Welcome back to Twin Peaks: Las Vegas, my “reviews” of the imaginary Twin Peaks spin-off sitcom!
This week on Twin Peaks: Las Vegas, Sonny Jim starts a dog walking business to meet the neighbor girl, but gets help instead from the Polish Accountant.
The episode begins with the now-classic mailbox shot, except Sonny Jim walks into frame from the sidewalk and he checks the labels on two small boxes and one medium-sized one. Then he picks them up and brings them inside the house.
Janey-E is inside, and she’s excited to see the boxes. She tells him how she’s discovered a no-questions-asked 30-day return policy and she is planning to “gently use so many things!” And, with a twinkle in her eye she says “Think smarter!”
Sonny Jim is somewhere between bemused and unimpressed but takes the dog for a walk. He and Hairy leave out the door, then it time lapses right to their return, and through the window we see the Coopers’ car pulling up across the street. Sonny Jim watches longingly as Mr. Cooper and his daughter get out of the car.
Sonny Jim shows the leash to Harry as if to go outside again quickly, but Harry’s just outside the kitchen licking his chops and his food bowl has a spotlight on it in the back of the shot. Really well-composed depth of field. Can’t get a shot like that on a set, a nice advantage of filming in the real house.
By the time Sonny Jim acknowledges Hairy won’t go back outside, the Coopers’ front door closes. You can see the longing on Sonny Jim’s face in close-up, and it holds on him as we see resolve happening. He says quietly, “think smarter.”
We see him later at a table, drawing a rudimentary map of the neighborhood using squares for houses and parallel lines for streets and he draws dog bones on some of the houses.
Meanwhile in the background, we see Janey-E positively fawning over things that she takes from boxes. There’s pink and pastel green clothes she puts up against herself that takes up most of the time but it cuts while she’s lifting some sort of golden egg sculpture from a box like Indiana Jones lifting an idol. It was cute by itself, but the camera cutaway made it into a good laugh.
Next the montage scene returns with a vengeance. Sonny Jim is casing the neighborhood, while playing behind him is the music from Sonny Jim and the Pink Girls nature study (this time with added swishy percussion). It felt very Wes Anderson. There was dialog over this montage as well as Sonny Jim spoke to people at their front doors:
Woman neighbor: “You’re Dougie Jones’ boy, aren’t you? Of COURSE you can walk Porkchop!”
Male neighbor: ”Saves me the trouble, sure, Sonny Jim.”
Woman neighbor: “An excellent idea, I’d love to help with your business! What are you saving up for?”
Woman neighbor: “Any son of Dougie Jones can walk my dog…”
Polish Accountant: “I have dog.”
Woman neighbor: ”Aren’t you sweet? Yes you may.”
The montage ends with Sonny Jim getting home just in time to see the Coopers pulling up in their driveway. Again. He’s frustrated but he studies his watch, memorizing the time.
The montage music starts up again, this time with a sliding trombone melody in the mix. It’s the next day. Sonny Jim gets home, brings in more boxes, starts his dog walking route and we see him up and down the Coopers’ sidewalk walking dog after dog (Hairy, a Labrador, German Shepherd, Corgi, Dachshund, and a mutt that looks like a fireplug), but no Coopers. Sonny Jim studies his watch regularly. Then, music still going, he finally gets inside his house and THEN we get the Coopers’ car arriving. You could tell Sonny Jim wanted to say “arrgh!” in the most Garfield way possible but he calms down because his dad passes through the path of open boxes with a plate while happily munching on a snack.
The montage music is STILL going, and it’s the next day. A muted trumpet is now dueling with the trombone. This time, Sonny Jim gets home with the boxes and the Coopers pull up THEN.
Sonny Jim is trying to get to Hairy’s leash and then Hairy through the mess of open boxes filled with temporary Janey-E catnip, and he runs past Phillip Gerard who is in a hallway looking confused about the boxes. Gerard tries to talk to Sonny Jim but only gets shouted at: “Not now, Phillip!” Gerard seems frustrated but we leave him behind and we never get to hear what he was there for. But damn that was funny.
Then it’s the same montage shots as the day before but much faster paced. And the Coopers do not go back outside to their car for any reason whatsoever. Then there’s quick moments of the neighbors thanking Sonny Jim and closing their door after he’s done with their walks. All but the Polish Accountant, anyway.
He says “Seem down. What is wrong?” The music stops and Sonny Jim says “this isn’t working out the way I thought it would is all.”
Polish Accountant says “you use chair,” and welcomes Sonny Jim into his home.
First things first: The dog of Polish Accountant (who near-maddeningly remains unnamed through the entire episode) is the dachshund, who I absolutely want to bring home to my own dachshund. When at the door he sits to the right of P.A. very regally, and he looks like the exact perfect mismatch to the enormous man which comes off as endearing. And then the dog trots inside and sits next to a chair as if he’s showing Sonny Jim where to sit. Then when Sonny Jim doesn’t immediately move, a bark.
You know I have to interrupt here: the TV is on inside the house and I NEED to point out how the silly local ad for the Silver Mustang Casino is using the CLOSING CREDITS MUSIC AS ITS SOUNDTRACK. The weird tone of the ending used in this ad (that had visuals of the Pink Girls and Mitchums doing a conga line against a green screen) made so much more sense here than at the end of episodes. I have no idea if it helps justify the usage of it at the end of every show or not, but its cornball nature is PERFECT for a conga line ad. I’m going on YouTube next to see if anyone has a full version of the ad…I sure hope so because I’m confident it’s stacked with more show Easter Eggs.
Back to the show, P.A.’s house is well-lit, with a lot of open windows, and he and Sonny Jim have a nice conversation. I don’t know if the show is setting up P.A. to be a Yoda-like figure but his advice to Sonny Jim is to be proactive and just walk up to her, say hello, ask her about things he sees her holding onto. It’s incredibly simple, not at all creepy, and told with a comedic cadence (“Has bracelet? Ask about it. May be from boyfriend, may be from mother. Good information”). I like this guy. Wouldn’t mind seeing him around more.
Anyway, Sonny Jim heads back home. The living room has effectively become shelves for more and more products. We see golf clubs, clothes draped over couches. Random things (more clothes, a stylized walking cane) hung on the wall paintings. Sonny Jim ignores all of it and just looks out the window, saying to himself some of PA’s advice. “Keep it simple. One word after one word.” And then he jump-scares because a frazzled looking Janey-E comes up behind him and says “30 days is almost up!”
His verbal expression of surprise (“Oh man, Mom!”) made me think of Leave it to Beaver, and Janey-E snaps out of her panic and says “You’re right, Sonny Jim. I need some help!” At that moment, across the room, Dougie pops into the scene smiling at her like Paul Rudd in Romeo + Juliet and keeps walking. Janey-E misses no beats and takes out her phone, saying “Sometimes you just have to swallow your pride and ask for what you need.”
Next scene we see is later on in the much-tidier living room, with Janey-E and the Pink Girls and they’re packaging up everything really nicely. There’s box tape and teamwork and they’re chattering while clearing the way. Sonny Jim takes a box from Mandie, moves it to the other side of the room with other nicely stacked boxes near the door, and says “Oh man!”
Through the window we see all three Coopers walking into their house from their car. But this time Sonny Jim gets up, walks out that door, and the camera follows behind him as he crosses the street, all the way up to the Coopers’ door, all the way to him ringing the doorbell. Cut to credits music.
This time the credits music is the montage music again, with a saxophone in the mix with trumpet and trombone. It was very similar to Dance of the Dream Man in tone this time, and so much more welcome than the normal joke music that already showed up. This was a highly welcome shift for me, especially considering the circumstances, and makes me wonder if this is a part one of two in terms of Sonny Jim and the neighbor girl. I can’t wait to see how it turns out for Sonny Jim. I’ll predict right here that if he’s smiling in his next scene that means it went well, and if he’s sullen that means we know where the dramatic tension will come from for the (hopefully only) next few episodes. I want that guy to be happy.
It was really funny to have Dougie barely in the story, and to use him just for random appearances of doofy charm. Messing with the tone from episode to episode (having him sometimes goofy and sometimes highly confident) keeps things off balance in a good way. You just never know what you’re going to get with Dougie Jones but it’s always a gift. And from the tone of some of those neighbor ladies this episode, they completely agree with me.
I love how Janey-E and the Pink Girls have really formed a unit of friendship in this show. It’s probably my favorite element of the show so far, if nothing else for the fact of the pink ladies having actual voices. It’s always a good thing to have female friendships shown positively (and not at all focused around the lives of men).
Now, we just need to hear the Coopers’ daughter say a line or two, or at least get a full name. Hopefully we’ll get to hear what SHE has to say next time. We’re rooting for you, Sonny Jim!