Welcome back to Twin Peaks: Las Vegas, my “reviews” of the imaginary Twin Peaks spin-off sitcom!
This week on Twin Peaks: Las Vegas, Dougie’s bad dreams are effecting his work and it’s up to Sonny Jim and Janey-E to help him get better sleep.
This review is going to feel a lot more like a standard recap because, unlike last episode, everything happens at the Jones house except for the one montage in the middle where we see Dougie at work as well as at home. The episode also exclusively follows one problem that needs solving: Dougie’s bad dreams are making him lose sleep and it makes him look like he’s having one of his episodes. But Janey-E knows this is different than his normal episodes, and so does Bushnell Mullins.
And yes, I HAVE seen all the Concerned Face Bushnell memes that have popped up. It makes me happy that he struck such a nerve with the audience, but instead of going over a list of my favorite people and things he’s worried about according to the internet, I’m going to stick to what he said in the show: “I’m going to tell it to you straight, Mrs. Jones: I’m concerned about your husband.” Such a great line-read. So glad it’s a classic already.
Bushnell makes a house call
Even though the show starts with Sonny Jim playing on his backyard jungle gym, the first word (just like last episode) is from Janey-E, who is inside calling him to answer the door. And the camera follows behind Sonny Jim as he gets off the gym and walks through the house to answer the door before zooming into that now-classic closeup of Bushnell as he asks to speak to Sonny Jim’s father, then patiently waits, then patiently waits some more, and then asks if his mother is home.
SO much waiting here, for Janey-E and then for Dougie. So much calling out. So many variations of “Dougie!” and “It’s Bushnell Mullins!” and “Dougie it’s your BOSS!” as Janey-E gets more and more frustrated before they all walk through the house on a quest until they find him asleep in the living room. It was trying my patience but then it skewed into really funny because it was trying the characters patience WAY more than mine.
Asleep sitting-up Dougie had a strange look. He was almost straight up and down on that chair except for his head with his chin nested into his chest, not even noticing the TV that was on in front of him. Seems like he should have been snoring like crazy but he wasn’t at all. Bushnell looked at Dougie and says, “It’s this sort of thing, he’s becoming unsafe. I worry about him driving,” and Dougie wakes up with the exclamation of “Pigeons and ducks!” that made everyone in the room jump.
Janey-E and Bushnell sit next to newly-awake Dougie just like Dougie was part of the conversation from the get-go, which leaves room for a ton of “where am I?” expressions on Dougie’s face while Bushnell asks him to tell Janey-E how Bushnell found him this morning. And Bushnell gets to explain the list of how many different ways he’d found Dougie asleep at work the past week that built to a point where it felt like Big Ed describing how he shot out Nadine’s eye. It was a really sweet scene overall, with Janey-E being maternal and Bushnell paternal towards their loveable lug, while in a nearby room Sonny Jim provided a backbeat of crunching as he eats from a bag of potato chips (though technically it could be his mom’s lettuce sandwiches, I assume with later developments it’s the chips).
Before Bushnell leaves he helps Janey-E get Dougie into bed, and then there’s a somewhat contrived “I hope Dad gets better” conversation between Janey-E and Sonny Jim that did a better job of explaining the stakes rather than pulling heartstrings. The scene abruptly ends with them both looking upstairs when Dougie screamed, then moves into the montage from here.
Five days in a minute and a half
Janey-E told Bushnell that Dougie was having trouble sleeping for 10 days, so add five more based on the number of separate shots of him in bed that are part of the montage, and we know Dougie’s been having rough sleep for over two weeks.
We see: Dougie asleep at his desk, on his keyboard, in the lunch room, on the photocopier, the glass wall, inside the elevator (with Phil Bisby bringing chairs and trying to help him into more comfortable positions in most of those moments), leaning up against his doctor during a checkup, in bed with wet towels on his forehead (three times), and Janey-E at his bedside close to tears (twice, and she’s so loveably overdramatic).
We hear: the most dramatic opera music I’ve heard not involving an exorcism. It almost makes you think there’s more at stake than a guy having a bad couple of weeks sleeping, but I guess that’s absurd comedy for you. Dougie’s obviously not doing too well but he’s really endearing to watch anyway, and I really hoped everyone would be able to help the guy.
Going on and on to a sleeping Dougie about how out of sorts she is these days, Janey-E remembers she ran out of bread for everyone’s sandwiches (a Lucy–sized emergency!) and she calls in Sonny Jim right away to her bedroom. He runs in so quickly like something was really wrong that he’s still holding his game controller and giant potato chip bag.
Janey-E tells Sonny Jim he’s the man of the house now until she gets back, and then runs out the door, leaving Sonny Jim with a “what just happened” expression on his face. But you can tell he loves his dad and he sits next to him on the bed waiting for the next time Dougie wakes up in a panic. Which of course he does almost right after Janey-E leaves. Dougie looks like a worried toddler, and Sonny Jim didn’t know exactly what to do so he offers his dad a potato chip. And in an endearing Charlie Chaplin movie kind of way, they end up eating a ton of that bag. There is barely any dialog between them, just a lot of love. You can tell the actors really get along well, and that the characters do too. Dougie calmed down enough that he patted Sonny Jim on the shoulder before he falls asleep again, and I thought that might be all Dougie needed to kick the problem but the bad dreams come back almost immediately.
Sonny Jim puts the wet towel on his dad’s head and sits with Dougie, but the only thing that worked is when he nervously ate a potato chip. And it worked the next time Dougie’s bad dreams come back too. Sonny Jim figured out the pattern just as Janey-E gets back home and pokes her head in the room. I laughed hard when her eyes narrow and we’re shown multiple extreme close-ups of the chip crumbs on the bed in progressively higher detail and size, but though she is obviously horrified, she figures out what the sound of the chips were doing for Dougie before she can even yell at Sonny Jim. By then there is nothing but love on her face and I could feel the relief inside me too.
When she takes that bag of chips and dismisses Sonny Jim for bed I actually almost cried. She knows what helped her husband, knows that her son needed sleep for the next day at school, and knows what she needed to do. She brushes some crumbs off the bed because she can’t help herself, and then reaches into that bag of chips when Dougie started acting upset. And she crunched on those chips until he settles down.
I got the impression she had to do that all night, because next scene is morning and Dougie wakes up with the biggest smile on his face and his arms outstretched. He looks great, and he’s happy! He is practically skipping he feels so much better. And when he leaves for work, a happy but exhausted Janey-E goes back upstairs. We hear but don’t see her collapse on the bed, and the scene cuts to credits.
I LOVE that the sound of crunching was what Dougie needed. It’s not said out loud, but hearing someone nearby him seemed to be exactly what he needed, like a security blanket. As far as mysteries go, it was extremely low stakes, but as far as putting a family back in balance with each other, it was pretty sweet.
Sonny Jim is endearing as hell, and so is Phil Bisby (once again underused without any dialogue in the show), but Bushnell Mullins is the star of the week as he inches closer to the ranks of the all-time best TV dads list. He’s not there yet, but I at least think he’s already on the best TV boss list. And he worked well with Janey-E as well. More Bushnell in the show, please.
And for Dougie’s sake, I hope he NEVER eats anything on the bed.
I’m still not sure what to think about the goofy credits music, but I liked the overall vibe of the episode. It struck me like a one-act play, and the stakes were just about the right size for a half hour show. It showed a Jones family who loved each other, and their concerned support system showing the same. I can’t see exactly how it could figure into a giant overall arc, but characters interacting with each other and solving problems is pretty solid entertainment if they do it like this every week. Especially if it’s those characters every week. It’s official: I like visiting this Las Vegas.