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Reviews » Miscellaneous Reviews » Wrapped in Plastic.: Twin Peaks
Wrapped in Plastic.: Twin Peaks
Other // Unrated // February 10, 2015
List Price: $12.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Francis Rizzo III | posted June 28, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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In 10 Words or Less
Twin Peaks, Appreciated

Reviewer's Bias*
Loves: Twin Peaks
Likes: Critical analysis of pop culture
Dislikes: Season two
Hates: Inconsistency, BOB

The Details
Wrapped in Plastic. is a paperback book (4.75 x 7 in) checking in at 101 pages, with a light blue (perhaps representing the plastic around Laura Palmer), minimalist cover featuring a soft-touch matte finish and spot UV coating.

The Book
So, after reading the first two entries in ECW Press' Pop Classics series, we come to a crossroads. The first two books looked back at Showgirls and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, both of which were generally poorly- or lightly-received from a critical perspective. The books offered reasons why they should be revisited as better than their mainstream reputations, and succeeded at that task. So, when cracking open Wrapped in Plastic. anyone with even a cursory knowledge of David Lynch and Mark Frost's Twin Peaks would wonder why such a re-evaluation would be necessary. After all, it would be hard to find anyone who thinks the series isn't well-made, even if they didn't quite understand what was happening. It's main problem, aside from network meddling and a resulting inconsistency, was it was too weird for an unsophisticated network audience.

Either way, in Wrapped in Plastic., Biff Bam Pop founder Andy Burns lays out a well-structured explanation of Twin Peaks, looking at Lynch and Frost's individual histories, both personal and professional, before pointing out the elements that made (and continue to make) the show so unique, including the themes and motifs. It's in discussing these areas, like the preponderance of doppelgangers and mirror images in the show, the presence of mysticism and spirituality or the focus on dysfunctional families, where Burns gets the most academic, using quotes from experts and crew and cast members to support his points about why the show connects with its fanbase (as well as why it didn't connect with viewers beyond its pilot broadcast.) At its core, this is why Twin Peaks is Twin Peaks.

In stating his case, Burns doesn't limit himself to the show's 30 episodes though, dipping into the feature film, as well as taking a peek at world of television before Lynch and Frost brought their vision to life and the changes its successes brought about, including the creators influenced by the series, such as the men behind shows like Lost, Psych and The Sopranos, though he points out how The Killing didn't pay attention to Twin Peaks' struggles and suffered for it. Burns goes into quite a bit of detail as far as the plot is concerned, but he also glosses on a few items that would leave those without an understanding of the intricacies of the story slightly lost. That makes the book best suited for fans, but for them, it has a feel of "Remember when Leland started dancing?" There are a few interesting items (I didn't know about the video game based on the show) but most of it was more of a crystallization than a revelation.

Concerns about the book's purpose aside, the bigger issue, in comparison to the other Pop Classics books, is a lack of personality. There's nothing wrong with the clear, concise, very academic and well-researched look at the show Burns provides, but with the first two Pop Classics, ECW Press established a tone, with a fun, strong author's voice that worked well with the pop-culture focus. This book feels more like something you'd read for a college course. As a result, this one feels a bit less engaging, though if read in a vacuum, the info stands on its own.

The Bottom Line
Wrapped in Plastic. is a well-written exploration of Twin Peaks, but its audience is hard to figure out. Fans of the series don't need to have the show's underappreciated genius explained to them, and those who didn't get the show (or just didn't like it) are unlikely to seek out an explanation for their lack of interest. There are a few interesting nuggets and plenty of quotes from those involved with the show, but for hardcore fans, it's a bit remedial.


Francis Rizzo III is a native Long Islander, where he works in academia. In his spare time, he enjoys watching hockey, writing and spending time with his wife, daughter and puppy.

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*The Reviewer's Bias section is an attempt to help readers use the review to its best effect. By knowing where the reviewer's biases lie on the film's subject matter, one can read the review with the right mindset.

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