoking hot lady. She’s got the looks, she’s got the figure, and if someone would make me a wig of her hair, I would be the happiest girl in the world. Laura Palmer is played by Sheryl Lee, who is nearly 20 years older than Amanda Seyfried, who has the power of youth on her side. But Sheryl Lee still looks pretty damn good, and also, Twin Peaks is, like, two decades old, so she was young then. And gorgeous. Winner? It’s a tie. I can’t choose between these two ladies, and I don’t think anyone should have to.
Whose death was discovered in a more dramatic manner? Lilly Kane’s body was discovered beside her family’s back yard swimming pool, her head having been brutally beaten with a nearby ashtray or some damn thing. On the other hand, Laura Palmer washed up onshore, her body’s discovery leading to one of the greatest lines in television ever: “She’s dead. Wrapped in plastic!” Winner? Laura Palmer’s wrapped in plastic-ness certainly was more mysterious and gave early viewers their first impression of what we were to expect, so she wins. How lucky for her!
Worked the whole good girl/bad girl routine? Lilly Kane was the most popular girl in school, was dating a movie star’s son and was on the cheerleading squad. She was also having an affair with her boyfriend’s dad, and the local gang leader, and had mommy issues. Laura Palmer was the homecoming queen who delivered Meals on Wheels and dated the high school quarterback. She was also a cocaine addict who sexed it up with whoever, including the embodiment of evil who eventually killed her, and local bad boy James “the worst character in Twin Peaks” Hurley. Also, she worked at a strip club. Winner? Neither of them were angels, but Laura Palmer really, really, really had everybody fooled. So she wins.
Better best friend? And not like in a more loyal sort of way, although Donna (Laura’s pal) would lose here, for totally dating her boyfriend once she was dead in a very unloyal display of thinking with her loins. More like in a who’s best friend is more of a badass? Now, we all know that Lilly Kane’s bestest bud, Veronica Mars, was a bit of a wallflower when Lilly was alive, but once that girl was killed, she came into her own, with the whole snarky girl detective working the cute blonde haircut thing. Also, she totally solved Lilly’s murder. Laura’s best friend Donna Hayward attempted to help solve Laura’s murder, but mostly she stole her dead buddy’s stupid biker boyfriend and was played by the excessively thin Lara Flynn Boyle. Winner? Lilly Kane.
Creepiest murderer? Ahem, spoiler alert, as I am about to reveal who both these girls were killed by. Lilly Kane was murdered by her lover, aka movie star and father of her boyfriend, Aaron Echolls, upon discovering she stole some secret sex tapes he had made of the two of them and was either going to blackmail him with them or just sell them to the tabloids. Which he totally deserved, because who makes secret sex tapes of their illicit relationship with a high school student? Laura Palmer was murdered by Bob, the embodiment of evil/her lover, who, it turned out, was at the time possessing her father. Ew. Ew. Ew ew ew ew ew. Winner? Laura Palmer, for which we should pity her profoundly.
Inspired a kick-ass song? As far as I can tell (via a very cursory google search), nobody’s actually written a song about Lilly Kane. There’s this, though. But Laura Palmer inspired You Say Party! We Say Die! to write Laura Palmer’s Prom, which is awesome. Winner? Laura Palmer.
Was on a better show? Oh, man, this is hard. I love Veronica Mars. Wait, let me rephrase that. I love the first season of Veronica Mars. It was quick-paced, well-written and fun to watch, which is everything television should be. I love Twin Peaks. Once again, let’s make that the first season. And Fire Walk With Me. I love Fire Walk With Me. What a great film! Twin Peaks was quirky and weird and creepy and everything you expect from the mind of David Lynch. Winner? It’s a tie, because these two shows are so completely and utterly different, it’s like choosing between Beethoven and The National. You just bloody well can’t.
Went on to have a career in the movies? As much as I hate rom-coms, Amanda Seyfried is certainly making a nice bit of green for herself starring in them. Sheryl Lee has mostly done television work. (And every time I see her in a show, I have to admit that I squee a little and go, “It’s Laura Palmer!”) Winner? Amanda Seyfried, which means Lilly Kane, I guess.
Overall winner? As the original, the first and the best murdered girl whose death sparked a television series, Laura Palmer deservedly takes this one. But I still love you, Lilly. Don’t worry.
Can I call you “Coop”? I hope I can. I sincerely do. Because the name Dale makes me think of two things (neither of which is you): 1) a cartoon chipmunk; 2) a singing cowgirl.
You know what? I’m just going to call you “Coop.”
“Coop,” I herewith insert my proposal to live in wedded bliss with you.
I felt I had to make my proposal a bit oblique, since, you know, backwards-talking dwarves and all.
Now, I realize our relationship might be in for some tough times, seeing as how you’re trapped in some alternate dimension surrounded by backwards-talking dwarves, dead beauty queens, red curtains and the other crazy things that were shat out of David Lynch’s brain.
But I’m willing to make some sacrifices.
I mean, my god, “Coop”! You’re “Coop”! Also known as Agent Dale Cooper, the best-est FBI agent ever(-er)!! (Results of a previous fictional character battle notwithstanding.)
We wondered: “Who killed Laura Palmer?”
“Spoiler alert,” you said, because I have learned that there are at least TWO PEOPLE IN MY LIFE WHO HAVE NEVER SEEN TWIN PEAKS AND I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN CONTINUE TO BE FRIENDS WITH YOU GUYS!
We wondered: “How good is the pie?”
“Very good,” you said.
We wondered: “Who the hell is Diane?”
“No answer,” you said.
And it was awesome.
But anyway, back to the sacrifices I am willing to make, “Coop,” in order to live with you in wedded bliss.
Let me tell you about something I hate, “Coop.” That thing I hate? It’s the taste and smell of coffee. (Is that technically two things, “Coop”? Because if it is, it springs from one thing, which is “coffee,” so I suppose I could just say, “I hate coffee.”) But you love coffee. My god! Can these two star-crossed kids make it?!
Yes, “Coop.” Yes, we can. Because for you, “Coop,” I will endure the scent of coffee. I will brew it for you every morning. EVERY MORNING. Hell, I will grind your beans if I can — well … grind your beans, wink, wink, nudge, nudge.
I am also willing to view my dreams as some sort of manifestation of my problem-solving process, and assume that every night, when I dream about fighting ninja alongside Wolverine or dancing with Simon Pegg or having superpowers that, no, it is not the product of too much pop culture consumerism, but is actually a key to freeing you from that alternate dimension. (Ooooh, also, I had this dream recently that I teamed up with Batman and you to solve Laura Palmer’s murder, and I totally had these awesome superpowers, and there was champagne. I never wanted to wake up, “Coop”!)
And then, together with the dancing turkey from that crazy Peter Gabriel video, I will bust through to the alternate dimension and take your ass back home with me.
(I’m pretty sure this will work, “Coop.”)
(I mean, relatively sure.)
Anyway, get back to me! I’ll assume if, tonight, I dream about the cast of M*A*S*H (TV or movie version), you’ve said yes!
A specific quality I look for in my famous people crushes is “Is this guy prettier than me?” That takes a lot of doing, of course, as anyone who knows me will testify that I am quite the looker. (No photographic evidence will be provided.)
This opening paragraph gives me an excuse to insert a photo of Takeshi Kaneshiro as the perfect example.
But there’s some guys out there who … well, just ain’t pretty. Some of them aren’t even all that tall, which is another trait I look for.
Which gives me an excuse to insert a photo of the 6’5″ Kyle Secor.
Right, right, moving on to shorter, less pretty guys, I present you with a list of 10 of them!
1. Simon Pegg. Yes, we’re all aware that recently, I’ve found Simon Pegg to be very, very hot. But if I’m honest with myself, which, we all have to admit, I rarely am, Simon Pegg is not actually all that hot. Except that he is. It’s like a paradox or oxymoron of some sort. I don’t know.
2. Adam Baldwin. Adam Baldwin is the opposite of pretty. He’s growly, he’s scary, he’s built like a brick …house! And every time he shoots at people or punches them in the face, I giggle like a schoolgirl. A schoolgirl with a gigantic crush on Adam Baldwin.
3. Jackie Earle Haley. Yeah, so, Jackie Earle Haley, huh? Jackie Earle Haley is shorter than me. He’s shorter than me! (By a quarter inch, but still!) And one of the best things about him playing Rorschach was that he was exactly the right shade of ugly. (I mean this as a compliment, Jackie Earle Haley! I love you!) Anyway, he’s mysteriously hot. It’s probably the whole Rorschach thing, I don’t know.
4. Eric Elbogen. (Of Say Hi.) Hey, it’s a musician! His lyrics make me laugh, and he seems to be about as geeky as I am. But he’s no (insert hot musician name here, because I can’t think of any), am I right?
5. Bruce Campbell. Bruce Campbell is hot because he’s Bruce Campbell. That is all.
6. Timothy Omundson. I watch USA’s Psych for two reasons: 1) to see how many pop culture references they can make in one minute; 2) because there’s something about Timothy Omundson that makes me feel all squishy.
7. (Nonpuffy) James Spader. James Spader, in his prime, was geeky, thin and pasty. And soooo sexy, right, ladies? I can’t even watch Boston Legal these days, and not just because it looks like a horrible show.
8. Kyle MacLachlan. One of my very first posts at this here blog was a faceoff between Agents Cooper and Mulder. Mulder came out ahead, but only just. I love you, Coop.
9. Speaking of the X-Files, Mitch Pileggi! Don’t ask me either, but he totally is, all right?
10. Britt Daniel. This Spoon frontman is a musician, much like Eric Elbogen, except he’s skinnier and blonder. I don’t know what that has to do with being a musician, but whatever. What makes him hot? He is the frontman of Spoon. That’s so hot.
Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, someone decided to let David Lynch have his own television series. That’s crazy! Anyhow, the protaganist of the series was an offbeat FBI agent known as Coop. He had a full name, but no one called him that, because why would you when you can call someone Coop?
Coop stands tall as one of the best TV characters ever, in any galaxy.
But is he a better FBI agent than the X-Files’ Fox Mulder?
Winner? Fox Mulder. Sure, there was something a little bit sexy about our boy Coop, and he had a head of hair to die for, but I’m sure we all remember that infamous red Speedo scene in the X-files, right? Fox Mulder has a rockin’ body.
Winner? Fox Mulder. Look, I’m sorry, Coop, but Mulder solved an average of one case an episode, for about 20 cases each season and with five good seasons (I know there were more than five seasons. We’re counting good seasons) under his belt, that’s one hundred cases. What did you do? Found out “who killed Laura Palmer?” Well, bully for you, Coop, but Mulder probably could’ve done it AND not ended up trapped in some horrible alternate dimension. Just sayin’.
Winner? Coop, all the way. Mulder, despite his “I believe” mantra, really needed facts to solve his cases. Coop, on the other hand, had visions of a backwards-talking, dancing dwarf and was possibly not certifiably insane.
Winner? Tie. Mulder had Scully, but Coop had the mysterious “Diane.” It might have just been the name of his tape recorder, but you know what? I’m calling Diane his partner anyway.
Winner? Coop. Sure, he ended up in some horrible alternate dimension, but Mulder just starred in some crappy movie that no one wanted to see. Also, I think Coop saved some chick’s soul or something. Mulder just met some aliens.
Fox Mulder is an awful name. Horrible, horrible, horrible. You know the poor thing was bullied as a child. His classmates couldn’t have known then he would grow up to become an alien-obssessed crime-solving hottie! But Coop’s first name is Dale. The winner? Fox Mulder.
Mulder, by a very sensual nose.
Also, there’s this photo, that made everyone a little bit bi-curious: