The legacy of Twin Peaks.

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When Twin Peaks aired, the country (apparently) went through kind of a craze. (I say “apparently” because, being barely alive at the time, I wouldn’t remember.) Ever since, it’s been a long-standing tradition to reference Twin Peaks on TV. Some references are less subtle than others. Any time you see a zigzag carpet shape, that’s a Twin Peaks reference. Any time Ray Wise is evil, that’s a Twin Peaks reference. (Kidding!)

Anyway, there are too many to make an exhaustive list, but here are some of my favorites:

The Simpsons episode “Who Shot Mr. Burns?”

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The first time The Simpsons referenced Twin Peaks was in this murder mystery. As Chief Wiggum attempts to solve the case, he has a dream of himself in the Black Lodge, where Lisa mimics The Man From Another Place’s dance and speaks in that same backwards-but-not way.

The Simpsons would later reference Twin Peaks a second time when Homer sits down to literally watch the show.

Veronica Mars, Season 1

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This one’s more of a theory, but it’s hard not to see echoes of Twin Peaks in the first season of Veronica Mars. The setup is similar, with a detective investigating the death of a much-beloved girl. There are similar plot elements, like a love triangle between the dead girl, her (ex-)boyfriend, and (ex-)lover; the solution to the murder, without spoiling too much, ends with a similarly disturbing twist. But most importantly, what else is there to make of those odd dream sequences where Lilly, the dead girl, gives clues to both her brother Duncan and her friend, Veronica?

That surrealist touch never returns to the show after Lilly’s murder is solved. If you watch Twin Peaks before Veronica Mars, it gets increasingly difficult to get the former show out of your mind.

Sesame Street


This one is a fun little spoof. The Cookie Monster, calling himself “Agent Cookie”, comes to a diner in a town named “Twin Beaks”, and finds the pies delicious. He tries to solve the mystery of why the town is named that way, but can’t figure it out, despite getting some whispered advice from Laura and talking to an (admittedly unhelpful) log.

Fringe

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Fringe loved to drop little references to Twin Peaks, even implying that they shared the same universe – an entirely plausible crossover, to be honest. In one episode, Dr. Bishop puts on sunglasses that he claims to have gotten from a Dr. Jacoby in Washington.

Gravity Falls

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Gravity Falls is an animated show about a town where supernatural or paranormal activity is common. Basically, it’s a Hellmouth. And speaking of zigzag patterns, there’s a “restaurant” in the show called “The Club”, pictured above, that’s an obvious reference to the Red Room.

I’m… not sure I want to know what people eat in there.

The Psych reunion episode “Dual Spires”

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This one is the Twin Peaks homage that out-homages the rest.

In honor of the 20th anniversary of Twin Peaks, Psych aired an episode called “Dual Spires” in December of 2010. In the episode, Shawn and Gus (the show’s PI protagonists) travel to Dual Spires, a town in the Pacific Northwest, for a cinnamon festival. Soon after they arrive, a girl’s body is found washed up on a lake shore, sparking a mystery that mirrors the one in Twin Peaks.

Most importantly, though, the episode features a lot of the original Twin Peaks cast: Dana Ashbrook, Catherine E. Coulson, Lenny Von Dohlen, Sherilyn Fenn, Sheryl Lee, Robyn Lively, and Ray Wise are all there. And there are tons of little allusions, far too many to list, but my personal favorite is that the Sherriff’s name is Andrew Jackson (as opposed to Harry Truman).

Before the third season was announced, this was the closest we ever came to getting more of the actual show.

The impact of Twin Peaks on TV was huge, and the love for the show never really died out. So of course, as I said before, there are a lot more references to the show to be found out there, from throwaway lines to plot elements to cameos. What are your favorites?

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