Rather autumnal tableau above, eh? All-American power and poise and abundance. I'm trying to figure out the dynamics. Is the guy behind the wheel related to anyone else? She seems to be lowering her glasses to look at the car, but no, she's reading someting in her hand. The Race-Bannon guy next to her is . . . wearing an apron, because he's running thebshop? Or carrying her bags? The guy on the left is rearranging flowers, so he probably owns the place.
Madman Muntz enters the Bleat chat again! I remember the Fidelipac from my radio days. Those were carts we jammed into the players for drop-in sounds or PSAs or promos. Anyway, imagine picking this slab up from the dealership and slamming in your Herb Alpert and cruising home, feeling like a king. Because you were.
Cool day, but sunny. The sunlight at 3 PM is now watered-down Tang, as though it has 37% less photons. (Note: I do not know what I am talking about.) It looks wan. You walk into it, and feel nothing. We are not yet close to the point where leaving the building leads to instant regret, though. The quick silent curse against the box of busted glass tossed in your mug.
Nailed down two columns and sent them. Wrote something about the 1922 predictions for New York in 1962, which you'll see in a couple of weeks. (Spoiler: mostly wrong.) Now I have another to do, and I'd best get to it. I have two topics:
New survey says Minnesota is the third happiest state
Trader Joe's Pumpkin butter is out
My job is to fit them together. It's really easy once you realize how to structure it. The rest is just typing!
NOT A REVIEW.
Watching Outer Range on Amazon. It’s in the genre of “strange phenomenon changes the lives of ordinary people.” In Night Skies it was a portal to another planet. In Fast Forward, it was “everyone got to see a vision of themselves in the future, except for those who didn’t.” There was one of the post-Lost shows whose hook I can’t remember, except a plane crashed in the opening sequence. I stopped watching that one immediately, because I could tell the show would be canceled before we learned The Truth.
The fact that I actually expected The Truth to be revealed is amusing, I know. They either stagger along, complicating their lore (X-Files, Lost) or get cancelled before we get the answers. One of my favorite shows ever, Fringe, wrapped it all up with tremendous satisfaction.
Here’s the thing about Outer Range. The Mystery, the phenomenon, is a hole in the ground. A big hole full of swirly mists. I’m two episodes in and I think: this should not be explained. Anything that tells us what it is will diminish the sense of uncertainty and confusion that makes this work so far. So far. It could get bogged down; I’ve read reviews that says it loses its sci-fi hook for emotional stories, but that was said about Night Skies, and that’s why it was good: the stories made you interested and invested in the people.
Some people are throwing around Twin Peaks resemblances - well, people in the Twin Peaks subreddit. It’s not a direct and naked, shameless attempt to get Peaksy; that honor goes to season three of Goliath, complete with torch singers emoting before a red curtain. It’s the off-kilter aspect, coupled with the straight-ahead real-world grounding. But I don’t think it’s particularly TP, because TP is in a genre by itself. Without the Lynch-Frost sensibility and a moral anchor like Agent Cooper (a character who was like nothing we’d seen on TV (imagine Leslie Nielsen as an airline pilot who’s playing it straight except also for laughs except also really serious) you just have “strange phenomenon changes the lives of ordinary people.
But. There’s a scene in Outer Range where Josh Brolin, having disposed of a body in the Mysterious Hole, asks his family to pray before dinner. You get the sense it’s not something they do. He delivers an oration to God that is personal and scouring, bitter and despairing. At that moment the show forks off the TP “mysterious occurrence” template, and becomes its own story. I realized I was hooked, and also knew that meant certain cancellation.
ANYWAY, I meant to do this. I'm always keen to know where these shows are shot.
It's Las Vegas!
Las Vegas, New Mexico.
A reverse shot shows her in front of an empty store, with dead leaves in the doorway:
As it actually is:
I wonder if they talk about the show down at the barber shop or cafe.
(Excess, eminently skippable writing now follows)
I don’t know how many of you were, or are TP enthusiasts, or what percentage of that cohort watched TP: The Return. It’s been five years and I’m still grappling with that ending. I intend a rewatch sometime soon, the third. It’s better the second time because your almost unbearable frustration is no longer an issue. Let me put it this way: it was almost an act of sadistic cruelty, what they did. So, audience, what do you want? We thought so. We’re going to dangle that in front of you and build up your hopes and dash them every episode, until we give you what you want right at the very end, and trust us: you will stand up and shout and raise your arms to the firmament when we give you that moment. But it’s not going to last.
That said, there is really nothing as TP as the last episode of TP: the Return. It’s hard to describe how much is presented and how little is explained. That’s what makes it so indelible. You often hear something referred to as “dreamlike,” but that’s usually “soft-focus shots of people saying portentous things.” All of TP is, I think, a dream. Agent Cooper died when he was shot at the end of Season 1, and everything afterwards is his brain processing the neural fireworks, retconning what he had seen and the people he met.
Or, it’s a collaborative dream. Or, it’s a documentary.
Point is, if I had one: if you’d told me in 1991 that I would, in 2022, be thinking about Coop and Diane driving silently in 2017 while the mysterious presence of electricity shifted them into incrementally grimmer parallel domains as they headed to the town where Laura Palmer now lives, I would have been excited. Awesome! Do they stop for cherry pie? Is Sheriff Truman following in a squad car?
These are from Billboard. Oh, I remember this.
"Gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman, gotta find a woman.”
She was one of the Butt sisters was still one of the greatest lyrical moments of the day.
Oh brother. “A second or third layer of truth under the truth.”
They were strongly influenced by Black Sabbath, and are considered forerunners to the doom metal genre. The group briefly reformed in the early 2000s and recorded two more albums worth of music. In 2004, the concept album Death of a Country was released on CD and LP. This album was recorded in 1971 and was intended to be released as the band's first record, but was shelved by Capitol Records because they did not feel that putting out a "heavy concept album" as the band's debut would be commercially viable.
Try not to think of Spinal Tap.
When the music industry rag has ads like these, you know they’re raking it in.
Sociable lounge! Seats four.
Change for the sake of . . . coins!
This fellow would love to show you his.
That will do! Off to the penultimate adventures of America's favorite Nicotine Imp.