Who killed Laura Palmer?
If the answer comes unbidden to your lips, you’re no doubt old enough to have spent much of 1990 glued to Twin Peaks, cult director David Lynch’s supremely creepy series. (Note: US-based viewers can watch the show for free on Hulu.)
The name probably won’t mean much to those who entered the noughties with a wobbly toddle, and why would it? Murder victim Palmer may have driven the original series, but she didn’t rank so much as a mention in Sesame Street’s 1991 parody, Twin Beaks, above.
The Muppets also steered clear of Sherilyn Fenn’s teen vixen cherry stem trick…
No one armed men…
No scary owls…
What tethers this G-rated kiddie version to the original, you may ask?
Hint: it carries a log.
Of course! The log lady is a staple of Twin Peaks parodies, showing up everywhere from a Saturday Night Live skit starring Twin Peaks’ Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) to a 2.5 minute Lego homage that manages to preserve the sex, the violence, and seemingly all of the characters.
The Cookie Monster’s Special Agent Cookie does eat some “darn” fine pie, but ultimately, his fixation on why the town was named “Twin Beaks” is far less compelling than his take on Monsterpiece Theatre’s host Alistair Cooke.
Masterpiece Theatre’s iconic presenter has proved even more irresistible to parodists than the Log Lady.
(In Sesame Street’s case, it worked. There are 35 more Monsterpieces, including number-centric spoofs of The 400 Blows and (gulp) The Postman Always Rings Twice.)
Monsterpiece Theater Presents Waiting for Elmo, Calls BS on Samuel Beckett
Watch Jazzy Spies: 1969 Psychedelic Sesame Street Animation, Featuring Grace Slick, Teaches Kids to Count
Watch The Surreal 1960s Films and Commercials of Jim Henson
Ayun Halliday is an author, illustrator, and Chief Primatologist of the East Village Inky zine. Follow her @AyunHalliday
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