David Lynch Directs a Mini-Season of Twin Peaks in the Form of Japanese Coffee Commercials

I recent­ly read Mer­ry White’s Cof­fee Life in Japan, a his­to­ry of the west­’s favorite bev­er­age in the Land of the Ris­ing Sun. As with so many cul­tur­al imports, the Japan­ese first enter­tained a fas­ci­na­tion with cof­fee, then got more seri­ous about drink­ing it, then made an offi­cial place for it in their soci­ety, then got even more seri­ous about not just drink­ing it but arti­sanal­ly prepar­ing and serv­ing it, wind­ing up with an orig­i­nal­ly for­eign but now unmis­tak­ably Japan­ese suite of prod­ucts and asso­ci­at­ed expe­ri­ences. Hav­ing spent a fair bit of time in Japan­ese cafés myself, I can tell you that the coun­try has some damn fine cof­fee.

But what about its cher­ry pie? Only one man could take that case: FBI Spe­cial Agent Dale Coop­er, the main char­ac­ter of David Lynch’s ground­break­ing­ly strange ABC tele­vi­sion dra­ma Twin Peaks. A great many Japan­ese peo­ple love cof­fee, but no small num­ber also love David Lynch.

And so, when the oppor­tu­ni­ty arose to take simul­ta­ne­ous advan­tage of local enthu­si­asm for bev­er­age and film­mak­er alike, Geor­gia Cof­fee seized it, work­ing in the robust tra­di­tion of Japan­ese adver­tise­ments star­ring Amer­i­can celebri­ties to reunite mem­bers of Twin Peaks cast, recon­struct the fic­tion­al town of Twin Peaks itself, and have Lynch direct a new mini-mini-mini-sea­son of the show, each episode a forty-sec­ond Geor­gia Cof­fee com­mer­cial.

The first episode, “Mys­tery of G,” finds Coop­er in the Twin Peaks Sher­if­f’s Depart­ment, enlist­ed in the search for a miss­ing Japan­ese woman named Asa­mi. He and Asami’s hus­band exam­ine the first piece of evi­dence: an origa­mi crane with a G on it. The sec­ond, “Lost,” intro­duces two more inscrutable arti­facts: a pho­to of Asa­mi beside a rare road­ster, and a mount­ed deer’s head. The lat­ter leads him to Big Ed’s Gas Farm, where in the third episode, “Cher­ry Pie,” he spots the car and, on its pas­sen­ger seat, a mys­te­ri­ous wedge of red bil­liard balls (which, of course, reminds him of his favorite dessert). The fourth, “The Res­cue,” clos­es the case in the woods, where Coop­er finds Asa­mi, trapped and back­wards-talk­ing, in — where else? — the red-cur­tained room of the extra-dimen­sion­al Black Lodge.

Every step of the solu­tion to this mys­tery requires a cup of Geor­gia Cof­fee — or, rather, a can of Geor­gia Cof­fee, Geor­gia being one of the best-known vari­eties of that vend­ing machine-ready cat­e­go­ry of bev­er­age. The west may nev­er have gone in for canned cof­fee, but Japan drinks it in enor­mous quan­ti­ties. What bet­ter way to adver­tise a Japan­ese inter­pre­ta­tion of cof­fee in the ear­ly 1990s, then, than with a Japan­ese inter­pre­ta­tion of Twin Peaks? Alas, the high­er-ups at Geor­gia Cof­fee did­n’t ulti­mate­ly think that way, giv­ing the axe to the planned sec­ond series of Twin Peaks com­mer­cials. Maybe that’s for the best since, as for the actu­al taste of Geor­gia Cof­fee — well, I’ve had damn fin­er.

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Japan­ese Movie Posters of 10 David Lynch Films

Cof­fee is for Peo­ple, Not Robots: The New Ad for David Lynch’s Line of Organ­ic Cof­fee

David Lynch’s Unlike­ly Com­mer­cial for a Home Preg­nan­cy Test (1997)

David Lynch’s Per­fume Ads Based on the Works of Hem­ing­way, F. Scott Fitzger­ald & D.H. Lawrence

Based in Seoul, Col­in Mar­shall writes and broad­casts on cities and cul­ture. He’s at work on a book about Los Ange­les, A Los Ange­les Primer, the video series The City in Cin­e­maand the crowd­fund­ed jour­nal­ism project Where Is the City of the Future? Fol­low him on Twit­ter at @colinmarshall or on Face­book.

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  • Jordan Leavitt says:

    Why have I nev­er seen these before?! I am a huge David Lynch fan and an even big­ger Twin Peaks fan, so these are tid­ing me over until the new sea­son of Twin Peaks comes out. I love this guy’s wacky sense of humor. Did Twin Peaks have a big fol­low­ing in Japan?

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