Today is the 70th birthday of one of my favorite film directors and all-around artists: David Lynch. When approaching ways to celebrate the birth that resulted in Eraserhead, Blue Velvet, Mulholland Drive, and my favorite TV show, Twin Peaks (to name a few), I had a hard time narrowing down a topic, but also finding one that has not been covered extensively before.
There are, of course, many sites and articles dedicated to his amazing hair. I honestly could write poetry about its sculptural qualities. I could have connected his work to my love of Dadaism. I thought about giving you unknown facts, like how he spent a chunk of time not only living in Madison, Wisconsin, but also made unique prints at Tandem Press during his residency here and frequented the delightful Le Tigre Lounge from time to time. I also thought about curating a collection of jewelry and other goods, inspired by my own Kate Rowland custom-made David Lynch Collar Clips / Sweater Guards (My "Lynchpins" or Twin Davids, if you will).
In the end, there was only one choice: Gordon Cole. Yes, as a Twin Peaks fan, I adore Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan); I even have artwork on my ways that honor him, but out of all the characters (such characters!) in Twin Peaks, the one that rivals and steals the scene is David Lynch's Gordon Cole. The Regional Bureau Chief, and Agent Cooper's immediate superior, who is instantly remembered for the fact he is hard of hearing and, thus, speaks loudly, almost yelling, at everyone he meets. His vintage hearing aid does not assist him in many instances, as he mishears his companions 90% of the time. This results in great comic timing on Lynch's part, as Cole tends to respond to what he thinks he hears, not what was actually said, sometimes creating awkward pauses in conversation after he speaks. His coded sentences add an extra layer of confusion. Unlike Agent Cooper, who tends to explain his offbeat thought process, Cole's words are left to hang in the air.
Therefore, in honor of your 70th Birthday, David Lynch, I present five times I feel smitten with the fictional character Gordon Cole. Just one of the many reasons I adore you, but one that is under represented in the online world of Lynchian geekery.
"And a Piece of Paper and a Pencil"
Yes, Agent Dale Cooper loves his pie and coffee, as do many people in Twin Peaks, but no one else uttered the words "I plan on writing an epic poem about this gorgeous pie." Not even Agent Cooper. Those wonderful and perfect words are uttered when Shelly Johnson at the Double R Diner asked Cole if he would like not just another piece of pie, but a whole pie. As someone who deeply feels pie is the superior treat, I just cannot help but swoon.
"Cooper, You Remind Me Today of a Small Mexican Chihuahua."
Gordon Cole knows how to make an entrance. Though we have heard his voice prior, Gordon Cole does not appear on screen until Season 2, Episode 6. In a matters of minutes, we have a great first opening shot to establish his hearing aid, notice his hearing aid does not actually work, and get a great line out of nowhere: "Cooper, you remind me today of a small Mexican chihuahua."
My Socks Are On Fire!
Of course, Shelly Johnson (Mädchen Amick) and Gordon's Cole first encounter was also one of epic proportions. Cole's reaction to Shelly, "That's the kinda girl that makes you wish you spoke a little French," but it turns out to be more than just an appreciation of beauty. Gordon can actually hear Shelly, "clear as a bell." The whole scene from Coles conversation with Agent Cooper, the reaction of The Log Lady (Catherine E. Coulson), and the revelation between Shelly and Cole are all equally charming and a scene filled with all three makes my heart skip a beat.
"Don't Let 'Em Rattle You, Coop."
I adore a good friendship story and, well Twin Peaks, is chock-full of them. However, every time our two charming FBI agents share a moment, illustrated here by their thumbs up routine, it is worth taking note. You realize they are more than supervisor and employee, but friends.
She's a Rare and Precious Individual, Don't You Think?
Gordon Cole knows how to court a girl. Not only does he have original compliments, but he speaks from his heart. Even Shelly, who has a boyfriend (Bobby Briggs), cannot help but grant Gordon Cole a kiss when he says: "I'm about ready to leave Twin Peaks, and I don’t know when I'm going to return. but I want you to know that meeting you has been more than a privilege. It’s touched my heart, and I know that if I don’t kiss you now… I’m going to regret it the rest of my days.” This is hands down the most romantic scene in Twin Peaks and it always brings me joy.