Small Towns  

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(@samxtherapy)
Detective
Posted by: Myn0k

It never felt important to me and I never considered it an issue. Maybe it's because I'm a non US resident. To me, twin peaks just seemed like a slightly smaller than average town. Certainly not tiny, as it had its own industry. 

Same here.  At the time of the original show I lived in Sheffield, one of the largest cities in the UK. Now I live in Wath, a tiny place.  Twin Peaks always seemed to be - in terms of size - somewhere between the two.

Population density is a lot different between the US and the UK, too.  We have many more people per square mile than the US.  Consider the whole of the UK is around the same size as the state of Kansas and you can understand why it seems crowded to some Americans.

Coppula eam se non posit acceptera jocularum

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Posted : 29/07/2017 2:49 pm
Myn0k liked
(@charlie)
Roadhouse Regular

Sorry for the delay in my response as I said earlier I was in central Kentucky on the bourbon trail.

Why don't I start by giving some details about my past that might help understand my belief I have some experience in this area worthy of sharing an opinion.

I spent my childhood growing up in a small southern Illinois town of 5,200 where for a short time in the 80's my grandfather was an elected city official and my father was an elected county official (father's term was through 80's and most of the 90's).

I have since lived in small towns in no particular order:

In central Illinois for 2-3 years of roughly 7,000.

Texas towns in southern area for 2 years of roughly 20,000 and central area for a year of roughly 5,000.

In western Washington for 6 years in 2 different towns of less than 10,000 (where I worked in county government).

In western Iowa for 9 years in a town of 2,500 (where I worked in city government).

In a town in western Kentucky for a year in a town of 3,500 (where I worked in city government).

In central Tennessee for a year in a town of roughly 20,000.

In western North Carolina as a summer resident over many year's of my youth and adult life in a county just outside a town of 1,500.

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Posted : 31/07/2017 2:04 pm
(@badalamenti-fan)
Roadhouse Regular
Posted by: Charlie

Sorry for the delay in my response as I said earlier I was in central Kentucky on the bourbon trail.

Why don't I start by giving some details about my past that might help understand my belief I have some experience in this area worthy of sharing an opinion.

I spent my childhood growing up in a small southern Illinois town of 5,200 where for a short time in the 80's my grandfather was an elected city official and my father was an elected county official (father's term was through 80's and most of the 90's).

I have since lived in small towns in no particular order:

In central Illinois for 2-3 years of roughly 7,000.

Texas towns in southern area for 2 years of roughly 20,000 and central area for a year of roughly 5,000.

In western Washington for 6 years in 2 different towns of less than 10,000 (where I worked in county government).

In western Iowa for 9 years in a town of 2,500 (where I worked in city government).

In a town in western Kentucky for a year in a town of 3,500 (where I worked in city government).

In central Tennessee for a year in a town of roughly 20,000.

In western North Carolina as a summer resident over many year's of my youth and adult life in a county just outside a town of 1,500.

Thanks, Charlie-- and welcome back from the bourbon trail!

It sounds as if you might be the person on the forum (and certainly in this thread) with the broadest experience of U.S. small towns.  I'm eager to hear more about how you think Lynch's depiction thereof (particularly in the Pacific Northwest) departs from your experience.

This strikes me as a timely/ important matter for discussion-- I look forward to learning more.

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Posted : 31/07/2017 2:30 pm
(@charlie)
Roadhouse Regular

Several very good elements have already been touched on in wonderful ways:

Everyone in a small town of 5,000 knows everyone else, where they live, what they do, who they 'belong to', and even more important, what secrets they have to hide.  There is no way the residents would not know who Maddie was, the native american history surrounding the town, or not identify anyone new to town.  I know to big city people this might come as a shock, but you never go out to eat, the grocery store, gas station, or the bank that not just one, but several people you know see you.

Now this one might be hard to swallow, but the local police know just about every drug dealer in town.  This is not to say they have enough evidence to put them in jail, but they already know who they are in towns of this size.  Growing up, I knew everyone that was dealing and what they where dealing.  When I once brought this subject up to the local police chief that all the kids knew them, he educated me that not only did they know, but they knew more than I did.  Our deputies in Twin Peaks always seem to be chasing their tails.

Traffic jams don't exist.  For one thing, a town of this size might have up to 6 or 8 traffic lights, but I highly doubt it.  Your more likely to get stopped by a train in most small towns than a light (assuming you still have tracks, which is less and less likely over the last 50 years).  Most towns this size usually have 2 or 3 traffic lights in the busiest down town or near schools.  The idea you will have a lineup a cars is not likely (unless it is closing time at a major employer, like Packard mill might have been at one time or as school lets out).

NIN, while I don't put much into this one, I think it's safe to assume we lack the name brand bands in small towns.

Pack mentality rules.  In small towns call it class divisions, call it something else, but people tend to navigate to friends and groups that share interest.  Unlike in big towns where I have several golf courses to choose from or karate classes/centers, in a small town this is one option, so those that want to be apart usually handout together.  This is also common of kids in sports, or small age kids, or go to the same church.  It is also common for those with money to navigate towards each others.

Crazy people in a small town.  While I am not proud of this one, but the moment you don't fit in, you will have a hard to every fitting in again.  Unlike Twin Peaks, where crazy people are kind of accepted in their space (Leland, Ben's brother, Log Lady, Sarah Palmer, Nadine) small towns would quickly isolate them and try to 'suggest' they are no longer welcome among the crowd.

Where are the Newspaper/Churches?  In small towns the newspaper and the churches drive the local rumor mill/conscience of the community.  Every where you turned they would be there talking and asking questions.  They don't seem to have any influence in Twin Peaks or little. 

Secret Military Outpost deserves its own mention.  While the towns folk might not know the exact details of what goes on at the outpost, they will know it exist and where it is located.  Remember local government is based through property taxes.  You don't think they are aware of who owns every property in the county?

The age of employees, now this has 'fixed' itself in the return, but in the original series I was always amazed how employees would fit the perception of how old an employee should be say, at diner, or department store.  In a small town however, this is not typical.  Shelly and Heidi would have been in their 50's, the average age at the lodge would have been closer to senior drool than teenagers.

Appearance is important.  Now I don't mean how I dress to go to the RR diner.  I mean cops try hard not to seem too addicted to donuts.  In a small town, since everyone knows your business, you are highly aware than what you do and how you do it are almost of the same importance.

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Posted : 31/07/2017 2:46 pm
(@klynched)
RR Diner Patron

Like some of you, I'm not at all hung up on whether there should be an extra 0 (or not) in the TP population. I'm far from having Charlie's small-town expertise - I'm not even from the US - but I did live there in an in-between-sized place for a while. That would seem to be consonant with having a hospital, largish high school, etc but small enough for people to know each other and not mind their own business.

A propos of that, there's a great saying in Spanish: pueblo pequeño, infierno grande (small town, big hell).

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Posted : 31/07/2017 3:03 pm
(@charlie)
Roadhouse Regular

Too much industry and lack of decay.  Twin Peaks is in the middle of nowhere.  Even on the maps you've seen on the show it is clear that no major roads run through it, no 4 lane roads exist, no special products only found in that small region are being harvested and sold.  A town in those circumstances would be dying, not the home of a large, well kept hotel.  Not the home of a town where I have never seen signs of decay [(manicured sheriff's office lawn, every room is spotless and not cluttered), (hotel well kept and updated), (RR in the same perfect shape), (scenes from downtown show no signs of grass in the sidewalks or empty store fronts)].  After the mill closed this town would have gone into a downward spiral.  The lost of what I would assume were solid paying jobs to employees with limited training or education to excel elsewhere in town would have crashed any advancements in economic development.  Now the reason for my opening statement to this subject is that without the transportation infrastructure to recruit new economic opportunities this town would have lost half its population in the last 20 years.  The mill would have caused ripples through town that would have slowly increase the population decline, leading to additional indirect job loss, and yes, even property decay.

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Posted : 31/07/2017 3:08 pm
(@charlie)
Roadhouse Regular

KLynch,

I don't want to sound like I'm attacking the creator's vision.  I just pointed out I saw signs in the work that show a lack of experience of living in small towns.  I believe if I am asked to explain my position, since I decided to share, I should be willing to share the why of it.  I hold David and Mark to a high standard because I find their works to be very well thought out and nearly every detail chosen with the strictest of consideration.  I guess what I am saying is I find myself left wanting in this element of their work, a work I want to be as perfect as possible.

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Posted : 31/07/2017 3:17 pm
(@klynched)
RR Diner Patron
Posted by: Charlie

KLynch,

I don't want to sound like I'm attacking the creator's vision.  I just pointed out I saw signs in the work that show a lack of experience of living in small towns.  I believe if I am asked to explain my position, since I decided to share, I should be willing to share the why of it.  I hold David and Mark to a high standard because I find their works to be very well thought out and nearly every detail chosen with the strictest of consideration.  I guess what I am saying is I find myself left wanting in this element of their work, a work I want to be as perfect as possible.

Don't worry, Charlie, I didn't at all read your comments as an attack on the creators. I just assumed you were another of the fans on this forum (in particular) with an eye for detail and a particular area of relevant knowledge and experience...

Even though Lynch and Frost defy conventional logic and realism, it's not a fantasy show (not to me, anyway) and it is set in a particular context. While much has been made of not reading Lynch as social or political commentary and it makes no sense to expect his settings to be hyper realistic, I do think he has things to say (to suggest at least) on the context in which we live. So while it's only part of a story, I think it's quite relevant to debate how the setting relates to small-town and not-so-small-town America (and elsewhere).

I think it's quite interesting to see how Twin Peaks as a setting has changed since the first two seasons. Or maybe not so much the setting itself as the focus and perspective. I see more contrast in social settings in Season 3: more trailers and shacks vs Sylvia Horne's gated condo, not to speak of the greater luxury of the Las Vegas apartment. We seem to be spending less time in cozy wooden/log cabins and professional middle class houses à la Palmer and Hayworth (though elsewhere there's Diane's Philly apartment, Hastings' house, the Jones' house in what looks like a rather dreary post-boom middle class development). Things seem a bit more polarised, much like the societies in which we live. Or am I just making this up?

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Posted : 31/07/2017 3:55 pm
(@samxtherapy)
Detective

Maybe it's very different here but where I live, a place of around 8,000, things couldn't be more different.

I don't know even 10% of the people here, much less what they do.  The local newspapers - such as they are - are largely ignored.  Church - as in the rest of the UK - is generally regarded as irrelevant (we're just about a secular nation).  Traffic jams are commonplace; there are two arterial roads through here, with a large shopping area at one end and a business centre at the other.  As for how people behave, nobody really gives a damn unless it affects them directly; there's no pressure to conform that I'm aware of.

Maybe we're more indifferent to people here, more insular, I dunno.  

Coppula eam se non posit acceptera jocularum

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Posted : 31/07/2017 6:05 pm
KLynched liked
(@klynched)
RR Diner Patron
Posted by: SamXTherapy

Maybe it's very different here but where I live, a place of around 8,000, things couldn't be more different.

I don't know even 10% of the people here, much less what they do.  The local newspapers - such as they are - are largely ignored.  Church - as in the rest of the UK - is generally regarded as irrelevant (we're just about a secular nation).  Traffic jams are commonplace; there are two arterial roads through here, with a large shopping area at one end and a business centre at the other.  As for how people behave, nobody really gives a damn unless it affects them directly; there's no pressure to conform that I'm aware of.

Maybe we're more indifferent to people here, more insular, I dunno.  

When I'm back in the UK I'm usually based in a village of about 4,000.  I love where I live the rest of the time* but sometimes a bit more anonymity can be refreshing. Not that the village doesn't have its know-them-alls and busybodies.

* Split between a big city but which works more like a collection of small towns and the rest of the time up in a wooden cabin in the mountains, among the trees, in the middle of nowhere... No douglas firs, though.  And where they grow some of the world's damn finest coffee...

 

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Posted : 31/07/2017 6:51 pm
(@b-randy)
Chief Moderator

Thus why it still makes more sense to me that it is a larger town. 

The exception to the small town debate is small towns that aren't far from a major city. North Bend, Snoqualmie, Preston, Fall City for which the show was filmed, used to be very small towns. However, they are between 22 to 35 miles along a major freeway that leads straight to Seattle. Different dynamics exist in towns like that.

TP is clearly not one of these. It would be quite isolated=

So how does the Great Northern stay in business unless there is a tourist trade? One eyed jacks maybe?

Anyhow, I thought part 12 had some interesting depictions of small town drama. Who knows who.  Who's doing who. Who knows who has done what.

But the store clerks, as young as they were, should have known about "crazy old Sarah Palmer."

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Posted : 31/07/2017 9:12 pm
Charlie liked
(@karen_paynter)
Deputy

( original show ) G. Northern had a fleet ( of Navy? ) staying there in one ep. ( they are all bouncing balls ).

Fire Walk With Me

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Posted : 31/07/2017 9:57 pm
(@b-randy)
Chief Moderator

Yes, and what in the holey hell was a fleet of seamen doing in NE WA? Unless they were waiting for the shuttle to One Eyed Jacks.....

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Posted : 31/07/2017 10:55 pm
(@samxtherapy)
Detective
Posted by: Brandy Fisher

Yes, and what in the holey hell was a fleet of seamen doing in NE WA? Unless they were waiting for the shuttle to One Eyed Jacks.....

I was going to make a comment about seamen and One Eyed Jacks but probably it's best not bothering.

Coppula eam se non posit acceptera jocularum

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Posted : 01/08/2017 9:47 am
(@b-randy)
Chief Moderator

Way ahead of you. That post took a lit of restraint and "adult maturity" to complete and post.

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Posted : 01/08/2017 10:00 am
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