"I'll See You Again in 25 Years": Paratextually Re-commodifying and Revisiting Anniversary Twin Peaks

Matthew Hills

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Twin Peaks has often been considered as a work of art(house) TV (see, e.g., Lavery, “The Semiotics of Cobbler” and “Twin Peaks,” as well as K. Thompson and R. J. Thompson), but its status as a hyped and promoted commodity has been somewhat less well explored. This is something I will address here in relation to Twin Peaks’s pa ratexts as part of the show’s ongoing commodification, and especially its re-commodification at anniversary moments. Paratextual analysis (Genette) is something that has grown in relation to film/TV studies since the 2010 publication of Jonathan Gray’s Show Sold Separately. Official paratexts are the bits of publicity material that circulate around a text, but they can also include extratextual special features on a DVD or Blu-ray release, as well as audience-created content like fanfic that helps to carve “alternative pathways through texts” (Gray, Show Sold Separately 143). Gray notes that “some texts claim more paratexts than others, with… cult texts often sporting sizeable posses” ( Show Sold Separately 114), and Twin Peaks certainly accords with this. Indeed, a focus on paratexts has formed one fraction of scholarly work on the show. For example, Jim Collins has analyzed how:

The media blitz that surrounded the premiere of Twin Peaks is… a textbook example of the skillful manipulation of… discourses of cultural legitimation… The full-page ad that appeared in The New York Times the day the pilot premiered (6 April 1990) is a case in point. In bold, oversized letters we are told: “Twin Peaks—the series that will change TV,” according to Connoisseur magazine. Two evaluative criteria are reiterated throughout the glowing reviews quoted in the ad—a romantic-modernist glorification of originality and the shock of the new it produces, and an all-purpose notion of connoisseurship. (344)
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReturn to Twin Peaks
Subtitle of host publicationNew Approaches to Materiality, Theory and Genre on Television
EditorsJeffrey Andrew Weinstock, Catherine Spooner
Place of PublicationBasingstoke
PublisherPalgrave Macmillan US
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781137556950
ISBN (Print)9781137563842, 9781349571406, 1349571407
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes


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