The TV shows I usually watch are popular programs from years past that are now in reruns (e.g. "Roseanne," "Beverly Hills 90210," "Gilmore Girls"), so I was apprehensive when I was asked to watch and write about last night's episode of "Psych," a show still running on the USA Network.
For those of you who don't follow "Psych," it's a comedy-drama show about a police consultant posing as a psychic starring James Roday and Dule Hill.
During the course of the show's run, the creators have done tributes to the films of John Hughes, Spanish soap operas and Alfred Hitchcock. Last night, they aired an episode in honor of "Twin Peaks," which happens to be celebrating its 20th anniversary this year.
As a huge fan of "Twin Peaks," I was worried. However, my concerns were quickly alleviated, as I not only had fun picking out the "Twin Peaks" references (it was like doing the "What’s Wrong?" on the back of a "Highlights" magazine), but I genuinely enjoyed the "Psych" characters to boot.
In the episode, Shawn (Roday) and Gus (Hill) receive an anonymous e-mail about a cinnamon festival in the tiny northern California town of Dual Spires (First reference! I could have made it a drinking game had I not technically been on the clock). Their shared love of cinnamon lures them into the quirky town that has no Internet or cell phone service. The pair soon find themselves investigating the mysterious death of a local high school girl.
Here are some of the "Twin Peaks" references I was able to spot:
- The victim's name is Paula Merral, an anagram of Laura Palmer.
- Sheryl Lee played Laura Palmer in "Peaks" and on last night's show portrayed Dr. Donna Gooden, Dual Spires' town physician who specializes in everything (she's also a veterinarian and the medical examiner). Plus, Laura's best friend was named Donna, and Donna's father, Dr. Hayward, was the town doctor and medical examiner.
- Sherilyn Fenn, who played Audrey Horne in "Peaks," was librarian Maudette Hornsby.
- Hornsby, while drinking a Cherry Coke, states, "Isn't cherry the best?" The actress famously tied a cherry stem into a knot with her tongue in "Twin Peaks."
- Ray Wise, who played Laura's dad Leland Palmer in "Peaks," is a recurring actor on "Psych" (he plays their parish priest). On last night's episode his hair suddenly turns white, and Leland's hair turned white overnight in one "Peaks" episode. (Ray Wise also played Noah's dad on the original "Beverly Hills, 90210.")
- Dual Spires is famous for its cinnamon pie and apple cider, and "Twin Peaks" is famous for cherry pie and "damn fine" coffee.
- The "Psych" theme song is sung by Julee Cruise (of "Peaks" fame) and is almost a shot-for shot recreation of the "Twin Peaks" theme.
- The mayor of Dual Spires is named Douglas Fir, and the town of Twin Peaks was filled with Douglas fir trees.
- The local paper in Dual Spires is "The Great Northern," while "Twin Peaks" had a hotel called The Great Northern.
- In both shows, there are stacks of donuts at the police station.
- The Sawmill Diner was operated by Robert ("You can call me Bob") Barker, played by Dana Ashbrook, who portrayed Laura's boyfriend Bobby Briggs in "Twin Peaks." And, the Twin Peaks' sawmill was the source of the town's livelihood and burned down in a case of arson. The character of Bob (not to be confused with Bobby) was a huge part of "Twin Peaks" as well.
- The Barkers' niece's body is found wrapped in plastic by the lake, and in "Twin Peaks," Laura Palmer's body was found "dead, wrapped in plastic" on a rocky beach.
- The Barkers have a framed prom photo of their niece wearing a tiara prominently displayed, and a similar photo of Laura Palmer remains the iconic "Twin Peaks" image.
- There's a chocolate bunny on Shawn's desk. In "Twin Peaks," there is a famous line spoken by Kyle MacLachlan as Special Agent Dale Cooper: "Diane, I'm holding in my hands a small box of chocolate bunnies."
- Gus states at the very beginning, "Since when is the sound of opening and closing shades so disruptive that it needs to be alleviated?" The character of Nadine Hurley in "Twin Peaks" attempted to patent her silent drape runner invention.
- Leo the cinnamon owl was the festival mascot, whereas the character of Leo Johnson was suspected of Laura Palmer's murder in "Twin Peaks." Owls were a major part of "Peaks" as well.
- The pet bird in Dr. Gooden's waiting room was the same type of bird that bit Laura's shoulder in "Twin Peaks."
- Cameo appearance by actress Catherine Coulson carrying a log was perfect, since Coulson played the Log Lady in "Twin Peaks."
- There was similar camera work and sound effect focus on a ceiling fan whipping around at the top of the stairs at Sheriff Jackson's; this happened often in "Twin Peaks." The Sheriff's house also looks a lot like the Palmers' house.
- Paula secretly dated the sheriff's nephew and shared "secret special lover earrings" with him, and in "Twin Peaks," Laura and the nephew of one of the townsmen each had half of a golden heart necklace.
- Someone from a website by the name of UnderTheNail.com sent Shawn and Gus an e-mail that said, "Who killed Paula Merrall?" In "Peaks," "Who Killed Laura Palmer?" was the "Who shot J.R.?" of the '90s. The killer also purposely placed clues in his victims' fingernail beds.
- A local teenage boy wears a jeweled crown and in "Peaks," Audrey Horne's little brother wore a Native American headdress.
- In both shows, the sheriff's deputy is a Native American who is very in tune with nature.
- Lenny von Dohlen played Sheriff Andrew Jackson. In "Peaks," von Dohlen played Laura’s agoraphobic, horticulturalist friend Harold Smith. Another thing: The sheriff of Twin Peaks was named Harry Truman.
- Shawn and Gus find a book written by Earl Wyndam, and in "Peaks," Windom Earle was a psychopathic ex-FBI agent.
- A man at the Sawmill Diner wears an eye patch and a red suit and dances funny. In a dream sequence in "Peaks," a character known as the Little Man From Another Place wore a similar (but much smaller!) suit and danced in a bizarre fashion. The eye patch is a reference to the aforementioned character of Nadine Hurley.
- Actress Robin Lively played Michelle Barker, whereas on "Peaks," Lively played Lana, the seductress wife of the elderly Dougie Milford.
- The end credits are accompanied by soap opera-type music and a shot Paula's prom picture - "Twin Peaks' " credits did the exact same thing with Laura's photo.
Did I miss anything? Let me know if you caught any other references in the comments!